Cutting the debt out of your wedding- making savings on the big day

By Maddy Burrows

Getting married is a big deal- so many new experiences await the newly wed couple. Debt should not be one one of them.

Luckily, there are plenty of fun and creative ways to cut the cost down and leave your wedding day as fun, stress free, and relaxing as possible.

The average UK wedding costs between £21-24K, and some couples are even taking out loans for their big day. If that sounds like a big figure, that’s because it is; and starting any marriage off with a huge amount of debt is neither healthy, nor good for the relationship. In fact, financial problems are one of the most commonly stated factors in divorce, so taking out tens of thousands in loans for one day may seem a little reckless.  So how can you save money on your big day? Flowers, photography, dresses, the list goes on, and they all cost so much money! So without further ado, here are some tips for how to save money on your big day:

Choose your day of the week carefully

Registrar's fees are more expensive on weekends. You can save literally hundreds of pounds by having your wedding in the middle of the week. For example, Gretna Green’s fees are as follows:

Weekdays: £297.50

Saturday: £394.50

Sunday and Public holidays: £444.00

That’s a difference of £146.50!

Shop at wholesalers

Following on from the idea of getting friends to help with bits and bobs like hair and photography, if you know someone with a Costco membership (for all that booze!), or who can get you into a wholesale flower market, this can also shave plenty of pounds off your big day too! A quick warning- most wholesale markets, such as Leeds Flower Market will only let you in if you have a trade card.

If you can, ask for money instead of gifts

Whether it’s to fund your honeymoon, your wedding day, or the stuff that comes afterwards- money always makes a great gift (people don’t have to think about what to get you, and also don’t end up with ten cases of champagne flutes). Set up a funds page on sites like My Registry, provide friends and family members with a link, and ask them to give as much as they feel comfortable with.

The venue

There are a host of beautiful independent hotels that offer affordable packages. If you have a small wedding party, you may find it cheaper to book a place that charges per head, rather than a blanket cover fee. Remember to ask the right questions to help you gauge the advantages and disadvantages of each venue such as: “How flexible are you when it comes to music being played at your venue?”, “Where can I see reviews that previous clients have written about their events?”, and  “Do you offer any discounts for large volumes of people attending?”- a little inquisition can go a long way.

Cutting the guest list down

This can be a tricky and somewhat sensitive subject, but if you’re on a tight budget, one of the best ways to cut the cost of a wedding down is by limiting the number of guests that you invite to attend. Do you really need to invite your gang from secondary school? Your old uni mates? What about your great uncle twice removed? A quarter of a century ago, most people reported only having three friends, and in the post-Facebook era, the number of ‘real friends’ (as opposed to the several hundred you have on social media) looks to be an average of still, just three. Family can be a more delicate discussion- for example, I have 23 cousins, so I decided not to invite any any of them to my wedding, and out of my aunts and uncles, only godparents. Having a blanket rule like this seems like the best way to avoid offence, as it stops the selection process from being personal.

Get friends to help!

Do you have a photographer as a friend? A makeup artist? Maybe even a hairdresser? If so, they’ll more than likely be thrilled to help you on your big day- you might even count it as their wedding present to you- potentially shaving thousands of pounds off your costs.

The Dress

As I mentioned in a previous blog post , your wedding dress can make up a significant chunk of your budget for the big day. It can but it doesn’t have to! If you make the right smart and savvy decisions, you can find the right dress for under £100!

The art of haggling

There are some things that you can haggle on, the venue for example, Confetti has a great blog on the subject. However, when it comes to other things, the photographer for example, be aware that small, independent traders probably won’t have as much wiggle room as larger companies do when it comes to discounts.

KISS (keep it simple, stupid!)

There are so many extras that can be tacked onto weddings, you may find that you don’t need these and that a simple wedding is best for you. This can be advantageous, as it can massively cut down the cost of a wedding, and odds are, your guests may not even notice the lack of flowers and favours. You should start by looking at the basics, make three columns: “What I need”, “What I don’t need”, and “What would be nice”. Traditional marriage spots like Gretna Green offer a cost effective and simple place to tie the knot.

Here’s a breakdown. Imagine you have an average size wedding guest list of 50 people:


Gretna Green registrar fees for a weekday £297.50

Buffet £9 per person- £450

Venue hire £700

Wedding bands £180 for 2 3mm rings

Hotel on the wedding night £93

Dress £75

Kilt/ suit hire £49



If you can manage to cut your guest list down, and make your wedding plans simple, you’ll not only have a more intimate wedding, but you’ll also have more cash left over for other important things after the big day like your honeymoon and a deposit on a house.

Top Takeaway

Although any wedding outside of a registry office is going to cost a fair bit cash, there are plenty of ways to cut it down. Search for wedding bundles, like those offered at Gretna Green and get friends to help you with as much of it as possible. Websites like Money Saving Expert, and Money Supermarket are great for giving you a sense of perspective on cost. Finally, even though money is stressful, try to remember to have a good time! If you can keep ontop of it, and pay off your balance every month, you might also consider getting a credit card that rewards you for spending- the points that you incur can often be put towards flights, ergo saving on your honeymoon expenditure!

By Maddy Burrows

Maddy is a freelance illustrator and writer. She love travelling, attending cat shows, and writing short stories. Maddy also run a micro business selling her designs online.

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