We all know that weddings don’t come cheap – experts estimate that the average wedding in the UK now costs between £18,000 and £32,000. Shocking, right? The great news is that there are so many ways to slash that cost, here are my top five tips:
Buy as much as possible second hand
I have always been a huge advocate of second hand shopping, and when it comes to weddings, I make exception. Rings are a great thing to buy second hand as new rings lose so much value immediately after purchase. In fact they probably depreciate even quicker than new cars, so you can get so much more for your money when you buy pre-loved. Just make sure you buy from somewhere reputable to make sure you are getting the real deal – I wouldn’t advocate buying from Gumtree or eBay for example. Also, second hand wedding dresses go for a fraction of their original cost and let’s face it they have only been worn once before. A lot of charity shops have a wedding dress section. Replace the words ‘second hand’ with ‘vintage’ if for any reason the thought of buying second hand doesn’t appeal!
Prioritise what’s important
Write a list of what’s important to you and your spouse-to-be and what’s not, and spend as little as possible on the things that don’t matter. For example, at my own wedding, I was really keen to have great music and food but things like table decorations weren’t important to me. So we spent more of our budget on the wedding band and the catering and only about £30 on table decorations from eBay.
Another thing was that I didn’t want at my own wedding was cheesy, staged wedding photos – wedding photographers can easily cost four figures once you factor in prints. I got married 10 years ago but I wish the concept of wedding photo sharing had been around back then. After all, I think my favourite type of photos are fun, candid shots.
Consider prom dresses in place of traditional bridesmaid dresses
It seems like companies add a huge mark up to things that are associated with weddings, and this is never more evident than when it comes to bridesmaid dresses. My tip would be to avoid traditional, tailored bridesmaid dresses which cost a fortune, especially when you have lots of bridesmaids, and to consider looking at prom dresses instead (or just hit the high street). Speaking of proms perhaps you could search for prom car hire ideas rather than wedding cars to get some car inspiration.
Jazz up a cheap cake
I remember looking at cakes made my local bakeries and being quoted over £250 for a fairly basic cake that would only be glanced at momentarily by our guests. Marks & Spencer however sell plan white cake tiers in varying sizes so you can buy an appropriate-sized cake for the number of guests you have. All you would then need to do is buy some decorations – perhaps some ribbon plus some fresh or even edible flowers – and tah-dah, your guests won’t know that your cake has cost so much less than a cake from a bakery.
Ask friends to help our in lieu of a present
Perhaps you know a talented friend who could help you out with your wedding instead of getting you a gift. For example, you might know someone who is talented at hair or makeup – make sure you have some practice runs first, obviously. Or photography. Or good at public speaking who could be your MC. Does anyone you know have a fancy car they would lend to you to drive to the ceremony? At a wedding we attended once, the groom borrowed his friend’s Porsche and drove the bride to the wedding – not in any way traditional but so fun!