No. 1 – Don’t Get Married on a Saturday…in July
Around 80% of weddings held in the UK take place in 20% of the year – at weekends during the peak wedding season, which runs from April to September and includes Christmas. During this time, venues and suppliers are guaranteed to be busy and so don’t need to discount their prices to draw in potential couples.
Taking advantage of the days and months when venues and suppliers are less busy is possibly the biggest saving you can make, as they will often be able to do significant discounts for weddings booked mid-week or during the off-season months, even if they aren’t advertised.
So why not take advantage of the beautiful English Autumn and go for a gorgeous jewel-toned wedding in October, or make a week of it and get married on a Thursday? Family and friends will not mind taking the day off and your bank balance will love you too!
No. 2 – Take Your Time…or Consider a Last Minute Do
Most engagements last around 18 months. This sounds like a long time but arranging the perfect day takes plenty of research! As a result, many desirable venues and suppliers are booked one or two years in advance. By having a long engagement, you can spend time finding the best deals without the pressure, and once you find the perfect venue you can take advance of hire and supply prices before they increase.
Waiting longer also means that you can wait for discounts, sales and deals to come to you. How many times have you bought something only to get an e-mail the following week or month offering a discount on that exact item? With a long engagement you have time to wait for your favourite dress designer’s sample sale, or for online stationery companies to release their discount codes.
On the other hand, consider a last minute wedding (less than nine months). Because most couples book their weddings a year to 18 months in advance, many wedding venues and suppliers will consider dates which are less than nine months away and not already booked as “dead”. They are therefore more likely to offer you a discount or deal if you book your wedding on one of these last minute dates as receiving a discounted fee is better than having none at all.
No. 3 – Scrap the Traditional Sit-Down Meal
In the last few years we’ve seen a definite shift away from stiff, formal affairs towards more relaxed and informal settings, and so ditching the traditional wedding breakfast is a great way to save your cash. Instead of a three-course meal, why not opt for a food-truck style buffet where guests can help themselves to a variety of offerings such as freshly made stone-baked pizzas or pie and mash in customised boxes? You can even tie your choices into your theme or serve a signature cocktail instead of expensive Champagne.
Hog roasts and BBQs are also a great, popular choice and are significantly cheaper than traditional wedding menus. You can still set out tables for your guests to sit at, but allowing them to pull up a chair wherever they wish will create a more relaxed atmosphere and will save you money on seating charts and name places cards too!
No. 4 – Fake the Cake (or Do Without)
For 2016, the focus continues to shift away from elaborate and ornate wedding cakes which is good news for your budget as even outside of London, traditional tiered wedding cakes are expensive.
Many couples are opting for a small cake for a photo op as opposed to something which will feed their guests. If you do want a cake, one great trick is to find a baker who can make a fake, decorated cake with only the top (smallest) layer real for cutting. Then ask your baker to make a basic undecorated sheet cake which you can cut behind the scenes and to serve to your guests who will be none the wiser!
Alternatively, consider not having a cake at all – especially if you are planning to serve dessert. Dessert bars are becoming increasingly popular, and the most prevalent trend is the downsizing of desserts into individual portion sizes, presented in fun and unique ways – think cheesecake in jam jars! This means you can offer a wide variety of desserts while creating a beautiful and interactive display – no one is going to miss the wedding cake!
No. 5 – Seasonal, Abundant Foliage
Whether the style is rustic or elegant, we are seeing more and more brides wanting their floral design to be full with gorgeous masses of greenery and beautiful textures – something we couldn’t be happier about! Tapping into this trend also represents a great way to save money, or at least make your money go further.
Firstly, pick seasonal choices. Locally grown and sourced blooms will be much cheaper than those which have come from half way across the continent. If you’re getting married in September, ditch the peony dream and go for a beautiful bunch of deep, rich dahlias, or a delicate posy of gypsophila.
Secondly, speak to your florist about foliage, rather than flowers. You can still create that beautiful abundant look with leafy greens and could save hundreds. For 2016, bridal bouquets are larger and looser with a focus on texture and wildness, so it’s a great time to opt for an on-trend all-green bouquet, or to make the most of trailing foliage as your table centrepieces.
No. 6 – Hire an Expert
Aaaaand finally! Hiring a wedding planner may seem like an unnecessary extravagance, but our expertise and connections could help you to save money in the long run.
If you’ve already booked your venue or don’t need as much help with the choosing and hiring of vendors but still want someone to help with all the logistics of the day itself, hiring our on-the-day coordination service might be the way to go (if you’d like information about how hiring a planner could help you, have a look here).