If you’re worried that you’ve chosen a time of year that’s more expensive to get married and that your budget won’t stretch far enough, fear not. We’ve used our wedding expertise to show you how you can save money at whatever time of year.
Fab budget blooms
Top florist Emma Lappin has some creative suggestions to get beautiful blooms for less. “Choose whatever is in season,” says Emma. “In winter choose berries and foliage, you could even pick branches from hedgerows, tulips and narcissi are also an option for winter time. At spring you could collect blossoms straight from the trees, magnolia or cherry blossoms look beautiful. Think meadow flowers in summer, such as scabious and dahlias. You could find table centres for around £5 each at a garden centre, campanulas and cottage marguerites would look wonderful. In autumn to save money you can use grasses, foliages, hydrangeas and big blowsy chrysanthemums.”
Wedding Planner Julie Tooby reccommends that you move your flowers from your church or ceremony room to your reception, that way you’ll get double the flowers for your money.
What about catering?
You could find that quite a large chunk of your budget is eaten up by the food you choose, so how can you make savings here but still cater for your guests properly?
John Hearn, executive head chef of wedding caterers Tapenade comments, “Asking for out of season produce can impact on cost and make prices escalate,” says John. “Strawberries and raspberries all work well for a summer wedding for example, while blackberries are more suited to an autumn wedding. Ask about locally sourced produce to keep costs to a minimum.
For spring weddings, a buffet can be a cost effective way to cater for large guest lists. The secret to savvy spending is not to go overboard on the number of dishes though.
People’s appetites tend to be smaller in warmer weather, so if you’re planning a summer wedding, look at lighter menu options such as serving canapés as a starter or dessert.
Autumn is a great time for locally sourced fruits such as rhubarb, gooseberries and apples. These all lend themselves well to crumbles or pies, large or miniature, so why not serve up a dessert platter to each table that guests can help themselves to?
Winter weddings lend themselves to rich, sumptuous flavours, but that doesn’t mean they have to be expensive. Why not consider a traditional roast dinner with meats such as turkey or beef? That will feed a large number of people, if you’re guests are adventurous eaters, offer up a serving of hearty seasonal game casserole with warming root vegetables.”
Toasting your special day
Immediately after your ceremony you’re going to want to offer your guests some refreshments. It doesn’t have to be wine or Champagne though, you could have a less costly signature cocktail created to be offered on trays, along with juices and mineral water for any designated drivers or children. If it’s a hot day many people might prefer not to drink too much alcohol in the sun.
Don’t forget to offer drinks at every stage of your wedding. Jugs of tap water should be replenished regularly on the tables, although you’ll also want to offer wine to go with the meals. For the toasts you need something sparkling, which doesn’t necessarily have to be Champagne. Have a tasting session and try some Prosecco or a dry Cava, these are both cheaper than Champagne but still delicious.
Don’t feel you have to put money behind the bar if you can’t afford it. However, if you’re offering a cash bar you need to make this clear to guests in advance, as well as inform them if credit and debit cards are acceptable.
“When choosing a venue, pick one that ticks the most boxes for you,”says Julie Tooby.“It might not seem so at first, but this will save you money in the long run as you’ll need less add-ins to make it right for you.”
In addition, if you do your research you’ll discover that many venues offer a discount for weddings held on a weekday or on dates other than during the months from May to October, which is the peak of the wedding season. If you’re planning on getting married at these times, don’t be afraid to negotiate a special rate, if you get married at a less busy time you’ve got some bargaining power.
Picture your day
Your photographer is probably your most important supplier of the entire day, so make sure you know they’re offering the style of photography you want. Most photographers will offer a package deal, so look at these closely and decide if they’re suitable for your needs. As with your venue, if you choose a time when photographers are unlikely to be swamped with work you’re more likely to strike a deal that suits you both. However, don’t economise too much on photography, these pictures will be the lasting memory of your day.