Even small amounts can make a big difference to your day – find out how to transform your budget wedding for £500 and under…
Outfits with wow factor!
If you’ve got a spare £200-500 in your budget, it’s always worth asking yourself whether your outfit is absolutely perfect. “Adding a little finishing touch like a brooch or bolero means you can change your look from day to night without spending a fortune on another dress,” says Rachel Morgan, editor of Wedding Ideas.
Eat, drink and be merry!
Many venues will ask you to have your menu and drinks finalised long before the big day, but there’s still a lot you can do with a spare £200-500 at the last minute. Serving canapés with the wedding drinks is one option, especially if you’re worried that guests might get hungry waiting for the wedding breakfast. Or serve extra food during the evening celebrations, when guests might get peckish. There are plenty of other ways to make your choice of food more entertaining. Singing waiters are always a fun surprise, or if you’re
“Have an ice cream stand – at £200, it’s a fun and fabulous alternative to canapés…”
When you walk into your reception room for the first time, you’ll want it to be magical – an extra £200-500 can help guarantee that you and your guests will be blown away by it. Award-winning planner Julie Tooby from Essentially-You says: “I always recommend chair covers! For the cost, the transformation is amazing and they can bring a colour theme together.”
“If you’re holding your wedding in a marquee, there are lots of other low-cost decorating options. “At my friend’s wedding, she scattered scented lavender seeds at the entrance to her marquee, which were then walked on throughout the day, creating a beautiful fragrance,” says Editor Rachel Morgan.
For many brides, flowers are the ultimate wedding decoration, and £200-500 will go a pretty long way.
For a floral gesture that will help unite your families, how about this, also from Beverly Pearce: “Ask the florist to make a bouquet for the bride that easily divides into three small pieces as a surprise. As you arrive at the end of the aisle, detach one and hand to your father to give to your mother as he takes his seat. At the end of the ceremony, as you walk out, detach the second small arrangement and hand to your new mother-in-law with a kiss, then carry on up the aisle as a Mrs!”
For £200-500, you can hire talented musicians to entertain you and set the mood for your celebrations. At the ceremony, drinks and the meal, a string quartet will sound so sophisticated. Or Claire Wilkinson at Every Detail says: “Look around for an excellent vocalist – it makes such a difference having someone sing as you enter the church and it’s great for your guests while you are signing the register.
For a musical idea that costs nothing but will mean a lot to your guests, include something on your invitations asking guests to RSVP with song suggestions – playing them on the day will ensure you get the musical tone right and that everyone hears something they like.
This is the biggest area where your money will make a noticeable difference to the day. Everyone will remember the fab toastmaster, salsa dancers or casino that made your celebrations so much fun. Claire Wilkinson suggests: “If you are concerned about your guests not mingling, hire a magician, human statue or caricaturist to get people talking. Book them for when guests are due to arrive at the reception venue, to work the crowd as they arrive, when people are quite shy – later on, the atmosphere and alcohol will take over!” Tamryn Kirby says: “I love Charles Burns, the fab silhouette Roving Artist – all the guests can take home an amazing silhouette cutting of themselves, so Charles is entertainment and favours all rolled into one! He’s really popular at weddings – guests love to watch and they love their silhouettes.”
At the end of the big day, all you will have to remember those special moments will be your photographs. For many brides, it’s worth spending a bit more to get your wedding photographer to stay all day, from morning into the night so he can capture everything, especially those more relaxed moments at the evening party
Alternatively, Beverley Pearce suggests: “Buy a Polaroid camera and lots of film! Ask guests to take their photo and write a message on the back for you to keep as an alternative to a guestbook.”