How to Have a Budget Wedding: 10 Beautiful Ideas to Keep Costs Down

Your wedding is a beautiful day full of romance, love, friends and family. But it’s also a day of big expenses. The cost of getting married seems to be creeping up each year, with the average wedding in 2019 costing £30,000. But not everyone can afford to spend big on their wedding day and many people are coming up with creative solutions to keep costs down. 

We’ve put together a list of 10 beautiful ideas on how to have a budget wedding without compromising on any of the sophistication or romance.


1. Ask your friends and family for help rather than gifts

Asking for wedding help rather than a gift can be a great way to save money. If your cousin is studying photography, or your friend is a graphic designer, or you have an aunt or uncle who is a dab hand at DIY, or maybe your grandad has a gorgeous classic car that you would love to be chauffeured around in, then don’t be afraid to ask them for their help in lieu of a gift.

Nine times out of ten, family and friends are more than happy to help out when you ask them. In fact, they are likely to be flattered that you’ve entrusted part of your big day with them. So ask away, and put a smile on everyone’s faces.

budget wedding ideas

2. Pick an unconventional day or season for your wedding

If you choose to have your wedding on a Friday or Sunday, you can cut the cost of the reception venue in half; Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, even more. Of course, you may have fewer guests attending if you pick a weekday, but that may be a blessing in disguise if you’re serious about keeping costs down.

If you opt to have your wedding in Autumn or Winter, discounts may be available, not only on your venue but also on photographers, florists and registrars. 


3. Hold the ceremony at a smaller venue, outdoors, or even at home

Venues are often the most expensive part of the wedding day, so searching for alternative wedding venues like village halls, fancy pubs, parents’ back gardens, woodlands, holiday homes or even your own home really pays off.


4. Do the catering yourself

Consider your choices when it comes to the food at your wedding, a sit down three-course meal for 50 people can be very pricey, but there are buffets, picnics or BBQs that you could arrange instead.

If you’re having a small wedding party and you have the know-how, you could even do the catering yourself. Again, it’s important not to be afraid of asking for help when you feel that you need it. If a member of the family or a friend is a dab hand at this sort of thing, it’s always worth asking. 


5. Offer your guests a free cocktail hour or bring your own booze

Alcohol is often a hefty expense for everyone involved at weddings, but it’s also a big variable that you can play around with to cut costs. Instead of opting for a full open bar, which can sometimes cost thousands of pounds, you can save money by offering a free cocktail hour followed by a cash bar.

Or, if you are able to, bring your own booze! Stock up on the basics, red and white wine and beer, and then keep an eye out for when offers come up at your local supermarket to get some liquor, and extras such as mixers and soft drinks.

If you do get your own alcohol, then it’s a good idea to overestimate how much you’ll need as there would be nothing worse than running out of drinks halfway through the reception!

budget wedding ideas


6. Think of your wedding décor as an investment for your home

When purchasing décor for your wedding, keep in mind what the fate of it will be. If you believe it will become a permanent fixture in your home, then it’s a good idea.

These can be items such as vintage tea sets, cake stands, lanterns, potted plants, rugs, picture frames or mason jars. If you see the decorations you want to buy eventually being chucked in the shed, or worse thrown in the skip, then it’s often not worth the money.


7. Get in touch with the local university

Universities are a hub of fresh young talent, so why not get in touch with your local university to seek out some musical accompaniment for your ceremony and/or your reception.

You can simply contact the music department and ask if there are any students who are studying a particular instrument you like and see if they’re available to provide music for a wedding. The work can help them develop their CV and save you on this pricey part of your wedding.


8. Choose a pre-loved gown

Choosing a pre-owned gown is a fantastic way to get your dream dress at a dream price. It’s a good idea to shop around first, try a few different styles on to get an idea of exactly what kind of dress you would like.

When you know what you’re looking for, SellMyWeddingDress, Preloved, The Dressmarket, Gumtree and eBay are all great places to find your perfect second-hand dress.


9. Make your own favours

Whether you’re naturally artistic or not, there’s plenty of lovely DIY favour ideas out there. From food items like sweets and coffee to keepsakes like candles or seeds to grow. Head on over to Pinterest where you’ll be sure to find an array of inspiration.

