Arranging a wedding is one of the most stressful times you will ever go through in your life, however handling the cost of it all will be the biggest pitfall you will face. There are however a huge number of ways in which you can save money, so we have created the following checklist for you to consider before jumping right in.

1) Keep The Guest List Tight

It can be tempting to invite all of your friends from school days, everyone you met while travelling and anyone you've ever shared a drink with. If you're looking to reduce costs at the reception, then we recommend writing a list of everybody you could potentially invite, and then cutting it down. It can feel harsh, but you need to be strict with yourself. Most people will expect to bring a plus one, but it's okay to limit any extra guests. 

If people ask why they can't bring someone, have a consistent reason planned out. Whether it's "we wanted a more intimate wedding with just close friends and family" or "the venue had a maximum capacity which we have already reached", a set excuse will work a charm.

2) Be Prudent With The Wedding Dress

You don't have to spend an absolute fortune to look gorgeous. While the average wedding dress costs just over £1,000, you can now find a beautiful dress on the high street for around £300-£500. If you really want to save money, you could consider a second-hand dress. Etsy, Depop and other social shopping apps are making it even easier to pick up a great quality second-hand dress at a heavily knocked down price, so don't rule out this option just yet. This also goes to the groom as well!

3) Cheaper Transport

You could hire a limo for the day, or you could contact your family and friends and see if anyone owns a special vehicle. If someone owns a stunning vintage car, then this would not only make you arrive in style, but you can pretty much guarantee that you'll be the only one in your friendship group to have done it. 

4) The Music

While traditionally people would hire a band or a singer to play at their wedding, the use of a playlist or Spotify is starting to gather pace. This way, you can make a personal list of all of your favourite tracks, or contact each attendee to write one song they would love to hear on the day. 

If you do decide to go down the traditional route, why not find out if anyone has any family or friends that play in a band and would be willing to play for the day. However, make sure you listen to them first. The last thing you want is for them to wreck the day. You also might want to bring along some equipment to play music on, just in case something goes wrong.

5) The Ceremony Venue

If you really want to save money, you could head straight to a registry office for around £200 - £400. You would need to provide at least 16 days notice and have some friends there to witness the ceremony, however, this isn't popular among many as it can take away the magic of the day a little.

6) The Reception Venue

This will account for a huge proportion of your costs, so this should be a key consideration. 

The first is how long you want to hire the venue for. You can save a lot of money by simply restricting the hours you'll be staying there for. You can move on to a new bar for anyone wanting to carry on into the night. 

The second is to pick a location based on the attendance number. If you think you could handle that many in your garden, then why not bring everyone back to your place? Alternatively, many pubs are willing to make a deal for a private section to be hired out for the evening. Even a village hall could be a lot cheaper, but just as much fun! 

7) Wedding Support Over Gifts

It's tempting to write up a long list of things you would like from your guests. Instead, you could see if any of them would be willing to take on any of the tasks themselves. From catering to photography, these all add up on the final bill, therefore it would be extremely frugal to utilise any creative skills your friends and family might have. 

8) Cater Yourself

Do you have any chefs among your friendship group? They don't even have to be Michelin star! Just make sure that it's easy, homecooked food that can be heated up and enjoyed at the venue. You could ask people to bring their own cakes and nibbles, meaning you'll have a mouth-watering treats table that is sure to be enjoyed by all. 

And, if you've got any friends who are looking for some extra cash - teenagers perhaps - maybe ask them if they'd like to help out with the table service. 

9) Clever Flower Decisions

Flowers are a beautiful addition to any wedding decorations, but they can cost a fortune and will die within a few days. 

So, to cut costs you could do one of the following:

  • Fake Flowers - A few people may notice they aren't real, but who cares! 
  • Pick them yourself - If you're lucky enough to live near the countryside, then why not send some friends out to go flower picking on the morning of the big day? If not for the whole venue, then a rose for each bridesmaid or boutonnières for the groomsmen! 
  • Avoid wedding chat - When talking to the florist, don't mention you are getting married. They tend to hike up the prices when they see an opportunity. Instead, try to enquire about the ones you are interested in and get a definitive price, then you can mention your wedding afterwards to see if you can get a bulk discount.

10) Trade-Up The Cake

Instead of spending money on an overpriced wedding cake, then why not make the most of your local baker and ask them to design some beautiful cupcakes? It'll be half the cost of one of those traditional tiered cakes, and you'll ensure that each of your guests gets one! Even better, you could find out the different flavours and ask each attendee on the wedding invitation what flavour they would like.

11) Make Your Own Invitations

If you are feeling creative, you could design your own invitations. This will make for a fun weekend with your hubby-to-be as you come up with quirky ideas and open up the craft cupboard. Or, a quick search online will show a list of affordable printers who'll be able to design and print your invitations in bulk. 

12) Skip The Open Bar

There is no doubt that everybody loves an open bar. However, the costs of this will go through the roof, so you might want to find an alternative. 

You could provide one or two drinks per table, whether that's a bottle of wine or crate of beer, and ask people to pay at the bar when they've run out. 

Or, you could arrange to BYOB (bring your own booze). This will work great if you choose to host your reception in your garden or another open space. Be careful, some venues will have a corkage charge or won't allow you to BYOB at all. Always check with them first. 

13) Make Your Own Wedding Decorations

From table covers, placemats and bunting, there are a whole host of things you can create yourself. Allow your wedding to be a place filled with creativity and homemade inspirations. If anything, it will be a day to remember for everyone who attends. 

14) Honeymoon - Expensive Doesn't Mean Better

It's totally natural to want the presidential suite in an expensive hotel on a desert island. We're not saying you shouldn't stay in the Bahamas if you have the budget, but there are so many exciting and gorgeous locations you can go to for your honeymoon. 

Head to the breathtaking Scottish highlands, or visit cities in Europe that will offer cheaper accommodation. The honeymoon should be the last thing you stress about. This is the time to sit back and look forward to your married life together. It's being with your partner that is the most important part. 

15) Research The Cost Of Everything

Don't put your money down on anything until you've thoroughly researched all options and competitors. From photographers to wedding cakes, you might think you're getting a good deal, yet a little bit more digging could find you a cheaper option or might reveal you're paying over the odds! 
So whether you're planning a hen weekend in Marbella or a fun Brighton hen party, we have the activities for you.