How to keep costs down at a wedding
With most couples overspending by thousands, Laura Harding sees how to keep costs down
Sunday 06 July 2008
Oversized hats are selling faster than festival wellies and men every- where are off on 4x4 driving stag weekends. It must be the wedding season and "for richer or for poorer" has never seemed so apt.
Amit Bhatia and Vanisha Mittal, the daughter of steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal, managed to rack up bills totalling £30m during their three-day celebrations four years ago – the most expensive wedding of all time. But while not everyone has a billionaire budget, most couples still manage to blow their nuptials savings by almost 25 per cent, amounting to an extra £3,500, according to research by Alliance & Leicester.
A glamorous venue costs an average of £2,200, and that doesn't come close to the bill for those Irish castles favoured by pop stars and glamour girls. Flowers will set you back over £500 and a storybook album of your big day, snapped by a professional photographer, will cost nearly £900.
Then there's the dress – the stuff of fantasies ... and financial nightmares. Even if you aren't Coleen McLoughlin and don't need a £200,000 Marchesa frock to make you feel like a princess, a designer dress will cost at least £1,300. Shoes and jewellery will bump up the clothes bill even more.
But it's on the reception that most couples overspend. People tend to believe it will cost less than £5,000, when £8,000 is a much more common figure.
Richard Al-Dabbagh, head of personal loans at Alliance & Leicester, says: "The expense is greatly underestimated, and it is essential to assess your finances when budgeting for the special day. It may be sensible to opt for a low-rate personal loan."
However, there are other ways to keep costs under control if you don't want to start married life in debt, and planning ahead is important. For example, most venues offer a three-course meal for the wedding breakfast, but if you opt for a buffet you could halve the expense. And consider supplying your own alcohol, as buying in bulk from an off-licence or wholesaler could also reduce the bill – though check if the venue will demand a fee for corkage.
Isabel Eyre, 22, a ministry assistant from Surrey, married Toby Eyre, 25, a doctor from Bristol, last weekend. The couple had a small ceremony at a church in Clifton, followed by a large reception at a country house just outside town. As a young couple, says Isabel, they had to find ways to keep costs down. "We wrote a list of things that were really important to us and we were prepared to spend on, so we could save on the rest.
"We saved loads of money on the cake. Most of the ones we looked at were at least £300. But in the end, Toby's mother made it for nothing.
"We got married at 2pm," she continues, "and we found that having the ceremony later in the day meant we saved lots on food as everyone had already eaten lunch. We just provided tea and cake, which was made by friends, and then a meal in the evening. The best thing to do is rope in friends and make the most of their free services."
The couple also saved a further £500 on making their own wedding favours, with the bride baking heart-shaped biscuits and wrapping them in ribbon and cellophane.
"We also decided not to spend lots on the car since it was such a short drive," adds Isabel. "Lots of people are more than prepared to blow loads of money on an old vintage car, but we just got a nice Mercedes, which was much cheaper."
Even if you manage to arrange your ceremony inside the budget,the fear something could go wrong remains. So some couples take out special insurance to cover them against the cancellation or rearrangement of the wedding and/or reception. Also included as options in these policies will be cover for clothes, gifts, rings, cars, flowers, photos and legal expenses. Prices start at £49, but the higher premium you pay, the more you can claim for.
Carol Richardson from the wedding-planning site confetti.co.uk says it's important to include insurance in your budget. "While we don't want to scare people, there are so many things that can go wrong unexpectedly.
"Last summer, we had someone who got caught up in the floods and her venue ended up under water. The couple had to rearrange everything, but luckily they had insurance," she adds.
"Weather is so unpredictable, but suppliers and photographers can also let you down at the last minute, so the policy gives you peace of mind."
The Microsoft mogul told fans a few home truths during his Reddit AMA
Simon Read: Frozen in time - the expat British pensioners who deserve a better deal
Weekly Money: Round-up of the personal finance stories you may have missed 26-30 January
Revealed: Amazon earns more through government grants than it pays in tax
City Watchdog to investigate banks' handling of PPI compensation claims
Pension firms must ask consumers more questions, says City Watchdog
- 1 Woman falls to her death as she celebrates marriage proposal at the edge of Ibiza cliff
- 2 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Baldness could soon be treated using stem cells, scientists hope
- 5 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
iJobs Money & Business
£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Marke...
£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established ...
£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...
£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Technical Report Writer is re...
Day In a Page
A minimnalist four-bedroom home designed to the highest spec, featuring glass walls and a kitchen space lit by a glass roof
Hibernate during winter and make your living during the summer at this busy guesthouse with panoramic sea views, in the village of Lynton
A four-bedroom penthouse next to the Tate with direct views of St Paul's from two floors of luxurious living space
A four-bedroom detached home surrounded by spacious gardens and woodland, close to New Pudsey
An 18th-century, three-bedroom home near Langstone Harbour built from ships beams with vaulted ceilings and wood burning stoves
A five-bedroom semi-detached home with a mix of period and modern features in a popular and convenient location
This five-bedroom red-brick beauty overlooks the village green and sits in just under two acres of land
A three-bedroom villa with self-contained flat, minutes from Lake Windermere
A deceptively spacious, beautifully presented Georgian home with 3000sq ft of living space and five reception rooms
A five-bedroom Victorian home with four receptions, superb gardens and paddock in Pembury
An eight-bedroom house on the south side of the The Green with cinema, wine cellars and summer house
This 17th century beauty is full of rustic cosiness, while the detached home office means you can also run a business
Four exclusive apartments in a Grade II-listed former medical school with 2,275 sq ft of living space and 18ft ceilings
A five-bedroom terraced house on the popular Peterborough Estate, ideally located for both Eel Brook Common and South Park
A state-of-the-art farm-building conversion on the former Cliveden Estate, with 11,420sq ft of internal space, cinema and wine cellar
A three-bedroom, 15th-century cottage with original features in the picturesque village of Sissinghurst
A six-bedroom terraced house with large south-facing roof terrace, cinema room and wine cellar
A new seven-bedroom home built in Queen Anne-style with swimming pool and parkland views in Mortimer
A listed, four-bedroom farmhouse in the rural hamlet of Rushall with detached barn, four acres of gardens and paddocks
A first-floor flat with two bedrooms, a spacious reception room and communal grounds in a leafy part of London
A three-bedroom flat with a spacious rootop terrace and balcony, accessed from a private gated courtyard
A Grade II-listed pile with six bedrooms, stables and 39 acres of grounds in Standlake
A two-bedroom flat with boutique hotel-style interiors, close to the foodie haunt of West End Lane
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion