5 Canny Ways of Saving Money on your Wedding

5 Canny Ways of Saving Money on your Wedding

“Weddings” and “saving money” are uneasy bedfellows.  They seem like paradoxes. After all, weddings often cost thousands, even tens of thousands, of pounds.

So how can “saving money” enter into the equation?

Well, there are a number of ways of cutting down on expenditure. (And I don’t mean reducing the catering to a sausage roll per guest!)

Obviously, you can control the size of the guest list, the type of venue you use and what you offer your guests.


  1. Venue – an “at-home” event may work out a lot cheaper, although organising everything yourself can be daunting. Bear in mind that, as organiser-in-chief, you may well sacrifice peace of mind, especially on the big day. Some of the considerations will include parking, neighbours, catering, entertainment, speaker system, toilets, serving food and drink, health & safety (beware of trailing wires etc.).

Unlike with a hired venue, you should not need to book a year or so in advance. Moreover, a home ceremony may win hands down in terms of atmosphere.

If you do hire a venue, choose a time and date that is less popular. That way, you have some bargaining power. So, apart from days like Christmas and Valentine’s Day, winter is likely to be a cheaper time, and afternoons tend to be cheaper than evenings. Your venue will be delighted to accommodate you then!

2. Registrars – unless you choose a full religious ceremony, you will need to book the registrars. Otherwise, you will not be legally married.

One convenient trick (to kill two birds with one stone) is to have the registrars come to your venue. (Although the legislation may change soon, note that the venue currently needs to have four solid walls and a roof to be ‘kosher’ for weddings.)

The registrars will charge around £500 (depending on the region) for attending.

Try this canny money-saving idea: go to the Register Office yourselves (by appointment) with two witnesses before the wedding. This can be hours or even days ahead. You will only have to pay around £100 for the same ceremony you would get at the venue. You will then be legally married and free of that particular worry! So you can go to the venue of your dreams and have the ceremony of your dreams! (A Civil Celebrant can help you with a tailor-made ceremony.)

3. Booze – you can lay on some Prosecco for toasts, which can work out a lot cheaper than champagne, but just as satisfying. if you organise an afternoon reception, people tend to drink less alcohol then, so you may be able to save some money. A couple of bottles of wine per table (plus water and/or juice) should be adequate for the meal. You can operate a cash bar (make this clear to guests on the invitation!) for those who want to continue drinking.

4. Food – there is no need to serve a vast, showy repast. Three courses of decent, well-prepared staple food should do the trick. (Of course, don’t forget to cater for vegetarians and, possibly, children.) And people tend to expect rather lighter meals, if it’s earlier in the day.

5. Catering – you’ll have to decide whether you serve a buffet or have waiter-service. With a buffet, the food still needs to arrive and be replenished, although guests can serve themselves. Then there’s the clearing away and washing up etc. Silver service will cost much more, normally, but can be a lot more convenient.

With all these things, you will need to do some pricing up and comparison. However, thanks to these suggestions, you can take some real strides towards saving money on your wedding.

If I can help you further, please phone or e-mail me.

How to Avoid Wedding Rip-Offs

How to Avoid Wedding Rip-Offs

Weddings can cost as much as £25,000, depending on what you have in mind.

A good wedding planner will let you know from the start what you will be getting for your money; you pay for the service, but you should get peace of mind. It’s often cheaper to do it yourself piecemeal, but then it’s rather harder to keep tabs.

Whatever you choose, it pays to keep your wits about you, and avoid rip-offs.


Because, by its nature, a wedding is usually planned over months, deposits may have to be paid up front. There’s nothing wrong with that. However, do your homework on the supplier before parting with your cash. Do you have any evidence that they are trustworthy? It’s not unknown for companies to take the money and run. Testimonials, while not foolproof, may give you a pointer. Also, how long has the company been trading? If it’s well-established, it probably won’t drop you and run.


