The word wedding seems to have a huge price tag attatched to it, but it really doesn't have to be that way. If you spend time thinking what you really want for your big day and finding the right vendors to make that happen, you can slash the cost of your wedding without losing out on the things that are important to you.
1) Plan ahead. If you get started early, you’ll have the time and flexibility to shop sales, cut coupons, do-it-yourself and comparison shop.
2) Get married during the wintertime, but not around the Christmas festivities. You’ll have your choice of venues and the low demand for weddings in this season will help keep your costs down. Avoid getting hitched around Valentines day as this drives up the cost of flowers, diamonds and other wedding expenditures.
3) Consider hiring a wedding planner. Wedding planners may seem like an unnecessary cost, but depending on the size of your wedding, they may be able to save you money by using their connections and knowledge of the industry.
4) Get married on a Sunday or a Friday. This will help you cut costs across the board.
5) Buy decorative lights on sale after Christmas. If you’re planning on decorating with string lights, pick them up dirt cheap at after-Christmas sales.
6) Check out after-Valentine’s Day sales. You’ll be able to buy lots of candy favors, heart decorations and other wedding supplies at a fraction of the cost. This is especially beneficial if your wedding’s colours are pink or red.
7) Have everything at one site. Have your ceremony and reception at the same place to save on hire fees, transportation, décor and other costs.
8) Hire a private room at a restaurant. Private restaurant rooms tend to be cheaper than hotel ballrooms as well as more intimate.
9) Announce your save-the-date by email or phone call. If you’ve set your date far in advance or on a busy weekend, you may want to send out a save-the-date announcement. Of course, these cards are an added expense. Instead of paying for paper, printing and postage, send your announcement via email or just pick up the phone to let everyone know.
10) Print your own invitations. There are a multitude of programs and paper packages that allow you to create your own invitations. Use one to save money as well as make your invites more personal.
11) It doesn't have to be a “wedding” dress. Check out bridesmaid, and department store dresses. You may be able to find a dress at a fraction of the cost. Or search for once worn or unwanted dresses on our classified section and google search.
12) Wear someone else’s gown. Ask your mother, grandmother or other family member if she’ll let you wear her dress. She will be honored that you asked, and you can’t get cheaper than free. Remember, though, that you will probably need to have it altered.
13) Shop sample sales. You can find a designer dress for less if you hit sample sales. Sales are usually held during the winter and summer months.
14) Do your own hair and makeup. If you're not planning on doing something complicated and ornate. Look to wedding magazines for ideas and instructions, then try it out yourself. Remember to practice your style at least once before your wedding day to make sure things will go smoothly.
15) Buy a dress that fits now. Many brides plan on losing weight before they get married and buy a too-small dress for motivation. However, this strategy can set you up for disaster if you don’t make it to your goal weight. Buy a dress that fits now, then have it altered when you lose the weight. It’s always cheaper to take in a dress than to let it out.
16) You don’t need to spend lots of money on wedding jewelry. Chances are that someone in your family has something nice for you to wear on your big day. This saves you money and also takes care of finding “something borrowed.”
17) Rent the suits. Chances are your husband-to-be won’t need to wear the suit on a regular basis. Instead of buying one, hire it or just get a nice suit that he’ll be able to wear again.
18) Carry a single stem instead of a bouquet. A simple and elegant single stem can make just as strong a statement as a large bouquet. You’ll save money on both flowers and your florist’s labour by doing this.
19) Candles can usually be purchased for less than flowers, so use them to your advantage. Use fewer flowers, then put the spotlight on them with candles.
20) Use fashionable trends such as Rustic and Shabby Chic to create a modern vintage look at a small price.
21) Choose in-season, locally grown flowers: Flowers that don’t have to be flown in will be significantly cheaper.
22) Silk flowers are generally cheaper than real ones, plus you won’t have to worry about keeping them alive. That means you can buy them months in advance and shop for sales.
23) Give your florist a colour scheme, not particular flowers. Allow your florist flexibility so that they can pick out the most affordable flowers for your colour scheme. Remember to provide a list of flowers that you want to avoid.
