Jul 26

Celebrity inspired weddings… on a shoestring

Reading Time: 8 mins

Celebrity inspired weddings are still big news in weekly magazines.

Love ’em or loath ’em, sometimes they have some good ideas.

Now the Moneymagpie team has come up with some ways you can have a celeb wedding without breaking the bank.

So, go on, take some inspiration from your favourite Hollywood star (or TV trash)!

A word of warning

One word of warning – it’s important to think realistically about your big day.

Let’s face it, most of us don’t have a Beckham-sized budget. If you do splurge on a dream ‘celebrity-style’ wedding beyond your means, you’ll be paying the bill for years to come.

Make a budget, and stick to it.

Remember, money won’t buy you style – and with a little forward planning you can have a wedding as beautiful as any Hollywood diva’s.

Check out our helpful hints on credit crunch weddings here.

First things first – think about how you want your wedding to look and feel. Do you want to go barefoot in the sand or would you prefer to celebrate at your local pub with close friends and family?

There are many, many options.

The popstars’ favourite – a fairytale wedding in a country pile

Madonna by David Shankbone croppedCastles are a recurring theme in celebrity weddings. Madonna wed Guy Ritchie at Skibo Castle in the Scottish highlands.

Victoria Adams and David Beckham exchanged vows at Luttrellstown Castle in Ireland where, famously, they sat in gold thrones during the ceremony.

Is it affordable?

country house for weddingWhile castles may be stretching it a bit for us mere mortals, going for an all-inclusive deal at a country pile in the UK can be done on a budget.

You don’t have to hire out the whole property of course, and choosing a room in a stately home or old hotel is one of the most stress-free options.

If it’s well furnished you won’t have to spend too much on flowers or decorations.

Try to choose a venue which does catering, as package deals are invariably cheaper.

Be careful to check out any hidden costs when choosing the venue.

Is VAT included? Do you have access to the grounds, or does this cost extra?

If you’re going for an all-inclusive deal make sure you know exactly what’s included in the package.

And always, always bargain.

Prices at these kinds of places aren’t set in stone, so haggling is always worth a try!

Where to find one

countryside to have a lists hundreds of wedding venues across the UK by county.

You could save yourself money by having your wedding in the grounds of a big house, rather than in the property itself.

Some private houses offer the use of a renovated barn which can be done up to your own taste.

For example, Kent-based Preston Court Weddings hires out a 17th century barn in beautiful surroundings, only yards away from a private church. Many large country houses have a similar set-up.

Lainston House, a William and Mary country house in Hampshire, is offering couples its 17th century barn for reception use for 50 guests and constantly updates its offers so keep watching their site. You’ll also get accommodation in the 10 Chudleigh Court Rooms at a reduced rate.

Keep an eye on Funky Wedding Venues – they constantly update offers for wedding venues and receptions all over the UK. They even offer companies for catering and venues for Hen and Stag dos.

With a little forethought, there are ways to have a grandiose, fairytale wedding without breaking the bank.

Always dreamt of having choir singers or a string quartet at your wedding?

If you know someone musical who can organise this for free, or as a wedding gift, then ask them!

In all areas, contributions from friends and family are priceless.


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The great escape

George Clooney‘Destination weddings’ in far-flung places are also in vogue with celebrities.

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner tied the knot in a beautiful beach wedding on the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Renée Zellwegger shocked the world when she wed country singer Kenny Chesney in the U.S. Virgin Islands in the company of select friends and family.

And more recently George Clooney got married to his beloved in Venice.

Going away for your wedding is great if you want to limit your guest list to nearest and dearest.

Thinking smaller means you can fly somewhere with guaranteed good weather and sandy beaches with just a handful of family and friends.

What’s more you can extend the trip to give you an unforgettable honeymoon!

How much is it?

plane in the skyGoing abroad lets you escape the inflated prices of the British wedding industry (the average cost of a wedding now stands at a scary £24,716!)

The number of weddings abroad is on the rise with over 1.5 million going abroad last year.

A simple Town Hall wedding in Europe likely won’t cost much.

It might not be extravagant, but it will leave you more money to spend on the reception and honeymoon – which, let’s face it, last a lot longer!

First Choice have dedicated an entire brochure to overseas weddings.

From extravangant far away destinations like the Maldives and Dominican Republic to locations closer to home including Italy and Greece, there is something for everyone.

paradise, island, travel, sunshine, deck chair, lounger, cocktails, umbrellaYou might not bag yourself a bargain, but if nothing else, it’ll give you some ideas if you don’t know where to start.

The good thing about First Choice is that they’re an established, trusted company and you can get absolutely everything you need for you wedding booked through them.

The etiquette is for the bride and groom (or their family) to pay for the hotel and food.

Guests usually pay their own air fare.

A wedding weekend at an idyllic location can cost much less than a sit-down dinner at a swanky location in the UK for hundreds of people.

In planning an overseas wedding you have to be super-organised.

You must start researching your chosen location (by talking to the local tourist bureau and using online resources and travel guides) at least six months before the big day.

