Today is all about sharing a few top tips to help make your budget go further without making any significant compromises.
There are venues for all budgets and styles. Even if you are looking for a marquee or outdoor structure, there are plenty of options. The key is to understand your budget, know the approx. number of guests and the style you want.
Do research and make a few calls before arranging any visits. The last thing you want to do is visit somewhere, fall in love with it and then find it’s not suitable. Here are a couple of points to consider:
- Make sure you look at photographs that are taken by others and not for the purpose of showing the venue wherever possible. You could use Trip Adviser, visit Instagram and look where the venue has been tagged, check out Google pictures. The photographs on the website are not always a true reflection of the venue. In most cases they are. However, for some, the photographs do not do the venue justice and for others, they were taken after a refurbishment years ago.
- Ask the venue what wedding style is the most popular there.
- Enquire to if they can offer venue hire only or bespoke packages.
Although they may not be top of your list, there are some beautiful town halls across the country. Not only are these great value, some have the option of you choosing your own caterer.
Food and Caterers
Budget doesn’t need to mean buffet (unless that’s what you want). When it comes to food, there are plenty of options when you are trying to keep costs down; especially if you don’t want a more formal experience. Here are a few choices:
- Consider having your canapes as the starter, your wedding cake as the dessert or both.
- Sharing platters are a great way to offer guests choice to what they want on their plate without having to pay for several different options on a set menu.
- Go for seasonal local food. If it’s in season, the cost will be at its best. Seasonal local food tends to taste a lot better and helps out local businesses too.
- Consider food vans or large pan dishes (like paella). This go down well with guests and keep costs down.
- Buffets and grazing tables are also an option to check out. Things have moved on from buffets being the basics to something more enticing and exciting.
- If you want a three course sit down meal, why not consider having it later on and saying no to evening food? If you are not having extra evening guests, this can be a great option.
Finding the best caterer for you is key. Make sure you have a tasting before booking and that they can cater for any specific needs you or your guests may have.
As you would expect, the more day guests, the more the cost. Review your guest list and make sure you are only inviting the people you want there for the day. Adding extra evening guests is a fraction of the cost of day guests so keep the day guests to close family and friends. If the budget is tight, think about not adding ‘plus one’ on the invitations. Remember, it is your wedding, your choice. A couple of good questions to ask yourself if you are unsure are:
- Where do I see the relationship in five years?
- When was the last time we spoke?
- Have I meet this person?
- How disappointed would I be if they couldn’t attend?
Time of Year
The date is an important factor and can play a big part in the cost of your wedding. Getting married on significant days (valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, World Cup Final, Christmas Day, etc.) all increase the cost. If you are happy to plan your wedding on short notice, there are some great late deals available at venues you may not normally be able to afford. I planned my wedding in six weeks, from deciding to get married to saying I do, so it is possible.
Peak wedding season is more expensive as you would expect. For most venues, peak is between May and September along with December but do check as they can vary.
Mid-week weddings can be cheaper and give you a better choice of suppliers (the best ones can get booked up quickly for weekend weddings). If you go for this, be careful with the date. If most guests are parents with children at school, a school night is not always the best option.
Do you want more wedding advice and downloads? Why not sign up to my newsletters. The newsletters are delivered by the parent company (still me :-)) Mary Cushen Wedding Planner. The first newsletter comes with a download on marquee types, the third one has a budget template and many others have useful templates for you to use throughout your wedding planning journey.
Hiring a Professional
If you hire a wedding planner or wedding coordinator, they will be responsible for some of the items listed on here. When you hire a professional, remember to check exactly what is covered as all professionals are different. If you are unsure about a certain responsibility or role, ask them. They are there to make your wedding planning and wedding day go smoothly and stress-free.
Interested in learning more about how I could help you? Check out my services page or enquire below.