In the first month of wedding planning, conversations tend to go like this:

“OMG! Let’s have an afternoon tea for the guests with these vintage tea cups! Look honey!”

“Oooh! Look at this cake! It’s Alice in Wonderland themed!”

“I love this dress! What do you think sis?”

A month later, and a little more research later, and conversations become something a little more like this:

“Sorry, how much to rent vintage tea cups?”

“£500? For a CAKE?”

“Wow. That much, for a dress I wear ONCE?”

Weddings are expensive. We all know that. But I don’t think I realised quite how expensive. Essentially, pop the word ‘wedding’ in front of anything, and the price doubles. The average wedding costs £20k these days. I think £10k is doable if you keep numbers down though, and don’t go overboard on the budget.

Here are five things I’ve learnt from wedding planning so far about keeping to your budget.

  • First up, set your budget. I’m using the iWedding app to enter my intended budget, and the actual costs. If you don’t set a budget, it’s easy to go “Oh, what’s another £1,000”
  • Accept that, unless you have an unlimited budget, you don’t HAVE to have everything. Also, say hello to perspective. Is it really worth getting into debt in order to have everything for one day?
  • Those little things you’re spending a lot of time and money on? According to my sister, and another recently married friend, people won’t notice them. They’ll notice the things you spend little time on, or did at the last-minute. This is the law of weddings.
  • Go second-hand when you can. eBay, local auctions, recently married friends and family members and sites like Sell My Wedding are great for picking up bits and pieces. My Mother-In-Law-To-Be is an absolute whizz on eBay and at auctions, so often finds me some amazing things. Or look at hiring instead. Also, a lot of wedding shops do annual sales of last season dresses. A little dry cleaning and refitting means you could save hundreds.
  • Make compromises. We were looking at having a hog roast – but it’s pricey. So we’re going for a BBQ instead. Instead of a fancy buffet in the evening, we’re going for two hot dishes that can be served with rice and fresh bread. Food is going to be one of your biggest costs, so this is one area to cut back on.

Sometimes, weddings can feel like a game of Keeping Up With The Jones. Like you have to outdo the last wedding you went to. The main thing is to think about what your guests really want. Would they prefer fancy, little meals, or something that fills them up and soaks up the booze? Would they prefer a fancy big band, or are they just as happy with a DJ playing cheesy tracks? Most people are happy just to catch up with family and friends and enjoy some drinks and dancing. If you’re going to spend, splurge on your rings and a great photographer. The rings will last forever, and you’ll look back on your photographs for years to come.

Do you have any tips for organising a wedding on a budget?

[box] Have you got your tickets yet to our awesome fundraiser Sex & Mugs & Rock ‘n’ Roll on the 24th November? Tickets are priced at just £8 for 6 hours of jam packed entertainment, dancing and cake. All to raise money for Janies School. Buy tickets now! [/box]

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