I took some time out to chat with Conall O’ Morain on Today FM’s Sunday Business Show #TeamSBS today. The topic was all about affordable weddings following the Kadee Bridal interview 2 weeks ago where there was some discussion around dresses for €10,000 being bought.
I was asked to talk about some hacks on how to maximise/save your budget. I could have chatted for the full show as there are so many ways you can do this but within 8 minutes, I think I only managed to make one of my points! You can listen back to the interview right here.
I love a good old statistic and the great team over at Weddingsonline did some very thorough research to give us some sight of what is happening in the market place. There are 2 key points I want to highlight from that research,
1. The average cost of a wedding is €26k
2. 60% go over budget.
Now that is a huge amount of over spenders!
I think the main difficulty with budget management is that so many don’t realise the cost of everything until they actually go and shop around.
If a wedding cost per couple is averaging €26k and there are roughly 23,000 weddings a year in Ireland, that means that couples are delivering €600m to the Irish economy every year and that doesn’t count what guests attending generate.
Here is how I propose you make your wedding more affordable and stick within budget:
- Negotiate Early: In my wedding coordinator days I would see couples arrive in to me in pure excitement. They are already sold by the look and feel of the venue. That is no problem, BUT in the selling game, you’ve just shown your cards and chances of you getting a discount or freebies thrown in are slim. In saying that, some venues won’t budge on price let alone a few canapés on arrival as they are confident that if you don’t take that date, someone else will (that rant is for another day….it’s a pet peeve of mine). The same applies to dress shopping. It is important that you take some level of emotion out of this and treat the buying as a business contract as essentially it is. You will be handing over your very hard earned cash and it is important that you manage that transaction.
- All Inclusive Packages: I think that the all inclusive packages offered by some venues are such great value. I saw one recently where you could get a 5 course meal (100 guests), half bottle of wine per guest, arrival reception, afters reception, bar extension, cake, band, DJ, photographer, car and flowers or €10,000. The venues are buying in bulk from the suppliers which means that they get a much lower rate to roll on to you. It also takes a lot of work out of shopping around as its done for you.
- Budget Template: You can download a free template from here. It is so so important to try and get realistic costs and to stick with what you can afford. I know many a couple that under estimate or knowingly go over budget and end up having to use credit cards or get a loan. The cost of credit is an additional cost.
- Saving: Be realistic. Many assume you just get married within a year of being engaged but actually one year is a very short time to save €26k if you have no other savings already. If you wanted to get married within 12 months you would need to save €2,167 per month. That is a huge amount and even worse if you are already paying rent or a mortgage!
- Bits & Bobs: This is the main culprit of sending budgets in to turmoil. This is where I fell down on my budget. I would buy so many decor pieces online via Etsy, Amazon and Ebay and because I was buying in dribs and drabs, I wasn’t monitoring the budget properly. Each individual item was cheap but when I finally combined the total of what I spent, I had spent a fortune and way over what I had planned. The shipping is also a killer! The good news is that Penney’s have brought out some gorgeous wedding decor along with Dealz, Easons and Mr Price. They are all really nice and great value. Other online sites within Ireland include The Party Boutique (my go to place at the moment, plus they stock my book!) and Favour Lane. Your shipping is much lower by shopping within Ireland.
- Dresses: You can get some great deals at sample sales. Granted sometimes the condition of some of the samples can be pretty poor but the majority I have seen are pristine or just need to be cleaned. You can also get a good deal at wedding fairs. I got a 20% discount on my dress for buying from a bridal shop at The Wedding Journal Show in 2014. There is a massive uptake in preloved designer dresses. The likes of Timeless Bridal Wear specialise in this and basically, they take dresses that are only in top condition and sell to you for up to 70% off the original buying price.
- Wedding Fairs: As mentioned above, I got a discount for buying at a fair but pretty much all suppliers exhibiting as wedding fairs have discounts for booking on the day. Just be ready to have your deposit with you.
- DIY: I never encourage doing any DIY to cut corners, only do DIY if you love being creative. There are some things on the decor side that could be nice substitutes. For example, for my own wedding, I just didn’t have the budget to do flowers on all tables as we had spent our floral budget doing up the garden. I sourced pinwheels and circus props for our centrepieces instead. I also had no budget left for a photo-booth and our DIY venue wouldn’t have been able to hold a photo-booth so I made one myself.
- Dates: Prime days of the week are Fridays and Saturdays and prime months are July-September. If you want to avoid highest rates, then opt for a less busy month and day of the week. I remember in a venue I used to work in, we had 30% off the rates for Monday to Wednesday weddings.
- Wedding Planner: In some cases a few consultations or full hand over to a wedding planner can actually save you money. They will know the cheapest and most cost effective ways to source everything and will have good deals with suppliers as they are buying regularly from them. This saving can be rolled to you. I would recommend Blaithin O’ Reilly Murphy.
- My Book: Yes this is a shameless plug but I genuinely stand over the tips in my book. It arms you with how to approach each buying stage and what you should expect. Knowledge is power!!
I hope that this helps you in some way! As I think of more tips, I will add them to this list!
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