Before you start planning your wedding, sit down with your other half and have a think about what's important to you. Very few of us have the luxury of an unlimited budget so deciding where to spend your money can save you a lot of time, energy and heartache in the long run!
It's useful to know what your priorities are - is it the venue / number of guests / food / flowers / entertainment / cake etc? Are there areas that you'd be willing to compromise on? It's especially useful to consider this ahead of choosing your venue, asking friends to be in the wedding party, setting a date etc. Most venues will be less expensive out of season so if you're flexible on date you could save a lot of money here. Before deciding you want 8 bridesmaids, consider that for each one there's likely to be an outfit / shoes / present / hair and make up - the costs all start to add up very quickly. But if that's your priority, then go for it - just make sure you find which other area you'd be happy to make a compromise on.
Most weddings have flowers in some capacity and who doesn't love flowers! But the costs add up by the time you've got your bouquets, button holes, altar / registrar table, pew ends, top table etc. Do you want flower centre pieces for each table or perhaps there is alternative you hadn't considered? There are so many new ideas on Pinterest / Instagram, it's easy to find inspiration whatever your style. So if flowers aren't necessarily your priority for the venue decor, then start a new moodboard and find some alternatives!
Food is a big part of every wedding and well fed guests make for happy guests! So don't compromise on feeding them but there are lots of great alternatives to the traditional sit down meal these days. A BBQ or Hog Roast can be fun and less formal and a lot easier on the budget than a 3 course sit down meal. There's some great street food vans out there too from Pizza Ovens. Paella or Pies to Fish and Chips, Ice-Cream and Waffles, so when it comes to the evening buffet or as an alternative to canapes post ceremony - get creative! However, if you and your partner are big foodies and you want the food to be a big focus of the day, then absolutely go for it - just ensure you find other areas of the wedding to pull back the budget.
With so many popular alternatives to a traditional wedding cake right now, this is definitely one area that it's easy to get creative! From cupcakes, naked cakes, doughnut towers to cheese cakes - there's no need to go traditional if it's not your thing.
Stationery costs can also really mount up for your wedding. Design, printing, envelopes and postage can often be a forgotten cost until the time comes to send them out. There is something lovely about receiving a physical wedding invitation in the post, I can't deny that, but it's fair to say most guests will remember the wedding more than the invitations so you could consider doing e-invites if you need to rein in the spending. They can still have beautiful design but none of the other costs that go with traditional invites.
There are so many things you can spend money on for a wedding and it can be quite daunting to start the process off. You can always add to any wedding - more champagne, an extra flower girl, evening guests etc but it's not easy to take anything away. Choose your priorities and book all the big things first, then it'll be much easier to see what budget you have left for all the extras (or get a wedding planner to do it for you - we're really good at helping you stay in budget!) Vx