With the average wedding costing up to £20,000 – the figure varies from survey to survey – you might wonder how you can get married on a budget without cutting back on style. But there’s lots you can do. You can still have a day you’ll remember for the rest of your life (for the right reasons!) without spending thousands of pounds. Here’s how:
1. You don’t have to get married on a Saturday: In the height of summer, choosing an off-peak date can save you a huge amount on your venue and all your other suppliers, and you’ll have more money to spend on other things.
2. Hire a marquee. Venues usually charge less to have a marquee in their grounds, or maybe someone in the family has got a large garden you could use.
3. Ask friends who have recently got married for their ideas. Or check out Wedding Ideas where you can get loads of ideas.
4. Save money on the wedding breakfast. Do something different like a buffet-style garden party or a classy high tea or even a barbecue. Simpler food is always cheaper and you won’t need waiting staff.
5. Put on your business brain when finding suppliers Look around for more than one, get written quotes and negotiate with them so you’re only paying for what you want.
6. Transform your reception room with simple and elegant chair covers. Use covers in your colour theme. You’ll regularly find great discounts and offers in Wedding Ideas.
7. Cupcakes can be set up on a cake stand like a traditional cake. You’re bound to know someone who loves to bake so ask them to help you out — they’ll love to be involved and guests will like the personal touch.
8. Package deals can help cut costs. There are a number of companies that do great wedding favours, stationery and accessories all at a very reasonable price.
9. Book in advance! As soon as you set the date for your wedding book your key suppliers such as your venue, photographer and caterer. With these in-demand suppliers, the earlier you can book the better the price and you should beat the next few price rises.
10. When booking your photographer, look closely at what’s included. It might be more cost effective for you to pay them by the hour or only buy the shots you want. Negotiate so that you don’t end up paying for photos you don’t want.
11. Save money on your accessories by borrowing from friends. You can borrow a necklace, tiara or earrings from someone who has already tied the knot — this can also double up as your something borrowed!
12. Consider artificial flowers. Fresh flowers can be rather pricey and artificial flowers won’t wilt and you can keep them forever. If you’d rather have real flowers for your bouquet, how about faux ones for your buttonholes?
13. Have your hair styled by someone you trust. It doesn’t have to be a hairdresser, it could be one of your bridesmaids. Have a couple of practice runs at least three months before the wedding, so you know what you’re doing on the day.
14. Practice your wedding day make-up. Hiring a make-up artist is worth the expense if it keeps you chilled out, although if you can do it for yourself every day, then why not for the big one? Alternatively, hire one person who can do your hair and make-up!
15. Do you know someone who has a gorgeous car? Ask them to take you for the most important journey you’ll ever make — great for your pocket and a thrill for your friend!
16. Stick to the schedule. If the timings of the day overrun, you’ll have to pay extra if you want musicians or the photographer to stay on longer.
17. Don’t let the guest list get out of control. Talk to your fiance and only ask the people who mean the most to both of you. You can save plenty by inviting fewer people to the pricey sit-down meal and more to the cheaper evening celebrations.
18. Consider getting married later in the day. That way you’ll only need to provide one light meal for everyone in the evening.
19. Get online. The internet is an amazing resource for researching and planning. Wedding Ideas magazine particularly likes the planning website, The Wedding Community, where you can set up your own profile page, utilise all sorts of handy planning tools and connect to guests and other brides to be.
20. Track down a family member who’s a wannabe film maker. Sign them up and make their day while they make your video for you!
21. Make your own entertainment on the day. Use your favourite tracks from your iPod — you’ll save money and make it much more personal too.
22. Work out a budget with your fiance. Take into account any family contributions and make a list of the things that are most important to you to have on the day. Focus your spending on these areas and you should have the perfect day!
23. Find out if any friends or family has a second home abroad. Most friends and family are more than happy to help out so perhaps they could let you stay there for your honeymoon, if not for free then at a knock-down price.
24. Choose a venue where you can hold your entire day: the ceremony, wedding breakfast and evening reception. You’ll save on transport, church hire, decorations and perhaps even get a discount rate on bedrooms for the night.
25. Consider hiring a professional wedding planner. It might sound extravagant, but they will have great contacts, special rates with selected suppliers and they will stick to your budget so you can just relax and have fun with the planning.
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