28 EASY WAYS TO SAVE MONEY WHEN PLANNING A WEDDING
LaHu Wedding Photography
1. Go Off-Peak!
Saturdays are great for weddings because Sundays are GREAT for hangovers so traditionally we have always aired towards a Saturday wedding but why not shake things up a bit?
By being more flexible with your wedding date you can save bucks! If you consider a Friday or a Sunday, you can save hundreds of pounds. However, if you throw out all preconceived ideas of when you ‘should’ get married you can set the date to a Tuesday or Wednesday and you will save thousands! And I’m not just talking about on the venue! Most, if not all, of your suppliers will be cheaper.
You’ll also have more bargaining power to negotiate the initial quotes down as us suppliers are often quiet during the midweek and unlikely to take another full paying booking so we’re more easy going when negotiating.
If you are restricted to weekends then consider tying the knot towards the end of peak season as you’ll benefit from the clement weather but get some reductions in the overall costs.
2. Haggle, Haggle, Haggle!
My motto in life is ‘if you don’t ask, you don’t get’ so always feel free to ask if there are any offers on or special deals your wedding suppliers can provide. The worst thing they can do is say no.
Do, however, be respectful because this our livelihood and a craft that many of us have spent years perfecting so you get the best service before, on and after the big day. As long as you’re polite about it there really is no harm in asking and quite often you can tell a lot about a person based on how they respond to these requests. If you’re looking for an easy going photographer and they get super shitty about it then maybe they were never the right fit for you anyway 😉
3. Enjoy a long engagement and save!
If you know exactly what you want and are unlikely to change your mind you can book many of your suppliers two years in advance which means you will benefit from todays’ prices! Prices do generally tend to creep up over the years. This can save hundreds, if not thousands when spread across all your suppliers!
4. Go for a more flexible venue
If you book a venue that only allows you to choose from to their preferred suppliers then not only are you tied into their specific styles but also those costs. Also don’t you want somewhere that’s a bit more relaxed with you as their clients. That said, I do find it easier to choose what I want to eat in a restaurant when there’s only three things on the menu!
But, if you want to save then choose a venue that allows you to bring in all of your own suppliers and then you can shop around and negotiate on prices.
Better yet for sky-high savings you can hire an empty shell like a village hall or a gorgeous rustic barn and DIY the hell outta your wedding. Having full control over your options and spending means you can reign in the costs.
Just be aware that this comes with a much bigger ‘to-do’ list but if you’re more time rich than money rich then it’s a GREAT option!
5. Here’s a crazy idea, hire a house for the wedding!
Following on from the last one…If you love the idea of a wedding and reception at home but could only fit 7.5 humans in your current back garden then think about this as an option. Get on google and start researching potential venues. You’ll need to check that they’re happy for you to have a ‘party’ there and may charge an additional fee for cleanup but some may even offer to help with the planning.
You will need to legally tie the knot at a registry office but this is becoming more and more common these days as you have so much more freedom on the wedding day.
And don’t forget that you’ll still need to sort your own caterers, table and chair hire and lighting etc., so do your sums first. But the advantage is it becomes your house for the weekend (or even a week), there’s no corkage charge and guests can stay in the rooms available and you may be able to pitch tents for the rest.
6. Do the legal bit on a different day
If the legal, paperworky bit of getting married isn’t as important to you, then you could always do that bit separately? I’ve literally heard some couples say “Yeah we just wanna get that but out of the way so we can do what we want on the wedding day”. But everyone is different. It’s horses for courses on this one and it ain’t for everyone.
However, if it is for you then you can save up to £500. Most registry offices don’t publicise it but they do offer no-frills, off-peak slots for couples who don’t need the legal part to be on the same day as the celebration. Grab a couple of witnesses, 15 mins in and out and you’re Hitched!
This opens up all kinds of possibilities for where you host the ceremony on the day and for who oversees the ceremony. It could be your closest friend or an hilarious cousin who’s sure to make it a ceremony to remember!
Get in touch with your local authority to get more info!
7. Have the ceremony and reception in the same place
And if you can do your bridal prep there too then you’re winning. Not only does this dramatically reduce the stress of getting yourself and your guests from place to place but you have zero need for a fancy car saving you up to £600!
Also, the floral arrangements and decorations can often be used to decorate the wedding breakfast room and are easily transported from the ceremony room while you have your photos and canapes.
8. Visit a few second hand wedding dress sites
Second-hand dress sites offer gorgeous gowns for a fraction of the RRP and let’s face it, they’ve only been worn once! Try these ones out for size SellMyWeddingDress and Preloved, The Dressmarket, or even Gumtree and eBay.
9. There are white dresses that aren’t wedding dresses
Some of the most beautiful wedding dresses I’ve seen weren’t bought from wedding dress shops. One of my favourites was from Phase Eight so don’t think you’re tied in to paying thousands of pounds and buying from wedding boutiques. That said…….the whole process of going wedding dress shopping is kinda fun and you may just fall in love!
