How to Have Your Dream Wedding Day Whatever Your Budget

Five wedding experts give us their top tips on how to have the perfect, fairytale wedding day no matter what your budget is

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Whether money is no object and you’re prepared to splurge all your savings on a grandiose wedding — or you want to achieve your dream day on a limited budget — we asked five wedding experts to give us their top tips on the perfect, fairytale wedding day.

The Venue

Top tips from Clare Wickens at ESC Weddings

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Venue

With lots of money to spend, consider an exclusive, private venue. Wrotham Park is a private mansion in a 2,500 acre Hertfordshire estate. Ashley and Cheryl Cole had their wedding blessed there in 2006 and the venue was used in Gosford Park.

Or have your very own royal wedding at Hampton Court — an unforgettable location with beautiful grounds for a drinks reception.

Dreams on a Budget:

A weekday or winter wedding is always cheaper and consider non-traditional venues too; ask local farms if they have a field you can hire, or church halls can be dressed with bunting and china for a lo-fi vintage vibe.

Burrows Lea Country House is an affordable option which also has its own chapel on site, keeping both your ceremony and wedding reception in close proximity to one another.

The Entertainment

Top tips from Liz Taylor of wedding planners the Taylor Lynn Corporation

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Entertainment

To book an A-list band you can spend hundreds of thousands to millions of pounds; you're paying for the artist, their entourage, first class travel and accommodation, so it adds up.

Wedding planners know who to call and can negotiate the best deal - I’ve booked Diana Ross, Alexandra Burke and Leona Lewis. But don't blow your budget on one big name; once they’ve performed the atmosphere can take a huge dip, so book a supporting cast of great artists.

Dreams on a Budget

There are plenty of excellent musicians and artists available who don't charge A-list prices, including tribute acts.

I always advise considering the audience’s tastes and ages before booking and choosing artists who play a long set. Big names may only play for 20 or 30 minutes, whereas a good party band can play all night.

The Transport

Top tips from Caroline Weldhen at Trenance Executive Travel

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Transport

A Cinderella-style, horse drawn carriage is a fairytale option, but you can hire anything from a Ferrari to a yacht or hot air balloon.

Regardless of budget, I advise brides to try out the transport first and think about space and practicalities; there’s no point paying a fortune for a vintage car and then finding that your fairytale dress — or 6ft groom — can’t fit in the back seat!

Dreams on a Budget:

Some taxi firms have an impressive fleet, so find out if your local cab office has a lovely car you could book.

We offer discounts when you book an additional car to take you to the airport for your honeymoon, or cars for the bridal party, so ask your transport firm what discounts are available.

The Flowers

Top tips from Linda Brayne at Floral Flair

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Flowers

Old English roses are usually the most expensive blooms and provide the ‘wow factor’. Rose arbours and topiary trees are another stunning option and a fully-wired bouquet is more expensive, but it’s lightweight and uses lots of flowers.

For a talking point, exotic blooms and orchids are an unusual choice and your guests may have never seen them before.

Dreams on a Budget:

Always look at seasonal flowers — even the humble daffodil and tulip look fantastic in large quantities.

When you set the date, avoid Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, when even the most affordable florist will double their prices.

The Cake

Top tips from Marie Sinclair at Genuine Cakes

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Cakes

The more tiers you have, the more expensive your cake will be. You can go to town with luxury extras such as white chocolate icing (which gives a fairytale finish), bows, glitter and a unique cake stand.

You can even buy an acrylic cake stand in the shape of a horse and carriage, with a tall wedding cake to ‘sit’ on the seat.

Dreams on a Budget:

A sponge cake is always cheaper than fruit and ‘dummy’ tiers (made of polystyrene) look just as good as a regular cake when decorated.

Cupcakes are usually around £100 cheaper than a tiered cake, and you can save more by picking them up yourself, instead of paying for specialised delivery.



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