We recently featured a post by Guides for Brides that suggested that the festive season was the most popular time for couples to become engaged. So, we are guessing that there are currently lots of newly engaged lovelies out there all beginning their search for the perfect wedding and finding out that it is going to cost a fair whack!
We have been doing some of our own research over the last couple of weeks to find out just how much a wedding costs and what items and services are going to cost you the most. We cannot emphasise enough the importance of budgeting when it comes to planning your wedding. We could think of nothing worse than planning the day of your dreams to then find you cannot afford it or someone is going to get into some serious debt – not the way anyone wants to begin married life.
It has been estimated that the average wedding will cost around £20,000 however, this number decreased last year when the average was just over £16,000. Could this mean that already brides and groom are becoming spend savvy when it comes to their wedding day? We took a look at each separate area of a wedding, looked at the average cost & thought up many many ways of how you could reduce the price!
♥ Ceremony Venue – £2,157
♥ Reception Venue – £3,519
♥ Catering – £3520
♥ Cake – £305
♥ Entertainment – £572
♥ Champagne/ wine – £1,280
♥ Photographer/ Videographer – £1,102
♥ Flowers – £547
♥ Car hire – £265
♥ Stationary – £293
♥ Rings – £478
♥ Dress – £1,346
♥ Shoes – £102
♥ Headpiece/ Veil – £98
♥ Lingerie – £113
♥ Beauty – £191
♥ Grooms outfit – £333
♥ Attendants outfits – £342
♥ Attendants Gifts – £146
Total Cost of a wedding in 2013 = £16,709
So now you have a rough estimate of where your money will go on your wedding day, let us begin to look at how you can save.
The best way to save money on your venue is to pick an unusual day for your wedding such as a Friday or Sunday. Ok so you must remember that there may be guests and family that will find it difficult to attend on a week day but if this isn’t a problem then it is a sure fire way to cut the cost immediately. If you don’t mind what month you get married then choosing one of the winter months will also certainly reduce your costs. We love a winter wedding but in all honesty there are fewer bookings in those months so there is a little more leeway for negotiating with industry providers.
Our favoured way of course would be to find somewhere that doesn’t necessarily advertise as a wedding venue for example a village or town hall, a field even your own backyard or a restaurant. It is important to note that if you want to hold both your ceremony and reception at the same venue then you will need to consider a slightly different route of getting married but it’s not impossible. It just means that you would need to have a separate ceremony at a registrar office before the wedding to legally marry. The actual ceremony can then be held by a celebrant, many of which will do this for you at whatever venue you require, but don’t forget that will also cost.
When looking at venues it is also important to factor in the costs of transport for yourself and maybe even your guests. It may work out cheaper to choose a venue where you can hold both the reception and the venue so that you don’t have to move between the two. If you decided on holding the wedding in your back garden you wouldn’t have to worry about transport at all.
The Dress, Shoes & Veil
One of the gorgeous dresses from Kitty & Dulcie
For some, choosing the right dress is difficult enough and can take months, let alone having to factor in the cost but unfortunately it is a must so we have a few ideas of how you can get started on finding your perfect dress, shoes and accessories at a fraction of the price.
Ebay is an obvious start. Of course we have all heard horror stories of scams so you must have a good idea of what to do beforehand, such as asking lots of questions about delivery, measurements and design and you should always ask for samples, if it is a dress designer from which you are purchasing your dress. Auction type sites like Ebay have a review system which you should always be sure to read through to decide if you think the designer or seller is genuine. If the dress is from overseas then make sure you also factor in shipping costs and tax.
Some of the best wedding dresses and accessories that we have seen have been those that were picked up in charity shops. Oxfam has specialist bridal departments around the UK some with dresses that have been donated by designers so you could stand a chance of bagging a real bargain.
We must also mention that there are some wonderful online boutiques that sell absolute gorgeous and unique dresses we highly recommend Kitty and Dulcie. Who in fact have a new line that is going live in the next couple of weeks so be sure to keep an eye out? Etsy and Not on the High Street are two other great places to look. They are full of handmade and unique pieces made by small business holders so not only are they cheaper but you will be supporting independent businesses, something we are huge advocates of. These are also great places to start when trying to find cheaper gifts for your attendants and your rings as they can be personalised.
Lingerie doesn’t need to be expensive although it often is. Head out to any large high street retailer and you are sure to find a bargain.
