With the average cost of a wedding now excluding £ 16k it is increasingly difficult for couples to attain the wedding of their dreams at a reasonable price. Simply uttering the word 'wedding' seems to magically triple the cost of everything. Yet with a little imagination and careful budgeting it is possible to have a dream wedding without breaking the bank.
The largest expense for most couples is the venue and catering. It is possible to save a huge amount on the venue by renting a villa hall and decorating it inside. Table linen and chair covers can all be hired. Festoon the ceiling with fairy lights, cover the tables with tealights in lanterns or glass holders and make simple centrepieces with cheap but elegant vases and foliage. With a tasty buffet, plenty of drink and the right wedding entertainment your guests are sure to enjoy themselves.
If a DIY wedding venue is not your cup of tea then choosing a different day of the week to the popular Saturday can save money too. With plenty of notice in the form of a Save The Date card, most guests will be able to book time off work. Negotiating a late afternoon or evening ceremony with your venue, sometimes with black tie for a glamorous effect, means that you only need to feed your guests once and can save huge amounts on catering.
Dresses for the bride and her attendants are somewhere the next big expense if bought from big name designers at a wedding dress shop. Do not forget to check their past season and sale rails for a bargain. Many department stores now offer their own ranges of off-the-peg wedding dresses at a fraction of the cost, and even less in a sale. These can be altered and embellished by a dress-maker or someone handy with a sewing machine. If you can not find the dress of your dreams, working with a dress-maker can be a very affordable option. High street clothes shops are great sources for hunting out bridesmaid dresses and accessories.
Many wedding-related items can be made at home saving hundreds on the cost of paying someone else to do it. Wedding cakes can be bought from the high street at very reasonable prices and decorated at home with fake petals, cake crowns or sugarcraft decorations. The cake can also be served as pudding, with some reserved for evening guests, to alleviate catering costs. Favors are also easy to make at home or maybe break from this fairly recent tradition and do away with favors altogether. If wedding stationery is kept simple it is possible to make very elegant invoices and thank you cards at home with the huge array of card-making accessories it is possible to buy on the high street. Flowers are cheaper if they are in season and tied in a looser bouquet with more foliage. Or why not try putting together your bouquets and buttonholes?
Try your local art college to find a photographer who will be considering cheaper than an established wedding photographer. Or perhaps see if anyone amongst family and friends is an undiscovered David Bailey. Simply the cost of cars can be minimized by asking family and friends if they have an old classic that can be spruced up for the wedding day. Of course having honor and reception at one venue eliminates this cost altogether.
Perhaps one of the easiest ways to save money is by asking guests to help out with particular items as their wedding present. Grandparents might like to think they've paid for your wedding entertainment, whilst work collections might like the idea of lighting up your reception by paying for candles and fairy lights. Honeymoons need not be on a grand scale incorporating tropical islands and trips round the globe, though a popular idea at the moment is a honeymoon gift list, where guests choose to pay for portions of the honeymoon, such as a restaurant meal or a hotel upgrade.
There are of course some things that can not be compromised on. Your for example, whether it is religious or civil, is an inflexible cost and an essential one. Rings, unless bought second-hand, also tend to be a fixed price and wedding insurance should always be invested in. Likewise wedding entertainment is impossible to compromise on because it plays such a huge part in the wedding day. It helps to create the atmosphere of the day and influences the mood of the bride and groom and guests alike. The easiest way to save money and find the wedding entertainment of your dreams is to use an online wedding music service. Couples can search by location, genre, availability and most importantly budget to find their ideal act that will suit their style and make sure everyone enjoys themselves.
For those prepared to put in a little effort into saving money, their wedding day need not cost the earth and can still be memorable and special.