Weddings are expensive.
In fact they’re getting more and more expensive all the time, with the average cost of getting hitched now sitting at a whopping £27,161 in the UK. This is a record high according to the wedding planning website ‘Hitched’.
When it comes to the money gobbling costs of getting married, booking the venue takes the biggest slice of the wedding cake. The cost of your honeymoon is not far behind, and you might be shocked to know the average couple is expected to shell out a staggering £3,630 for their post-nuptial romantic retreat. As if that weren’t enough, the catering costs come in at a close third.
In light of this, you might want to avoid getting bogged down in the quagmire of wedding planning providers, over-priced venues and honeymoon retreats that seem to assume you’re millionaires. Many of these know full well that budgeting can go out of the window for star crossed Romeos and Juliets, and charge eye-watering prices accordingly.
With a bit of forethought and careful planning, a great deal of money can be saved on the whole endeavour. That’s not to say you’ll get a ‘Bargain Basement Wedding’ – after all, who in their right mind would want one of them? Here’s how to get the wedding of your dreams without breaking the bank OR sacrificing quality…
Get married abroad for massive savings
Tying the knot overseas can be an absolute bargain, with some estimates putting the average cost of a non-UK wedding at £6,585 – mere pennies compared to London’s average of £38,000.
This is, in essence, the single most effective way of saving money on a wedding without sacrificing quality. Pick the right country and you’ll find your budget goes a lot further, effectively giving you plenty of space to splash out on other elements that could make your special day more unique. Italy, Greece, Spain, Cyprus and even Africa are popular places to get married for UK couples, but the world is your oyster, so don’t be afraid to plan big.
And let’s face it, the weather will probably be better too.
Research – know your options and prepare a budget
Stop! It might sound dull – boring even – but if you care about your precious pennies then you’d better do your research. We live in an open market after all, so competition will drive venues and businesses to offer better deals than their rivals. And it’s your job to find them.
Once you know what’s on offer you’ll need to assess your priorities. Discuss with your partner what you can and cannot live without on the happy day, and build your budget around this.
You should also probably set aside at least an extra 10 percent on top of whatever you originally thought you were going to spend – it’s shocking how quickly the little things like wedding invites, flowers and corkage add up!
Book your wedding during the shoulder-season
Booking your ideal venue often eats up the biggest chunk of your savings, so get this one right and you’ll have plenty of cash to spare.
Deciding on a date that suits everyone is hard, but if you really want to save money aim to book outside the high season and during the shoulder seasons as this is when you’ll find the biggest discounts. If you want to go even further, winter weddings in particular offer major savings, as does booking your venue on a weekday.
Booking during the shoulder season could ultimately mean the difference between an ‘it’ll do’ kind of venue and an extravagant one.
Use a reputable currency broker for your money transfers
If you’re going to have your wedding or honeymoon abroad there’s another way you can save serious money. This one might sound odd, particularly if you’ve only ever used your High Street bank to transfer currency, but using a specialist currency broker is far simpler and far, far, better value for money.
Using a currency broker essentially gives you access to incredibly competitive exchange rates and (in some cases) a fee-free service, so when you transfer your pounds to euros, for example, you can save considerably more than you’d be able to with a bank.
Say, for example, you spend £10,000 on your wedding in Spain.
Your bank might offer you a GBP/EUR exchange rate of €1.07, making your £10,000 worth €10,700, while a broker would be able to secure you a rate of €1.12 for the same transaction. That difference in the exchange rate would give you an extra €500 – enough to pay for your flowers or decorations.
Beyond this, reputable currency brokers can offer you services such as forward contracts, whereby an exchange rate is agreed upon in advance and locked in for up to twelve months ahead of needing to make the transfer. This means you’re protected from any wild swings in the exchange rate and will have the peace of mind to concentrate on the more exciting aspects of your wedding.
Because, when it comes down to it, your wedding is supposed to be one of the happiest days of your life – and it can be just that extra bit happier if you don’t start off your married life in the red!