12 Apr Wedding planning on a budget – part I
There can be pressure these days to have a hugely extravagant wedding and if you’re not careful costs can spiral out of control. However, it doesn’t need to be like that. Wedding planning should be fun. And it’s definitely possible to have a great day and stick to a budget.
Over the next couple of posts I’m going to outline various areas of wedding planning and ideas to help reduce costs. Not all of these will appeal to everyone. It’s important to discuss with your other half what your priorities are. Maybe you’re really into music so having a certain band play is really important. Or maybe you love food so the thought of getting guests to bring their own fills you with horror. Once you know what is really important to you, you can work out what that will cost and what that leaves you to spend elsewhere.
1. The date
If the date isn’t hugely important to you then you will get much better deals by booking a wedding outside of the summer months. I’m not saying you have to get married in January – although winter weddings can be gorgeous. I’m writing this sat outside on a very warm April day. And April is definitely not prime wedding season. By choosing a time when suppliers and venues aren’t going to be inundated with enquiries and bookings means you’re more likely to get a lower price and they may even be open to offering you a discount or throwing in something extra for free.
Similarly mid-week weddings. This won’t appeal to a lot of people but if you’re open to it then there’s a lot of money to be saved.
Finally last minute deals. Venues and marquee/tipi suppliers frequently offer discounts if they have cancellations. We’re not talking about having to plan your wedding in a week, but the date might only be months away rather than years.
A bad wedding photographer is a terrible thing so don’t just opt for the cheapest you can find. It’s much better to get a good photographer for half a day than a bad photographer for a full day. Get your family or friends to take the preparation shots and I’m sure your guests will be taking their own photos well into the night which you can then get them to share with you. Then you’ll have your professional wedding photographer around to take photos of the ceremony, reception, group shots and speeches.
It’s also really important to realise there is a big difference between a good photographer and a good wedding photographer. You mum’s friend’s daughter who ‘takes amazing wildlife shots’ almost certainly won’t be right for the job.
3. Wedding film
For many people cutting costs will mean they opt not to have a videographer at all. If that’s right for you then that is absolutely fine. What I would not advise is having your photographer also do a bit of filming. You will not end up with a good wedding video and it will probably jeopardise your photographs as well.
The argument for spending money on photography and videography is that memories do fade. No matter how vivid it is on the day as time wears on you will start to forget the details. A great photographer and videographer should capture the magic of the day which will then be around for generations to see.
4. Reception venue
Look outside the norm. Fields, campsites, village halls – they can all be completely transformed into beautiful venues at a fraction of the price. It will probably require more organisation on your behalf (or delegation anyway!). However if that doesn’t daunt you then there are a million possibilities.
It’s unlikely you’d be able to get legally married at any of these places. However, you could either have the ceremony elsewhere in the morning or on a separate day.
5. Bridesmaids and ushers
Do you really need that many? Do you really need any at all for that matter? Dresses, shoes, thank you presents, suit hire, hair, make-up, flowers, button-holes – bridesmaids and ushers can quickly become very expensive. Think about asking them to wear their own suits or seeing if your bridesmaids already have dresses that could work. Keep bridesmaids hairstyles simple to save time and money and just write them a heartfelt thank you card.
Bridesmaids and ushers can be very useful to help with planning and organisation both in the run-up and on the day itself. But remember these people are your closest friends and family so they’d probably be willing to help out regardless of whether they get to call themselves a bridesmaid or not.
Hopefully that’s given you some ideas of ways to keep the cost down without compromising on your vision for the perfect wedding. In the next part I’ll look at food and drink, the guest list and the wedding cake.