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Bridal Club Magazine

10 Budget Wedding Tips

1. Save on Postage

There is no need to send out save-the-date cards when you're only asking your guests to put a date in their diaries. Send out a group email in your lunch hour instead, saving you time, money and the annoyance of sticking down envelopes.

2. DIY Wedding Flowers

All you need is a patch of ground and some seeds and you can raise your own blooms in the time it takes to write your wedding vows. Or, if you are lacking a garden, head to a flower market and pick up your blooms at cost price. You'll have to get up early (most markets open around 3am and close at 11am) but you'll save a massive amount of money.

3. Keep Venue Decorations Simple

A slim glass vase containing a single white rose, or some odd bits of crockery from a charity shop stuffed with garden flowers, can have more of an impact than expensive oasis decorations. Save money on decorating the wedding venue by opting for bunting rather than flowers - much cheaper and you can reuse it or sell it on eBay (opens in a new window) (opens in a new window) afterwards to another budget bride. You can even make your own bunting - simply cut triangles of double-sided brightly coloured paper and attach it using glue to some strong string.

4. Don't Buy Wedding Magazines

Most of the wedding mags, such as Wedding Magazine (opens in a new window) and You and Your Wedding (opens in a new window) also publish online, plus there are lots of other great wedding supplier and resource sites. Try Confetti (opens in a new window) (opens in a new window) and Cheap Wedding Success (opens in a new window) to keep you topped up with inspiration free of charge.

5. BYO Bridesmaids' Dresses

Bridesmaid dresses are often handmade and this can be expensive. The cheapest way around this is to have a rough theme, say 'vintage nudes', and ask your bridesmaids to choose and pay for a dress that they'll want to wear again. Use accessories such as pearls and corsages, to pull the look together.

6. Second-Hand or Sample Wedding Dresses

Apart from the reception venue and honeymoon, your wedding dress is likely to be one of your most expensive outgoings. If you shop around, you can find your dress at a better price than if you simply buy a gown off the rack. Go to the expensive boutiques first to try on the different styles and get a clear idea of what you are looking for. Then, buy a budget dress and find a good local dressmaker who can alter it to your requirements. Oxfam (opens in a new window) have eleven bridal shops in the UK (with the cost of your dress going to a good cause) and they have a decent selection online. You can also try factory outlets, such as the Wedding Dress Factory Outlet (opens in a new window) in Leicestershire, which offers a similar service as upmarket boutiques and the dresses are at rock-bottom prices (around £150 to £400).

7. Tap into the Skills of Your Nearest and Dearest

From your annoying uncle who has filmed every family occasion you can remember to your bedroom-DJ brother, ask everyone with a suitable skill to get involved. Delegating will save you a small fortune - plus it's a nice way for friends and family to feel involved. Professional photos, in particular, can be very expensive so ask a talented friend to be the official photographer at the ceremony and leave disposable cameras on the tables at the reception. Just give the pictures a good edit before you show them to Granny.

8. Budget Honeymoon

Two weeks in the Caribbean might sound like a dream come true, but when you check in at reception with hundreds of other honeymooning couples, it loses some appeal. You could try a working holiday, such as one of the amazing experiences on offer with the National Trust (opens in a new window), walk the Great Wall of China (opens in a new window) or try any of the other once-in-a-lifetime expeditions organised by charities. Ask your wedding party to sponsor your trip as a wedding gift. Alternatively, the Youth Hostel Association (opens in a new window) and Hosteling International (opens in a new window) have come a long way since Pot Noodles and Kumbaya.

9. Ask Your Wedding Guests to Contribute

We are not suggesting you charge at the door but with wedding receptions commonly coming in at £70 per head, it's worth considering recouping some of your expenses. Sites, such as The Bottom Drawer, allow you to create a wedding list of almost anything, from the cost of an extension on your house to donations towards your honeymoon.

10. Champagne Versus Prosecco

Italian prosecco and Spanish cava are much cheaper and tend to be less acidic and more fruity than champagne, so many find them more palatable - as well as economical. For proseccos, look out for Prosecco di Conegliano Valdobbiadene on the label - this guarantees that the grapes were grown in the best Prosecco region, just north of Venice. Cava is made in the same way as champagne but at a fraction of the price. Freixenet and Codorniu produce some great examples. You should be able to pick up a bottle for about £8 compared to around £20 for a bottle of champagne. Try Majestic (opens in a new window) or the major supermarkets.

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