A guide to avoiding a financially crippling wedding

Recent research conducted by You & Your Wedding magazine has revealed the average cost of a wedding last year was an eye-watering £20,983. T…

Recent research conducted by You & Your Wedding magazine has revealed the average cost of a wedding last year was an eye-watering £20,983. The study also showed 20 per cent of those getting hitched would borrow money to help fund their event.  

Just 22 per cent of people questioned were prepared to cut their budget if the economic climate were unstable.  

Close to one-third of couples were still paying off their wedding loans six years after the big day, all of which adds up to one big financial headache.  

While it can be easy to get caught up in the romance of the occasion, it is also important that couples are realistic about what they can afford, and put safeguards in place in case things don't go according to plan.  

Budgeting is vital  

Advice issued by attendees of a hangout hosted by Legal and General in partnership with Google revealed budgeting is of paramount importance when it comes to planning nuptials.  

Editor-at-large at You & Your Wedding Peta Hunt, family lawyer Jo Edwards and Moneywise editor Laura Whitcombe came together to discuss the most important financial aspects of organising a wedding. 

Everyone agreed that setting a budget and sticking to it is the most important aspect of planning. 

Limiting guest numbers, emailing invitations, buying a wedding dress in the sale or from the high street are all sensible ways to save money. Choosing to get married mid-week and out of the peak summer and Christmas months is also another way to cut costs when it comes to hiring a venue.  

Food and alcohol are some of the biggest expenses at a wedding, so it makes sense to see if there's an option to have buffet-style dining, which is much cheaper than a sit down meal. Supermarkets often have offers on Prosecco (a cheaper alternative to champagne), so those who are organised can take advantage of some serious bargains.  

A venue that allows the couple to bring their own alcohol and then serves it with a small corkage charge is much preferable to one where they have to choose from a possibly limited and expensive wine menu.   

There's also the possibility of having a cash bar, rather than a pre-paid one. Guests can be given champagne or prosecco during the reception, plus an amount of wine during the meal, then pay for drinks afterwards.  

Pre-nups may be prudent  

While many people understandably don't want to think about the possibility of a relationship breaking down, it always pays to think of every possible eventuality.  

This means considering a pre-nuptial agreement. This cannot be a last-minute consideration either, as in order to be legally binding; the document has to be signed at least four weeks before a couple is due to be married. The entire process can take between two to three months to tie up, so it makes sense to contact a lawyer well in advance.  

Weddings can wait  

It is vital that couples are realistic about how much they have in their savings. If the answer is very little, then it may be prudent to wait, save up and get hitched when there's more money in the bank.  

Hiring a room in a pub and getting friends and family together may be a cheap alternative to celebrate your union without the expense. 

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