Weddings are really expensive – who would have thought! It seems like as soon as you stick the word “wedding” onto something, the price doubles or triples. We knew from the outset that we didn’t want a really expensive wedding – it is just one day after all.
Initially we looked at getting married abroad. We were quite serious about this and actually had a number of potential venues in mind. The idea was that we wouldn’t be spending all the money on a single day, rather on a holiday. But when we thought about it more, we realised that some members of our family, particularly grandparents, wouldn’t be able to make the trip but really wanted to be there for the day. It was something that had been weighing on our minds anyway – we were torn between wanting our friends and family there with us, but not wanting to make them pay out to make a big trip.
In the end, we decided to keep it closer to home, keep it very “us” and to keep the budget low where we could. The image at the top of this post is a sneak peek at our venue from our visit at the weekend – the ceremony room!
As the day approaches (less than 100 days now!), the spend is becoming more and more apparent. We put down deposits on many things over about a year ago, but it’s now time to hand over the big money. On top of that, we’re also sorting out the “little things” – the tiny bits of decor, the details – which are slowly but surely adding up.
So I wanted to list a few of the things we’ve done throughout the wedding planning process to save on money where we could. We had priorities that we were willing to spend more money on (for example, I was willing to spend more on photography because that’s one big thing that you take away from the day), but other things that weren’t necessarily priorities for us. It’s really important to decide what those are for you, but these are the places we were able to save:
1. DIY invitations
I’ve seen people who have put hundreds of pounds and hours of work into their wedding stationery, making sure that even the addresses on the matching envelope looked perfect. But that just wasn’t we wanted to do. I had a go at designing online to print ourselves, but realised that would end up close to the price of ordering invitations ready made, then I discovered the English Stamp Company and I can’t recommend them highly enough.
We bought a Save the Date stamp, a day time invitation stamp, an evening invitation stamp and a monogram “logo” stamp. I then simply bought some brown recycled card and envelopes then spend a little while (okay, a lot of while) stamping them myself. Ben got involved chopping up the card to the right size for me. I think we saved around £100 doing this ourselves – the choice of paper really helped on this too I think, plus I really like the handmade vintage look of it. And we’ll have those stamps forever now too!
2. Taking the planning into our own hands
As soon as we started looking at venues, we knew we wanted a more DIY style of wedding. While it’s been hard work at times (and probably going to get more difficult as we get closer!), the all-inclusive hotel wedding venue packages just aren’t us. We also didn’t hire a wedding planner.
It does mean we’ve had to coordinate the venue, the marquee, the catering, the decor, the ceremony, the flow of the day – everything! – ourselves, but it also means that we’ve been able to shop around for exactly what we want at the budget we want too.
3. Recruiting friends & family
On the theme of planning ourselves, we’ve also been able to recruit friends and family to help out where necessary, meaning we’re getting some things for free or discounted – for example, a family friend will be doing our flowers; we’ve got a local band to play in the evening; and my sister is making our cake(s!).
I know some people will get their guests to each bring a dish to do a buffet, or they’ll just get a family member to take photos for them. Use these people where you can!
4. Last season wedding dress & wedding party outfits
I’d put a fairly large percentage of budget in mind towards getting my wedding dress. With it being one of the most important (if not the most important) dresses I’ll ever wear, it’s worth it for me – it’s high priority.
I’ll write a full post about my dress after the wedding, but as it turned out, the very brand I was looking at, including a couple of the dresses I’d had on my “to-try” list, came into stock at a local outlet wedding dress store because they were last season – ie. they’d been around for more than 6 months. It really didn’t bother me that my dress was going to be a few months old because considering how early people buy them for weddings, they’re always going to be last season! This meant that I actually ended up with a dress from the exact brand I loved in the exact style I was looking at for a massively discounted price.
We were also really lucky with the bridesmaids’ dresses as a similar thing happened where the very dresses I’d seen online suddenly came into stock at a local outlet store (a different one!) then had an additional discount on top of that at the till! On top of that, I got flowergirl dresses and my bridesmaids’ shoes on sale too. We made some pretty huge savings here!!
It turns out that the groomsmen and Ben’s outfits are going to end up costing about twice as much as my dress, my 5 bridesmaids and 2 flowergirls put together – crazy!
5. DIY decorating
And finally, we’re doing as much of the decor DIY as we can! Expect to see a lot of handmade items and details around the venue! To add to these, I’ve bought a few things on Etsy that are handmade where we can’t DIY them ourselves. We’re also going quite natural looking with our flowers with a lot of greenery and meadow-type bouquets – apparently this is a 2018 wedding trend, so we won’t be alone in this decision. I’m excited!