I started this blog to share my passion for amazing weddings.  No one ever plans a wedding thinking “oh well, if it all goes wrong I will know for next time” and whilst the plan is to get married just the once, you shouldn’t be living off beans on toast for the rest of your life to do it.

So here are a few tips for having a fabulous day without breaking the bank…

  • Set a realistic budget with a realistic contingency.  Champagne tastes and lemonade pockets? I hear you. You might well have been planning your wedding all your life but you really shouldn’t be paying it off for the remainder. Remember that everything else isn’t going to stop in the year between now and the big day. Your boiler will break. And there’s probably at least one Christmas to contend with. The average wedding is said to cost around £25,000 and, well, I think that’s pretty unrealistic if you’re after a traditional wedding in the summer for hundreds of guests followed by a five star honeymoon. Champagne is great but there’s some real fancy lemonade around these days too!
  • Once you know how much you have to spend, prioritise how you’re going to spend it. Chances are your ten grand budget isn’t going to pay for you to waft down the aisle in a golden carriage pulled by swans and feed your guests caviar. However if you really want that Jenny Packham dress, you may be happy to accept that you will be cutting into a supermarket cake. Remember, you really don’t need everything. Wedding mags, Pinterest and the like are great at giving inspiration, but you really don’t need the monogrammed Charbonnel Et Walker truffle wedding favours, candy floss stand and videographer for the day to be a roaring success. Sometimes less really is more. Be unique. Be you. If you’re not careful the little extras will add up to a big slab of extra cost that you didn’t include in your original budget.
  • Nice day for a winter wedding? Summer weddings are generally more expensive on a like for like basis. The likelihood is that your venue will have a higher number of required guests for a July wedding than one in October. So if “summer wedding” wasn’t on your list of priorities, but “stately home” was, you really should consider exchanging vows outside traditional wedding season in order to save some serious cash.
  • Know your (and others’) limits. Yes great auntie Marge makes a mean Christmas cake and your friend has a sewing machine, but should you really be taking advantage of their baking or dress making skills on the big day? I’ve been to a wedding where the bride’s mother made the dress, and well… yes, you could tell. So unless your friend is Vera Wang, make those bridal lounge appointments. The last thing you want is to have to rush buy a replacement cake because Marge’s efforts aren’t quite what you had in mind…
  • Don’t be afraid to haggle. Your success rate is more than likely going to be dictated by when the wedding is taking place. If you’re all booked for a June wedding in two years’ time, you’re probably not going to be able to squeeze much out of your suppliers. But don’t be afraid to ask your photographer to stay that extra hour for no charge or your venue to serve a hot finger buffet for the same price as the package bacon rolls. If you’re getting married out of season at short notice, then you really shouldn’t be afraid to ask for some substantial reductions. There probably aren’t hundreds of brides looking to getting married on a Friday in March.
  • Be shopper savvy. You could earn hundreds of pounds on buying your honeymoon, bridesmaid dresses and shoes online through cashback sites and those extra bucks could pay for your wedding invites. Supermarket loyalty card points can be exchanged for high street jeweller’s vouchers too. If you’re good with credit cards and pay them off every month, consider getting a cashback credit card to pay for the big items and watch the pounds flood back!

Check in next week for more ways to save on the big day.