18 June 2015

How to cut costs on your wedding day

If you’re planning a wedding in the near future, money’s likely to be on your mind – and with good reason. Weddings can be expensive. We take a look at what you might be spending and where you could save.

The cost of saying ‘I do’ has risen 5% over the past 5 years, with the average bride and groom spending £20,983 on their nuptials in 2014, up from £20,020 in 2009, according to a survey by You & Your Wedding magazine .

While half of couples will get at least some financial support from their parents towards their big day and 11% are lucky enough to have the bill footed completely, around 35% of people will cover all the costs themselves.

But how long will it take an average couple to save up such a significant sum?

Well, we’ve done the maths. If both spouses earn the national average salary of £27,200 a year and are able to put £360 – i.e. 10% of their income after tax – aside each month, it would take them 4 years and 10 months to save up the cost of the average wedding.

However, if you’d like to tie the knot sooner, there are a number of ways you can easily cut the budget without compromising on your big day. We take a look at some easy ways to reduce your wedding costs.

Get married on a Friday or Sunday

Saturday is the traditional day to get married, but you could save hundreds, or even thousands of pounds by holding your nuptials on another day of the week. The biggest saving is likely to be your venue. For example, St Augustine’s in Kent offers a 15% discount on Fridays and 20% off the price on Sundays, while The Ash Barton Estate in Devon offers a 25% discount for midweek weddings. It’s also worth checking, if you can get a discount on other products and services such as your wedding cars and hair and makeup.

Make your own invitations

With research from Brides Magazine showing that the average bride and groom spend around £240 on wedding stationery, making your own wedding invitations could be the key to saving a significant sum. One of the cheapest ways to make personalised invites is to buy a pre-designed template from Etsy. Prices start at around £5 and you simply add in your wedding details and print off the number you need. Even if you factor in an ink cartridge for your printer and the cost of paper, you should be able to do all your invites for under £50.

Postpone your honeymoon

The honeymoon is the second biggest wedding outlay after the venue, according to research by You & Your Wedding magazine, with couples spending an average of £3,164 on the trip of a lifetime. Delaying your honeymoon by a few months, or even until your first wedding anniversary, gives you more time to save once all the other wedding expenses have been paid for. Many couples now have a honeymoon gift list or simply ask guests for cash to put towards a holiday rather than a wedding gift.

Choose a second hand dress

Many brides have been dreaming about their wedding dress since they were little and are willing to splash some serious cash on ‘the dress’. The average spend comes in at £1,098, according to You & Your Wedding magazine. However, you could still get an amazing dress, with a much smaller price tag, by buying second hand. Sites such as Sellmyweddingdress.co.uk, Oxfam.org.uk and Preloved.co.uk all sell second-hand wedding dresses, including designer creations by the likes of Jenny Packham, for a fraction of what they would cost new. According to Oxfam, the average cost of a second hand wedding dress is around £250 and brides should expect to pay roughly 30% of what the dress would cost new. Not keen on second-hand for yourself? You could always sell your dress on after the big day and make some of your money back.

Do your own hair and makeup

Having a professional hair and makeup team can ensure you look picture perfect on your big day, but it also comes at an average cost of £220, according to Brides magazine. Why not save some money by using your usual cosmetics and doing your own hair and makeup? If you’re not confident in your own skills, consider getting a free makeover at the beauty counter in your local department store. You can either go along on the day or get them to show you all their tips and tricks in advance. It’s also worth checking if local beauty students will volunteer their services as part of their training.

DIY photobooth

Fun photobooths complete with props are a great way of capturing alternative photos of your guests, but they do come at a cost. Pic Me Photobooth hire is £499 for a four hour hire, including props. Alternatively, you could set up your own photobooth and get guests to snap away themselves. A pack of photobooth props from ebay costs £5.99, while 10 disposable cameras cost around £35.99. 

Forget the flowers

Flowers are a big part of traditional weddings, but with bouquets, buttonholes and table decorations costing an average of £560 according to Brides magazine, they are also one of the more costly elements. Think about whether you really need floral buttonholes or if you can use an alternative to floral table decorations. Many venues have candelabras you can use as centrepieces for a fraction of the cost of fresh flowers. If you have your heart set on flowers, you can save a lot of money buying your blooms direct from a wholesalers and choosing seasonal flowers. For example, using Flowers4florists.com, you could buy 80 white roses and 75 stems of gypsophila for just £127.55. 

Your big day and beyond

For more guidance on planning your big day and how to sort your finances once you are married, why not read our Getting Married guide?

Read the guide

Most popular

You may also be interested in...

Our helpful guides

We've created a range of helpful guides to help you make better financial decisions regardless of your circumstances. Find out more about owning property, growing wealth and planning for life events.

Our products

Whether you are after a current account, a savings account or even looking for a mortgage, Nationwide has a range of great products that could help you, no matter the situation.