The seven worst wedding rip-offs!
If you're getting married this year, watch out for these top rip-offs!
There’s been quite a lot of wedding talk in the editorial team of late. Perhaps that has something to do with the fact that both the lovemoney.com editor, Donna Werbner, and I are getting married in July (not to each other, before you get any ideas!).
As a result, we’ve been discussing some of the ridiculous prices we have to pay for the big day (you can find out more on Donna's blog: My big fat frugal wedding). So here’s our round-up of some of the biggest wedding rip-offs!
Inviting all of your guests to your big day can work out to be extremely pricey by the time you’ve paid for 70 odd invitation cards – in fact you could end up forking out as much as £200 – particularly if you don’t shop around.
Big names such as Confetti.co.uk make their products look incredibly attractive. But as Donna Werbner recently found out, Confetti works out to be far more expensive than certain less well-known websites. And that’s even if you decide to make your own wedding stationery.
Ordering a plain ivory card from Confetti.co.uk will set you back 60p per invitation (including envelope). Yet at the far less well-known site, liz-craft.co.uk, it will only cost you 0.2p per invitation. So that means Confetti charges as much as 300 times more for each wedding invitation than you would pay at liz-craft.co.uk. What a rip-off!
So make sure you shop around fully before you choose your invitations to ensure you’re getting the very best deal. In fact, if you really want to save money, you could simply just email your guests to let them know the details instead!
Save the date cards
Save the date cards are an even bigger rip-off than the invitations. These can easily cost £1 per card, which means if you’ve got 70 to send out, that’s another £70 down the drain. Given that all save the date cards do is tell guests to put the date of your wedding in their diaries, I personally think they are completely unnecessary. What’s wrong with sending an email or good old-fashioned word-of-mouth?
Weddings can be ridiculously expensive - make sure you're financially ready for marital bliss!Do this goal
Favours seem to have increased in popularity over recent years. If you don’t know what they are, quite simply, they are little gifts placed on the tables for your guests. These can range from sugared almonds, to chocolates, to candles.
However, this can really eat into your budget. You can pay anything from £1 to £5 per person for your favours, which means it soon gets expensive. If you’ve got 100 guests, and each favour is costing you £3, that’s another £300 to pay.
A far cheaper way is to not bother at all – after all, your guests are there to share your special day with you, not to be given presents. Many guests forget and leave them on the table anyway, especially if they've had a few glasses too many.
If you really do want to have favours, why not bake some biscuits and wrap them up nicely instead?
Hair and make-up
These days it can cost as much as £100 to get your hair done professionally, and another £100 to have your make-up done – if not more. And that’s just for the bride! On top of that, you might have to pay out for your bridesmaids/mother-of-the-bride/groom’s mum etc.
To me, this just seems outrageous. After all, you’re only paying for someone to slap a bit of make-up on your face and make your hair look pretty. And what really bugs me is that even if you want something fairly simple, you’re going to pay out exactly the same amount as someone who’s getting their hair completely restyled, curled, pinned, and eight layers of make-up. Humph.
A far better way is to ask a clever friend to do your hair and make-up for you, or head down to a department store such as Debenhams and see if you can bag a free make-over (of course, this is only practical if your wedding venue is near a town!). Alternatively, ask a student learning to be a professional make-up artist. There are a few on studentgems or you could search for a local make-up course and email the course organiser to see if anyone is looking for work.
The same strategy could work for hair, or you could simply wear your hair down with a few accessories and ask your hairdresser to dry it curly or straight.
Wedding photography can cost an arm and a leg. Generally, you could be paying anything between £500 to over £1,000 – more if you want to have your wedding filmed. In fact, some photographers will charge as much as £2,000 if you want around six hours of coverage, plus photo albums. Of course, some photographers may be worth it - but it sure is an awful lot of money!
Admittedly, you will want to have some good photos to remember the day by. But if you know someone who is handy with a camera, you might want to see whether they are prepared to take photos or film the wedding as their gift to you! Alternatively, ask several guests to take photos on their cameras, and then upload all the pictures at the end of the evening.
If you do want a professional, take the time to shop around and do your research to make sure you know exactly what is included in the package. Perhaps you could cut down on the number of hours the photographer will be present, and forgo any photo albums that are included to keep the costs down.
Always ask for full copyright to any images taken. You might not get it, but it's worth asking for. Either way, always make sure you have paid for the right to print and distribute the photos as you wish. Ask about printing costs in advance, and if they seem high, get a high-resolution CD of all images so that you don't have to pay the photographer an extra fee for the right to print the photos afterwards, and can get them printed more cheaply yourself.
Getting married soon? Follow our top tips to keep costs to a minimum!
I’ve heard stories of brides paying out thousands for their special wedding day dress. I have to admit, mine wasn’t cheap, but I certainly didn’t branch into the thousands. I’m sorry, but how many times am I going to wear it? Oh yes, just once. Why would I want to pay £3,000 for a designer dress that’s going to spend the rest of its life packed in a box?
A far more sensible option is to head down to a high street retailer – many high street shops offer some great bridal wear at reasonable prices. For example, Coast, Monsoon, Phase Eight, Bhs, Marks & Spencer and Debenhams all offer beautiful 'off the shelf' bridalwear for around £200, and there are some stunning, dirt-cheap wedding dresses if you don't mind ordering online (unless you can get to the US to try it on first) from top American retailer Nordstrom. What’s more, specialist wedding dress charity shops (such as Oxfam and St Ann's Hospice) are also well worth checking out for a bargain dress, as is the secondhand website sellmyweddingdress.co.uk.
Finally, if you know which design you want and are happy to take the measurements yourself, you could consider getting a cheeky copycat version made in China or design your own and get it made cheaply. One of the best websites for this is myweddingdressforless.co.uk, also known as Milly's Bridal shop.
Another thing that bugs me about weddings is that when it comes to choosing a venue, quite often you will find that the price you’re paying for the venue doesn’t include extras such as bar staff, tables, chairs, crockery, and so on. As a result, you’ll find the cost soon stacks up! So make sure you do your research fully – don’t assume that just because a particular venue looks cheap, it is!
To keep costs down, consider hiring a venue during off-peak months (in other words, not during May to September), and on weekdays. Consider using village halls, local authority buildings and country pubs for a more value-for-money option. Read My big fat frugal wedding to find out more about this.
So if you’re getting married in the near future, make sure you keep these rip-offs in mind and don’t get caught out! Good luck!