Getting Married in Northern Ireland Magazine

Just because you are dreaming about the biggest day of your life doesn’t mean it has to cost you the earth says Feature Writer, Emma Maxwell.

We are all agreed that planning a wedding is a very stressful task but possibly more taxing than planning is paying for the day! Weddings are an expensive business and if you let your heart rule your head, you could find yourself starting off married life with a large debt hanging over you. One way you can stop this from happening without compromising on your dream day is to set a realistic budget- and stick to it!

There are numerous ways of saving money, firstly you should shop around and try to get three quotes for everything you require. Always ask for quotations in writing and make sure you understand what the price includes and if VAT is included in the price given.

How Much?
Setting a budget is the most unromantic part of planning your wedding but in the long run, you will be glad you were organised. A recent survey (2006) shows that the average wedding in the United Kingdom costs £19,596* but there are no hard and fast rules on how much you should spend. The important thing to remember is to spend only what you can afford. You and your fiancé should stay grounded and be realistic when deciding how you are going to pay for your wedding. Many couples choose to save money for a few years before the wedding; the benefit of this is that when your wedding is over, everything is paid for.

Others choose to take out a bank loan, the downside to this are the obvious monthly payments long after your wedding is over. However you decide to pay it is also important to discuss your plans with your parents, as they may want to make financial contributions. If they do, make sure you know exactly what they want to pay for and how much money they are willing to spend.

“£700 for the dress”…
Once you have decided on your budget and how you plan to pay for it, you should draw up a list of everything you will need for your dream day. From the dress to stationery, flowers to favours, all elements should be considered. Estimate how much you expect to pay for each item on your list and then start shopping around. Now may be the time when you have to make certain sacrifices- if you discover the budget is already starting to creep up think about everything you want. Are there any elements you could do without or scale down?

For example, you might dream of having a six tier wedding cake, but your budget may not allow it. In this instance you may have to compromise and choose a two-tiered cake instead.

7 Top Tips to keep within your budget

The ‘peak’ season for weddings is between May and October. If you have set your date between these months remember that the majority of other brides will also be looking for photographers, reception venues and florists around then which will naturally make prices higher. If you choose to wed ‘out of season’ prices will reflect this.


Busy holiday periods such as Christmas and New Year should also be avoided, as this is when prices are higher. Valentines Day may be the most romantic day of the year to get married, but beware as flowers are at their most expensive.


Why not serve your guests a buffet style meal instead of a five-course banquet? You should choose food that everybody eats instead of fussy unusual courses that people might not like or appreciate.


Your wedding cake could be the perfect dessert. Many couples are now cutting their cake before their meal and then serving it as dessert. Chocolate cake works especially well with a good helping of fresh cream.


Don’t be too proud to ask friends and family for help. You may have a family member who is a great singer or can play a musical instrument. Why not ask them to perform during the ceremony; this will add a very personal touch to the day.


Be realistic with your guest list. Ask your parents advice on who you should invite. You don’t have to invite long lost cousins especially if the last time you saw them you were three years old! If conscience gets the better off you, invite them to the evening party.


Choose flowers that are in season and remember intricate wired bouquets will be more expensive- it’s not just the flowers you are paying for, it’s the florists time as well.


Finally, don’t let yourself become obsessed with money. Your wedding should not be judged on how much you have or haven’t spent, it should be a celebration and the start of a happy and hopefully debt-free life together with your new husband.