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How to Organise an Intimate and Elegant Wedding on a Budget

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Organising a wedding can be a daunting task, both in terms of time and money. However, with the right tips and strategic choices, you can have a beautiful and intimate ceremony without breaking the bank. The trend in the wedding industry today is to prioritise quality over quantity and focus on creating a more intimate and elegant atmosphere. So, if you're looking to have a fairy-tale wedding on a budget, read on for some helpful tips and ideas.

How to Organise an Intimate and Elegant Wedding on a Budget



In this article, we will explore the following in more detail:

  1. How to organise an intimate and elegant wedding on a budget

    • Keep your guest list small

    • Create your own  invitations

    • Find an alternative to the classic wedding venue

    • DIY wedding decor

    • Buy a second-hand wedding dress

    • Choose a cocktail-style reception

    • Saving on transportation and professional wedding photography

  2. Tips for sticking to your wedding budget



How to organise an intimate and elegant wedding on a budget

A wedding is a joyous occasion to celebrate the love between two people and to bring together friends and family. However, the process of planning and organising a wedding can be stressful, requiring a significant amount of time and in particular, it can cause a lot of financial worry due to the high costs of weddings nowadays.  In fact, according to research by Statista, the average spending to organise a wedding in the UK is around £17,000.

This sum is awfully high, especially considering the current cost of living crisis and housing crisis.  This could be money better spent on a house deposit or safeguarding your future.

However, your wedding day is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and you deserve to make it the best day possible.  So how can you plan a fairy-tale wedding even if you have a small budget?

Luckily today, the trend in the world of weddings is to choose more intimate ceremonies and to focus on quality rather than quantity. So, here are some ideas to have a chic ceremony on a budget.

Keep your guest list small

It is natural to want to share this moment of joy and love with all your loved ones, but obviously the more guests, the more the wedding costs increase.  By opting for a budget-friendly intimate wedding ceremony, the plan is to keep the guest list small.  

The first step of an intimate wedding is to carefully select who to send the invitations to. To carefully pick those who really matter to you and who you can see in your future lives together.  It’s not about inviting all your extended family members you rarely see or haven’t spoken to since you were a child!  Instead, pick your most favourite people in the world to share in your memorable day, those who bring you happiness and joy.

Here are some tips for creating and choosing your smaller guest list for a wedding on a budget:

  • Prioritise close family and friends: Start by making a list of your closest family members and friends. These are the people who you cannot imagine your big day without.

  • Consider the size of the venue: The size of the venue will play a big role in determining the number of guests you can invite. Choose a smaller venue to accommodate a more intimate wedding.

  • Set a budget: Having a smaller guest list can help you stay within your budget. Be realistic about how much you can afford to spend on your wedding and use that as a guide for creating your guest list.

  • Be selective with plus-ones: If you have a smaller guest list, consider being selective about who gets to bring a plus-one. For example, you may only allow plus-ones for those who are in serious relationships.

  • Choose a destination wedding: A destination wedding can be an excellent way to keep the guest list small. Many guests may not be able to attend due to the distance or cost, which can help keep the guest list to a manageable size.

  • Create a B-list: If you have a long list of people you would like to invite, but don't have room for, create a B-list. This list will include people who you would like to invite if someone on the original list is unable to attend.

  • Be honest and direct: It's important to be honest and direct with your guests about your plans for a smaller, more intimate wedding. Let them know that you have a smaller budget and that you want to keep the guest list to a select group of people who are most important to you.  Those who genuinely care about you will understand.

By keeping your wedding guest list smaller, you can choose where to spend and where to save on your wedding, using your budget more wisely.  With fewer guests, you could choose to splash out more on other areas that may be more important to you such as the wedding destination or wedding rings.

Create your own invitations

A great way to keep your wedding low cost is to create your own wedding stationery such as invitations.  You can reduce graphic design and artist costs by using free software such as Canva online to create your own unique invitations or use one of their readymade templates.  You can then save on printing costs by choosing affordable online printing websites that allow you to realize gorgeous wedding invitations with just a few clicks and upload your own designs for batch printing. 

Find an alternative to the classic wedding locations

One of the biggest expenses when planning a wedding is the venue. Again, according to Statista, about £ 7,000 are spent in the UK on renting a location. If you find this cost tough to cut, and perhaps you are concerned that it will affect the success of the ceremony, you should know that it is possible to organise a fabulous and elegant wedding without spending a fortune.

If your wish is to plan an intimate wedding and the guest list permits, you can choose to celebrate this moment in a smaller venue. Many couples, however, now increasingly choose alternative locations to the classic ones such as hotels, castles, and villas, perhaps opting for a venue that has a symbolic meaning for their love story.  

For example, a park, a beach, or anything else that reminds you of your love. If you are lucky enough to have a large garden, then this could become the perfect location for an intimate wedding ceremony. This is exactly what we did when we married and you can see some photos from our garden wedding day here.  

DIY wedding decor

To reduce expenses, you can make the decorations yourself: you can find many ideas on sites like Pinterest or buy event-related stuff online and sell it afterwards to recoup some of the costs.

Sometimes “wedding” decor comes with a premium, so instead search for regular partyware and decor that is practically the same and can cut costs.  Maybe friends and family already have suitable items you can borrow for your wedding day to set the scene.  Think lanterns with candles, fairy lights, beautiful crockery, table covers and so on.

When choosing florals for your wedding you can use faux flower garlands which can be reused afterwards or sold as preloved.  Rather than having an intricate bride boquet made to order, why not pick some flowers from your garden or a local wildflower meadow and create your own natural looking boquet?

