There are always horror stories about the astronomical bills people are faced with when they get married, so you will be relieved to know that there are many ways to create the perfect wedding day, without being stuck paying for it for years to come. Sit down together and create a budget using our wedding budget calculator, you need to be extremely realistic about what you can afford, and take into consideration that there will inevitably be unforeseen extras that you will have to factor in as the big day approaches. You should start by asking yourself if a summer wedding is absolutely essential. If you are happy to get married in 'off-season' (in January - March or a few months before Christmas), the venue hire is going to be far less expensive. Also, having an afternoon wedding means that you only need to provide your guests with one meal, rather than two.
Consider a buffet rather than a sit-down meal, as this will usually work out cheaper. Also, unless you want to keep your entire wedding cake as a memento, serve it for desert at your reception (a sponge cake may be a more popular option than the more traditional fruit cake). Where it comes to kitting out your wedding party, there is nothing to say that bridesmaids dresses and shoes need to come from a dedicated wedding shop, and you can guarantee that the word 'wedding' in front of any item will raise the price by at least 50%. Have a look for sophisticated dresses and separates in shops such as Coast and Karen Millen, and as wedding outfits are usually unpatterned, you may be able to find suitable outfits in the sales that will not date. Shop for bridesmaid shoes in the summer when there is a greater variety of lighter-coloured shoes to choose between. Designer wedding dress shops also have annual sales, so it may be worth having a browse for your own dress. Find more wedding money-saving tips on our website.