Bridie reveals how she cut her wedding costs from £30,000 to £9,000

Thrifty bride reveals how she slashed the cost of her castle wedding from £30,000 to just £9,000 by buying her dress off the rack, being ‘brutal’ with the guest list and snapping up 40p decorations from AliExpress

  • Ashley Waugh, 25, from Hexham, was told her wedding day set up back £30,000
  • But she and Luke, who is now her husband, decided to drastically cut costs 
  • Ashley slashed her guest list, bought her dress off the rack and didn’t have a DJ 

A bride who saved £21,000 on a stunning castle wedding has shared her top budgeting tips to cut costs on the big day.

Ashley Waugh, 25, was quoted £30,000 for a weekend wedding in the summer with 140 guests – a fee that she and partner Luke couldn’t justify.

So the pair decided to find ways to budget without sacrificing on having a stunning location in Langley Castle, Hexham.

Their big day ending up costing just £9,000, with the venue itself setting them back £5,000, and which was kindly paid for by Ashley’s dad.

The couple spent the rest of the money on fake flowers at £300, as well as chair sashes, table runners and flowers for centrepieces from AliExpress for 40p each.

Ashley Waugh, 25, and her fiance Luke, paid only £9,000 for their wedding at Langley Castle, in Hexham in July, after cutting on costs, hiring suits, buying her dress off the rack and slashing their guest list

The couple, pictured, had 64 guests during the daytime celebration and a reception with 15 guests during the evening

Pictured: Ashley’s shoes, shawl, garter, and bouquet, next to a bottle of champagne. Everything was bought on a budget 

They also scrimped on outfits, hiring the suits for £600 from Moss Bros, and buying Ashley’s dress off the rack for £700 and getting it altered for £90.

The bridal party’s hair and makeup cost £500 with a friend’s discount, while the cake was a gift from Luke’s aunt.

Bridesmaids’ dresses were on sale, costing £45 each instead of £95. Ashley bought six for the price of £270.  

How Ashley organised her big day on a £9,000 budget  

Venue: £5,000

Fake Flowers: £300

Suits: £600 

Wedding dress: £790

Bridal Party Hair and Make-up: £500

Bridal party dresses: £270

 Photographer: £600

Videographer: £800 

Various accessories from bargain stores: £140

Total: £9,000 

For the happy couple, a handful of decisions helped them cut back costs – but not all of them were popular.

With keeping costs down a top priority, Ashley and Luke were quick to cut stragglers from the guest list.

‘We were really harsh with our guest list, which upset a lot of people – but we were paying for it ourselves and we wanted our closest friends and families there, not someone who felt they had a right to come because they were dating someone who was invited,’ Ashley, a legal cashier, said.

‘We cut a lot of people’s partners purely to save money. Most people were really nice about it, some were not, but then you learn who your real friends are when you’re planning a wedding.

‘Luke has a larger family and is originally from Peterborough. He chose not to invite distant cousins and nieces so we could have an intimate day with our nearest and dearest.

‘Our original guest list was 140 people and we changed that to 64-day guests and 15 evening, so cut 60 people.’ 

Luke and Ashley cut their guest list from 140 to 79 and admitted they had to be ‘really harsh’ and upset people. Their nephew, right, was their ringbearer for the day

Ashley bought her stunning lacey 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 hired a £600 Moss Bros suit for the day

The couple’s wedding cake was gifted to them by Luke’s aunt, saving them the cost of buying one themselves 

With a summer wedding date raising 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 height of summer with 140 guests, and that would’ve cost us around £10,000 just for the venue.

‘The steepest quote we had was £30,000 all in, so we booked a midweek date, which instantly saved us a lot of money, and went for February which was off-season and cheaper. 

Luke and his groomsmen benefited from a six-for-five suit hire from popular brand Moss Bros, pictured

The couple were initially quoted £30,000 for their dream wedding, but decided to drastically cut costs – and guests – to afford their big day

Luke and Ashley on their stunning wedding day. Initially, the venue cost £10,000 for their ideal date, so they moved the wedding to a mid-week date in February. However, they lucked out when their wedding had to be moved to July without a hike in costs due to Covid-19 

‘We struck gold with Covid when they had to reschedule to July and honoured the original price.’

For Ashley and Luke, getting crafty with the decorations was vital to keeping their day budget-friendly.

Ashley said: ‘We did every aspect of the décor ourselves – myself, Luke, my brother, my mum, and my friend Katie spent the day before dressing the wedding breakfast room.

Ashley got a friend discount and only paid £500 for the bridal party’s hair and makeup, pictured 

The bridesmaids’ dresses, pictured, cost where reduced to £45 from £95 each, and cost Ashley and Luke £270 overall


Ashley’s father, pictured right, kindly paid £5,000 for the venue, which means 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 picked it off the rack 

We bought centrepieces from Home Bargains, chair sashes and covers from Wish or AliExpress for 40p a pop and favours from B&M, but it looked as if it had been professionally dressed.

‘We also didn’t have a DJ just a playlist we made together and controlled from our phones.’

However, the couple did pay a professional photographer £600 to capture their big day, and a videographer £800. 

Ashley also advises not being shy when it comes to milking your contacts – and hit up all of her friends to see what connections they had that could benefit her.

She said: ‘No-one in my friendship group is a make-up artist, a photographer or a florist – but they knew people or had recommendations and I was lucky enough to get some friends’ discounts. 

‘I found a woman based in my hometown who I had never heard of but then it turned out she knew one of my bridesmaids – it’s all who you know, not what you know.’ 

Fore more information on budgeting, you can go on the This Money website. 

Luke having 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 cutting their cake at the reception. The couple wanted a castle wedding without the brutal price 

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