Budget Wedding Ideas

10. Don’t stress the details

Little things add up. Though it’s lovely to have thoughtful touches here and there, don’t panic if you forget something (or if you don’t wish to include little extras like favours) as the chances are your guests won’t even notice that there isn’t a table of perfectly packaged chocolate chip cookies waiting for them by the exit anyway. Leave all the stress behind and enjoy the day for what it is really about – the celebration of you and your fiance’s love and commitment to one another.


Whilst planning your wedding, be sure to pop along to one of our upcoming wedding fayres in the North West. Meet with fabulous suppliers and take tours of the stunning venues. Find our Spring wedding fayres here.

February Open Day for Colshaw Hall and Merrydale Manor

Shane Webber photography 

If you were lucky enough to receive a festive proposal, then you may have started to search for your dream Cheshire venue. January is a busy time for wedding venues with couples looking to find the one that is the perfect fit for them and also to secure the date.

If this is you, then you may wish to put a date in your diary as two of the most luxurious and stylish venues in Cheshire are holding an Open Day.

Look no further than Over Peover for your perfect Cheshire Wedding Venue!

Sister venues, Colshaw Hall and Merrydale Manor, are renowned for their stunning surroundings and impeccable standards. Both are exclusive use venues, set in their own country estate setting and located just two minutes away from each other, in the lovely setting of Over Peover village.

Open Day on Sunday 2nd Feb, from 11 am to 4 pm

Both wedding venues will be holding an Open Day for couples who are searching for the perfect place. At both venues, you will be able to enjoy a glass of prosecco on arrival, and there will also be tea & coffee available.


You’ll be able to meet the family team who will answer any questions that you may have and will also be giving informal tours around each venue. You’ll be able to enjoy the grounds, the ceremony room and function suites, all dressed for a wedding. Both venues feature;

Acres of grounds and formal gardens, available just for you and your guests. Plenty of photo opportunities on your wedding day.

Ceremony Room at both venues. They have oak beams, limestone floors and both have beautiful lake views.

Contemporary function suites. Each function suite has beautiful chandelier lighting and modern detailing.

Colshaw Hall/Merrydale Manor. Both estates feature a main hall/house which provides accommodation for your family and closest friends. Couples say they are the icing on the cake for those getting married at either location!

A selection of bespoke, boutique interior designed accommodation, located on the estates for your guests.


At the Open Day, you will be able to meet with a selection of the venue’s preferred suppliers. Be inspired by the best of wedding cake, lighting, floristry and photographer suppliers. You’ll also be able to meet in house caterers, Barrett’s Event Caterers. Colshaw Hall and Merrydale Manor go to great lengths to be able to access some of the best suppliers there are!

Richard Milnes Photography


Seeing is believing!

Both venues are well-regarded and sought after. People travel from all over Cheshire and beyond to tie the knot here. Couples’ feedback shows that there are three reasons why people love these venues;

– Exclusive. They only ever hold one wedding a day, so you have the entire estate to yourselves.

– All in one countryside location. You can marry, celebrate and stay the night with family and friends – all in one location.

– Family run. The team here ensure you get excellent service on the run-up to the big day and until the last person leaves!


So, you won’t regret going to see these venues. There’s no need to book, just turn up!

 If you can’t wait for Open Day, then both places will give you a private show around. Just call 01565 724060 or email to arrange a convenient time. 

For more information, please visit or


Guest Blog, Bridalwear By Esme: Find Your Ideal Prom or Bridesmaid Dress

Hear about how Bridalwear By Esme can help find your perfect prom or bridesmaid dresses…


We are open 7 days a week for you to come in and choose your dream prom or bridesmaid dresses. Here’s just a few examples of the selection we offer…

Our designers

Romantica of Devon


Romantica are a family run business based in Devon, we have stocked Romantica Bridal wear for three years now and after seeing their stunning new prom collection we decided we had to have it!

Style A160 in navy


Manon Fashion

We met this new designer in Harrogate in September, the prices are great and the dresses are just as gorgeous. This stunning new collection won’t leave you disappointed.

Style 2537 in Grey jersey Glitter


Mori Lee

Our faithful prom gowns by Mori Lee that we just can’t live without! We have stocked these for years!
You will sparkle all the way to prom in these gorgeous gowns.

