10 Ways to Save Money on Your Wedding

It is estimated that in 2013, UK couples will spend an average of £16,000 on their wedding. For some, it represents their gross yearly pay.

Those lucky enough may have their weddings paid for by their parents. However, most couples will use the duration of their engagement to save up for their weddings, while some may resort to taking out loans to fund it.

As weddings can be expensive, here are some of the tips I learned and gathered while organising my own wedding:

1. Have your wedding on a weekday or during off peak season: One of the biggest expenses of any wedding usually comes in the form of the wedding venue and food catering, with wedding couples spending an estimated cost of £5000 on catering and venue hire costs alone in the UK. By having your wedding during weekdays and/or off peak season, you may be able to slash the cost of hiring the venue of your dreams by 30-50%, depending on the venue. Just make sure to tell your guests in advance if you choose to have your wedding on a weekday, so that they can make arrangements to take time off work to attend your wedding.

2. Negotiate your drinks package: For my wedding, I thought the drinks package that was offered to me at the wedding venue where I’m hoping to have my wedding was too heavy on the alcohol and wine. As I don’t foresee my guests being heavy drinkers, I asked if they could reduce the amount of alcohol and wine in place of more mineral water and carbonated drinks. This reduced the cost of my drinks package by 25%. In any event, you can always opt to have a cash bar at the wedding, so that your guests will have the option of buying their own alcoholic drinks should they choose.

3. Hire a professional wedding photographer that is within you budget: In my opinion, hiring a professional photographer is one of the best investments you can make for your wedding. A good wedding photographer will know how to capture the special moments of you and your husband in the best possible angle and light. You will cherish these pictures forever so I think paying a little more for a professional, as opposed to hiring your neighbour’s son who’s an amateur photographer, to take your wedding pictures will be worth the money. Hire the best professional wedding photographer you can afford that’s within your budget. If you do your research you will find that there are many fantastic professional photographers out there that do amazing work, ranging from those that charge less than £1,000 for a 10 hour coverage to those that charge more than £5,000 for all the bells and whistles.

4. Buy a used or sample wedding dress: If you have your heart set on an expensive designer wedding dress but you can’t afford to pay the expensive couture prices (cough, Vera Wang), you may want to consider buying a wedding dress that’s pre-owned or used. Depending on the designer and the season the dress was produced, you may be able to purchase your dream wedding dress at 50% of its original cost.  Sample sales are also a good place to search if you want to buy your wedding dress at a discount. If you have a particular designer or store in mind, sign up to their mailing list so that you’ll be informed anytime there is a sample sale coming up. Before you commit to buying a pre-owned or sample wedding dress, make sure that it’s the right size, and height. You don’t want to end up with a wedding dress that is too short for your height, or one that will cost you more than the original price of the dress, after factoring in alteration costs. 

5. Prioritise your wedding invitation over the other stationery: I have a confession to make: I have a soft spot for beautifully made cards and stationery. Not only will your wedding invitation provide guests with important information about your wedding, but it also provides them with a glimpse of the beauty and details that will follow at the wedding. However, personalised wedding invitations and stationery can be expensive to have designed and printed. One of the ways you can save money here is to skip printing and posting the Save the Date cards. You can choose to inform your guests of the wedding date via e-mail or Facebook, or omit it all together and just send them the Wedding Invitation when you’re ready. You could also omit including the Acceptance/RSVP card with the Wedding Invitation and just ask your guests to confirm via e-mail or the telephone. Just don’t send a Facebook invite to your guests as a substitute to an actual Wedding Invitation.

6. Select flowers that are in season, or ask your florist to recommend cheaper blooms: If you choose to have flowers that are not in season, your may end up paying twice the price for it (as compared to buying it when it is in season) because your florist would have to source and import it from outside the country. For example, you might want peonies for your December wedding but as they are only in season in the UK between May to July, it will cost you a lot more to have peonies in your flower bouquet as they would have to be imported. Instead, ask your florist to recommend flowers that are in season, or cheaper blooms that look similar to peonies. You might discover flowers that are just as lovely, which you never knew existed.

7. Have a friend or relative bake your wedding cake: If you have a relative or a friend who is an excellent baker, perhaps you could ask them to make your wedding cake for you as a gift. As wedding cakes can be expensive, sometimes costing as must as £800 for a wedding cake with 3 tiers, it could be a win win situation for you and the friend/relative. You end up saving money, and your friend/relative will not have to fork out more money for your wedding gift.

8. Make your own favours: There are a ton of suggestions online on wedding favours you can make inexpensively. My particular favourite is buying precut favour boxes online, and stuffing them with chocolate. You can personalise it by adding a tag or sticker/label with yours and your husband’s initials on it.

9. Have a friend or relative with a nice car drive you to your church and/or wedding venue: You can still arrive in style at the church and/or the wedding venue without spending any money (ok, maybe you should at least offer to pay for the petrol) by asking a friend or relative with a nice car to drive you and your husband to the church and/or wedding venue. Again, this could be something your friend or relative could perhaps give in lieu of a wedding gift.

10. Rent: There is a headpiece by Jenny Packham that I am absolutely in love with but to buy it will set me back close to £500. Instead, I’ve decided I am just going to rent it for a fraction of the original price on my wedding day as I don’t foresee myself wearing it after the wedding. You could do the same and rent instead of buy. Ditto with anything else that you don’t want to keep or intend to use after your wedding, e.g. wedding decorations, wedding accessories, the groom and groomsmen’s suits, or even your wedding dress.