5 ways to save money on your wedding
With the cost of an average wedding running at over £20,000 this year, many couples find that they have to compromise on their dreams. Fiscal reality can be a bitter pill to swallow, and it can be tough to make ends meet.
However, while it is challenging to save money on your wedding, it isn't impossible. Today we are going to look at five routes that could lower the budget of your wedding.
Ask Your Friends and Family
Asking your friends and family for help is one of the best ways to lower the cost of any wedding. People are often far more generous with their time and expertise than they are when donating money.
In other words, asking guests to help could save you far more than you would receive if you simply asked for cash gifts. For example, the free app Honeyfund is a contemporary way to let your friends and family know you'd really prefer money instead of gifts on your big day.
However, you'll end up spending far more on vendors than you'll likely receive in cash from your guests. It's better to ask around and see whether you know someone who could save you having to hire so many vendors.
When you announce on social media that you plan to wed, you can start to put out feelers to check whether anyone you know could or would be willing to help.
You may not have a friend or relative who owns a bridal wear store but you may be lucky in other areas.
You may know someone who enjoys amateur photography, could they take your wedding photos? One of your friends may be a dab hand with Photoshop and could help you make the invitations.
You could forgo hiring a professional makeup artist if your best friend is excellent at makeup. Whether it's creating invitations, filming the wedding or helping out with a vehicle or venue, the possibilities are endless.
Even minor roles such as entertaining the kids can drive down the cost compared with hiring professional entertainers. Who needs to hire a clown if your brother is great at balloon modeling?
Create a Wedding Budget
It's unromantic to think of money, but there's a financial aspect to all weddings, and you need to set a budget from the outset to stand a chance of saving money.
When you know whether any of your friends and family will be able to help, you should start to plan by discussing your budget. You must have a clear idea of how much you can afford to spend and whether anyone will be helping you with contributions before you start contacting venues and professionals.
Creating a budget seems simple, but it is extremely complex to plan your cash flow and note the due dates for when vendors need to be paid.
Start by creating a rough timeline of when you'll need to settle invoices. The venue and certain vendors may require a deposit and then ask you to settle the balance on or soon after your wedding day.
Other vendors, such as wedding photographers may require payments long before then. If you want to send invites with professional photos, that photographer will likely not want to wait until your wedding day for you to settle your bill.
Creating a timeline will help you avoid expensive borrowing. Borrowing money on credit cards to pay for expenses is very expensive so it is best to plan your payments to avoid this.
Use a wedding planner app to help tailor your budget
There are a plethora of free apps that can help you plan your wedding and streamline your budget. From WeddingHappy, to Wedding Planner by The Knot, to Appy Couple, the options are vast.
It definitely worth checking out the Apple or Play store and reading the reviews for these free apps to choose the one that best fits your needs. For example, WeddingHappy designs a complete schedule with checklist and due dates making it one of the best free apps if you have no idea where to start!
Wedding Planner by The Knot also creates a wedding planners-style checklist but also contains a budget tool and gives you options to explore venues and contact vendors. This is great for exploring where you could save money as you can shop around to find the best deal.
Another free app worth mentioning is Appy Couple as it can both send invitations and collect RSVPs, two features that will save money compared with sending out physical invitations or paying a printing company to do so.
Wedding planner apps can help you reduce the overall cost of your wedding without compromising on your plans.
Once you have a clear picture of the due dates and the number of vendors you need to hire, you can focus on filling in the missing details.
Azazie is a useful free app that helps anyone find the perfect wedding dress, for example. You can customize dresses and even have samples mailed to you. This makes shopping around far more convenient and helps you find what you want for less.
Streamline your venues
Once you have a clear idea of your overall plan and know the due dates, the next step towards shrinking your costs is to streamline your venues. Steamlining doesn't mean downsizing or settling for worse.
It means looking at your proposed venues and considering whether you could have the same quality and experience for a lower price.
Wedding Spot is a free iOS app that lets you find all venues available to you without having to spend days searching for your dream location. For instance, if you search for 'Weddings in Scotland', or 'Weddings in Yorkshire', you will receive a list of options available.
You can then narrow down your search based on your budget and other factors. You may find this a useful way of booking a venue in your desired location while still looking after your budget.
Streamlining also entails booking fewer venues to keep costs under control. Instead of booking separate venues for the wedding and the reception, you may be able to have both in the same location.
Many couples completely overlook conference centers as potential venues for their receptions and end up spending far more on alternative venues such as hotels or function rooms attached to bars or restaurants.
Conference centers can be one of the most convenient and cost-effective venues for a wedding as all catering and hospitality, from the wedding reception to the dinner can be booked economically through the center's management. The manager will often have first-hand local knowledge of the best vendors to hire and can help you get a great deal.
Could a wedding planner help save you money?
There's no definitive answer as to whether a wedding planner could save you money but there are questions you can ask and research you can do that will skew the odds in your favor.
While a wedding planner can help keep things stress-free, they can also negotiate with vendors for lower rates and help keep you within budget. The best way to find a reputable planner is by word of mouth.
When you meet with a planner, you need to get to know them and see whether there is a good connection. After the meeting, ask yourself whether you felt your ideas were heard and whether you got a strong sense the planner will work with your budget.
Ideally, ask the planner whether they have worked at the venue you have chosen and whether they will work with vendors, even if they haven't worked with them before. If they have a portfolio or video of weddings they have planned before, take a look and see.
You should establish whether the planner will take a commission or discount from any of the vendors they refer to you.
Ask if the planner will invoice you for all the vendor fees or if you need to pay each one of them yourself. Finally, check what the planner's refund or cancellation policy is and ask for a list of references.
Once you have chosen a suitable wedding planner, you can explore different options for reducing the cost of your wedding.
A planner with local knowledge and experience should be able to point you towards lower-cost venues and suppliers. If you have your heart set on one particular venue, an experienced planner may be able to suggest a lower-cost venue with a similar feel and ambience for you to view.
A good planner with experience of working with a range of budgets will likely be able to secure you better prices than you'd be able to find on your own.
These five thrifty ideas should help you reduce the cost of your wedding without making too many compromises.
A key theme throughout these ideas is the sense of finding lower-cost substitutes instead of inferior alternatives. With a little help and some creative thinking, you can have the wedding of your dreams while saving thousands of dollars.