Style 45006 in Twilight


Spoilt for choice? Let us help you!

Come in with an open mind, let us suggest some styles we think may suit you. Try on as many dresses as you like until you find the right one. We offer exclusivity to schools so we don’t sell the same dress to the same school.

What you need to know! 

Proms are on a three month delivery, so there’s not too much time left for ordering our cut off date is normally around the middle of February. You pay 50% of the cost of the dress at your time of ordering, and then the other half is due when your dress arrives into stock. 

As a special treat for our prom girls this year we are offering a free handbag with every dress purchased from us.

Buy your dress and get your photograph taken with our famous ‘I Said yes to the dress’ board 

We have an in house seamstress who will make your dress fit you perfectly, fittings normally take place 6 weeks before the date of the event, you will need to make sure you have the bra and shoes you are wearing.

We also recommend having a hair and make up trial before prom to come and try your dress on so you can see what it all looks like together. 


What else can we offer?

We offer free storage and free pressing of your gown once all your alterations have been completed.

We do advise you to book an appointment as we do prioritise these over people who walk in on the day.

Get in touch today and we’ll be happy to help.

Call – 0161 764 4157

Email –

Facebook – @bridalwearbyesme

Instagram – @bridalwearbyesme

Website –


Knowsley Hall unveils a luxurious new honeymoon suite 

Since The Earl & Countess of Derby took over the Hall in 1997 from Merseyside police they have made it their home and their life’s work to restore the Hall to its former glory, which they continue to do till this day.

Lady Derby plays a pivotal role in ensuring that the fabric of the Hall is well maintained and cared for.  There are 17 bedrooms in the Hall which have all been individually designed by The Countess of Derby herself and we are proud to have been awarded 5* Gold by Visit Britain for our accommodation.

Lord Derby’s Suite

Over the last few months Lord Derby’s Suite, which is often used as the honeymoon suite by our couples, has undergone a major refurbishment and we are delighted to announce it’s all ready to welcome in our newlyweds to enjoy!  

Lady Derby has been the driving force behind the planning and re-designing of this project.  The suite comprises of a substantial master bedroom and a spacious dressing room with en-suite bathroom.

Her vision was to create a beautiful and tranquil space that exuded luxury and used only the highest quality of materials.  

“My vision was to create a calming, tranquil environment with cool colours for brides to withdraw to when they need space and quiet during their busy wedding day.” The Countess of Derby

Lady Derby has dedicated her time and design flair to create the overall look she has wanted to achieve for these rooms.


The Design

For the Bedroom, Lady Derby opted for the BELLA range in Camomile by Lewis & Wood, a British supplier of beautiful and unusual fabrics and wallpapers.  This is one of four designs in the Voysey collection, based on original drawings by the Edwardian architect and textile designer C.F.A Voysey.

Such a grand room demanded a centre piece bed and Lady Derby commissioned a four-poster mahogany bed that would evoke the grandeur of the Hall and fit beautifully. 

In the Dressing Room, Turner’s Texture in Eggshell Cirrus features on the walls.  This wallpaper is designed to look like the decorative painter, Hughie Turner has personally painted it on the wall.

We are delighted with the finished look and we hope you like it as much as we do!

Images courtesy of Matthew Rycraft 


“My wedding was one of the best days of my life.  Weddings should be held in a place that will evoke memories to cherish forever”

The Countess of Derby


Get in touch with Knowsley Hall:

0151 489 4827

Guest Blog by Jules Fortune Photography

I’m Jules a female wedding photographer based in Rossendale, Lancashire but will travel throughout the North West  for an awesome wedding.

I became a wedding photographer because from the age of 15 I have loved seeing the world through a camera lens, getting creative with lighting, angles and ideas and also I’m basically a complete romantic and LOVE all things wedding.

My day begins with the bride (can cover groom too with my assistant photographer) and all the fun preparations in the morning right through to capturing those party people at the end of the day.

I will blend in with your family and friends and hopefully become one of your guests (but taking photos!) helping with the buttonholes and generally mucking in with everyone to make your day go as smoothly as possible.

My kind of weddings are the ones that don’t take themselves too seriously, with lots of laughter, lots of personal touches, big on family & friends, building to a great party.  

