We’re glad we splashed out on… 15 brilliant wedding planning tips from real couples!

Published by Claire Gould on

A very wise bride once said wedding planning isn’t about saving money, it’s about spending it wisely! And in life as well as weddings, I’m a huge advocate of less is more: choose quality over quantity, and whether that means focusing your styling touches on one aspect or one area, or just making your wedding the party of a lifetime, that focus will help you through! Save where you can, but remember you get what you pay for – and sometimes it’s important to spend a little more for a quality supplier, a brilliant photographer or an exceptional wedding planner. But what do I know, right? Our wonderful English Wedding couples are back with some brilliant tips to help you spend your wedding budget wisely, based on their own experiences (and a hefty dollop of hindsight!)

Header image credit – Hensol Castle wedding photographer Martin Dabek

Burley Manor for a stunning wedding full of foliage and botanical theme with Robin Goodlad Photography Dorset (32)

1. We’re definitely glad we spent more on the decorations and the photographer- the decorations reflected our style perfectly and the photographer captured the essence of the day which you can treasure forever. A few days or weeks after the wedding your dress or suit will be hung in the wardrobe and the flowers will have wilted but your photos will look as good as the wedding day itself. Natalie & James // Photographer credit https://www.robingoodlad.com

Elegant and summery Northbrook Park wedding with Fiona Kelly Photography (26)

2. My dress… It was definitely over budget but I wore it all day the next day too! I didn’t want to take it off. I also surprised Tom with a videographer, which although a little ‘extra’ was totally worth it and we now have an incredible highlights film of the day which shows us all of the bits we missed! ~ Laura & Tom // Photographer credit https://www.fionakellyphotography.com

Beautiful summer wedding at Barley Wood, images by Howell Jones Photography (19)

3. We had our venue (https://www.barleywood.org) from Friday morning to Sunday evening and had all the immediate family on site. We thoroughly enjoyed the family weekend away feel to the wedding. Prepping and decorating on Friday, wedding antics on Saturday and recovery session on Sunday. A lot of laughing and story telling throughout. ~ Jenn & Jon // Photographer credit https://howelljonesphotography.co.uk

A massive ball of mistletoe for a beautifully styled, elegant winter wedding. Images by Becky Harley Photography (17)

4. There were two areas we were not prepared to scrimp on; the wedding rings and the photography. After the day is over they are the only tactile things you keep! ~ Issy & Alistair // Photographer credit Becky Harley

Real wedding at Chateau Impney classic glamorous style, Nicholas Rogers Photography (30)

5. The dress and venue. You have to have your dream dress, I felt amazing all day. The venue really was absolutely stunning. One of the main things the guests picked up on was the food, it’s so important to pick a venue with an amazing chef! ~ Serena & Michael // Photographer credit https://www.njr-photography.co.uk

Kat and Vincent's Mansion at Roundhay Park wedding, images by Amy Jordison Photography (36)

6. The venue and the events team were well worth the money. Not only was The Mansion at Roundhay stunning, Dine – the company that manage the venue – made the whole process painless from beginning to end. Because they were so organised and efficient (as well as their food being delicious), it gave us confidence the day would run smoothly and that confidence truly proved well-founded on the day. ~ Kat & Vincent // Photographer credit https://amyjordisonphotography.com

Festival vibes and a gorgeous Devon wedding at Colehayes Park, photo credit Howell Jones Photography (16)

7. Photographer 100%. We looked at getting a friend to do it, as well as a friend of a friend who were going to be super cheap but when we look at the pictures we ended up with I am SO GLAD we got a professional to do it, the moments he captured and the way the pictures look are just stunning. The band were worth every penny as well, we originally thought about just having a Spotify playlist playing but boy am I glad we didn’t, the band absolutely made the atmosphere/party! ~ Amy & Chris // Photographer credit https://howelljonesphotography.co.uk

English summer wedding blog - photo credit Rachel Lou Photography (50)

8. Lighting! We had a beautiful venue which was a blank canvas and fairy lighting made all the difference to the setting. We also paid for a saxophonist during our drinks reception and it was so worth doing, she was absolutely phenomenal and created the perfect ambiance. ~ Lauren & Duncan // Photographer credit https://www.rachel-lou-photography.com

wildflowers wedding in devon, image credit Emma Stoner Photography (31)

9. Hair and make up – this was definitely worth it because I knew it would be too stressful to do on the day. Every penny we gave our cater was worth it – she was excellent and helped orchestrate the whole day. We also LOVED the band – The Drat Pack! ~ Emily & Harry // Photographer credit http://www.emmastonerweddings.com

