£6k Wedding Series: City Ceremony, Honeymoon, then Party.

Illustration by Susie Stone

Want to get married in style on a super tight budget? Our £6k wedding series is here to help. We’ve got six fully-costed wedding concepts (complete with superstar suppliers) for under £6000 for you to choose from.

To plan a sophisticated city ceremony, European honeymoon and fabulous party on your return, read on…

Who is this wedding perfect for?
This super-cool city wedding is for sophisticated urban couples who want to celebrate their wedding day in style with a select guest list. Inspired by the stars of the 50s, it starts with a ceremony in an iconic registry office followed by a long, late lunch in a luxury restaurant with those you love the most. At the end of the meal you both jump in a taxi to the airport and your friends and family wave goodbye as you jet off on honeymoon to the ridiculously glamorous French Riviera.

This decadent yet laid-back wedding is designed to feel spontaneous, but the details do in fact require meticulous planning. For a relaxed and memorable day make sure you organise everything in advance and hire a fabulous reportage photographer to capture all the magic moments throughout the day.

Preparation:

Start your day with your mum, sisters or best friend in your favourite city salon getting your hair and nails done while you sip champagne and have your first photos taken. Then jump in a taxi to the registry office with your wedding outfit and honeymoon luggage, stopping at a florist to pick a bunch of seasonal flowers for an instant bouquet, with your photographer taking beautiful black and white shots along the way.

The venue:

Find a venue in a central location so you get to appreciate the sites of the city. And if possible choose one of the many UK registry offices located in an old Town Hall building to give your wedding an appropriate sense of grandeur. In London, Marylebone registry office (the old Westminster Town Hall) is an impressive building with stone steps and columns on the outside and marble floors, wood panelled walls, gold mirrors and chandeliers within. Allow plenty of time to arrive at the registry office so you can use a dressing room to get ready in before your guests arrive.

Your outfits:

This wedding is all about indulging in the finest things in life and that means investing in your outfits. Avoid traditional wedding dresses and instead buy a dress from a designer you love, that will look and feel amazing all day. Rime Arodaky’s contemporary take on a classic 1950s style dress combines a lace top and a full skirt with pockets. It’s an investment at £1050 that will look stunning during your ceremony, be comfortable at the restaurant, appropriate on the plane and perfect for dinner on the Riviera. To stick within your budget, wear your favourite designer shoes as your ‘something old’ and raid your friends’ wardrobes for a beautiful clutch bag for your ‘something borrowed’. Then rather than paying for a professional artist, treat yourself to some new make-up and do your own.

For super-stylish yet quality suits starting at £400 head to Beggar’s Run and encourage your partner to polish a pair of favourite brogues rather than paying for new ones.

The ceremony:

People often underestimate the significance and magic of the ‘marriage bit’. Yet seeing each other for the first time in your gorgeous wedding outfits, standing together in a stunning room surrounded by all your most important people to declare your love is without doubt the most intensely intimate and amazing feeling. Ever. Although civil ceremonies offer a relatively short and functional service you can personalise your vows and invite family to share a special poem or reading. And it’s actually the formal bits like exchanging the rings, signing the register and officially being asked to ‘kiss the bride’ that are the most emotional and whoop-worthy moments.

As you leave your service, arrange for your guests to head outside first so they can stand on the steps and cheer as you leave the building. Make sure your two chosen witnesses have tons of confetti to hand out so your photographer can capture you being showered with love as you begin your lives together as newlyweds.

Transport:

Head off in your finery to the nearest tube or bus stop to enjoy a very public journey to your chosen restaurant. Make sure you’ve bought tickets in advance to hand out to your guests so there’s no queuing at machines. Then just enjoy the kindness of strangers and cheering well-wishers as you travel through your beloved city.

If you’re thinking of getting married in the Capital, riding the Bakerloo line from Marylebone is one of the most romantic journeys for London lovers. And getting out at Embankment gives you a chance to admire the city’s iconic skyline as you walk along the Thames towards your chosen restaurant on The Strand or in Covent Garden.

