Who’d want to be a father-in-law these days, huh? The costs of weddings have soared in recent years, and with venue, contractors and planners alike looking to capitalise on our innate desires to make this once-in-a-lifetime occasion as special as possible, budgets tend to go through the roof. In fact, some recent research suggests that the average cost of a UK wedding is now an eye-watering £24,000!
According to Martin Lewis, possibly the most trusted consumer champion in the UK, one of the biggest causes of divorce is debt and financial worries. So while you don’t want to sacrifice too much for your big day, you also don’t want to leave yourself financially crippled in the future as a result of it. I remember our big day very well. I also remember all the stresses of planning it! But it was all worth it in the end, and we managed to keep the budget down to what we found acceptable. I thought that, based on our experience, I’d share a few tips which I picked up along the way…
The Priority Game
What’s most important to you on the day? Flowers? Having a wedding planner? A DJ? A high-quality photographer? Cake? Rings? Everyone is different, and will place greater priority on different things. But you shouldn’t push the boat out too far on everything, as the sums will add up very quickly. So pick and choose where quality can’t be compromised on, and make a list in order of priority. It’s a great place to start.
Cash Or Gifts?
Quite simply, don’t be scared to ask for cash as a wedding gift. It’s fast becoming a custom, and your guests will understand both the costs of the day, and the fact that there’s a honeymoon on the way too. Besides, many will probably be marginally grateful for the lack of hassle involved, as it saves them having to go present shopping!
Well, it’s almost becoming conventional these days, but you can generally save a fortune on the venue if you get married on a day that isn’t Saturday, and a date that falls outside of June to September. It may not sound ideal, but there is another upside to each. Firstly, getting married on another day of the week may help to trim your guest list down without having to ‘not invite’ anyone. Secondly, the weather is hardly guaranteed in the summer anyway, so why not look at May or October?
Finance Your Wedding Smartly
Some in-laws will offer to pay. Many other couples are fortunate enough to have savings in place to cover the cost of the wedding. But one in four couples have neither, and are forced to turn to borrowing. There’s nothing wrong with that, but do not simply dump the whole lot on a credit card. It may be convenient, but interest rates are extortionate, and it can do long-term damage. Be savvy, shop around for low-cost wedding loans, and if you have a decent credit score, APRs of 6 or 7 per cent are easy to find.
Know Your Numbers
It’s important to have a good idea of how much things cost, especially when it comes to getting quotes from contractors and all those involved. So do some research, shop around, and read a few expert blogs. That way, when a photographer quotes you £4,000, and you know it should cost less than half of that, you can show them the door. Oh, and however un-British it may be, don’t be shy to haggle on prices! More often than not, the person would rather knock down the price than lose your business.
I’ll never forget how much stuff we ended up needing for the big day that I hadn’t even considered. Cake stands, champagne flutes, chairs, groomsmen suits, fairy lights – the list was endless. The good news is that there are handy online tools which can help you pick up all these miscellaneous – and bigger – items at a snip in your local area. Every little saving helps, and this is a great way to bring down your overall budget.
Photo's courtesy of the utterly gorgeous Jen from My Mummy's Pennies.