If you and your h2b want to save some serious cash on your wedding day – and let’s face it, why wouldn’t you?! – then there are some hard and fast rules you need to live by. Emily Berryman shows you how to save a sizable chunk of your wedding budget…
Thou shalt do it yourself
No white wedding is worth spending a lifetime in the red, so it pays to get creative with your reception details. The trend for DIY is still strong in 2014, with even the busiest brides taking time out to create fabulous finishing touches on a shoestring.
“The more you can make yourself – with the help of others – the better it is for your wedding budget,” says wedding planner extraordinaire Siobhan Craven-Robins. “Raw materials cost what they cost, but you will save a small fortune if you don’t have to fork out on the time and skill of an expert.” Asking friends and family to pitch in with DIY tasks will also help to personalise your wedding day. Perhaps your Grandma is a ninja on the sewing machine or your best friend is a whizz at arranging flowers and table centres? Put together your own wedding A-Team today and watch your savings soar!
Thou shalt save, save, save
Financing a wedding calls for savvy saving – and that means working every penny to the max. “Start by stashing your money in the right place to get as much interest as possible,” says finance queen Rose Harris-Birtill from moneysavingexpert.com.
“The best option is to use an easy-access cash ISA, which means you can withdraw cash at any time – handy if you have suppliers to pay – but also lets you save up to £5,760 a year without having to pay any tax on it. Then, once you’ve used your full ISA allowance, use a top savings account with the best interest rate”. Who knows? All those extra savings could mean that you can afford those designer bridal shoes after all!
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wedding
Determined to better the last wedding you went to? Beware of Competitive Wedding Syndrome, because it can leave a massive dent in your bank account! “Brides often get caught up in worrying about whether their wedding will measure up – but it is the unique ideas that are personal to you that will have the greatest impact, and not how much money you spend,” says planner Carmen Yuen-Stevenson.
Do you love gardening? Why not grow your own seedlings as favours? Do you and your h2b love watching old movies? Name each table after your favourite screen sirens. With a little bit of imagination, cheap can definitely be chic!
Thou shalt get insurance
Admittedly, buying wedding insurance will not be your most thrilling wedding purchase – but it is one of the most important, and no couple should be without it. “Never again will you invest so much time, and money, into just one day of your life, so making sure you are covered for any unforseen circumstances – like your venue going bust or a close relative becoming ill – is an absolute must,” says wedding planner Carmen Yuen-Stevenson.
“Choose the right level of cover based on the total cost of your wedding. It will undoubtedly be the best money you spend – for both cover and peace of mind!” Wedding Ideas loves E&L who offer insurance for big days abroad, as well as in the UK. Packages start from as little as £20 and will cover you for up to two years prior to the event.
Thou shalt be a savvy shopper
“Shopping seasonally will help you to make savings in many ways,” says wedding planner Siobhan. “Food and flowers that are in season will always be cheaper.”
Shopping at the right time for other W-day essentials is also a winner. Buying your bubbly? Do it in December when bargain basement prices are set for the festive period! Looking for rings? Shop for a sparkler around May when Valentine’s Day is over and Christmas is a long way off to guarantee the best deals.
Thou shalt watch out for pricey extras
Unfortunately, when dealing with dealing with wedding suppliers, sometimes things are not always as they seem, namely their prices. “From the outset, ask the right questions and check your supplier’s terms and conditions,” advises Carmen. “Ensure you have a written quotation from each company you are and check that it details
exactly what is and isn’t included in the price. For example, have delivery and service charges been added? Is VAT included? Is a minimum spend required?”
All these little ‘extras’ can add a hefty wedge to your bill if you ignore them at the start. Download a budget spreadsheet (get yours here for free!) and keep in mind those budget- busting extras.
Thou shalt test your bartering skills
Once you know how, you will be haggling like a woman possessed! “The easiest way to bag a great deal is to be honest about your budget and work with a supplier who understands your vision,” says Carmen. Bargainista brides can swipe anything from a honeymoon upgrade to a free first night by having a little bottle – so if you can’t get a discount, can anything be thrown in for free?
“Being flexible will also up your bargaining power – having a mid-week winter wedding puts you in a better position to negotiate than a weekend during the summer – so don’t be afraid to be different.” And don’t discount unpopular dates – marrying on Friday 13th could save you a fortune!
Thou shalt get WOW factor for less
In these celebrity-obsessed times, it is possible to know everything there is to know about your favourite star’s nuptials – but remember these stars have gigantic magazine deals to pay for their wedding extravagances.
“For A-list wow factor on a C-list budget, go for big floral arrangements, using cheaper blooms like gypsophila or carnations, which, en masse, look dynamic and stylish,” says wedding planner Siobhan. “Great lighting also creates instant ambience, so a few strategically placed uplighters with coloured gels can transform a room without eating too dramatically into your wedding funds”.
Also, ask your venue if they have any expensive decorations you can ‘borrow’ on the day. The in-house Christmas tree for your winter wedding, perhaps?
Thou shalt control your credit card
Don’t be a slave to your plastic – if you have savings, it is possible to make that credit card work for you! “A great trick to help earn extra cash is to use a cashback credit card for any big day spending,” says Rose from moneysavingexpert.com. “Some cashback credit cards offer five per cent introductory rates, so use these and you’ll net extra cash on shopping you’d do anyway. Then pay the card off immediately, as soon as the bill arrives.”
Rose does have a word of warning, though. “Only do this if you can set up a direct debit to repay the balance in full each month, or the interest will eclipse the extra cash.”
Thou shalt watch your numbers
The easiest way to save on your wedding spends? Prune your guest list. “If your venue can’t accommodate everyone for a sit-down meal, this can be a legitimate way to downsize how many people you invite without causing offence,” says Siobhan.
Holding an adults-only celebration is another option. The only rule is to stick to your guns and make no exceptions. Guests will only be offended if they see a handful of happy kids running around enjoying your day, while their little angel is left languishing at home. Another way to slash your guest list? Have a wedding abroad. Many people won’t be able to afford a week away – both financially and in terms of holiday allowance from work – so this could be another option, albeit quite an extreme one!
For more money-saving advice, check our Wedding Budget section – or chat to other brides on the Wedding Ideas Forum to see how they’re saving money!