How to have a Frugal wedding- with all the frivolities!

Image cc of Unsplash

Love is in the air… The commitment is more solid than a rock and a wedding is in view. The planning is in motion or shall we say, the dreaming is, more likely in full swing, right?

Everything must be perfect. You and your future half are swaying between a whimsical and a vintage wedding party theme… But every moment of fantasising and daydreaming indulgence is abruptly brought down to earth and spoiled by the money part.

The result of talking finances with your loved one is now somewhat veering towards a dangerously building-up debate and a looming disagreement on what the difference is between ‘budgeting for’, ‘conceding on a set budget’ and ‘doing things on a budget’.



The future in-laws are waving around their hatchets, as they can’t help themselves but dish out advice and interfere. They are the experts, after all, being happily married for donkey’s years… Yep, mums and dads are often the ones, who throw in tonnes of “must-dos” until your wedding budget inflates like a hot air balloon, ready to burst.

Please, calm down!

And let’s see if we can help you make some savings, think out of the pre-planning box and explore the ways of spending less on your wedding than initially envisaged. After all, you can only work with what you’ve got but it won’t hurt if you try to keep tabs on the wedding costs that can swell at the speed of light, if not careful.

So, why not cut corners here and there and end up with a nice pot of gold that you can spend on something else?

Wedding Fees

Regardless of whether you want to get married in a religious building, at the City Hall, at the Register Office or at approved premises (other than the above), there are different fees, set for/by each respective establishment. Those will vary, depending on the day you choose to get married. So, if you wed on a Bank Holiday or at the weekend in an approved hotel, for instance, you’ll be looking at a total wedding fees cost of about £570.

The Church of Wales has set basic fees at around £440, which cover the service, the publication of banns and a copy of the marriage certificate. Any other extras will come at an additional cost. Also, note that it’s slightly cheaper when you wed in your local parish than if you have to do it in a neighbouring one.

Marrying on a weekday at the City Hall will cost you between £200 and £320. And say, if you pick a morning between Monday and Wednesday and marry in a close-knit circle at the Cardiff’s Register Office, you’ll only part with £120. After all, you can have the wedding party that coming Saturday, can’t you? It’s your call.


The reception venue is one of the first preliminary talks topics that may stunt the discussion at its very start. Castles, barn venues and quaint hotels will all inundate you with exquisite offers, customised options and brochures, depicting their unique outdoor settings.

These, however, not only come at a significant price, of course, but also with a bunch of dos and don’ts. From having to conform to their minimum/maximum number of guests requirements to the prohibition of using confetti or the limitation of having to pick one choice of the 3-course meal for all your guests, you’ll soon find that flexibility is somewhat scarce with these specialised wedding venues. So, why pay for someone else’s “vision” on how to celebrate your marriage, when you can ask a friend with a large garden and hold the reception there?


You can guess that these days, it’s totally up to you what you wear and how much you pay for the bride’s and groom’s wedding clothes.

Long gone are the days of rigid traditions, as you can now practically go for anything you like, in terms of design, colour, brand, material, style and theme as long as you can do embroidery yourself.

  • Buy a dress off your friend, who has long moved overseas, so no one else has seen it.
  • Restyle your mother’s wedding dress. After all, it’s been made from a quality lace that it’s far superior to what similar you can get on a budget nowadays.
  • Wear pale blue that brings out the colour of your eyes. Your other half can easily rent a tux if that’s what you both envisage for him to wear.

Or to sum up, you don’t have to put aside over £700 for a white classic beaded dress, really.

The wedding extras

We’ll only talk about some of the things that we associate with a wedding party, as one can make a list of elements that just never ends till the very day. Read on and see what you can compromise on, instead of wasting money on something that is well overrated, totally environmentally unfriendly or it’s simply an unnecessary show-off detail.

