You’ve finally decided that you have found ‘the one’, and are planning to pop the question to her. Getting married is a wonderful milestone in any relationship, and wedding planning is certainly an exciting process to go through together before you begin your new life as husband and wife. However, one of the biggest downfalls of tying the knot is the cost. Some weddings cost hundreds of thousands of dollars; after buying the engagement and wedding rings, you’ll need to think about other purchases such as venue hire, car hire, a photographer, venue design and décor, dresses and suits, catering, and more.

But, there’s no need to start your married life bankrupt! Budget weddings are becoming more and more popular amongst couples who want to get married but also want to save their money for a stunning honeymoon, buying their first home together, or even treating the kids! Here are our top tips to help you save money when you get married.

Tip #1. Save on the Engagement Ring:

Before you can start planning your wedding, you will of course need to ask your partner to marry you! This is where the expenses begin – an engagement ring can quickly put a massive dent in your savings, especially if you follow the general rule of saving up three months’ worth of income to spend on the ring! Thankfully, there are many great ways that you can save money without compromising on the quality or look of the ring that you present to your partner when you ask her to be your wife. For example, you can shop online for great prices; online jewelers tend to have lower costs than those on the high street, so you can often find exclusive special deals and offers unavailable elsewhere. In addition, you might want to consider alternative styles to the traditional diamond, such as pave diamond rings, which are made with several tiny diamonds, resulting in a cheaper price for just as much sparkle.

Tip #2. Start Planning Early:

Once you have popped the question and she’s given you the answer of ‘yes’ that you’ve been hoping for, it’s time to get started on planning your wedding. Giving yourself as much time as possible for the planning process is important; this will make sure that you’re able to shop around for the best prices and find deals that you wouldn’t be able to get last-minute. In addition, when it comes to hiring a venue, you can often get a better deal when you book well in advance, since there’ll be less demand for the dates that you want.

Tip #3. Marry on a Weekday:

One of the best ways to make some significant savings on your wedding and reception venue hire is to get married on a weekday, rather than a weekend. Since most people have time off work on the weekend, it’s no surprise that this is the most common time for weddings to take place. However, if you start planning well in advance, then you won’t need to worry as much – you’ll be able to give your guests plenty of notice, so that they can request time off work to attend your wedding. Since weekday weddings aren’t very common, you can usually get an awesome deal since venues will be happy to put their prices down simply to get a booking! In addition, other wedding services such as car hire, caterers, and photographers are usually less busy in the week, meaning that they could give you a better price, too.

Tip #4. Take the DIY Route:

When it comes to planning a wedding, there are plenty of things that you can do by yourself, rather than hiring somebody to do it for you. For example, you can make your own wedding invitations to save a substantial amount rather than paying for a professional printing service. Determine which skills you have that could be put to use for planning your wedding. For example, if you’re really good at designing room plans and decorating rooms, then why not do this yourself for your wedding reception to save money? Or, perhaps you love to bake – in this case, you can save a lot of cash by baking your own wedding cake and only paying for professional icing, rather than the full thing.

Tip #5. Consider Second-Hand Items:

There are many items that you’ll need for your wedding that you can get second-hand, with just as good quality as those bought new! For example, wedding dresses only tend to be worn once, and after that, once they have been cleaned and pressed, they’ll look just as good as new – nobody will ever be able to tell that they have been worn before! Other second-hand items that you might want to consider getting for your wedding include suits for the groom and groomsmen, bridesmaid dresses, and even wedding favors – ask friends and family who have recently gotten married if they have anything that you can recycle and put to use on your big day! This is a great idea if you’re hoping for a wedding that’s as eco-friendly as possible.

Tip #6. Save on Catering:

When it comes to keeping your wedding guests happy, the catering is likely going to be one of the biggest costs. But, whilst you’ll want to provide a tasty menu and a great selection of drinks to your guests, you’ll need to be careful that you don’t end up going over your budget, especially if you are expecting a large guest list to attend. There are many tricks that you might like to use to cut the cost of your catering, for example, you could skip a main course and provide a buffet instead so that guests can choose what they’d like to eat, helping to eliminate wastage. When it comes to drinks, this could be one of the biggest expenses – instead of providing a full bar, why not select a few different wines, beers and a signature cocktail instead.

Tip #7. Hire a Student Photographer:

Of course, you will want to have plenty of great photographs that you can look over for years to come to remember your big day. But, hiring a professional wedding photographer can put a large dent in your budget, especially if you want them to cover the whole ceremony and the reception, along with family photos and photos of the two of you in between. One of the best ways to save money on your wedding photos is to hire a student photographer; those who are learning the trade can often be just as good, and usually have access to all the professional equipment that they’ll need to get the best results. In fact, many student photographers are really trying hard to build their brand and reputation, so you can be sure that they will put a lot of effort into making sure that you get perfect photographs of your wedding to keep. Many students will happily give you a discounted price in return for allowing them to use your photographs in their portfolio; some may even do it for free!

Tip #8. Keep Your Guest List Small:

Whilst you may want to invite everybody that you know to come and celebrate your big day with you, it’s not always the most economical choice. A large guest list will mean that you’ll need to hire a large venue, which in turn, will cost you more. When it comes to putting together your guest list, be ruthless – if possible, it’s a good idea to invite just family members and close friends to celebrate your big day, since this will allow you to choose a smaller venue and you’ll also cut costs on catering, for example. If you are paying for your ceremony venue and having a reception or after-party later, it’s a good idea to keep your ceremony and reception guest list small, and invite more people to come and celebrate at the party later on. This way, you can still involve everybody that you want to be there, but at a fraction of the price!

Tip #9. Choose Off-Peak Season:

If you plan to get married during the spring or summer, then you can usually expect to pay more due to the high demand for weddings during this season. Whilst weddings in nice weather make for a great experience and wonderful photographs, you can have just as awesome an experience during the off-peak seasons of fall and winter, at a much cheaper price. Winter weddings, for example, can be absolutely stunning – there are many ways to decorate your venue and dress the bridal party in a winter theme; you could even incorporate the holidays into your nuptials! And, the awesome colors of fall can make a perfect backdrop for stunning wedding photos.

Getting married does not come cheap! From buying the engagement ring to booking your honeymoon, you can expect to spend money every step of the way. But, don’t spend more than you need to – there are many great ways to save.