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15 ways to save money when wedding planning

On average, weddings in Ireland cost €30,000. Yes, thats just for one day.

And, lots of weddings end up costing significantly more. Depending on the size and location of your wedding this price will rarely include a Day Two, a Honeymoon or Mini Moon.

For anyone already in the midst of wedding planning, it will come as no surprise that the bills can really start to add up, and despite your best efforts, that budget will inevitably be re-jigged and increased – multiple times.

wedding planning, save money

Let’s look at ways to save some money when planning your wedding:

A Long Engagement

This one is pretty straightforward. The longer your engagement, the longer you have to save.

For couples planning to pay for their wedding themselves, this is a simple strategy to build up funds and get to grips with the big deposits. Most wedding venues are booked a year in advance, if not longer. And, most wedding dresses are ordered nine months to one year ahead of the Big Day.

After-Hours Food Platters

A big tip from a wedding planner pal, save money on your after-hours food platters. Take into account that aunties, uncles, grannies, grandads and other family members – and let’s be honest, even some friends – are likely not to make it to the final hours of the night or the wee hours of the morning.

Aim to serve up late-night grub for approximately half the number of guests you’ve invited, this will save on food waste and save some cash, particularly if the after-hours food isn’t included in your wedding package.

Be Clever with Florals

Flowers are one of the most expensive elements of a wedding. Remember – you don’t need the flower cloud, or the floral arch.

From chatting to wedding planners and venue hosts, flowers are one of the biggest budget hoggers but are also the largest waste and are often left behind. Flowers used in a ceremony are often not repurposed, floral wedding arches are not reused, bouquets are ditched.

Make the most of what you have: Move flowers from the altar or aisles in your ceremony venue to the reception room or location. Use the bridal and bridesmaid bouquets to decorate the table where the cake will be placed. Bring any moveable florals – like table arrangements and altar arrangements – to your Day Two venue so that you’re not investing in florals twice.

Bridesmaid Dresses

Bridesmaid dresses don’t have to break the bank, with brands like ASOS, Folkster and River Island providing bridesmaid options for relatively reasonable prices. Click here for more websites for bridesmaid inspiration.

Bridal Party Size

Think about how many bridesmaids and groomsmen you are planning to have. Do you need all your friends, or would it be nice to have just your siblings? This really is a personal choice. But, choosing to have a smaller bridal party has a knock on impact and minimise related costs such as; hair, make up, accommodation, dresses, suits, tuxedos, gifts etc.

Day of the Week

Weddings taking place on Fridays and Saturdays are often priced at a more premium rate than other days of the week. If you’re looking to save a few bob, you should consider having your wedding on a week day.

At the end of the day, in ten years time – will it matter to you what day of the week your wedding was on?

DIY Wedding Stationery

Get creative and get hands on.

Design your own welcome sign, ceremony pamphlet or table numbers with creative tools like Canva. Canva is one of the most under-rated and under-utilised tools for creating and designing wedding invitations, guest place names and even thank you cards. The application is available to download on mobile, and on desktop – and its is also free to use, the only cost involved is time and the printing, which can be done at your local printers.

Or invest in calligraphy workshops so that you can learn the skills needed to create the vibe and theme you’ve hoping to achieve.

Dried Flowers

Dried flowers can often be more cost effective than fresh flowers.

Do more with your allocated budget, or work with dried florals to reduce the amount you’re spending on flowers. If you’re aiming for a boho or whimsical theme, using dried flowers could really suit your theme. Dried flowers could also be the perfect addition to a rustic, countryside wedding venue.

Plus dried flowers pretty much last forever, a great way to remember the Big Day.

Go Digital

The cost of wedding stationery can really easily add up, especially if you’ve got a long guest list.

Wedding websites, digital save the dates and digital invitations can end up being free or will be a fraction of the cost of paper invitations. Also, a big win for sustainability. Although going digital isn’t the choice for everyone, using digital tools is something to be considered if you’re trying to save here and there.

Check out digital invitation and wedding website options here.

Keep a Spreadsheet

Boring, but should be considered necessary.

When it comes to planning a wedding, it’s really easy to go overboard, get overwhelmed and let things slip through the cracks. It’s also really easy to lose track of deposits paid, money spent and money owed. Start off your spreadsheet with estimates or maximum available funds for major parts of your wedding: venue, dress, entertainment, photographer, videographer, flowers, hair, and make up, and then get supplier quotes to see what/who fits in with your budget.

Reconsider ‘Extra’ Decor Elements

When it comes to decor, and additional extras, it’s important to think rationally about what is actually necessary on your day. And, what you deem as being important for your wedding.

If you’re looking to save money here and there, elements to reconsider are:

  • Welcome signs: You’ve invited your guests… surely they should know it’s your wedding?
  • Individual menus: Print one or two menus per table and leave in a standing frame on the table
  • Branded candles: Diptyque, Le Labo and Jo Malone candles might be beautiful but they’re expensive
  • Bathroom baskets: Don’t go overboard! Sanitary items, body sprays and deodorants – the essentials
  • Candy tables: This was a fad, not necessary, sweets are rarely touched & can often look a little cheap
  • Neon lights, flower walls, light up dance floors: These are all nice to have elements, not need to have

Shop Second Hand

Whether you’re looking for bridesmaid dresses, a suit for the groom, a wedding dress or even your dream wedding shoes, there are so many sites where people are selling luxury (and well-kept) items second hand.

Shop sites like Vestiaire Collective, Still White, FarFetch Pre-Owned, Re-Bride, and Retold Bride.

Use Available Decor

Be sure to check with your venue on what decor is available to use.

Most venues will have an array of decor that is available at no extra charge such as candelabras, candles, easels, chairs and chair covers, standing tables, microphones and speaker systems etc.

Wedding Cakes

Massive multi-tiered cakes aren’t entirely necessary these days, as most venues include dessert in your dinner package.

Wedding cakes can get expensive, particularly those that are large with intricate details. Prices can range wildly from €200 to €1000+. Why not opt for a tall single cake so that you get that cake-cutting shot, and you’re not wasting cake or wasting your hard earned cash?

Wedding Favours

A nice to have, but not a need to have. Wedding favours are often forgotten and left behind, particularly when the evening gets into full swing. Save your money, or invest it into the flowers you want, the supplement on a premium meal option or your entertainment.

Lead image via Pinterest

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