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Weddings on a Budget


Planning • 18th October 2013
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Planning your dream wedding can be extremely stressful, especially if you are working to a tight budget! Here are some helpful tips and timeless advice for you- helping you to save money and still have the wedding of your dreams. Don’t forget, you can always use Wedding Planner’s free budgeting tool alongside this article!


Saving on the necessities



Weekday or Sunday weddings can be less costly!

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Choose local wedding services and suppliers to avoid travel expenses, yours and theirs.

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If you do not want a Wedding Breakfast (the traditional name for the wedding meal), consider having your wedding later in the day followed by a buffet or, in the summer, a barbeque!

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Have an early wedding followed by a cocktail/ canapé reception for all your friends and extended family before leaving later to have a quiet meal with close friends and family.

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Choose Pimms or Sangria as the welcoming drink and a good sparkling wine instead of Champagne for the toast. A well-chosen sparkling wine is a better choice than cheaper champagne! Also, Elderflower Presse is a delicious alcohol-free alternative!

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To reduce the drinks bill, and its effects, provide absorbing entertainment: a fun casino, a mini-quiz, charades, etc. In the evening arrange live entertainment, a magician or dancers.

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After the wedding breakfast, it is perfectly acceptable for guests to buy their own drinks. To avoid confusion, put “Pay bar after 7.00pm” on your invitations or pre-set a “drinks limit.”

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If you choose to have adults rather than little girls as your bridesmaids, make them “attendants” instead. This means they’ll have their own outfits and you need only provide matching bouquets.

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Unless you are friends with both, invite only your workmates and not their partners. As long as they know other people there, they will look on it as a work night out rather than a family gathering!

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Do not automatically invite the children of friends and family. Some parents may appreciate having a day/night out without their offspring.

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For that “borrowed” item: a friend’s tiara, mum’s veil or Granny’s antique jewellery!

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If marrying in church, share the cost of the church flowers with the other couples getting married that day then choose something grand and flamboyant!

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Hire all the menswear outfits from the same supplier to receive discounts or the groom’s outfit free.

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Ask family members or groups of friends to contribute to a wedding cost and make this their gift to you. For example, they could pay for the wedding cake or, for your flowers to be preserved (a process of reconstructing your bouquet and mounting it in a frame.)

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Buy your wedding rings from the same supplier as your engagement ring and the jeweller will probably do any alterations free of charge.

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Arrange for a group of friends and family to “block book” beauty treatments, aromatherapy, make-up, hair… so you all receive quantity discounts. Or, organise a cosmetics or make-over party with a local beautician or salon!

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If your reception venue caters for more than one wedding on your day, consider sharing the evening’s entertainment with the other wedding party to enable you to book something quite extravagant and share the cost. For example, a celebrity guest appearance, or a “look-a-like” tribute band.

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Start amassing Air Miles for your honeymoon.

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At the airport, tell them you’re on honeymoon and ask for an upgrade. Dress smartly to be considered!

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Have a double wedding with a relative - after all you’ll be inviting many of the same guests.

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Cocktail and evening dresses can be a classy alternative to a wedding gown and can also be worn again!

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Creative budget tips



Consider having pedestal floral arrangements rather than individual table flowers at your reception. Or hire tree or plant displays.

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A framed wedding photograph or a copy of your wedding video or DVD makes a perfect present for parents and grandparents and gives you the opportunity to negotiate a discounted package rate

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Use your table decorations as gifts to your guests. For example, table flowers could divide up into smaller sprays for the ladies to take home and miniature bottles of spirits are perfect for the men.

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In the run up to your wedding, tell friends and family to dry the petals of flowers from their garden for you to use in your Flower Girl’s basket!

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Sprinkle glitter, rose petals or foil stars to decorate your reception tables.

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Choose a wedding cake, or a mountain of small cakes, that will also serve as the sweet course.

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Tips for the Bride



Most wedding shops owners, rather than have clothes professionally cleaned, have “sample days” when they sell-off clothes tried on by potential clients or used on photo shoots.

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Designers, high street retailers and hire shops usually have sales of discontinued lines.

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Hiring a gown could be your way of wearing that fabulously expensive designer gown. Keep in mind though that it may not be possible to do alterations!

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“Buyer, beware!” If you are buying a new, ex-hire or once-worn dress off the internet, make sure you know the difference between “couture” and “designer” and if possible check out the website of the manufacturer or get a photo!

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If buying ‘once- worn,’ apart from asking about the condition and the size, always ask about the vital statistics of the first bride: her height and breast cup size, plus get arm, sleeve and bodice measurements. But remember, the danger is that even with all this information, because you probably will not be able to try it on before buying it, it may not be what you want or be as you expected. So, unless you can afford to risk losing your money, do not go down the internet route!