Bride Hacks

The £5K wedding – tips from a budget bride

According to a recent survey UK weddings are costing an average of £30,355*! We think this is a crazy amount for what will be a very special, memorable day regardless of what you're spending on it. This real bride is planning a £5,000 budget wedding and wants to share her wedding planning highs and lows. We're all about showing you how it can be done creatively and beautifully but not cost the earth so we spoke to Amy to get the lowdown...

Amy and Martin are getting married in the beautiful seaside town of Whitley Bay in North East England this summer. They’re expecting 60 daytime guests and 80 for the evening reception.

Theirs is going to be just the sort of wedding we love – lots of DIY, family and friends helping out and repurposed elements as they want their wedding to be as sustainable as possible. The bride and groom are also keen to encourage their largely non-vegan wedding guests to change their mindset when they try their fantastic catering, so that’s where they’re spending most of their money. Read on for all of Amy’s tips and insight into how the wedding planning process is going as well as a breakdown of their £5,000 budget.

£5000 budget wedding UK

When is your wedding?

We’re eloping to Scotland on the 13th July to be married by a humanist celebrant on Seacliff Beach next to Tantallon Castle. Then we’re having a ceremony and reception, with my mum giving a blessing a week later at a village hall.

Have you got a theme?

Very loosely beach themed, as we live near the ocean, met at the Banff Ocean Film Festival and are passionate about ocean conservation. We want to make it as eco-friendly as possible.

Sea glass - £5000 budget wedding UK

What’s your budget?

We’re trying to stick to a budget of £5k (check out the budget breakdown at the bottom of this page!), which I have learnt is very tough! But by shopping around (and finding a £500 wedding dress for £120 on ebay) we think it will be doable. We just decided that with buying a house 6 weeks before getting married, there’s more important lasting things to spend our money on, and that it’s more important to celebrate with friends and family than spend lots of money. Although I’ve certainly had to remind myself that and not get carried away!

What have you found the most fun bit of planning your wedding?

Working with the caterers on an amazing vegan menu that we’re hoping to wow our 90% non-vegan guests with. It was really important to us to cater vegan but also show people that doesn’t have to mean a plain salad, and will have plenty of protein!

What have you found the hardest bit of wedding planning?

Making decisions and sticking to them! Because we’ve moved really fast on setting a date for the wedding we have been a bit rushed to find availability for the date we wanted. Also, as I was passionate about buying a second hand dress for environmental reasons, it was difficult to find the right dress. I ended up buying two secondhand dresses that I’m re-selling as they didn’t fit or look right. And the dress I fell in love with I tried on in a shop and then found on ebay for a quarter of the price.

Has anything unexpected cropped up?

We visited our daytime venue the other day and decided it’s just a bit too dilapidated – it’s a rustic village hall but has mould patches on the walls and would need to be really dressed up which will blow our budget! We’ve also realised our evening venue is not suitable as it’s upstairs which elderly relatives would struggle with, so we’re in the process of finding a new venue. Luckily our caterers have a restaurant where we can hold the evening reception so we just need a new ceremony venue. I am not worried as I know we’ll find somewhere great, but it’s worth bearing these things in mind as you may lose deposits you paid for the original venues.

What have you found helpful?

By deciding to not go big budget we’ve been down to the local beach to collect stuff for the wedding, such as shells, glass and pebbles. Also friends have given me stuff left over from their weddings to repurpose, which has been great! And fits in perfectly with my reuse values.

Any tips for those planning their wedding?

Get really clear about what you want before you start rushing into it, even if you’re on a tight deadline – view the venue and cost up anything that needs to be done (including dressing up a drab hall) before committing. Try dresses on in a shop before buying online and remember high street dresses are beautiful if you’re on a budget or just want something simple. All of my friends told me not to scrimp on a photographer, and I know a good one is expensive (but worth it). Luckily on our very tight budget we have a family member who has been a photography lecturer for 20 years. Otherwise that would have put a serious dent in the budget!

Thank you Amy, we can’t wait to see your wedding pics! Make sure you save this article to your REAL account and join our Facebook group to join the conversation.

£5000 budget wedding



Gaia Hudson

Written by gaia_bkir

Founder of Brides Keeping it Real and mum of two little ones, Leon & Ada. Passionate about providing a supportive online community for brides and grooms who want an achievable, uncomplicated wedding planning experience.