Your Budget Wedding Planner - Getting Started

Planning your Suffolk Wedding on a budget - top tips on where to start

where to start

Part 1 - Budgets, Venue, Catering, Dress, Flowers, Car Hire, Stationery, Favours

Planning a wedding can be a daunting task - it's a big day in your life and lots of guests will be involved, possibly at different times of the day, so planning early and well will be a great advantage. We've broken down the various stages and things you might want to consider to ensure you get best value for your money -


One of the first and most important parts to planning your wedding is working out your budget. It's really important to sit down together and decide what is the most important part of your day, where you want the majority of your money spent, who is paying for what and how, and most crucially how much you have to spend. Be honest with yourself about how much you can reasonably afford. We have a Budget Calculator that you can use to compare average wedding costs. You can also get some estimates by clicking through to advertisers websites here on the Suffolk Weddings Guide and looking at their guidelines to give you a good idea of local prices.

budget wedding planner

Budget Wedding Planner - where to start?

Once you've worked out a budget, you must stick to it, and constantly refer to this when getting tempted by the world of weddings. Although it is your special day you will be surprised by just how quickly costs can spiral out of control, remember to stick to those things you've agreed are the fundamentals and resist the urge to splurge on all those little extras which probably won't make a huge difference on the day.

It can be a good idea to open a “wedding bank account” or a “wedding credit card” so you can keep track of all your payments and then you’ll know exactly how much you’ve spent on your wedding. Take time to review your spending each month, and make a note of the dates by which suppliers need to be paid in full, as often only a deposit is required at first which can give you a feeling of false security in the early months.

Budget Wedding Planner

The next important task to is to work out an estimate for the number of guests you want to invite. This can be very difficult as your budget may not allow you to include every single family member or friend. Things to think about:

- are you going to invite children?
- are you allowing every guest to bring a plus 1? Think about a ruling out any partners who you have actually never met in person.
- if you have a big family will you be inviting second cousins? Do you really need to invite family members you haven’t seen since you were in nappies?

It can be very hard to be ruthless here, but you must! Remember it is your big day and you should only invite those people who you really want to be there to share such an intimate occasion. Don't let family or friends pressure you.


Woodhall Manor

Your venue is probably going to be the single biggest expense that you’ll have to pay for your Wedding Day. It is important that you research all your options thoroughly. Look at all the possibilities in your desired location including hotels, bars, clubs, restaurants, village halls, specialist venues. Make sure you gather all the relevant information from each venue including all the costs, what is included in the hire and any extras you may need.

If you are happy to choose a less popular day for your wedding, such as a week day or during off peak season, there are lots of good bargains to be had. Marrying 'off peak' can reduce the costs of your reception significantly, and quite often your photography and catering. So consider the advantages of being flexible on your timing.

UK Events

Holding the ceremony and reception in the same place can also help reduce the costs as you won't need to worry about transport between the venues.

If you are lucky enough to have a big garden or know someone who does and you are happy to do things yourself, you could consider hiring a marquee but the costs of equipment hire soon add up, so make sure you get lots of quotes to compare and contrast.

For a list of popular Wedding venues in Suffolk please see - Suffolk Wedding Venues

Planning your Suffolk Wedding


Budget Wedding Planner - where to start?

Some venues may not provide catering so this will be an additional expense. You will need to get quotes from caterers, and ensure they break these down so you can see the food, equipment and staff costs. This way you will be able to locate any areas where you can make cuts. A good way to reduce costs is by having a buffet that your guests can help themselves, which decreases the amount of staff that you need.

For a list of great caterers in Suffolk please see - Suffolk Caterers

Another option is to provide your own catering and ask friends and relatives to contribute dishes. Make sure you factor in the costs of ingredients and equipment hire when budgeting for this. Also consider who may be on hand and willing to help set up/serve and clear. You could also try the local catering college to see if they could provide waiters.

If you don’t have a choice about which caterer you use, you can still budget wisely. Try replacing the starter course with canapés, instead of having both, or have your wedding cake as dessert. By making simple changes to a sample menu, you could cut a couple of pounds or so off the price per head, which can really add up if you have a lot of guests.


Many couples find a perfect venue only to realise that the corkage costs are going to be a fortune. Check that everything you think you’ll need is included in the cost before you sign the contract. There’s no point buying that wine on offer in your local supermarket only to find your corkage cost is £10 a bottle!

