FOR RICHER AND FOR POORER

The words ‘wedding’and ‘budget’ aren’t mutually exclusive, but there are ways to cut costs without losing any of the glitz. Here are 10 tips on how to do it.

MAKE A LIST
Plan carefully so your budget doesn’t spiral out of control. Work out what you can spend, then make a detailed list of what you need: Dress, reception, venue, décor, flowers, rings, etc. Get prices for each, and then add them up. Chat to people who have recently got married to find out what it cost them, and how they saved.

CHOOSE THE DATE
Ask the wedding experts for their busiest times and then make sure your date isn’t one of them! It’s fashionable to get married on a Saturday – on a Friday or Sunday you’ll receive a special rate. Couples love weddings on long weekends, so avoid dates with a public holiday on the Friday or Monday. In 2010, the most popular wedding dates are the Easter weekend (2 to 5 April), the end of April (Tuesday the 27th is Heritage Day, Saturday May 1st is Workers Day), around September 24 and December 16. Choose a time that isn’t popular, and prices will be lower.

GUESS WHO’S COMING?
The number of guests you invite has the greatest impact on the cost of your wedding. More guests mean more food/drinks/a bigger venue, more invitations. Vendors charge per person, so only invite as many as you can afford.

DO DOUBLE DUTY
If the venue and ceremony are at one location, you’ll save money.

WHAT TIME’S DINNER?
A stunning reception doesn’t have to cost the earth. If you choose a breakfast, lunch, tea or evening cocktails, you’ll save money on food. The same goes for alcohol. Limit the amount of drinks, or get married at a time when less alcohol will be consumed, like teatime or breakfast.

ORIGINAL DÉCOR
Think out of the box for wedding decorations. Instead of having everything made, or buying in, try making your own. Choose floral arrangements carefully so as to avoid expensive exotics, and make sure the flowers are in season.

USE YOUR CONTACTS
If you know an excellent seamstress or chef, rope them in to help. Shop around for suppliers like florists, caterers, wedding planners and DJs. Prices vary hugely in this industry and research can help save a fortune.

KEEP IT SIMPLE
Choose the best you can afford, but don’t go overboard. Also, keep things simple. Choose a simple wedding theme instead of something totally over the top.

HAVE YOUR CAKE AND EAT IT…
Brides are making their wedding cake double up as dessert. This saves a fortune on the catering bill.

DON’T STINT ON THIS!
There are certain items you should never save on – like a good photographer. Memories of your big day are priceless so make sure you get a reliable photographer.

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