The average wedding now costs the bride, groom and their families a stonking Â£25,000 – that’s more than many of us earn in a year. But declaring your love needn’t mean financial ruin if you use a little invention and imagination.
The venue A fairy-tale castle or Jane Austen style country house might be every bride’s dream wedding venue but consider your personalities and shared passions.
Perhaps you’ve always loved your parent’s garden or your husband-to-be is mad on motors. ‘Wedding venue’ doesn’t have to mean a glittering lake dotted with pure white swans and often brides forget their priorities when arranging the perfect wedding. Think carefully and you may realise that you’d be just as happy with bangers and mash in the local like Kate Winslet who enjoyed just that at her first wedding.
Don’t write off that Caribbean beach wedding either. When the guests are whittled down from 100 to 10 and the grand reception becomes a beach BBQ, savings of thousands can be made as the bride and groom relax in the sun.
The dress For most brides their wedding is the one and only time a single item will set them back more than Â£1000 – ridiculous when you consider that a wedding dress is worn only once. Many high street retailers, most famously Monsoon, offer affordable wedding dress alternatives while websites such as www.thedressmarket.net sell second hand and sample dresses at incredible prices – no-one will ever know that you’re not wearing new. However, if you’ve always dreamed of a handmade dress consider taking your honeymoon BEFORE your wedding. The cost of having a dress handmade in Thailand or Hong Kong can be as little as £200 including materials. Likewise suits and bridesmaids dresses can be created from measurements provided by your wedding party.
The food & drink In an ideal world your guests will feast on caviar and sup champagne. In reality food and drink bills make up one of the biggest expenses of any wedding. Swap champagne for sparkling wine, cava or prosecco – few guests will know the difference – and introduce a pay bar, standard at most weddings nowadays. Hog roasts, BBQs, picnics and buffets meanwhile are a relaxed and cheap alternative to a sit-down meal and presented upon tables decorated with posies of wild flowers (cheaper than roses and orchids) make for a sweet and stylish look.
The cake If you can’t rope a willing auntie in to baking and icing the cake of your dreams avoid marzipan bankruptcy by simply buying three plain iced fruit cakes of increasing size from your local bakery or supermarket, adding pillars and decorating with flowers matching the bride’s bouquet. Pure class for just a few pounds.
The photographs Who needs a pricey photographer taking over your day when everyone you know will be feeling pretty snap happy? Provide a couple of easy-to-use digital cameras for guests to make use of or offer each a CD to download their photos on to before sending to you. It’s the candid shots that will tell the story of your day better than any posed portraits.