Weddings are expensive, particularly if you try to keep up with your opulent friends.
If you want to save money on your wedding, one of the best ways is to go Alternative!
This means, instead of going for a £/$4,000 dress, you instead get a high quality high-street formal dress that you could use again – or hire a wedding dress. Or buy second hand. Seriously.
The things that cost a lot during weddings are as follows (this is not an exhaustive list!) – with the Cash Clever alternative listed alongside:
- Dress – for the lady of the day, this is often the biggest single expense (sometimes it's the most expensive dress she'll ever purchase!) – if you are short of money, big savings can be made here by going for a non-wedding dress – get a friend with style to help you shop;
- Suits – the men's suits can also be expensive, particularly if you buy them. Hiring is a good way to look great for less, but, even more cash clever is to simply wear Black Tie, which groom and his friends may well already own – its still fully formal, and looks great in the photos;
- Reception Venue – For the reception, use your house; or a friend's house; or a marquee at someone's house;
- Alcohol – if you buy all of your guests' drinks, be prepared to fork out a lot of money. Perhaps consider a venue with a bar (during an off-peak season!) – or Go Mongolian and celebrate your wedding without alcohol (see the link for explanation!).
- Photography – Wedding Photographers are great, but they know how to charge; a lot of us have friends or family who are able to take a good photograph – ask them – they could well take it as a huge compliment (and it can be their gift to you!);
- Favours – these are the little gifts that many people like to give their guests. The secret here is simple – the two H's give something Handmade or Heartfelt to keep down costs!
- DJ / Music – instead of paying out hundreds or thousands for a DJ, get some decent speakers, and put an MP3 player onto shuffle. You can always queue up the first dance yourself – or use a playlist for the whole night! If you don't have these things, you probably have a friend who does – ask around.
- Food – if you have your guests attending your wedding (or reception) over a meal time, it is nice to feed them something – buffet is always cheaper than sit-down waiter service. Alternatively, make it short, and ask guests to arrive fed!
- Stag/Bucks and Hen Parties – the tradition for bachelor parties has gone crazy recently. Go old school, and take your pals down to a local pub, where all of them can buy you drinks. You don't need to go all “Spring Break” you know – especially if, like most people, you are marrying in your 30+s, or for a second time.
- Flowers & Decoration – its always much cheaper to grow and make your own decor than to pay for someone else to do it for you. This does depend upon your choice of venue, however!
- Honeymoon – this is a big one, its one aspect that you could concentrate your other saving effort on, as its actually the longest part of the marriage ceremony. Still, you should look out for deals on package holiday deals (you may not want to be cooking in self catered accommodation, for example) and note that “Honeymoon Suites” are not well-known for their cost-effectiveness (though you can get a free upgrade for mentioning you are newlyweds, providing you book economy in the first place!).
Feel free to add your own Wedding Day Savings below in the comments sections – did you have a low-cost wedding? How did you achieve it?