There are a whole host of ways to save money on a wedding. A few suggestions are listed below, but the key to saving money is to shop around and also to think outside the box.
Being creative with saving money can often mean you end up creating something very unique and different for your big day. Not all money saving ideas will be suitable for everyone, but even if just one or two of them can be implemented, it may make all the difference to the state of your bank account!
- Have your wedding midweek or out of peak season. Choosing a less popular date for your wedding means you can usually avail or lower prices for everything; venues, suppliers etc.
- Be brutal with your guest list! This is naturally one of the hardest things for most couples to do especially as it can be a very sensitive area full of family and other politics. But in order to keep your guest list under control, you need to be strict from the start. Sometimes ruling out certain categories of people can help e.g. no work friends. Not feeling obligated to invite plus ones’ is another way to keep the guest numbers down, particularly when the guest will know plenty of other people at the wedding anyway.
- Keep the number of bridesmaids and groomsmen to a minimum.
- Look for and enter competitions that offer wedding related prizes.
- Use the internet for as much research as possible. It’s amazing what can be found and what savings can be made when you look around. Google is your friend and so are the Mrs2be.ie Wedding Forums! Research, research, research.
- Take a good look at your menu and consider talking to the hotel about money-saving amendments. Cutting one item from the menu or substituting one food for another can make a big difference to the overall cost.
- Serving your wedding cake as the dessert is another way to make savings on the cost of your meal. If you do want to serve dessert in addition to cake, consider instead reducing the size of your wedding cake and serving smaller portions. Or consider making individual cup cakes for each guest, which can give you something slightly different to the norm and cut down on waste.
- It is easy to get carried away with wedding favours. While they can be a nice extra touch, the fact is that often they are left on tables at the end of the night when guests forget to take them home. If you are on a budget, keep it simple and keep it cheap. Increasingly popular options are scratchcards/lotto tickets or donations to charity. Both can be quite cheap and easy to arrange and at least you know that neither of these two favours will go to waste.
- Take careful note of what is and isn’t included in standard wedding packages. Make sure you don’t get caught out with hidden costs at a later stage and end up having to pay extra for something that you thought was included in the standard price.
- Talk to friends and family with talents or assets’ that they would be willing to provide to help you save costs. For example, do you know any musicians, florists, hairdressers etc? Does anybody you know drive a nice car that they wouldn’t mind lending it to you for the bride or the groom’s transport? Do you have a relative in the printing trade? Asking for their help in lieu of a wedding present is one of the best ways to help you make serious cost savings.
- Most important of all is the art of negotiation. Get into the habit of asking for discounts on absolutely everything you purchase, even if they make up a comparatively low proportion of your total budget. It all adds up and you can be sure that everybody else is asking for, and probably getting, the same discounts. So haggle, haggle, haggle! [Editor's note: you are much more likely to get deals and money off if you ask nicely rather than blatantly demand it!]
- Try not to put down deposits with suppliers until you have finished your price negotiations. Your power to obtain lower prices will be severely diminished once you have made any kind of commitment to the suppliers.
Know the things that you do need to spend money on
Saving money is all well and good but sometimes trying to save too much money can be counter-productive. Going too cheap on certain areas can end up leaving you feeling very disappointed with the results. Two examples of this are the photographer and videographer.
If you want to have professional wedding photos, choosing a good value for money photographer is very important. The price of photographers can vary hugely. With any photographer that you choose make sure that you see a good selection of their work in advance so you do not end up disappointed with the results. This is particularly true of a very cheap photographer, perhaps a student or a friend of a friend.
If you are on a budget for photographers, it may be better to spend the money on the actual photographer initially. You can always get an album prepared, or photos printed, at a later stage after your wedding when the financial pressures have been alleviated. However, you will only ever have one chance to shoot the actual photos, so spending your budgeted allowance on the most skilled photographer you can and worrying about making an album and printing copies at a later stage may be the best option for anyone on a budget. Ask your photographer for a breakdown of costs with fewer prints or one less album, or just with the digital files alone.
If you are short on money but still want a video to help you to remember all the things that you might forget or not have seen, consider a package with limited editing or none at all. Videographers charge not only for their time on your wedding day itself, but also the time and skill involved in editing the video after the wedding day. If money is tight consider just paying someone to gather the raw footage for you on the day, which you can then pay to be edited at a later stage. Don’t spend your limited budget on a low quality video edit. Wait until you can afford to pay to have it prepared by an experienced professional whose work you know you will be happy with.
This article is intended as a useful starting point for planning your wedding finances. There is a whole host of information about budgeting for a wedding and also money saving tips to be found on the internet or by talking to family and friends. Whatever methods you use, it is well worth taking the time to research the options that may be open to you. This will all help you to create the wedding of your dreams at a price you can afford.
Qualified ACCA Accountant and a Qualified QFA Financial Advisor
Managing Partner and Business Development Manager for Fenero Tax & Accounting and Fenero Financial Services