Is it actually possible to plan a simple wedding?
Yes, it is! The only trick , really, is to set your priorities straight. Along the years, we got to see all the little or big things that actually tend to complicate the planning of a wedding.
Our aim is to inspire you to plan a more non-traditional wedding, we’ve made a list of 12 ways and ideas on how to plan a simple wedding. Please keep in mind this doesn’t automatically mean it’s a budget wedding. At the end of the day, you spend as much or as little as you decide. There’s no right or wrong. Unless you’re a Kardashian. Then you may want to skip this blog post.
Weddings have changed so much from the traditional , walk-to-the-aisle type weddings. A great and also more affordable way to get married is to elope. It requires much less planning due to the very small number of people involved and all the extra things you won’t necessarily need for a more simple wedding.
You can elope in a different country, but make sure you’re aware of the civil marriage rules from that place, otherwise your ceremony won’t be considered. Some countries require blood tests, others living in country before the marriage
If you want to avoid the legal hassle of translating documents and following rules, there’s always a symbolic wedding ceremony that can link your souls without any legal distractions.
Staying in the UK can also open doors to amazing places. How about an elopement in nature ( what about Nortumberland) , climbing a mountain in Lake District or watching the sunset from a tree house in Scotland as you say your vows?
No matter how large or small the event, an elopement is a great way to plan for a more simple wedding without all the extra bells and whistles. Here’s some elopements we were so honoured to be part of!
This is a bit of a sensitive subject, because you’ll have to take some tough decisions. But if you’re really determined to have a very simple wedding, this needs to be considered.
Probably having only a handful of people would be more meaningful to you than inviting school friends or work mates. Sometimes, even only having your parents and siblings can mean the whole world! Who do you really want to have by your side on your wedding day?
Depending on the size of your event, there’s a few different options for your catering needs.
- Pre-booked restaurant with a set menu
One option for a simple wedding would be to go to a restaurant you already booked, after your wedding ceremony. It would turn out to be much more affordable and completely stress-free (given you already know for sure it’s a good place to eat).
Nobody says you must hire a wedding venue! There’s restaurants which can offer a private wing for your evening so you have the menu + staff all included in the price.
- Talented friend
Another option is to ask a friend who is in the business or just a very passionate cook, to provide the catering. They could even agree to do this as a gift for your wedding, so double-win!
- Garden party
How about a garden party for a Summer wedding with nibbles and home-made cocktails? What can be more fun than gathering your near and dear around a bonfire, opening the spring BBQ season or toasting marshmallows under the August shooting stars? Whatever alternative wedding breakfast you choose – make sure it’s what you love!
If you’re worried about drinks, simply hire an agency who can take card on the day and guests can pay for their own drink. Problem solved.
As a girl who bought her own wedding dress online, I’ll be honest to say I don’t see the value in spending thousands of pounds on it unless you have the budget. Then, by all means, you should splurge on yourself, it’s only once in your life!
If you’re considering other alternatives for a wedding dress, you should be very happy to know that there are plenty! Here’s our 7 tips on where to get a budget wedding dress:
- High Street wedding dress
- Vintage wedding dress
- Previously owned wedding dress
- Alternative wedding dress
- Custom made wedding dress
If you want to know what options you have for alternative wedding dresses, please do check our blog! We shared quite a few tips and brands where you could find your dream dress, for a fraction of the price!
Budget- set priorities
By all means, don’t underestimate the importance of this word! This is a big point which deserves lots of explaining.
Planning a simple wedding doesn’t always mean being cheap as much as you can or bargaining for every bit.
It simply means to set your priorities very clear and see what sparks joy when you think of your wedding day ( Thank you Marie-Kondo !) . If something is on the list but you don’t really see the purpose of it, might be time to thank it ( the Japanese style ) and let go. That way, you would free time and budget for things that truly matter to you- like wedding photography or videography, of course!
Ceremony + Reception
This point ties a bit with our first one – Elope. The location of your wedding ceremony and reception sets the tone for the entire event.
You can have a more simple ceremony with the couple saying their vows and end it with your first kiss or a fun confetti shot.