Lunch:

With a select guest-list it’s relatively easy to organise private dining in a five-star restaurant. If you’re looking for somewhere to seat under 25 people in West Central London, The Delaunay is perfect. Entering this classic brasserie with its black and white tiled floor, dark wood booths, white tablecloths and silverware is like stepping back in time whilst enjoying the best in contemporary European cuisine.

Having your own private dining room feels extra luxurious and decadent meaning you can relax, drink too much champagne and enjoy drunk wedding speeches away from the crowd. And it doesn’t have to be expensive. The minimum spend at the Delaunay is £750 for lunch which works out as £30 per head for 24 people, with set menus ranging from £50-£80. Organise and pay for three bottles of champagne on arrival and then ask everyone to pay for their own lunch rather than bringing gifts. Your closest friends and family will be honoured to be invited and, as long as you give plenty of warning, everyone will be happy to split the bill.

Honeymoon:

Once you’ve enjoyed your long, lazy lunch, hail a black taxi, ask if you can tie some ribbon to the cab, and get your photographer to take a few final shots of your friends and family waving goodbye as you head off on your honeymoon.

Getting married midweek and leaving for your honeymoon on the same day means your flights will also be cheaper. So you can afford to book an upgrade and travel in comfort with extra legroom and speedy boarding. Investing in some luxury carry-on luggage is not only a special treat for your wedding day (and an investment for life) but means you can avoid check-in and baggage reclaim, travelling in style and arriving stress-free.

Having a city wedding in the summer will hopefully guarantee good weather in the UK and means you won’t have to fly far to enjoy the heat of a European beach honeymoon. For a sophisticated seaside escape head to The Cote D’Azur, book into a fabulous hotel and enjoy a romantic meal as the sun sets on your wedding day. For pure indulgence Mr & Mrs Smith recommend the Cap Estel. To stick within your budget stay for a weekend of pampering, then find an Airbnb near the beach if you want to stay longer.

Party:

After your iconic wedding and sophisticated honeymoon, return to your beloved city for a party in a traditional pub. In the City of London pubs are quieter on the weekend so landlords within the Square Mile are grateful for an event that will guarantee a full house. This means they’ll rent out function rooms for free if you meet a minimum spend at the bar, which is super helpful if you’re on a budget.

Start the party at 8pm so your friends can eat before they arrive. Then just warn them that it’s a cash bar and make sure you have budget to pay the difference if the minimum spend isn’t reached (unlikely at a wedding). If the venue doesn’t have an AV setup make sure you hire everything in advance so you can show photos from your wedding and honeymoon on a screen as people arrive. If you want to do speeches you’ll need a mic. Then just make sure the decks are set up and you’ve got some mates willing to DJ. Finally, set aside budget for a photo booth to capture photos of all your friends celebrating your marriage with you.

city wedding on a budget

Sources: Paperless Post, Naomi Wood, Unsplash

Invites FREE: Choose one of the beautiful free templates from Paperless Post to email invites to friends and family. It’s a budget friendly option that also makes it easy to keep track of RSVPs.

Photographer £600: This intimate ceremony and lunch doesn’t necessarily require a traditional wedding photographer. Look for a portrait, fashion or press photographer whose style you love and ask if they’d be happy to chart the journey through your wedding day. Naomi Wood takes commissions and packages start at £600.

Hair and Nails £60: Avoid a last minute wedding blow-dry by booking into your town’s best dry bar and deciding on your style well in advance. The Cavendish in Marylebone has its classic and seasonal styles on its website with prices ranging from £15-£38. Most dry bars will also offer manicures ranging from £15-£30.

New Make-up £100: If (like most women) you know how to do your own make-up, don’t pay for someone to come and do it for you. Head to your nearest department store and treat yourself to some new make-up instead. If you want to test out new products and pick up some new tricks book in for a make-over at your nearest NARS Cosmetics counter.

