Weddings are expensive, but you don’t have to be married in a simple civil ceremony in order to save money. There are ways to budget for a wedding and ensure that it’s not only the best day of your life, but affordable as well.

Slash your guest list

In any wedding, having an enormous guest list means spending more money – on the rehearsal dinner, location, and reception. So be brutal with that guest list. You are getting married, not throwing a party (although celebrity weddings certainly seem to suggest the opposite).

wedding planKeep your guest list limited to the close friends and family you can’t imagine being without. The rest are expendable.

Besides, if you have the wedding small and intimate, you can always make a party of your reception and invite everyone to that.

Don’t be afraid of pre-loved dresses

Women will wear their wedding dress only once in their lifetime. While some save theirs for posterity or their daughters, others decide to make back some of the thousands of pounds they spent by selling them. Designer dresses are available at a discount online or in boutique stores. A beautiful lace vintage dress is not only less expensive than the latest Vera Wang, but unique: you know that no one else will be wearing it.

Forgo the DJ

We have technology for a reason – use it. There’s no need to hire out a band (upwards of £1,000) or a DJ (minimum £500) when you can have your own mix ready to go on your iPod.

It’s becoming more and more acceptable for couples to provide their own wedding tunes. Plus it’ll be a completely personalised and pre-approved list, not to mention a massive money-saver.

DIY flowers

Florists make a killing on weddings – simply because when they hear the word the very word, their fee suddenly increases by 100 per cent. So make sure you shop around and discover the difference in cost between flowers for a party versus a wedding. Another handy money-saving trick is to request in-season flowers – which will be less expensive – or order them online.

Skip wedding favours

Instead, do something small but memorable – like providing disposable cameras at tables, or small chocolates by Baci with themed quotations. Spending a fortune on favours is a sure-fire and unnecessary way to overspend.

Spend money on the photos, not the video

Realistically, you will be looking at photos of your wedding much more often than a wedding video. It’s acceptable to ask one of your friends to do the video – especially if you have an arty cousin in film school – but probably best to hire a professional photographer unless you know one. You’ll regret it if your photos aren’t as beautiful as your wedding day.

Get rid of what you don’t need and get paid for it

If you’re moving in together after the wedding, you’ll probably want to downsize anyway. You can sell used clothes, electronics, CDs and DVDs. You’ll get money for your old things, and you won’t miss them when moving house – or simply going on your honeymoon.

…or elope

If you really want to save money, you can always combine the wedding and honeymoon and elope to a far-flung location – then host a reception when you get back.

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