By Lee Tidman
While you want your wedding to be one of the most memorable days of your life, you don't want to spend the rest of the marriage paying for it. If you're planning on walking up the aisle anytime soon, follow this no-fuss guide to saving and start your married life stress-free. First things first...
...Work out a budget (and stick to it!)
When it comes to tying the knot, the only thing you really need to pay for is the marriage licence - everything else is up for discussion.
Sit down with your husband or wife-to-be and think about what you both want from the day. How do you want it to look? What feel are you going for? Keep in mind how much you want to spend and how much you can realistically afford.
Remember, the tiny (and costly) details that can seem so important often go unnoticed by guests. It's the overall atmosphere that you're looking to achieve. Use the internet to gauge a rough idea of costs, and once you've arrived at a budget - stick to it!
Top 10 tips to a budget-friendly wedding
1) Maximise your savings
The first thing you'll want to do is free up as much cash as possible to pay for the wedding. You could be wasting hundreds of pounds a year by paying too much for certain services.
For example, do you have the right savings account? Switching to a higher-interest account will earn you more on your savings, making it quicker to reach your wedding budget.
Less accessible but with generally better interest is a cash ISA account. Other ways you could free up cash to turn into savings include changing to a lower-interest credit card, switching gas and electricity supplier, replacing an expensive loan with a cheaper one, or saving money on home insurance, car insurance or life insurance.
All these potential extra savings could go towards your big day or honeymoon.
2) Prune the guest list
Look at the guest list. Don't feel you have to invite anyone you haven't spoken to in years or give singletons a plus one.
3) Bag a bargain dress
Keep an eye out for wedding and bridesmaid dresses on the high street or online. Discount sales can prove fruitful and as the wedding dress will only be worn once, you could even look at renting a second hand number.
4) Tie the knot on a cheap date
Carefully consider the wedding date. Does it really have to be on a Saturday at the height of summer? Winter months, weeknights and Fridays or Sundays can work out a lot cheaper.
5) DIY invitations
If you're a whizz on the computer or have a talent for calligraphy, why not make your own invitations? The DIY route could save you a bundle.
6) Use your friends
Do you know someone who's an amazing cook, photographer or DJ? If so, ask if they'd like to be a vital part of your special day. They may do it for love, or at least give you mate's rates.
7) Flowers of romance
Buy flowers that are in season to help keep costs down. Maybe decorate the church with candles rather than flowers - a much cheaper option.
8) Get me to the church on time
Cars are another budget-busting cost. If you have a friend with a grand set of wheels, ask if they'll do the honours.
9) Food and drink
This is the biggest cost of a wedding. A buffet can be more budget-friendly, and as for the bubbly, Cava makes a cheap and tasty alternative to Champagne. Serve it later in the evening and no one will know the difference!
10) The honeymoon
Honeymoons can be seriously expensive. These days, the most competitive deals can be found online, so get trawling for the best honeymoon packages. And don't forget to get your travel insurance online as well - likely to be much cheaper than if bought on the high street.