DIY cheap wedding favours

You could skip wedding favours, or again, create your own.  With a smaller guest list, you'll already be saving money in areas like this as there will be less guests to cater for.

Here are some ideas for cheap DIY wedding favours that you can make yourself:

  1. Homemade jams: You can make small jars of homemade jams as favours for your guests. This can be a great way to incorporate a personal touch into your wedding.

  2. Succulents or small plants: Succulents are a popular choice for wedding favours, and they're relatively inexpensive to purchase, especially from supermarkets that have plants for sale. You can also pot small plants or seeds in small pots or packets.

  3. Hand-written notes or cards: Write a personal note or message to your guests and put it in a small card or envelope. You can also make these cards yourself and write a message of why you appreciate each person and what they mean to you.

  4. Personalised candles: Purchase plain candles and decorate them with your own personal touch. You can add your names, wedding date, or a special message to the candles.

  5. Homemade cookies or sweets: If you're a skilled baker, you can make homemade cookies or sweets as favours for your guests.

  6. Personalised keychains: Purchase plain keychains and personalise them with your wedding date or initials.

  7. DIY photo frames: Purchase plain photo frames and decorate them with paint, glitter, or other craft materials. 

  8. Personalised coasters: Purchase plain coasters and personalise them with a special message or the couple's names.

  9. DIY seed packets: Purchase plain seed packets and fill them with your favourite flower or vegetable seeds.

  10. Miniature alcohol bottles: Purchase miniature bottles of your favourite alcohol, add a personalised label and a ribbon.

These are just a few ideas for cheap DIY wedding favours that you can make yourself. With a bit of creativity and some inexpensive materials, you can create unique and memorable favours for your guests that won't break the bank.

Buy a second-hand wedding dress

On your most beautiful day, you want to be perfect, but that does not necessarily mean having to wear an expensive dress that will then lie in your wardrobe. In fact, the market for second-hand wedding dresses is growing rapidly: you can find online platforms that allow the buying and selling of wedding dresses.

With a bit of luck, it is also possible to find wedding dresses made by the most famous designers at attractive prices.  And, like with the event decor, if you don’t want to keep the dress forever, you can recoup some of the expense by selling it afterwards.

Choose a cocktail-style reception 

Many couples who want to celebrate an intimate and elegant wedding opt for a cocktail party instead of the traditional large-course sit-down dinner. This way the atmosphere will be more relaxed and private. This solution allows you to give free rein to your creativity and, even if you are not seated at the table, you will still be able to delight your guests' palates by creating a buffet with original and tasty dishes.  It can also be a great way to cut costs for your wedding in comparison to a three-course meal with frills.

Saving on transportation and photography costs

Transportation and photography are two important elements of a wedding, but they can also be a significant expense. To save money on these costs, consider the following tips: 

  • Wedding transportation: Many couples choose to rent a fancy car or limousine to take them to the ceremony and reception. Instead, consider renting a classic car or using your own vehicle. Alternatively, you can opt for a more budget-friendly option such as hiring a taxi or choosing a friend or family member to escort you.

  • Professional wedding photography: Professional photography is an important way to capture your special day, but it can be costly. Instead, consider hiring a student photographer or an amateur photographer. They are often willing to work for less than a professional and can still provide great results. You can also save money by having a friend or family member take the photos.  

When it comes to amazing photos of your special day, a great tip is to give each guest a disposable camera for the day and collect them at the end of the day.  You could leave a basket out for people to put the cameras in once they’ve used up all the photos.  These can be used to create an amazing wedding photo album from all the different guest's perspectives and will be a nice surprise to look forward to developing the photos after the wedding.

Another way to save money on photography is to have a photo booth with a simple background set up for guests to snap candid shots of themselves as well as with you and your partner. You can create DIY props using online printables to make it more fun, or leave an open hamper of dress-up accessories to wear for the photos such as funny hats, or vintage accessories, whatever best suits your wedding theme or personality.  These photos can be used as keepsakes and can also be shared on social media to remember the day.

Tips for sticking to your wedding budget

Tips for sticking to your wedding budget

Planning a wedding can be a stressful and overwhelming task, especially when you're trying to stick to a budget, but you can make getting married affordable. Here are some tips for staying on track and making sure that you don't overspend:

  1. Make a budget: The first step in sticking to a budget is creating one. Make a detailed list of all the expenses you anticipate and assign an amount to each. This will help you keep track of where your money is going and ensure that you don't overspend in any one area.

  1. Prioritise: Decide what's most important to you and make sure that those items are included in your budget. For example, if having a beautiful dress and bridesmaid dresses is important to you, make sure that you allocate enough money for it.

  1. Be flexible: Sometimes unexpected expenses come up, so it's important to be flexible with your budget. If something comes up that you hadn't planned for, see if there's a way to adjust your budget to accommodate it.

  1. Compare prices: When shopping for wedding items, compare prices from multiple vendors. This will help you find the best deals and ensure that you're getting the most for your money.

  1. Get creative: Instead of buying everything new, consider renting or borrowing items for your wedding. For example, you can rent a beautiful dress or borrow a piece of jewellery from a friend. 

  1. Use discounts and coupons: Take advantage of any discounts or coupons that are available. This can help you save money on everything from invitations to flowers.

  1. Keep track of your spending: Keep track of your spending as you go. This will help you stay on track with your budget and make sure that you're not overspending.

By following these tips, you'll be able to stick to your budget and plan a beautifully intimate and elegant wedding without breaking the bank.