The Hardest Part Of Planning Our Budget Wedding? Choosing Our Tiny Guest List

After the initial overwhelming feeling, I soon settled into wedding planning and have loved almost every minute of it. However, there’s one aspect of our wedding which has been extremely hard, and that’s down to our modest £7k budget (did you know the average UK wedding is said to cost over £31,000?!) which has meant we’ve had to make big sacrifices in some key areas.

Budget wedding planning

Initially we felt like 40 day guests would be ample, but as soon as we started writing down names we realised just how tough it was going to be! We were adamant that we wanted a venue that not only fitted us, but that would compliment the vibe we want to create on our wedding day and we also weren’t willing to compromise on the quality of catering.

It’s important to us that for guests who are making the effort to come; arranging child care, travel, hotels and so on, that the least we could do is feed them well and keep them generously boozed up in a fun, love-filled atmosphere. To provide the level of catering we were happy with, it meant our only option was to keep the numbers low, which meant just 40 day guests and 60 for the evening.

Making Sacrifices To Focus On What’s Most Important

When it comes to making sacrifices to bring the wedding in on budget, we’ve decided to leave out lots of traditional wedding elements; many things that most brides and grooms would regard as integral to their day. Everything from florists and wedding favours, to stag and hen dos, a honeymoon (we’ll have to start saving again after the wedding for that) and even a wedding dress has been scrapped in our bid to bring our wedding in on budget.

Every wedding dress I fell in love with was well over £1,000 and whilst many brides regard their dress as their most important wedding decision, when it came down to it, I’m simply not willing to spend a ridiculous sum of money on a dress I’ll wear for a few hours then stick in the back of my wardrobe.

Sure if money was no object, of course I’d wear the wedding dress of my dreams, but reality dictates that there’s nothing in the budget for the type of dress I’d want. From custom made to vintage, pre-loved and high street, I’ve not seen anything I want or like that isn’t ridiculously out of budget, so even the wedding dress has been scrapped in our bid to plan a wedding on a budget.

Changing Our Expectations

Initially we wanted a festival style wedding in a tipi…until we started getting quotes and realised that this option was never going to happen without spending double what we could afford to save.

Next we looked at rustic barn weddings, and again, the prices were sky high thanks to them being so on-trend right now, so we not only found the price off-putting, but the fact that we’d be doing it in a way that so many other people are currently doing it, so again, we ruled that option out.

I’ve never liked the dull, formal atmosphere of registry offices and have never felt like they create a sense of occasion, so again, this was quickly ruled out, as was hiring a glamping site and DIYing the whole thing, which worked out at the top end of our budget anyway, but with the added headache of having to arrange almost everything ourselves.

We looked at every alternative option we could think of, drew on ideas from what other friends had done, scoured wedding websites and blogs to look for inspiration and alternatives and we found that time and time again, the main ways people had managed to keep costs down was to have their wedding on a week day (absolutely not a viable option in our opinion), to choose a wedding later in the day – cutting out the need for a sit-down meal, providing a very basic buffet in the evening, and typically expecting guests to pay for their own drinks.

None of these money-saving options felt like the right thing for us to do and we eventually settled on a quirky, award-winning venue renowned for the quality of their food and amazing cocktails. The only down side being we’d have to make do with just 40 day guests.

How To Choose Just 40 Day Guests?

We’ve got to be honest. The thought of having to leave out friends and family we’d really love to be at our wedding is tough. It’s causing a huge amount of anxiety and worse, we’re worried we’ll offend people.

It’s made us fully understand why people choose to elope, but with our immediate friends and family being extremely important to us (many of whom would never forgive us!), it’s not something we felt comfortable doing and it never felt like the right option for us.

So the big question we wrangled with, was would we rather serve mediocre food and drink to more people or would we rather have fewer people and make sure they are well looked after? We’re just going to have to suck it up, and if folks are cross they aren’t invited, there’s not much we can do about that.

Our invites won’t be going out until Spring next year, and I’m not sure we’ll ever really get over the guilt of not being able to include everyone we’d like to, but you know what? We’re not going to fall into the typical trap of trying to please everyone because we simply can’t afford to.