The Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle takes place on Saturday 19th May.
We can be sure that there will be no shortage of people involved in the planning and that there will be no scrimping and saving to put on the wedding of the year. The wedding planning website Bridebook.co.uk puts the cost (without security and the honeymoon) at some £1,969,873. By comparison, the national average spend on a wedding is still a staggering £17,913.
What if you are planning to get married and you don’t have these resources but still want to reduce the risk of things going wrong, as well as ensuring you can get the best of what you can afford? Four money bloggers and I take a look at how you can save money and make sure the big day still goes well.
You could take a leaf out of the royal couple’s book and invite people and tell them to bring their own food! (Those members of the public with a golden ticket). But perhaps more useful ideas are shared below.
Harry and Meghan will tie the knot on a Saturday at St George’s Chapel, Windsor, which is out of reach of the average bride and groom But Fiona Elizabeth Hawkes from the blog Savvy in Somerset provides some great tips on how you can still get married somewhere special.
- Try going for midweek or a Sunday service for a cheaper deal. Most weddings are booked for Saturdays and reserved over a year in advance, so family members shouldn’t get have trouble booking time off work that far ahead.
- Alternatively, if you’re feeling brave, leave it right up until the last minute – venues often have massive discounts if you book 6-8 weeks in advance.
- Look for smaller quirky venues that don’t normally host weddings – there will be less of a premium than a regular venue.
- Have a celebrant or friend marry you on the day, rather than a vicar or registrar and do a cheap 2+2 ceremony at registry office before or after the big day.
If your budget doesn’t quite bloom to involving floral bouquet creations from The Crown Estate and Windsor Great Park, Emma Maslin from The Money Whisperer has some suggestions:
- Ask your florist and venue about moving arrangements between the ceremony and the reception. For example, ceremony aisle ends can be tied to back of top table chairs, signing the register flowers can be used on the top table, etc.
- Consider where you want the most impact and focus the money there. If people are looking at the brides amazing bouquet they won’t care that the flower girls have wands wrapped in ribbon instead of their own bouquets.
- Seasonal flowers will be cheaper, so ask what is going to be in season for the date of your wedding, rather than going with your first choice of flowers.
Getting value for money on your wedding dress
The name of Meghan’s dress designer is still under wraps, but Kaya La Roche from Earning by the Sea dismisses the need for you to fork out a huge sum of money for a dress you will only wear once. Here she suggests some ways you canbe stylish without the designer price tag:
- Buy a second-hand dress, you can get dresses that have never actually been worn if a wedding has been cancelled, and even if they have been worn it’s usually only once!)
- Ask family if there is one that can be handed down to you and add personal touches to make it your own.
- Buy a dress that wasn’t designed to be a traditional wedding dress from a boutique, as some beautiful designs are available at a fraction of the cost.
How to cater for your wedding on a budget
Harry, Meghan and guests will be tucking into something that most of us probably won’t even be able to pronounce, even less be able to afford. (Their cake is being made by Claire Ptak at Violet Bakery and prices on her website show a wedding cake for 150 people is £784.80. The royal wedding guest list is 4,040 people, tasty work if you can get it).
But Faith Archer from the aptly named blog Much More With Less cooks up some ideas:
- Food and drink can be a massive part of your wedding budget. Think about what’s really important to you:fabulous food, in which case you might
want to invite few guests to a more intimate wedding, or feeding hordes of friends and family in a lower cost way, with perhaps a buffet or hog roast.
- Get married late afternoon 3pm and focus funds on just one meal late afternoon rather than catering for lunch and early evening.
- If you aren’t bothered about a fancy wedding cake, get a local bakery to whip up a delicious cake and use fresh flowers to decorate it.
- Check with the venue if you can bring your own booze, as even if you pay corkage, it could work out cheaper.
How to save on your honeymoon
Save on any holiday! See Don’t get blue this Monday, get away from it all…
Lots of other money bloggers and I joined forces to give you 15 tips on saving money when choosing and booking holidays! We look at turning the tables and playing the travel companies at their own game, so you can save money when you book your trip away whether here or abroad. Good huh?
Preventing problems on your wedding day
I see a lot of people who have some bad memories of what should have been the best day of their lives. Whilst you may want to save money, be careful of how you do it:
- It may be tempting to ask a friend to take your wedding photos or make your cake but that could quickly give rise to problems. Will you get your money back if something goes wrong with the cake? What will happen to the friendship if the photos are shaky and blurred?
- Don’t rely on review sites, including those on social media sites, they could all be false. Try and get personal recommendations of services where you can.
- Discuss in detail what you want and what can be provided with service/product providers. Put ALL agreements in writing. Deadlines, costs, detailed descriptions and even a picture (such as for a cake), if appropriate.
Your consumer rights if things go wrong on your wedding day
- What if you have done absolutely everything possible to prepare for the big day but something still goes wrong? I’m on hand to ensure that you don’t get fobbed off!
- Under the Consumer Rights Act you are entitled to services carried out with reasonable skill and care. So, if your hairdresser cancels or the cars are motorbikes, you can claim redress and, if applicable, any consequential loss. (e.g. having to pay extra for another caterer, etc).
- Under this Act, all products must be as described, of satisfactory quality and free from faults. So, if your cake was burnt or half the flowers were dead you can claim a partial or full refund, depending on whether you still used them.
- Collate your evidence. Take photos or video, and include this with details of what was agreed compared to what happened. Put your complaint in writing, being assertive but polite.
- Be objective, set a deadline for when you expect a response and what you will do if you not receive an acceptable response, such as going to the Small Claims Court.
If you do have any issues with good or services see Top 20 Tips on how to complain effectively.