Apparently the average cost of a wedding despite the recession in the UK is £22,000. Now whilst I'm certainly not criticising those who have big shindigs (if I had the money I'd probably do it), I do think there are cheaper ways to celebrate in style for those who either don't have or don't want to spend so much. The bridal industry has successfully taught us that getting married has to cost a fortune. In fact Brides Magazine (whilst I love it for ideas and advice) doesn't seem to agree with my concept of what a budget wedding is. In one issue it cites an example of a bride having a budget wedding who only had £12,000 to spend. £12000 does not qualify as budget to me. £1200 yes that's budget but with £12,000 you can have an amazing wedding.
I had a friend once who had put off getting married because she only had a £5,000 budget and didn't think she could afford a wedding. But it turned out that what was putting her off was the notion of a conventional wedding and all the hassle and expense that went with it. But when she worked out what she wanted and looked at cheap ways to make it happen she ended up having the small intimate wedding she'd always wanted all within budget.
Here are some basic money saving ideas:
Work out which are the most important aspects of the day for you. Is it the venue, the dress or the food? Whatever it is this is something you can splurge on. Then write a list in order of what's important to you both and the things at the bottom should be scrapped or the cheapest option used. The main point of budget weddings is that they are totally possible but only if you're prepared to work out what's most important to you and sacrifice the bits that aren't.
Enlist the help of friends and family wherever possible. And not just by helping you on the day. For instance having someone you know make the cake, do your hair and make up, arrange flowers, act as waiters, take photos the list is endless. Don't be afraid to ask - more people will love being involved.
Buy a dress, shoes and accessories on the high street or from sites like eBay. We've seen wedding dresses as low at £20 on eBay and you can always spend a bit of money personalising them. This is a surefire way to save a fortune and with a little shopping around you can get something amazing without blowing 1/5th of your budget. There's no reason why a wedding dress has to come from a bridal shop and as with everything to do with weddings the cost is higher than normal because companies know you've got money to spend.
Make sure you find out what your parents thoughts are (especially if they're paying and/or their opinions are important to you!) early on so there's no surprises later on. This way you can negotiate and explain your choices sooner rather than later and can avoid dramas further down the line when you mum assumed you'd invite the great aunt you've never met, or your best friend assumed she'd be chief bridesmaid and so on.
It's definitely possible to have a wedding on a shoe string - you just have to be creative and think outside the box.