Beat the budget by cutting the costs of all those wedding day essentials – from your gown through to your flowers… Words by Sophie Smith.

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Wedding favours

Offer up something food-related: A lot of favours – however lovely – do find themselves at the bottom of guests’ handbags for months. Bake some mini cupcakes or decorate some giant pretzels with chocolate and sprinkles for a yummy treat. You could individually wrap them in a pretty cellophane bag.

Swap traditional favours for personalised thank you cards: It will not only save you money, it’s also bound to make each guest feel very special on your big day.

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The venue

Don’t rule out party venues: There are plenty of fab barns and halls around that offer hire for just a snip of the price of a wedding venue.

Think about wedding timings: When you hire a venue you often pay for the number of hours you’ll need it for. Consider a later start, for example a 3pm ceremony, to reduce the time you’ll play host.

Do your homework on available dates: Chat to the venue staff about out of season offers or mid-week dates.

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Wedding food

Consider alternatives to the sit-down meal: Afternoon tea or hog roasts are both great options.

Reduce the number of times you need to serve food: Carefully time your day so you only have to provide one meal and some light evening snacks – rather than having a wedding breakfast, evening food and canapés. A 2pm ceremony will allow guests to eat breakfast and lunch before arriving.

Photography

Opt for just a few hours coverage: Your wedding photos are the one everlasting memory you’ll have of your big day – so instead of ditching the professional, why not ask for reduced coverage? Three hours should cover your ceremony right through to the start of your wedding breakfast, capturing your vows, group shots, newlywed shots and documenting the drinks’ reception.

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Wedding cake

Let your wedding cake double up as dessert: It will also save you money on your big day menu!

Keep it simple: Opt for a plain iced cake. You can always decorate it with fresh flowers and a Mr & Mrs cake topper.

Consider the naked wedding cake: Simple to make and much kinder to your wallet – you could even try making one yourself!

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Evening entertainment

Be your own DJ: Make your own playlist and play from an iPod dock.

Make your own photobooth: Buy some cheap props, pop into a box and create a pretty backdrop with bunting or pom poms. Voilà!

Think outside the box: Set up a cupcake decorating station, bring in face painters or have a sparkler send-off.

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Flowers

Design your own arrangements: If you’re the crafty type, get your maids on board and make the bouquet yourself. Just remember to schedule in a practice run a few weeks before the wedding day.

Go easy on your reception flowers: Opt for alternative centrepieces or style with single stems in glass medicine jars as vases.

Consider alternatives for your maids: Flower crowns, single stems or wrist corsages all give an effortlessly chic look that will save you some pennies.

Alfie&Marta 12th June

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