10. Have your bridesmaids and groomsmen order their own
When it comes to bridesmaids, they’re all different shapes and sizes, as well as having a variety of skin tones! So my suggestion is that you pick a colour palette for your wedding, give them the ‘tonal range’ and ask them to buy a dress for themselves that they feel comfortable in. I personally LOVE a tonal range of colours within the bridal party and this way they all get to treat themselves. Not only that but they end up with a dress they’ll likely wear again!
This can be more difficult with the mens suits but if you have an idea of what you want, send them an image and ask them to roughly match it. Then you just have to buy the bow ties/ties/cravats to bring it all together.
Honestly this can look so great in photos and if you’re a relaxed bride who’s happy to go with it then it will save you a lot of time and energy (not to mentions money that could be better spent elsewhere).
11. Hit the sales
If you plan well enough ahead you can get the bridal party outfits and gifts in the sales!
12. Apparently restaurants also do food….who knew?
I think we all believe that our wedding should look and feel a certain way so we are put off the idea of hosting the wedding breakfast at a restaurant.
However, I have done countless weddings at country pubs and lovely restaurants and they have felt nothing less that totally weddingy! They have a cosy intimate feel which, I personally think, is a massive plus point and they are certainly no less ceremonious than big round tables in a barn or at a fancy hotel.
All you need is a few floral table decorations and some sentimental favours and the whole things feels really personal and intimate.
11. I mean…does it have to be a three course sit down meal?
There are some wedding vibes that require a sit down meal but if you’re a chill type who just wants everyone to have fun then go for a buffet, a BBQ or a hog roast and save bucks!
You will pay a premium for a three course sit down meal so consider some alternatives and get some quotes.
I know of some couples who just hired a big catering fridge and pre-prepared a bunch of salads and sides etc so they literally just had to get a caterer in to roast a hog. There are lots of options guys, so think outside of the box.
12. May the cake be with you!
So, one of my bride has decided to cut the cake immediately after the ceremony, before they even leave the room. It’s going to be their first act as hubby and wifey!
I am a total non-conventionalist so I LOVE this shirking of tradition! Not least because it means that the cake can then be served during the drinks reception when EVERYONE is always hungry (in my experience) so it ensures that it will be consumed with gusto. If you cut it later in the day and then serve it as dessert or with the buffet…..it’s unlikely to be appreciated in the same way.
So often I hear from brides that the cake cost £100’s of pounds but was hardly touched so her and hubs were eating cake for breakfast, lunch and dinner for two weeks after the wedding!
You could even change it up a little and go for a cheese wheel cake (I heart cheese so this will be happening at my wedding!!!) which you can then serve with wine and fruits during the drinks reception. All very civilised dharling!
13. Fake it till you cake it
Fondant and tiered cakes are insanely expensive! If you’re not that into cake and don’t want to spend £100s then you could have a baker make a fake cake with the top (smallest) layer real for cutting. The rest of the layers are styrofoam that are decorated beautifully for that WOW factor. This seriously reduces the cost of raw materials!
If you are into cake but want to minimise spending then you can always have a bunch of basic cakes out back, cut up and ready to serve when needed.
14. Throw the cake out the window entirely (not literally)
But seriously, don’t feel like you HAVE TO HAVE a wedding cake at all. My cake making friends will murder me in my sleep for saying this!
Truthfully, I have soooooo much respect for these clever, talented beans and the sculptures they create truly are works of art but I say this about all things wedding related, including photography!
You MUST prioritise what is important to you and NEVER feel like you’re including something in your day just because you feel like you should (this also applies to some of the people you think you have to invite!) :p
But you didn’t hear that from me 😉
15. Choose a venue that’s pretty all by itself
There are so many venues available that are beautiful all by themselves. Spend a little more on one of these if you have to. Don’t try to polish a turd because it could end up costing as much and may, in the end, still look a bit like a turd.
If you’re going for a December wedding then you may find that your venue is already beautifully decorated ready for the holidays but be careful with this. If you have a very specific idea of how you want your wedding to look then it might not fit with your vision.
16. Consider doing your own flowers
If you’re crafty, or know someone who is, do your own flowers. This will save you thousands! But don’t do it if it’s going to stress you out big time in the run up to the wedding because this is a job that needs to be done dangerously close to the wedding day to ensure they’re looking fresh!
I would hate for you to get caught out just a day or two before the wedding because you’ve discovered that it’s beyond you so make sure you practice and are really happy with the outcome.
You can buy flowers from local wholesalers but do some research and lots of trials.
17. Alternative centerpieces
The table centre pieces can also be potted plants or mason jars full of succulents and piles of books or ornaments. Think outside of the mainstream and get creative.
18. Fakin’ flowers!
In all honesty, I’m not the biggest fan of fake flowers as they can be a bit hit ‘n’ miss. Some are beautiful and utterly convincing, others well…….my mum taught me that if I didn’t have anything nice to say then I shouldn’t say anything at all……….
But seriously, you can get some GORGEOUS silk flowers and the big plus point aside from cost is that you can keep your bouquet forever, and so can your bridesmaids.
