How to cut the cost of your wedding

Wedding season may be in full swing but the cost of getting hitched is causing many engaged couples to postpone their big day, with some even considering not getting married at all, according to research from Nationwide.

So how can you have a wonderful wedding without breaking the bank?

With the average wedding now costing over £21,000, according to recent stats from You and Your Wedding magazine, it is little surprise that people are struggling to pay for their big day. While couples don't need to spend anywhere near this amount to enjoy a special day, the costs do quickly add up whether you have an intimate meal for 25 or huge party for over 150.

Just under a third (29%) of couples now rely on the bride's parents to pay for their wedding, according to Nationwide. Of those who don't turn to the bank of mum and day (68%), the majority will pay for the wedding themselves (62%), whilst 16% will rely on credit cards or loans. So how should couples go about financial planning their big day?

As with any big purchase, it is crucial to work out how much you can afford to spend on your wedding before you start falling for flash venues and designer couture. Look to your own savings pot and have a frank chat with your parents to see if they are able to make a contribution. Whether they offer a lump sum or to pay for a particular expense, or are unable to help at all – it is important to know where you stand so you can devise a realistic budget.

A wedding is only one day and starting married life in debt isn't ideal but if you do choose to borrow, be sure to select your credit carefully. Credit cards can actually help with the cash flow element of wedding planning, providing you meet the repayments and don't get stung with penalty fees and sky high interest. So shop around for credit cards that offer 0% on purchases, and consider cashback cards that pay rewards each time you spend on them. If you take the personal loan route, shop around for low APRs and find out how much it will cost in interest over the term of the loan.

Start wedding planning and you'll quickly realise that compromises need to be made in order to have everything that you want without breaking the bank. Start by drawing up a list of the things that are most important to you and where you want to designate the majority of your budget, followed by another list of items you can cut back on or do without completely. A great band and plenty of alcohol might be your priorities for example, while you can do without designer outfits and canapés.

Even the least creative of couples suddenly find themselves eager to start crafting when big savings are at stake. Think about elements that you can make or organise yourself; utilise the skills of friends and family, and decide on the areas where it is worth paying for the professionals touch. In the Nationwide research for example, over a third (34%) of couples use their own cars; 32% make their own table arrangements; a quarter arrange their own flowers and make their own favours; over a third arrange their own catering and 29% buy their own alcohol.

Break with tradition
Weddings today are more unique and personal than ever before, so don't feel obliged to follow traditions if you don't want to or can't afford to. Wedding favours for example, are a costly tradition that many couples are choosing to ditch, while others are forgoing the expensive formal wedding breakfast and opting for casual BBQs, hog roasts or picnics instead. Decide which traditions are important to you, and forgo those that feel dated and unnecessary.
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