The average cost of a UK wedding is now £20,500 according to one recent study, which given that the average UK salary is around £26,500 will take most couples either a long time to save up for, or a long time to pay off, even with a bit of help from Mum and Dad. If you’re planning to get married soon, there are many excellent ways you can cut the cost of your nuptials without a noticeable drop in quality. Here’s how to start…
Pick up your suits, for groom and groomsmen, and dresses for bridesmaids, online. Often less expensive than buying from a physical shop which has other overheads it needs to factor into the price, it can now be easier on your wallet to actually buy a decent quality groom’s outfit from Dobell suits than to rent one for the day.
A Las Vegas wedding chapel will set you back not much more than you’d lose at blackjack in half an hour, but if the thought of that doesn’t appeal, then consider other alternatives to traditional venues like big halls and stately homes. Many couples, if they know someone with a large garden, will just bung up a marquee for an open-air reception if the weather is likely to be good, or do the same but with added heaters if it’s cold. There are many other types of place, from village halls to local pubs, that you can do up for much less than hiring somewhere posh.
Cutting down on the number of guests you entertain, wine and dine, will obviously save you a bundle but it’s not always practical. But you can have fewer groomsmen, and allow them to wear their own suits to save money. Just remember to keep a unifying theme so they look good in photos, such as matching bow ties, hats or pocket squares. Checking who owns what type of suit beforehand can help you make a decision.
Food and drink
One of the biggest wedding expenses is always the booze. You needn’t pay for everyone to get plastered though, it’s not de rigeur. A few options open to you might include providing a limited bar; placing a couple of bottles of decent red and white on every table for dinner and giving everyone a cocktail on arrival, or just offering free beer and wine, with guests paying for their own spirits or cocktails.
Consider a daytime reception, as lunches are usually less expensive to cater than evening meals, and if you do expect things to run into the night, then serve up a tasty snack such as bacon butties or sausage rolls instead of a buffet. Pasta with a good sauce is another way to provide inexpensive, filling food that doesn’t necessarily look like you’re actively trying to save money.
Opting for seasonal and locally grown flowers not only saves money but it’s better for the environment. Perhaps you or someone you know is a dab hand with arrangements and can save paying someone to do that?
Similarly, know any talented bakers among your social group? It’s often the bride or groom’s mother that handles the cake, and what might cost you several hundred pounds if it’s specially bought in can be produced for just the cost of ingredients.
Weddings held in November, or at the start of the year, can benefit from reductions in cost from everything to venue hire to the band and the caterers, if they are in their slow season. Obviously there’s a reason that people don’t tend to get married when it’s cold, but your guests may appreciate something in the calendar to look forward to in the gloom of winter.
If you live in a small town then your options may seem limited when buying dresses, suits, or all the other myriad things needed for a wedding. But the Internet has made shopping further afield so much easier, and if you’re well organised, a weekend trip to the nearest city can widen your options greatly.
Maybe you have a friend in a band, or who knows their way around a set of decks. Ask them to play a discounted set, or spin some discs for a few hours in lieu of a gift.
Another big cost is the wedding photography, and here you definitely don’t want to skimp because these are the photos you’ll be looking at for the rest of your lives. But plan well, decide exactly what types of prints you’ll want, and see if there are any packages available that could save you money. Also, if you can find a local photographer you’re happy with then it saves you having to pay for their travel and accommodation.