Weddings can seem like a bottomless money-pit and there often seems to be a sense of expectation that in our parents’ time just didn’t exist. But you don’t have to max out the credit card to have a good time. Here are some fabulous money-saving tips I have learned from brides in my seven years at Blush!
Firstly, look at the time of year you want to get married. Venues (and some suppliers) will offer discounts out of wedding season. March is usually sunny, though cool, and thus a great time to ask about venue discounts.
Look at week days. Yes, Saturday is a helpful day for many of your guests, however with so many of us working weekends now, your wedding day doesn’t have to be a weekend. Thursdays and Fridays are great as people can enjoy a long weekend of celebrations.
The wedding gown
Of course everyone would love to wear a new dress, but there are so many beautiful second hand gowns, at a fraction of their original price, it would be silly to turn up your nose at the idea. If you are set on buying new, have a look at high street shops such as Phase Eight and Monsoon – you might be surprised at the quality of the dresses they offer.
Forget shoes in shades of white that you will never wear again. Choose a funky pair that will be donned time and time again – and that will remind you of your wedding every time you put them on.
The bridesmaids’ dresses
Gone are the days where bridesmaids had to be identikit versions of each other. Bring your big day up to date and give them a colour palette but get them to choose and pay for their own dress. If they were a guest they would probably be treating themselves to a new outfit, so this way they will get something they love and you won’t be footing the bill. If you want to keep them all one colour, pick white and tie the dresses in with coloured sashes like Helen below.
The hair and makeup
Obviously doing your own is an easy way to save money, but if you are not comfortable doing this, look at other ways to save money. Ask your makeup artist to recommend a high street dupe of the lipstick he/she will be using on you so you don’t have to splash out on the real deal for touch ups. And don’t be afraid to ask bridesmaids and mums to chip in for the cost of their hair and makeup.
Rings can be super expensive, so why not ask if there is a family ring lying unworn in a jewellery box that you might adore. Alternatively, have a look in antique shops and flea markets for beautiful bargains.
If you aren’t set on a particular photographer, have a look at the work of trainees or established portrait photographers just dipping their toes into the wonderful world of weddings, who are looking to build their portfolios. This way you will get great quality but without the hefty price tag.
When choosing flowers, look at those that are in season as they are easier and less expensive for the florist to buy. And look at alternative ways to decorate the venue other than with fresh flowers. If you are set on a floral theme, consider silk flowers – many venue decorators have floral decorations in different colour schemes that they hire out and the quality is excellent nowadays.
So many people sell they wedding décor now, so make sure you have a look at ebay and boot fairs for second hand items. There are even wedding boot fairs now specifically for this purpose, so see if there is one in your area before buying new.
Scrap the sit down meal and opt for something more low-key and purse friendly. Think a BBQ, big pan paella, hog roast or even a posh picnic complete with blankets to sit on and hay bale tables.
Don’t offer endless drink options. Consider offering arrival drinks, wine on the tables (half a bottle per person) and bubbly for the toasts followed by a paying bar. Choose a good quality Prosecco rather than Champagne to keep costs down.
Ask your guests to get creative with a wedding bake off. Let them know you’ll be running a cake competition and to bring their best offerings. Use this as dessert and simply provide a trophy and a bottle of bubbles for the winner.
Make a DIY photobooth with a large picture frame/sparkly fabric hung on a wall and a selection of props from boot fairs. Create a hashtag for Instagram and get your friends to post pictures taken on their phones.
If a band is out of your budget, simply make a play list and hire some lights for the dancefloor. You could even ask for requests beforehand so that everyone’s tastes are catered for.
If you have everything that you need but are struggling with funds, ask guests for honeymoon vouchers. You don’t need to know how much people have donated, but names can be recorded so that you can say your thank yous after the big day.
The general tips:
Save your £2 coins. You don’t get them so often you’ll really miss them, but they are valuable enough to quickly add up. Save them in a jar and use them for any extra bits you wouldn’t be able to afford otherwise.
Shop on Black Friday – the discounts over this weekend are HUGE, so take advantage and buy as much as you can. Just don’t get carried away with unnecessary spending!
Sell as much as you can after the wedding – the decorations, photobooth props, even your dress if you can bear to part with it.
And finally, try not to get caught up in the spend, spend, spend ethos of a wedding. If you don’t do favours or have extra entertainment no one will miss it. Remember what your wedding is really about – you marrying the love of your life. As long as you both turn up and say, “I do”, the rest is incidental.