It's supposed to be the perfect day, but the average wedding cost of around £20,000, "must-have" lists, the perfect dress, venue, ring, flowers and catering can leave many couples stressed out about finances long before and long after their fairy-tale day. Our guide to budgeting includes tips and guidance on how to avoid your wedding day becoming one giant financial worry.
Marriage before wedding
Contrary to what many will tell you it's not all about the perfect wedding. Many couples will become fixated on what they want in order to have the perfect wedding day, from the bride's ideal wedding dress, to the most amazing flowers, to the fairy-castle the bride (or the groom) has envisioned herself marrying her prince in since she was a little girl. Well, as wonderful as all of this sounds, you don't actually need it to have your perfect day. Work out what you can afford to spend on your big day and go from there, it really doesn't matter if you don't get married in a stately home or faraway castle, the most important component is who you are marrying, the rest are merely details. Ultimately if one day is going to leave you in financial worry and debt for most of your married life, it's really not worth it.
Once you know what your budget is, with your partner work out what you are going to be spending in each area - from cakes to rings, dresses, venue and honeymoon. At this stage you can both prioritise what is most important to you. Would you prefer to spend a little less on the flowers for instance in order to have a little more cash for the honeymoon? Or is a high-end photographer really important to you both? Or are you absolutely set on having a fairy-tale dress?
Picking the right day and season
The day you pick to wed will have a huge impact on your wedding cost. Picking an "unpopular" day like Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday can more than half the venue cost when compared to a popular day like Saturday. Even a Friday or Sunday wedding can save costs. You can also make major savings by choosing to get married outside of the peak season - it can make all the difference between getting the perfect venue and a venue that "will do". An added bonus of choosing to marry in November instead of June is that you'll be pretty much guaranteed the weather you'd expect during a British November!
If you don't ask you don't get
Many of us have an inbuilt theory that haggling is rude and ill-mannered, however this is simply not the case. While haggling potentially cuts the seller's profits if you are not going to pay the asking amount for a product/service anyway, at least this way they have the option to make a sale. Remember they are under no obligation to accept your lower offering - just as you are under no obligation to fork out for their price. Many will say they don't offer a discount, in that case ask if they will throw in "extras". For example perhaps a venue will throw in lighting or chair covers for free.
Make use of your friends and family
Do you have an amazing baker in the family who could whip up a delicious wedding cake? Or perhaps you have a really arty friend who could make your wedding invites? It's a great idea to put your loved ones' talents to use, not only will it save you money but will also add a loving, personal touch to your special day.
Head to Oxfam
The charity has eleven specialist bridal departments across the UK with some stunning choices in excellent condition and wedding experts on hand to assist. Going this route means you'll spend a fraction of what you would for a new dress that you'd only wear the once anyway and you'll be helping a charity in the process!
Get creative with your make-up
Some brides go the DIY route but if this scares you silly but you don't want to fork out a make-up pro's fees then you have a couple of other options. You could head to a make-up counter for a free makeover and just buy the lipstick the make-up artist uses on you for touch-ups. Many brands offer a free makeover service - including Bobbi Brown, although you'll often have to book a slot in advance rather than just turning up on the day. Another option is to attend a beauty class, often offered at department stores ahead of your wedding day.
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