by Sean Lamb

Just like everything else, weddings are becoming more and more expensive every year. The average wedding now costs about six months salary if you are earning 25,000 a year, so it is no wonder more and more couples are planning a budget wedding. As this is your special, unrepeatable day, you are naturally drawn to the absolute best and most luxurious of everything. Not only for yourself, but to give your guests a really beautiful day to remember. You have to concentrate on your budget and focus on some key things where you need to spend and other areas where you can save money. Below are some ideas where you could economise, you need not chose them all but pick and chose the ones that suit you the best.

The wedding dress is an area where huge amounts of money are often spent as brides, quite naturally, want a unique custom made outfit. As this is something that will only ever be worn once, a previously owned dress is worth considering. It is easy to buy a wedding dress that has only been worn once for less than half the price at a specialist bride shop. You can then sell it on at not much less than you paid for it. Another alternative is to hire your wedding dress but remember to arrange to get it back to the shop on time to avoid penalty payments.

Possibly the biggest savings can be made with the reception, planning is crucial but with some clever re-thinking, this is where your budget wedding will save the most. First is the number of guests, don’t just invite everyone you know and don’t be pressured to invite every relative you have. By keeping the numbers to an absolute minimum, you can get a smaller reception venue. You could then hold the reception at a restaurant, club or village hall where you could save even more money by doing the catering yourself or with friends. Then you can buy the drink wholesale and save even more money.

Professional photographers can be expensive to hire for the whole day, so one idea is to book them for just the wedding ceremony so that you get great traditional shots of the service and the relatives. Then rely on friends and family to supply the photos of the wedding reception. If you have a really gifted friend, they may be willing to take all the photographs for you.

Your wedding stationery is a prime area for making savings, providing you have access to a computer and a good quality printer, however it is probably a false economy to choose cheap paper as people like to keep them. Presentation is everything so always get the best you can afford. Your word processor should be able to handle the normal type of invites etc., but you could also be more creative by incorporating photos or graphics.

Florists and flower arranging can be very expensive, especially when they know it’s for a wedding, so why not buy them direct and arrange them yourself or get a friend to help out. If you have a college or adult education centre nearby, you could check to see if they run flower arrangement classes and ask a couple of students if they would be willing to do yours.

You may be surprised at just how expensive a lavish wedding cake can be, so for the budget conscious a good alternative could be a large sponge or chocolate cake. Are any of your friends good in the kitchen? They may be honoured if you asked them to prepare your wedding cake. Failing that, you could buy some ordinary fruit cakes and then ice them yourself, adding the pillars and toppers the night before.

It is probably every girls dream to arrive at the church in a Rolls Royce or other limousine but this is another expense that could be easily shaved off the budget. Ask around your friends if they have a decent car or if they know somebody who has and would be willing to give up a couple of hours to drive you. You may be having a budget wedding, but as long as everybody has a good time, they will not care that lavish amounts of money have not been spent, only that you will be happy for the rest of your life.

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