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Your wedding day is a day of romance, love, friends and family and all things optimistic and beautiful. But, as almost all couples can testify, although wedding prep is full of fun stuff, weddings are expensive and there’s still no getting away from the nitty-gritty of the wedding budget. While the main objective is to have a day that reflects you and your partner, it can be hard to juggle all the different costs to make it happen. So we’ve put our thinking caps on and put together 39 Money-Saving Wedding Budget Tips to help you get the most for your money…
Our top tip? Prioritise what you really want, and what is most important for you and your partner. Are you total foodies? Splurge on the catering! Music more your thing? Make sure to secure a fab band and DJ. Or are you all about the style? Then the dress and décor is your big spending point. Spend on what is important to you, and cut costs on things you don’t mind too much about. Hopefully this will help you identify some areas where you can make cuts!
The Biggie: How To Save On Your Wedding Venue
1. Off-Peak Bargains – Choose Your Wedding Date Wisely
Some venues offer deals for mid-week weddings, as well as off-season dates (November, early December, January and February). Contact any possible wedding venue choices and ask about their different options.
2. Pick A Venue That Reflects Your Style
Think ahead, and save yourself money and Pinterest heartache, by picking a venue with interesting décor you love and that suits the kind of wedding you would like. The less you have to do to “decorate”, the more you will save on the little bits and pieces. A chic restaurant is a great option for this.
3. Cut the Guest List
Not the most politically fun thing to do, but if you’re serious about saving, the number one thing you can do is cut the number of guests you’re having. The reception (venue, food, drink) is going to be about 50% of your budget so if you want to cut costs, cut the head count. You can always invite people to a get-together in the pub, or the afters if you would like to include them. The good news is that, these days, people are more accepting of small guest lists than they were years ago.
Tips for Saving on Wedding Stationery
4. Printables: The Easy Way to Gorgeous Invitations
For super cheap and easy décor and stationery, look to printables. We recommend going to a professional wedding stationer for your invitations, but you can find free or cheap printable options for lower-priority stationery items like Save the Dates, ceremony booklets, menus, table plans, table numbers, signage, “be my bridesmaid” cards, etc.
5. Scribe Your Own
If you’re artistically inclined, you could always go full old-school and get out your prettiest pens. Self-scribed stationery is time-consuming for sure, but the results can be really cute and personal. Again, we recommend this option for low-priority stationery items like wedding signage, AKA the kind of items that won’t be hugely missed if you run out of time.
6. Email The Invitations
A controversial one, especially with parents and older guests, but if you’re on a tight budget, you have to look for simple savings, and cutting down on printing and postage will save you a few hundred euro. Opt for one of the many cute printable designs online (some of our favourite wedding stationers offer a bespoke digital stationery design service!) and set up a specific wedding email account for sending them out.
7. Ditch the RSVP Cards
Adding RSVP cards and stamped envelopes to the wedding invitations is adding extra cost, and if you just include a phone number and email address, guests likely won’t notice the difference.
Don’t Go (Too) Crazy on Décor
8. Pick & Choose Your DIY Projects Wisely
Don’t get overwhelmed by jam jars and bunting, and take on DIY if you’re not creative. Instead, pick one area of your wedding that you can DIY – whether it be your favours, ceremony booklets, escort cards, or cake – and focus on doing that well. You will save on cash, stress and paper cuts, trust us!
9. Don’t Get Carried Away With The Little Extras
Prioritising is important here – do you really need a sweet table, dessert bar, photo booth, individual place cards, etc.? As pretty as they are, they’re often not noticed by guests.
10. Dump the Wedding Favours (if you’re not into them!)
This is another one that surprises the more traditional parents, but wedding favours are very much an “extra” these days, and at a minimum of €2 a pop (even the homemade ones) for 100 guests, that’s a couple of hundred euro you could spend elsewhere. Also, they often get left behind and if you’ve made them by hand, feelings might be hurt.
