How to get married on a budget!
The wedding season is upon us, and while some couples are happy to throw cash around like confetti, others try to slash the cost of their big day. Those tying the knot can expect to pay an average of £7,500, according to Nationwide building society (that’s for couples of all ages, which includes the lower amounts older couples tend to spend), or more than £24,000 if you’re a reader of Brides Magazine.
But celebrating with a bit of fanfare does not
have to break the bank. In fact, it is perfectly possible to tie the knot for less than a grand.
To be legally married, costs start at around £120. That covers fees for the notice of marriage (£35 for each partner) and a brief registry office service on a weekday. The cost of this type of basic, legal service is about the same anywhere in the UK, including more expensive cities such as London.
If you want to get married in an approved venue such as a hotel, you will need to pay for a registrar, which can easily run to £400 at weekends. You will also have to pay for the hire of a venue. If you want a religious service costs will vary again – a Church of England wedding, for example, will set you back around £400.
Brides spend an average of £1,098 on their dress, according to the magazine You & Your Wedding, but there are an increasing number of cheaper options on the high street, where wedding dresses start from about £150. Here at Wowprom all of our dresses (new and pre owned) are under £500.
Brides happy to wear “something borrowed” could use a friend’s dress or find an outfit for free on websites such as Freecycle. Other ideas include making your own or buying material and paying a local seamstress.
Don’t limit yourself to the wedding department of shops. There are plenty of white and ivory lace dresses in fashion, which may prove cheaper.
Opting for a Friday, Sunday or off-peak winter wedding will help you avoid the high rates charged for summery Saturdays. Even the very best venues have quieter times, so check when they are and negotiate costs if you take an off-peak date, or investigate local restaurants that have a private dining room you could use. You can also cut costs by throwing a garden party if you have or can borrow a large enough space, having a picnic in the park or beside a river, or hiring a local pub with a garden.
Local community centres and village halls are also a popular cost-saving option and you can book from Friday through to Sunday, meaning you have plenty of time to set it up and take the decorations down. Don’t let the exterior put you off you can always arrange to have the wedding photos taken somewhere nearby with prettier grounds.
Food and drink
Couples spend an average of £1,449 on wedding food and drink, according to research by VoucherCodes.co.uk. You can reduce those costs by having your do later in the day (you then only have to feed your guests once rather than providing both lunch and evening food), buying food from a local restaurant rather than hiring caterers, and serving canapés as your starter and wedding cake as pudding.
If you can make a cake, or rope in a family member to make it, the ingredients can cost as little as £30 for 50 guests if you do away with the traditional fruit cake and go for a sponge. This compares with an average of £660 for a professionally made cake.
For substantial savings you could ask your guests to contribute food to your celebrations instead of buying gifts.
There are also ways to save on wedding drinks. Buy cheaper Prosecco or wine if you or friends go on holiday in Europe. Costs drop further if you make your own wine, cocktails, beer and cordials.
Forget expensive gold-edged invitations and table decor – many couples send out emails and make their own decorations.
For photos, you can ask guests to upload their snaps to a dedicated website so you can take your pick and create an album online – or you can put disposable cameras on every table. Other ideas include asking a friend to act as photographer or paying a student from a local photography or art college.
There are social media sites such as Pinterest where you can find inspiration for creating homemade table decorations and stationery at a fraction of the cost of buying them ready-made.
Growing your own floral bouquet and buttonholes is also popular – seeds can be bought for a few pounds and you can display posies in jam jars.