A bride who saved £21,000 on a gorgeous castle wedding has shared her best budget tips for cutting costs on the big day.
Ashley Waugh, 25, was awarded £30,000 for a summer weekend wedding with 140 guests – a fee she and her partner Luke couldn’t justify.
So the couple decided to find ways to budget without sacrificing a beautiful location in Langley Castle, Hexham.
Their big day ended up costing just £9,000, while the venue itself set back £5,000, which was kindly paid for by Ashley’s father.
The couple spent the rest of the money on fake flowers for £300, as well as chair sashes, table runners and centerpiece flowers from AliExpress for 40p each.
Ashley Waugh, 25, and her fiancé Luke paid just £9,000 for their wedding at Langley Castle, in Hexham in July, after cutting costs, renting suits, buying her dress off the rack and curtailing their guest list
The couple, pictured, had 64 guests during the day and a reception with 15 guests in the evening
Pictured: Ashley’s shoes, scarf, garter and bouquet, next to a bottle of champagne. Everything was bought with a small budget
They also skimped on outfits, renting the suits for £600 from Moss Bros, and buying Ashley’s dress off the rack for £700 and having it changed for £90.
The bridal hair and make-up cost £500 discounted from a friend, while the cake was a gift from Luke’s aunt.
Bridesmaid dresses were on sale, costing £45 each instead of £95. Ashley bought six for £270.
How Ashley hosted her big day on a £9,000 budget
Fake Flowers: £300
Wedding Dress: £790
Bridal party hair and make-up: £500
Bridal Gowns: £270
Various accessories from bargain shops: £140
For the lucky couple, a handful of decisions helped them cut costs, but not all of them were popular.
As keeping costs down was a top priority, Ashley and Luke were quick to scratch stragglers off the guest list.
“We were very hard on our guest list, which upset a lot of people – but we paid for it ourselves and we wanted our closest friends and family there, not someone who felt they had the right to come because they were dating someone.” who was invited,” said Ashley, a legal cashier.
“We cut off a lot of people’s partners just to save money. Most people were very nice about it, some weren’t, but then you learn who your real friends are when you plan a wedding.
‘Luke has a larger family and is originally from Peterborough. He chose not to invite distant cousins so that we could have an intimate day with our closest ones.
“Our original guest list was 140 people and we changed that to 64 guests during the day and 15 at night, so 60 people were cut.”
Luke and Ashley cut their guest list from 140 to 79 and admitted to being “really loud” and upsetting people. Their cousin, right, was their ring bearer for today
Ashley bought her gorgeous lace wedding dress off the rack for £700 and paid £90 for alterations
The bride and groom with Luke’s best friends on the big day. Luke rented a £600 Moss Bros suit for the day
The couple’s wedding cake was gifted to them by Luke’s aunt, saving them the expense of buying one for themselves
With a wedding date in the summer driving the cost of a wedding exponentially, Ashley and Luke opted for a February date.
Ashley said: ‘Originally we wanted to get married on a Saturday in the middle of the summer with 140 guests, and that would have cost us around £10,000 for the venue alone.
‘The best offer we had was £30,000 all in so we booked a midweek date which saved us a lot of money straight away and went for February which was off season and cheaper.
Luke and his groomsmen took advantage of a six-for-five suit rental from popular brand Moss Bros, pictured
The couple was initially paid £30,000 for their dream wedding, but decided to drastically cut costs – and guests – in order to pay for their big day
Luke and Ashley on their beautiful wedding day. Initially, the venue cost £10,000 for their ideal date, so they moved the wedding to a midweek date in February. However, they were lucky when their wedding had to be moved to July with no cost increase due to Covid-19
“We found gold with Covid when they had to shift to July and respected the original price.”
For Ashley and Luke, it was vital to get crafty with the decorations to keep their day budget-friendly.
Ashley said: “We did every aspect of the decor ourselves – myself, Luke, my brother, my mother and my friend Katie spent the day before dressing the wedding breakfast room.
Ashley got a friends discount and paid just £500 for the bridal shower’s hair and make-up, pictured
The bridesmaids’ dresses, pictured, cost reduced to £45 from £95 each, costing Ashley and Luke a total of £270
Ashley’s father, pictured right, was kind enough to pay £5,000 for the venue meaning Ashley and Luke had to pay £4,000 for their big day
Ashley looked stunning in her budget dress, which cost £90 in alterations after she plucked it off the rack
We bought centerpieces from Home Bargains, chair sashes and covers from Wish or AliExpress for 40 pence and favors from B&M, but it looked like it was professionally dressed.
‘We didn’t have a DJ either, but a playlist that we made together and controlled from our phones.’
However, the couple paid a professional photographer £600 to capture their big day, and a videographer £800.
Ashley also recommends not being shy when it comes to milking your contacts — and reaching out to all of her friends to see what connections they had that might benefit her.
She said: ‘No one in my friendship group is a makeup artist, photographer or florist, but they knew people or had recommendations and I was lucky enough to get a discount from some friends.
“I found a woman in my hometown that I’d never heard of, but then it turned out she knew one of my bridesmaids — it’s all who you know, not what you know.”
Luke has a drink with his groomsmen on his big day. The couple also relied on their friends to find discounts, recommendations and contacts
Luke and Ashley cut their cake at the reception. The couple wanted a castle wedding without the brutal price