How can you have the drop-dead-gorgeous luxury wedding of your dreams if you’ve only got a small budget?

Read on for some wedding planning tips to throw an elegant wedding without the budget of a movie star.

Prioritising is key when you start to plan your wedding. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to get married in style or trying to plan a perfect, luxe wedding! Keeping in mind that a perfect wedding means something different to every bride and groom, I asked London based wedding planner Valentina to give you some tips to plan your luxury wedding without breaking the bank.

Valentina is the woman behind The Stars Inside, whose dreamy and elegant wedding styling is bound to inspire you. She’s also an absolute gem of a human being and if you choose to enlist her help to plan your dream wedding I’m absolutely sure that you won’t regret it.

“I feel so strongly about couples doing what is meaningful for them, on the budget that is right for them, and not feel pressured by the expectations or preconceptions that so often are associated with weddings.

There is no right or wrong when it comes to how much to spend on your celebrations, and there are so many reasons why couples these days may have a strict budget to stick to, especially as more and more are paying for their wedding 100% themselves. You might be saving for a house, a family, a trip – you might be recovering from financial difficulties as a result of COVID-19 – all of which are valid reasons to limit the amount you set aside for your special day.”

My number one piece of advice when wedding planning would be to take a moment to assess your priorities. Sit down together and calmly discuss which elements of your wedding celebration are most important to you, and which will most affect the joyfulness of the memory for you. Depending on your own vision, different solutions and ideas will be relevant to you.”

Are you ready? Here are Valentina’s tips to have a luxurious wedding with a small budget.

Luxury wedding on a small budget, planning tip one: SCALE DOWN.

If reducing the guest list is something you are open to, then this is the most effective way of reducing costs. Many expenses scale with guest numbers, so transitioning from a large celebration to an intimate, luxury wedding will allow you to make the most of the budget you are being mindful of.

A small budget will go so much further for a small guest list, because it’s actually the budget PER PERSON that matters: this is what is going to affect how much you can invest on looking after your guests and decorating the space for them. The venue, food, and drink usually amount to about half the money spent on a wedding. With smaller numbers, you’ll have more venues to choose from, more flexibility on space, fewer catering costs, fewer tables and rooms to decorate, fewer logistical expenses, and so many more advantages! It will be much easier to give your wedding an elegant, luxurious feel while sticking to your budget.. However, if having a large guest list is important to you, then don’t make compromises on that – but do consider whether the investment allocated to anything else could be reduced in a smart way.

Luxury wedding on a small budget, planning tip two: EMBRACE CONSIDERED DETAILS.

Being discerning when it comes to the source and sustainability of the items and vendors that become a part of your luxury wedding is a really lovely way of keeping control of costs too.

I know that the word “minimalism” may not feel right for everyone, but I’d love for you to think a little bit about what that actually means. For me, minimalism isn’t about the absence of things – it’s about how intentional and considered that things are there, are.

How can you make your wedding more local, seasonal, and authentic to you? A simpler and less cluttered tablescape or floral arrangement can be just as impactful and beautiful, and sometimes even more so! Giving objects and people room to breathe allow everyone to take everything in a more present and full way.

By shifting your mindset on this – by thinking about intentionality instead of abundance – you might find that you really enjoy paring your wedding back to the things that really matter. This will, in turn, have the side effect of reducing costs, without feeling like a compromise had to be made.

I talk to my couples a lot about meaningful luxury: it’s not about quantity, it’s about how each little things makes you feel. Another shift of mindset that kind of relates to this is thinking about decor as an investment: are there things you could buy for your wedding that you would love to have in your house? If it’s something you’ll treasure – wonderful! If not, consider whether you really need it, or whether it can be borrowed or hired instead of bought.

Luxury wedding on a small budget, planning tip three: THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX.

The best thing you can do for your budget is to widen your horizons and options! The word “wedding” may conjure images of a big party, a fancy venue, a formal sit-down dinner, and so on. But that may not reflect your budget or your personality, and that’s absolutely fine too. A wedding can come in so many sizes, shapes, and forms, and there really are no rules anymore.

When researching venues, look for places that might not normally host weddings – and ask them whether they have any cool spaces you could use. These venues may often have easy by-the-hour hire options, and may be more flexible when it comes to bringing in your own drinks/food. Also, the more you love your venue’s character, the less you’ll need to decorate it!

Be flexible about dates and times too if you can: hiring spaces and suppliers for a weekday outside of peak season (i.e. not in summer) will save you so much, and allow you to still work with luxury wedding vendors you love.

Don’t feel like you need to include every element of a “traditional” wedding: you don’t HAVE to buy favours for your guests, you don’t HAVE to have paper invitations, you don’t HAVE to pay for your guests’ drinks all night, you don’t HAVE to have a giant ornate cake, you don’t HAVE to have a photobooth, you don’t HAVE to have huge bridal party. You do you, and put money where your heart is.

Be open with your suppliers about reducing wedding planning costs and ask for advice on creative solutions – they will happily give it! They can help you find ways to re-use, re-cycle, and remove elements of your wedding in a strategic and smart way. They can also give you tips on what will be most easily and cost-effectively sourced during the time of year that your luxury wedding is in.

For your wedding outfits, have a look at preloved, second-hand sources, high street brands, sample sales and trunk shows, and vintage shops too. When it comes to catering specifically: opt for meat-free, seasonal/local ingredients, informal serving styles, or fewer courses; switch warm starters for cold dishes; have your wedding cake served straight after mains, in lieu of a dessert course; shuffle timings so you don’t need to serve canapes or serve enough canapes that you can skip starters; swap drinks to less expensive alternatives or bring your own (check corkage policies at your venue).

Another lovely way of spending mindfully is by asking for contributions to your wedding fund instead of gifts! Guests will be so happy to know they’ve contributed to your day, and you can avoid the stress and clutter of receiving objects you may not necessarily need.

“A lower budget definitely doesn’t mean a less perfect wedding – it’s all about investing in what matters most to you!” – Valentina says.

If you would like any support in planning your wedding or elopement in a mindful way, you can find Valentina on her website, her Instagram profile, or just email her directly at

Thank you for reading! Do you have any suggestions or questions? Drop them in the comments below, we would both love to hear your thoughts.


If you’d like a super chilled wedding, I highly recommend downloading my pdf guide for a relaxed wedding.

I’ve shared my knowledge as generously as possible and it includes two timelines templates that you can use to map out your own wedding. Let me know what you think!

manon x

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Intimate, natural wedding photos for couples who follow their hearts.


Hi, I'm Manon - documentary wedding photographer capturing love stories in Brighton, London and destination weddings worldwide.

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