We’ve all read those pages on saving money when planning a wedding, but if you’re like me you’re probably reading a lot of them and thinking, “but I don’t want to do that…” Like, “Get married on a Wednesday morning!” – Why, when half of your guests can’t come? “Invite less people.” – That’s the opposite of what I want. I want everyone I know to be there. That’s why I put together this list of money saving tips that, hopefully, you’ll actually use!
Skip the sit down meal – It’s maybe not ideal, it’s maybe not what you want, but it’s more about what you can afford. Instead of having a sit down meal, why not get married later in the day and provide a buffet or light supper at the reception? It is more than acceptable to not provide a meal.
Plan your wedding around your budget, NOT your budget around your wedding – It’s wise to work out what you can afford to spend/what you are willing to spend and then work your wedding around that. If you start shopping around for dresses and venues then realise that you can’t have your dream wedding, you’ll feel like your wedding won’t be as good as you imagined.
Serve sparkling wine in place of champagne to greet your guests and for the toast – no one will mind (or notice!) For a summer wedding, try substituting for a glass of Pimms – it’s much more refreshing, your guests will actually appreciate it!
Get married later in the day – it saves having to feed your guests twice.
Serve your cake as dessert – Choose a chocolate or lemon cake in place of the traditional fruit cake and ask your caterers to serve with fresh cream and berries.
Make your own bouquets and/or center pieces – See earlier posts for flower making tutorials, or let your creativity take hold and get crafty with your center pieces. A fish bowl with sand, pebbles, and tealight candles makes a beautiful center piece for a beach theme wedding.
Avoid major holidays – Christmas and Valentine’s may seem romantic, but you can assume that prices will be 50% higher than any other time of year. You could also consider avoiding peak summer time and having a spring or early autumn wedding to cut costs.
Shop around – don’t fall in love with the first place or person you see – you may be able to get a better deal elsewhere, and don’t feel bad about bartering. If you’re in love with a venue but it’s too expensive, tell them! You’re asking them to host a party of 100 guests or more, who will be buying drinks from the bar until the early hours – They WANT you to use their venue!
Ask friends and family to help – If your Mum loves papercraft, why not ask her to make your invites for you as a wedding present? Your best friend makes the best cakes you’ve ever tasted? See if she’ll do your wedding cake. I’ll bet if you ask around, you’ll discover your friends have talents you didn’t even know about – Take a chance on the budding photographer, it will help them build their portfolio and you’ll get more personal photographs. Heck, you’ll probably get MORE photographs full stop.
Make your own stationery – Here at Crafty Brides we’ll be posting lots of inspiration, free downloads, and whatever we can find to help you with your wedding.
The moment you say “wedding” the price doubles – Consider ordering a “celebration” cake, and shopping in department stores, or even eBay stores for your bridesmaid dresses. The lowest priced bridesmaid dresses are usually around £50+, but you can get gorgeous dresses for £30 from stores that you already know and love. Don’t neglect the high street.
Consider a knock-off dress – Go to the bridal shops, try on all of the dresses that you want, find the style you love, and then go on eBay and have it made in China for a fraction of the price.
Make your own favours – There are many websites that provide templates for favour boxes, which you could print off and fill with some basic sweets or chocolates. You can spice it up with something cute, like filling them with Hershey’s Kisses with a note saying “Kisses from the Mr & Mrs” – Alternatively, bake biscuits and ice guests names onto them for a joint favour and place card.
Make your own entertainment – organise a game of cricket in the afternoon and play music through your iPod – ask a friend to help you create your play list and manage it in the evening to save on a DJ.
Give home made gifts – It’s traditional to give gifts to the bridal party and the groomsmen, but rather than spending a lot of money on expensive gifts, consider something cute and home made, such as a biscuit or a cake, or even something practical that you can personalise yourself. Be crafty!
Be budget savvy – Bride & Groom Direct have a wonderful budget planner to help you keep track of your estimated and actual spending.