The recession might be over, but people throughout the country are still feeling the pinch. With the average wedding now costing a staggering £20,000 how can you get married without blowing the bank?
Set a Realistic Budget
Stage one has got to be working out what you can realistically afford to spend before you buy a single magazine or go to one wedding fair. With a figure in mind itís easier to dismiss the extras that are way out of your price range, and youíll know what type of venue and evening do you can afford.
Google wedding budgets for programs you can use, or simply set up a spreadsheet and divide it into all the key areas of spending, e.g. Venue, catering, photography.
It may help if you break these into broad categories: ďEssentialĒ for things like your marriage licence. ďWantedĒ for the optional bits you have your heart set on. And ďnon-essentialĒ for any optional extras you can live without.
Keep it Small
Yes, your sisterís neighbourís cousin-in-law invited you to their wedding, but if youíre on a budget you canít afford to invite the world and his dog. Try to keep it to close friends and immediate family to limit the expense.
You can always limit guests to the ceremony and meal then invite all your friends to the reception in the evening.
Do You Really Need All the Extras?
Favours, free bar, corsages for your massive bridal party Ė do you really need it all? Of course you should enjoy your big day, but take time to decide what really matters to you. If you canít afford champagne for 500 (refer back to your budget), donít have a free bar.
And the extras that do matter? If you have four best friends and want every one to stand up with you, why not ask them to wear their favourite dress instead of buying them all matching birdesmaids gowns?
If you followed our tip for budgeting you can simply cross all the non-essentials off your budget right now.
DIY Your Wedding
Get creative and you might find that some of the finishing touches are a little more affordable for you.
Bunting is easy to make (if you have no sewing skills, cut triangles and glue to ribbon) and looks stylish. Make roses from ribbon for corsages, customise your shoes with buttons and beads for extra glamour, and make your own invites and thank you cards.
Beware of taking on too much though Ė your time is just as valuable as your money. And if you arenít careful you may end up spending just as much on craft supplies as you would on buying readymade.
The first step is always to set your budget, but review it regularly and if you need to make changes, go right ahead. Remember this is your day, donít let anyone bully you into something you arenít happy with.
Equally, donít get carried away with the fairytale. Reviewing your budget regularly can help you to sense check your spending before it gets out of hand.
Especially since the royal wedding you may feel you need a dream wedding to have a great day. But that will bring you headaches both before and after the day if you canít afford it.
Remember why youíre getting married: To share your life with the man you love. Love and romance donít need expensive accessories, be true to that as you plan your wedding day.
Wayne Barker works with Portfolio of Fine Diamonds, online jewellers selling engagement rings and diamond jewellery.
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