1. Don't buy dresses; rent them
Every girl who has ever been a bridesmaid is guaranteed to have a bridesmaid dress lurking in its dust-bag somewhere in her wardrobe - one that hasn't been worn since and most likely no longer fits. What a waste of money! Whilst nobody particularly likes wearing a second-hand or rented dress either, this can be a great way to cut costs on a dress that will never be worn again. There are also great websites such as Girl Meets Dress and Wish Want Wear who allow you to hire designer dresses for a event, for just a quarter of their retail price tag!
2. Forgo the paper invitations
We now live in an age where the Internet runs the show - so use it to your benefit. Save money on the cost of paper invitations and postage by sending your invites out electronically, through social networking or websites like eInvites.
3. Get frivolous with the food
Unless you hail from Chelsea, it's unlikely that you've ever eaten a chicken velout or a celeriac remoulade - so why start now? Serve your guests food that they're familiar with by putting on a hog-roast tent or even a burger van! They'll appreciate your approach to home-cooked grub that they love, while you get to feed them for half the cost.
4. Embrace the "off-peak" wedding dates
Most wedding venues, be it a hotel or pub function room, tend to operate on a peak/off-peak pricing structure. Generally speaking, weekend dates are considered "peak" days, because they're the most in demand - particularly in the summer. Meanwhile weekdays in the winter are considered"off-peak" because less people want them. Consider an unusual wedding date to help cut back on the overall cost.
5. Allow the option to B.Y.O.B (Bring Your Own Bottle)
This money-saving option will require permission from your chosen venue, but if you can, give your guests the chance to bring their own alcohol. Whilst you save money on not having a free bar, your guests get to enjoy the drinks they love at supermarket prices, instead of inflated bar tariffs.
6. Seek out the Mary Berry of the family
The wedding cake is a staple focal point of any modern wedding, but have you considered having your cake made by a family member or friend? If you know someone who is a keen baker, use them to your advantage. Offer to put money towards the cost of ingredients and decorations, because it will most likely work out cheaper than having a pro-baker make the cake. More often than not, they will even do your cake free-of-charge - I can' accept your money; you're family!
7. Do yourself a favour with the favours
Have you ever met anyone who likes sugared almonds? Don't have them as a favour then! Instead of going the traditional route with favours, get down to some DIY and make your own! Fill small boxes with popcorn or retro sweets, or put together some CDs of yours and your spouse's favourite songs - personal, and unique.
8. Assess the guest list
One way to increase the cost of your wedding is to let every tom, dick and harry get an invite. Be brutal with your guest list - don't feel that you have to invite your best friend's latest partner if you can't afford it. If you have the financial stability to allow everyone to bring a plus one, do it, if you don't, don't. Your wedding day is meant to be a special day with those that you love most - not everyone in the community.
So if you're keen to get married this year, but are worried about your finances, consider cutting back on a few areas. Wedding planning is all about compromise. Enjoy the day and good luck!
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