It’s difficult enough planning a wedding but throw in a budget and you might think that your dreams of a fairytale wedding are about to come crashing down before you. However budget weddings needn’t mean sacrifices – with a bit of planning and an eye for a bargain, you can still have the wedding of your dreams at half the cost.
Budget Wedding Wear
Shop for a wedding dress in a specialised wedding bureau and you could see your bank balance go down by as much as £10,000. Even hiring a dress can be a costly business. That’s why many brides-to-be are hunting around for a bargain wedding dress in places such as Oxfam and Ebay. In fact Oxfam found the demand for cheap wedding dresses so high that they now have dedicated Bridal Stores specialising in second-hand wedding dresses from as little as £75 to around £600 for a designer dress.
eBay is also a good place to look with many brides selling on their dresses after their own big day has passed. Not all dresses are second-hand either, many outlets have also cottoned onto the popularity of buying wedding dresses from ebay. Don’t think that both Oxfam and Ebay specialise only in bargain wedding dresses either, you can kit out your bridesmaids, ushers, groom and best man too. All for less than half the price you would pay on the high street.
Wedding Wear on the High Street
If you still want to buy your own gown then many high street stores also offer good value for money. Marks and Spencer, Debenhams, etc all do high quality but reasonably priced outfits which are suitable for a wedding.
Wedding Attendants Budget Ideas
Another budget saving idea is to ask bridesmaids, page boys and the best man to buy their own outfits. Most little boys will have smart suits at home for special occasions that would make a more than adequate page boy outfit and little girls can get some stunning yet cheap outfits from the high street that will double as party wear.
When I got married I used my works computer to design a batch of invites which I then printed off and handed out at zero cost to myself. But I now realise that most people have higher standards than I do! However making your own wedding stationery is now becoming quite the trend amongst brides-to-be. Why pay hundreds for some pre-designed wedding stationery when you can make your own, personal and unique invitations?
Wedding Gift Ideas
With most couples now setting up home before they get married there is very little they need that they haven’t already got. Thankfully most major stores such as John Lewis provide a wedding list service to ensure that you don’t end up with 5 kettles and endless towel sets.
However some couples are ditching the wedding list idea completely and are asking for money donations instead. If you don’t like the idea of asking for money then most travel companies such as Thomas Cook do travel vouchers that you can put towards your honeymoon. Other couples go even further and use their wedding day as an opportunity to raise money for their own charitable cause. But personally I think there is nothing wrong with asking for cash instead of gifts that you can both spend together on something that will mean so much more than a duvet set.
Wedding Budget Planner
Setting a budget isn’t the most romantic of notions but it will help to keep your spend under control. A simple spreadsheet will do the trick or there are plenty of budget planning tools available. Now all you have to do is to stay beautiful and get on with enjoying the best day of your life!
The Marriage Ceremony
You can expect to pay a minimum of £300 for a basic church wedding and once you add on all the extras such as a choir, bell ringers and an organist you will be nearer to four figures. A marriage at your local register office is the least expensive option, though the number of guests you can invite will be limited. A civil ceremony at a local venue can work out a lot cheaper, plus if you have your reception at the same venue you will save a small fortune on transport as well.
Consider Using a Consultant
You might think that employing a wedding consultant or wedding planner may be a luxury you can’t afford. But, often, their inside knowledge and willingness to negotiate may mean that the cost of using them is far outweighed by the potential savings. Some wedding planners will even work for free on the basis that they can make commission from the various suppliers they arrange. While this is not always the ideal solution – it’s worth considering.
The Wedding Reception
The reception is by far the biggest cost of any wedding, and also the place where you can save most money. Reckon on at least £15 to £20 a head for a sit down meal, though having a buffet or carvery is one way to keep the cost down. If you would rather have the meal served then remember that silver service can add a lot to the cost – consider having courses served plated instead. It makes no difference to the quality of the meal but costs a lot less to deliver.
You can save most money by having your wedding at the end of the Summer when there is less demand. Naturally, you risk worse weather but if you’re having a ceremony and reception at one venue this is less important. Consider having your wedding mid-week as well, (which also means that less guests will be able to attend!).
Beware of packages, whilst many of the items/services offered in the packages may sound great, remember very little of it is free. Did you budget for these extras? Do you really want them? If not, say that you don’t want everything that is included and that you would like a new package without all the extras.
It’s impossible to offer a catering package that suits everyone, so ask for a bespoke package. If they can not adjust their pricing then ask what they can give you in the way of value? Can they offer a discount for people staying over or upgrade accommodation which is already included?
Buy your own wine and pay a corkage fee rather than buying from the venue. You can use Cava for the toasts rather than champagne – few people know the difference and it costs a lot less.
If you have your ceremony and reception at the same venue then you will spare the expense of moving yourselves and your guests between venues. Alternatively, you can save money by organising lifts for close family members with friends. If you are transporting a lot of people, then unique wedding transport ideas like vintage buses are a good idea and tend to be more cost effective than taxis. Plus, you can be assured that your guests will all arrive on time and at the correct place!
In every good fairytale the fairy godmother always manages to conjure up the princess’ dress of her dreams with a little practical application of her magic wand. We may not have a magic wand but we can wave a little practical advice your way and ensure that you still look like a princess for your big day without feeling like a pauper afterwards.