Wow I can’t believe this is my first post as a married woman! It’s crazy how we were building up to our wedding for over a year and then boom it’s over in a fantastic, unforgettable, explosion of love flash! I have admittedly taken a little blogging break since the wedding planning stepped up a notch as it was taking up a lot of my spare time, but I’m back to business now and figured the wedding itself would be a good topic to start the ball rolling again!
I have always loved seeing other peoples wedding pics on social media and seeing what they chose to wear and how the venue looked etc but it wasn’t until I started planning a wedding myself did I realise the insane costs that go along with it! Ok I knew weddings cost money, but it’s only as you start totting everything up that your ‘decent budget’ starts to look more like pocket change pretty fast. As a self proclaimed budget shopper who may as well live in my local Primark, having to spend above average prices was a little hard to swallow, but then again this is the one time to exercise YOLO and get whatever you want right? Sadly money doesn’t grow on trees and I didn’t win the lottery before the wedding (not for my lack of trying!) but we were lucky to have time to save up (a major bonus of a year and a half engagement) and our parents helped by chipping in too. But no matter the size of your budget, we all like to save a little money where we can so here are my top tips to making that money go further so you have the wedding of your dreams without being bankrupt after;
1. Make a priorities list:
When you and your partner begin planning, sit down together and discuss what the most important parts of the day are for each of you. This is a great way to start because it gets you picturing the day together, while getting a feel for where you should focus your funds. I found that making a list of everything in order of importance helps you to decide what to splurge on e.g. if you are both foodies and the fine dining catering at the reception is really important to you then you will put that as number 1 on your list. The things further down the list can then be looked at depending if you have some extra cash left after the things you really want. We ended up cutting some decorative extras so we could afford a fireworks display and to us that was way more worth it than gold plates and decorative drapery. Remember it is your day so making a ‘must have’ plan of what matters most to you as a couple will guarantee a great day that is personalised to you, so if that means blowing the budget on your favourite DJ and having hot dogs for dinner then so be it (and don’t forget to invite me!)
Our fireworks display
2. Be realistic:
Hitting up Pinterest is an excellent way to get inspiration and ideas for your day, but try not to get carried away. Showing your wedding planner photos from a celebrity wedding with floor to ceiling flower arrangements is pretty pointless if that’s not within your means. You will need to take a step back every so often and think about whether those extra peonies are going to be worth going over your budget for. Be open minded and ask the professionals to advise you on how to make your budget go the furthest. eg. mixing some cheaper seasonal flowers or greenery through your arrangements so you can get more blooms for your buck. Being flexible with the date of your wedding can mean huge savings too. A lot of venues offer discounts for week days so consider a Friday instead of a Saturday and you could save thousands. The same goes for what time year you choose, peak season can mean sky high prices so why not wait until end of season when your more likely to get a good deal and still enjoy nice weather. We opted for a September wedding as accommodation and travel options would be cheaper for us and our guests as the peak season started winding down. Opting for a smaller guest list is a surefire way to lower costs, but if your heart is set on a big party, inviting some evening-only guests can be a great way to include everyone while saving on food and drinks costs. There are so many ways to trim costs, just revert back to your priorities list and take it from there.
My wedding day bouquet – photo by Seriy Rolianskii (natadanilova.com)
3. Get crafty:
I saw so many cute things online that I immediately went ‘oh my god we HAVE to get this’ until I saw the price tag.. *deletes from online basket* and then thought to myself, how hard could it be to make that myself? Wedding DIY projects can actually be a really fun way to de-stress by getting creative. Why not organise a night in with your bridal party or other half and make something truly personalised for your big day. Often all you need is an idea (pinterest and youtube have plenty) and some basic craft materials. Because we were getting married abroad and I needed that valuable luggage space I was a bit limited, but I did make some signs to display in the venue that turned out great. It’s amazing what a placard from Poundland and a Tippex pen can create when you put your mind to it! My only advice is to start earlier than you think, as there are always plenty of tasks that crop up last minute and you don’t want to be up to your elbows in PVA glue and glitter when you should be enjoying putting the final touches to your plans.