It does pay to read anything through before you sign (but how many of us do?!) If you’re dealing with a reputable trader, you probably won’t get ripped off. However, it’s no good claiming that you were “unaware” of deadlines, cancellation penalties etc. You must feel happy about the Ts & Cs BEFORE you sign. (If you really can’t handle it, get someone with some legal knowledge to help you understand what you’re agreeing to.)

The wedding car

Nothing new here, really. You must look for a reputable company that deals with weddings as a matter of course. If you can get personal recommendations, then follow these. If not, it may pay to visit the limousine company before you make up your mind. At least, that way you’ll know they do exist and are unlikely to leave you waiting at the kerb!

Wedding dresses

There are myriad sites on the internet which cater for brides-to-be (and their retinue). Will you be getting quality? Is that discounted dress actually going to look so good on the day? Again, you need to try and be sure that the company is reliable and bona fide. It may be worth dealing with known retailers (even though that peace of mind could work out quite expensive).

neli-prahovasource: neliprahova.com

The photographer

Please be aware that you are taking a risk if you get your best friend to take the photos – for such a big event, you want a professional. You want a good one, so, before deciding, visit two or three and look at examples of their work and try and get testimonials for them.

Other ‘vital’ expenses

There are a host of other items that you might decide are worth paying for. Flowers, invitations, cake, decorations, entertainment, civil celebrant etc. are all quite normal. Prices for some of these can be inflated, so it is often good to shop around and compare quotes.

Sometimes, a ‘wedding’ cake will cost much more than a grand alternative that would do every bit as well. Flowers may be cheaper if they are in season at the time. Arrange a wedding in winter. Catering a morning wedding may work out considerably cheaper too. Be creative!

Naturally, to do all this research that I am suggesting is time-consuming, though necessary. Start in very good time. Your hard work will prove invaluable. Not only could you save money, but, more importantly, you could ensure a perfect day.


8 Ways To Save Your Guests Money

8 Ways To Save Your Guests Money

A wedding nowadays can cost £20,000 or even more. And that doesn’t take into account expenses for bridesmaids and guests. It’s quite an industry, and I, as a civil celebrant, clearly contribute towards this cost – although only in a very small way, I hasten to add!


Bridesmaids can spend as much as £1,000, if you factor in their dress, travel, accessories, and wedding present.


Source: dailytelegraph.com


Attending a wedding as a guest, especially if that involves a hotel stay (and possibly, travel, professional child care, costume, wedding gift and stag/hen nights) can cost several hundred pounds. (And I’m not even talking about destination weddings.)
It’s therefore not so surprising that a number of people have to make personal sacrifices or even decline a wedding invitation for financial reasons.
If you are planning your wedding, there are some things you can easily do to make to save your guests money.

Money-saving tips

1. Keep engagement party/hen/stag nights modest in scale.
2. Assuming you use a department store for your gift list (or registry), it doesn’t have to be the priciest – or, if you’re absoultely set on a high-end list, do include some items that don’t cost too much. I’m talking about £30-£80. You could even register at Harrods as well as at John Lewis, say, to give guests a bit of choice.
3. If it’s feasible, offer the possibility to buy individual items, rather than a set.
4. You can give guests the option of a charitable donation, if you don’t really need gifts. Then people needn’t feel embarrassment, if they’re a bit constrained.
5. You may be able to use discount stores for your bridesmaids’ dresses. Or they can hire which should work out cheaper than buying new. If the colour scheme fits, they may even be able to use dresses they currently own.
6. Your ushers should be allowed to wear suits they already have, if they so wish.
7. Choose a venue that is accessible and within reach for most people. If it’s near public transport links, so much the better.
8. Don’t have a cash bar on the day (or not until you have provided a reasonable amount of drink first)!

None of these tips are particularly arduous, and following them may make a real difference to those you really want to attend your big day – and so ultimately to you yourselves.

