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The big day without the big price tag – How to save on wedding costs

With the average wedding in the UK now costing a staggering £32,273 it can be a seriously expensive milestone in many people’s lives. However, your big day doesn’t have to come with a big price tag.

With wedding season now upon us, and more people looking to tie the knot after prolonged pandemic engagements, it’s more important than ever to plan your finances and work out where you can make savings in anticipation of the big day.

With this in mind, Stacey Lowman, financial coach at Claro Money, shares her tips for budgeting for the occasion and saving on different aspects of the day.

Start a separate wedding fund

Starting a separate saving pot for a wedding fund, as early as possible before you plan on getting married is key to making the big day more affordable. Working out how much can be put into this savings goal each month from your income is a vital first step to saving for a wedding. You could even begin your savings goal and Pinterest board before you’ve met a partner!

Set priorities

When beginning to plan a wedding, it’s important to sit down with your partner and make independent lists of what is really important to you about the day, the aspects that you’ll remember for years to come, and prioritise these. This can help you to focus your time, energy and finances on the parts of the day that are most important to both of you, as well as highlighting areas that you might be willing to make compromises on to save money. If other people are contributing to your wedding, you may want to involve them in this process as well.

Save the right date

There are several ways that costs can be reduced when paying for the big day. Where possible, avoid the weekends and high season, this gives potential for significant savings on the venue and across a number of different wedding costs. However, if doing this, it’s also important to manage the impact on guests, who may be unable to attend on a weekday.

Get ready together

With bridesmaids and ushers, be clear on what you are paying for and what they’ll need to contribute to. If you can be flexible on colour and style, then this allows more scope for shopping around to reduce costs and decide on something that they might be more likely to wear again. Additionally, instead of paying for a make-up artist and hair stylist for the whole bridal party, it can be fun and way less expensive to get ready together and create memories at the same time.

Get help from family and friends

A fun way to capture photos on the day is to ask all guests to contribute on their own cameras and smartphones. This will add a real first-person perspective to the photography, and you may even get a few candid gems. It also means that professional photography can be scaled back providing a cost saving. Additionally, craft days with friends and family are a great way to get together and make homemade table decorations, placenames and other decorations to cut the cost of purchasing these.

Save on invites and flowers

Wedding invites are an expense that may be overlooked but sending digital invites, opposed to physical ones, can help to save money on posting costs, is more environmentally friendly and saves time as well. Another consideration is the flowers, which can often be expensive and wasteful. Greenery is usually cheaper than flowers, and balancing foliage with blooms is a good way to save. You could also use fruit and herbs to make a more unique arrangement, that smells great too.

Stick to a budget

When organising a wedding, it’s crucial to keep track of spending and stick to a budget, to ensure costs don’t get out of control. The expense of a wedding is likely to mean that you need to cut costs elsewhere, and it might lead to less disposable income in the months before as you put more into the wedding savings pot. Be prepared to adjust your spending habits accordingly, and ensure that you still have a rainy day fund set aside, and enough to cover monthly living costs.

Spread out the cost

As weddings are often planned far in advance, this makes it easier to spread out the costs over a significant length of time to ensure that you’re not hit with one big bill. Planning in advance also gives you more time to get early booking deals and hunt around for the most cost effective decisions and weigh up different options. It’s also beneficial to purchase insurance, as although it may seem like an extra expense at the time, if anything goes wrong, it can save you from losing larger sums of money should the worst happen.

Overall, a wedding day is about you and your partner first and foremost, so focus on the things that are important to you, stick to your budget and be realistic about what you can and cannot afford.