“Well, you only get married once don’t you?”
Not only is this a poor argument for a bride or groom-to-be in this modern age, it’s also a terrible rationale for spending way beyond your means on your special day.
The way your wedding planner is talking is frankly terrifying you, and spending the rest of life working to pay for the Cirque du Soleil performers, the 100 white doves and the magician that you just “had to have” is a very real possibility.
So set a budget, commit to it, and any time you feel yourself getting out of control, take a step back and remember these tips for cutting down costs without compromising on quality.
Don’t Have a Sit-Down Dinner
“I’ll get the cheque” says you and your SO to 200 of your closest friends and family. If it seems ridiculous, that’s probably because it is. Consider having a cocktail style reception with nibbles and aperitifs instead of the usual chicken or beef suspects. You could even organise a hog-roast or something that yields a lot without costing the earth.
Don’t Send Out (Expensive) Invites
Yes, they’re beautiful and admittedly they do make a nice souvenir for your guests. But they’re not so important that you drop a bomb on an pop-out, over-the-top, intricately die-cut invitations, that are nothing short of a work of art. Save the trees and your wallet with some printed invitations that you created yourself.
Buy a Second-Hand Dress
Who cares if someone else already said yes to the dress before you? She just had exceptional taste just like you. It’s easy to fall in love with the perfect one, but this really will be the most expensive dress you ever bought and only wore once (and if it isn’t, you have a problem m’am). There are plenty of Pre-owned Wedding Dress sites out there.
Buy a White Non-Wedding Dress
It has to be white, but it doesn’t have to be bridal necessarily. If you’re planning a more modern wedding, there’s no reason why you can’t pick a stunning white gown or dress for the occasion. Anything you pick off the rail can be taken to a tailor and altered or even customized, so it can still be a bespoke garment that fits you like a dream.
Of course you’re going to want to wear jewellery and acessories to complement that beautiful dress that you spent forever choosing. But they don’t come cheap, and since wearing a veil to the bar is normally only reserved for Lady Gaga, it’s yet another thing you’re unlikely to ever use again. Luvyt rent out jewellery and accessories for your big day, and then you can just send them back when it’s all over.
Choose Your Caterers
Some venues offer a one-stop-shop approach to wedding planning, using their own caterers to serve drinks and food at the meal and reception. Which sounds ideal – until you get the bill. Choose a venue where you have the option to select your own caterers. That will allow you to shop around a little and pick the one you want at a price you like.
Let Your Friends DJ/Play
Wouldn’t it be much more fun to actually know the people providing the music at your wedding anyway? That way when you’ve asked for Elton John six times in a row, you won’t get turned away by a pretentious “beatsmith” who says he really only plays funky house with a bit of early 90s acid microhouse thrown in from time to time.
Have a Low-Key Bachelor/ette Party
Before you say YOLO to the Amsterdam Stag Weekend of a lifetime (and goodbye to your liver), remember that you also have to pay for a Honeymoon immediately after your very expensive big day. If your best man or bride of honour has autonomy over the proceedings, perhaps remind them that you would prefer a low-key affair where you actually have a chance to chat with all your friends.
If you have a cousin who’s a master baker or a photographer friend, don’t be afraid to ask them for assistance. They’d probably be happy to help you with your big day, and it’s preferable to handing you guys money in an envelope or buying you a toaster from your registry online. But make sure you’ve seen their craft firsthand, or things could get pretty ugly – nobody want to lose a friendship over 500 wedding photos taken with the lens cap on.
Get Pinteresting with Decorations
Bride-to-be, Pinterest: I believe you’ve already met one another. There are no shortage of inspiring DIY wedding ideas across the internet, to get the creative juices flowing with a ton of great themes and hacks for place settings and decorations. If you’re not particularly crafty enlist the help of your bridesmaids (isn’t that what they’re for?)
Ceremony + Reception
Getting the wedding party from the ceremony to the reception can be a costly business if you have to hire a people carrier, or even more lavish, a limousine. But if you pick a venue where you can do it all, you eliminate having to pay for transport in between. Check out one of our city wedding venues guides for some of the best.
Don’t Marry on a Saturday
It’s no coincidence that the one day everyone gets off from work and can get drunk on is also the most popular day to tie the knot. Not only will you pay more, you’ll also have to book way in advance for a Saturday wedding. It’s more difficult for your guests BUT if your friends and family love you they’ll take the Friday or Monday off to be there.
Try choosing less popular flowers, ones that are in season, or shop wholesale instead of getting your bouquet and table settings from a florist – you could even put together some of your own arrangements if you’re feeling brave.
DIY Photo Booth
All you really need is a camera, a selection of funny hats and some scissors and glue – and hey presto, you’ve made your very own photo booth. You could ask your photographer to take some, or guilt your bridesmaids into taking turns snapping polaroids of your loved ones looking very silly. Michael’s do a little set of paint-yourself props.
Be Gimmick Wary
Wedding Fairs are a great way to get some ideas, and it seems like fun and games until suddenly you’ve signed up for every wedding experience under the sun. You probably don’t need a mixologist on hand to create a signature cocktail for you and your new husband or wife, and you definitely don’t need cupcakes with your face on them. Back away from the crazy wedding lady…