By Tiernan Cannon
We’re not trying to steal the butterflies from your belly. You’re in love, excited and newly engaged. Congratulations! Really. But we do have to point out that weddings are expensive. Very, very expensive.
But worry not, we’ll get you through this. Check out the tips and advice below and maybe you can take the edge off some of the costs, and instead invest those savings directly into the future that lies ahead of you.
Balancing the budget
There are an unholy amount of costs that go into a wedding, and it is essential that you are aware of these. The first step is to go through your combined savings and incomes, and be realistic when deciding what you can afford.
Next, draw up a list of what you’d like at your wedding, from balloons to the band you’ve always wanted. Consult married friends and family members to see what they paid for at their weddings, or do some research on forums like weddingsonline.ie or mrs2be.ie. Collate your findings in a spreadsheet, get a rough estimate of the costs, and then see where you can make some cuts.
You really need to be ruthless about what you can afford. If you’re worried that people will think your wedding is cheap because it doesn’t have a chocolate fountain, relax. Realistically, all that most people will recall from your big day is the food and the band. Bite the bullet!
Once you’ve decided what you don’t need, look for ways to reduce the remaining costs. Take the invitations, for example, which can easily absorb a chunk of your budget. You could save quite a bit by buying the card in bulk (browse aliexpress.com or dhgate.com for ideas), and requisitioning the talents of a crafty family member who has taken a few calligraphy courses and is handy with a glue gun. Or, if the invitations aren’t really that important to you, you could always send an email.
Now, the question of who to invite? If you’ve drawn up a guest list and it’s a little larger than you’d like, then you’ll just have to be merciless. It might seem harsh, but it’s your special day and your money. Imagine the tables were turned. It’s actually your second half-cousin, twice removed (that you haven’t seen since you were seven) who is getting married, and you have discovered that they haven’t invited you. Would you really mind? Probably not.
Many venues offer great reductions on weddings taking place on dates in the off season. Winter generally works out cheaper than summer – though Christmas or New Years can be tremendously expensive dates. However, even if you want a summer wedding, there will be savings to be made by booking mid-week instead of the weekend. Take your time when booking the venue and check out what deals are available to you. Don’t be afraid to negotiate on the price, or try to get something extra included for free.
The season is also something you should consider when choosing your flowers. Flowers currently in season will generally work out cheaper than those that are not – your florist should be able to recommend the more affordable options, or you can do a little research online.
When it comes to paying for everything, avoid a loan at all costs. The very fact that you’re getting married suggests that you’re looking to settle down – perhaps to get on the property ladder? The last thing you need is even more loans to repay, so if you can’t afford the extravagant royal wedding that you had envisioned, just let it go and downsize. The end result will be the same, except you won’t be crippled by debt.
Instead of taking out a loan for a wedding in 12 months, set aside some funds each month for a date in two years’ time. If you can manage to save a combined €700 each month that will net you a total of €16,800 by the time of your big day, enough to have quite the party.