11. Think of Decor as an Investment
When buying wedding décor, consider whether you will want it as a permanent fixture in your home or is it going to end up being dumped in the garden shed, or put up on eBay? If it’s something you’re going to treasure, then it’s a good idea, if it’s just clutter, then consider hiring or borrowing, which leads us onto the next point…
12. Ask Your Florist for Decor
Ask your florist what decor they have hidden away that you might hire or borrow, they always have a shed-load of decorative items from lanterns and vases, to bottles and bowls, you never know what secret treasures might bring your look together.
Save Cash with a Few Little Tweaks with the Flowers
13. Reuse & Recycle
Don’t be afraid to multi-task your flowers from the ceremony space right through to your reception. For example, those pew ends or lanterns can be brought by the groomsmen (or a good friend) and reinstalled on the tables or in the entrance hall.
14. Stick with One Flower
Flowers are sold in bulk, and the more types you have, the higher the cost. So opt for a bouquet and arrangements made with just one type of flower. You’ve seen the arrangements of bunches of hydrangea or lots of lavender, it’s simple, chic, and will save you a fortune compared to elaborate arrangements with 12 different blooms.
15. Pick Flowers That Are In Season
Every flower has a “proper” season when they should be in bloom, but nowadays many are available all year round, because they’re being grown on the other side of the world, which makes them expensive! Every florist will be able to advise the best time of year for your favourite florals. Staying within season for your bouquets will save both hassle and money – and it’s way better for the environment!
16. A Beautiful Budget Bouquet
Baby’s breath, or to give it it’s proper name, Gypsophila, has always been known throughout the floral world as a cheap filler but is now commonly used on its own. For some inspiration, check out our Gypsophilia budget wedding ideas. Foliage is another great option for chic, budget-conscious bouquets.
Wedding Catering: Keeping the Budget Sweet
17. Opt For A Single-Tiered Wedding Cake
Go for quality over quantity and have a stylish and delicious single-tiered wedding cake – here are lots of gorgeous ones to inspire you!
18. Fake The Wedding Cake
If a tall traditional work of art is your idea of a wedding cake but you don’t have the budget, then a really easy trick for creating the illusion on a smaller budget is to include some fake layers (made of styrofoam decorated as normal) to make it more impressive. You could even have a complete fake cake, and serve slices of simple iced cake instead. Talk to your wedding cake baker – they know this trick well!
19. Or Do it Yourself
Unless you’re a professional, we don’t really encourage baking your own wedding cake, you’ve too much to do! But if a good friend or family member is a pro, and wants to contribute, then making your own cake can save substantially. Another popular option is asking a number of guests to contribute sweet treats to a DIY cake table – we’ve written a handy guide for that one here.
20. Simple, Store-Bought Treats
If wedding cake isn’t a priority to you or your other half, then there are great options available to buy in shops. Good old Marks & Spencer often has a tasty selection and was the choice for real wedding couples Dan and Carolyn and Georgie and Ben.
21. Stick with Seasonal
Applying the same principle as with flowers, stick with wedding food choices that are in season. This will save you time and money, and local and seasonal will taste better. Lamb in winter should be a no go, similarly fresh berries for your desserts would work much better in summer.
22. You Don’t Have to Have a Sit Down Meal
If you’re having a more relaxed wedding day, then why not opt for a buffet style meal, a BBQ or a picnic? Informal dining is really popular these days, and the options have become a lot more sophisticated. In general, less courses means less cost. Check out these cool food truck options for more inspiration.
Wedding Style on a Budget
23. Grab a Bargain at a Sample Sale
Sample sales really are a (very glamorous) bargain-hunter’s dream with savings of up to 70% on designer dresses. Lots of lovely brides we know with upcoming nuptials will be rocking designer sample sale beauties. Follow your favourite designers and boutiques on social media, sign up for their email newsletters and keep up to date with the latest sales over on our event calendar, and save yourself hundreds!
24. Find a Wedding Dress on the High Street
If a high end, designer wedding dress isn’t important to you, high street could be a great choice – just look at stunning real wedding bride Andressa in Coast!
25. Rent a Gown
Renting is another great option if you’re after something particularly high end. You’ll find a list of our favourite wedding dress rental boutiques in Ireland here. Imagine having your dream wedding dress for as little as €50!
