The cost of a wedding in the UK often runs into the tens of thousands of pounds and, while it is your special day, it is worth considering some ways to lower the bill. It is possible to have a perfectly wonderful day, with most of the trimmings, on a budget. You just need to be prepared to be hands-on and spend some time planning. Have a look at the following tips we have compiled on how to save money on your wedding for inspiration.
Say Yes to the Dress
Every woman wants to feel like a princess on their big day, and with all eyes on the bride, the wedding dress is often one of the most expensive items. However, there is a myriad of ways to get the dress of your dreams for less. Keep an eye out for sales and discount days in wedding dress shops; these happen more often than you might think.
Consider if you are prepared to buy a second-hand dress. As we know, people spend small fortunes on wedding dresses to wear them once, then put them at the back of their wardrobe. Many then conclude they may as well sell them to try and get some of their investment back. You can get amazing quality dresses at knockdown prices if you are willing to consider this option. Lastly, most things associated with weddings are costed at a premium. Therefore, if you’re coveting a less traditional wedding dress, then don’t be afraid to look in normal shops in their formal dress section.
Many women also feel they need to have a professional hair and make-up team to look their best. While this can be a pleasant treat, it is far from a necessity. Consider the fact that you actually know your face and hair the best as the person who does your hair styling and make-up every day. There are horror stories of some women being really disappointed with professional services used on the day, as they did not keep to their style and did not feel like themselves. Consequently, maybe instead of hiring professionals, use some of the cash saved to invest in some high-end make-up, watch some online beauty tutorials, and let the person who knows your look best create it, you!
Timing Is Everything
Obviously, there are reasons why Saturday and summer weddings are so popular, but you will pay more for choosing to celebrate at such times. If you can, think about holding your wedding on a weekday or in the winter. This will generally guarantee you a more favourable rate with just about everything, from your venue to your honeymoon. Additionally, consider a venue where you can hold both the ceremony and reception, as this represents better value than paying for two destinations. One venue will also cut down transport costs as you won’t have to ferry guests around. Whenever you choose to have your wedding, always get as many quotes as possible when looking at venues, flowers and everything in between. There is no worse idea than just taking the first offer you are given.
Even the time of day you have your ceremony can have an impact on your budget. A morning or lunchtime vow exchange gives you a large portion of the day and evening to fill with entertainment and refreshments. So why not consider an afternoon ceremony that just leaves you with one meal to provide.
Do It Yourself, or Recruit Friends and Family
There are lots of wedding tasks and chores that can be completed by you or by willing volunteers. Do a skills audit of your guests to see what they might be able to help with. Are there any keen sewers, for example, who could knock you up some decorative bunting? Do you know any amateur bakers who could gift you a wedding cake? Is anyone a budding photographer, complete with a posh camera, who could take some portraits for you? It never hurts to ask, and people are usually generous with their time when it comes to helping a betrothed couple achieve their wedding dreams. While you are asking people about their skillsets, also see what items they have that you can borrow. People have all sorts stashed away in their garages, from sets of tableware and glasses to table cloths and vases. Let beg and borrow, but maybe not steal, become your new wedding mantra!
Think Outside the Box
We all know what we think a traditional wedding is supposed to look like and what is supposed to be offered to guests. However, these rules are not set, and you can break them to suit your personality and budget. Do you really need to do save the date cards and invitations? Are favours for guests really necessary? Who came up with the idea of dressing chairs with ribbons, and do you really need to!? Ask yourself all these questions and only shell out for things you actually want rather than for things you think you should have.
Think about some money-saving swaps you would be happy with. For example, although most of them will end up in the bin, fancy wedding invitations on posh stationery are often one of the first big splurges that couples make. One fun idea is to use postcards from wherever you are holding the ceremony as invitations instead. Write them up yourself using your best handwriting and if you have loads to do, get your friends in on it. Invite them over for some wine and get scribbling.
Don’t think you have to spend hours at your reception doing formal wedding portraits with a photographer barking orders at your relatives either. Frankly, this is often a stressful experience that consumes time, gives you stiff-looking photos and leaves guests not involved milling around with nothing to do.
Instead, why not leave disposable cameras around the reception and ask guests to take their own snaps of themselves having fun. Then, it will be a hoot when you get them developed. Or, as smartphones have such good cameras nowadays, let everyone take photos on their phones and send them all to one place via a file sharing service. You can then pick through the masses to find the best ones to print and frame.
Many still favour a three-course sit-down meal for a wedding, though feeding all your guests at such a level will undoubtedly be costly. If you have your heart set on this sort of formal affair, there are still ways to save money on it. First, ditch the bread offered before starters, people eat it, but they don’t need it! Keep starters vegetarian. Meat tends to be the most expensive component on the menu. Lastly, consider if you really need a dessert course. You can offer people a slice of the wedding cake to round off the meal, giving them the sweet treat they desire and allowing your cake to be centre stage, rather than a culinary afterthought.
Moving away from the idea of a sit-down meal means there are lots of catering options you can consider. If you are happy to relinquish full control of your menu, do a potluck and ask each guest to bring a dish to contribute to a wedding buffet. If you want more say over your food choices, consider a picnic-style wedding arrangement, make up some sandwiches, cheese plates, pastries etc. and lay them out so people can graze. Not only will this save you tonnes of cash, but it will also create an informal atmosphere that allows guests to mingle rather than be stuck at tables.
Everyone likes a tipple at a wedding but do not think you have to cater to everyone’s specific tastes. Alcohol costs will quickly mount up, so contemplate offering wine and beer only. Spirits will push up your booze bill considerably, and once you have spirits, you need multiple mixers to go with them too. Be firm and limit what you offer. Do you need sparkling wine and a white one, for example? If you want to be really frugal, ask guests to bring a bottle, that way, they can choose to bring something they like, and you can bank your savings.
Let Me Entertain You
It used to be the case that you had no choice but to hire a professional DJ, as they were the only ones with the kit you need to put on a musical show. However, technology these days means a smartphone and some speakers will do just as good a job. So, consider being your own DJ. First, sit down with your other half before the wedding and put together some playlists of songs you both love. Then, whack them on at the reception and save yourself a bundle whilst sparing yourself the cheesy DJ jokes and the chicken dance…