1. The cake
Ah, the cake. This edible work of art is a big part of every wedding celebration. Now, an artisan baker will indeed create something magical, but it’s well worth creating a shortlist of your favourite bakers, then researching whether they have apprentices or trainees. You may be able to commission them to make your cake instead, but with a considerable discount compared to their teacher.
2. The wedding dress
Easily one of the most crucial elements of the big day, it’s easy to set your sights on a couture bridal gown. Though lovely, these can cost anything from hundreds to thousands of pounds. Yet, there are still some great ways of having your dream dress at a lower cost.
Wedding dress designers often have sample sales where you can buy last season’s dress at a huge discount. Also, look at vintage markets or second-hand shops for a cheap-but-cheerful find, then find a tailor who can alter the dress to fit you perfectly.
Finally, bespoke gowns made from scratch by a local dressmaker will not only result in a one-of-a-kind piece, but they’ll come in cheaper than a big brand creation.
3. The invitations
Though it’s just paper, ink and a stamp, sending out wedding invitations can easily cost a pretty penny. But there are a multitude of ways around this one if you choose to do it yourself. If you still want the fancy factor, there are lots of websites like Canva or Minted, which allow you to fully customise your invites, with fonts, images and messages of your choosing. You can also find great value paper and envelope packages, sold in bulk, online. Another option is to go paperless with an e-invite. It’s cost-effective and environmentally-friendly.
4. The photography
The wedding may only be for one day, but it’s the memories that you’ll want to keep for a lifetime. A brilliant option is to hire a professional photographer to take just a handful of official pictures of the couple and wedding party. Then, encourage your guests to take as many pictures on their smartphones as possible, and set up a Dropbox for everyone to share them to.
You’ll end up with hundreds of fun, candid shots, all with distinct perspectives and senses of humour, and you’ll save a bundle.
5. The music
The first dance, Uncle Ned’s infamous moonwalk, the cute shuffle of the flower girls – these special moments require music. But rather than splurging on a top DJ, why not create your own playlist with your absolute favourite songs, and take requests from the bridal party. This way you can guarantee that you’ll love the music, plus you’ll only need to spend on hiring some good quality speakers.
6. Avoid the ‘W’ word
Whether it’s the catering, the flowers or the drinks, as soon as you say the word ‘wedding’ you can expect the price to suddenly jump sky high. With specific ‘wedding rates’, many retailers will add extra charges, so when booking, avoid using the word ‘wedding’ in favour of ‘party’ or ‘celebration’, if you can.
7. The small stuff
Start things off slowly by cutting back on non-essential items. Two frothy lattes a day can be swapped for an Americano – you’ll be surprised how much you’ll save. This useful tool from the Money Advice Service is a great place to start.