The big day doesn't have to cost you the earth, however, so why not consider saving money with these budget reception ideas.
Get a package
Wedding budgets can quickly spiral out of control as all the little extras add up. Nowadays though, there are plenty of venues offering all-in reception packages for extremely reasonable prices, just so long as you're not still dreaming of that fairytale castle.
Hotel chains such as the Holiday Inn, Old English Inns and Britannia Hotels all offer reception packages for just £999. You might need to limit the number of guests (they usually cater for around 40 or 50 people) and you may not have the choice you would in more high-end venues, but they generally include food (either a buffet or a sit-down meal), and a disco/DJ for the evening. Britannia Hotels' package even includes a three-course meal for 50 guests and an evening buffet for 100, though some branches may charge £1,499 depending on location. Do be careful to read the small print though, so you know exactly what you're getting with the package.
There's no reason why you have to limit your choice of venue to hotels, halls or manor houses, and choosing a slightly more unusual location for the after party could save you a bundle. For instance, given glorious sunshine and a summer's day, a wedding picnic in a picturesque nearby park will make for a relaxed celebration that your guests will love, and if you're really strapped for cash when it comes to the food, you could even ask each guest to bring something scrummy of their own making to share.
For those inviting just a few select guests, a holiday rental cottage or villa might also prove a cheaper option, and has the added bonus of rooms in which all of the guests can stay.
Cheaper still, if you have a good friend with a sizeable garden, why not ask if you can have the reception there, and hire a 'hog roast' catering company to provide the food.
And if the food budget is really causing problems, timing could be everything. For instance, opt for an early morning marriage and note on the invitations that a champagne and canapes wedding breakfast is what's on offer.
Slightly bigger budget but can't afford the castle? Then you should definitely consider signing up to the likes of Groupon. The discount site has a whole host of wedding packages on offer at knock-down prices, taking venue packages down from around £6,000 to a mere £2,000.
What's more, keep your eyes peeled and you can pick up some of the other amazing wedding offers, including hair and make-up on the big day, and photography deals.
If you're looking for an even greater discount on your wedding venue, it pays to be flexible in terms of days and seasons. Fewer bookings on weekdays or in winter mean all the suppliers - from venues to florists and photographers - for your big day will be less busy and more likely to offer you a money-saving deal.
While that might be more awkward for guests, given plenty of notice they will have time to book the time off. And if some can't make it, you'll be able to further cut costs for catering for fewer people.
Beg and borrow
Friends and family will be looking forward to the do almost as much as the happy couple, and many will be only too keen to get involved. So why not harness your loved ones' individual talents - whether that's cake baking, flower arranging, or arty types that you can persuade to create decorations, wedding favours or invitations.
If fresh flowers prove expensive, consider making your own paper or fabric flowers to decorate tables and the reception area. You'll find plenty of 'how to' videos on Youtube - and once you've got the hang of it, you'll be creating them in no time.
Did you opt for a budget wedding? Leave your tips for cost cutting below...