luxury on a budget: A guide to planning your dream wedding

luxury on a budget: A guide to planning your dream wedding

Where to begin?

Planning a luxurious wedding conjures up images of grandeur, opulence, and a hefty price tag. However, with thoughtful planning and a bit of creativity, you can have the wedding of your dreams without breaking the bank. In this blog, we’ll explore practical tips and ideas for planning a luxury wedding on a budget, ensuring that your special day is both memorable AND affordable.

A bride and groom hold hands with their young sons and daughter on their wedding day
Memories to have and to hold

Define your priorities

Start by identifying the key elements that matter most to you and your partner. Whether it’s an exquisite venue or a designer bridal gown, establishing your priorities will help you allocate your budget more effectively. Set a realistic budget that reflects your financial situation. Be transparent about what you can afford and use this as a foundation for your wedding planning. Having a clear budget will guide your decisions and prevent overspending.

A view of Rydal Water and boathouse in Autumn with red and gold trees reflected in the lake
A stunning autumnal view from Cote How, Rydal

Choose the right venue

Look for unique venues that include the services of an experienced wedding planner. The Times reported in a recent article that wedding planning services can cost 10-15% of your total wedding budget. With the average cost of a wedding in 2022 being around £18,400 according to Hitched, a wedding planner is a sizeable saving. Choose a venue to cater for your ceremony and reception, saving on time and transport costs, and consider having your wedding earlier in the day, without the expense of an evening reception. 

A bride and groom kiss in a wedding barn under a canopy of fairylights
A wedding-ready venue with luxury decor

Wedding ready decor

Choose a venue where all the ‘trimmings’ are included. Candles, fairy lights, floral décor, linen, table décor, glassware, ambient music…the list of extra costs may not at first be visible with venues that are a ‘blank canvas’. A wedding-ready venue saves a lot of time and money, and choosing one that comes with style and character creates a luxe feel.

Wedding table decor - floating pink hellebores in water-filled glass vases
Table decor can be beautifully simple

opt for off-peak dates & times

Booking your wedding during the low season or on a weekday can significantly reduce costs, allowing you to enjoy the same luxurious experience but without the premium attached to Saturdays in high summer. Give yourself plenty of time when booking ahead; a few extra months will make it easier to manage your finances.

Savvy shopping & spending

Instead of splurging on a designer gown or custom-tailored suit, consider shopping for wedding attire during sales or sample events. Many boutiques offer beautiful dresses and suits at a fraction of the cost during these promotional periods. Modern brides look fabulous in a whole host of options that are not the traditional white wedding gown – but if this is the look you love, it is well worth searching outside bridal ranges. High-end department store evening gowns from your favourite designers can offer stunning options but without the ‘bridal’ premium.  Use a rich colour palette for a lux feel, or classic whites and greens that are always in vogue. Source ‘dual use’ items, such as favours that double up as place names, and ask the venue to serve your wedding cake as dessert, rather than have three courses at dinner.

A newly married couple in velvet blazers hold hands after their ceremony outside a wedding barn
Velvet - the ultimate in classic style and elegance

digital invitations

Save on printing and postage costs by opting for digital invitations. There are many online platforms that offer elegant and customizable designs, allowing you to send out stylish invitations without the hefty price tag. Websites are a more sustainable, modern alternative to expensive wedding stationery.

A bride and groom stand on a lawn with their proud parents

strategic guest list

Keep your guest list manageable by inviting only your closest friends and family. This not only creates a more intimate atmosphere but also helps reduce costs. The higher the number of guests the more cost (and possibly stress) involved. Smaller, intimate weddings are a more relaxed and budget-friendly option without having to compromise on style and leave more in the budget for the luxury of an exclusive-use venue.

A wedding breakfast place setting with personalised menu cards and place name holders
Personalised menu and place cards alongside locally sourced favours

prioritise experiences over things

Allocate more of your budget to experiences rather than material items. Invest in a quality venue with outstanding hospitality and catering, and perhaps photography to create lasting memories for you and your guests. Rather than an open bar tab, consider a signature drink for the bride and groom and choose a venue that includes a drinks package. Extend your precious wedding bubble with a ‘mini-moon’ right after the wedding, and plan a longer trip further down the line, rather than put yourself under pressure to fund a lavish honeymoon.

By approaching your wedding planning with creativity, flexibility, and a realistic budget, you can achieve the luxury wedding you’ve always dreamed of without the unnecessary financial burden. Remember, it’s the thoughtful details and personal touches that make a wedding truly special, ensuring you and your guests feel relaxed and cared for throughout the day.

Happy planning!

A bride and groom sign the register as part of their civil ceremony
Wedding photography by Simon Hughes

Thanks

A special thank you to our wonderful photographers who have contributed their amazing photos too.

Jo Greenfield, Coloured Images, Simon Hughes, Jo Bradbury, Delicious Photography and Stanbury Photography.

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