25 tips for a low cost wedding

a heart drawn in the sandWe’re going to Charlotte and Harriet’s wedding on Saturday. It’s set to be an event and a half, with family coming from all over the country and beyond.

It got me thinking about ways to cut the cost of getting married, which we’ve looked at before but since it’s the wedding season, I’ve hunted the net for some more bright ideas – here’s what I’ve found.

25 ways to keep the cost of your wedding down

  1. plan a budget, and stick to it
  2. pick your on bouquet from your garden/a friend’s/family member’s or community garden
  3. get everyone to contribute a dish, cold meats, salad, fairy cakes, posh chocs or anything else they can drum up for a post-wedding feast… plus a bottle or two each for a DIY self-serve bar
  4. get married close to home so you don’t need to spend loads of cash travelling
  5. wear vintage finery and make a cool contemporary style statement
  6. buy a charity shop hat and smother it in silk flowers and ribbons – my mum’s fab wedding guest hat was £30 in Oxfam but cost £350 new, worn once at Ascot!
  7. everyone will take photos. But you really can’t beat a professional photographer for quality and creativity. Our wedding photos were really special and we look at them all the time. Kim, our photographer, was our biggest expense but so worth it. See if you can save cash by hiring someone local for half a day instead of the whole day
  8. gold is really expensive at the moment. Do any of your relatives have old gold wedding rings they could donate? My mum keeps hers in a box and is waiting for someone in the family to get married so she can give them it, so it’s a possibility
  9. protect yourself against suppliers going bust by paying by credit card. If it costs between £100 and  £30,000 the card company is jointly liable. If you only pay a deposit by card, if the company fails your credit card provider is liable for the whole amount
  10. search online for special wedding package. Some come in at as little as £999. Britannia Hotels, for example, include Buck’s fizz, a three-course meal for 50, an evening buffet for 100 guests, room hire and your own toastmaster
  11. get married mid-week or off-season in the autumn
  12. look for end-of-line wedding dresses online
  13. make a picnic of it. Our lovely friends Andi and Marco got married in a pretty local pub by a river, with rowing boat hire on tap, and organised a picnic on the riverbank. It was absolutely delightful and totally romantic
  14. buy wedding insurance so you don’t lose all your money if something goes horribly wrong
  15. ask your guests for contribute to the cost of your wedding itself instead of giving you gifts, so everyone plays their part in setting up and enjoying a wonderful day
  16. get a creative friend or family member to make invitations, table decorations and place settings
  17. design and print your own invitations online – there are plenty of printer’s sites with design ‘wizards’ to help you make a fab job of it
  18. email invitations to everyone with an email address and save on postage
  19. make your own cake or buy large, medium and small plain cakes, stack them, ice and decorate them yourself
  20. search online for the best bulk booze deals
  21. need a wedding band? If you know anyone or have friends of friends who play music, see if they’ll appear on your special day
  22. stay cool with your invitation list – resist inviting anyone but the most special people, those closest to you. It’s your day, and your choice
  23. get a free make-over (we covered how to get free cosmetic treatments and hair styling etc a couple of weeks ago)
  24. ask for help from friends and family instead of buying in goods and services. And ask if they have any of their own money saving tips for weddings
  25. steer clear of wedding magazines. They’ll only drive you mad with desire and tempt you to spend more than you need to

Cheap doesn’t mean nasty

There’s no reason why a low cost wedding should look or feel cheap. With shabby chic a massive trend and vintage clothing all the rage, quirky-ness is in fashion. Get creative, play with off-the-wall ideas and spend your cash where it’s best spent, on the elements of the day you feel most strongly about, whether it’s your outfits, the food, the venue or the reception.

(Thanks to Jan Willem Geertsma at www.geertsma.nl for the lovely image)