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Have your cake and eat it, too

Have your cake and eat it, too
If you have budget blues, read Alison's advice on how to make every penny count I will not lie and say I had a tight budget for my wedding – I didn’t, it was £15,000. But I will shout from the rooftops that the total spend came in about £3,000 under it. Let’s be realistic, weddings cost money. But whatever your budget, you can save on cost without compromising on quality. Ultimately, our goal was to have a beautiful and memorable day that was value for money. And I found there are many ways this can be achieved. Buy second-hand I found the perfect dress, I loved it, it was everything I had dreamed of. The  downside…it was £3,500. However, a browse through a wedding magazine unearthed the Designer Wedding Dress Exchange. Here I found my dress for a bargain £1,500. If you feel that that is still too much to pay, there are many charity shops that now have designated wedding departments, including Helen and Douglas House, Newbury. Or there are always the sales, where you can get a sample dress for a fraction of the price. At the end of the day, it does not matter who has worn the dress before – when you put it on on your wedding day, it is your dress. www.designerwedding dressexchange.co.uk Make it yourself You don’t have to have a degree in graphic design to make fantastic looking invitations, you just need a good few hours and some favours to cash in. The results are incredibly rewarding and the savings are so big you can invite a few more people. Another thing you don’t need special skills for is making your own veil. It takes a bit of time and attention to detail, but it is essentially easy. I found the instructions on the internet and bought the material from a fabric shop.  I wanted silk tulle and floor length so it cost about the same as a ready-made polyester one, but if you’re not as ‘bridezilla’ as me, you can make your own veil for less than £40. There are lots of other things you can make to save money that create really nice personal touches. My personal favourites were the gingerbread hearts we gave as favours, which my mum and bridesmaids made, the photograph montage of us with family and friends that was played while we were signing the register, activity books to keep the children entertained, and our headline competition for the guests to do around their table  (something the groom could be trusted with, given that he is a journalist). The internet is your friend I bought a lot of things for our wedding off the internet. It sounds risky, but I gave myself a lot of time so if anything wasn’t right, there was time to change it. If you’re buying a lot of something, such as paper and card for your invitations or favours, you will often find a cheaper price per unit from a wholesaler on the internet. It’s also great for all the extra bits for your and your bridesmaids’ outfits. I got my hair vine and faux fur wrap from Amazon sellers. They were great quality products from sellers I could trust and at less than £30 for both – a great bargain. Doubling up One thing I learned planning my wedding was that flowers cost a lot more than you expect. We saved some money by using the same arrangements in the church as at the reception. Another double-up was the four-tiered cheesecake  wedding cake from the English Cheesecake Company (those of you familiar with the brand, may like to pause here to drool a little bit). We got a striking wedding cake and a fantastic dessert as the finale to our wedding breakfast and saved about £15 per head. www.englishcheesecake.com To make the most of your wedding budget all you need is time, a little ingenuity and that friendly internet (but don’t forget your other friends, they’re quite helpful too).

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