Many happy couples will be saying “I do” in the coming months, after the huge backlog created by the pandemic, which saw many weddings put on hold.
The pandemic forced couples to push back their plans — in many cases more than once. Elle McAtamney, 33, was originally due to marry fiancé Will Palmer, 37, in August 2020 — but they decided to delay their wedding until May this year.
However, she says that with rules around wedding guest numbers still being quite limiting earlier on this year, they postponed their plans again until October 23rd, deciding to wait “for the day we really wanted”.
McAtamney, a spokesperson for TopCashback.co.uk, says: “Having all the people we love in the same room, safely, means everything. We have, of course, not stopped worrying about the wedding since the pandemic started, but we’ve also been incredibly lucky in that our suppliers and venue have been flexible and wonderful.”
She adds. “With the stress of our wedding being cancelled twice, I don’t think we’ll fully relax until we are both saying ‘I do’, but I also know that it will 100% be worth the wait.”
To help other couples save money on weddings, here are some tips from McAtamney and TopCashback…
1. Set your budget before you start making bookings and repayments
Before you dive head-first into planning your special day, deeply consider and discuss your budget, and the amount you are willing to spend. When creating this figure, it’s important to consider how much wedding essentials cost on average, and what your negotiables and non-negotiables are.
It may help to break your spending down into categories. For example, the venue, catering, dress, decorations, etc. “We decided quite early on what we were willing to compromise on, and what we weren’t — which really helped when allocating budget to different aspects of the day,” says McAtamney. “We also over-estimated on lots of costs from the get-go, so that we could reduce the chance of last-minute panics.”
She says the delays to the wedding did at least give the couple some additional time to save up, adding: “We’ve been quite strict with putting money aside each month throughout the pandemic, but we have also employed a few tricks.”
2. Get crafty to make savings
Family members and other guests may have some skills which could help on your big day. McAtamney says in her case, the mother of the groom is making the cake and favours and the videographer is a friend.
“We picked a venue that allows alcohol to be brought in externally and doesn’t charge corkage (which can be a big expense otherwise). Naturally, we asked for discounts wherever possible, such as when bulk-buying wine,” she says.
She also used the same suppliers for some items, which can potentially help with getting loyalty discounts. For example, the couple bought their wedding rings from the same store where Elle’s engagement ring was purchased.
“Lastly, it goes without saying, but we purchased lots of bits through the many retailers on TopCashback. Most weddings are very expensive but for other brides and grooms out there, just remember that being a bit savvy and strict where you can, will all add up and help in the long run.”
3. Consider getting married ‘off season’
While the pandemic has thrown many couple’s plans into disarray, traditionally, the summer months are often the most sought-after. With so many weddings having been delayed due to the pandemic, many popular venues will have a backlog, however.
Venues are often one of the most expensive outgoings. So if you’re not planning to get married soon, you may want to consider booking the venue well in advance. Not only could this give you a wider choice of potential wedding dates, you may potentially get a lower price if you’re booking a date which is ‘off-peak’.
4. Hire your wedding dress or buy second-hand
Forking out a large sum of money for an outfit you will (hopefully) only wear once may leave you feeling short-changed. A clever way to increase your savings is to simply to buy second-hand or to hire all suits and dresses.
Carrie Johnson, wife of British prime minister Boris Johnson, was reported to have hired her wedding gown for her big day, and fashion rental websites have been booming in popularity. As well as being kinder to the environment, hiring rather than buying wedding outfits can be a savvy move and possibly save you thousands in outgoings, without compromising that luxurious look you’re searching for.