1. Use social buying websites
There are LOADS of social buying websites popping up all over the place these days whether its a deal-a-day like Living Social or Groupon or if its a bunch of different brands offering high discounts for a short period of time like Cocosa, Gilt or Achica – take advantage! Its great if you’re looking for a way to pamper your bridesmaids, accessorize your big day or extend your honeymoon wardrobe.
2. Reuse your bouquets
Photo by Marianne Taylor
One thing our lovely florist Steph of Fairynuff Flowers helped us with was figuring out the logistics of using flowers from ceremony to reception and how we might incorporate the bridesmaids’ bouquets – of which there were 8! – into the centerpieces. I definitely didn’t want to scrimp on my bridesmaids’ blooms as I wanted them all to carry something nice, but as soon as the ceremony is over, they often get set down somewhere and forgotten. Think of a fun way to display the bouquets – whether it’s on the table, or maybe near the guest book.
3. Keep your eye on the sales!
Another thing I swear by is taking advantage of the seasonal sales. Weddings are often planned over the course of a year or even 18 months in my case. This gave me the chance to sift through the January AND Summer sales to find my shoes and bridesmaids gifts. I woke up at 630 am, stood outside Selfridges for an hour and not only got my wedding shoes for 70% off but also found a dress to wear the next for our lazy brunch for half of what I had budgeted. I took advantage of the online sales and purchased jewellery for all of my bridesmaids at 25% off. The important thing to remember here is not to buy stuff in sales that you haven’t budgeted for to begin with, look for stuff on your list that you NEED and see if you can save a bit.
4. Signature cocktails
Depending on your caterers and venue, you might have the option of having a signature cocktail for your drinks reception. This cuts down on cost and also allows you to add a personal touch if you and your groom have a favourite drink.
5. Beware of DIY
It’s a common misconception that DIY is ALWAYS cheaper. BEWARE! While it is a fun way to get others involved and a really great way to put your personal stamp on your big day, make sure you take into consideration all the costs and time it will take you to do things like invitations and flowers etc. My mother and I made our invitations and while the printing of the actual invite was cheaper, the paper we bought to mount it on, line the envelopes and add extra detail probably cost closer to double.
6. Enlist the help of friends
Photo by Alessio Franchi
If you’re lucky enough to have a friend who is a photographer, videographer, dress maker or couturier then go for it! Friends, especially close ones, will always be honored to help out, and even if they don’t do it for free doesn’t mean they can’t give you a “mates rate.” Now, not all of us have these sort of fabulous connections, but there will always be something someone can do to help, even if it’s just a little bit so don’t be a afraid to ask. When my best friend Giorgia got married, she enlisted her husband’s cousin to play classical guitar during the ceremony and her good friend to sing Ave Maria. It was amazing and so touching.
7. Plan ahead
Planning, keeping organised and knowing what you need to do will always save you money. Last minute decisions will force you to choose without researching options fully and potentially falling into a trap of “just getting it done.” Make sure you have plenty of time to understand what your paying for and how certain services compare to others.
8. Think outside the [wedding dress] box
When my husband first suggested I rent my wedding dress I nearly punched him in the face, however I now have a gorgeous wedding dress that I love to pieces sitting in my closet never to be worn again. It’s slightly dirty on the bottom, but otherwise in excellent condition. It’s this big white elephant in the room because I can’t bring myself to give it away but don’t really know what to do with it. If renting isn’t your style, look into buying your dress second hand from places like Preowned Wedding Dresses. Some dresses might not ever have been worn if a bride changed her mind and others maybe only for a few hours. Another thing you can do is look at evening gowns which are really wedding dress in disguise. Or maybe its the other way around? Regardless you can find some absolutely stunning luxurious evening-wear for lower prices.
9. Choose a venue with a view
Photo by Marianne Taylor
A lot of wedding design comes down to the atmosphere and decorations, a lot of which will be dictated by your venue. If you choose a blank slate like a gallery or a conference room, you will have a lot of work to do if you want to transform it into another type of space. If you want a cosy feel to your big day look for an intimate pub with loads of cool furniture or a fab conservatory. If you’re looking for something a bit more formal, think about having your reception on a boat on the river with views of the city or in a venue overlooking the skyline like 30 St Mary Axe. This will then give you a great backdrop to work around.
10. Have your ceremony and reception in one place
This might not always save you loads depending on how venues cost their packages, but having your ceremony and reception in the same place will eliminate the cost of transporting guests, wedding party and any decorations from one place to another. Venues might often only have 1 function at a time so using a different room or area might not cost as much as booking an entire second location.