The Plough at Leigh wedding, image credit Terence Joseph Photography (29)

10. We spent more on the things that would make our day memorable such as the classic Rolls Royce, the photobooth for our tipsy guests to enjoy in the evening and my beautiful wedding dress that I still love to this day. ~ James & Nikki // Photographer credit https://terencejosephphotography.co.uk

Vintage Somerset wedding with Beetles, photo credit Ryan Goold Photography (18)

11. Definitely the photographer and also the venue. Our photographer was amazing from booking to the time we had our photos through our door. Our venue was also amazing! Our coordinator just made everything run smoothly and relaxed, exactly what we wanted! ~ Aaron & Julie // Photographer credit http://www.ryangooldphotography.co.uk

A brilliant review for Martin Dabek Photography at Hensol Castle, by Beth and Lewis (17)

12. Music really sets the scene and good music can make or break the ability to get people on the dancefloor. A huge chunk of our budget went on a Male Voice Choir at the church to set the scene, but also on our evening band who ensured everyone was up dancing immediately. We’d also recommend spending on photography and videography. It goes by in the blink of an eye so anything that helps you capture those memories is worth every penny. ~ Beth & Lewis // Photographer credit https://martindabek.com

Charlotte and Dexter's minimal and elegant Coombe Lodge wedding, image credit Ryan Goold Photography (42)

13. Don’t send out your save the dates too early (as we found out your friendships can change…) Don’t invite people just because you feel you have to or because you feel they’re expecting it. Don’t invite people just because you were invited to their wedding etc. The day is about you and everyone is there to help you, so make the most of them! You feel like a celebrity for a few days and you should milk it!! ~ Charlotte & Dexter // Photographer credit https://www.ryangooldphotography.co.uk

Carly and Steve's beautiful outdoor wedding at Thornbury Castle, with Martin Dabek Photography (19)

14. My wedding dress!! I never normally wear dresses but I absolutely loved my wedding dress and wanted to keep it on forever! Our photographer – the photographs are irreplaceable and every single one holds a special memory! The venue – we both got “that feeling” when we first went to see it, much like viewing a house for the first time, and we just knew it was the one! ~ Carly & Steve // Photographer credit https://martindabek.com

Beautiful images of Lizzie and Faz's fusion wedding at Fennes. Image credit Grace Elizabeth (37)

15. We are glad we invested our money in a few big areas. One of those was the bridesmaids dresses, these were handmade for them by The Dressmaker in Leigh on Sea. Faz was pretty thrilled with his suit made by Harris and Zei, it was a long term investment. We also spent a little extra on our personalised decor touches as we wanted the wedding to feel truly ours. The photobooks we made of old photos from both sides of the family were a costly addition to the table but were absolutely worth it for the laughter and excitement of the guests! ~ Lizzie & Faz // Photographer credit https://www.photographybygrace.co.uk

Claire Gould

Claire spends her days writing - either in beautiful calligraphy or online. She lives on the edge of the English Lake District only minutes away from the beach, where she loves to escape and unwind. Claire's calligraphy can be found at www.byMoonandTide.com. Claire launched the English Wedding Blog in November 2009 - it's been a top 10 UK wedding blog ever since, with a regional focus we hope you LOVE.


Him & Her wedding photography · December 30, 2019 at 12:16 am

All of the confetti photos on this blog makes our hearts smile! Never ever scrimp on confetti, that has to be tip number 16 🙂 A confetti photo with a few petals in the air is never the same as a full on confetti shower. We always say “too much is just enough”.

Neil Plumb · December 30, 2019 at 12:57 am

Loads of good tips here, but nobody mentioned confetti! Confetti is cheap as chips (less messy too) and makes a fun way to progress from ceremony to reception. Loads of smiles, great fun and great photo’s.

Jenny Ryan - Indigo and Violet Photography · December 30, 2019 at 9:29 pm

What beautiful weddings, and such great tips for other brides-to-be. Comfortable wedding dress that you can dance in, laugh in, and of course sit and eat in is a must in my opinion! – Jenny xx

Jeff Sham Photography · December 31, 2019 at 1:28 am

Really glad there’s a general consensus that one should not scrimp on wedding photography! Good tips all round!

Leave a Reply

Avatar placeholder

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read previous post:
22 real couples share their top SAVING tips for weddings!

From creative DIY and passing it forward, 22 of the gorgeous couples featured on the English Wedding Blog over the...