Some handy hints and tips from top wedding planner Andrea Swift, of Fabulous Day.
1. Swap your day. If you get married on a Saturday between May and September you will pay a premium for this. Simply by swapping to a day in the week, or even going off peak and marrying out of the wedding season, you can save a small fortune. However, do be wary of December as venues are in high demand for the party season. But if you are flexible with your dates, not only will you get better deals from venues, but you will also find suppliers are more prepared to negotiate or will offer you off peak prices.
2. Cut back the guest list. Think carefully about who you invite to the day, as keeping your numbers down will dramatically cut back your costs. You can always invite more guests to the evening do and don’t feel you have to invite children – parents will often welcome the chance for some grown up time, especially if you call and explain why they can’t come.
3. Hidden talents. Take advantage of the skills your family and friends possess: maybe one of them is a mean cake maker. Why not ask them to make your cake? This can be their gift to you and if they don’t feel up to tackling a fully iced creation, cup cakes can look great too, especially when they are made with love. Or maybe you have a creative friend, so why not rope her in to help with the stationery! You can get some fab invitation kits, it just takes a bit of time. How about asking someone who has a nice car if they will be your driver for the wedding day? All of these can add up to some serious savings.
4. Keep it seasonal. When thinking about your flowers, look at what will be in season at that time of year. Rather than spend your money on a few delicate blooms imported from abroad you can use what is in season in abundance. This applies to food too: if you use what is local and seasonal it will often taste better.
5. Late afternoon. It is possible to get married up to 6pm on any day of the week, so why not go for a late afternoon wedding, where you will only need to feed your guests once, and will save on the evening buffet! Plus if you love the idea of lots of candles at your wedding, the dark winter evenings can lend themselves especially well to creating a romantic ambiance.
6. Canapés and cocktails. There is no hard and fast rule that states you have to have a big wedding breakfast. Increasingly, couples are not bothering with this meal or the expense that goes with it. Instead, they are inviting guests to celebrate with them over a fabulous cocktail and some delicious nibbles. Or why not go for an afternoon tea party? This can be great for a vintage themed wedding.
7. Sales! Sales! Sales! Every girl loves a bargain, so why not make the most of the sales by buying your bridesmaids dresses from the likes of Coast or Monsoon – both have gorgeous frocks. One of my brides saved herself over 70% by buying from the outlet stores and was then able to treat the girls to their shoes too. Look out for sample and end of season sales for your wedding dress too.
8. Fly away. Getting married abroad usually works out considerably cheaper and you can combine it with your honeymoon. But of course some people may not be able to join you, so why not have a party when you get back? The great thing about that is it means you get to wear your wedding dress again too!