When we decided to get married, we hadn't long bought our house. And so often is the case with new couples, the decision is whether to buy a house, start a family, or get married. And in this new era that we live in, none of them have to go hand in hand, or in any order! The only issue is... money. The shocking costs of trying to buy a house in the current climate is that of which you feel it's totally impossible without a bailout from the parents, a pretty impressive (although rather depressing) inheritance, or winning the lottery. And lets be honest, none of those are particularly common! So how do you manage it? Obviously if I were a property blogger, I could give you tips and advice on how to get the house, but I think I'll stick with the wedding biz for now! So, if you are trying to juggle all your plates at once and get married too, you've got to keep your budget down. The current average wedding budget is £25,000! Obviously there are lots more than just these 10 tips, but these will go a long way into stretching your budget, and still making your wedding, the wedding of a lifetime, and not shirking on the quality that you want.
1. Be Ruthless.
It sounds awful. But just because you were invited to your sister-in-laws nieces wedding, doesn't mean you have to invite them back. Be ruthless. The most people you invite (especially to the day), the bigger the cost to your wedding. And boy does it get big. Your venue could be approximately £80 a head. Put it into perspective... are you willing to spend £80 on that person? If the answer is no, they don't get invited. The way around this is to have a large amount of people invited to the evening, and really make them feel included in the evening. Make sure they get a nice evening invite, that there is food available, some good entertainment in the evening, and be sure to see everyone, get a photo with them, and make them feel a part of your special day.
2. Reach out to your friends and family
You know what it's like when you get asked to be a part of someone's wedding. You feel truly honoured that they thought of you, and would like you to be part of their special day. So, why not offer some of your friends and family to be part of your wedding? Have a really good think, and I bet you can come up with some friends and family who can make wedding cakes, would be willing to help you make favours, centrepieces, invites, save the dates, do your flowers, take up your bridesmaid dresses, musicians, hairdressers, photographers or people fantastic at make up! I was very lucky. One of my bridesmaids is a make up artist (Instagram @beautybyneha), my cousin is a fantastic florist (Facebook @fleurorfaux), and my Mum makes wedding cakes (Facebook @jennyscakedecoration); this
was just the tip of the iceberg. I saved thousands. Before you spend, think, do I know someone? Don't be afraid to ask, they'll be honoured. Just one word of warning: be sure you are happy with their quality before you ask them. You can't exactly ask for a refund after.
3. Buy instead of Hire
If you have at least 12 months to go before your wedding, and your prepared to go the extra mile, do the research, and buy instead of hire. When it comes to things like suits, you can buy really nice three-piece suits from places like Matalan, Burtons or ASOS for a similar price to buying, but your groomsmen can keep them. I would just suggest in this instance, that you buy something they might want to use again or find useful! This one is from Matalan, and really looks the part!
4. Hire a Wedding Co-ordinator
Does that sound crazy? Pay out for someone to organise your wedding for you, helps you to save money? It's true! From Day One of engagement to the last day of your honeymoon, to sending out the thank you cards, your wedding planner should be there for all the important decisions, all the tiny little issues, and all of the confetti throwing. Wedding planners generally charge you somewhere between 12-15% of your budget. However, even with that charge, they are guaranteed to save you money. The reason for this is because they have links with all the people in the business, who will give the planners huge discounts in order to get their business. You won't ever get deals as cheap as the wedding planners will. (We actually have our own Wedding Planning part of our business, and we charge a flat rate instead of a percentage, making it even cheaper, so drop us a line if you are interested).
5. Cut down the hours of the photographer/videographer
Photographers charge by the hour or the half day/full day.
Firstly, get all the bridesmaids and bridal party there in the morning while you get ready. Get them to get their filters on and take lots of pictures while you all get ready. Research some pretty shots that you would like, and get your bridesmaids on the case. That way, you don't need a stranger in the house in the morning getting in your face when you are feeling anxious.
Secondly, get the big things done early on, so that you can send your photographer home. Things like throwing your bouquet or cutting the cake can be done a little earlier to cut your costs right down.
6. Cut down on your flowers!
Lots of brides blow the budget on flowers. They are stunning and beautiful, and can really make a photo stand out, but what happens to them after the day? They die! This is such a waste of money, and a waste of the beautiful flowers. I suggest use the cleverly and minimally. For instead, if you have a church wedding, the church often offer to do your flowers for you, for a charge. However, that means you pay them for the church flowers, then you pay for more flowers at your reception. However, you can get your florist to make some strategically placed flowers, and then after the ceremony, someone can whizz them to your reception and put them up there too, to save some seriously needed pounds!!
