Weddings can be a costly business, and every couple needs to set a realistic budget. Starting married life in debt is unromantic and unnecessary. Work out what you have to spend, and stick to it – it’s a simple as that! Let’s take a look at a few clever ways to save on your big day, without scrimping on style.
1. Dresses and Accessories
Every bride wants to feel like a million dollars on her wedding day, but you don’t need a million dollars to achieve it! Have an idea of what you’d like to spend on your dress and shop accordingly. Trying on a dress that’s going to break the bank is always a bad idea! If you want to be savvy, keep an eye out for sales or outlet stores. Some bridal shops may even sell their sample dresses at the end of the season. Once you’ve found the dress, keep your accessories spend to a minimum. Costume jewellery is fabulous, and don’t spend a fortune on a pair of shoes you’re likely to only wear once.
As for your bridesmaids, it’s time to hit the high street to find pretty dresses that suit your favourite ladies. Take a look in major department stores as well as Monsoon, Reiss, Laura Ashley and Next, and keep an eye on the sales.
All too often, couples take a look at their chosen venue and feel that they need to decorate every inch of it. Take a step back and imagine the room filled with people, and with delicious food on the tables. Only then do you realise that often all a table needs is an elegant floral centrepiece, and that clever lighting (perhaps candles and fairy lights) can add romantic ambience to a room.
Favours are a lovely idea, but make them work for you and double up as place names. A personalised cookie, for example, can be both a favour and a place name. Individual menu cards are unnecessary, as are additional ‘frills’ such as napkin decorations.
Flowers are a wedding essential but they don’t need to cost a fortune. Bear in mind that intricate arrangements and flowers that aren’t in season will cost more money, so sticking to seasonal blooms and simple designs is always going to make your money go further.
The bouquet is your ultimate accessory. Keep it small and sweet, and choose a hand-tied design that can sit in a vase when you get to your reception. The same goes for your bridesmaids. You might even ask them to carry a single flower instead of spending money on posies.
When it comes to arrangements, don’t spend money on beautiful flowers that your guests will hardly see. There is absolutely no point putting flowers, for example, at the back of your ceremony room or in the ladies loo. At your ceremony, have one beautiful arrangement at the front and transfer it to your reception venue afterwards. During the wedding breakfast, flowers are only needed as centrepieces. Even then, you can be clever by having larger arrangements on alternate tables and keeping the other tables simple. Decorating the backs of chairs, pew ends, mantelpieces and bars is not essential!
From live bands to cabaret artists and string quartets, wedding entertainment is an ever growing trend. To create a party atmosphere, you need to consider your venue and your guests and cater accordingly. Wonderful as they are, you don’t need live music or a children’s entertainer. While it is lovely to have a string quartet as you walk down the aisle, you can simply play music through speakers to save money. And, in the evening, a great DJ is going to cost you less than a live band. Devising your own playlist is the least expensive option of all, but without disco lighting and a DJ you risk a serious lack of party ambience!
If you’re inviting children to your wedding, think of ways to keep them entertained. While you don’t need to splash out on a crèche or entertainer, it’s a good idea to plan a treasure hunt and have colouring books and crayons on the table. If space allows, set up a TV room with a movie for the evening. Parents are responsible for childcare and babysitters, not you, although you might have the contact details for a local babysitting agency to hand.
5. And finally… your honeymoon
While many of us dream of lying on that deserted beach, it’s no fun lazing on a sun lounger if you’re worrying about money. An extravagant honeymoon isn’t necessary, but a few romantic days away is. Why not escape to a romantic UK hotel for a few days after the wedding, and save your pennies for the trip of a lifetime on your first wedding anniversary. It’s always lovely to have something to look forward to!