If you’ve already sat down to work out a budget for your big day then you don’t need us to tell you that weddings are a costly affair. That’s why we’ve rounded up 20 ways couples can cut the cost of their wedding, without having to compromise on the vision they have for their day.
Let us preface this by saying the most important thing is that you spend on the things that are important to you. Figure out what you really want and what you’re not so fussed on and take it from there.
Cut the guest list
Ah, the most obvious, and yet most brutal. Cutting your guest list is one of the biggest money savers but if you’re struggling with who to invite, start with an A List. This should include everyone who you simply have to have there, not because your parents say so, but because you really, genuinely want them to attend. Then write a B list. This should include people you would like to have there but ultimately wouldn’t be devastated if they couldn’t attend. Finally, write a C list of people you’re only inviting because you feel obligated to, for example, cousins you haven’t seen in a millennium or colleagues you don’t particularly like. Start cutting from your C list and then B list and see what numbers you’re left with.
The size of your guest list determines how much you’ll spend on venue, food and drink, so it’ll be tough, but probably worth it.
Cut the cake (literally)
How much do you like cake? There’s no doubt that cakes are a lovely addition to a wedding, but they are costly. If you consider yourself a sweet tooth and couldn’t bear not to have a wedding cake, you could enlist the help of your family’s star baker, opt for one tier, or serve it as the dessert, instead of an extra course.
Do you really need favours?
A quick straw poll: how many of you still have favours from the weddings you’ve attended? Thought so. Wedding favours can cost anywhere from £1.50/€2 a pop, which adds up if you’re having 100 or more guests.
Call in favours
Know someone who’s really crafty and wouldn’t mind helping you on the DIY bits? Have someone musical in the fam, or got a pal who’s a dab hand at hair? Now is the time to to enlist their help.
Choose a weekday
You might have had your heart set on a Saturday wedding but there are big savings to be made by having your big day during the week. Most venues will offer deals on weekdays that could see you make big savings per head.
Likewise, if you’re willing to forgo a summer wedding and instead have your nuptials between October and early spring (excluding Christmas) you could see similar savings.
Downsize the bridal party
Do you really need seven bridesmaids? Does your groom really need another groomsman? Almost as brutal as cutting the guest list, is cutting the bridal party. If you really can’t bear to downsize, you could always very politely ask them to chip in on some of the essentials, like dresses, suits, hair and makeup.
Go digital with the invites
An unpopular move with some of your older guests, perhaps, but one that could save you hundreds. A wedding website where guests can RSVP is a smart move too – you can always allow older less tech-savvy guests to reply via snail mail or phone.
Forgo the free bar
We know you want to be generous, but here’s the thing, your guests won’t go thirsty if you decide against a free bar. If you’re worried about appearing stingy, you could always put on some things for free, like beers and wines, with guests dipping into their pockets for more expensive drinks like spirits.
Do some DIY
Whether it’s crafting some table arrangements or doing your own invites, you can save a whole lot of cash, by doing some DIY. The big thing to remember here is don’t over commit – you have enough on your plate. Don’t consider yourself crafty? Enlist the help of a friend or family member who is.
Make your flowers do double time
No, you don’t need different floral arrangements for the ceremony and reception. Even if you aren’t having the whole day under the one roof, you can still transport your ceremony flowers to your reception venue. It’ll save you money and give the day a really cohesive feel.
Keep floral arrangements simple
As flowers are sold in bulk, you can make big savings by sticking with only one or two type of flowers. Baby’s Breath is a popular choice that isn’t too expensive.
Have a buffet
You don’t have to go down the traditional 3-course dinner route if you don’t want to. And you’ll likely save money if you don’t. Couples have been getting more and more creative with their catering options in recent years, and you might considerably cut your budget by choosing to have a buffet instead.
Head to the high street
You can get lots of gorgeous bridal and bridesmaids dresses at a snip of the cost. Check out Monsoon, Selfridges, Phase Eight and Asos for more affordable choices.
You can rent just about everything from the dresses to the suits, from custom signage to table decor. Consider what you don’t really need for keeps and suss out if it’s more cost-effective to rent it.
Save on shoes
Unless having a designer pair is really important to you you don’t have to splurge on shoes. If you’re wearing a full length gown, few people will see them underneath your dress. You’ll find loads of gorge options for you and your bridesmaids on the high street. New Look is a good shout for shoes!
Borrow a fancy car
Transportation is something couples often forget to factored into the budget, but if you know someone with a fancy car why don’t you ask them if you could borrow it for the big day? Tell them it could be their wedding present to you.
Delay the honeymoon
Having your honeymoon weeks or months after the wedding might take some of the pressure off what you need to save now. The average honeymoon costs around £4,000 in the UK and €5,600 in Ireland. If you delay that cost for a little while, you may find it opens up your budget a little.
Use the same ceremony and reception venue
Unless you have your heart set on a church wedding, you could save hundreds by having the whole day under the one roof.
DIY a Photo Booth
It’s easier than it sounds. All you really need is a polaroid camera (check out Instax!), a few photo props and a backdrop which you can build yourself. You can order these online or you can get creative and design your own – head to Pinterest if you’re stuck for inspo. A rented photo booth can cost around £500 so it’s an easy saving to make your own.
Don’t skimp on wedding insurance
It might seem like an added expense now, but trust us, if things go wrong, which they do sometimes, you’ll be glad of it. Look for comprehensive cover, instead of opting for the cheapest deal you can find.