Wedding Day Savers
|Published: 7th September 2008 19:31|
If you're on a tight budget, this isn't really what you want to hear. But there are plenty of ways you can cut your wedding costs and still have the best day of your life.
Here, I'm going to look at the main areas from two viewpoints: how you can spend as little as possible (‘next to nothing'); and how you can spend that bit more while still keeping your budget under control (‘value for money').
Next to nothing: Wear something you've already got - perhaps your best suit or evening dress. Pretty accessories, like flowers in your hair or a posh (borrowed) cape, can make all the difference.
Value for money: If you want to buy a traditional wedding dress - and don't fancy one worn at someone else's wedding - hunt around for sample wedding dresses which stores might now be selling.
And if you're buying for bridesmaids too, try and get them something they can wear again. Teenage bridesmaids might appreciate a dress they can wear to their school leavers' do, or even at university balls.
Next to nothing: Put together a list of all the songs you want to hear (you could even take requests). Then link your MP3 player to your stereo and start the playlist. You'll have songs you actually like, in the order you want, and you won't have to fiddle about too much.
Value for money: If you have your heart set on a live band, just bear in mind that most charge far more to play past midnight. (This applies to caterers and other ‘wedding professionals' as well).
So to minimise costs, start everything fairly early in the day, and make sure proceedings draw to a close before your wallet turns into a pumpkin...
Next to nothing: Make one yourself, or if you're too busy/a rubbish cook, get a friend or family member to make you one as a wedding present.
Many co-habiting couples already have the requisite amount of toasters and towels, so these sort of wedding gifts are often more appropriate anyway (and are far more personal than cold hard cash).
Value for money: There are several supermarkets that sell really good-quality wedding cakes. You can then personalise them yourself - try pinching ideas from wedding cake websites.
Next to nothing: It sounds harsh, but reducing the number of guests is one of the best ways to slash the cost of your reception. You'll save on food, drink, favours, the size of the venue, and so on.
Of course, there will be lots of people who are an essential part of your celebration but do you really want all those relatives you've not seen for five years? Or the work colleagues you don't really like?
These days, it's quite common to invite friends without their ‘dates' - so don't feel bad for not inviting some bloke you've never met and who's only in it for the free booze.
Value for money: If you do want lots of people at your reception, there are still plenty of ways you can make it affordable.
Personalising a plain reception area needn't cost much and it will make the whole day more memorable. Try decorating the walls with old photographs of family and friends - people will love spotting themselves and each other.
Next to nothing: If you have a suitable house/garden/great big tent, hold the reception there and ask the guests to bring food and drink instead of wedding presents (like the cake). One group could bring the puddings, one the beer, one the soft drinks and so on.
Value for money: Or if you want to hire caterers - but you don't want the expense of hiring a venue - there are lots of companies who'll run the whole event (like a hog roast or super-barbecue) from your home or garden.
Next to nothing: Professional photographers just starting out are sometimes willing to cover weddings for free, because it builds them a valuable portfolio.
Or, of course, you could get a gifted friend or relative to do it instead. Just make sure you get some pictures with them in too!
Value for money: You and your friends could take digital photos, and then have them collated into a hardback collection online. There are now lots of companies that do this, and it means you get a beautiful, professional looking album without the cost of hiring a photographer.
Next to nothing: If your family and friends are really web-savvy, you can almost totally eliminate the cost of invites, save the date cards, gift lists and thank you cards by doing it all online. Just make sure they all check their email regularly!
Value for money: Or if that sounds a bit unromantic, you could print your own stationery - including menu cards and place names - then jazz it up using personalised confetti or other funky add-ons.
Next to nothing: If you're getting married in a church, check what decoration will be there already. Straight after Christmas, you may find that it's still adorned with holly and candles - and around Easter they'll be bunches of spring flowers.
Value for money: If you do spend money on flowers, consider options that will last longer than a day.
Hanging baskets and pot plants may not be any more expensive than cut flowers (especially if you pot them yourself), and you'll then be able to add them to your home or garden.
Or alternatively, you could give them away to your closest friends and family as unusual favours.
Of course, there are all sorts of areas (rings, transport, honeymoon...) that I couldn't cover here. But I hope there are some ideas to get you started.