Society puts a huge amount of pressure on us to have expensive, showy wedding ceremonies. Thanks to social media – Instagram being a particular culprit in this area – we compare ourselves to friends who have the money to put on glitzy, glamorous shows when they get married. However, there’s no reason that a wedding has to cost the earth. Despite the shockingly high average cost of a wedding in the UK and elsewhere, you can still hold a beautiful, unforgettable ceremony without breaking the bank. Here’s how to hold a budget wedding without it feeling cheap or tacky.
First and foremost, you should be accounting for every single dollar, pound, and penny you’re spending if you want to have a high-quality budget wedding. Don’t let any money go to waste. Before you even start thinking about the ceremony, draw up a list of costs and adhere to them as rigidly as possible. If you need to, you can also look at personal loans, which can often give you an extra injection of cash when you’re hit with an unexpected expense (as can often, unfortunately, be the case). Your wedding budget should be a sacred document while you’re planning your ceremony.
Make decorations yourself
One unexpected expense can sometimes be the decorations and accoutrements that come as part of a wedding. These decorations are everywhere; they’re strewn around the ceremonial hall itself and often present in the reception area too, so they can sometimes be costly. If you make them yourself, you’ll circumvent this expense, leaving you free to spend that money elsewhere. You can even enlist the help of friends and family if they’re happy to join in (although you should try to make sure they’re adequately compensated for their time otherwise!).
Get married in the off-season
Between May and October, wedding venues are often overbooked, because these are the most popular months to get married. As such, to save a little cash, think about holding your wedding between November and April if you can. A December wedding can be extremely romantic; while the weather is often cold and inclement, you can make your venue cosy and welcoming, thus creating an unforgettable occasion without needing blazing hot weather. You should also think about getting married in mid-week, as this is a less popular (and therefore cheaper!) time than around the weekend.
Buy a pre-owned dress
A wedding dress is only special because of the day on which you wear it. The fact that someone else has worn the dress doesn’t make your magical day any less magical, so consider buying a pre-owned wedding dress if you want to keep your costs down. After all, a wedding dress has almost certainly only been worn once, and hey – you’re actually giving the dress even more of a story if you buy it from someone who’s already worn it! Wedding dresses can be significantly less costly if you don’t buy them new, and for a garment you’re probably only going to wear once, it’s not worth the expense.
Only invite your nearest and dearest
When you invite lots of guests to your wedding, you’re going to see costs creep up. You’ll need to accommodate for the higher number of people; more food and more favours will be necessary, and there are lots of other hidden expenses that come with adding more people to the guest list. To help keep your costs down, think about only inviting the people closest to you; close family members and close friends, as well as anyone else legally required to witness the wedding. This will also make the occasion feel significantly more intimate and personal.
Print wedding invitations yourself
Going to a printer to print wedding invitations can be one of the most surprisingly significant costs associated with a wedding. To save here, try printing your invitations yourself, and if you’re of a particularly DIY bent, you could even make them yourself as well. This adds a personal touch to your invitations; if guests see that you’ve made them, they’ll feel that much more special for being invited. If you absolutely must use a printer, be sure to shop around before you decide, because their rates can often be very competitive indeed.
Don’t book a separate reception venue
Nowadays, many wedding venues will offer combined ceremony and reception services. You should definitely think about taking advantage of this if your venue offers both of these services, because packages like this can often cost a lot less than booking two separate venues. In many cases, the venue will even repurpose the ceremonial hall as a dancefloor or a wedding breakfast setting, which shows creativity and ingenuity on their part. Booking a separate venue isn’t just more costly; it could also result in potential headaches with scheduling or directing guests.
Ask your friends to perform
Let’s get one thing out of the way: you should never ask your friends or family to perform at your wedding for free. Their time and skills are worth something, and if you’d expect to be paid for work that you do, why shouldn’t they? However, they’ll often be much more lenient when it comes to fees, so if you know someone who’s part of a band or who can provide one of the services for your wedding, consider asking them if they’d be willing to help you out for a discount. “Mates’ rates” can often be much, much lower than standard costs, and if they see you need help in this area, they should be willing to negotiate with you.