September is the month when many couples start to think about their wedding plans for the coming year. Your budget is very important but you can really stretch it out if you think about ways to make it work for you. Check out my top tips below:
- First of all budget! And stick to it!
- Make a list of your priorities - this is very important. Write them down then your budget will focus around what is important to you.
- Choosing to get married mid-week or on a Friday is a big cost saver. It also gives you and your guests the chance to have a lovely long weekend.
- The seasons can dictate the cost; getting married in winter is much cheaper than the height of wedding season. You can plan for the weather and make use of the fabulous discounts that venues offer.
- Getting married later in the day will help you save a considerable amount. There is less time that guests need entertaining and feeding. Marrying at 3pm or 4pm is a lovely time. It gives you all day to get ready and enjoy the build up, as well as enjoying daylight and flowing beautifully in the evening.
- Choose your venue carefully. Booking a church hall or cricket club is considerably cheaper than a stately home. They are often blank canvasses for you to transform.
Trim the guest list; this is one of the main areas to save money. Each extra table of guests means extra flowers, décor, food, stationery etc. Smaller, more intimate weddings are very on trend.
- Instead of expensive invitations make your own or buy the many DIY kits available for. For example www.chartula.co.uk do the most fabulous classy invites you can make yourself. You can also gain advice on wording from their website.
- Consider emailing some of your invites, which costs nothing at all. There are many free wedding websites, which allow this, and you can still include maps, information and pictures. Perhaps a great idea for friends and relatives you always use email or Facebook to communicate with.
- Be creative; ask your family and friends for help when making table plans and things such as favours. Using gorgeous ornate frames sourced from Ebay and then hang colour coordinated ribbons to which luggage labels are attached printed with your guests' names for a lovely unique idea for a table plan.
- Buffet food costs less than a sit down meal. You can still have a sit down starter and then guests can help themselves to a hot buffet. Great for picnic style themes or English country styles.
- Have a barbeque or hog roast, these are great ways of saving on your food bill. They are great for socializing and in the summer a lovely way to spend time in the sunshine.
- Ask your venue what the corkage costs are. It may be much cheaper for you to supply your own wine. That way you get the best choice, you can even go on a booze cruise and save pounds. Champagne toasts will never have been so cheap.
- Give your guests a drink on arrival and then have a paid bar. Free bars are very costly. If you do want to provide the alcohol why not put an honesty box on the bar for your guests to contribute to.
- Make sure you check the contracts when you sign a supplier for hidden costs. For example,check if VAT is added, and will the rate go up if you book a year in advance?
- MP3 players are a great way to provide music at your evening reception, played over the venue’s PA. You can choose exactly what you want. Ask your guests in their invitations what music they like then you can include that too.
- DJs are much cheaper than a live band. Choose the right one and they will have you dancing into the night.
- If your heart is set on a live band how about looking up bands on college websites or drama/music colleges. They want the practice and will be extremely cost effective. You can see them first and be sure they are right for you.
- Lovely wedding cakes can be bought from the high street now, such as Marks & Spencer and House of Fraser. They even come in different flavours. Decorate them with fresh flowers or toppers sourced from the internet. Serve as dessert to save money too.
- Wedding cupcakes are still very on trend. Serve them as dessert or give them to your guests as favours.
- Try and use flowers that are in season. To make your budget go further ask your florist to use lots of lush foliage and reduce the amount of blooms. Your centre pieces will still look amazing.
- If you family are keen gardeners perhaps you can grow your own flowers. This is great if you are having a marquee wedding. Sweet peas look fantastic in large bunches and smell divine.
- Collect lots of different jam jars then instead of expensive centre pieces use them grouped in the middle of the table filled with country flowers. You can also collect extremely cheap vases of varying sizes from Ikea to do the same thing. Afterwards sell them on Ebay.
- Candles are a great source of atmosphere and extremely cheap. IKEA sell the most cost effective votives. Place them everywhere for a romantic sophisticated atmosphere.
- Consider using large church candles of varying heights placed on mirrored tiles for your centrepieces instead of flowers. Add sprinkles of Swarovski and some fresh flower heads around the base and hey presto an ultra chic look.
- Use big flower heads that look impressive and go further, for example hydrangeas.
- Use your centre pieces as presents for the bridal party. It's lovely for your guests to take home the flowers - they wont get wasted and you won’t have to buy extra thank you gifts.
- Instead of using a professional make up artist go to a MAC store with your bridesmaids and learn how to apply your own make up. It’s great fun and a lovely day out. Alternatively you can choose to have your make up done professionally but your bridesmaids can use the session to apply their own.
- Use the high street for your bridesmaid’s dresses. Monsoon, Coast and Debenhams, all do a great range. If you let your bridesmaids wear different dresses, that suit their body shapes, but the same colours to match your theme, they won’t mind paying for them. You can spend less buying them nice jewellery to bring the theme together.
- Wedding jewellery can be very expensive so try www.beadfusion.co.uk for unique and cost effective accessories. They can be made just for you and they are beautiful. They also make great bridesmaid gifts.
- Wedding dresses take up a large part of your budget. Look on the Internet for sample sales. Go to the wedding shows and pick up a bargain.
- If you desperately want a honeymoon but can’t afford it, why not ask your guests to contribute to a web site that pays for your trip. You can make it very personal by detailing what the money is going to. Your guests feel they have contributed to something you really want. Try www.zankou.com which allows you to create your own gift registry.
- The moral of the story for budget saving ideas is to shop around, ask suppliers to add value to their package - if you don’t ask you don’t get. DIY as much as you can. Your guests will really notice and feel like you have added your own stamp to your fabulous day.
Pop back next week, let's look at using cheese instead of a traditional wedding cake.
Written by: Wedding Planner – Julie Dawson - The Wedding Genie