You’ve spent years dreaming about getting married to the love of your life and celebrating your union with your friends and family. You may already have a secret Pinterest board with all the ideas you’ve got brimming in your mind. And now that you’ve worked out how much money you’ve got to spend on your dream wedding, you’ve realised that you can’t afford the wedding you want!
So what do you do?
It can be tempting to do everything on the cheap.
If you’ve envisioned a beautiful dinner celebration with 150 guests, there are a few ways to compromise:
Host everyone and do it all with more affordable suppliers – two courses instead of three, a more affordable caterer who uses cheaper cuts of meat, a playlist instead of a DJ, plastic chairs with chair covers instead of hiring the beautiful chairs you’ve got on your pinterest board. NOT RECOMMENDED
Venue – dry hire vs exclusive
Here’s the scoop: a dry hire wedding venue will enable you to customise your Big Day, choosing the decor, suppliers and food that you want and can afford.
While a dry hire venue sounds like the best value for money, you have to remember that you will need to hire in everything. And I mean, everything. Catering, tables, chairs, glassware, bar staff, and so much more. What seems like the cheaper option will turn into a logistical nightmare and may end up costing you more.
Here’s why I love an all inclusive venue:
- Literally everything is included.
- Wedding venues and their staff know how to pull off a gorgeous wedding effortlessly.
- They usually come with a venue coordinator who can pull it all together on the day.
- You won’t need to deal with the logistics of figuring out how many tables you need and then coordinating the hire and delivery of said tables (plus all the other wedding extras mentioned earlier).
- The all inclusive packages often include items that would cost you more to piece together individually.
- Peace of mind.
Off-peak wedding dates
I’m a big fan of off-peak wedding dates!
Peak wedding dates include Fridays and Saturdays, Bank Holidays and pretty much anything in the summer months.
Off-peak dates are the opposite: Sundays, midweek wedding dates and anything in the ‘less popular’ winter months.
Don’t be fooled… these off-peak dates are every bit as special and romantic as the more popular dates. In fact, there are plenty of benefits to choosing an unconventional wedding date that go far beyond saving money (although that is a big plus).
Midweek weddings are a fabulous way to guarantee your dream wedding suppliers will be available and usually at a discounted rate (just ask!) and winter weddings are cosy, intimate and the perfect opportunity to go big on candles and lighting!
Saving money on your wedding photos
I don’t mean to burst your bubble here, but this is one area that you simply cannot skimp on. Sure, you could choose an unconventional date, as mentioned earlier, but aside from that, there’s little room for negotiation. And rightly so! You’re not just paying for a few wedding photos. You are paying for the experience, skill and creativity at capturing the most memorable day of your life.
Wedding photography advice to avoid:
- Just ask a friend to take photos.
- Give all your guests disposable cameras.
- Hire a photography student for free or cheap.
- Get someone to take photos and then send you the raw images to edit yourself.
The saying is true: you get what you pay for. So if you want high quality wedding photos that you can print and display in your home, then choose the best of the best.
Instead of haggling for a discount, try this instead:
- Ask your photographer if a payment plan is an option.
- Enquire about different packages and eliminate the extras you don’t need.
- Ask if the price will change if you only need your photographer for a few hours on the day (ceremony to first dance, for example) and then be ok with no getting ready photos or shots of your exit.
Use one thing for multiple purposes
This is my favourite wedding budget hack and something I did at my own wedding. Use one thing for more than one use!
We certainly aren’t suggesting that you take your bridesmaids’ bouquets and pop them in vases on the wedding reception tables (literally do not do this, the flowers will wilt and you’ll regret it).
Here are some examples of what you could do:
- Create one flower installation that you can use for multiple things (ie a wedding backdrop during your ceremony and repurposed as a photobooth backdrop later on).
- Take the photos from the pulpit at your ceremony and display them on your wedding head table.
- Serve your wedding cake as your dessert instead of paying for both dessert and cake.
- Use little trees or pot plants as centrepieces and allow guests to take them home as wedding favours.
- Your candy buffet or printable photobooth pics could also double up as wedding favours.