First of all, congratulations on your engagement! You’ve probably been dreaming about this day since you were little — the fairytale wedding dress, your dream partner and the celebration of a lifetime. But before you can bring your dream wedding to life, there’s just one teeny detail to think about… your budget.

Unfortunately, weddings cost money, and the cost of a wedding can quickly add up, so it’s important to make a budget and stick to it. However, even when planning a wedding on a budget, there’s no reason to let money stand in the way of making your dream a reality. You just need to get a little creative when it comes to the planning process.

Here are eight wedding ideas on a budget to help you save money while planning your big day.

1. Find a Discounted Wedding Dress

Your wedding dress can end up being one of the biggest expenses of your wedding, but there are several ways to find your dream dress for less. The first thing to remember is to leave lots of time for dress shopping! You shouldn’t leave it until the last minute — the more time you have, the more likely you are to fall in love with a dress with an attractive price tag.

There are also ways you can be a smart shopper when it comes to dress-hunting. Rather than looking at full-priced designer showstoppers, keep an eye out for sample dress sales and discounts.

Buying a sample dress is a great way to get a designer wedding gown for a fraction of the price. Sample dresses are the ones brides-to-be try on in store, so they’re sold at huge discounts. And while the dresses have been worn before, they’ve only been worn in bridal salons, so they’ll be in like-new condition.

2. Get Creative with Your Decor

There are lots of tiny details that can perfect your wedding decor, but those tiny details add up and can end up costing you a small fortune. From vases and flowers to napkins, purchasing different decorative items takes up both time and budget. However, this doesn’t have to be the case.

You can often find second-hand wedding items for sale on social media or online marketplaces. Sure, they’ve been used before, but probably only for one day, and they’ll be a fraction of the cost of buying new.

You can also try your hand at making decorative items or upscaling old items to make quirky or vintage decorations. For example, you could take old mason jars and fill them with fairy lights or stain them a different colour and place them on tables with a tea light.

3. Think Outside the Box When Choosing a Venue

From churches and hotels to barns, you can get married just about anywhere nowadays. The options are endless, so it’s worth thinking about where you want to host your big day.

You could save thousands by thinking outside of the box and choosing a smaller venue or picking a simple setting and transforming it into the perfect wedding location. For the legal marriage ceremony, you’ll need to find an approved venue, but you have complete freedom when it comes to the reception.

Consider local pubs, small hotels, village halls, gardens or barns — at first sight, these might not look like wedding venues, but with creative wedding decor, any venue can be transformed into a stunning wedding setting. Choosing an alternative wedding venue is going to make your big day even more spectacular.

4. Think about Who You Know

You probably don’t usually think about your friends in terms of what they do or what their talents are. But in the run-up to your big day, it’s worth thinking about who can lend a hand.

Friends and family members can help out with the set-up, accommodate guests if you’re having a local wedding and generally help your day run smoothly. Your wedding day is your time to shine, and you can bet your loved ones will do anything they can to help. So make the most of their generosity by making your wedding day a joint effort.

You might also have friends with specific skills who could lend a hand. For example, if you know anyone with a passion for photography, consider asking them to take photos at your wedding. They might be happy to do it for free, or at the very least they’ll usually offer you “mate’s rates”. The same goes if you know anyone who’s a keen chef, DJ or florist.

5. Consider Cutting the Wedding List

Your wedding day is one of the biggest celebrations you’ll ever experience, so, of course, you want to be surrounded by loved ones when you tie the knot. However, that doesn’t mean you have to invite the world and his wife.

Chances are that you’ve been planning your guest list and adding distant family members because you feel obliged to invite them. Every bride has been there — inviting estranged cousins and allowing everyone to bring a plus-one simply because it feels like that’s the done thing. But before you pen a guest list that’s as long as your arm (or even longer), remember that the more guests you have, the more your wedding will cost.

Think about who you really want to celebrate your marriage with. Don’t feel pressured to allow plus-ones — the last thing you want is to be paying for Cousin Elma’s latest beau. Most people will understand that weddings are costly, so if you have distant relatives or friends-of-friends who you’re not particularly close with, don’t feel bad about cutting them from the guest list.

6. Scrap the Wedding Cake

Wedding cakes can be incredibly expensive — you pay extra for the label of “wedding” cake. So why not consider forgoing the traditional multi-tiered cake? There are plenty of wedding cake alternatives. You could always swap it for you and your partner’s favourite desserts to put a more personal spin on the food — and if you take our advice about slashing your guest list, you probably won’t need a multi-tiered cake anyway!

Or rather than scrapping the cake altogether, opt for a non-wedding cake. You could buy a supermarket cake and dress it up with figurines of you and your partner, or even opt for a hand-made cake from a local bakery. Just don’t mention it’s for a wedding — you don’t want to give cake designers a reason to up the price.

7. Weigh up Your Music Options

If there’s one thing every wedding needs, it’s music — along with an accompanying dance floor, of course. So you’ve got some decisions to make: do you want to go for a live band or singer, a DJ, or should you opt for a simple Spotify playlist?

Live music can cost you up to £300 per musician, so if you’re hoping for a four-piece band, this can cost you over £1,000. Hiring a DJ is a cheaper option, as you only have to hire one performer for the evening. But by far the cheapest option is to use your own Spotify playlist and simply plug your phone into the sound system. You could even ask guests to request a song when they RSVP!

8: Choose an ‘Off-Peak’ Wedding Date

Most couples choose to get married on a summer weekend — there’s a better chance of good weather and guests are more likely to be able to make it. But because of increased demand, venues usually charge more for these peak dates. By choosing an off-peak wedding date, you could save hundreds, and potentially thousands, of pounds.

Opt for a weekday wedding, or if you’re up for it, go for a winter weekday wedding. While the high season is known for warmer weather, that’s not to say warm is necessarily better. There’s something romantic about a winter wonderland wedding — imagine you and your new spouse having your first dance in a toasty warm venue as snowflakes fall outside. Plus, there are some truly stunning winter wedding dresses available.

Whatever your budget, Belle Bridal is here to help you bring your dreams to life, starting with your wedding dress. We offer designer wedding dresses for discounted prices, so contact us today to book a free appointment and we’ll help you find the dress of your dreams.