Everyone wants their wedding day to be amazing. Of course, why not? But at what cost, and is it worth getting into debt for it?
Over the last few years, I’ve noticed a real trend within the wedding industry, rather than ‘this is my color scheme’, its now ‘this is my theme’, the overall effect is more like a production and why not, we all want to impress our friends and family, after all , its a lovely feeling knowing that you outdone the last wedding you attended!
I believe that with the help of social media, you have a steady stream of inspiration that you can tap into, which from the 80’s would have been really useful, as silk flower crowns and puff sleeves had to be out ruled as the fashion police were started to get wind of it!
I’ve always been brought up, that if i can't afford it, I can't have it! Which will always be sound advice, but in a world where finance and credit card debts is the norm are most newly weds starting out married left in debt and thinking that thats ok? This got me thinking, so after a little research, this is what I found....
* (from debtadvisorycentre uk) With the average cost of a wedding in the UK, including honeymoon and gift list, standing at £24,716, according to Brides Magazine*, do engaged couples today have any choice but to borrow if they want to have the wedding they really want?
Don't get me wrong, weddings are beautiful and a joining of two souls, but surely the stress of knowing you are starting off your married life with debt, just doesn't give you that warm fuzzy feeling??
I’ve pulled together a list of tips and tricks, that I know my brides have used to plan and create their perfect wedding and managing to stay in budget.
- Set your budget - now this sounds really silly, off course you will set your budget...right?? Don't fall into the trap where you make a long list of everything you think you need and then stress about how you will pay for it! Having a discussion with your partner and working out how you can trade one item for another will really help, especially to understand how far your budget will go, it may be that you come to the realisation that you can't afford YOUR wedding yet, which will mean either more saving or tweaking your plans on what is important to you both.
- After researching your dream venue, if the price makes you go weak at the knees, look at off peak dates, maybe across autumn/winter months or mid week dates. You can make a real saving, as the venue, normally will be the largest cost. Remember, venue costs are likely to account for about one third to half of your budget. And you can't really plan anything else until you have set the date :) Also ask whether a corkage fee is chargeable and start to stock pile your booze, this can really help with saving if you can buy bulk (this handy tip was from Maria Assia Photography).
- One of my brides for 2017, Liz Hayes recommended to book early, she had only been engaged 3 months when they set the date (giving themselves 2 years). Securing their date so early gave them more options on venues but more importantly price!! They are paying 2015 prices for 2017 wedding!! Although actually finishing paying till 2017!! She also added, finding suppliers early on also gives you time, they set up a direct debit for the videography and paid what they could afford each month. This is so helpful as it meant it has been paid off without too much pain 😉 They also save £2 coins and had £700 saved in 18 months!!
- Guest list...always a tricky one. Don't get me wrong, its lovely to see aunt Marvis (last seen 4years ago), but can you really justify having her at your big day? If your paying for a sit down meal & evening reception catering you really need to know your budget and stick to it. Maybe, a smaller guest list for your ceremony and then aunt Marvis can come along to the evening reception.
- Make-up, if you have budget for a professional make-up artist, then I would suggest you build a mood board with styles and pictures that you like. But be realistic, know your face/eyes & lip shape, also maybe have a few ‘make-overs’ at department stores for free, this will get you used to having your make-up done and will give you plenty of ideas before embarking on a bridal trial. Also, send pictures over to your make-up artist, as they will be able to talk to you about styles that will compliment and flatter your face shape, again helping you to set realistic expectations and hopefully stopping you from having to book further trials, hence more money spent!
- Bridesmaids and best man.... Over the last 5 years, i’ve seen an increase in the size of the bridal party, now this is fantastic and off course you want to include all the important people in your life. But before you start asking, maybe just do some research in prices of dresses and accessories, also will you be paying for them to have hair and make-up? this all adds up and needs to be taken into account for your budget.
- Be prepared to learn to negotiate or know someone who will on your behalf, this point was raised by Kayleigh Betts who was a bridesmaid for one of my brides in 2015. Kayleigh expanded by explaining with flowers, once for a different occasion she was bulk ordering on behalf of others and because she was spending over £500 and paying cash, she just asked if there could be a discount even if only 10% and supplier obliged. Result :)
- How will you know if thats the going rate for a wedding supplier? reach out and get some quotes, ideally three quotes for each service, then your be able to make a comparison based on cost and also quality, cheaper doesn't always mean low cost, it can just mean cheap! Check out reviews from previous clients, these are always a fantastic way to gauge if this is the supplier for you. Is the supplier a preferred supplier at venue’s, again another great way of knowing that their services are in demand and of a high standard, plus they aren't going to let you down.
- Wedding insurance.....as the saying goes ‘nothing in life is guaranteed’, it makes total financial sense to insure your wedding. Comparison insurance websites will have lots of deals of you to choose from, again, this will have to be factored into the budget.
- Last but not least, talk to each other, stay to plan and remember that this is YOUR day, a day where you both join and declare your love for each other....thats all that really matters.