How to have a budget friendly wedding reception

When you start planning your wedding you’ll quickly start to notice that most of your money will be going on your wedding reception. From food, to entertainment and decorations - none of it comes cheap. But if you’re on a small budget like us there are ways to have a beautiful wedding reception on a small budget.

Have your ceremony and reception in different locations

This is by far the best way to cut costs. An all in one package is what many people opt for all in one location but my absolute best budget tip if you’re serious about having a small budget wedding is to have your ceremony in a registry office or church then pick another venue for your reception. This will allow you to not only have a budget friendly wedding ceremony but to research different reception venues too. When I say you could save thousands by doing this I’m honestly not exaggerating.

The average cost of a wedding in the U.K. now stands at around £32,000. The average wedding in Yorkshire, which is where we’re from is around £27,000. Our budget is £4,000 and we’re having our ceremony and reception in different locations.

Budget friendly reception venues

If you’re opting for separate ceremony and reception venues then there are lots of budget friendly reception venues you could hire. Keep in mind most of them will look pretty basic when your visit them so a little bit of imagination will be required.

Budget friendly options include; village halls, sports centres and civic halls. Local leisure centres often have lounges, rooms or restaurants that can be hired out for events too which is exactly where we’re having our reception! I’ve included a video of the room we’ve hired done up for a wedding so you can see that budget friendly options can be beautiful too!

Another wedding reception option is of course the garden! If you or a family member have a large garden why not have a garden party reception? It’s an idea we certainly considered as we have less than 50 reception guests and a huge garden.

Think about the food

Many couples are shocked at the price of food when planning a wedding. With a formal 3 course meal and food for the evening guests a large chunk of your budget is going to go on food. We knew before we even decided on a small budget that we didn’t want a formal sit down meal, for us that decision had nothing to do with money and more to do with that level of formality just not being us or the vibe of our wedding at all. So we’ve ditched the wedding breakfast and it’s saved us thousands. We’ve paid £625 for our food as we’re having a late afternoon ceremony we’ve decided just to have a large buffet instead.

There are so many alternative options when it comes to food. You could have a buffet, a BBQ, hog roast, grazing table, pizzas, burgers! The options are endless.


One way to save money on decorations is to do a lot of DIY. Paying for pre-made items will always cost more than doing it your self. We're making all the table decorations ourselves, the signs, the sweet tables, the photo booth set up and backdrop are all being done by us and even our cake stand is being handmade by my fiancé! Setting up any decorations yourself will cut costs too as opposed to having someone dress the room for you. There are a wealth of wedding DIY tutorials out there that are super easy to follow.

Don’t pay for the the drinks

Believe me when I say that no guest who really wants to come and celebrate your wedding is expecting the bar to be paid. You don’t have to put money behind the bar for your guests all evening they will be more than happy to pay for their own drinks. If you’re still having a formal wedding breakfast then you can provide some wine on the tables and drinks for the speeches but aside from that I wouldn’t recommend spending any more money on alcohol.


Providing entertainment for guests is necessary for a good atmosphere but you don’t have to go over the top. Your guests won’t expect to be entertained every second. You don’t need entertainment through out the entire day. Give guests a chance to mingle and enjoy the day. Entertainment is expensive too. I recommend attending wedding fayres to get an idea of prices and options. Also occasionally your venue may have a resident DJ but sometimes they will say you can use your own and it may work out cheaper so it’s always worth checking.

So there you go, a comprehensive guide on how to have a budget friendly wedding reception that still looks good and is lots of fun to attend.

Have you got any great tips for saving money on a wedding reception? Leave a comment below!

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  1. This was super interesting to read - I can't wait to plan a wedding one day and having a budget friendly reception would be top of my list x

  2. One of the silver linings in this pandemic is limited budget weddings we have been forced to adopt. It is a huge blessing in disguise for many people. Imagine the amount of money that can be saved on food, invitation, gifts, etc.! Couples can still have a memorable wedding while adopting the new social norms of safety and hygiene.