Let’s face it. Your wedding day is probably going to be one of the most expensive days of your life no matter how hard you try to budget.
And with UK weddings now expected to cost a whopping £30,000 on average, I’ve decided to share the wedding day essentials that we shouldn’t scrimp on versus areas where couples can save some serious dough.
As a bride-to-be myself, I’m out to prove that the perfect wedding day doesn’t have to cost you a year’s salary.
Wish me luck.
The start of your story
As a member of the ‘engaged gals club’ myself, my first piece of advice would be to take some time to just enjoy being engaged and to discuss with your other half how you both envisage your wedding day. This is your time to have a little fun and put together your dream wedding wish list.
My partner and I both decided that we wanted to get married in France, which we knew wouldn’t be cheap or easy (particularly as neither of us speaks French!) and would result in quite a few people not being able to come. But we weighed up the pro’s and con’s and decided that it would give us the intimate wedding we both wanted and in a setting we both adored. The point being that we made the decision together and it wasn’t without a degree of compromise – a word you’ll refer to a lot as ‘wedding planner’ for the next however-many months!
Next step was to create a budget sheet. Document realistic estimates for everything you think you’ll need to make your big day extra special. You can download my free wedding budget template here to help you get started with your budgeting.
Take your time over this but fully expect things to change as you start booking things up and realising what you can really get for your money.
Planning and budgeting for a wedding is a case of balancing and rebalancing. Saving in some areas will allow you to spend more on the things that you both deem most important in other areas.
Yes, it’s your dream day and you don’t want to cut corners but be realistic and don’t get yourself into debt. Think about it. Do you really need those white ring-bearing doves or that pair of designer shoes you won’t see under your dress and will never wear again? (It was hard for me to accept this shoe-reality myself.)
Fly away unrealistic expectations!
Here’s my survival list for fellow brides-to-be; detailing where we should focus on quality and where we can pull back on costs a bit to even things out.
Where to splurge on your wedding day
- Photographer and Videographer
I was fully prepared to pay for a high end photographer but I have to admit I was genuinely shocked by the price of a videographer. But then I thought; these guys dedicate hours and hours to video editing and how amazing will it be to be able to relive your day again and again? The number one regret of brides is not having their day videoed and I’m not one for regrets.
Bridal bloggers worldwide support financial investment in photography and videography, and it makes complete sense to not scrimp on this super important memory cherisher. Capture your big day in the best way and invest in the photos and video that will allow you to look back on your wedding and gush for years to come.
- The Dress
I love a bargain shop but in my opinion, this is not an opportunity to hit the sales rails. This is your wedding dress – the dress to end all other dresses. It will take centre stage on your wedding day, be photographed to death and will be the talk of the day – and if you’re anything like me, when you’ve found ‘the one’ you won’t even think about the cost.
Of course, visit bridal boutiques with a budget in mind, and remember to allow extra for alterations. You can justify a little extra if you need to by opting for high street shoes and a ‘something borrowed’ veil from a friend or family member.
- Food and Booze
Weddings were made for eating and drinking so make sure there’s plenty of the good stuff to go around!
Nobody wants hungry guests who’re gagging for a drink. Keep your people happy and make sure there’s a foody structure to the day. We’re having canapes and reception drinks straight after the ceremony and then having a three course sit-down dinner. We are going to offer the wedding cake as dessert to save a little and make a show of our fancy wedding cake.
And because we’re getting married a little later in the day, we won’t need to feed everyone again later in the evening so will opt for a cheese table, sweetie table and a few other nibbles to keep the party crowd going late in to the night.
Where to save on your wedding day
- Bridesmaids Dresses and Grooms-men Suits
Between us, my partner and I have six bridesmaids, two best men, my dad and three ushers to clothe. That’s 12 people to dress other than ourselves on our wedding day.
So we plan to hit the high street and buy our bridal party trendy, current and best of all affordable outfits. I’m personally a little over the whole satin style ‘typical’ bridesmaids dresses you see everywhere so I’m going to be checking out Monsoon and ASOS to start. You can get extra money off with these Monsoon Discount Codes here too.
And for the boys, we’ll also be looking at ASOS but also Marks and Spencer and Matalan – yes, Matalan. You’ll be amazed at the bargains you can pick up here. Or if you opt to go higher end check out these Marks and Spencer discount codes before you buy.
Yes, we’re using ours as dessert so it WILL get eaten (so help me…) but usually, the wedding cake is the illusive but mandatory treat that gets left behind with the drunken uncle.
Why spend hundreds and hundreds of pounds on a cake that most people won’t eat?! You can get a decent wedding cake for £100; or dare to be different and enlist your mates to help you make wedding cupcakes, or build a cheese tower instead! You could even buy a plain cake and decorate it yourself with fresh fruit and flowers – Marks and Spencer’s do a lovely plain white wedding cake that you can create as fruit or chocolate for just £50.
- Wedding Favours
Do me a favour, we’re all here to have a good time and whilst we’ll thank the bridesmaids, grooms-men and our families for all their love and support, you don’t need to spend tons of money on buying gifts that will likely be forgotten or left behind (with the drunken uncle and unwanted wedding cake).
If you opt for favours, don’t spend a lot. Something small, personal and sentimental like a Aithre Silver Heart Bracelet from John Greed at just £19.95 – says thank you without you having to pawn off the bridesmaids dresses after to recoup some of the cost
Check out these John Greed discount codes to save extra too.