The A-Z of getting married - on a very tight budget
Published 29/07/2015 | 02:30
Tying the knot without cash to splash? Here is all you need to make it a day to remember
A is for Apps
Any savvy bride-to-be (or groom) will know that the internet is awash with crafty inspiration and helpful planning tools. Download Pinterest for great DIY ideas and bargain-seeking apps like DoneDeal and PriceSpy for those little extras.
B is for Bridesmaids
Shopping for gorgeous dresses for the wedding party doesn't have to be an expensive chore. ASOS.com has an entire bridesmaids section with full-length dresses starting around the €50 mark, while Debenhams stocks beautiful dresses that are often marked down.
C is for Cake
Elaborate wedding cakes aren't as popular as they used to be - and why shell out if you're already paying for dessert? Try a cake made of cupcakes or cheese to cut costs, or find a nice recipe online and ask a friend or family member to bake it as a gift.
D is for DIY
Thanks to internet tutorials and a new trend towards one-of-a-kind, craft-oriented decorations and centrepieces, it's entirely possible to do it yourself when it comes to making your venue look great. You'll be amazed at how much assembling your table decor and blowing up balloons yourself will save you - check outmyDIYday.com for cute bits.
E is for Entertainment
Wedding bands and DJ don't come cheap, so if it's a choice between one or the other, look to Spotify for inspiration. You can create playlists and share with others so they can add their own favourite songs. Want to make your own fun? Karaoke is a cheap and cheerful way to get people involved.
F is for Flowers
You don't need fresh blooms everywhere - don't be afraid to fake it in the venue or your table arrangements. Keep the fresh flowers for your bouquet and buttonholes, or even skip flowers altogether - flags, bunting, glitter sticks and pom-poms can be just as pretty.
G is for Gifts
It's customary to give the wedding party and the family gifts to remember the big day, but these don't have to cost a fortune. Websites like Etsy.com have lots of cute and personal gift ideas, or you could go one step further and create your own presents - framed photographs or prints are always appreciated.
H is for Honeymoon
In many cases, the post-wedding getaway is the most expensive part of getting married - and often the most looked forward to. In lieu of presents from guests, why not ask for contributions towards your holiday of a lifetime via Honeyfund.com instead? Attendees can help you out with travel, accommodation, sightseeing and more via the online registry.
I is for Invitations
Gone are the days of formal invitations on the finest paper, with many couples deciding to design their own and opting for cheaper, recycled options. Send out Save The Date notices via email, use the Postable app to collect addresses for the official invitation, and don't be afraid to look further afield to find the style and price you like - American website weddingpaperdivas.com is great value, high quality and shipping costs only $15.
J is for Jewellery
Save your budget for your wedding bands, and hit the high street for some decorative costume jewellery - nowadays, it's of such a high standard, you'd never know the difference. Or better yet, ask around and see if there are any family heirlooms you can wear that'll tick the old, borrowed and blue boxes.
K is for Knowledge
Do as much research as possible before committing to a price from a vendor. Often it's easier to hire a planner or visit wedding fairs, but by putting in the hard work and contacting people directly, you'll often get a better deal.
L is for Lingerie
You don't need to shell out for bridal-specific underwear, as most department stores carry reasonably priced ranges of shapewear and lingerie in neutral colours that are just as pretty (and comfortable) as the corset you could spend hundreds on.
M is for Make-up
If you don't want to shell out for a make-up artist on the big day, head to a high-end cosmetics stand for a bridal lesson. Most brands offer one for around €50 that's redeemable against products, but Bobbi Brown (at Brown Thomas, Arnotts and other large stores) offer a complementary hour-long makeover you can then replicate yourself.
N is for Nibbles
It's always a good idea to bring out some food a few hours after dinner, but you don't need to splurge on hot food at that time - many guests will likely be three sheets to the wind anyway. Ask the venue if it's okay to bring in sandwiches, chips and dips and crudites and hummus for that midnight feast.
O is for OMG Factor
Creating an impact needn't cost an arm and a leg. Sparklers to be lit at a certain point during the reception can create a gorgeous atmosphere for a small price, while balloons are a lot more cost effective than tons of flowers.
P is for Pictures
Instead of hiring a photographer for the entire day, ask guests to capture images both in real life and digitally. Set up a DIY photobooth complete with Instax camera and a pin board, and request that everyone downloads the Wedpics app to share images both during and after the big day, all in one place - plus you can use the app to order prints.
Q is for Quirky Favours
When you're getting married, it's tempting to go mad for cute party favours and reception treats to please your guests, but the cost of these can really add up. If you don't want to do without them altogether, the answer is to DIY - make your own pick'n'mix table, or create a helpful hamper for the ladies filled with toiletries, plasters and hairspray.
R is for Rings
Think non-traditional if you're trying to save money, and go for a gold-plated design. Irish jeweller Chupi makes stunning sterling silver pieces plated with 18 carat gold that have romantic meaning as well as interesting design. Her Infinity Twig Ring, €99, is a beautiful alternative to a classic band.
S is for Stag (and Hen) parties
The trend in recent years has been to fly off to far-flung destinations, but you needn't leave on a jet plane to have a great send off. Renting a country pile can be surprisingly inexpensive for large groups.
T is for Transport
Hiring cars, buses and the likes can really stretch your budget, but asking around can really cut costs. Use social media to see if you can sniff out a friend of a friend with a classic car that they might lend you, or rent for a low price.
U is for Up-do
Again, the internet is teeming with DIY ideas for gorgeous bridal hairstyles that won't cost the earth. If you don't want to pay for a hairdresser on the day, it's worth trialling some options with a particularly dextrous friend, and involving the bridal party too.
V is for Venue
Weekends are premium time for weddings, and carry a premium price tag. Try asking for a midweek or even Sunday deal to cut costs, and haggle with the venue over added extras.
W is for Wine
It's always worth asking if the hotel or venue will allow you to supply your own booze with a corkage fee - it often works out much cheaper, and stores like LIDL and ALDI do fantastic wines for a fraction of the cost.
X is for Xtras
Don't get carried away in a quest to keep up with the Joneses. Splurge on the things that mean the most to you and save on those that are more for show than meaning.
Y is for Your friends and family
The biggest money saver? A little help from your friends. Enlist your loved ones to help design, create, lend, bake and administrate - who needs a wedding planner when you have lots of eager pals to make your day go smoothly?
Z is for Zzz
Splurging on the bridal suite isn't always a great idea - a lot of the time, you won't go near it until 5am anyway, and often you'll be so knackered you'll go right asleep. Choosing an ordinary room at the venue, or even going home afterwards, will save you a packet.