24) Simple centerpieces: Don’t go overboard with a huge, expensive centerpiece that takes up half of the table. Keep your centerpieces simple and cheap, like a pretty bowl filled with water and floating candles.
25) Buy and cook your own food. If you’re having a small wedding it may be possible to achieve this. Buy in bulk and make preparation a fun, family affair.
26) Forget dessert, just serve wedding cake. Some caterers will add a dessert course to your reception menu, but when you’re serving wedding cake, it’s just not necessary.
27) Buffets instead of a sit down meal will always work out cheaper and will ensure that people with special dietry requirements are catered for.
28) Serve seasonal, local food. Like flowers, food tends to be cheaper if it doesn’t have to be flown in or extensively preserved.
29) Select a venue that lets you bring in your own catering and alcohol. A separate caterer may be able to give you a better deal than what’s offered at the venue.
30) Cupcakes instead of cake. Instead of paying a baker to construct a multi-tiered cake, consider doing a more economical cupcake tree.
31) Hire an individual instead of a bakery for your cake. Individual bakers have lower overheads and often make cakes as a fun side job.
32) Source independent wedding suppliers for practically everything you need. The final price will be much cheaper than High Street shops and there is much more attention to detail and personal service. Use our Wedding Directory, search on Google and our supplier contacts on Twitter to find vendors.
33) Make your own wine. Some vineyards allow you to make your own wine. Depending on your choice, this can cost less. For even more savings, print your own label and give extra bottles away as attendant gifts.
34) Toast with white wine instead of champagne. Champagne can get expensive, and not everyone likes the carbonation. Save money by offering a nice white wine instead.
35) Ask for a smaller package. Some vendors have a cheaper package that they don’t normally publish. You may find that it’s all you need.
36) Negociate with vendors. Your vendor may be willing to offer you a better deal to beat out competitors.
37) Limit your videographer’s time. Ask your videographer if you can save money by only videotaping parts of the wedding, like the ceremony and first dance. That way, they don’t have to be there for more hours than necessary.
38) Get married later in the day, avoid a sit down menu and supply an evening buffet instead of two seperate meals in one day.
39) Combine favors and placecards. Don’t spend money on two separate things that can be combined. Find placecards that can double as favors.
40) You can find great deals on nearly everything for your wedding online. Look for dresses, décor, silk flowers, plates and more.
41) Hit the cheap shops for plates, vases, and other supplies in your color scheme. You can come up with cheap, eclectic decor this way.
42) Don’t mention the word “wedding” until you have to. Some venues and vendors charge a premium for them. Say it’s an event or family gathering instead and hold them to it unless they can justify extra charges.
43) Take on do-it-yourself projects. There are a few things that you can make on your own, but you may be able to think of even more that are applicable to your wedding. Just remember that DIY is not always cheaper. Research and consider the costs before you get started.
44) Keep attendant gifts simple. You don’t have to go overboard with attendant gifts. Choose something affordable but meaningful. Hand-picked books with personal notes inside, or framed photos generally work well.
45) Have a smaller wedding party. Every additional bridesmaid and groomsman means spending more on flowers, gifts, and food. Consider cutting back on attendants to save money.
46) Have a smaller wedding. Don’t feel compelled to invite your third cousin that you’ve never met. Make your wedding a small affair and you’ll spend considerably less.
47) Use a rewards credit card. If you’re going to be spending money, you might as well get something for it! Use a rewards card to get money back or earn points toward honeymoon travel. Just remember to pay on time to avoid finance charges, otherwise you might end up paying for more than you get in return.
48) Share decorating costs: See if another bride has booked your venue for the same weekend, then split costs if you can agree on any shared décor, flowers and other expenses.
49) Honeymoon in Blighty. Britain has some of the most romantic beautiful locations to stay in, at the fraction of the cost of a long haul destination.
50) Consider an intimate destination wedding. You’ll be able to slash the guest list and combine it with your honeymoon.