by Liberty Stembridge, Money Columnist
Published in Money on 25th September, 2019
The stereotypical wedding is large, flamboyant, stressful and expensive... but does it have to be? If you're looking at your budget wondering how on earth one day of your life could cost you so much money, you're not alone. Plenty of other newlyweds have found ingenious ways to cut costs on their big day, and you can too, with these 20 tips.
Or during any peak day. Most weddings happen on a Saturday because it's a convenient day to have a wedding - most people don't have work, and you can get sufficiently drunk without having to worry about waking up to go to work the next day with a hangover.
However, because of this narrow window, venues are able to raise prices on Saturdays. By avoiding a Saturday wedding, you can potentially save yourself hundreds of dollars.
There's no need to rush your wedding, if you're with the right person, it'll happen one day. When you're newly engaged, it's easy to let the prospective excitement of getting married carry you away - but there's nothing wrong with having a long engagement.
By giving yourself more time, you can plan out your wedding with a lot less stress and give yourself the time to save up as much money as you need.
Similarly to getting married on a Saturday, picking the right time of year to get married is also important. Spring and summer weddings are very popular, and can, therefore, be much more expensive. By picking a wedding date towards the end of a popular season or during fall and winter, you will often find that venues and vendors become a lot cheaper.
Try to find a venue that doesn't require you to use their vendors, and instead source your own. Although this may require more planning and coordination, you'll likely be able to save a lot of money by choosing cheaper vendors or skipping out on some vendors altogether.
Every extra guest is another place at a table, another mouth to feed, another seat to place and another couple glasses of wine to provide. Creating a more intimate wedding with only your nearest and dearest will help to drastically reduce the costs of your wedding.
This may seem counter-intuitive, but a wedding planner can save you a lot fo money and stress in the long run. By hiring someone to, essentially, do the job for you, you can rely on an expert to find the best fit for you, within your budget. A wedding planner will be able to take all the stress of the wedding planning away, without breaking the bank - a worthwhile investment.
Paper invitations, photo books, RSVP cards and so on can all take quite a sizeable chunk of money out of your budget. Instead, opt for a wedding website, email invitations and a digital photo album to send out the guests (or just put on facebook).
Choosing local suppliers not only supports your local businesses and community, but it helps you to cut down on costs too. Suppliers such as photographers, food vendors and florists will often include the cost of transport as part of their overall price.
As an added bonus, you may find that the local suppliers already know your venue and will be able to offer tips and advice.
Opting for less expensive meal options such as a potluck, barbeque or shared dining can greatly reduce the cost of your catering. For a smaller, family-feel wedding, ask guests to bring in their own items such as dhal, sausage rolls, brownies and so on.
This can help to get everyone involved in the wedding and create a much more homely feel. Or, opt for shared dining rather than creating a three-course meal for every single guest, simply create large batches of the meals to share and place them on the table for everyone to have a go at.
An excellent way to save money on your wedding venue is to rent a multi-purpose location. Rather than booking several different locations for the reception, venue, afterparty and lodging, keep it all in one place by renting out a house for the occasion.
Renting out a home on Airbnb, for example, means you could have your reception, wedding, after-party, lodging for all the out-of-town guests and potentially even your honeymoon, all in one place and save a lot of money while you're at it.
Embrace your inner craftsman and start DIYing your wedding. If you have a bit of time to spare, there are plenty of elements to your wedding that you can DIY, such as placeholders, flower arrangements, guest favours and more.
A quick search on Pinterest and all of your DIY dreams will come true. This can not only help you to save some money on your wedding but helps to make your day even more special, knowing the love and work that went into it.
Flowers are an integral part of any wedding, and they can also take a huge chunk of money out of your budget if you're not careful. By sourcing local, seasonal flowers to fill your venue, you'll likely be able to save a lot of money than paying premium prices for flowers flown in from abroad.
One of the most expensive parts of any wedding is the provisioning, especially when it comes to alcohol. Everyone wants to have a good time, and often alcohol is a part of that, but it can be expensive, especially when you want to make sure that everyone has enough.
Going to a third party to cater your wedding drinks might be the easier option, but it'll often be a lot more expensive. Instead, calculate a rough estimate for how much alcohol you'll need, and simply buy it yourself. Depending on the size of your wedding, this can really save you a lot of money.
Sure, we'd all love to have fifteen of our best girlfriends by our side while we're getting married, but that can get pretty expensive. Each bridesmaid comes with an added cost of dresses, hair, makeup and more, so if you're looking to save some money, choose just one or two of your closest friends - same goes for the groom.
Having a budget and sticking to it is key to saving money on your wedding day. There are many resources available that can help you to calculate how much you'll need and where you can save some dollar on the big day.
It can be tempting to live in blissful ignorance, but this is ultimately unhelpful. Instead, get a good grasp on your finances right from the start and plan accordingly.
Venue hire is usually one of the most expensive parts of a wedding, and you can save enormously by skipping out on this cost altogether and going for a backyard wedding instead.
Of course, this might not be an option for everyone, but even if you live in an apartment and don't have a backyard, a family member or friend might be willing to lend you there's for the special day, so don't be afraid to ask around. Backyard weddings can be some of the most beautiful intimate weddings, without the high price tag.
Another way to keep those crazy costs down is to cut back on the cake. If it's always been your dream to have a grand wedding cake, don't worry - plenty of bakeries will now provide "faux" wedding cakes, with a small cake on the top tier and empty bottom tiers made to look like the real thing.
Once you're done with the cake cutting yourself, simply transfer the cake to the back and serve regular sheet cake for your guests.
Wedding dresses can come at extortionate prices, but you don't need to go bankrupt in order to feel like a princess. Many popular high street brands such as ASOS and Reformation offer beautiful white dresses that can be used as wedding dresses, or if you'd rather stay more traditional you could even shop around for a second-hand wedding dress on sites such as stillwhite and bride2bride.
This is not only much more eco-friendly but can get you a practically brand new wedding dress for half the price.
A lot of newlyweds find that some of the items they spent the most money on, were the most unnecessary. Look carefully at your wedding plans and budget, and make sure you're not spending money on superfluous items.
At the end of the day, all you really need is to be surrounded by family and friends, with some good food and nice music - everything else is a nice extra. So ask yourself if you really need those embossed name places or special napkins or extra-large flower bouquets.
It's these little things that you don't really need that end up adding up and putting a few extra zero's on the end of the bill.
Whilst there's nothing wrong with large, lavish weddings, the fact of the matter is - they don't lend themselves well to penny-pinching. By paring back, embracing some more simplistic, minimalistic values, you can save a lot of money and still have the most beautiful, memorable wedding of your dreams.