Excited newly-weds-to-be in the midst of planning their big day and the current financial crunch in the UK certainly aren’t a match made in heaven. Today, a survey carried out by Condé Nast Brides Magazine reveals that the average cost of a wedding in 2009 has risen once again and now stands at a staggering £21,901. However, with some careful planning, and by taking advice from experts in the industry – it is more than possible to arrange the nuptials of your dreams with out blowing the budget. The average couple will spend £1,679 on a Ceremony Venue – yet there are ways of trim down this figure by simply considering different options. For example in October 2008, the Church of England launched the ‘Church of England Marriage Measure’ which makes it all the easier for couples to choose to hold their cermony in one of the Church of England’s 16,000 places of worship, which cost as little as £350. With just over 15% of the total budget being spent on the Reception Venue, topping an average £3,500 – couples are also considering more economic alternatives to a traditional summer Saturday date, such as a weekday wedding or a winter day, where prices can lower by up to fifty percent. Wedding invites are one of the first things to consider after setting the date and by getting creative with your stationary, can help lower the £256 budgeted significantly. Tracey McAllistar from Cartes d’Amour Event Stationary suggests ‘buying DIY Wedding Stationary packs – so you get the best of both worlds, inexpensive yet personal invitations and an excuse to invite your friends around to help make them!’ Whether it be a large traditional affair or a simple beach ceremony; flowers are a major part of any wedding. From bouquets for the bride and bridesmaids, the button holes for groom and guests and of course decoration of the ceremony and reception venue. This is reflected in the budget with the average couple allocating over 10 % of the total, nearly £3,000. However, for those on a tighter budget, Anna McGregor from Robbie Honey says; ‘working to a budget doesn’t have to mean disappointing flowers. Choose types which are in season and let your florist guide you. Carefully chosen foliage can work really well – urns filled with single types create a bold and smart look. We also love single peonies floating in a collection of clear glass fishbowls which make the most wonderful and inexpensive summer table centres.’ Liz Anderson at New Covent Garden Flower Market offers further advice for newly-weds-to-be when deciding on flowers ‘Ask your florist for plants in gorgeous containers to decorate the tables at the reception venue or if you’re really tightening the purse strings, then you can hire the pots and just buy the plants. If the ceremony is to be held in a church, try decorating pew ends with ivy and ribbon – simple, cheap yet effective!’ Whether the bride-to-be has her heart set on full-on princess glamour or Hollywood chic she sets aside £1,215 to spend on the beloved gown. Emilia McDowell at Bridal Elegance suggests a surprising way to save when it comes to saving money on the dress ‘ if you find the dress of your dreams but it is outside your budget, why not ask the store if you can purchase their sample gown at a discounted price’. Julieann Bird of Julieann Beads also recomemends a way to save when choosing accessories ‘Opt for clusters of pins or a comb which are much cheaper than traditional tiaras, but still give you the same look. Instead, spend your accessories budget on key pieces that will become treasured favourites to wear again and again.’ Wedding decorations set the tone of a wedding but it can be easy to overspend – Elaine Jones from Church Mouse Weddings advises – ‘Don’t just save ribbons for bouquets; it is one of the quickest and easiest ways to transform your venue. Tie it around candles, napkins and cutlery; drape big bows from door handles, tables and pew ends. It’s so easy to get a professional look, without blowing the budget.’ Traditionally favours are sugar almonds in bags or boxes, but instead of being ruled by custom, why not make a personal touch to the big day – Abby Lenehan from Cancer Research UK offers alternative advice ‘if there is one part of a wedding you can really save on while making a big impact – it is the favours. Simply make a charitable donation on behalf of your guests and help save lives. You can mention the donation in a speech, or if you would rather give guests a keepsake, order personalised favour cards and choose from a selection of pin badges for a suggested donation of just £1 each.’ Capturing memories of your day goes without saying but the photography budget can nudge £1,000. Richard Shepard of Richard Shepard Photography has noticed a new trend among the budget conscious newly-weds-to-be ‘this year many couples have been choosing digital packages. Find a photographer who is happy to let you make your own prints, you can always come back for albums but you can enjoy your images on screen in the meantime!’ Gabi Webb, Marketing Manager for The National Wedding Show explains ‘planning the perfect wedding for you does not have to cost the earth. By taking time out to seek advice from professionals in the industry it is possible to save money without compromising on the essentials for your big day. The 300 experts at each National Wedding Show are on hand to help, and offer budget saving advice. With live features, glamorous catwalk shows and even a glitzy champagne bar – the show has everything that newly-weds-to-be could possible dream of, all under one roof’ Looking to do a wedding on a budget? Why not read about our £20,000 wedding that turned out like £2000!
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