We got married more than 18 months ago and it seems like it was so long ago, but I learned a lot from the process. Between getting engaged and getting married, we had a whirlwind 14 months of planning, surgery, a pregnancy, a birth and then ta-da! A wedding. As well as my nerves being shot to hell in the latter stages, our finances were something we had to keep a close eye on. With a tiny baby to care for and me just coming back from maternity leave (all 10 weeks of it) a super lavish wedding wasn’t something that was on the cards.
That said, our day was amazing and we learned a lot about being a bride and groom on a budget. So with wedding season on the horizon, here are my top tips to help you save some cash whilst planning one of the best days of your life.
High Street Bridesmaids
Don’t scrunch up your face. The fact is, spending stupid money on bridesmaid dresses is a daft idea. They won’t wear them again, they get the one outing and that’s it. If you have loads of bridesmaids (I didn’t) the cost will spiral out of control and the more expensive the gown, the more awkward it is to get them altered. The fact is that plenty of high street stores have some incredible Occasion Dresses, that will almost certainly fit your theme and not destroy your budget. You’ll be able to satisfy even the pickiest of Bridesmaids!
We got married (in a freaking CASTLE) on a nice, sunny but chilly Sunday afternoon in November. By having the wedding on the Sunday rather than a Saturday, we saved £4,000 on the venue straight off the bat. If you are fairly flexible with dates, I cannot stress enough how much money you can save by picking either a Sunday, or if you are super flexible, Monday to Thursday for your wedding. Give your guests plenty of notice so they can book the following day off!
Ditch the Flowers
We didn’t have a single flower at our wedding. Not one. And you know what? Nobody cared. Nobody even noticed! I had a bouquet of course, but it was made from Christmas baubles (because its cute, I made it myself, it was almost Christmas…) and it saved us a tonne of cash. Compared to friends of ours currently pricing up their wedding… with the flowers (just the venue flowers and six centrepieces, by the way) coming in at an eye-watering £1,350.00. That’s basically a honeymoon.
The key to being able to ditch the flowers, is picking a venue that is beautiful in their own right and doesn’t need much doing to it. Hotels and Stately Homes often have a décor all their own, meaning you don’t need to add floral decoration to make it pretty. Trust me though, nobody walks away from a wedding and says “Hm. No flowers.”
Do It Yourself
When we started out, we thought we were going to do a lot of things ourselves and to be fair to us, as new parents, working full time, we did do a lot! We made our own invitations, we made all of our own stationery, the menus, table plan and all of that. We did a good job too.
Stationery is a big one and something I think that everyone can do with a bit of research first. There’s no need to pay for menus and table numbers – it is money down the drain.
Control Thy Guest List!
It’s tempting to invite everyone to celebrate with you. Depending on the kind of shindig you’re having, people may want to come all day and others just for your evening reception. Either way, the more guests you have, the more mouths you have to feed and the higher the cost. Wes and I were very strict in terms of guests. It was strictly a family only affair and we invited everyone for the whole thing. I think the most distant relative there was my great uncle (but one we’re all relatively close to).
This worked better for us, in terms of keeping costs down and not making anyone feel as though they were “unworthy” of being invited to the ceremony. Don’t let your nearest and dearest try to dictate this either – there are two people who should be deciding who is invited… the bride and groom. So when your mum tries to invite her entire office, tell her where to go.