Not all nuptials have to be a Peter-and-Jordan-inspired OTT event. In fact, unless your last name is Trump or Hilton, it’s just not necessary to be needlessly splashing around your cash. With a bit of clever planning you can have the wedding of your dreams without breaking the bank – you might even have a little leftover for some extra pampering on your honeymoon! We show you how to be savvy with your savings and make your day just as special.
SET A BUDGET
Before you do anything – and we mean anything - sit down with your fiancée and work out what you can spend on your wedding. There’s nothing worse than getting delirious over decorations only to discover you can’t afford anywhere to put them! In your planning include any financial support from your families (after checking with them first of course) as well as how many guests you’re likely to invite. The rule here is simple, but it can be a challenge: stick to the budget! And remember, you don’t have to be a Rockefeller to have a beautiful wedding - there are some things money just can’t buy.
WHAT MATTERS MOST?
Take time out with your fiancée to each write a list of what’s most important to you for the big day. Basics such as venue, food and wine, photography and personal touches should be a priority. Swarovski-adorned swans and life-sized ice sculptures of the bride and groom should not. Once both your lists are done, compare. The things you have in common are what you should splurge on. They should help make your day meaningful and memorable to you and your guests in the years to come - keep in mind no-one will notice if you don’t wear the latest Louboutin’s, but a dry bar by 8pm will be unforgettable for all the wrong reasons.
D.I.Y DOES IT
The Stationary: Invitations, Order of Service booklets and place-cards are all easy at-home tasks. Enlist the help of some friends – bribing them with chocolates and champagne (although not too much to risk unsteady scissors!) always works a treat – and make a day of cutting, pasting and tying bows. There are plenty of companies who supply quality products that make the process easy and the results impressive. Head to Christina Re where they provide gorgeous papers, templates and ribbons for a professional finish at a fraction of the cost, or check out your local Officeworks or Eckersleys for materials and inspiration.
The Cake: Who says you can’t have your cake and eat it too? Bake your own wedding confection and not only will you save yourself some dosh, but you’ll have delicious ‘practice pieces’ to taste-test too! If the decorating seems a bit daunting, opt for the icing-only services at companies such as Planet Cake, or go for fresh flowers which are less expensive and often more beautiful than intricate iced ones.
The Music: An emerging symphony as you walk back down the aisle would certainly be lovely, but let’s face it, this isn’t Love Actually and you’re not Keira Knightley. Ceremony music - particularly if you are in a church - can easily be played from a CD and sounds just as good (sometimes even better) than your local string quartet.
When it comes to the reception, avoid cringe-worthy wedding singers and cheesy DJ’s by programming your favourite songs onto an ipod. Choose some chill-out numbers (think Frank Sinatra and Michael Buble) for dinner music, followed by a selection of your favourite tunes and classic hits to get everyone off their seats and on to the dance floor.
Call in favours: Family and friends are usually delighted to help (see above for bribing techniques if necessary), so if you know a talented seamstress she might like to be involved in creating the bridesmaids dresses or your veil. You can also save on costly courier fees by buying market-fresh flowers and enlisting a trusted guest or family member to transport them (and any other decorations) between venues.
Pay Cash: Not only will you be able to negotiate on prices if you pay in cash, but most companies will forgo the 2 - 5% surcharge that’s incurred in credit card fees. Keep track of how much you save by paying cash and use the money for something special a little later down the line when all the wedding excitement is over.