How to have a perfect wedding on a budget
Weddings On A Budget. Four words any bride dreads hearing. But it can be done cheaply and still be an amazing day to remember for the rest of your life; I should know. I did it myself for less than £500 on June 11th 2010.
How can your special day cost less but still be everything you want? Do it yourself. I’m not talking ‘get a mate to ordain themselves as a preacher on the net’! Although that is, of course, an option…
When planning a wedding, separate your ‘to-do’ list into sections. Date, venue, invites, dress, suits, jewellery/flowers/accessories, after do and honeymoon. Set a budget and stick to it!
Picking a wedding date is simple. Pick when you as a couple want to get married. In our case, we chose six weeks from the day he proposed!
Church or register office? Churches can be pricey so take this into consideration. Register offices are much cheaper. In the UK it costs £43.50 to give notice of marriage, then £67.00 for the registrar fee – but this does include the room hire where you get married. Bargain!
Timely and cheap wedding invites
Make your invites yourself. They can cost as little or as much as you want and are personal to you. The more kitsch the better! For ours, a friend drew a chibi picture of us. We printed the required number of photos at Jessops (you can use any instant photo place) for a minimal price; it cost about 50p. The added decoration again cost only about 50p per invite. The fun bit is staying up until 4am with your husband (or wife) to be gluing hearts to invites.
Be sure to send these out in good time. The standard ‘acceptable’ amount of time is 6 weeks but we sent them out with 4 weeks notice. Don’t forget to include maps, parking information, dress code and if children are permitted at the venue. We also asked for people to bring cameras themselves.
Wedding lists can be a touchy subject and if you’ve been living together before, the chances are you’ve got everything. We asked for contributions towards our honeymoon.
Your wedding photographs are perhaps the priciest bit of the day. The standard fee we encountered for the day was around the £1100 mark. So what did we do? We asked a few friends who are amateur photographers! We got over 1000 photos for free and from different angles throughout the day and night.
Cheap wedding dress
The wedding dress. The bride’s dream in white/cream/ivory/technicolour rainbow. Again, one of the biggest costs of the day. There are so many options these days that finding your perfect wedding dress can be a nightmare! But now there are many options without going to an expensive bridal boutique.
You can hire (yes, rent-a-dress!) for around £200 a day.
There is eBay for second hand dresses. One woman’s trash is another woman’s treasure!
Dress shops in China make wedding dresses super cheaply (£80-£100) but be aware that shipping takes up-to 6 weeks.
Alternatively – and this is the most hardcore option – make it yourself. That’s what I did. White silk skirt with a corset, would have cost about £900 in a shop. I paid £15 for the material and £39.99 for the steel boned corset (I cannot rate this website enough! All corsets are 3-2 and the steel boned ones are suitable for some serious tightlacing!)
Cheap wedding suits
Suits? Well, Primark, £12 for a full suit. A further £6 for the shirt and the expensive bit was the £20 white silk cravat. Job done. I decided against buying my maid of honour a dress so she wore what she wanted.
Again, something most couples splurge needlessly on. Shop around for deals… We got our matching white gold bands reduced from £200 to £40 at Argos (I know, I know!). My jewellery came from Claire’s Accessories and cost a whopping £8!
The flowers were wooden roses, as were the lapel pins, which again I made and cost about £15 for everything.
I wore shoes I already owned and bought lingerie for the night especially, which was £40. That’s all you really need.
I did my hair and make-up myself. Most high end make-up counters in places like boots offer make-up demonstrations so you can learn to do it yourself for the day.
The wedding after-party
Sit down meals in hotels cost around £30 a head and then you have to factor in the cost of room hire and entertainment. We chose not to have a sit down meal due to the sheer number of people attending the evening do. We beat costs by hiring – for free – our local rock pub where the DJ played what we wanted and drinks offers were put on.
We then – in quite frankly a stroke of genius – combined the party into a gig! That’s right, my husband’s band played at our monthly goth club night which doubled up as our reception! We had our first dance there and around 250 people showed up!
It was an amazing day and one I will definitely not forget.
Full budget wedding costs
So let’s tally this up:
Venue/Registrar/Notice of Marriage: £110.50
Invites: £1 per invite, so £50