It's supposed to be the happiest day of your life, but with the average British wedding now costing more than £18,000, it's also one of the most expensive. Wedding budgets have a way of getting out of hand, with lots of the small touches quickly adding up. When you're planning your wedding, it's crucial to work out your priorities, and how much you want to spend. Once you know that, you can start budgeting.
The key to a good wedding is knowing where to spend and where to save. When you know how to save money on non-essential items, everything else will fall into place. To help you on the way, take a look at our handy checklist.
Where to spend
1. The wedding dress
The bride is going to be the centre of attention on the big day, and her dress is going to be admired by every woman in the room. It's worth spending a little extra here. You can use our free budgeting software to work out how much of your budget can be dedicated to the dress, and where to reshuffle the cash from. You can even download our free app to help you keep track of you+r spend on the move.
2. The photographer
If you're thinking of saving money by asking your cousin with the big camera to come and do it all for free, think again. Your wedding day will rush by, and all you'll have to remind yourself of the big day will be your photos. This is definitely an area worth investing in. + Instagram
3. Bubbly and nibbles
For your guests, weddings often involve a lot of standing around and waiting. Keep them happy by providing top-quality canapés before the wedding breakfast, and offer them an extra glass of bubbly (as well as one for the toast).
4. Decorating the venue
If you're getting married in a generic ballroom you'll want to stamp a bit of your own personality on it. You don't have to go over the top, but adding a few personal touches will make the whole evening feel a lot more you.
Where to save
1. The bridesmaid dresses
Nobody will notice what they're wearing when they're standing next to the bride, so instead of spending hundreds on tailor cut dresses, head to the high street. If you're really committed to saving, you could always choose the US route and ask the bridesmaids to pay for their own dresses.
2. DJ / Music
You don't need to pay someone over the odds to play a few cheery tracks - just bring your iPod. Most venues these days offer docking stations, and you can get your friends to join in and add to the playlist before your big day.
These small gifts might be traditional, but they're fast forgotten once the disco starts. With one for every guest the cost adds up, so it might be worth ditching them altogether.
These are always going to be expensive, but you can minimise the cost by cutting back on the amount of flowers you actually use. You can get bouquets and buttonholes for the bridal party, but stick to non-floral centrepieces for the reception.
If you've got any extra money-saving wedding tips, let us know in the comments below!
Posted by Marc Murphy