With the average wedding budget running between £17,000.00 and £25,000.00 (yes it looks more if you put the 0’s in) what can you do to save money on your wedding without compromising your day.
Generally the most expensive parts of the day are:
- The Church – usually costs around £500.00. Church decoration can cost anything up to £5,000.00 (believe me – I produced the video for the wedding)
- The Reception – the sky is the limit but at least £35.00 a head for the meal, £20.00 a head for the drinks plus another £25.00 a head for the evening buffet. That could be at least £80.00 for every guest – £800.00 for ten, £8,000.00 for 100.
- The dress can cost £500.00 to £2,500.00 and more.
- Bridesmaids outfits – usually at least £100.00 each.
- The cake could be £500.00 to £1,500.00.
- Photography normally costs £1500.00 to £3,000.00.
- Wedding cars again can cost from £500.00 to £1,500.00
- Stationary and postage for invitations at least £150.00
You are already well on the way to spending £17.250.00. Could that be the deposit on a fairly nice house?
So how can you save money on what should be the greatest day of your lives?
Talk to people – many suppliers will offer you special prices for “Off Peak” weddings – usually weekdays, Sundays or from October to April.
Ask for help to save money, get help from friends and family, search out any musician friends and ask them to perform, find a well spoken, confident friend who can be your toast master or master of ceremonies. Most of us know someone who is good with makeup, hairstyling, design, crafts and so on. Ask for help, most people will be more than happy to be a real part of your special day. Have a “DIY” party for your friends to help you with invitation, flowers, table decorations, favours and so on but be sure to give them some delicious snacks and drinks as a thank you.
Music. Contact your local college and ask if they have anyone who would perform at your wedding.
Make the most of EBAY and the Wonderful World Wide Web. Check out OXFAM where you could find a new or ex catwalk dress for as little as 30% of the retail price.
Church. Talk to the vicar at your church, if you are a regular church goer explain that you are on a really tight budget but want to get married in the Church and ask for his help. Do you really need the Bells?, or even a choir – find out about using a music CD, do you need a copyright or PRS licence or has the Church already got one?
Save on Church decoration by timing your day to coincide with a religious holiday or flower festival when the church will already be decorated.
Unless you have a good reason for getting married in Church consider using a Registry Office, wedding venue, Pub, Hotel, village hall and so on. Many farmers have diversified into offering facilities ranging from a field, to a designer venue with room for your reception, marquee, converted barns and so on.
Why not do the “Legal Bit” at a registry office and have a civil celebrant to conduct a relaxed and beautiful celebration of your marriage at home if you have space or at some other venue, field, tent, barn, marquee etc.
Reception. Trim your guest list, and then trim it again. You don’t need to feel pressured to invite cousins, colleagues from work or distant relatives. If you don’t invite anyone from a particular group none of them will feel left out. Don’t let your friends bring their children or feel pressured to let single friends bring a date. Every time you add a name you could be adding £50 to £100 or even more to the cost (that’s a cool £1000.00 for 10 people).
If your wedding and reception are in a hotel ask for a substantial discount on the room rate for guests.
Talk to your caterer, be honest and don’t be afraid to ask whether a buffet would be cheaper than a sit down meal, find out which are the least expensive entrees, nibbles and canapés. Ask if you can supply your own booze, find out if just beer and wine would be cheaper than a full bar.
Most of the major supermarkets produce “party platters” with a selection of canapés, snacks and nibbles. The Dress. Shop around, check out the Internet. Look for designer dress sample sales – if your size 6, 8 or 10 you could find an absolute bargain but the sales only happen once a year. If you buy second hand be sure that the dress has been properly cleaned and is really goo quality you should save up to 80% on the new price. Oxfam has a specialist shop for wedding dresses some of which are new, ask them for details. Consider buying a beautiful suit or outfit that you can wear again. The so called traditional White Wedding Dress is a Victorian invention along with all those expensive designer Christmas, birthday, get well soon and wedding invitation cards that we needlessly spend so much on.
Bridesmaids outfits. Will they but there own? Something that they might wear again for a party etc. Do you know anyone who could make the outfits, especially for little bridesmaids, or flower girls.
Invitations. Save postage and printing costs by keeping them simple, print your own using one of the excellent DIY design packages available on line, leave out the RSVP card and ask guests to reply by phone or e-mail.
The Cake. Can someone make a cake or decorate a shop bought cake for you. M and S and several other stores produce really lovely wedding cakes which you can decorate with fresh fruit, flowers, chocolate etc. Why not hire a cake stand and buy some “designer cup cakes” – again check out the web for suppliers.
Having said all of this you should consider those things where you really need professional help –
Large flower arrangements and centrepieces (do you really need them?). Really?
Bride and Bridesmaid bouquets as photographers we see far too many fall apart on the day, usually because the flowers have just been stuck into oasis foam without wiring.
Your wedding Dress – see above.
Your wedding cake – again see above.
Catering – see above.
Photography – Obviously as I make my living from wedding photography I think that everyone should have a professional wedding photographer. I genuinely hear all sorts of horror stories about the pictures that “didn’t come out”, blurred, dodgy backgrounds, so if you want more information check out my other blogs.