Recently I stumbled across an interesting article, which, citing some interesting perspective, asked why a wedding day needs to be perfect, when married life clearly isn’t. Using the example of a newlywed couple who are now suing an unfortunate photographer for arriving late for “ruining their wedding day”, the author underlines our human obsession with attempting to carve out this perfect day.
In fact in Britain, such is our determination to enjoy 24 hours of pure perfection that we now fork out an average of more than £30,000 for a wedding – more than the average annual salary in this country. It’s a staggering statistic, and not one that shows any sign of slowing down either.
However, even after digesting the above, I still choose not to be cynical, and see no fault with looking to make your wedding day the best it can be. It’s a (hopefully!) once-in-a-lifetime event to come together with your nearest and dearest, and celebrate the things in life that matter – and (perhaps temporarily) forget the things that don’t.
But it’s also clear that there is room for a bit of thriftiness. Not at the expense of fun or quality necessarily, but rather just some savvy that ensures any fat is trimmed from your wedding day spending. If your big day is approaching, here are five tips to get you rolling with your financial planning…
Familiarise yourself with the benchmarks
It’s the staple of opportunists and contractors. They hear the word wedding, and add a zero to their asking price. But if you do a bit of research and read reviews, you’ll get a good idea of reasonable costs for everything from flowers to photography. With this knowledge and awareness under your belt, you’ll make sure that you don’t get fooled into paying a penny more than you should for anything.
Bargain, bargain, bargain
Even though weddings are a highly profitable marketplace, they’re also a surprisingly competitive one. It may not be feasible with everything you buy or order, but where possible, don’t be shy to haggle on the price. Whether it’s the venue, the dress shop or the caterers, bargain with them and see what happens. Chances are they’d rather cede a bit of ground than risk losing your business.
Be ruthless with guests
We’d all love to have everyone there that we know and love. But the cost per head is one of the big hitters when it comes to a wedding budget, so set your limit of number of guests and stick to it. You can even start by drawing up a full list, above your planned quota, and then cross people off from there as a process of elimination. It’s not fun, but it is necessary, so stand firm, stick to your guns and work as a team so that you are both in agreement.
Take advantage of cashback for your spending
This is literally money for jam. Certain credit cards give you cashback every time you use them, and in the case of the American Express Platinum Everyday card this can be as much as 5%. So each time you need to buy something for your wedding – and this will be VERY often in all likelihood – use one of these to pay for it and get cold, hard cash in your pocket. Just be sure to pay off the outstanding debt at the end of each month, so as to avoid paying any interest.
Be a clever borrower
Not everyone has 30 grand lying around, so wedding loans are understandably commonplace. And that’s okay too, especially given that there are plenty of low rate loans out there to be had. Just be sure that if you do go down this route, that the repayments won’t place an undue burden on yourselves, that you’ll be able to pay the money back within a few years, and that you are borrowing in the cheapest possible way. Don’t just go to the bank and assume it’s the best option!
Other than these points, getting married out of season or during the week, baking your own wedding favours, second-hand dresses, organising your own booze – the list of ways to cut costs is endless. So keep your wits about you and make sure you look for a saving at every turn. It really does add up quickly, and will mean that, by the time your special day arrives, you really do get to have more fun, for less.