With the cost of weddings going up and up, you either need to be marrying a millionaire or be keeping your fingers crossed that you don't end up in debt at the end of the wedding. There is nothing like running out of money to put the dampener on your celebrations.
The biggest area to save money has to be the wedding reception, in most cases this can amount to over 50% of your wedding costs!
The most obvious way to reduce the costs is to invite less people, take a serious look at your guest list. It is your day make sure you have the people you want there not everyone you have ever met, be ruthless!
Firstly you need to be creative, don't automatically think of the most popular venue in your town, they are likely to be the most expensive, although if you do inquire it is worth thinking of having your wedding on a Friday as this is normally cheaper than at the weekend.
Make a list of all venues available; hotels, bars, pubs, restaurants, clubs, community halls, schools, colleges, Uncle Harry's garden, you get the picture, if there is enough space for all your guests then it is a contender for your cheap wedding venue. You will be amazed at the price differences and to help you compare apples with apples it is worth having a spreadsheet for all the venues listing everything that they include in the price. Check that they supply chairs, tables, glasses, crockery and cutlery as hiring these can soon add up.
When you visit all of the venues don't be put off too much by the decor as you can easily decorate the room to hide the flaws. It is amazing what several metres of material can do. If you do end up hiring a room that needs lots of decorating you will need to have lots of help to decorate, ideally the day before as you don't want to be panicking on the day. The same goes for the look of the place outside, is there a park nearby where you can have your photos?
Some of the smaller more basic venues may not provide catering so this will be an additional expense. You will need to get quotes from caterers to add to the cost of the room hire. To keep the costs down with the caterer look at having a buffet that your guests can help themselves, this will keep your staff costs down. You will need the caterer to lay the buffet out and clear it away.
Alternatives for the catering are to have a champagne and cake reception in the afternoon or a cocktails and canapes for the evening. If this is on your invites your guests would know what to expect.
At the end of the day you need to be happy with your choice but this doesn't mean that you have to have huge debt from one day.
Suzanne Daykin has been an event manager for 12 years, organising small intimate functions to large corporate product launches in the UK and Europe. Suzanne set up her own event business in 2006 and now looks to help brides and grooms save money on their wedding.