Wedding on a budget : The definitive guide
Wedding on a budget? Fear not! You can have an elegant day without debt. Have a read of these wedding ideas which can be done for next to nothing.
USE WHAT YOU’VE ALREADY GOT.
Raid your cupboards, your garage, the shed at the bottom of the garden and the deepest darkest depths of those storage boxes. Then do the same at your parents, grandparents and siblings house (hell, look in anyone’s house where you can get further than the front door).
You’ll be surprised at what treasures you find, and you’ll be able to have a really unique style to your wedding as you come up with quirky ways to use up the items. For example, use mismatched china and tablecloths. Use jars, tins, teapots etc as vases for flowers or candle holders. Make fabric scraps into bunting. Stack up old books as centre pieces…let your imagination run wild!
RECYCLE, REUSE, RE-PURPOSE.
Have any friends or family been married recently? Do they have any wedding things that you could use?
JOIN BLOG GIVEAWAYS AND ENTER COMPETITIONS.
There are thousands of blog giveaways daily, and most of them require a very simple “Facebook like” or a Re-tweet to enter. Spend ten minutes a day joining a handful of competitions. Chances are if you join enough giveaways (especially of small up and coming blogs), you are bound to win something. If you are planning to do this, consider creating a wedding only email account so that all of the lists you subscribe to can be kept separate.
ASK FRIENDS AND FAMILY FOR WEDDING HELP IN LIEU OF GIFTS.
If aunt Enid is a keen gardener ask if she can grow some wedding flowers. Ditto for cousin Sophie who is good at hair and make-up. Same for college friend Nick who makes a mean cake. Start by looking down your guest list and ask yourself what each person does for a job, and what hobbies they all have. You can also do a shout out on social media. Afterall, the best gift anyone can give you is to make it possible for you to be married!
HAVE A BYOB PARTY.
Instead of buying bubbly for your guests, ask them to bring their own drinks. You’ll give your wedding a casual house party feel and save a fortune at the same time!
Ask your guests to bring a long a plate of food. You could set a theme or instruct what sandwiches or dish each person should bring along. Alternatively, ask all your guests to get baking for a cake table. Either way it will add up to a buffet or picnic feast fit for a wedding!
However, if you are determined to provide food for your guests try contacting your local restaurants and pubs. You can often get good food for between £6 and £10 a head (a fraction of the £40+ per head some venues charge). Another option is to get to your local butcher and throw a casual BBQ instead of a sit down meal.
THINK ABOUT A VENUE…THAT ISN’T A VENUE.
Opt for a non-traditional wedding venue to save tons of cash. Maybe you have a big garden you can use? A beach close by? Or perhaps a local village hall or brewery that could be rented at a fraction of the cost of a more traditional venue? Think outside the box! If you get married ‘officially’ beforehand at a registry office you have free rein to have your ceremony where ever you like! Keep your ceremony and reception all in the same place so you can save on transport costs.
IT’S ALL IN THE TIMING.
Go for a mid-week wedding to literally halve your wedding costs. Vendors are normally willing to slash their prices for a mid week date. Same goes for winter weddings.
STEP INTO THESALON
Schedule time in the morning to go to a hair salon instead of a hairstylist coming to you and save money in the process!
SPIN THE TUNES YOURSELF.
Make a playlist on your ipod in lieu of a DJ or live band. Ask all your guests to pick a song they would love to dance to before the big day and line ’em up!
SAVE MONEY ON A PHOTOGRAPHER
I may be biased, but I truly believe the one thing you should never try to scrimp or save on is your photographer, your memories are priceless! However, I do have a little trade secret for potentially saving money on a professional, and that is to make your wedding plans as unusual as possible. Why? Well us photographers at the core are an artistic bunch, and it’s very hard for us to resist the opportunity to photograph something out of the ordinary.
A very unusual wedding day can also help us get our work promoted, as it has more chance of getting accepted onto a wedding blog or print publication. So make your day out of the ordinary, and then cheekily ask for a discount. Failing that, try to find a photographer who is flexible on their payment schedule, then at least you can pay them in small instalments and keep to a budget. I am more than happy to let my couples spread the cost of their photography (and film!) to make it affordable for them. In some circumstances I can even accept payment after the wedding day. Have a look at my price page for more information.
The more DIY you can do the better (just don’t go nuts spending a fortune on craft materials!). For example, design and print your wedding invites (or email them to save even more). Recycle your magazines to make your own confetti. Spend an evening with your friends making favours (you can even double this up as a hen party activity!). For the more serious crafters among you it might be worth checking out Hobbycraft’s wedding section.
RAID YOUR PARENTS (OR GRANDPARENTS) WARDROBE.
Can you wear a wedding dress that belonged to a family member? Often this has much more sentimental meaning than a brand new dress. A local seamstress should be able to change a dress to fit you perfectly, or make amendments to the style so it becomes truly your own, for a fraction of the cost of a new dress.
CONSIDER ALTERNATIVES TO FLOWERS.
Fresh flowers can be costly, the cheapest you can go for is baby’s breath, which is the small white flowers normally used for filling or bulking out a bouquet. They can look very rustic and pretty in a bunch on their own. You can also go for dried flowers, which are cheaper than fresh and suit an autumn wedding perfectly. How about using artificial flowers or even making paper, fabric or felt ones? Or you could use an alternative to the traditional bouquet such as carrying a beautiful fan (for the summer), an umbrella or hand muff (for the winter) or a big bunch of balloons!
GO BARGAIN HUNTING.
Join all your local selling groups on facebook. Scour charity shops, £1 shops, second hand stores and go to car boot sales. You never know when there is a bargain to be had! Another method you could utilise is to base your theme or colour scheme around big shop sale times. For example, if you were planning a winter wedding why not make it a Christmas or New Year affair? If you planned for this a year in advance you could buy all your decorations in the January sale a year before your big day, and save tons of money in the process. Ditto for a red theme; go grab the sale bargains just after valentines day!
The fewer the guests the cheaper the wedding. And what could be more romantic than just the two of you saying your vows to each other? You could also use the money you save on an unforgettable honeymoon.