Tying the knot without breaking the bank

Friday 09 March 2018, 03:20 PM

Sam Barratt
Financial Journalist , Freelance

  • Budget-Wedding-Planning-Blog-Shoes

Getting married can be incredibly expensive, with the average wedding costing £27,161 last year according to wedding planning website Hitched.co.uk.

But, if you’re looking to tie the knot, here’s how to have a day to remember,
without having to pay for it for years to come.
If you’re blowing the budget, the venue and the menu will be the two biggest costs. Hitched.co.uk puts an £8,000 figure on the venue, covering the hire of a stately home or historic wedding venue,
and £5,500 for the food and drink. 

Venue savings
It’s easy to pay much less though. If you’re lucky enough to know someone with a large house or garden or you’ve got a favourite pub or restaurant, ask them if you can use it as the venue. Community halls also make great wedding venues. You might need to spend a bit on decorations, or hiring a marquee, but it’ll save you a fortune. 

All-inclusive deals can also stop costs escalating. Many hotels will offer a package covering the venue, food and some drinks.
Even Wetherspoons has got in on this, offering a £3,000 deal including a three course meal for 100 guests, sparkling wine and a DJ for an evening reception for up to 300 people.   

Cut-price catering 

Where you’re picking up the catering costs separately, these can also be chopped. Inviting fewer people is an obvious solution but if you’ve really got to invite your second cousin twice removed, then think about when you get married and how much you need to feed them. Get married at midday and you’re tied in to two meals; get married at 3pm and it’s just the one. 

You can also be creative with the menu. Canapes can become starters and your wedding cake can be the dessert. Or hire in a fish and chip van or a hog roast as these often work out more cost-effective. 

Cheap cake
Don’t be afraid to go untraditional with the cake either. Decorating something you bought from a supermarket or a pile of cupcakes, profiteroles or even donuts can make a stunning wedding cake.   
For the drinks, consider limiting what you provide for free but if you want to foot the bill, look out for the offers or consider a quick trip to France to stock up on duty-free.  

If you’re not wedded to getting married on a Saturday, you can also save big. Many venues will offer lower prices on weekday weddings and, as long as you give guests plenty of warning, they might enjoy the idea of making a weekend of it. Similarly, tie the knot out of season and it’ll cost you less. 

Thrifty threads
What you’re going to wear can also cost a pretty penny. Hitched.co.uk puts a figure of £2,000 on the bride’s dress, shoes and accessories while the groom and bridesmaids get £800 between them. Hiring suits will cut the costs for the blokes while high street and internet retailers are a great place to find a much more reasonably priced wedding dress. 

For example, French Connection has a range of dresses for around £250 while at ASOS they start at less than £100. If you’re happy to go second-hand, sellmyweddingdress.co.uk and ebay are worth a look while some of the charity shops, including Oxfam and Red Cross, have bridal shops.  

Finishing touches
While that’s the bulk of the big day taken care of, other common wedding expenses include invites, photographers and entertainment. With these things, doing it yourself, or asking your friends for help, can save you plenty of cash. A keen amateur photographer may be happy to take your snaps or you might have a mate who fancies himself as a DJ. 

But, however you look to save money, do also think about what’s important about your big day. If it’s having the most beautiful shoes or dress, splurge on those. If it’s an album of professional photos, book the photographer, but just get three quotes first. 

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