I love to bring the energy and passion to every wedding, so I close my diary at 40 weddings per year. Quality over quantity. My diary mostly becomes fully booked with recommendations from past couples, their guests & local wedding venues which is always a great compliment.

The main thing couples say to meet when we meet is ‘I hate having my photo taken!’, but I promise it will not be cheesy, over posed, or cringey and can guarantee it will be a good laugh – especially when you see me hitting the deck just to get the right angle whilst I’m waffling about all  sorts with the aim to get you to have a bit giggle!

In fact, you will be surprised how much fun having your photo taken can be…I promise 😊. l LOVE colour so no overly moody, dark images from me COLOUR ALL THE WAY! Its then simply a matter of letting you relax and do your thing. Couples that book me to photograph their wedding day want natural, modern, colourful photography, capturing all the atmosphere of the day.  

If after reading this blog and seeing a little of my portfolio if you think I could be the photographer for you then log onto my website, Instagram and Facebook and get in touch with your date we could both be in luck 😊.

Jules Fortune


Instagram: @juliefortunephoto

Facebook: @julesfortunephotography


4 Wedding Planning Podcasts You Need to Listen to 

We all know about the blogs and the books, but have you heard of a wedding planning podcast? If not, you’re missing a trick! Many of the podcasts aimed at helping you plan your wedding are hosted by wedding experts and they are perfect for couples to listen to at any stage of planning. They will offer you top insider tips, friendly advice and validation for those feelings of pre-wedding nerves and stress! 

This year, Ofcom has found that in the UK just over seven million people tune into podcasts every week, an increase of 24% from last year, and weddings have quickly become a hot topic. Here are just a few of our favourite wedding planning podcast that we think you need to listen to.

Wedding planning podcast



Bridechilla is a podcast hosted by comedian and author Aleisha McCormack, an Aussie who is currently residing in London. Aleisha tackles every wedding planning topic you could think of, from body image to creating a foolproof planning timeline, all with witty humour and infectious enthusiasm.

She describes herself as being “your wedding planning ninja friend, support person and a virtual bridesmaid,” and there are currently 370+ episodes by Aleisha that you can listen to, with a new show being released every Monday.

Aleisha is often joined by guest hosts who shed light on their areas of expertise. If you’re not sure where to begin, click here to check out Bridechilla’s six most popular episodes, or choose your own on Apple Podcasts or Google Play.


The Outside Bride: Ask an Expert

Emily and Alan Braithwaite, a husband and wife duo, run The Outside Bride, a British wedding blog for couples planning to marry in the great outdoors.

After their own outdoor wedding in 2012, the couple noticed that there was missing information for those who wish to marry in nature, so they decided to create a digital space for brides- and grooms-to-be wanting to follow in their footsteps.

Every Wednesday at 8pm, Emily and Alan answer questions from couples who are planning their own outdoor wedding in their ‘Ask an Expert’ podcast, where they sometimes bring in wedding professionals to help answer those questions. You can tune into The Outside Bride’s podcast either on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

Wedding planning podcast


The Big Wedding Planning Podcast

The Big Wedding Planning Podcast is brought to you by experienced wedding planners, Michelle Martinez and Christy Matthews. The two women host a high-energy show tackling a range of different topics, such as prenups, speeches and advice on having kids at weddings.

They vow that their show is “not your traditional weddings blog” and is full of jokes, laughter and even controversial subjects that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Their episodes include chats with wedding suppliers and real couples alike. You can subscribe to The Big Wedding Planning Podcast on iTunes or Stitcher.

Wedding planning podcast

The Icing on the Cake

Last but not least, The Icing on the Cake, a wedding podcast hosted by Welsh wedding planner Zoë Binning who is based near Cardiff.

Zoë shares her expertise as she tackles everything you need to know and consider when you’re planning your wedding, from wedding fayres to choosing the perfect photographer for you.

The host wishes to give “step-by-step help, advice and ideas” to couples who aren’t sure where to start with their plans. The Icing on the Cake is available on Tunein, Stitcher or Apple Podcasts.


If you’re in the midst of planning your wedding, be sure to hop on over to our wedding planning page where you’ll find plenty of inspo and resources or come along to one of our many wedding fayres happening across the North West.