You don’t have to break the bank when it comes to your wedding day. There are plenty of creative touches you can add without the expense, and there’s a lot you can do to save money in different areas of your special day.
Skip the starter
Swap a sit-down starter for get-the-guests-mingling nibbles. Canapés are fun and they’re delicate enough for ladies and substantial enough for men. Plus they’re cost effective as less equipment and staff are needed for serving them. Switching from mushroom risotto cakes or smoked haddock rarebit to crowd-pleasers such as mini fish and chips in newspaper cones could save you a tasty £5 a head.
Let them eat cake
With puddings costing anything from £5 to £8 on the average wedding package menu (that’s a budget-busting £500-£800 if you’re having 100 guests!) it can leave a less-than-sweet hole in your food fund. Even the hungriest guests will struggle to see down three courses as well as a slice of cake, so let your cake do double duty as dessert. A three-tier showstopper works out at £5.50 a head rather than something like £12 you’d have to pay to serve dessert and cake.
DIY your disco
Worried your evening will be a flop without a DJ and a band? Keep things personal by asking guests to RSVP with their favourite tune then get your hands on a MP3 player, and create your own playlist. With DJs coming in at around £600 and four-piece bands starting at £1000, you could save yourself at least a fiver per guest – no better reason to dance the night away…
Fake a photobooth
Your guests can still be snap-happy even if you can’t stretch to £600-plus for a photo booth. Create your own mini studio with a £70 Polaroid camera, a pretty backdrop and fun props, and say cheese to saving £500.
If the cost of a sweetie table sends you reaching for the biscuit tin, invite any budding baker guests to bring along their best brownies, cookies and cake pops for a big day competition. Award the winner a prize – The Great British Bake Off book will go down a treat – and then let your guests get their sugar rush, as you celebrate saving the average cost of a wedding cake – £300 – or the cost of a dessert table at anything from £5 per guest.
Do yourself a favour
Are mini macaroons and teeny champagne truffles threatening to create a massive dent in your funds? Get crafty and combine your favours with your place names. With favours ranging from £2 for boxes of Love Hearts to £5 for Ladurée macaroons, and printing place names costing around £1.50 a head, collecting and personalising pebbles to be used as paperweights or making your own jam with a simple stick-on label suddenly sounds like a smart move.
Burst the bubble
Venues are likely to mark up wine prices – sometimes by 300 or 400 per cent, so it’s often better to buy your own and pay the corkage on top. And think about whether you really need champagne. Starting at about £20 a bottle, serving 100 guests two or three glasses each at your pre-reception drinks could set you back nearly £850! So keep the fizz flowing with Prosecco instead which, at around £7 a bottle, could reduce your bubbly drinks bill by over £500. Cheers!
Feast at midnight
Serve guests with late-night munchies like bacon butties, cones of chips and samosas rather than a full evening buffet. It’s a fun and theatrical way to serve hot food to your guests and costs £3.95 rather than £12 per head for a standard buffet, saving a budget-brilliant £8pp.
Saving the pennies with small tweaks
- Don’t let expensive mineral water dampen your day – tap water in jugs with ice and a lemon will save ££s.
- Replace end-of-pew flowers with decorations such as hessian bows or lanterns. It could cut around £500 from your florist’s bill. And adorn chairs with ribbons – from £1 a metre – rather than costly chair covers.
- Go all gastro pub and swap individual menus, which could cost up to £400 for 100 guests, with a chalkboard menu from RevivedVintage at etsy.com.
- Email Save The Dates and ask guests to RSVP on your wedding website. Swapping hard copies at £2.50 each for free e-versions could save you a combined £5 per head.