Hurrah! You are about the become betrothed to the person you love. Commiserations! You are skint and that situation is not going to change anytime soon. There’s only one thing for it. A scrimpy, savey, wedding on the cheap. All corners will be cut, all pennies will be pinched, all buffet items will be from Iceland (or lower). But if you simply don’t know where to start with your budget nuptials, here are a few tips to get you going.
Before you can even begin to think about your miserly wedding, you need to plan your miserly engagement. The ring is going to be the biggest outlay, so you need to start hunting for bargains. Remember that ‘second hand’ is just another word for ‘vintage’.
Find a classic deco sparker on eBay (obviously being careful and researching exactly what you’re getting) or take a trip to the Jewellery Quarter in either Birmingham or London. Or perhaps you can gently suggest that their may be a beloved family heirloom that can be used for extra emotional resonance. Worth a try.
The important thing to do is organise a budget and then stick to it like a fly to a toffee wrapper. Before you prioritise an Auntie or look at a edible centrepiece, make a painfully precise plan of everything you want and everything you need. Some things you can’t do without (someone to officiate, some form of wedding ring) and some things you can definitely do without (wedding photographers cost a fortune).
But even if you are taking the economically astute option, don’t skimp on the things that mean the most to you or your partner. Whether it’s a fancy dress, lashings of booze or a bouncy castle; make sure you don’t have any regrets when you look back on your special day.
This is a modern phenomena that completely baffles me. Once upon a time the prospective bride or groom would be taken to the pub a couple of days before the ceremony, thoroughly inebriated and maybe have a few things drawn on them.
Nowadays, everyone’s jetting off to the Seychelles or having a fortnight in Vegas for celebratory reasons. I didn’t sign up for that! Listen all you extravagant bachelors and bachelorettes, no one appreciates this. No one.
People are already forking out for the wedding, for gifts, for new clobber and possibly chipping in for the honeymoon. Just go paintballing. Or karting. Or I know a place that does rather a nifty zombie thing that is unbelievably well priced.
WHEN TO DO THE DEED
This is where you can make a major saving. You’ll be splurging a big chunk of cash on the venue, so if you can book it on an horribly unfashionable day, say midweek rather than a weekend, you can bag a bargain.
Pick a midweek day in January or February and the savings will be even more mighty. What’s wrong with a winter wedding. If it’s good enough for Billy Idol, it’s good enough for you. Plus a wedding in the week has the added advantage of keeping the guest list lean.
Not everybody is going to be able to make it and the fewer the better, as we say in cheapo wedding circles.
You would not believe how much it costs to stick food in front of a load of freeloading relatives who will probably moan about it anyway and possibly steal various items of cutlery. Another, riskier, option is to have a picnic in a public park. Though not if you’re planning a winter wedding perhaps.
But if the weather looks good, just head from the service to some wide open space, lay down some blankets and crack open the bubbly. You can even get people to bring a few things along, pot luck style. You can still have the speeches and toasts and cake cutting and all that palaver, but with squirrels in attendance.
Get a friend or relative to knock you up a cake and even more moolah can be stashed.
I can’t believe there’s such a roaring trade in wedding photographers. It really does seem like a blast from the past. But any regular viewers of Don’t Tell the Bride will know that any price quotes from snappers will tend to provoke the response ‘HOW MUCH?’ usually in a broad northern accent.
Once upon a time, the mysteries of taking a well composed shot were kept from most of us. But now we can all take award-winning pics on a phones without thinking. Just stick it on the invite: ‘Please take pictures and send them to us’. You’ll get a much broader vision of the day.
For some, the dress will be non-negotiable. But you can have a fancy schmancy frock without having to give Wonga a ring. Via eBay, you can have the perfect dress run up in China and shipped over pronto. Yes, I know, that sounds well dodgy, so do plenty of research. An evening spent scrolling through testimonials will be worth it if you can save a bundle.
If all of that sounds too worrying, there are a whole host of second hand wedding dress retailers such as Preloved and Confetti, plus the usual Gumtree and eBay options. Even Oxfam now has a bridal department.
ASK FOR HELP
Does your brother-in-law play slap bass in a funk band. Do you have a nephew who fancies himself as a DJ? Is your Gran a Dynamo-style street magician? Throw discretion to the wind and get anyone who can do anything to muck in.
This could mean flowers, catering, entertainment, venues, make-up, hair, transportation. Don’t be shy and do be cheeky. I mean, you won’t be asking for any more favours until your second wedding and that’s probably years away.