How to Beat Your Wedding Budget
The joy and elation of getting engaged can quickly turn to panic as you begin to put your budget together and think "how do we afford this"?
But there are many ways in which you can look to save money without having to compromise on quality and here, we at JMS Creative, introduce you to a few cost-saving tips to help you bring all of your estimated costs together.
Set your wedding budget and give yourself a financial overhaul
It's always good to keep a regular check on what you're spending, but there's perhaps no better time than once that question has been popped.
Be brutal with your analysis and don't forget that the little things add up - a £2.50 coffee on the way to work or at lunch time every day may seem a small cost, but over the course of an 18-month engagement, that could add up to a massive £975!
The first thing you should do once the initial excitement has died down and the champagne has been put on ice, is work out what you can afford. It's tempting to want to spend big - thinking that it's a once in a lifetime occasion - but planning your finances early on can lead to less stress and heartache further down the line.
There are lots of free budget planning tools out there, but take a look at this one from weddingwire.co.uk which also allows you to download an app to update on the go:
Traditionally it was the father of the bride who picked up the tab but times have moved on and many couples these days pay for much of their wedding themselves. Parents are always a good starting point though - ask them if they can and want to contribute and put that into your wedding fund. It might be a good idea to set up a separate account or savings pot with your bank so you can keep your wedding funds away from your day to day spending.
Next, why not take a look at your own finances to see if you are able to save a regular amount every month? In addition to this, try and highlight areas that you can make a saving on. Be brutal with your analysis and don't forget that the little things add up - a £2.50 coffee on the way to work or at lunch time every day may seem a small cost, but over the course of an 18-month engagement, that could add up to a massive £975!
Don't forget to look into the mundane things as well - now is as good a time as any to find out whether you have the best deal for things like your energy bills and if you can get a better deal elsewhere, go for it...small changes can make big differences!
Once you've identified all the potential savings you can make in your everyday lives, set up a direct debit into the bank account or savings pot you've set up as a result of our earlier advice, and watch the pot grow!
It's not what you know, it's who you know!
One of the best ways to save a bit of cash when planning your wedding is to look towards the skills of your friends and family. We don't like to use the word exploit...perhaps utilise is better!
For instance, you may know someone who's got a really nice vehicle - or who works for a car dealership and could borrow one for a day - to save on the cost of your wedding motor (Mark's mum's best friends provided us with two beautiful Mercedes). Or you may know someone who's a dab hand in the kitchen and could create you a beautiful wedding cake (my Auntie Mary made ours and did a fab job incorporating our sunflower theme!)
We also wowed our guests with some beautiful singers in the church whilst signing the register - courtesy of a couple of my mum's music students from school!
If no-one immediately springs to mind, write down a list of your nearest and dearest and then jot down their jobs and hobbies to see if anything sticks out as being useful!
Don't be worried about asking for help - you'll be surprised how much people will consider it an honour to be involved in your Big Day (although the worry of getting the cake to our reception venue did give Auntie Mary a few (more) premature grey hairs!
Work out the number on your guest list
Maths was never one of my favourite subjects at school (although I do love a good spreadsheet now), but it does pay to do your homework and add up your guest numbers from the start.
One of the biggest ways of cutting costs dramatically is to be strict with your guest list. Fewer guests means less cost! That's not to say you shouldn't have who you want with you on your Big Day, but it does mean you could perhaps prioritise those who you are closest to and invite everyone else for the mother of all parties in the evening!
And remember, when it comes to your wedding invitations, you don't need one per person! One per couple - or household - is all you need.
We believe we have wedding stationery to cater for all budgets - invitations in our showroom start from as little as £1.50 each - but another way you can beat your budget without having to compromise too much is to again prioritise your daytime guests. Many of our brides and grooms like to go for something a little more extravagant for their daytime guests and then go for something a little less indulgent for their evening guests (following the same design of course so that there is still a consistent look to your day which we strongly believe in at JMS Creative!)
Avoid the high season and think mid-week!
Let's face it, a summer in England does not guarantee that your Big Day will be hot, hot, hot in terms of the weather!
If you're not set on a summer wedding, then setting your date outside of the wedding season could mean that venues are happy to 'do a deal' to get your custom. Your guests might like getting wrapped up warm on a crisp winter's day to celebrate with you!
How about a Christmas wedding?
Most places will probably have their own decorations up which can save you a bit of cash on 'venue dressing'.
Spring, Summer, Autumn or Winter, JMS Creative has a wedding stationery collection to match - use the clever 'style selector' at our online shop for inspiration once you've decided on your date!
But don't just think January to December, think Monday to Sunday too.
Saturday is obviously the most popular day for a wedding with Friday coming a close second, but how about a mid-week wedding? Give your guests enough notice with one of our Save the Date cards and they will probably appreciate the opportunity to take a day off work for a celebration!
My economics teacher will be proud that I remember the basic rules of supply and demand, but opting to go for days on which there is less demand will help you to drive the cost of your wedding down.
Talk to your supplier
Life works best when people work with people (the personal service we provide at JMS Creative is something we're exceptionally proud of) and at the end of the day, it doesn't hurt to have a conversation with your suppliers to see if there's anything that they can do with their prices.
This works especially well when your date is out of season as we suggest in our previous tip.
If you get a 'no', then no harm done, but you may get a nice surprise. Remember, if you don't ask, you don't get!
We are always happy to talk to brides and grooms who may be looking to save pennies (we've been there ourselves) which is why you will find all of our stationery priced open and honestly with no hidden extras. In our showroom, you can view all of our invitations by price so that you can make a decision early on about what kind of style you would like to invest in. Save the Date cards start from as little as 95p each and invitations start from just £1.50! Plus, our professional, expert advice is all free of charge, so no need to worry about what you might be ordering on the internet...
Think outside the box
Easier said than done we hear you cry! But a bit of creative thinking can do wonders for your wedding budget!
For instance, in this day and age, most people take photos on their phone and are rather snap happy when it comes to someone's nuptials.
Use a free photo sharing site like WedPics for your guests to share their photos. Guests often catch moments when you're totally unaware you're being 'caught on camera' and can come up with some truly memorable snaps (check out our 'I Spy' cards to create a fun game for your guests).
And if you want, we can bring these all together and create you a unique and beautiful 'alternative wedding album' which incorporates your theme and is full of your guests' photographs.
This is one of the most important and special days of your life and we're not suggesting that you don't have an official photographer, but this approach may allow you to cut down on the time you need one for which in turn may have an impact on your budget.