Knowing when to save and when to splurge is key to getting the most out of your wedding finances.

My granny used to say that if you buy cheap, you buy twice (she was talking about shoes, I think). There’s certainly some truth in this and whilst we are all for making the most of your wedding budget, we do think that you have to be careful not to cut too many financial corners.

How not to save money

You can’t afford to buy a cheap wedding dress

So you’ve found your dream bridal gown on the internet and it’s well within your means. In fact, it’s a complete bargain. You’ve sent the company your measurements, you’ve paid for it and you can’t wait for it to arrive.

It’s the same old story. If something seems too good to be true then it probably is.

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We can’t tell you how many sad tales we’ve heard from brides who’ve taken this route. Either the dress never turns up or when it does it’s made out of cheap material, doesn’t fit and looks awful. Don’t do it. There are some fabulous wedding dresses available on the high street, or you could go to a sample sale and get a major discount on a designer dress. One online shop we would recommend is Kitty and Dulcie, who are very reputable and have made many brides very happy.

Snap unhappy

Maybe you’ve got a photographer friend who’s offered to take the shots for your big day for no cost, or as a wedding present. Well, we’d advise you to be very wary of this one. A professional wedding photographer is just that – somebody who knows their job, who’s trained and who has captured a good few weddings beforehand. They won’t want to rush off to socialise with the guests and down a few glasses of champagne. We’d always advise you to use a professional wedding photographer – after all, you only get one shot at your wedding photographs and they will be a longstanding memory of your big day. If your friend’s images aren’t great or if they can’t download them, then how are you going to feel?

We’d also say that you shouldn’t economise on a wedding videographer. Not having the wedding filmed is one of a couple’s top regrets, so it’s certainly worth spending some money on.

Don’t play the hunger games

Food is going to eat up quite a bit of your spend, so you might be tempted to scrimp and save here. Not a good idea. If your guests end up starving and in need of a drink then they’re not going to be having a good time (and won’t have fond memories of your wedding day). Make sure you offer refreshments as soon as the ceremony is over and everyone is gathering at the reception venue. On behalf of starving guests everywhere, please don’t have a late morning or early afternoon wedding and then not feed anyone until the evening. Far better to get married later in the day and then have a fabulous evening celebration with ample food. You don’t have to have a formal sit down dinner either – investigate buffet option costs, hog roasts or maybe a barbecue.

Alternatively, if you really are on a tight budget and don’t plan on having an evening party, you could serve a sumptuous afternoon tea with sandwiches, cakes and pastries and champagne for the toasts.

Who pays for the maids?

We think that the bride should really foot the bill for the bridesmaids’ dresses – particularly if you’ve chosen the sort of frock that they’re unlikely to be able to wear again. However if you really can’t stretch to that, then we suggest you let the girls choose dresses that they would like to wear more than once. One good option is to try a wrap dress like the ones offered by Wedding Ideas award winners Two Birds Bridal, which is a useful addition to any girl’s wardrobe.

Love your shoes

If you’ve always longed for a pair of real Jimmy Choos or Manolo Blahniks then maybe now is your chance. We think it’s far better to spend a bit more on a pair of shoes you’re going to wear over and over again and feel like a princess in than economise and buy a cheaper pair that you only ever wear once and then keep in a box. Go on, enjoy yourself. Just make sure you stick to your budget and work out the cost per wear – and you’ll realise those dream heels aren’t quite as expensive as you thought.

As ever, why not head on over to the Wedding Ideas Forum now to see what our brides have to say about spending money on the wedding day? You could also start up a conversation yourself if there is something in particular you want to discuss about wedding spending.