Saying 'I do' on a shoestring

Last year Mr Thrift asked if I would become Mrs. Thrift (of course, realising that we would be silly not to protect ourselves and our assets, I said yes).

I've spent the months since then mulling over how we want to kick off married life. I'm still undecided as to how we will, but I've managed to pick up some wonderfully thrifty ideas along the way.

Don't be afraid to ask friends and family to help

If someone asks what you'd like as a gift, you could suggest something wedding related. Could they buy a few bottles of Prosecco for the toast, or even bring some nibbles for the evening do? Potluck weddings (when everyone brings a dish) are becoming increasingly popular as couples reject getting into debt and embrace the idea of a low key affair.

Inspired Bride advises how to plan a potluck wedding...

You might have a friend who is a photography buff, dressmaker or loves to bake. Having your wedding 'handmade' by all who know you is a wonderful way to have a wedding that reflects the people you love and your life together, as well as save some pennies.

My mum paid for our rings, my sister is buying us a cake and my future in laws have offered to pay for the first couple of rounds of drinks. We have pots and pans and bedsheets, so we really appreciate them helping us to celebrate our marriage with those we love.

Avoid wedding magazines like the plague

You'll only end up spending money on centrepieces that you'll never use again, favours that will be left on the table and a £2000 dress that is destined to be eaten by the moths in your attic.

Hit the high street shops

I'm planning a trip to a fancy boutique to try on a range of dresses, so I can figure out which style I like. After that, I'm going to try and find a similar style in an outlet, a high street store or even take a punt on a dress from China!

The following outlets all provide pretty dresses for bargain-loving brides...
  • BHS
  • I've heard great reviews for the online Chinese dress store lightinthebox (make sure you include import tax in your costings)
  • Even Tesco has a low-cost offering at only £80:,4,shop,catgwedding,womens-bride

And a little more pricey, but still cheaper than a designer boutique...

  • Debenhams
  • Monsoon
  • Phase Eight
If you really want a designer dress, why not see if you can get a secondhand bargain. eBay, Preloved and Gumtree all.

Why have a wedding dress at all?

If you have a fab little black dress, or a killer suit you feel super sexy in, wear that instead! 

Think outside the box

Do you need a manor house? Do your in laws have a big garden suitable for a BBQ wedding breakfast? Is there a lovely village hall near you (a bit of bunting and some flowers in jars and you won't even recognise it!)

Could you get stallholder from your local market to provide food?

If you don't fancy a traditional wedding cake, why not a falafel wedding cake, or a donut wedding cake? I've even seen a pork pie wedding cake! You could roll your cake and evening catering into one big frugal ball.

Avoid popular dates

You can often bag bargains from venues, photographers and other suppliers if you choose a date 'off season' (October-April) or a weekday rather than a weekend. If you're doing this, send out a 'save the date' months in advance so your guests can get time off from work!

See what you can do for FREE

Scour the internet for free printables so you can make your own wedding stationary, for the cost of a pack of card. Here are some I particularly like:

Advice Cards - for guests to impart pearly wisdom upon the newly married couple. Great alternative to a guest book. You could frame your favourite ones and display them in your home.

There are plenty of free invitation templates to be found, like this pretty floral one:

Is all of this still making you sweat?

Remember, there is nothing wrong with a trip to the registry office and a couple of pints in your local. 50 years ago this was the norm.

What is important is your life together, not how much you stretch yourselves financially at the start of it.


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