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Weddings don’t have to cost the earth or take over your entire life. If you and your partner can think outside the box and get creative, you’ll reap the rewards.
I’m getting married. Sound the klaxons! No, seriously, it’s kind of a big deal because when I was 10 I signed a contract to state that I wouldn’t get wed as I didn’t believe in marriage as a constitution. However, I’ve since changed my mind (I’ll be elaborating on this further in another post, betcha can’t wait?), and at the grand old age of 33, I’ll be wed in October this year.
True love isn’t cheap
Never one for letting a romance get in the way of a chat about budgeting, my partner and I turned swiftly from the joy of our partnership to the cost of a wedding. A typical wedding will set you back thousands, and that’s on top of the wads of cash couples will have already spent during their courtship. According to data from Gumtree, Brits will fork out an average of £6,382 from first date to ‘I do.’ So, for most couples, the finances splurged on a potential wedding could arguably be better spent on a deposit for a flat or towards the cost of kids (real or planned). It’s the same for me and my partner – we certainly don’t want to start off married life in debt for the sake of a big old fancy wedding. But equally, we do want the day to be special, have room for our large families, and be an event. It only happens once, right? *Insert cheeky wink.*
Being honest about your budget
With all that in mind, one of the first things my partner and I did after we had come to terms with the momentous decision we’d just made, was talk about our budget. We have always been honest about cashflow. I wrote recently about how my partner helped me get out of debt a couple of years ago. We are lucky in that we already have savings and that both sets of parents have also offered to help. I do not want our wedding to be stressful – we’ve all heard the horror stories, right? Sharing the load emotionally when you go through a big transition with your partner is also something that relationship expert and psychologist, Dr Becky Spelman, advised when she recently worked with Gumtree.
That’s something me and my marginally better half are careful about too and we have now set a budget, done a handy spreadsheet, and divvied up jobs between us. We are also very clear on the aspects of the wedding we don’t want to shell out for, and – lucky for us – we agree on those things. Case in point – decorations. The cost of ready-made decorations and hire of items (such as table cloths) mount up quickly. However, my favourite weddings to attend have been the ones where the couple and their family and friends made decorations or the cake. Not only can you save tonnes, you also give it that all-important personal touch. This is why we plan to make all of our decor – from hand-knitted bunting to lanterns – we’re making or upcycling the lot.
Get creative to get the wedding you want
If you don’t possess natural designer skills (hello, that’s us), it can be overwhelming to think about how you’re going to deck out a large room or a hall for your reception. Luckily for us, we have some members of our respective families who are crafting masters. We’ve been bowled over by the number of people who’ve offered their skills – my advice to all to-be-weds? Accept all offers of help! Also, take ideas from the weddings you’ve been to as well as those pictured on websites such as Pinterest and then purchase those items on sites such as Gumtree, which can be much cheaper than shopping on the high street.
Why I love the internet
My mum’s already been working on wedding lantern prototypes – yes, that is what we’re calling them. They’re made using knitting wool, glue, and balloons. Mum came up with the idea after finding this how-to video online – fascinating, right? Not only is this saving us a tonne of cash, it’s also pretty fun and they’re looking better and better, if I do say so myself. You can buy a load of wool and balloons on Gumtree and other recycle and reuse sites online for not very much at all. Once we’ve made them, we’re going to string them with a long old line of fairy lights. Fairy lights are a wedding staple, obviously, but you can’t be buying them in the shops – buying them online is way cheaper and you’ll have far more access to bundled deals as well as lights used only once from other people’s weddings – look at these beauties! I’ve also got my eye on these lovely lanterns – I’m getting married in a large, rather dark hall and we’ll need some help with lighting!
My friend Suze saved hundreds on her wedding dress last year, too. She told me about a nifty idea she had that really paid off. She’d fallen in love with a particular designer, and tried on her perfect dress in the shop. It looked stunning but there was one rather obvious snag – it cost thousands! Not one to be thwarted, she then found the dress on Gumtree for a fraction of the price by inserting the name of the designer into the search bar. And that, ladies and gents, is why I love the internet.