5 Tried And Tested Wedding Hacks To Save Money

This July I married the love of my life on our 21st anniversary, alongside a very select number of friends and family including our three children. I am a huge believer that your wedding day isn’t about flashy venues and expensive outfits; it’s more important that you’re surrounded by loved ones to celebrate one of the most special days of your life.  Weddings are notoriously expensive and come with lots of “you need”, “you should have” and my personal favourite “it’s tradition”. David and I were quick to put our own spin on things and do exactly what we pleased, a luxury 20 years together brings. Some wedding costs are unavoidable, but there are certainly ways that any budding brides and grooms can reduce the amount they spend using some thrifty wedding hacks and a little imagination; after all, your wedding day will be special no matter what!  According to Bridebook’s 2022 report, the average cost of a wedding in the UK is a whopping £16,529 we had the wedding of our dreams spending roughly £3,000, through carefully planned wedding hacks, homemade accessories and the kindness of friends.

5 Tried And Tested Wedding Hacks To Save Money:

5 Tried And Tested Wedding Hacks To Save Money

My eBay Wedding Dress:  

The dress is usually one of the biggest expenses of a wedding, which is pretty crazy considering you will probably never wear it again! I knew I didn’t want to spend a lot on my dress, and ideally was aiming for around £100. I wanted something simple, vintage and lace, and was more than happy to buy a second-hand dress. I scoured eBay, Vinted and Facebook Marketplace until I found my dream wedding dress, which was actually brand new with tags for just £50!my ebay wedding dress

Photo Credit: Donna Nicholson Photography

Dress cost: £50
Average UK wedding dress cost: £1,250 (Source: Bridebook
Estimated saving: £1,200

Wedding Flowers: 

Wedding flowers are also a big expense at a wedding which I was keen to cut down on. I really wanted a country cottage arrangement of flowers in blue and white, quite wild and organic with three sunflowers to represent my three children. Having a clear idea of the flowers that I wanted for my wedding made it much easier to create my own version in a low-cost fashion.

I was really lucky that a wonderful friend, Jackie offered quite early on to do my flowers for me, and she actually grew many of them in her garden. Jackie even came to my mother-in-law’s house to take cuttings from our daughter Olive’s olive tree as well as some beautiful blue hydrangeas, which made the flowers even more personal.

wedding flowers

Photo Credit Donna Nicholson Photography

Jackie also organised simple bud vases on each table during the meal with a variety of blooms in. At the end of the evening, we encouraged friends and family to take flowers home with them as I didn’t want anything going to waste.

Flowers cost:
£1 (I brought the blue ribbon used) 
Average UK wedding florist cost: £786 (Source: Bridebook
Estimated saving: £785

Homemade Confetti:

Our chosen venue only allowed natural confetti, so we decided quite early on to use real flowers. From around January 2022, we asked friends and family to save any flowers that they had for us so we could dry them out in large BBQ trays at home to create our own confetti.

This is possibly the easiest and loveliest of our wedding hacks, and floral confetti photographs so well. We received lots of flowers throughout the year, and many were seasonal, red roses in February and lots of yellow daffodils in Spring. I loved the variety in colours that we got from the different types of flowers, and it also meant that the confetti cost basically nothing – just a couple of Sunday afternoons watching films and drinking hot chocolate with Megan whilst cutting up petals. 

wedding photo Joanne & David confetti

Photo Credit Donna Nicholson Photography

Confetti cost: £6 (personalised stickers and confetti bags)
Estimated confetti cost for UK average number of guests: £81 (Source: Shropshire Petals Confetti Calculator & Bridebook)
Estimated saving: £75

Welcome Drinks:

Our wedding was simple but a lot of thought had been put into everything. After our ceremony, we all retreated to the Jubilee Gardens for the official photographs. Instead of paying for welcome drinks at our venue, we brought our own drinks including personalised champagne, fizzy water (especially for my friend who only drinks water), personalised Rose wine my dad printed and non-alcoholic cava for the children (Olive quite possibly had the whole bottle!!). We provided plastic flutes which we put in a basket, that I decorated with some fake white roses I got free from Facebook and a blue ribbon which matched our flowers, our nephew carried the basket from the venue to the Town Hall. I’d even tucked a binbag in the basket to put all the rubbish in and a couple of ice blocks to keep the wine cool – I had thought of everything!

say it with champers personalised bottle

Photo Credit Donna Nicholson Photography

It was so lovely to stand in the gardens after the ceremony as Mr & Mrs Giltrow thank all our guests for coming before we embarked on an hour of photograph taking, with a cold glass of champagne. My husband’s Aunties poured everyone drinks. and our nephew grabbed us 2 glasses and a bottle of Say It With Champers personalised champagne and this wonderful moment of us together was captured.

Mr and mrs Giltrow say it with champers personalised bottle

Photo Credit Jackie Richmond

So many of our guests commented on what a lovely touch this was and how the day just flowed together. It was a hot day and everyone was able to have a drink, relax and enjoy themselves before fake smiling for an hour! Our nephew was pleased to carry just a basket with half a bottle of fizzy water back to the venue.

Welcome drinks cost: £8 (we were gifted 2 bottles of personalised Champagne from Say It With Champers as a review)
Average UK catering cost (drinks and food): £4,084 (Source: Bridebook)
Estimated saving: see below

Feeding Our Guests:

Feeding people is one of the largest costs of a wedding. We decided to get married at 3pm, knowing we would only need to feed our guests dinner. We opted for 3 courses, each course had 3 options so we had a rough idea of the total cost, plus 6 bottles of wine. We only invited a very small number to the ceremony and wedding breakfast and we were very strict to keep the number small; it can be easy to get carried away.

If you get married earlier in the day you may need to provide your guests with snacks, lunch and dinner so it’s worth considering all these extra costs.

Remember it’s your wedding. Ask yourself: do you really want to invite people you haven’t seen in years or don’t speak to just because your mum says you have to? We also didn’t invite our friends’ partners, although we did offer an open invitation for people who wanted to come to have a drink with us in the evening.

Food cost: £700
Average UK catering cost (drinks and food): £4,084 (Source: Bridebook)
Estimated savings (food and drink): £3,376

wedding breakfast taken by Dorset Hill Jewellery

Photo Credit Dorset Hill Jewellery

Commenting on the tips, CashLady.com’s Personal Finance Expert, Dan Whittaker, said:

“Not only will these wedding hacks save you a pretty penny on your big day, but they also encourage you to get creative with some DIY. Having a home-grown bouquet and flowers that your guests can take home, for example, will add that little extra touch of personability to your wedding. Not to mention, the reduction of waste that these tips encourage which are much more eco-friendly than those down the traditional route.”

My wedding hacks and thrifty tips were used as a collaboration with CashLady.com and featured in 15 regional online newspapers including Hampshire Live as well as national newspapers Daily Star and The Sun.

This post complies with my Disclosure Policy.

The cost estimates were calculated by calculating the difference in Joanne’s costings in comparison to the UK average. In most cases, this was sourced via Bridebook’s 2022 report (Source:
In terms of the confetti estimate, this was calculated with the following methodology: The average number of guests at the ceremony of a UK wedding: 60.2 (Source:
Presuming all ceremony guests throw confetti, you will need 6 litres of confetti (Source: Shropshire Petals Confetti Calculator). On the same website, this costs 13.50 per litre; so £81 in total. 

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