Bouquet & Bells have worked with lots of couples that want nothing more than to have the wedding day of their dreams without completely emptying their bank accounts. Overtime, we have learnt clever little ways to save money and we’re going to share our top 30 with you. Not only will this help you to avoid costly mistakes but it could also spark new ideas.
First things first, what actually IS your budget? Try to get an exact figure and write it down.
Think before you start researching venues.
What kind of wedding do you want? With how many guests? Only once you know the answers to these questions should you start researching possible venues.
Create a venue comparison chart.
Track exactly what’s included in each quoted venue package by creating a simple chart. Some venues cover everything you’ll ever need (cake table, table linen, etc), whereas others charge just for the hire of the venue. You’ll be surprised how quickly all the little extras can add up.
Have the ceremony at your reception venue if you can.
Church weddings are becoming increasingly expensive, at an average of £800 for a forty-minute ceremony. Book one location for both your ceremony and reception to save on multiple site fees. Plus, you’ll save on transportation costs between each venue.
Invite more guests to the evening reception.
The average venue charges £60 per head for the wedding breakfast, (and that’s without any drinks packages added on), whereas the evening food is only around £10 a head. So, only invite who you really want to the daytime reception.
Cut bubbly out.
With an average of £5 per glass, let guests toast with whatever they’re already drinking.
Cater for around half your guests for the evening meal.
Most of your daytime guests will be stuffed from the wedding breakfast, particularly if you don’t eat until mid-afternoon. Lots of the evening food is often wasted so only cater for around half the numbers.
Make your own wedding favours.
You can pay anything from around £3 per person for your wedding favours. Why not get creative and make your own? We always think a little bit of DIY is fun anyway! How about baking some stylish cake pops? Or yummy chocolate brownies? If you’re not feeling very creative you could buy £1 scratch cards for your guests, something that always proves a bit of fun!
Don’t fork out for a costly evening meal.
Chances are, your guests will be very merry by mid-evening and will just want some carbohydrates. Bacon baps, fish and chips and hog roasts are extremely popular as cheaper alternatives to a costly meal.
More and more couples are opting for paperless invitations. Some websites now even allow you to design and send your personalised invitations without a single stamp in sight. Some couples are even creating personal websites to track RSVPs and store handy information for guests to read.
Print your own.
Get savvy with Photoshop or hop over to a website like Vistaprint with ready-made templates and create your own invitations. Yes, it may take a little extra time but printing costs are very reasonable.
Save on the finishing touches.
Believe it or not, classic white or cream-coloured invitations with black ink are the most cost-effective ones you can buy. Choose the details carefully by opting for cotton paper, rather than jacquard or linen – it’s a lot less expensive but looks just as luxe. Thermography is a printing process that uses heat to create a raised-letter look, and it looks exactly like engraving and is half the price.
One between two.
Print one ceremony programme per couple rather than one per guest.
Cut down on the time your photographer stays at the reception.
Schedule main events like the toasts, cutting of the cake and your first dance soon after the wedding breakfast so these moments are captured but your photographer can then leave shortly after.
Did you know?
The number one biggest wedding regret is not having a professional video of the wedding day.
Foliage costs a fraction of what you’d pay for in flowers. It’s very much on trend at the moment too.
Keep it simple.
Most of the florist’s fee goes towards the cost of labour, so the more elaborate your arrangements, the more expensive they will be.
Use candles in place of real flowers. They also act as great gap fillers whilst looking elegant and romantic.
If the flowers you love aren’t in season for your wedding, avoid hefty costs by adding silk versions to your bouquet and centrepieces instead.
Hire a band with fewer members.
When you pay for a six-piece band, you’re essentially paying to cover everyone’s individual costs. Opt for a three or four-piece instead. Your guests won’t notice a difference.
Travel costs make up a big part of wedding entertainers’ fees, as the further they travel, the more time it will take and the more money it will cost. By booking locally, you can keep fuel costs low, giving you more money to spend on the actual entertainment you want. If you’ve already decided to hire a smaller band or group of entertainers, you’ll only have to factor in the costs for one car rather than several cars or a petrol guzzling van.
Cater for everyone.
Opting for entertainment that can double up to both the adults and children will save you money.
Avoid peak times.
In-keeping with the rest of your wedding organisation, timing is extremely important. Avoiding peak times such as a Saturday in summer, will save you money on not only your venue, but also with your entertainment and every other aspect of your day.
Visit a few local Wedding Shows.
As an organiser of Wedding Shows, we can tell you that most suppliers exhibiting at the events offer some sort of on-the-day exclusive discount, special offer or incentive to couples that attend. It’s well worth visiting a few local shows, especially since many are free entry. Why not make a day of it, enter some competitions and gather up literature of local suppliers.
Chat to numerous suppliers.
Wedding Shows provide the perfect opportunity to chat with lots of suppliers and help you get a feel for what they offer. We’d particularly recommend visiting them during the early stages of planning as they help spark lots of ideas and will guide you to find the perfect supplier for your day that fits your style.
Be smart with your budget.
If budgets are tight, I would always advise spending a little less on elements such as wedding cars or favours, but to get the reception looking right because that’s where you and your guests will be spending most of your time.
Create a master document with supplier names, contact numbers and other important details. Not only will you feel in complete control during the planning stages but this will also help avoid any costly mistakes! We have a selection of free planning documents, spreadsheets and planners ready to download on bouquetandbells.com.
Tap into a friend’s talents.
One way to avoid the price-trebling effects of getting married is to use the talents of your friends and family. Do you know a keen baker who could make the cake? Or a talented photographer or videographer? Do you have a family member with a large garden that they would let you use for the reception?
Save on your dress at a trunk show.
A trunk show is often a special event held at bridal boutiques. A chosen designer will send gowns from their newest collections available for a short time only. Some designers are exclusive to other countries, so if you’ve got your heart on a specific designer it may be worth visiting a few trunk shows to save on important fees and nab a bargain. Shopping during a designer trunk show means you could pay anywhere from £15o to £500 less on your gown. There are also plenty of lovely second-hand shops, such as the Bridal Reloved chain.
with CLAIRE BOON and SARAH MACKLIN of Bouquet & Bells
This issue celebrates a variety of alternative real weddings and shoots, filled with ideas that are a little different to the norm. Find out more…
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