Saving for that Special Day

Although getting married is a prospect filled with excitement and joy, planning for your special day...

Although getting married is a prospect filled with excitement and joy, planning for your special day and making sure that everything is as perfect as you've always wanted it to be can also be a significant source of stress. In fact, planning a wedding is often listed as one of the most stressful events that anyone can go through.


Now, one of the reasons why wedding planning is so stressful is because, simply put, weddings are expensive. It has been reported that the average couple in the UK spends more than £18,000 on their wedding and honeymoon. That is a considerable sum of money by all standards, and it is easy to see how easily wedding-related costs can put a dent in your budget and have a huge impact on your finances. You don't want to start your married life surrounded by financial troubles, so it pays off to start saving for your wedding well in advance. In this post we take a look at some important information that every soon-to-be-wed couple needs to know in order to make the whole process more enjoyable and less taxing.


Saving for your wedding: getting started

As with most things in life, getting started is likely to be one of the most stressful parts of your wedding planning efforts. Simply thinking about every single thing that you have to do and plan for can be truly overwhelming, so the keywords to remember here are discipline and organisation. Most weddings are planned within a 1 year time frame, so think of it as having at least 12 months to set money aside and make changes to your budget and spending habits. This means that you will both need to sit down and talk openly about your finances and expectations. Sure, this sounds very unromantic, but the truth is that it has to be done to avoid misunderstandings and unpleasant surprises.


So first things first: establish your budget together and make sure to agree on the absolute maximum amount that you are willing to spend. How you work within your budget is totally up to you. Some couples prefer to splurge on their honeymoon trip while others would rather throw a grand wedding party. When establishing a budget, it might be useful to use a top-down approach by looking at the items that are typically more costly. In addition to the honeymoon trip, catering, venue hire, wedding bands, and clothing are likely to be your biggest expenses. You can use our Example Wedding Budget to help you draw up a list of expenses, see which you can do yourself, which you can do on the cheap and which you do want to fork out for.


Top saving tips


There are basically two ways of saving money on your wedding expenses. First and foremost, shop around. Don't be shy and don't be afraid to haggle! Negotiating prices can prove to be a useful strategy, especially with the cost of venue hire, which can go down by 20 per cent if you negotiate or choose to get married on a weekday.


The other alternative is to do some of the work yourselves. For example, do you really need to spend £3 per invitation when you could send e-invites online? You can also buy blank invitations and get them printed yourself, reducing the cost per invite to under 15p.


The costs of venue hire can be dramatically reduced by celebrating your wedding at home or at a friend's place. This is great option for summer weddings as all you need is to get your garden ready for the occasion. If the whole DIY venue is not your thing but still want to save money, consider booking your local community hall or asking around for last-minute cancellations at more expensive venues.


A great way of saving on catering expenses is to ditch the traditional lunch or dinner reception and go for a buffet breakfast, which can cost as little as £12 per person. Whichever option you go for, make sure to choose a menu that features seasonal produce only to avoid unnecessary expenses, and try to limit meat-based dishes to your main course. Other cost-effective options include serving a wide range of well-presented tapas or throwing a tea party instead of a sit-down meal. And how about baking your own cupcakes instead of going for the traditional wedding cake? This is great for informal weddings, can work out really cheap, and ensures that no cake goes to waste. Or bake the cake yourself and look up YouTube videos on cake decorating or get a crafty friend to help you decorate it.


Can't or won't spend £1,000 on your wedding dress? You can save up to 70 per cent by buying an ex-shop dress or by ordering it abroad (think Eastern Europe or China, but make sure that you're dealing with reputable suppliers only). Online auction sites, vintage stores, or even charity shops are other options.


The photographer is another massive cost that can easily be reduced by getting a friend or relative to do it, or finding aspiring photographers who are just starting out - they will often give you a heavily discounted price in return for being able to use your photos in their portfolio.


Last but not least, do your research. The Internet is full of interesting advice and tips from other couples who were in the same situation and whose suggestions can help you save for your special day.



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