With magazines with pictures of lavish celebrity weddings week in week out, normal people are increasingly aspiring to have these dream weddings, with a price tag often in excess of £20000! Who are these people and where are they getting all of this cash from? My guess is that they’re hammering several credit cards and bank loans and starting their married life in debt.

Financial worries and debt are the biggest cause of relationship problems and divorce, so why would people actively choose to start their married lives together with immense financial stress hanging over them? Once the day is over you have left with the incredibly overpriced wedding photos, and your expensive designer wedding dress that you will never wear again; and then you’ll arrive back home from your luxury two week honeymoon in the Maldives that cost you more than your first car, to find a pile of bills and credit card statements and the realization that beans on toast will be your staple diet for a long while yet.

But it doesn’t have to be that way! There are so many ways you can save money on your wedding, and no, it doesn’t involve selling one of your kidneys on the black market to pay for it… just follow these simple money-saving tips and you’ll be on the right track to a happy, affordable wedding.

Work out your budget – Decide, realistically, what you can afford to spend on a wedding. Give yourself plenty of time to save up if necessary, and speak to family members and see if they are able to contribute anything towards the wedding, perhaps as their gift to you instead of receiving 18 toasters on the day!

Once you have your budget, make a list of all the essential things you’ll need, e.g. marriage license, wedding rings, venue, dress, flowers, cake etc and work out what percent of your budget you’d be prepared to spend on each and then plan within those means.

Venue and date – Have you considered getting married out of season? You’ll find that a venue will charge considerably less for a wedding in November or December than they would for the same package in July or August. They’re likely to be very grateful for your custom in their quieter months so don’t be afraid to haggle and get them to throw some extras in!

It’s also worth bearing in mind that the same wedding package will vary greatly in price depending on what day of the week you choose, so if you’re not fussy, go for a weekday as it’ll likely be much cheaper than a Saturday! And don’t waste time and money on ‘save the date’ cards, email, text, phone calls all have the same desired effect and are much quicker and cheaper!

Make the most of your family and friend’s skills – Do you have an aunt that’s a dab-hand at flower arranging or cake decorating sibling? Ask around your friends and see what they’re good at and if they’re willing to share their time and skills with you, you might have to buy them a drink but most should be willing!

The Dress – The average price of a wedding dress these days is £1000, which just seems ridiculous to me, I mean, it gets worn once and then what do you do with it? There are loads of fantastic, cheaper alternatives to the traditional bespoke designed wedding dress

Check out charity shops, Oxfam have 10 wedding dress outlets throughout the UK offering dresses for a very reasonable price, and the money goes to charity, what could be better? They might need some slight alterations, but this will still work out much cheaper than having a bespoke dress made from scratch, and I’m sure most of us know someone who is handy with a sewing machine!

Venue decorations – Try to keep your venue decorations simple and DIY where possible. If you want balloons, try your local pound shop etc and blow them up yourself! Bunting is a great way to decorate the room, and is really simple to make, there are lots of how-to guides online.

If your theme is vintage or shabby chic, get down to your local charity shops and stock up on crockery and vases to decorate the tables with. If you’re crafty or know someone who is, have a look for ideas on homemade wedding favours, such as hand-stitched pomanders filled with lavender, or mini soaps in organza bags, for example, which will make your guests feel like you’ve gone to a lot of effort to thank them for celebrating with you!

Obviously this list is by no means exhaustive, there are so many more ways to save money and still have the wedding you want.

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