One wedding ceremony I dearly remember is of our couple from Holland, who went for a more intimate festival type wedding and during the ceremony, their closest friends + family had a short speech about them. Everyone was in tears by the end.
Another option is to have a civil marriage at the Registrar Office and have an alternative ceremony, where a friend could be your officiant.
If you want to have a simple reception, keep it simple. As easy as that. You could hire bells and whistles or one single thing that makes up for the fun for the entire evening, and that’s good, too.
The more you complicate things, the more stressful it gets for you.
Groomsmen / bridesmaids gifts – alternative
This is another subject I’ll get into more detail on another blog post, but for now, I can say that there’s other alternatives to bridesmaids /groomsmen gifts. It doesn’t have to be something with your initials on it or a dress no one will ever get to wear again.
I simply love flowers! Especially wild flowers or field ones, anything that doesn’t cost a fortune really.
For our own wedding which was in July, sunflowers were in season so we simply went to a farmer who had a field of sunflowers and asked him nicely to take some for the wedding. We decorated the entire event with them and I still remember being on the field with few friends and picking them!
There’s lots of wild options – like ivy, dried flowers, branches, leaves, anything you can imagine, really. But one thing I’d never recommend, is to do this yourself.
Please, no matter the situation, ask friend/ family or a florist to do this for you. Otherwise you end up working very late, get really tired and possibly stressed. Unless it’s a very intimate event, in which case, have fun doing whatever you dream of, as you’d probably have the time.
This takes me to my next point…
Ask for help
Whether it is a small or a large event, you can’t do it all yourself. Close friends would certainly jump in to help however they can so it’s not all on your shoulders.
No matter how much you love wedding planning and DIY, it might be too much at one point. so asking for help would save time, energy and maybe save some money, as well.
Honeymoon Fund not Wedding Gifts
Wedding traditions are made to be broken. Each country has its own traditions, but one I really like is to give something to the couple they actually need. Wedding gifts are a great idea if you’re moving to a new place and need quite a bit of furnishing and decorations.
Another option , to keep things simple and actually get some help from your friends and family is to set-up a honeymoon fund or even have a gift box for envelopes where people can give you some money. It may sound strange but many countries do this and it helps a ton after you’ve spent so much on planning the wedding.
DIY Stationery + Decorations
Using local materials, natural décor or having an outdoor ceremony that is in a beautiful location can save you money and be ethical, as well! It’s also so much fun making the decorations together with your bridesmaids or family.
Why not dry wild flowers from the field to use as natural confetti? Or wind down from all the planning while collecting curly willow for your arch on your Sunday walk in the local forest? There is so much beauty in nature, in hand made, and most of all – in memories made. Remember that your wedding is not only that one day, it’s the preparation to it that can be so creative and enjoyable too!
For stationery, practice your hand at drawing or simply use some Pinterest inspiration to create your own wedding invitations + cards if you decide to have any. To keep it even more simple, you can even create a free wedding website where you can write your love story and invite your guests to RSVP to your wedding invitation. Not even a pound on stamps!
Plan an off-season wedding
A smart way to plan a more simple wedding and also save some cash in the process is to plan an off season / weekday wedding.
Most venues and even vendors have different packages for different times of the year. Planning an early Spring wedding or late Autumn or even a Winter wedding, could help.
Do some research ahead of time and remember that nice venues and good vendors get booked even 2 years in advance. It’s crazy, I know.
I hope this 12 ideas would truly help you organise a more simple wedding! If you put into practice at least 5 of them, your life could get much easier and the entire process less stressful.
No matter how you decide to do things, remember to enjoy the process and have a wonderful wedding day!
Hey, we’re Diana & Sam!
We are a photographer husband and wife team based in the beautiful Cotswolds area. We love the outdoors and shoot primarily non – traditional barn weddings and elopements for the adventurous wild at heart couple. We help remove the stress and pressure from your wedding day and do our best to make you feel at ease and extremely relaxed in front of the camera, so you will dearly remember your experience. We are also founders of Mad Hat Photo Booth, a wedding and events photo booth hire!