Planning your big day on a budget

The average UK wedding now weighs in at a punchy £30k, but don’t allow your newly engaged excitement to be replaced by hard cash headaches. With careful budget planning, you can pull off your dream day for less.

  • Start planning early to reduce stress and seek out sales and discounts.
  • Compile, then slash your guest list to ensure that only the most crucial make the cut.
  • Design simple, elegant invitations of your own. Use a good quality printer or reputable website.
  • If a traditional wedding venue is beyond your means, consider alternatives like parks or historical sites and arrange a tent, catering and entertainment yourselves.
  • Request quotes before revealing that you’re getting married. Florists, photographers and musicians usually mark up their services for weddings, so make general enquiries to give yourself more leverage later.
  • If you’re hiring people to provide services like floristry, catering and music, offer to advertise them at the wedding in return for reduced rates.
  • Approach schools, colleges and universities – they may be able to provide affordable musicians or photographers.
  • Involve friends and family instead of asking for presents – you might be surprised at how easy it is to find skilled photographers, videographers and cake makers close to home.
  • Timing can be key to cutting catering costs. Tie the knot late in the day and you won’t need to provide so much food.
  • When it comes to food, keep it simple. Curtail canapés and consider a buffet followed by wedding cake. Guests love glass bowls filled with chocolates and sweets.
  • Alcohol is a major expense, so ask if the venue will allow you to bring your own. If so, bulk buy beer and wine and offer sparkling wine or prosecco instead of champagne.
  • Cut back on flowers. Use seasonal flowers that are easy to source and fill arrangements with plenty of greenery. Involve family in the making of bouquets and buttonholes and reuse flower arrangements from the ceremony at the reception.
  • Beg, borrow or buy second hand. Make use of preloved fairy lights, lanterns and table decorations. Suss out eBay and Gumtree for your dress and shoes.
  • Avoid custom made bridesmaid dresses, buy off the rack or invite the girls to wear dresses they already own.
  • Ditch the DJ – rig up your iPhone to a good set of speakers and pump out your perfect playlist.
  • Don’t bother with the hassle or expense of favours.
  • Invite a friend or family member to do your wedding hair.
  • Book yourself in for a free appointment at a local department store for your makeup.
  • Plan a simple honeymoon.

Sometimes the best big days are the ones that haven’t cost a bomb.

Congratulations and good luck!

By Fiona Philip

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