For richer and for poorer - keeping your wedding plans on budget
Plan the wedding you can afford
Here’s some big news: I am getting married next year! I am incredibly excited to be marrying the love of my life, my fiancé. We have already started calling each other, “future wife” and “future husband” in everyday conversation, just because it’s so fun to say. We’re adorable. It’s sickening!
However, what I am not excited about is getting everything organised and paying for everything. Firstly, because we have never had to organise a wedding before, because we haven’t been married before and secondly because we are quickly discovering, from dresses to balloons, everything that has the word ‘wedding’ on it is at least five times the price of something you’d buy for any other occasion. Some companies even mark up the price for “wedding packages”.
So, being a trainee wedding planner myself, I called on my married friends and all the married people here at CAP for affordable wedding advice.
Spend money on things you care about
You’re going to receive a lot of pressure, from people in wedding shops and even from your friends and family, to buy things they say you need for it to be a “proper” wedding. But really, as long as you’re married by the end of the day, it’s a proper wedding. So think about what you’d actually miss having. Looking back on all the weddings my future wife and I have been to, we have never thought, ‘wow! Those chair covers were amazing!’ so given the choice, we decided we’re not having them. This is a pretty good litmus test for most things. If you didn’t notice them then, then you probably won’t notice them at your own wedding either.
There are a lot of places you can go to get the dress you love, on a budget. Some of my friends said they had managed to get dresses for around £100 from an online overseas company and from stores that were shutting down. One lucky bride managed to get a dress for less than £50 because it was last year’s style. So like anything, it helps to shop around. You could buy second hand, if your budget is a little tight. Wedding dresses are usually worn for just one day so where ‘used’ read ‘practically new’.
Setting the date
“Wedding season” often occurs between May to October, with the peak during the summer months July/August. So that’s the time that wedding businesses are the busiest. This can mean you’ll have a lot fewer chances to shop around at that time of year and, in the worst-case scenario, you can find wedding businesses raise their prices during this time because that’s the time they get the most business. Picking a time of year or even a time of week when things are less busy could make a real difference.
One of the reasons why we’re having our wedding at 3:00pm is so we only need to provide catering for the evening meal (don’t tell my guests that!).
Do it yourself
You can save a lot of money by doing a DIY wedding, as much as you can. You could make your own invitations and decorations on your computer, by printing, by e-mail or by hand with craft materials. You could make your own food and cake or you could do a ‘bring and share’ buffet. If you don’t think you could do it on your own, you could invite friends over and have a creative day together. You could make a Spotify playlist rather than hiring a band. You could even ask your guests to suggest songs to play.
Do any of your friends, coming to the wedding, have a useful skill? Are they good at baking, playing music or doing photography? Why not call in a favour? My mum does flower arranging so we’re hoping she can help make some of the decorations herself.
Even simple things like, is there even anyone who would be willing to give you a lift in their car? You could save money by not hiring someone to drive you. It could even be your friend’s wedding gift to offer their professional skills, for a reduced cost or for free.
Your marriage is more important than the big day
Stick to your budget. Your wedding is about you and your ‘future wife’ or ‘future husband’, starting your life together, as present tense husband and wife. So, don’t let your wedding day put your finances in trouble by breaking your budget for one day. It’s not just the wedding day that’s important it’s all the days after you spend with the person you love.