Also, where flowers would look pretty but aren't close up, use artificial flowers. These
will look really beautiful, and a lot of the time you really can't tell the difference, close up or at a distance.
You could also go for an unusual bouquet like a button bouquet, or a brooch bouquet, for something a little more modern and different, again saving you lots of money on flowers.
And do you really need the buttonholes and do the bridesmaids need posies? They hold on to them for about an hour, and then they are put down and start to wilt.
And finally, centrepieces. Although the tradition is to have flowers, a lot of the time this gets in the way of guests talking to each other. You might be a lot better off going for
something a little different or themed, some tall slim vases that don't impinge on view and only require 1 or 2 tall flowers, rather than huge bouquets.
7. DIY Wedding Invites
The truth is, nobody really cares about your invite. Sorry! It gets stuck to the fridge or put along with the post for 6 months, and then searched for a few weeks before the wedding to make sure they get the right address or order from your gift list, and they really don't notice the beauty of your wedding invite. So make it yourself! There are lots of options. Firstly, there are plenty of wedding invite softwares around if you are feeling IT savvy, and printing at your local
printers will cut down your costs dramatically. Secondly, you can use websites such as vistaprint to create save the dates or invites from postcards, or magnet photocards, and keep the costs down. Finally, if you want the look of a handmade card, then make it yourself! Get to HobbyCraft (I would also suggest The Works and Wilko's) and get your supplies. All I would suggest in this case, is that you teach your Mum or a couple of bridesmaids how to make them too, get a takeaway and a bottle of wine, because you might get a bit fed up by the time you get to your 89th Wedding Invite...
8. Seriously consider your venue
It's not all about the venue. Even if you think it is, it really isn't. It's about how you dress the venue, and what entertainment you have, and how memorable your day is. It doesn't matter whether it had a gravel driveway, and big fireplaces, whether it's 2 miles or 10 miles from the ceremony. Your guests are keen for a nice glass of wine and a good-sized meal, wherever that is. Make sure you go around a lot of venues, bartering down their costs for catering and booze. Consider different days of the week, as this can dramatically bring down the price of your venue. Some will let you bring your own alcohol in, which would be a massive plus. Seriously consider community halls. When they are dressed, they can look so beautiful.
9. Don't blow your budget on the dress!!
Yes, it's your dream to have the perfect dress, it's true. But the real truth is that all of the dresses come from China, whether it's the most recent Ronald Joyce, or an off the rack. Personally, I bought a dress from Wed2Be. It cost me £479. Whilst I was getting it altered (I'm 5 foot 2!!), my seamstress was shocked by the quality and said it was a lot better than a recent dress she had altered that cost £2500. And what are you going to do with it afterwards? You could sell it (there are some great second hand dress shops that will buy it off you), keep it in a wardrobe forever, or donate it. Whichever way, you're not getting the full amount back again. I strongly urge that you have a look around Wed2Be with an open mind, as well as looking at some of the smaller wedding dress boutiques, before making a well informed decision. And of course there are 2nd hand wedding dress shops (such as Preloved), charity shops, or even high street shops like Monsoon.
And whilst we are talking about dresses, don't spend the earth on bridesmaid dresses. They are unlikely to wear them again, and you're unlikely to please them all, so go for something cheaper. You can always get a seamstress to do a bit of work on them if you have to. I bought mine for £35 each, and they didn't need a thing doing to them. They actually came direct from China, and the quality was shockingly good.
10. Shop around for your cake
How important is your cake to you? If it's really important that you have this tradition, then go for it! But consider that not everyone eats the cake, and you are always left with tonnes of it! You can get faux tiers, so that it looks the part and very impressive, but you won't have all that left over cake.
If your cake isn't that important to you, then don't spend all that money on it! You can get simple wedding cakes so easily from supermarkets and bakeries that charge rock bottom prices. You can then get a nice cake topper to show it off, put a ribbon around it, or ask your florist to put a couple of real flowers on top, and it will look simple and elegant, at an absolute fraction of the cost.
11. Switch your gift list for cash!
The traditional way was to get married, then move in together, which of course meant that you had nothing! The gift list was vital to hep you get moved in and settled into domestic bliss together. Things aren't quite like that anymore, and we don't really 'need' all those things on the John Lewis gift lists! Instead, write a friendly quote on your invite or your website to offer people to give you money instead. All that money that you get from your generous loving guests, will help to offset all the costs of your wedding, so you won't feel quite so poor when you come out the other side! There are lots of fab words to use via this link: