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Brides Reveal Secrets To Saving £2000 On Weddings - From £12 Cakes To Free Decor

June 22, 2021, 12:00 PM
  • Brides from money-saving community LatestDeals.co.uk reveal top money-saving wedding tips
  • Advice includes hacks for getting a £20 dress, £12 wedding cake and free decorations

Despite constantly changing pandemic restrictions, countless couples across the country are preparing for their big day as the wedding season begins to reach its peak.

While May to October are seen as the most common months to get married, it could also be the most expensive. Below, brides from money-saving community LatestDeals.co.uk share their top tips on how to reduce the cost of the wedding - from £12 wedding cakes to free decorations and £2000 discounts.

Shop smart

Anyone on a budget will want to be careful about what they spend their money on, especially for big occasions such as weddings. Fortunately, there are plenty of tactics for keeping costs down. ‘Buy local and have a price in mind before placing an order,’ Anna recommends. Budgeting also helps. ‘Write down what you absolutely want to have and budget for that - it’s so easy to get carried away and overspend,’ says Delilah. Similarly, Tammy suggests doing your research. ‘Buy in advance - I bought all my stuff in the sales. Shop around and ask stores for price matches.’

It’s also worth being aware of ways you can get ripped off. ‘Do not tell any suppliers it’s a wedding as the prices will double. Just say it’s a party, and make it about you, not anyone else,’ advises Melanie. Ava agreed: ‘We booked a photo booth for a ‘family party’ and it cost £150 - when I emailed them a few weeks later to ask for a photo booth for a wedding it was £450.’

There are plenty of ways to make savings online, too. ‘Use eBay for all your bits and pieces, table decorations, favours and so on,’ Ana-Maria chipped in. ‘I bought my dress from eBay and got it imported from China. It only cost £69!’

Savings can come from less obvious places, too. ‘I got my veil for £48 from Etsy - it was nearly the same as the one I tried on in the bridal shop with my dress that was over £200,’ Katie revealed.

Go free where possible

Not everything associated with a wedding has to be costly. Sometimes swapping in budget-friendly alternatives will save a lot of money - and barely be noticed by the guests. ‘Use electronic invites instead of paper ones,’ Tara proposed. Marie was in agreement, commenting: ‘E-invite everyone who wouldn’t care about a real card and give real ones to your parents and grandparents.’

To save even more, why not ask shops if they’re willing to donate their themed decorations? ‘My sister got married a few days after Valentine’s Day and we got a lot of her decorations from Ann Summers! It’s not what you think - their window display was Valentine’s Day themed, and we went in and explained their decor would be ideal for the wedding celebration, and could we perhaps purchase it. They let us have what we wanted for free!’ Martha disclosed.

There are also ways to get creative and avoid spending money. ‘Make confetti out of leaves - get a hole punch and punch holes in dry leaves. This way it’s free and environmentally friendly too. You could splurge on a fancy shaped hole punch if you want, such as heart shaped,’ Amelia urged. Tabitha had a similar recommendation, stating that many people would have supplies at home already. ‘See if groomsmen have nice suits they can wear. Why spend money on new suits when the ones they have already fit?’

Don’t cater to everyone else

It’s easy to get bogged down in throwing a big - and expensive - party for everyone else, when the day should be about you. Don’t spend on a massive party for everyone else. The small and intimate ones are more special, the closest people to you are there, and it won’t cost a fortune,’ advises Sophia. Emily backed this up: ‘Keep it as cheap as possible for yourselves. It’s your day, you’ll never please everyone so don’t bother trying.’

Evelyn applied this logic to her catering. ‘Guests are just as happy with bangers and mash or fish and chips. Don’t feel you have to offer a four course meal.’ Ella echoed this sentiment. ‘Work out what you want, and not what others expect! Wine on tables is expensive and many don’t drink it. We worked out that 70% of our guests wouldn’t drink wine, but the other 30% would make up for it, so we bought everyone their first drink instead.’

Penny made it clear the wedding isn’t simply a party for the guests.‘Make the day about the two of you and don’t do things to please everyone else - even your parents!’ Victoria chipped in with a similar recommendation: ‘Don’t fall for the thinking of needing to get favours, toiletries for guests and so on - it’s just a waste of money.’

You could go one step further and allocate your budget to the honeymoon for the two of you instead, like Chloe did. ‘Keep costs low on the wedding and spend more on your honeymoon - that’s the best advice we got.’

Shop around for dresses

Many brides will reveal the eye-watering costs they paid for their dresses, but it doesn’t have to be that way. ‘Try out Oxfam for dresses - they aren’t all second hand; some have been down runways or are display items,’ urged Madison. ‘I got my dress from Oxfam - it only cost £20!’ Hazel piped up. ‘And the best thing is you don’t have to worry if it needs altering, as that would fit into your budget, so basically you could pick any dress that takes your fancy,’ Zoey added. Sarah got a discount by paying smartly. ‘I got a discount on my bridesmaid dresses by offering cash, so they gave me a discount that way!’

‘I bought my dress from eBay for £60. It was from a charity fashion show, straight off the runway, and fitted like a glove!’ Ellie exclaimed. However, discount marketplaces and stores don’t have to be the only place you look. ‘Debenhams often have half price wedding dresses and bridesmaids dresses, Hannah noted.’ Natalie had a similar suggestion: ‘Shein has a lot of wedding and bridesmaid dresses for very cheap prices at the moment.’

Get crafty

It can be exciting to browse for stylish supplies in boutique stores, but the experience can be just as good if you’re making your own. ‘Use Pinterest when it comes to making your own things and coming up with ideas,’ Lily volunteered. This site is also a favourite for Caroline. ‘Take a look there for ideas and personalize your own stuff. I saw some shoes on Pinterest for £125 and it turns out I can do them myself for £65’.

The whole day can feature handmade crafted items, especially if you have a good network. ‘Get in contact with any crafty friends that can help,’ Ruby encouraged. After having her wedding on a campsite to save on costs, Ariana had a unique set of decorations: ‘A friend made lots of empty wine bottles into lights.’

Avoid splashing out on photography

While professional photographers will have top of the range equipment, they’ll also often have price packages to match. However, bargaining with the photographer can end up saving you plenty of cash. ‘Message the photographer and ask about their packages. I’m a photographer and I build packages based on the couple and their budget,’ Ivy implored. Alternatively, Maya added: ‘Use a student photographer to save money,’ to which Gabriella chimed in: ‘They will sometimes do it for free if they can use the photos in their portfolio!’

If money is really tight, numerous guests will have smartphones, cameras of their own and the ability to take half-decent photos. ‘Save money on the photographer by having someone in the wedding party take some. Alternatively, make use of hashtags or websites where people can upload their own photos of the day,’ Alison suggested.

Slash the cost of food and drink

Professional catering only adds to the overall cost of a wedding, but it doesn’t even need to be factored in if you plan carefully. ‘Have a welcome drink for guests when they arrive at the venue, but after that have a cash bar. People don’t expect you to foot the entire bar bill,’ Ginny recommends. ‘Cava or prosecco is a good substitute for champagne,’ Maddy revealed. ‘We asked everyone to bring their own booze so there were no expensive outside bar prices,’ Sophie chimed in.

The food can also be cheaply done with some thought ahead of time. ‘Do a buffet rather than individual meals,’ Anya urged. ‘You could ask everyone to bring a plate of buffet food - that would be the food sorted,’ Julie recommended.

What’s more, the wedding cake doesn’t have to cripple your bank balance. ‘Buy a cake from the supermarket,’ Angela suggested. ‘You can get a fake cake for display, then get cutting slabs from M&S or a friend who can bake. Cakes cost the earth and sometimes look better than they taste,’ Eileen encouraged. ‘We’re thinking Costco sheet cake for our wedding cake - £12 per cake,’ Julie pitched in.

Go DIY where possible

Hiring people is nice, but it isn’t necessary. ‘Have a DIY wedding. Do as much as you can yourselves,’ Kimberley encouraged. Laura agreed: ‘I made everything I could myself and had what I wanted. There are so many things at weddings that people have for no reason.’

Kelly had it all planned out. ‘Make your own wedding cake, don’t have a car that no-one will see you in, do your own table decorations, make your own favours. Be creative - the more you put in, the more you will own the day, and it will be even more special.’ Megan followed a similar method: ‘I made my bouquets using some really nice flowers from Sainsburys.’

Time it right

Getting hitched in the height of summer is tempting, but one look at the difference in price for a winter wedding and you just might change your mind. ‘Get married in January or February. We got £1000 off just by changing our wedding to the end of February instead of 3 days later in March,’ Paige recommended.

The time of day and week also has a huge impact. ‘Don’t get married at the weekend, it adds £££ onto everything,’ Sandy warned. ‘Get married on a weekday - most venues offer discounted rates, including supplies. Also try the winter months, as they tend to be cheaper. Definitely avoid holiday periods,’ Judith pitched in.

It also helps to time the ceremony so that guests don’t expect to be fed. Nina gave a tip: ‘Have the ceremony in the evening so there’s no sit down meal involved. Have a buffet where people bring in something, or ask family to make it.’ Penny drew on her own experience: ‘We got married on a Thursday and in the morning so it was a lot cheaper.’

Get your guests to help out

If you’re inviting people to enjoy your day, why not get them to pitch in? ‘Ask friends and family to contribute to the wedding as the wedding gift. For example, my aunt made my cake as a wedding gift,’ Rose prompted. ‘Someone you know always can do something and usually would love to contribute to your day instead of getting a present. Such as making the cake, bringing flowers or taking pictures,’ Amelie added.

‘Any friends with lovely cars rather than hiring one?’ Lisa questioned. ‘We used my mother in law’s white BMW for our wedding car - it saved us a fortune!’ Annette exclaimed. Kiara was thinking in a similar fashion: ‘Have you got a friend that’s good at hair and makeup? That could save you tons.’

Thinking smartly about gifts can also pay dividends .‘Ask for money or gift vouchers for travel agents or shops where you may want to buy bits for your house. We asked for vouchers for us to go on our honeymoon and it saved us like £2000,’ Violet said. Winnie took a similar approach:

‘Make a list of the gifts you want to receive so you don’t receive unwanted gifts and they don’t waste money. Alternatively, ask them to donate towards the wedding expenses.’

Tom Church, Co-Founder of LatestDeals.co.uk, said: ‘Weddings can easily cost thousands of pounds and leave couples in debt, but this doesn’t have to be the case. As these money-saving brides have proven, shopping smartly and planning ahead can make a big difference.

‘Hiring professionals, buying from traditional stores and purchasing supplies your guests will barely remember or use will just be a drain on your budget. Hopefully there are couples out there who take on some of these tips and have some extra money left over after their big day!’

*Names have been changed for privacy reasons

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