My home made photo zone sign
4. Get digital:
I for one am totally addicted to my phone and laptop, so it made sense to make use of the many resources available online. We did our seating charts on weddingwire.com so we could easily email them to the caterers and decorators at the touch of a button and easily move people around when the inevitable last minute drop outs happened. I mentioned earlier you can find so many tutorials to make things yourself on the internet, and we decided to take this a step further and save ourselves money by sending our save the dates by email. Nemanja created a design on picmonkey.com and we set up a wedding email address that we used to send them to all our guests from. Setting up a wedding email address meant we could get everyone’s replies to one place which was a total godsend. You don’t want to have to dig back through all your daily emails to find a guests travel plans or menu selection. It also meant we didn’t have to pay to print save the date cards or pay for postage. Another bonus was we had a mailing list already set up for sending further info closer to the wedding, win win.
We decided to get our wedding invitations, table numbers, menus and place cards professionally made on minted.com which turned out beautifully. You get to customise them and change around the fonts and add photos etc which we really liked. When you order wedding stationary from them they offer a matching wedding website for free, so we set ours up so our guests could RSVP and check important information without having to find the formal invite months later. I did a whole post on that you can read here. I am usually out and about running between jobs and castings so it made life so much easier being able to check RSVPs and check who’s seated where, from my phone. We also had our wedding day menus and place cards made by minted.com so to cut some costs I made our rehearsal dinner menus myself on the computer and my Dad printed them out for us (thanks Dad!). I also put together a ceremony programme and uploaded the design to helloprint.co.uk to get them printed into little booklets which was an affordable and quick option because I left them to the last minute. So all those things plus a million spreadsheets on google drive (I recommend making one for logging all your spending into to keep track of everything you spend as you go) and of course shopping online, we basically planned our entire wedding on the computer.
Our gorgeous table scape
It is so easy to get caught up in the wedding planning and understandably you want to put on a great day, but try to remember why you are getting married. Hopefully it’s for that person your meeting at the altar rather than the glitz and glam of the day. It’s easy to feel under pressure to live up to expectations put on by family and friends and ourselves, but my biggest piece of advice is to focus on eachother and when things get stressful or your fingers are raw from writing name cards, look over to the person your doing all this with. I know it sounds corny but this actually helped save the most money because I’d catch myself thinking negative things like ‘the table scape just won’t look as good without x,y,z’ and then check myself because let’s be honest, no one will care if there are four candles on the table instead of six. Once I got into the swing of seeing everything as a bonus rather than a necessity it was much easier to cut back on things and prioritise what we felt would really add to the experience. I realised I didn’t need the fanciest stuff when I was in my favourite place with all my favourite people. This leads me on to my next point..
6. Shop around:
If you have the money then by all means, go wild. Just be careful that your not buying something just for the sake of it being the most expensive option. Trust me, it is well worth checking ebay and amazon to find identical products for half the price. There are so many great affordable options out there so before you buy something it’s well worth doing a google search to compare vendors. Of course there are areas like photography and food where most likely you will get what you paid for but keep an open mind when shopping and you will be surprised what you could save. If you have your heart set on a dress that’s out of your price range, don’t get upset before searching sample sales and discounted bridal stores first. There are also some amazing websites where you can buy second hand dresses or sell your own dress after the big day to make some extra cash for your honeymoon. I got some amazing bridal bargains myself by searching online, my second dress was such a bargain I think that will need a whole post to itself.
If your wedding day is fast approaching or you are helping a friend with planning, I hope my tips come in handy. I really wish I could relive it all over again so enjoy the process and I assure you, you can have your dream day whilst still being a budget friendly bride! I’d love to hear your money saving tips in the comments and feel free to share this post on social media with any brides to be.
Until next time..
Header photo by Alexandra & Vladimir Nadtochiy ( Nadtochiy.com)