The Fixer: The cost of getting wed

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Have you been left out of pocket due to poor service or sharp practice? Do you have a money problem that won't go away?

It can seem impossible to get a fair result when you are battling a financial issue alone. But never fear! The AOL Money Fixer is here to help.


Dear Fixer,
My boyfriend has just proposed and we would like to get married this year if possible.

The only problem is that we only have a couple of thousands pounds each in savings - and that will not cover the cost of an autumn wedding in the venue we have chosen, never mind other essentials such as the dress, rings and invitations!

Can you give us any tips on getting married without breaking the bank, and how to borrow the extra money we will need? Thank you in advance.

F Handley, Macclesfield

Dear Miss Handley,

The good news is that there are lots of ways to keep the cost of getting married down, without looking like a cheapskate.

You can, for example, save yourself a packet (say £3 per invite) by making your own invitations rather than shelling out for professionally printed ones, or by setting up a wedding website and sending out e-invites.

Other great ways to reduce costs include creating your own non-floral tables decorations rather than paying for flowers, booking the photographer for the daytime but not the evening event, serving Pimms rather than champagne before the meal and checking out sellmyweddingdress.co.uk - a secondhand website for designer dresses.

Opting for a buffet rather than a sit-down meal, meanwhile, should cut your catering bill by about 30%, and hiring a DJ rather than a band should enable you to slash your entertainment spend by a massive 60%.

Borrowing the extra money you need should also prove pretty cheap if you go for an interest-free credit card or a low-cost personal loan.

The main advantages of 0% credit cards are that they allow you to spread the cost for up to about a year and a half without incurring interest (as long as you have a good credit score) and will also offer extra protection against problems such as your rings not turning up.

This is because credit card purchases worth more than £100 are covered by section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, which states the card firms are jointly and severally liable should anything go wrong.

Personal loans, on the other hand, allow you to borrow larger amounts and involve fixed monthly payments that make it easier to budget to clear your wedding debts within say three to five years.

The interest rates available at the moment are very low, with many lenders charging less than 5% on between £7,500 and £15,000. Have a great day!

The Fixer

Whatever your financial problem, write to themoneyfixer@aim.com and The AOL Money Fixer will get on the case.