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It’s an old, sometimes boring, cliché that weddings are expensive, and there’s an endless line of lame jokes on the subject to boot. But, even numbed by the repetition of such sentiments, it still took my breath away when I discovered that the average cost of a wedding in the UK is nearly £21,000. The average!
Not to scare people off, or detract from what is a once-in-a-lifetime, tremendously special occasion, but one of the priorities should be to cut costs from the get-go. That’s not to be confused with skimping, or being cheap. However, there are some thrify measures you can take in order to save thousands of pounds by the time you just off on your honeymoon.
Seasons come and go
Getting married out of season is a huge money saver. The venue will eat into an enormous chunk of your budget, and they will all put prices through the roof in the summer months. That’s not to say you should get married in the depths of winter, but even an April or October wedding can save you plenty. And, if you’re willing to put friendships to the test, you can even get married on a day other than Saturday. Not only will you save on the venue if you do this, but probably on things like florists and photographers too.
Check the venue fine print
When getting quotes from prospective venues, always check that everything is included. They often have a sneaky knack of leaving out hidden extras like corkage, staff costs, cloakroom, charges for tables and chairs, lighting and – arguably the biggest killer of all – VAT. These are questions you need to ask before making this crucial decision.
Prioritise, prioritise, prioritise!
The first thing to do is to jot down a list of everything you need to spent money on. From cars to cake, rings to registry office costs and marquees to music. Now it’s time to sit down and decide what’s more important to the two of you. An epic wedding cake or a honeymoon abroad. A world-class DJ or expensive flowers? A dream dress or an idyllic venue? Now put your list in order of priority. It’s only natural that the order will change as you go along – so long as the budget stage constant.
Be ruthless with the guest list
At an average of £230 per head, the cost of guests can be crippling. It’s understandable that you’ll want all your nearest and dearest there to celebrate with you, not to mention the ever-present fear of offending someone by not inviting them. However, just remember this is your day, not theirs! The best way to go is to set a target number of guests that falls within your budget. Then write down everyone who is under consideration down onto a full list. Now trim it down by 10 people at a time. Keep going and going, until you hit your final number.
Katie from Orla James said “This was a problem for us at our wedding, when you invite certain people you feel obliged to invite others else there could be some hard feelings, it’s difficult when you have such costly overheads per person.”
Get your haggle on
Perhaps it goes against instinct for us Brits, but there is a lot to be said for haggling when it comes to weddings. The truth is that suppliers will prey on our general acceptance of price takers, and profit handsomely as a result. Be brave, and question everything – no matter how big or small. Chances are that suppliers will have more than just a little wiggle room for negotiations, and that they won’t want to lose your business.
Be savvy with financing
It may not be ideal, but one in five of us will need to borrow money in order to fund our big day and / or honeymoon. There’s no shame in that whatsoever, especially given the huge costs involved. The key though, is to do it cleverly. Don’t just head to the bank with your hands out; there are many cheaper options out there. Peer-to-peer lending platforms in particular tend to top the charts when it comes to flexible low-cost wedding loans, so be sure to shop around for the best-value credit.
Of course, there are many other great cost-cutters like making your own cake or wedding favours, doing the music yourselves, Amazon wedding vouchers and a while lot more. But hopefully the above should get your moving in the right direction, and allow you to revel in your special day, without having to worry about an extortionate bill coming your way at the end of it.