My big fat budget wedding
Deirdre Reynolds on how to marry in style without splashing too much cash
Money may not buy you love, to paraphrase The Beatles. But, as anyone who's been watching My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding knows, it sure can buy one hell of a shindig. And the latest statistics reveal that the big day can cost about €20,000.
It's an awful lot of money for just one day, so cash-stretched Irish brides and grooms have been forced to get creative to slash the cost of saying 'I do'.
"Couples are coming to me with tighter budgets than ever before," says Linda McAllorum of One of a Kind Weddings -- an alternative weddings events company. "But that's a good thing as it forces them to question exactly what their hard- earned cash is being spent on.
"Couples are buying what I call 'fluff' less and learning to haggle more," she says.
Honeymoons, flowers, decór and catering are first to take a hit, according to a study by My Wedding Workbook website.
But how would you fancy exchanging vows by the deep fat fryer before feasting on burgers?
Fast-food joint McDonalds has just launched a $1,000 wedding package including invites, decorations and a buffet of burgers and apple pie.
Thankfully, the McWedding is, so far, only available in Hong Kong.
From email invites to cutting (out) the cake though, there are less tacky ways to tie the knot on a shoestring says wedding planner Linda.
"My biggest tip is to negotiate with suppliers," she says. "I've seen couples save thousands with all sorts of freebies thrown in simply asking 'is that your best price?'
"Cutting down on your guest list and wedding party is an obvious way to save money -- but if you can't, consider having a garden wedding with a barbecue instead of a sit-down meal.
"Buy a pre-loved or vintage dress and sell it on afterwards to recoup some of the cost and make your own bouquet with fresh flowers from the market.
"However, I always recommend hiring a professional photographer," adds Linda. "You only get one chance to capture those special moments. Opt for a CD package, so you can get them printed later when money's not so tight.
"With a little lateral thinking, it's possible to have a beautiful wedding for very little."
Here, three brides reveal how they got more bang for their buck on their big day.