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Weddings can be incredibly expensive. And while it is a jot to get everyone together and celebrate, the costs of doing so can quickly mount up. So you may be looking for the absolute cheapest way to get your nuptials sorted. This post will look at some of the cheapest options – including a basic registry office wedding and the most cost-effective places to host your reception and source your food.
Basic Registry Office Wedding
The absolute cheapest way to get married in England and Wales is to get married at your local registry office. You’ll need to pay £35 each 30 days before you plan to get married (this is called giving notice) and then get married within one year of this date.
Fees are slightly more if you’re from outside of the U.K or if you need documents checking, such as divorce papers that were registered in a different country.
To have the ceremony with the legal minimum of two witnesses and the registrar costs £45. So the absolute cheapest way to get married costs just £115. This is perfect if you just want to do legalities and keep costs to an absolute minimum.
It’s worth noting that many people believe that ‘common law marriage’ exists when two people have been co-habiting for an extended period. Unfortunately, this is a myth – read more out it in my post ‘do I really need to get married?‘
Many registry offices offer packages where you can have more guests and these are often cheaper than getting married at a wedding venue. However, the cost of these will vary depending on where you are from. There are also charges when you ask a register to perform your ceremony at a different venue. This venue will need to be licensed for weddings.
If you’ve found a venue you love that isn’t licensed you could opt for the basic legal ceremony in the registry office then have a wedding celebrant at the venue on the day. This is what I chose to do for my own wedding, as while the venue did hold a marriage licence, we really wanted someone we knew personally doing our ceremony.
Cheap Reception Venues
The biggest cost of any wedding is usually the venue. If you decide to with the cheaper registry office option for your ceremony then there is much more flexibility to find somewhere budget-friendly for your reception. Here are some places you could try.
- Local Village Hall
- Community Centers
- Pubs & Restaurants
- Family or Friends back garden
- School halls
While a marquee in a field or on land owned by someone you know can be a cheap option, there are also lots of extras to consider like toilets, electricity etc.
If you’re set on a particular venue for your ceremony and or reception it might be worth choosing a weekday as these are often considerably cheaper than weekends. Time of year matters too with most expensive months being June, July and August.
When it comes to feeding a crowd there are lots of options. Having a three-course wedding breakfast at a dedicated wedding venue is always going to be the most expensive choice but there are lots of ways to cut the cost of catering.
- Serve your wedding cake as dessert.
- Have a cheese wedding cake which then doubles up as food for the evening.
- Get married later in the day so you only need to provide one lot of food for your guests.
- Axe the starter.
- Opt for afternoon tea or a wedding picnic.
- Hire a street food van such as fish and chips, burritos or hog-roast. Avoid pizzas as they take a long time to make and cook.
- Buffets tend to be much cheaper than a sit-down meal.
- If you’re organizing your own catering then a pot-luck where everyone brings a dish could be a great idea.
Thrifty Wedding Attire Ideas
One of the biggest expenses when it comes to a wedding is the wedding attire, but there are plenty of ways you save here too.
Saving on a wedding dress
One of the best ways to save on wedding dress is buy second hand. often dresses have only been worn for a few hours and once they have been dry cleaned will seem like new.
If you’re after a simple wedding dress it doesn’t even have to be an actual wedding dress. You could choose a prom dress or even just a fancy ball gown. These are often much cheaper.
Saving on a suit
Again buying second-hand is a great option as is hiring rather than buying outright. You could also choose to wear a suit that you already own.
Saving on bridesmaids dresses
The bridesmaid’s dresses don’t have to cost a fortune either. Mine actually came from the F&F range at Tesco and cost just £22.50 each. Similar styles in Debenhams were around £80. Shopping towards the end of the summer there are nearly always sales as the wedding and prom season draws to a close, so it pays to think ahead.
If you’re looking for the cheapest way to get married then a registrar with two witnesses is always going to be the most cost-effective. Start there and gradually add your priorities according to your budget and you should be able to have the thrifty wedding of your dreams.