19. Two words that will keep your floral costs down; Seasonal and Local
When you buy what’s in season, you get flowers at the peak of their supply and at a cost that’s generally lower. Plus, when they’re locally grown they don’t need to be shipped halfway around the globe. So not only do you save money, but you also reduce your carbon footprint.
So if your wedding day vision has a ton of Peonies, get married in May/June to keep costs down.
19. Change up your bridesmaids bouquets
I’ve seen a variety of alternatives to bridesmaids bouquets carried down the aisle; a single sunflower head, heart shaped ornaments, lanterns (lovely for a winter wedding), sparklers, gigantic/oversized paper flowers, all sorts! You could be really creative with this and make it unique to you guys.
20. Get thrifty
You can borrow, hire or buy your decorative items second hand to save pennies on the wedding day. And the things you purchased can always be resold after the celebrations have become a memory.
21. Favour flavours
Some of the loveliest favours I’ve seen have been handmade edible goodies courtesy of the couple or their family members. Suggestions include; cookies, flavoured gin, preserves and chocolates. This is a seriously personalised gift!
Alternatively give your guests a photo booth prop (lips, mustash or glasses on a wooden stick). This is super cheap but is also a great ice breaker
DIY Yourself Away from Wedding Bankrupsy
22. Budget entertainment that’s sure break the ice and bring a smile!
My favourite tip for all my couples is totes stolen from a wedding a shot a few years back! Take the bog standard, marginally boring, photo scavenger hunt and shake it up a little to encourage your guests to intermingle!
“Take a selfie with a person who owns a Swiss Passport, get a photo of a bridesmaid wearing a groomsmans sock, get a silly face selfie with the couple”
These are just a few examples of how you can get people chatting and having a giggle and it costs the price of a few pieces of card and some ink! Pop a couple on each table of use them as favours on each table setting to really get the fun going!
23. Hey Mister DJ, put your feet up tonight and watch some netflix…we got dis!
If your venue has a good enough sound system you can create your own playlists pretty easily these days and negate the need for a DJ altogether. It will need some thought put into it though to ensure it flows well throughout the night but if you have a friend who rocks at this kind of thing then get them involved.
24. DIY Photo Booth
Photo Booths are such a great option for evening entertainment! I recommend that every wedding has one, for the giggles. It gives the evening a bit of a focus that’s fun and light hearted as well as creating lots of great memories for you and your guests.
You can buy or hire in props, set up a decent light and have your guests take selfies on their mobiles! We all have that ability now! There are apps like wedpics where you can have your guests upload all of their images from the wedding day so you have the entire day documented all in one place.
Alternatively, set up a tripod for your ipad/tablet and get your guests to use that for the photos.
25. When people offer to help, let them!
Don’t be afraid to take guests up on their offers for services in exchange for a wedding gift. This often makes them feel all warm ‘n’ fuzzy inside and saves you on the expense yourself. Likewise, don’t be afraid to graciously say no thank you if their style doesn’t necessarily fit in with your wedding vision. I’m pretty sure that at least one human gets pissed off when a wedding is being planned. Just casualties of war, I’m afraid! Lol!
Passing out tasks on the day for certain people who have offered to help should be part and parcel of planning a wedding. It shouldn’t all fall on your shoulders, you should be able to enjoy a stress free wedding day. So it’s ok to delegate to those you trust. Don’t delegate to those who you have a niggling suspicion might fluff it up though because that will stress you out more than anything!
26. Cut Back on Photography
This is where I talk myself out of a bunch of work haha! But it’s important to be fair and equal and there are ways to save on photography and Video.
If you only have a small budget and so you are considering not having a photographer then there are options.
You can hire a student for the day for £200-£500. they will ocver the majority of the day but due to inexperience they may miss key moments as they are not yet practiced enough to anticepate them or the images may not be consistent in style and quality.
Alternatively, and this would be my recommendation, you can hire a seasonsed pro for just a few hours instead to cover the arrival, ceremony, group photos and portraits and if you have the speeches before you eat then they can offer cover those too. This way you get the vital parts of the day covered and you can have guests take photos of the rest.
To save on videography you can hire video cameras and either edit the footage yourself, have a friend do it or send it off to a company to do it for you. There’s a great company called Shoot it Yourself who offer this option.
27. Small fees can really add up
There are little things that you won’t take into account from the beginning of your wedding planning journey because you didn’t even know they existed. So be careful of hidden fees. Be sure to ask for quotes from suppliers that include ALL COSTS so you don’t get stung with delivery fees later.
Check things like whether table and chair hire is included with the venue/caterers as this can be a big extra cost you may not have even considered.
28. Sell as much as you can after the wedding
There is a huge market on facebook and ebay for second hand wedding items because they’re only used once and generally in tip top condition. And after the wedding you can sell as much of it as humanly possible, basically for the same or similar price that you purchased it! Beats hiring! Winning!
29. Know what you DON’T need
Don’t be sucked in to forking out for everything that you just think you need. You don’t have to have anything, you should only include what you really want to.
So now with the big bucks you’re going to save you can go on that epic, wild honeymoon you’ve always dreamed of!! And send me some pics so I can get some ideas for my next adventure!! 🙂