Groom & Attendants Outfits
Similarly more and more people are sourcing the groom and attendants’ outfits from high street retailers or Ebay, a friend of ours recently bought his suit from Matalan!
The simple answer to this is DIY whether it be yourself or by a talented friend or family member. However it is your wedding day so why should you do your own makeup, this might be your only chance to receive the pampering you deserve. So a little sneaky tip which we will probably be told off for telling you is get it done at a makeup counter and that way you will only have to buy a couple of items to touch up. If you want to be really cheeky you can ask for one of them to be a freebie sample. We must however say if you can afford it to hire a professional they do an amazing job and the experience is well worth it. Always meet with your makeup artist or hair stylist for a trial however to make sure you get what you want on your big day. Be aware some will charge for a trial, but when you think about the fact they will be using their own (sometimes expensive) products on you, you can see why.
Again it is easy to see why DIY weddings are becoming such a popular wedding theme. Cakes are sometimes expensive so why not bake your own or do you know a talented friend or family member who would consider making one for you at a fraction of the cost or even for free?
This past year we have even been to weddings where the cake has been absent as it is now considered a tradition rather than something that reflects the personality or values of the couple. We have even seen cakes of cheese, where people have bought large blocks of cheese and stacked them in the shape of a traditional cake. Guests can then tuck in as a desert.
If you are dead set that you want good photos or a video of your day then this is something we really do advise to NOT skimp on. It is unbelievable how many emails we have received over the last year from brides who asked a friend to do the photography to find after that they were awful quality and nothing at all like they imagined.
Not all photographers are expensive but you must be aware that you pay for what you get. Usually the more expensive the photographer, the more renowned they are in the industry. The key is to look around, speak with photographers, check out their portfolios and decide if they have the style of photography that you require for your day.
It is becoming more and more popular for brides to do their own flowers. A common theme last year was jam jars full of Gypsophilia and other garden flowers. This year will be very similar only with the addition of old tin cans. This style is very DIY but extremely effective and pretty. If this isn’t quite you then ask around family members for vases or decorative plants for you to put your own succulents in. Shop around for flowers, try supermarkets and local florist shops. Our favourite place to buy flowers would be your local farmers market where they will be open to negotiation over the price.
If you don’t want real flowers then why not make your own, there are plenty of tutorials all over the internet, we only posted one last week which you can see here.
The no brainer here is that you can automatically reduce your outgoings on catering by ensuring you limit the number of people you invite to your day. However some we know have large families and cannot help that so why be penalised for it. There are a number of ways you can cut costs on catering, ideas range from preparing the food yourself to asking your local pub to prepare the food for you. Doing something as simple as having a hog roast will cut the cost as the majority of the money you pay will be for the food rather than the service.
A rather controversial idea is to ask your guests to bring their own. Some will read this and think what the **** but just picture this…. A nice hot sunny day in a park, guests sat around on a blanket with picnic hampers in which is food they have brought along. Not only have you cut the cost but there are no difficult decisions on what to serve. Ok so some of you will not be sold but it has been done and the feedback was actually positive from the guests.
This is more often than not the most common overlooked cost and it can sometimes cost over a grand so best to mention this now. Venues that cater for weddings on a regular basis will charge a fair bit for the wine and champagne that they serve during speeches and the meal. Always ask the costs for this when deciding on your venue. Even if you then decide you will buy your own wine or champagne for the day, the venue is entitled to charge corkage fees, which can also add up. Of course if you choose a venue that doesn’t necessarily hold weddings then it is unlikely you will be charged this fee but better to be safe than sorry and check.
This is a fairly easy thing to do on the cheap there are so many businesses out there that allow you to just add your own design and wording and they do the printing for you at a reasonable price. We have friends that recently used Vistaprint for example, to create postcards which were actually really good quality. You can make your own invitations in various other ways including creating online invitations that you can send via email.
Remember if you decide to make your own invitations then check out Ebay and thrift stores where you can buy materials cheaper than if you were to go to an actual retailer.
Using an IPod or another MP3 gadget is just as sufficient and you could even create your own wedding playlist before the big day full of songs you both love! You can even email your guests before hand and ask them to suggest songs they would love to hear.
Do you have any budgeting secrets that you’d like to share with other Bespoke Bride readers? Then please do drop us a comment and spill the details!
Much Bespoke Love
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