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Shine on a shoestring - Wedding planning advice

14 Mar 2014

Shine on a shoestring - Wedding planning advice

20 wedding planning tips to help save you money on your big day.

20 tips that might save you money on your big day.

1. Be organised

Make use of the advice and planning expertise available. Check out the planning section on this wedding and be sure to keep track of what you’re spending by using a budget planner to give yourself a realistic starting point and help keep track of the outgoings.

 

2. Prioritise

Decide early on what elements of the day are particularly important to you then work out what you can afford to splurge on and what isn’t quite so important. Spend the big money on things that will make the day for you, and then follow our suggestions on how to cut corners on those that don’t.

 

3. Loans

If you’re paying for most of the wedding yourself, shop around for a good deal. Look for a low interest rate loan that offers monthly payments and even payment breaks. Visit www.mymoney24.co.uk for more information on borrowing.

 

4. Open a separate savings account

A separate “wedding fund” account will help keep track of your spending without interfering with your regular outgoings. If you’ve already saved some money, or been given a lump sum from relatives, put it into an ISA or high-interest savings account – the big banks now offer online saver accounts which offer instant access and a near-ISA interest rate without the £3,000 balance limit.

 

5. Do your research

Ring around. Draw up a short list of favourite venues, photographers, entertainment etc and put aside half a day to ring around or visit the contacts in your area to get the best quotes. Don’t be afraid to haggle, particularly if you are marrying out of season or on a non-traditional day.

 

6. Call in the contacts

If your friend’s brother plays in a band, your aunt makes great cakes, or your cousin is a photographer, this is the time to call in the favours. Students on a photography course might relish the opportunity to take your wedding photographs, but make sure you ask to see evidence of their work first.

 

7. Hire a wedding planner

For a few hundred pounds initially, a wedding planner can help you save thousands in the long run. They can help you cut costs by using their contacts to negotiate discounts.

 

8. Wed out of season

Saturday weddings in summer will always be popular – and more expensive. Be fashionably different, think Friday and Sunday celebrations or a romantic candlelit winter wedding. But avoid Christmas and occasion dates when prices will be steep.

 

9. Consider local venues

Don’t knock the local church hall or community centre. Use your imagination and visualise the plainest of venues transformed into a beautiful reception with great lighting, table decorations and guests enjoying themselves. Keep an eye out for “Reception for a grand” offers available from some hotel and pub chains.

 

10. Have a traditional wedding breakfast

Plan an early wedding with brunch and make a stylish exit for your honeymoon mid-afternoon. Theoretically your guests won’t drink so much alcohol at lunchtime, and your menu will be lighter and less expensive than a formal dinner.

 

11. Chose a simple menu

A beautifully-cooked yet simple menu is significantly better than a poor quality attempt at something fancy. Spend your budget on delicious sausages and mash, even fish and chips or cottage pie instead of a poor cut of steak. Alternatively, opt for a hot buffet where guests can largely help themselves.

 

12. Have cake for pudding

Why not cut your cake before you sit down to eat and serve it as pudding? A chocolate cake is particularly successful here, especially if you put ice cream, fruit coulis and chocolate sauce in the centre of each table.

 

13. Scrap the evening party

Resist the urge to keep adding to the guest list with work colleagues from the past and even vague acquaintances. Instead, cut the list down, scrap the evening invites, and have an inexpensive party in a local pub or bar with all those guests after your honeymoon.

 

14. Drinks

Instead of a champagne reception, offer guests a wine spritzer or a fruit punch and save the champers for the toast. If you are supplying your own bottles, make sure it’s on a sale-or-return basis so you can get your money back on any bottles that go undrunk. But beware of corkage charges from some venues that could end up making your alcohol more expensive. It’s also much more acceptable to have a cash bar at today’s weddings.

 

15. Be creative

Make your own table decorations, place settings, favours or invitations. Making your own wedding details gives the day a personal touch: but do practise getting them to look just right – think more bespoke, and less Blue Peter.

 

16. Use the high street

National supermarkets, local department stores and the high street are all worth a look for their highly-publicised affordable bridal lines. Keep an eye out for sample sales or reductions on favours and other table decorations and end-of-season promotions. Don’t forget the internet – there are lots of online bargain bridal services.

 

17. Hair and make-up

Lots of bridal and beauty magazines offer tips on how to create make-up looks and hair dos, so experiment with ideas you like and see what works. Some department stores offer free make-up lessons and can at least show you how to get the look you want. You can also replace the traditional tiara with some glittery hair accessories from high street stores to give some dazzle to your do.

 

18. Something borrowed…

Whether it’s borrowing shoes, a tiara or veil that you admired at a friend of family member’s wedding, or asking the uncle with the flash car to drive you to the church, there’s lots of ways to borrow top notch wedding accessories, while flattering the taste of their owner. Wearing something that belonged to a family member can make the day all the more meaningful.

 

19. Stick to seasonal blooms

Before you set your heart on a beautiful flower, check to see whether it’s in season when you’re getting married. Flowers available out of season will have been imported or grown in a greenhouse and will be significantly more expensive.

 

20. Honeymoon

If you can, aim to book your holiday in school term times to avoid paying high fares, or wait until the last minute and bag yourself a late space deal. Some travel companies also offer a honeymoon gift list, where guests can send the operator contributions towards your holiday.

 

Did you know?

Wearing a silver sixpence in your wedding shoe is believed to ensure wealth in marriage.

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