26. Visit a Charity Wedding Dress Boutique
Specialist charity shops are another great budget wedding option! Many of them carry brand new dresses donated by boutiques and bridal designers, meaning you could find a gorgeous, new wedding dress for under €500! Our favourites in Ireland are Barnardos Bridal Rooms and NCBI Bridal Rooms.
27. Accessorise With Family Heirlooms
Like lots of our real wedding brides, you can bring a borrowed element into your bridal look with parents’ or grandparents’ jewellery and accessories. Your ‘something borrowed’ can save you a few hundred euro, and give your bridal look a unique and sentimental twist, too!
28. Groomswear On A Budget
Hiring a suit is a great option if funds are tight – you’ll find a list of suit hire rental stores in Ireland here.
29. Hit the High Street for Shoes
If you’re wearing a long gown, your guests will hardly see your shoes, and if you’re having portraits taken outside, they’re probably going to get scuffed, too! So a high street pair can be a really practical option. If you have your heart set on designer heels, our top tip is to choose a pair you can wear again and again – this often means going for a colourful or metallic pair, as opposed to white or ivory.
The Bridal Party Bargains: Bridesmaids & Groomsmen
30. Limit Your Numbers
Do you really need a team of bridesmaids? Limit the number in your bridal party to make buying bridesmaid dresses and paying for hair and makeup more manageable. A simple way to keep numbers low is to stick to immediate family.
31. Affordable and Wearable (Again)
Whether you have one or 10, your bridesmaids will still need some pretty dresses! For cost effective options, look to high street brands like Coast and Pamela Scott.
32. Rent The Runway
Renting bridesmaids dresses is a good option if you don’t have a big budget for wedding party outfits. You’ll find our favourite rental spots here.
Mixing it Up: Options for the Entertainment on a Budget
33. DIY Music
We highly recommend live music and a professional DJ, but if the budget just isn’t there, you can always nominate a friend to deliver your DJ set. Just make sure they get in touch with the venue or provider of the PA system to iron out any technical difficulties in advance, and that they’re willing to play the hits! Our Spotify playlists are a good starting point.
34. Go Social with the Photobooth
A photo booth is great fun, but can be costly. For a DIY version, head to a party supplies store to pick up some props and masks (Tiger usually has a good selection). Then just invite your guests to take their own snaps – you could create your own hashtag to collect the photos, or use a photo-sharing app. If you’re thinking of Polaroid cameras, price it up before you commit – the film can be expensive!
35. Be Careful With Your Drinks
Instead of offering a drink for a toast, just keep the wine flowing – people won’t notice the difference at the time, and you will definitely notice the difference on the bar bill!
Getting There in Style – Save on Transport
36. Travel in Style
Transport can often be a forgotten expense, if having a particular car isn’t important to you, ask a friend or family member with a fancy car to help you out on the day; you’ll save money, and they’ll provide a unique wedding gift, so everybody wins.
How to Save on The Honeymoon
37. Honeymoon At Home
You don’t have to spend a fortune on a luxurious honeymoon away, honeymoons in Ireland or the UK are much more popular nowadays and can be just as romantic. For a list of some of our favourite spots have a look at our favourite honeymoon destinations in Ireland, our favourite romantic hideaways in Ireland, and our favourite UK mini moon Ideas.
38. Have A Mini Moon
Mini moons are, as the name would suggest, a shorter break away after your wedding. European cities are particularly popular for a mini moon, and they cost far less than two weeks in the Maldives!
39. Delayed Gratification
Remember – you don’t have to have the honeymoon straight away! If you have your heart set on a tropical getaway, enjoy your wedding, save a little, and get a better deal at a different time of year. That way you also have something amazing to look forward to down the line.
Think Value Not Cost
Ultimately, this list is just an indicator of things you could do, it’s important not to scrimp on every single thing, but to make savings in areas that are not that important to you, and keep your hard-earned cash to spend on what you will enjoy and remember forever.
Need more Budgeting Tips?
You can apply for an AIB personal loan today and make your dreams become a reality. Head to the AIB App or check out the online loan calculator on the AIB website for more details.
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