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Plan your big day without paying a small fortune

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It’s no secret that weddings can be expensive – with the average cost of a wedding now exceeding £22,0001. So, we got in touch with a range of wedding planners and experts, who shared their tops tips to keep costs down without sacrificing any enjoyment on your big day.

Drinks: Switch the bubbly

You can trim down costs on alcoholic drinks for your reception without anyone noticing. Pauline Traulé, Private Events and Wedding Planner at Clerkenwell Green Caterers, tells us “you could offer a really nice sparkling wine from Burgundy instead of Champagne. Most people won’t notice the difference, and each bottle is usually half the price of sparkling wine from the Champagne region.” You could also consider serving Bucks Fizz or Bellinis instead of Champagne as a cheaper alternative.

Food: Opt for a buffet

Traulé reveals that “buffets are cheaper and quite popular for weddings as they are less formal and allow people to mingle while they eat.” For summer weddings, you could also opt for a bbq, hog roast or even a fish and chip van! These are more informal, but are really tasty options which are becoming more popular. You’ll also save money paying extra wait staff.

Wedding Cake: Fake the cake

Liz Taylor, a Wedding Planner and the Managing Director of the Taylor Lynn Corporation., explains that you can arrange your “cake with two dummy layers – iced to match the real cake perfectly, but far less expensive. It’s an old insider’s trick and guests are none the wiser.”

Wedding cake

Flowers: Cut collection charges

Traulé recommends asking “your florist if they can provide some perspex vases to keep after the event, or to supply your own. This will save you money on collection charges and your guests will be able to take the flowers with them when they leave,” as a reminder of your special day. Using a local florist can lower delivery costs too.

Wedding dress: Find yourself a second-hand gem

“Your perfect dress can be just around the corner, in one of the top second-hand wedding dress sites such as SellMyWeddingDress or Preloved,” reveals Traulé. “Worn only once and still in good condition, no one will be able to tell the difference between a nearly new dress, and a brand new one that you might end up paying three times more.” You’ll still feel a million dollars but at the fraction of the price.

White wedding dress

Timings: Get married later

Why not consider marrying later in the day, suggests Kate Smallwood, a wedding expert and previous associate editor of Wedding Magazine. This will mean that you can “feed your guests just once, instead of tying the knot at lunchtime and partying until dawn!”

Photography: Ask your guests to capture the moment

“Photos are important for weddings, so we recommend having a professional photographer for the formal photos while getting ready and during the ceremony,” says Traulé. “However, during dinner, why don’t you buy some disposable cameras and put them on the dining tables? Your guests will have fun and the photos will be more personal and less formal.” Post wedding-day, ask them to share all their photos online so you can pick your favourites!

Wedding photography

Planning: Gauge the guest list

According to Smallwood, “as the largest spend is generally on the venue and catering, the simplest way to save pennies is to have a smaller guest list – feeding perhaps 30 or 40 people instead of 100.” Sandy Moretta, Director of the UK Alliance of Wedding Planners agrees that this will not only save you money, but “if you limit your guest list to just the people you really want there, this gives the day a more intimate, emotional atmosphere.”

Tap into talent

Don’t forget that your loved ones will want make your big day as special as possible, so it’s likely they’ll be more than willing to offer their help. Moretta suggests “asking talented friends to offer their services as a wedding gift.” From hair and makeup, invitations and place name cards – to chauffeuring the couple in their fab car, this can be one of the most cost-effective ways to have a special day.

Remember what’s important to you

Smallwood finishes by telling us that it’s important to “spend money where it matters to you, and save where it doesn’t. If you LOVE flowers, splash the budget on some beautiful blooms and cut down in another area.” When thinking about your big day, “there are so many easy ways to keep your costs down without scrimping on style.” So keep these tips in mind when planning your dream wedding!

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