- The venue. There are many cheap and cheerful venues that can still look effortlessly chic given the right finishing touches. For example, don’t rule out your local village hall.For a nominal hiring fee, you can have your reception venue sorted, just add bunting, sandwiches, vintage crockery and some well-chosen table decorations to get that country chic feel.If you do have your heart set on a pricier venue, consider having your wedding on a weekday. Saturdays during peak season will be most expensive (usually around May to August) but Sundays, weekdays and bank holidays may knock thousands off the price.
It’s also far cheaper to have a winter wedding because of the less popular dates. This does make the shabby chic look difficult to pull off, but you can always opt for paler, frosty colours and keep your theme. Alternatively, winter wonderland weddings leave room for endless creativity.
Try to book a venue that lets you choose your own caterer. That leaves you free to play around on the next point.
- The catering. People are there for you, not for a free meal. M&S and Waitrose do fantastic pick up services at low cost if you’re happy to have a cold buffet. You can pick up a feast at just a few pounds per head.
- If you do want to have a caterer, try a BBQ or hog roast option, although consider your guests’ various religious and dietary requirements before going down this path.
- The guest list. I’ll do a longer post on how to write up your guest list at some point soon, but long story short, you need to be ruthless. Does that friend really need a plus one? Are you inviting that old school friend to be polite or because you really value their presence on your special day? Cutting your guest list can dramatically reduce your costs, so think carefully about how you really want there before you start mentioning the wedding to people.
- DIY. Making your own bunting costs a fraction of bunting at retail sale and you can choose your own design. Again, I’ll do a longer post on making bunting at a later date, but in the meantime, buy some vintage-style craft paper from Hobbycraft, make a template of a 6” perfect triangle, find a 6mm hole punch and 6mm ribbon and start cutting triangles.Jars can be useful in hundreds of different ways. The pasta jar you were about to recycle could instead be soaked in hot water, cleaned and made into any of the following:
– Tea light holders (can also double up as place settings if you find a pretty and creative way to write peoples’ names on the jars).
– Sweetie jars – to create that vintage sweet shop feel.
– Jam jars – many brides have discovered that making personalised jars of jam can make great favours.
– Pebble jars – fill with gold and silver pebbles for a seaside theme.
- The dress. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune. You can buy a pre-loved dress from any charity bridal boutique. If your dress is part of the vintage theme, you can get truly unique dresses from Oxfam and Barnardo’s as they have specialist shops around the country and sometimes even get in unsold stock from designers.
- Car boot sale chic. We’ve sourced loads of fantastic mismatched vintage china as well as cheap bunting, lace tablecloths and other very cool retro household bits. You can pay next to nothing at car boot sales for vintage wedding decorations that would otherwise cost you a fortune on eBay or any traditional wedding shop.
- The flowers. Any volunteers willing to go to a flower market the day before the wedding? Send them with pictures of flowers that fit your theme and fill silver buckets with flowers on the day – or even calm your nerves by making your own bouquet.
- The gift list. Many couples live together before they get married and so have most things that would go on a traditional gift list. Perhaps discreetly ask people for donations towards your “honeymoon” fund to recover some of the costs of your wedding.
- The invitations. A wedding website is cheaper, and everyone is online these days anyway. Have everyone RSVP online, post their photos afterwards and then you have a handy place to post directions (via a Google Maps widget) and your gift list, if you choose to have one. If you’re not a natural web designer, customise a wedding website on Zankyou.