It’s almost Christmas and there seems to be only one thing on all my wedding planning friends’ minds at the moment.
How the hell are we gonna afford all this?!
Honestly… everyone’s feeling it. You’re not on your own.
It’s such a shame, because all brides (and grooms.. not leaving you guys out in this) are feeling the pressure to have the most amazing day you could possibly imagine.. but, of course that comes at a price. And… as I’ve learnt, the wedding industry is sucking us all completely dry at every opportunity it gets, and it goes without saying that unless you’ve won the lottery or you’re sitting on a goldmine, at some point, you’re probably gonna start worrying about your wedding budget.
A lot of the time, we put ourselves under the pressure, raising our own expectations too far, because of what “Sally” had at her wedding, or what “Stacey” will have when she gets married. You can almost feel my eyes rolling at that, am I right? I don’t give a flying cupcake what Sally and Stacey are doing, how much their budgets are, what they’re having, or anything else. I don’t care because it’s not my day. And I think because people do spend SO much time judging, comparing and quite frankly picking apart other people’s special days, some brides put themselves under pressure to “put their money where their mouth is” and before you know it, you’ve got yourself into a sh*tload of debt because you just wanna keep up with the Joneses.
Everyone has different expectations, and everyone has different budgets. Whether you have a 3k budget, a 10k budget or a 40k budget, you’re probably gonna come across budget issues of some kind somewhere along the line.
Some vendors are very expensive. And, rightly so. Some vendors DESERVE to charge the amount they do because the service they provide is nothing but the best. Fair play to them. Their clients obviously have the budget for that, and that’s amazing. Good for them.
But… how do you have the best without having the budget for the best?
I don’t wanna disclose what we’re spending on our wedding… frankly it’s no-one else’s business, but it’s more than we originally wanted to spend. Of course it is. Pretty much everyone goes over budget and that’s fine as long as you can manage it. I’ve always said that there’s no point in getting yourselves into a silly amount of debt for one day, and that you’re no more or less married no matter how much or how little you spend.
…But, as I also always say, you can only ever have this day once. And… sorry, but if you can do it your own way and you have got a little bit of wiggle room in your budget, I’d say do it. Buy the shoes, eat the cake, have a bloody amazing wedding day. Why not, y’know?
I’ve spoken to so many brides recently, all different backgrounds, budgets and completely different styles of weddings.. and we’ve all been sharing tips and tricks to save money leading up to our weddings, and with the permission of my lovely future bride friends, I’d like to share some of our tips with you all to help you save a little money to stay within your budget.
Some of these are gonna seem a little savage, but saving money is really important, and there’s no time for niceties. No bullsh*t here.
1. DIY as much as possible
As you probably have seen through my Facebook and Instagram posts, I’m occupying a lot of my time at the moment to wedding DIY projects. From the little place names we’re having on everyone’s seats for the ceremony, to bigger things like chalkboards and doughnut walls, we’re trying to make every bit of decoration ourselves, for two reasons. One – we really wanted everything to be as customised and personalised to us as possible, and two – because it’s SOOOOOOOOO much cheaper to do it yourself. LOL. There’s tutorials everywhere to help you out – I spend far too much time on Pinterest and I have become a little craft goddess since planning this wedding. And my mum is so clever and has been doing so much wedding craft for ages. Couldn’t have done it without her – she’s been such a big help. <3 Thanks mum!
2. Buy your dress second hand
A few brides I have spoken to got lucky with their dresses and found them in charity shops, or EBay, or on wedding forums and groups second hand, which is an AWESOME way to save money. Depending on your dress, obviously. It could be discontinued, which will mean that it’s more difficult to find on places like Ebay or Facebook, but you never know. Run a search for your dream dress and see what happens. If it doesn’t bother you wearing a dress that has already been worn once, and you wanna save a grand buying it second hand, then I’d say DO IT! …Wedding dresses are bloody expensive. LOL. Also, check out places like ASOS or high street stores. There’s some beautiful wedding dresses out there right on the high street. Check them out!