Six Ways to Save Money on Your Wedding

Six Ways to Save Money on Your Wedding

I don’t think you need me to tell you that weddings can be a bit of a drain on the pocket. You want to put on a good show and you’re probably prepared to go the extra mile. Mercifully, you can find ways to save money that won’t spoil the general effect. Here are six.

  1. Dresses: Expect that the wedding gown you buy will need alterations. Don’t necessarily buy your normal size, but ask to be measured according to the manufacturer’s specifications. Make sure you know what the alteration fees will be before you pay your deposit. If they’re excessive, you can always try seamstresses elsewhere.


  1. Venue hire: Be aware that venues may well offer discounts if your ceremony/reception is out of season. The low season tends to be winter (except round Christmas and Valentine’s Day). Weekday and morning ceremonies should come in cheaper too. Be prepared to negotiate a bit, as you might at least be able to get a longer booking slot on the day or extra desserts or maybe a special package. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.


  1. Mailings: When sending out invitations, use e-mails for save the dates, hen/stag parties, rehearsal dinners and the like. You can save on postage that way. You’ll need to send wedding invitations by post, though. To cut down on weight and size, try to include all the information you can about the ceremony and reception on the same invitation. Include postcards for the responses. This works just as well as cards and envelopes, but will save you a bit.

 wedding-cakeSource: www.thriftyfoods.com

  1. Dessert: If you’re serving a wedding cake, is there any need to offer a dessert too?


  1. Freebies: If you are providing little gadgets and so on, you may be able to get them much cheaper from a toy or novelty shop.


  1. Scaling down: Nobody will realise that you are not having personalised serviettes or even a colour theme – so, although these may be nice, don’t feel obliged to have them.


These tips will not slash your expenditure and finance your honeymoon to a tropical island. However, without interfering with the wonderful effect you want your wedding to offer, they will leave a little more money in your pocket than you might have been expecting. That’s always welcome, isn’t it?

Your Wedding Guide

Your Wedding Guide

An insuperable obstacle?

Planning a wedding is a pretty daunting prospect. You may just be lucky, and have wise advisors and experienced, understanding support. The chances are, though, that it’s new to you, and you’re going to have to do the best you can. You’ll have to make – and learn from – your own mistakes. Some may be expensive.


An amazing solution

That sounds pretty grim. However, would you be prepared to spend about £5 to get a dependable, easy-to-follow guide?

If so, you have come to the right place!

As part of my role as civil celebrant, I frequently come across couples swimming in a sea of bewilderment and despair. There’s not a lot of help out there for them – although there is at least the option of an event planner. Naurally, these don’t come cheaply.

What if there was a guide that they could buy for ‘peanuts’, that would lead them gently and securely towards the Eldorado of a successful wedding? Towards a unique, memorable and meaningful day? That would offer them great ideas? Something that they could consult at every step of the way?

Well, look no further.

I am proud and excited to announce that I have put the proverbial pen to paper (except it’s all been done by computer, of course) and produced a handbook specifically aimed at helping couples get on their way with a minimum of fuss or difficulty. That’s not to say that there isn’t still hard work to be done, or time and money to expend. Of course, there is, but you can at least be sure that you are progressing, covering most eventualities and not going round in circles.

What areas are covered?

Some of the areas I look at include:

  • choice of ceremony and celebrant
  • the service: rituals, vows, music, etc.
  • ‘team’ roles
  • speeches
  • guests
  • children
  • same-sex weddings
  • hiring professionals
  • social media

I don’t pretend to have something for absolutely everyone (budgets, as well as taste, will vary enormously), but I am convinced that there is so much in the wedding guide for everyone (from first-timers to wedding planners!).

I am delighted to be the one to fill what seems to be a huge gap in the market.

If you know somebody who might benefit from this handbook, please put them in touch with me. It’s easy to buy: just click here, and you’ll be through to Amazon.

I am not actually anticipating a million-seller block-buster, but I am really excited to be offering practical help to couples, so that they can have the wedding they are dreaming about!