Image: Colin Cowie Weddings
If you think that working out a reasonable and all-encompassing wedding budget is difficult, it’s nothing compared to the pain you will go through trying to stick to it! No matter how hard you try to stay within the total number of pounds set aside for your big day, it is inevitable that most of us will sneak over the line in the final months of planning. As a result of this very annoying fact I always advise brides and grooms to set aside an emergency fund which is made up of ten to fifteen per cent of the budget total. Having a contingency plan and a lower budget total will give you the best chance of reining yourself in from purchasing impulsively, and if you don’t end up needing your emergency fund, you’ve got a bigger pot of money to blow during your honeymoon!
Below you will find a few more of my top tips for sticking to that dreaded budget. Some of these ideas may not make a great deal of sense to you right now (especially if you are in the very early stages of planning your wedding), but keep them in your mind (and in your wedding planning folder!) for later down the line…
- From the moment you set your budget keep your eyes peeled for sales, offers and vouchers. It’s simply amazing how much you can save if you shop intelligently!
- Feel free to spend some time searching high end stores and websites for inspiration, but remember that Etsy, eBay, charity shops and discount stores will stock plenty of cute or one of kind items which will not break the bank
- Consider hiring some of your venue decoration if you’ve opted for something very dramatic
- Using potted plants taken from your garden and/or borrowed from your friends and family as decoration will save you a small fortune in cut flower arrangements, and are more eco-friendly to boot!
- Shop for a wedding dress during the end of summer sales, so in August and September. Many boutiques will be selling beautiful dresses a lower prices in order to make way for the autumn and winter collections
- Really shop around before booking any suppliers, don’t just book the first person you come across because they have an eye-catching website or seemed friendly over the phone
- Prioritise! If you simply cannot do without professional hair and makeup then make sure that you prioritise it. Spend a bit of time looking at how you could slim down your budget if it looks like it’s getting out of hand. Do you really need those Jimmy Choo heels, or that diamond-encrusted garter? You will be surprised how much money you can save by looking critically at your wish list
- Consider hiring a DJ rather than a band, as DJs tend to be much cheaper
- Discuss buying alcohol wholesale with your venue. Some venues do not allow you to bring in alcohol from an outside source, some charge high corkage fees, however some will allow you to do this and will only charge a few pounds corkage fee per bottle. Look at the options and do a bit of maths. Also, consider serving sparkling wine rather than champagne as most people cannot tell the difference anyway!
- Order two cakes; one small and ornate cake for display and cutting by the bride and groom, and one large plain cake for slicing up and eating. This way you can keep the cost of your cake down while still ensuring that everyone gets to try a piece
- Keep your wedding day catering simple and go for chicken or pork dishes rather than beef or lamb as they tend to be a bit cheaper
- Request that your venue serves your wedding cake for dessert and save money on an entire course!
- Hold your wedding late in the day so that you only need to feed your guests once
- Hand-making some of your decorations and stationery is such a wonderful way of making your wedding truly unique and personal to you. It’s relatively easy (and cheap!) to make your stationery such as place cards, a seating chart and menus by hand, and table decorations incorporating reused glass jars and tin cans looks charming!
- If you’re flexible on time of year, book a winter wedding instead of a summer one as many venues drop their prices substantially for the winter months. Steer clear of December though as prices can rise during the festive period. If you look at dates in January, February, March, October and November you could be onto a winner!
- Ask your maid of honour, bridesmaids and your mum or guardian to do their own hair and makeup
- Keep a handle on your guest list! It can be so tempting to add a few extra names to your list as the big day approaches, however this is a sure fire way of breaking your budget. Once you’re list is written up, try to stick to it