  • Stationary - Anything printed, from invitations, name cards, menus and so on, can be regarded as an avoidable expense or a wasted resource. Invite your guests online, for instance. Also, there are numerous platforms to set up a personal wedding website that can accommodate all your Big-day stationery (and not only) needs, from mapping out seating positions and arranging for self-printable information, if needs be, to creating a communication hub, where anyone with access can comment, confirm, share or request stuff.
  • Decoration - Again, be creative and consider what will add to the personal aspect of your special event rather than splurge on extravagant decoration. Also, you don’t need to go to an expensive High Street florist, for instance, in order to immerse your reception venue in blooming displays and table centrepieces. Visit a local flower farm or a nursery, where you can purchase fresh-cut seasonal pretties wholesale. If you need help, ask if WowEventHire.co.uk can help with the flower arrangements and bouquets at a small additional cost.
  • Entertainment - Hiring a band that does weddings for a living is all fine but costly, as they “proficiently” factor all their expenses in the price (equipment, travel costs, public liability insurance, etc.). So, you can save a bit of money if you settle for a budding singer or a talented student from theCardiff University School of Music, who could be even a relative or a friend of a friend. It’s a cash-in-hand engagement for them that contributes to their professional experience and which won’t break the bank for you.
  • Photos - Saving on the cost of hiring a photographer doesn’t mean that you’ll end up with blurred photos and images, where the legs of guests have been cut or your new husband looks everywhere asleep or somewhat drunk. Nor does it mean that you need to rely solely on your friends’ smartphones. Designate a pal, your sister or another keen relative with an affinity for photography and a good camera to take all the wedding photos and make a video. You can also ask them to be on photo collection (download) duty, so other guests can “hand in” their images in one place. This way, you’ll have every snap of memorable moments before people disperse and leave. A professional photographer wouldn’t care to commemorate in print little Johnny’s tantrum but you may well do!

Food and drink

Look, we won’t go on convincing you here that dishing cawl on your wedding will do. Of course, not! But you can easily DIY your catering and still offer presentable, quality and yet, affordable food to your guests.

There are a number of ways to go about it, be it to hire culinary undergraduates to help or get your aunties and sisters to prepare the appetisers for your intimate wedding Do. Or maybe, a mate owns a restaurant, who is happy to offer a helping hand, instead of giving you a wedding gift.

Buy drinks on wholesale and personalise them by sticking your own labels. And now that you’ve saved some cash on food and drink, you can splurge on that dream cake, can’t you?

The honeymoon

This is a no brainer and it’s far from an original tip, as lots of wed-to-be folks go for the idea. You can basically spend zilch on your honeymoon trip by asking your guests to contribute to it as part of or instead of gifting you with a wedding present.

Remember your wedding website? This is where it can all happen.

You can either play this out totally flexible by just leaving your bank details, accompanied by a kind and non-demanding note. Or you can be bold and elaborate on a detailed honeymoon itinerary, where guests pick, chip in as a group and pay for individual holiday extras, such as the romantic first-day dinner at 89 euros, the intimate Thai massage or the 1-day picturesque guided hike in the Pyrenees at 55 euros per person.

Additional wedding saving tips

Well, there are a lot more ideas on how to spend less on your wedding than first expected.

  • Wedding packages - Even if you don’t want to go down the road of crafting your own napkins and borrowing friends’ expensive outdoor LED Christmas lights to decorate your reception venue, you can still save nearly a grand by investing ina wedding package with a reputable event hire company as Wow Event Hire.
  • Praise vendors publically - Negotiate with vendors and purchase their services at discounted rates in exchange of leaving positive reviews on popular platforms, where they list their business. Include a dedicated page on your own wedding website, where you can thank for their marvellous assistance. After all, it’s all about word of mouth and many of your wedding guests could be potential customers one day.
  • Reduce guest number - It’s not rocket science to understand that cutting out all your mum’s colleagues, you’ve never met, from the guest list will save you some money. It’s an extreme example, we know, but just think what you want out of your special day - personal and emotional memories with the people you love or an extravagant event with a lot of strangers and tiresome small talk.
  • Donations - There are plenty of ways to get contribution-based help, say, from your local village women’s club or women’s church group in exchange for a donation towards their current projects. Or you can simply barter with a service provider, for instance. Your future husband’s decorating company might be what the local working men’s social club is looking for, so they agree to hold your party there for free.
  • Shop around for special deals - You can make savings not only by purchasing stuff wholesale but also if you benefit from vendors’ special offers or discounted options.Dmitri Kara from Fantastic Services (Cardiff), says that most client-oriented companies nowadays come with all sorts of membership-only incentives that customers can take advantage of. So, shop around well in advance.
  • Get free help - From asking friends and family to help with your special event preparations to winning a free wedding dress of your choice, you can easily spend a lot less than you’ve initially budgeted for without compromising on the quality of any finishing touches and special details