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Hints & Tips

Budgeting for Your Big Day

It’s estimated that the cost of a typical wedding will set the happy couple back somewhere in the region of £15,500 upwards!

So, is it possible to have a day to remember for all the right reasons, rather than one that means you start married life with a hefty bill to pay?

Preloved member, Cindy Almond and her fiancée, Matthew Noad, certainly think so.

Cindy took a few moments out of her planning schedule to explain how to be the perfect bride on a budget.

Where do you both live and what are your jobs?

We both currently live in Leeds. I’m a full-time unpaid carer and Matthew is a tyre tech for ATS Leeds.

A typical wedding is estimated to cost a whopping £15,500, so what will yours cost?

Our wedding will cost no more than £5,000, which is to cover every single item for the venue, bride, groom, best man, maid of honour, bridesmaids and guests.

Why are you sticking to a budget and how did you agree it?

Originally, our wedding was due to be in 2012, giving us another year to save towards it and we discussed taking out a loan, etc. However, when my grandfather was rushed to hospital and we were warned that his health was getting worse we decided it was more important that he be at the wedding than how grand it was. We sat down and worked out what the maximum budget was we could afford without taking out any loans or causing any debt. It is important to us to have a great day, but to be able to enjoy it knowing we will not be paying for it after the event.

What compromises have you had to make, if any?

We would have liked a much bigger event, but I now feel a smaller wedding seems more personal. We have only invited people who it means a lot that they are there and have arranged to have drinks with others after the event. We have still been able to buy all the things we wanted and to give our guests, hopefully, a great day! Due to finances we have had to cancel our honeymoon, but we have asked guests to buy travel vouchers so we can try to go somewhere with our son.

In what ways have you had to be creative with the things you buy
or will have at the wedding?

We had to purchase most of the things from Preloved and auction sites, etc, in order to keep prices down and, I have to say, that most of the items are better quality than buying cheaper versions new. We wanted to give our guests something a little different to normal favours so with the help of Preloved, etc, we have made black and white gift bags containing gift boxed wine charms for women and cuff-links for me, alongside gift-boxed pens, damask personalised chocolates and mints. We’ve also got choc-filled tuxes for the men and wedding dresses for the women all inside gift bags of excellent quality. We also found a local cake-maker who has been amazing at keeping within our budget and we are even having a sweet buffet made with glass jars which are all on sale on Preloved very cheaply. We have a four-tier cake made of cheese, too!

What things have you bought or are intending to buy second hand?

Most of our wedding is second hand or used. Our table mirrors, dress, shoes, veil, maid of honour dress, jewellery, tiara, ring cushion, small favour boxes, cake stand, pens, sweet buffet jars, etc, were all from other people’s wedding, which they didn’t use and are all on sale cheaper than new, even though most were never even opened.

What’s been your greatest saving or best deal so far?

My venue has been an amazing cost of £2,500 to cover the service, welcome drinks, sit-down meal for 50 guests, including wine and juice and an additional 15 kids’ meals and an evening buffet for 100 guests, including over-night accommodation for the bride and groom’s wedding night with breakfast. They also help to set everything up, box the cake, provide accommodation for five guests with breakfast and even the DJ. My proudest save was a wedding dress. I have been looking for a certain style and found one which was for sale and, after viewing, decided to buy it pre-owned and have it cleaned and altered. The dress cost £200 and came with the veil, tiara, shoes, and jewellery, which, as I already had jewellery and shoes, my maid of honour can wear, saving me having to buy more. I had the dress altered and cleaned for a little over £150.

Do you think you can stick to your budget or will you over-run?

We are currently bang on target! There is no way we can over-run and if something came up that we had not budgeted for we will make cut-backs where possible or ask family to help instead of gifts.

What has been the reaction of family and friends?

Many are shocked by the amount of things we are offering our guests at our wedding; it really will be a dream day with all the things we want to give them. My family has been great at offering to buy things, rather than gifts, so we can really enjoy our day. I don’t think many will be able to guess the cost being as low as it is.

How do you achieve a dream wedding for less?

You have to decide what you want at your wedding and make a list, then take off all the things that are just for show and won’t really mean anything to your day. Once you have your list, stick to it! Look around and do not impulse buy, but look on Preloved, etc, and remember that things are added throughout the day, so put a notification on, so if anything is added which you are looking for you will know. Never buy anything new at full price until you have checked that you cannot get it cheaper on-line, either new or unused. Also, look at things that have been used as you will be shocked at the great condition! Many people do not like the idea of buying pre-owned wedding items, but due to have a pre-owned dress I have been able to splash out on a brand new dress for the evening, shoes, etc which I will be able to wear for many occasions.

Any other thoughts?

Remember that your wedding is very important and will be a memory for the rest of your life, but once it’s over there are many other things you can look forward to and it will be easier to do this if you are not paying back money.

Get Connected

If you want to find out some great ways to reduce the costs of your wedding plans, head over to our Wedding forum where you’ll find other brides chatting about their Big Day.

Another great way to stretch your budget further is to opt for the romantic style of a vintage wedding. We spoke to vintage wedding planner, Keeley Harris, about how to create the wow factor with timeless bridal fashions

If you’re planning a wedding and want to know how to make some serious savings, take a look at Cindy’s Top Five Tips

  • Shop around before buying anything because second hand doesn’t mean poor quality and sometimes it means better for price
  • Discuss prices, and if you can get it cheaper see if stores will match the price
  • Stick to your budget and if it starts getting out of hand pull it back in line
  • Decide what you have to have at your wedding to make you happy and sort those out first
  • Utilise family and friends. If they have any skills, use them, such as making invites, favours, etc. My mum makes wine rings so we had her make the women’s gifts.

Amy Lockley

Amy Lockley

Writer and expert

Amy is the Head of Community at Preloved. In her spare time, she loves volunteering for a rabbit charity, having crafting weekends and kite boarding in Morecombe which is always combined with a camping adventure! She is always on the hunt for a bargain whether that be at car boots, house clearances or charity shops.