Ask resorts for wedding package information as this is the cheapest and easiest route. Resorts may offer a local wedding coordinator – someone who will guide you through the process step by step

The fine print

There may be complications in getting a marriage license so have a look at this marriage site for license laws in popular destinations.

If your destination is not on the list consult the tourist board of that country, who may also help to find you florists, photographers and venues.

Obtain any necessary legal documents in good time – these may include passports, divorce certificates, visas, identification, birth certificates or declarations of never having been married before.

Flights are often included in wedding package deals, but it may be cheaper to cut this out of the bargain and book them yourself to get the cheapest deal.

Remember to get a good price by checking price comparison websites and using all our usual tips.



Down the pub with your mates

KateWinsletByAndreaRaffin2011If going away is not your thing, why not make your wedding low key and local to keep costs down?

When Kate Winslet married first husband Jim Threapleton in 1998 she held her wedding reception in a pub and guests dined on bangers and mash. If it’s good enough for Kate it’s good enough for us!

The UK is full of pretty country pubs which offer great settings and handy function rooms for a more relaxed wedding.

Check out the pub section of for ideas.

In London, popular pubs for receptions include North London gastro pub Victoria Stakes and The Gun, located on the Thames in the heart of the Docklands.

Most pubs don’t list prices on their websites, so give them a call to discuss your individual needs.

Many offer a free taster menu so you can come along prior to the big day to see what to expect and request any changes.

Don’t feel shy to ask for this if it’s not offered as standard.

Keep it simple

country barn so you can save money and have a cheap celeb weddingThe days of no-expenses-spared weddings may be numbered.

So goodbye to the big meringue dress, caviar canapés and formal dining.

At the moment it’s all about cheap yet chic.

Nothing beats good food and wine shared with your best mates and close family at a venue that means something to you.

To keep your wedding local, personal and cost-effective also try village halls, local authority buildings, National Trust spaces and old barns.

Source the food from local caterers, or even better, get the guests to bring the food themselves.

You could ask friends and family to prepare unfussy finger food, like salads, quiches or salmon for a homemade buffet.

a bunch of roses which you can get cheaplyWhen it comes to flowers remember to stick to those that are local and in season.

So, in the summer months choose from in-season flowers like roses, delphiniums, gladioli and irises.

In winter go for winter-flowering plants like amaryllis and Christmassy foliage like ivy and holly., a website promoting the UK plant industry, is great for showing you which flowers are in season during the month of your wedding.

Don’t buy flowers that have been flown halfway across the world as this will be expensive.

If you’re going for a country wedding you could hire a local forager to gather wild flowers.

Or, even cheaper, approach a landowner directly and ask for permission to pick his or her flowers.

You could even go down to a local agricultural college and enlist the help of students there.

Some of the most thoughtful touches at a wedding don’t have to cost a thing.

You could create place-names using pebbles collected from a beach and a gold pen, or give home-grown flowers as wedding favours.

Tea-lights are a great table decoration and can be picked up for a matter of pence at places like IKEA.

For the end of the night paper lanterns look particularly special and they are a fraction of the cost of fireworks.

Offering canapes in place of a starter obviously cuts costs, especially if you make them yourself from cheap ingredients. Many cookery websites, including UKTV food, give ideas for free online.



Do it for nothing

Save money by getting good free stuffYou can always rely on the kindness of strangers.

If you advertise your wedding on a freebie website you may be offered all manner of helpful wedding items from benevolent married couples, completely free. All you have to do is pick them up!

The best of the bunch are recycling websites Freecycle and Snaffleup.

Gumtree also lists free items on offer in your area. Under ‘Stuff for Sale’ just click on ‘Freebies’ to see what you can find near you.

All these sites work in the same way – you go and collect the item once you’ve emailed the person offering it.

We’ve had a look through these sites and there’s no end of stuff that would be perfect for any wedding day – old tables and chairs, glasses, plates, champagne flutes – you could even bag yourself a free second-hand wedding dress!

Look here for more information on credit crunch weddings.


Are you planning your wedding this year? We’d love to hear about it – let us know in the comments section below.


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Your article is very interesting to read. Another website similar to this is

Tara at Harestock Lodge Hotel
Tara at Harestock Lodge Hotel

What a lovely post!
Annother beautiful venue you may consider is:


Spokane Event Center
Spokane Event Center

I really liked your writing, keep it up!

Sendman Flowers
Sendman Flowers

Can you (or anybody else) help me to find what is the best place on the internet to get flowers? All companies I have discovered are too expensive for me.

Hipolito M. Wiseman
Hipolito M. Wiseman

Hi, I have just found your site browsing on online as I am seeking some information on flutes. Seems like a good site so I bookmarked this site and I will come back tomorrow to give it a proper read when i have more time. great site!.

Wedding Venues Leeds

Some great ideas here! I especially like the one about hiring a stately home or castle to minimise budgeting for decorations. Just shows if you think outside the box you don’t have to spend a fortune!

5 Star Weddings
5 Star Weddings

Great article and some wonderful money saving tips. As a wedding planning resources site, we find that there are such extremes when budgeting for your wedding.

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