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Wedding Budgeting

Hints and Tips for Planning Your Wedding

Budgeting for your wedding is easy. Sticking to it is the difficult part. Below, Paper Alchemy provides some useful advice for wedding planning; hints and tips for keeping within budget and how to cope with that awkward guest list situation.

We would welcome your own wedding planning hints and tips, budgeting advice or comments on this article. Feel free to email us at

Budgeting for Your Wedding

Weddings are notoriously expensive! It doesn't matter how good your budget intentions are when you start, the temptations are just too great and one way or another, the budget bulges!

There are a number of ways you can cut the costs when planning your wedding - maybe you haven't thought about it but the tips below will undoubtedly help to trim the excess from that wedding budget or allow you to spend more in certain areas.

1) The Wedding Date

Obviously weekends are at a premium and you can add on that little bit more in the summer months as well. Decide how important a weekend wedding is - in most cases it can't be avoided. However, it will have a significant effect on budgeting when you realise how venues, photographers, car hire etc. all have increased prices for these prime days and dates.

2) The Location

For both receptions and civil ceremonies in licensed venues, it pays to have a good look around before setting your heart on one. Compare prices for the room, the catering and the accommodation. Don't be afraid to negotiate - remember, at the end of the day, you are business for them.

3) The Guest List

Here's a tricky one! We're going to be mean here - if you're paying for the wedding yourself, only invite people you will be happy to see and share your day with. Imagine which of your friends and family will bring a huge smile to your face as you see them for the first time on the big day. If you only exchange Christmas cards and haven't spoken to them in over a year, are they really worth all that cost?

When parents are involved with paying for the wedding, you have an obligation to listen to their requests. The best way to do this is draw up your own list as above and then allocate 'x' number of people to each set of parents. Let them make the hard decisions and it takes the strain off you. Don't forget, for your sanity, if you have any family members you most definitely do not want invited, discuss this with your parents when giving them their list to fill. It's always better to be open and honest from the outset.

4) The Rings

Having your rings made especially for you may not cost as much as you think and you're guaranteed something truly unique. If you want something special, discuss this with a local jewellery designer. If you have some ideas, sketch them and take them along - you'll never know until you ask!

5) The Dress

Magazines are great for ideas (or run an image search at Google typing in 'wedding dresses' or similar as your search) - cut out pictures of your favourite styles and take them along to a few dress designers and get quotes for them making something similar.

Ask for their advice when choosing fabrics that may still look fantastic, but may be more cost effective. As I've mentioned before, don't be afraid to negotiate - especially if you have bridesmaids dresses or other outfits to buy.

6) The Honeymoon

As with any holiday, peak season will affect the price. You want a fantastic time and a holiday you will always remember - but don't let that stop you from shopping around! There are so many travel websites offering amazing deals that once you've decided when and where you are going, take the time to phone, visit or e-mail as many travel agents as possible to see what they can quote. Try as a starting point.

7) Photography and Videos

Let's start with photography first - you definitely get what you pay for, so my tip here for trimming costs is to spend time discussing what sort of shots you want, and exactly how many. Think about whether you want photos of the hours before the ceremony as well as the hours after. The fewer shots and less time your photographer is around, the cheaper it will get!

Video - do you really need this as well as the photos? If I'm being blunt, how many times will you ever watch this again in comparison to flicking through your photo albums. You will have to pay a fair amount to get a decent result so you could save the money here and get more photos instead.

If you really want to cut back, approach the local college and see if there are students on any photography or film & video courses that may be interested in the experience.

Make sure you see a portfolio of their work first to have an idea of their style and talent. You will be amazed at the number of students that are desperate to get this sort of experience under their belts - and just how good they really are! You can find a list of colleges that run photo courses here at

8) Wedding Invitations and Stationery

Here's a tip that can save you a lot! If you (or a friend) have a computer and a printer, then you're half way there. We have an enormous wedding department dedicated to people making their own invitations and stationery. We provide free downloadable Word templates for all styles of invitations plus step by step instructions and ingredients lists with photos of the finished results.

Whether you want plain and simple card invitations or something with the magical touch of parchment scrolls in a rose petal filled box, then you're in the right place!

9) Flowers

Fresh flowers are beautiful, but they also come with a hefty price tag and sadly don't last much beyond the day. Keep flowers to a minimum but with maximum effect! Cut the costs by doing the flowers yourself, or if you have a family member who's good at arranging, I'm sure they'd be happy to help out. You, or a relative could always attend a night class for flower arranging at your local college. Flower arranging classes can last anything from 3 weeks to a few months - depending on how advanced you want to get.

You can look in Yellow Pages for a local flower wholesaler rather than paying full price from the florist - or take a look here for a uk list of wholesalers.

Instead of table centres, try floating nightlights in glass bowls with scattered rose petals and just have one large floral centrepiece on your top table or cake table. How about tiny potted miniature trees or box hedges on the table centres - you could even weave miniature lights through them for a truly magical display.

You can purchase the miniature battery operated lights at our online store within Find Me A Gift; click here to go straight to that page.

10) The Cake

Have you ever noticed how most wedding guests don't get around to eating the cake? They're usually so full after the reception meal that there's just no room for cake! One option is to make your cake the dessert - and cut the costs of that third course. For this option, you may want to onsider a more 'dessert' style cake like a croquembouche.

Croquembouche comes from the French "croquant" meaning crackling and "bouche" for mouth. Thus croquembouche refers to the crackling in your mouth when eating this traditional dessert. The croquembouche is often the dessert at a French wedding. For full details and a recipe to make your own visit BBC Good Food. Alternatively, have a smaller cake with guests being served 'fingers' rather than slices.

11) Booze

Unless you want a massive bill and a free for all, do not waste money paying for a bar. By all means go for champagne (or Bucks Fizz is a cheap and popular alternative), wine and water but guests fully understand that you can't be expected to pay for everything. If they want to hit the alcohol, let them pay for it!

If you want to find the best prices for champagne, beer, wine and other drink, visit Kelkoo for great comparison shopping.

And finally....although budgeting and cutting costs will always be an issue, don't let it give you sleepless nights. Your day is supposed to memorable and enjoyable and not a financial nightmare, so get the cost cutting and budgeting discussions out of the way very early on so you can enjoy the weeks ahead, rather than dread them.