By Rebecca Sowter-Croll

After recently getting married I know too well that weddings can cost a fortune and the budget can soon spiral out of control. You only have to look in some bridal magazines to see they average the cost of a UK wedding to be over £20,000. I know it is one of the most important and memorable days of your life but when you think you could use those funds to put a deposit on a house it puts things in to perspective.

It was a situation I was in, wanting to have a wonderful day but also having enough left for a deposit on a house.

Even though I was very grateful to my in-laws for allowing me and my fiancé to live with them so we could save for a deposit on our house, it was time to move out. We were lucky in that our family helped to pay for the majority of our wedding but we had to choose, this money could either go to our wedding or our house. As we wanted both we had to be aware of what we were spending on our wedding.

I found ways to cut costs that, hopefully, can help other brides-to-be:

  • Make your own stationery- I bought favour boxes, card and ribbon off eBay.
  • I went to the local bargain store and bulk bought sweets.
  • I started buying bits and bobs over the year to spread the cost.
  • I did research in to chair covers to find the best prices. In the end I had enough covers and bows for the wedding ceremony. Then for the reception we placed the chairs alternatively with and without covers.
  • It always good to know someone who can bake! In my case my mum made 170 cupcakes for the wedding.
  • In terms of wedding transport try and find a friend who is willing to lend you their car for the day. For my wedding I was lucky and my parents and in-laws had blue and cream cars that matched.
  • Have a wedding on a Friday instead of a weekend, it is cheaper and you have a long weekend to celebrate. This is what we did.
  • My brother in-law filmed the wedding to save the cost of an expensive videographer.
  • We did a lot of research to find the best wedding photography deal. In the end we opted for an all-day photographer and a CD of photographs we could print ourselves. Our photographer was asking for an extra £1,000 for a 30-page wedding album.
  • I had five bridesmaids but bought dresses from a well-known department store that could be worn again.
  • With table decorations I shopped around which paid off –I had chosen a butterfly decoration which were selling for 59p each in a local bargain shop. I saw the same decoration in a well-known high street store for £3.99 a butterfly!
  • Tiara and shoes- I borrowed these from a family member.

In total my wedding cost just under £13,000.00 and eight months later, after viewing 25 houses, we have also bought our first home!