Write down all the questions you want answered before talking to the venue. Speak to the venue about other options, such as providing a limited bar or larger bottles of wine or champagne so you don’t have to pay so much corkage. Another idea is to serve cocktails – spirits will go a lot further than bottles of wine. Many venues tie you to their own caterers, florists and bar charges but if your budget is tight, try to retain maximum control of who supplies what.

Budget Wedding Planner - where to start?

If you have chosen a venue where you can bring your own drink, why not have a booze cruise over to France or Belgium and stock up on cheap crates of wine and champagne? The saving should more than outweigh the travel cost. (Though it's always worth checking this by pricing your list in the UK first and then using the internet to price it overseas). Alternatively, take advantage of supermarket and wine merchant special offers; some even supply free glass hire which will reduce your costs even further.

wedding dresses

Every bride wants to look perfect on their wedding day, but choosing a dress within budget can be a challenge. Be strict with yourself and especially the shop assistants, do NOT let yourself try on any dresses that are over budget. If you fall in love with 'the one' and then discover it's out of your reach you might feel deflated, or may even be tempted to spend money you don't have.

Many bridal shops carry at least a small selection of used wedding dresses. You can also utilise online resources such as eBay & you will probably be surprised at the number of designer gowns that are currently up for grabs and in stunning condition.

Budget Wedding Planner - where to start?

Why not consider having your dress made by a recent Fashion School graduate? This can be a fantastic way of getting a couture dress for a fraction of the price. You could even find a vintage dress and have it altered to fit you perfectly, or high street dress embellished? Finding an outfit you can wear again is a great way of justifying the costs, and may lead you to pick something less traditional.

Alternatively, if your heart is set on a fairytale gown, you could always hire your dress instead of buying it. Accept that you will wear this only once and that most dresses get stained, torn and stored in the attic. Hiring a dress, including alterations, costs around £200 compared to the average cost of a wedding dress at £1,000.

Shopping around and being creative will save you money and may find you a dress you never thought you could own!

Special Offers on Suffolk Weddings Guide
Budget Wedding Planner - where to start?

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Budget Wedding Planner - where to start?

Flowers make a wedding look (and smell) divine, but they can also break the bank if you are not wise with your choices. Choosing flowers which are in season, or less traditional can significantly reduce your costs. Picking a date which falls close to a big religious event often means the church is still beautifully decorated. Opting for simple arrangements will use less of your florist's time and will therefore be cheaper. You can even reuse your ceremony flowers at your reception.

Budget Wedding Planner - where to start?

Bear in mind that there are no rules, and if you want to grown your own flowers and arrange them yourself you can! Jam jars filled with wild flowers look beautiful on a table. Think about using herbs or sweet peas instead of lavish arrangements.

For a list of florists in Suffolk please see -Suffolk florists


Open Top Touring

Getting to the church on time doesn't have to cost the earth. Relatives or friends might be able to provide a nicely polished car for the day and all you have to do is to buy some colourful ribbon to turn it into a lovely wedding car! Alternatively you could consider hiring a classic car for your Wedding - or perhaps adding 'Classic Car Hire' to your Gift List for a fun start to your honeymoon!

Find Classic Car Hire in Suffolk


Budget Wedding Planner - where to start?

Once you have confirmed your number it's time to send out the invitations to your guests. Professional wedding invites can be costly, but with a little imagination you can easily make your own.

From D.I.Y paper, glue and glitter to a slick invite designed on your computer and printed at home; it's a great chance to personalise your stationery. Using photographs, postcards, origami, music sheets, or pages from your favorite books - there's lots of ways to create fun and original invites. If you want to create something traditional and elegant, a good fountain pen on some beautiful stock paper can give a fantastic, simple result.

For the ultimate eco friendly option why not email your invites? This is not only kind to trees but to your bank balance too!

For a list of Wedding stationers in Suffolk see
Suffolk Stationery


Making your own favours for the guests can make things a lot more personal and a lot cheaper. Enlist the help of any creative or crafty friends, who can lend their talents for free.

The possibilities for fun and budget friendly favours are endless...
-lottery tickets in pretty envelopes
-stripey paper bags filled with penny sweets
-packets of seeds of your favourite flowers
-a cd of personlised music
-homemade jam, fudge or toffee
-homemade candles or soaps
-bookmarks or mini magnets
-personalised cupcakes!


See part 2 of our Wedding Planner for Rings, Cakes, Photographers, Honeymoons and other top tips!

Suffolk Weddings Guide