Weddings can be eye-wateringly expensive affairs. As of 2019, the average wedding in the UK cost a staggering £32,000, and there are some weddings that manage to rack up costs even higher than that. Needless to say, there are many couples who simply can’t afford that kind of luxury, and if that’s you, then you might be despairing that a wedding is out of reach. That’s not the case, though; you don’t need to spend that much in order to have an unforgettable day with your nearest and dearest. Here’s how you can afford a wedding on a budget.
Pull funds from anywhere you can
First and foremost, you should try getting funds from anywhere you can. A wedding is (at least nominally) a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so paying for it using savings is definitely a good idea. You can also petition friends and family – mainly your parents and your partner’s parents – to help you with costs, especially if the wedding has mainly been orchestrated by your family, as is often the case. Still struggling? Don’t worry – there are other external sources, like loans for people on benefits, that you can use to pay for your wedding in the short-term, repaying the costs later (as long as you’re able, of course).
Hold your wedding “off-season”
The most popular time of year to get married is, as we’re sure you can guess, summer. Between June and August, many wedding venues are completely booked up, meaning you’ll almost certainly pay a premium for a spot during that time. However, if you get married in January or February, you could save upwards of £5,000, and potentially even more if you hold your wedding on a weekday rather than waiting for the weekend. Of course, this means you may not have quite as many guests as people might not be able to get time off work, but if you inform your guests in advance, this shouldn’t be an issue.
Buy a pre-owned wedding dress
You really don’t need to go to a costly high street retailer for a wedding dress. Try shopping around for a pre-owned alternative; wedding dresses are some of the most commonly traded in garments, and for obvious reasons. By the same token, second-hand wedding dresses are often in near-pristine condition; after all, by necessity, they’ve only ever been worn once. The most difficult thing is finding a dress that fits you, but if you’re careful with your shopping and you keep looking in lots of different places, you should eventually find your dream dress (and for far less than buying it new!).
Ask your friends to perform
We don’t advocate asking friends to perform at your wedding without paying them. They are, after all, skilled individuals, and no matter the occasion, you would never ask tradespeople to do work for you without recompense. As such, if you’re asking a musician or DJ friend to play at your wedding, we would strongly recommend still paying them. However, you can save money by asking them to play for “mates’ rates” – you may be able to get a discount on their services because they’re your friends, and this could help you when it comes to entertainment costs.
Don’t marry for social media
Some of the biggest and most extravagant costs at a wedding involve making it look as beautiful as possible. The fact is that only you, your partner, and your nearest and dearest need to care about how your wedding goes; it’s your big day, and they’re your memories. As such, don’t waste time trying to make your wedding look good for Instagram or other social media platforms. Keep your decorations simple and don’t be too extravagant. In the end, it’s what’s actually happening at the wedding that’s important, not the set dressing.
Keep your venue consistent
Why hire two separate venues for your ceremony and reception when you could save money by keeping the two venues the same? Many wedding venues will offer both a ceremony location and a place to hold your reception in the evening, so before you book a venue, ask if they offer both of these functions. If they don’t, then it’s worth shopping around for somewhere that does, as this can be an excellent way to keep costs down and keep your venue sweet on you at the same time. If you absolutely must hire a separate venue for your reception, try to keep it simple and low-key.
Make DIY decorations
Rather than plumping for potentially costly pre-made decorations, try making as much of the dressing for your wedding as you possibly can. Ribbons, bows, table decorations, and other accoutrements can be made entirely by hand if you’re a crafty sort, saving thousands on elaborate and unnecessary decorations. The handmade feel can also add a personal touch to your wedding, making it feel like a truly intimate and special occasion. If you can’t make the decorations yourself, consider enlisting the help of someone close to you who has skills in this area.
Ask guests to take photographs
Rather than getting professional wedding photographs done – and thus incurring the expense of a professional wedding photographer – you could ask your guests to document the event instead. Many of your guests will already be taking their own photographs, so you could ask them to upload them to a wedding website, where they’d be displayed to give an on-the-ground impression of what your wedding was like. This can also add a personal touch, further giving your guests the feeling that they were part of something special and not just a “generic wedding”.