Bouquet £20: Check that you’ve got a decent flower shop en route from the salon to the registry office, have an idea of the seasonal flowers available and call ahead if you like. Just don’t mention the word wedding or bouquet. This wedding is all about spontaneous city glamour so stopping off for a simple bunch of fresh flowers is not only cheap but part of the fun.

Taxi £20: Being late to your own wedding is not cool. Avoid unnecessary stress and book a taxi to the venue in advance.

Sources: Rime Arodaky, Beggar’s Run, Paper & Chain

Dress £1050: This 1950s inspired city wedding requires a dress that will make you feel like a star – think Brigitte Bardot’s wedding to Jacques Charrier. The Clover dress from Rime Arodaky is well worth the investment at £1050.

Suit £400: Beggar’s Run have a excellent range of stylish suits made in London. This navy cotton drill suit is perfect for a city summer wedding, will be comfortable on the plane and look great for dinner at your hotel.

Rings £300: For two classic gold wedding bands handmade in Britain visit Paper & Chain.

city wedding on a budget

Sources: Net-a-porter, Hitched, The Jelly Rabbit

Luggage £1150: To feel like a true jet setter, plan your honeymoon wardrobe in advance, pack light and invest in some seriously good looking luggage.

Registry office room hire and service £300: Prices depend on the size of the room and the day of the week. But as a guide Marylebone registry office costs £300 for a room that holds 30 people.

Confetti £10: Check out confetti boxes from The Jelly Rabbit. Go for classic pastel, bold brights or extra bling with the gold and silver mixed box.

Sources: Patchwork Couple James & Lucy, The Delaunay,

Tube tickets £50: Public transport is cheap, allows you to see the sites and feel the love as strangers wish you well on your wedding day. Budget £50 for 25 people.

Lunch £100: Check out the private dining options in your area and enquire about the minimum spend. The minimum spend for lunch in a private room at The Delaunay is £750 and the set menu ranges from £50-£80. With everyone splitting the bill you’ll just need to budget £100 for the two of you.

Champagne £180: A bottle of champagne at The Delaunay costs £60 and three bottles will fill 24 glasses for your toast.

Ribbon source: MacCulloch & Wallis

Taxi to airport £50: Research local prices but £50 should get you from the centre of most major UK cities to your closest airport.

Decorations for taxi £5: A simple roll of white ribbon or crepe will look lovely on the bonnet of a traditional black taxi.

Flights £200: If you’re happy to fly off-peak, on weekdays and during term time you’ll find the best bargains. Then book early. It’s always less stressful and usually cheaper than last minute. As an example you can get return flights from Heathrow to Nice at the end of May for £96.

Sources: Cap Estel, Pub wedding via London Bride, London Lightbox

Honeymoon hotel £900: Budget £900 for a weekend in a luxury hotel and book in well in advance to get the best deals. Mr & Mrs Smith’s early booking offer gets you two nights at the Cap Estel on the Cote D’azur for £882.91

Party venue: There are plenty of City of London pubs serving excellent craft beer and classic pub dishes. Just check if they are happy to extend their license if you want a proper London knees up. Most central venues will want you to agree to a £2000 minimum spend on a Saturday night.

Photobooth £500: For £500 The London Lightbox is a brilliant budget option. It’s simple, steel framed Obscura not only looks great but being compact it works in any venue and can be delivered in an Uber.

Gifts: As your guests are paying for their own drinks you might want to help to keep their costs down by saying ‘no gifts’. But beware, you might just end up with unwanted surprise presents. For those who’d like to give you something, why not suggest a contribution to your honeymoon fund. Patchworkit.com have a readymade template for a Cote D’azur honeymoon. Just customise the patchwork and link it to your PayPal to collect cash contributions to spend on your trip.

TOTAL COST: £5,995

COST TO GUESTS: £50 – £100

The guests you invite to your ceremony and lunch will need to budget £100. Extended friends and family will just need to pay for their drinks at the party and contribute to your honeymoon fund if they wish.

See the rest of the wedding concepts in our £6k wedding series here.

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