With the average wedding now costing £17,000, many couples are now looking or ways to have a ‘celebrity’ stylish wedding, without the celebrity price tag. The first tip is simple — ask for a discount. The worst that can happen is that they say ‘No’. You might be a bit embarrassed, but what have you lost? We’ve pulled together 5 other top tips to help you create your dream wedding on a shoestring budget.
1. Choosing the Wedding Venue
Your venue is probably going to be the single biggest wedding expense that you’ll have to pay, with many of the more popular venues charging 2,000 upwards. But you don’t need to spend this sort of money to have a fabulous venue.
Image: Zoet Moments
Wedding Venue Cost Saving Tip:
Many village halls, golf and rugby clubs have suitable rooms available for a fraction of the price. The trick is to see past the existing décor and imagine it sprinkled with hundreds of fairy lights or candles — think of Ross’s wedding on the hit show Friends that Rachel ruined!
If you’ve found the wedding venue of your dreams, but it looks as if it will be out of your budget, don’t despair. Many venues offer significant discounts for mid-week or ‘out of season’ weddings which can run into thousands of pounds.
2. Food at the Wedding
Deciding what kind of menu you want to offer for your wedding can be difficult enough without having to see the price tag that goes along with it!
Food Budget Cost Saving Tip:
There are lots of ways to cut back on your food budget, and still have a memorable day. Selecting a venue where you can bring in your own caterers is often a much better value than using the existing venue catering. You can even go as far as preparing all the food yourself, though be careful of taking too much.
If you don’t have a choice about which caterer you use, there are still ways that you can trim your spending costs. Try replacing the starter course with canapés, instead of having both. Or, replace dessert with your wedding cake — so often wedding cake gets forgotten about because guests have already had so much to eat.
A new idea that brides are buzzing about is the wedding ‘cheese’ cake. Literally, it is three slabs of cheese turned into a wedding cake for that special ‘cutting of the cake’ photograph and ceremony. Why not combine the two instead of having a separate cheese and cake course? Or serve this with crackers, chutney and pate for your evening guests?
3. Drinks at the Wedding
To have a free bar, or cash bar? Such a difficult question to answer. Of course, it would be fantastic to offer a free bar to all your guests, all day, but with limited funds, it’s not a realistic option for most people.
Booze Budget Cost Saving Tip:
The ideal in this instance is to use a venue where you can bring your own booze. I was lucky enough to be able to do this at our wedding and managed to pop across to France and buy 180 bottles of wine and 240 beers, plus Pimms and cassis for under 500. We had stacks left and our guests were restricted to beer, wine or soft drinks, but no one seemed to mind.
Another option is to come to an arrangement with the hotel regarding corkage. A friend got married in a hotel, which charged 10 per bottle of wine. She arranged a flat fee of 500 for all of her beer and wine opening. Although it seems like a lot, it meant that she could afford to supply beer and wine for her guests.
With most bridal dresses starting around 600 and running into thousands of pounds, this is a huge expense.
Bridalwear Cost Saving Tip:
You can still look fabulous for a fraction of the price and feel that you’re minimising the eco-footprint of your wedding by buying a ‘pre-loved’ wedding dress.
Many charity shops have specialist ‘bridalwear’ departments where you can purchase new and designer dresses that have been worn once. You can try the dresses on before buying and you’ll get a warm glow from doing something for ‘Charidee’.
If you’re a little braver, you can venture online, where there are some fantastic bargains to be had in the ‘pre-loved’ lines. Take a look at some of the ‘For Sale’ forums of the popular wedding websites and you’ll see bridal dresses, veils, tiaras and those Jimmy Choo shoes that you know you want for a fraction of the cost.
5. The Wedding Photography
Many couples feel that photography is a major part of the day and are prepared to pay upwards of 2,000 for a beautifully presented wedding album. Photographers have confirmed that it isn’t the actual photography, which is the major part of this expense, but printing and preparation of the formal wedding albums.
Wedding Photography Cost Savings Tip:
Many photographers are prepared to attend your wedding day and then provide you with a DVD of your photos for around £600. With the DVD, you can then use some of the fantastic online services to prepare your own ‘Photo Book’ — costing much less. Or, as many guests will no doubt have digital cameras with them, combine place cards with little notes asking them to share their wedding photos on your online directory.
Another excellent tip for having a photo keepsake of your wedding is to use several Instant Photo Guest Books, which combine Polaroid Instant Photos and hand-written sentiments from your guests. These photo guest books are ready to enjoy the “instant” your wedding is over — and creating them adds great fun to the wedding reception!
Use the Hitched budget planning tool to help you with your own wedding budget.