In one of my earlier blogs, I briefly touched on the importance of setting a budget for your wedding day and the need to do your best to stick to it. Here, I've tried to provide a few ideas to consider when trying to stay within your wedding budget.
I've photographed many weddings and I get to see what gets left behind, what works and maybe what doesn't.
Start planning early to give yourself as much time to save towards what can be an expensive day.
You may already be sure that you want a religious wedding, a Registry office or a civil ceremony. But if you are unsure, try to compare costs of each: it might be that you can save a few hundred pounds on a Registry Office instead of a Church wedding.
It is also worth considering that depending upon the time of year you want to get married, you might be able to get a deal when having a civil ceremony and reception at the same venue.
Will your venue cost lest if you have your wedding on a weekday? Days of the week have become more popular recently, but with enough warning, most people can get a Friday from work off.
Why not think a little outside the box when choosing your wedding venue? Is there a museum that you both love that have a space you can rent? Does the Town Hall have a room that would suit you really well? Do you have a favourite restaurant that could fit you and all your guests in?
If you decide you want to get married in a church and you'd like to decorate it, try to pick arrangements that can be used to decorate your wedding reception venue as well. Whatever you choose, don't forget to get somebody to collect them before you head off to your reception.
It has become increasingly popular in recent years to send 'save the date' cards, but if you can get really organised and get your date booked with your chosen venues, why not save some money and send out your invitations early negating the need for save the date cards. If you do think that save the date cards are a must, then why not consider making them yourself and personalise them by putting a picture of yourselves on them: people are more likely to keep a picture of a good friend or family member, where as a less personal card may well find itself in the bin after the date of your wedding has been noted.
Not comfortable with the idea of doing your own hair or make-up? Why not see if there is a local academy or similar where there are students doing courses in make-up or hairdressing. Contact them to see if a student will do your hair or make-up in return for some pictures for their portfolio. It might be that you need to pay them but it should be less than an established wedding make-up artist. It goes without saying that you'd need to trial a student first, but even if you don't use them, there is no substitute for experience (for both of you).
Real flowers can be expensive and will be past their best a day or so after your wedding, so why not consider getting silk flowers? There are some really beautiful silk flowers out there and they will last for ever if you decide you wish to keep them after the wedding.
In this day age where most of us are on-line, why not consider creating a free website where you can put all the details of your day, with links to your venue, or hotels to stay at that are close to your venue, your vendor details etc. Once you have your date and venue booked, you can update your website and send your web address to all your guests so they can log on and see how your plans are progressing. If you really don't want the expense of invitations, you can also create a wedding-only e-mail address for all those RSVP responses.
Instead of paying your venue to supply pudding as part of your wedding breakfast, why not ask your guests to take part in a fun 'bake off' and use their bakes for wedding breakfast pudding?
Instead of having flowers for your Groom/Best Man/Ushers, why not go for something a bit different? Dried flowers are a great idea or lego men, or superheroes...... you'll only be limited by your imagination.
Do you have some very talented guests coming to your wedding who are unsure what to get you as a wedding gift? Why not ask the mate that you know is a really good baker to make your wedding cake, or the mate that studied art to design your invitations or write your invitations?
Once your day is over, keep the things that mean something to you, but consider selling as much of what you know you won't use again so you can to try to re-coup a bit of the cost. You clearly won't get back as much as you paid for it, but better that you get something back, than it going into a box in the loft, only to be seen next time you move house.
If you are spending a lot of money on your wedding shoes, try to choose a style that you can wear again.
Weddings can be an expensive event: even the 'inexpensive' ones can run into thousands. The best advice I could give anyone is set a budget and stick to it and give yourself as much time as possible to save towards your wedding.