3. Digital Invitations
…Who really even uses the post any more, y’know? LOL. Postage is expensive, and it’s LONG. Why not just design your invitation yourself and e-mail it out to your family and friends? Saves so much time and money. I’d definitely say go digital if you can. If people turn their nose up and tell you it’s tacky, first of all, screw ’em, then send them the bill for your stationary. If they wanna pay a few hundred quid for a bunch of paper that will probably end up in the bin, let them crack on. Digital all the way!
4. Artificial Flowers instead of real flowers
We’re doing this. Everyone has different opinions when it comes to flowers. Some people feel that they really wanna have real flowers, and that’s totally cool, but personally, we’re not too fussed about flowers. At the end of the day, the way we feel is that real flowers only last for one day, and I really wanna keep my bouquet and stuff.. soooooo… yeah, we’re using foam flowers for my bouquet, the bridesmaid bouquets and all the centrepieces. They look beautiful, they’ll last as long as we want them to and they’re already made up and sorted. No stress, no fuss, no worries.
5. Use the sales to your advantage
Get your bridesmaid dresses in the sales. Black Friday, Boxing Day, etc… and, again, check online. High street stores etc. There’s some beautiful dresses out there, they don’t need to be from a bridal boutique or anything fancypants like that.
6. Limit your bridal / groomsmen party
Again, bridesmaid dresses, accessories, gifts etc are expensive. Suits are also expensive. And.. y’know, it’s OK to ask for help if you need to. Ask your bridesmaids to pay a little towards their dresses if you need to. Ask them to do their own make up, hair, or buy their own shoes, jewellery, bags etc. I’m sorry but sometimes it’s impossible to be able to fund every single thing for every single person. It’s an honour for them to be asked to be standing up there with you on your special day. Don’t feel like you have to take care of every single thing for them.
7. Ditch the formalities
Not feeling the sit down meal? That’s totally fine. Do something else – A food truck. A barbecue. Pizza. Whatever you want. If you decide that paying a silly amount of money for each person to eat a meal, only to see empty seats there on the day for people that didn’t show up and all that money wasted, I’d definitely say do some kinda buffet or something a little more chilled. Oh, and while we’re on the subject – stay away from a free bar. As nice as it is for people, some people might take the pi… biscuit. They’re there to celebrate you, your partner and your love. Not to take advantage of your good nature and get smashed at your expense. If they wanna get smashed, they can pay to do that themselves. If you wanna do something nice for your guests, put some bottles of wine or prosecco on the tables, or do some signature cocktails or something. If people wanna judge you and call you tacky for having a cash bar.. send them the bill for that too.
8. Get married on a weekday or out of season
…Not on a Saturday in July, perhaps… LOL. Some venues will do different prices for a weekday, as they’re unlikely to get another booking, so they’d rather make a little bit of money than nothing at all. Same if you choose to get married in October – April. Less weddings are happening at that time, so you might snap up a good deal when it comes to booking venues and vendors.
9. Cut the transport
…Newsflash…. NO-ONE’S GONNA SEE YOU ARRIVE. lol! Think about it.. your guests are all inside at the point that you arrive because they’re waiting for you to make your grand entrance. …Do you really need the horse and carriage, or the fancy car? No-one’s gonna see you. It’s just for the photos, and the glory of saying “well I arrived in a horse and carriage…” fair play if that’s your thing, but.. if you’re not too bothered, knock it on the head and get a taxi. LOL. No-one cares. 😉
…Goes without saying… if you wanna save THE MOST amount of money… sneak off and get married in secret. I’m actually not joking. LOL.
Honestly, that felt really good to actually talk some “real-wedding” talk. If planning this wedding has taught me anything, it’s that there’s no time for all this crap that comes with it. Screw etiquette. Screw doing things “because that’s just what you do…” Nope. You do you. Your day, your way. As long as you and your partner are happy, screw everything else and just do whatever makes you happy.