How to tie the knot on a budget
Getting hitched this year and wondering how you'll pay for it all? Then follow these simple tips..
The Royal Wedding is fast approaching. And if you're anything like me, you're probably sick of hearing about it.
What's more, if you're getting married yourself this year, you're probably even more fed up of hearing about how fanastic Will and Kate's wedding is going to be. What about yours?
Fortunately, I got married last year before all of this hype started. But if you are getting married this year, you might be pondering how to make your big day extra special without draining your bank account. After all, it can be very stressful trying to stick to your budget - and not all of us are royalty!
So I've come up with some top tips to help you cut down on the cost of your wedding, without sacrificing your enjoyment!
- Buy a simple white dress (or use a dress you've already got) and jazz it up with pretty accessories.
- Start thinking about your dress as early as possible. That way, you're more likely to be able to take advantage of any sales.
- Don't snub high street stores -- shops such as BHS, Coast, Monsoon, M&Sand Debenhams offer some fabulous bridal wear and accessories at reasonable prices. And don't forget to see if there's a voucher code you can use too to save even more money, as well as whether you can get cashback through a cashback website such as GreasyPalm or Quidco!
Top tip: Use charity shops to pick up a bargain. This doesn't necessarily mean your dress will be second hand -- some bridal companies donate their end of line dresses and sell them on at discounted prices. Oxfam has 11 bridal shops -- you can view them all here.
- Buy a ready-made iced cake from a supermarket such as M&S and then decorate it yourself with ribbons or flowers.
- If you have a friend or relative who is an ace cake maker, ask if he/she could make your cake as a wedding present.
Top tip: Have two cakes -- yes, there really is logic to this tip! Order a small, fancy wedding cake which your guests will see and which will be cut. Then have a larger similar sheet cake out the back which will be cut up behind the scenes and given to guests. No one will know the difference and you'll pocket some extra cash!
- Try to avoid hiring a venue for the peak months of May to September. You'll get offered much bigger discounts if you get married off-peak and a winter wedding can be just as beautiful as a summer one. Just be careful around Christmas, as prices can start to rise again.
- Similarly, avoid Saturdays. If you get married during the week, such as on a Friday, you'll pay less.
Top tip: Be creative -- try village halls, local authority buildings and country pubs for a more value-for-money venue.
- Do you have a friend who's great at photography? Ask him/her if he/she will take your photos for you. However, before you commit to this you should check just how good they are with the camera - after all, this is your wedding day and your photos are important. So make sure you truly will be happy with your friend taking photos for you.
Getting married soon? Follow our top tips to keep costs to a minimum!
- If you go for a professional photographer, always shop around to compare prices and consider cutting down the number of hours the photographer will be present to save money.
- Ensure you have the rights to the photos or purchase a CD from which you can print them off, otherwise you'll have to keep going back for reprints, making it expensive.
- Use websites such as Photobox and Truprint to make up your own wedding album rather than pay for the photographer's expensive version. Yes, this may take a little time, but it will give you a chance to re-live the big day and it will save you some serious money - particularly as these websites regularly run special offers.
Top tip: Professional photographers just starting out will sometimes agree to cover weddings for free to help him/her build up a portfolio. Gumtree is a good place to start looking.
- If your budget is tight, you can completely cut the cost of invitations by sending out 'save the date' cards, gift lists and invitations online! Just make sure your guests check their emails regularly.
- Start looking for suitable invitations early and keep an eye on the sales -- you'll have more chance of picking up a bargain.
Top tip: If you're willing to make the invitations yourself, you can save bags of money. Providing you have the time and the patience, you can make original hand-crafted invitations, or design them online. And don't forget, there's no need to include an RSVP card. This website has lots of great free downloads!
- See if there's a young local band that would be willing to play at your wedding. It will give them a chance to raise their profile and should save some pennies. Just make sure you can agree on the type of music you want!
- If you have a friend who DJs in his/her spare time, ask your friend if he/she would be prepared to DJ at your wedding.
Related how-to guide
Weddings can be ridiculously expensive - make sure you're financially ready for marital bliss!See the guide
Top tip: Ask your guests for their favourite songs when they reply to your invitation. Compile a playlist and then load up your iPod with the songs, link your iPod to speakers, and away you go.
- If you're getting married in a church, find out if there are any decorations there already that you can use to your advantage. For example, if, like the royal couple themselves, you're getting married just after Easter, you should still find some spring bouquets adorning the church.
- Make up the bouquets yourself (or ask a friend or two to help) using flowers from your local market or supermarket.
Top tip: Use flowers that are in season as they'll be cheaper than trying to buy flowers off-season.
- Turning to nature can provide a fabulous way to decorate your table -- pick up shells if you live near the beach, or use branches and large twigs from the garden and spray them silver.
- Tea lights are cheap and will look great on your tables or around the room. You could even tie a bit of ribbon around the metal casing to match your colour-scheme.
Top tip: Buy a cutter from a craft shop and use it to cut out shapes such as hearts and butterflies from foil wrapping paper -- this makes fabulous table confetti. Alternatively, you could use flower petals.
- Have a buffet rather than a three-course sit down meal. You could even ask the guests to bring the food and drink instead of wedding presents.
- Don't have a free bar in the evening -- not only will it prevent guests from getting too 'rowdy', but it will save the pennies.
Top tip: Don't have an evening buffet -- those guests who arrive in the evening will probably have already eaten, and those guests that ate earlier should still be full! Alternatively, you could just have a very simple buffet, such as bread and cheese.
I hope these tips will provide some inspiration on how to lower the cost of your big day, without spoiling the fun. Have a wonderful wedding day!