New year goals: How to plan a thrifty and sustainable wedding

If one of your goals for this year is to plan your wedding, there are many ways that you can keep it on budget and sustainable if you shop secondhand, source items online and personalise the event. Here are some ideas to get you started...

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This is the third post in my series on “how to achieve your new years’ goals”, with the first being how to be more creative this year and the second containing tips on how to buy your first home. Another big milestone event is planning your wedding, so I’ve put together a few suggestions to help you achieve it this year, no matter how small your budget is.

Save for your wedding

It’s never a good idea to start your married life with a load of credit card debt or a loan to repay, so saving up money for your wedding is an important thing to consider. It doesn’t matter how much your budget is – you may want a lavish wedding costing thousands of pounds, or you may be happier with a low-key event with a budget to match – either way, you’ll need to save some money for it.

I’ve shared some advice on how to save money for your life goals here so have a read through the post before you start saving. Then, the key is to save as much money as you can – and I’m talking about even the smallest savings. Every penny saved in your piggy bank soon adds up, and there are countless simple ways to find more money to put into your savings pot.

In fact, once you have established your savings goal for the wedding and you start putting money aside for it – you’ll begin to feel like it’s becoming more achievable really quickly and it’ll become almost addictive to keep adding money to build up your savings.

Go sustainable for your wedding ring

One of the big expenses for the wedding – and really the only item you actually need to get married – is the wedding ring. Of course, it doesn’t have to cost a lot if you choose a simple band ring, but if you’re looking for something a little more special, why not go vintage?

The benefit of buying vintage jewellery for your wedding is that it’s more sustainable, as you’re not consuming a new product. You’re keeping an old piece in circulation and giving it a new lease of life. Considering that your wedding ring and necklace or the cufflinks the groom wears on the wedding day will probably become future family heirlooms, it makes sense to invest in something with history and which means something to you.

Likewise, perhaps you’ve already got a family heirloom that you can wear on your wedding day. A brooch that belonged to your grandparents makes a lovely touch to a buttonhole, or a handed-down bracelet will be a special accessory that you’ll remember wearing. Maybe you can even save money on the cost of a wedding ring by using one that has been in the family for generations? Why not ask your parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles to see if there are any pieces of family jewellery that you’d love to reuse.

Cut the cost of your wedding clothing

Although you’ve probably got an idea of your dream dress in your mind, you may very well end up wearing something completely different on your big day. It happened to me when I got married and I’ve heard of so many friends who chose a totally different design than they thought they would, so the key here is to open to all kinds of shapes and styles for your wedding dress.

This also means that you can be mindful of your budget while you’re shopping rather than being swept away by the ‘perfect’ dress. It’s better to know how much you want to spend and then find a dress within that range rather than try something that you won’t be able to afford and then feel disappointed that you end up having to choose an alternative.

One good way to get the wedding clothing you want at a fraction of the price is by shopping online. I’m not just talking about the wedding dress, but also the groom’s suit, bridesmaids dresses and groomsmen’s outfits. Once you have an idea of the style you like, there are savings to be made by keeping an eye on the prices online, and strike when there’s a sale or a discount code for the piece of clothing you want.

This way of shopping may take a little longer than going to one shop to buy everything, but it will certainly cost you less overall. If you’re planning a wedding a year or two in advance, you’ve got time on your side. And, actually, it’s a more sustainable way to browse for clothing than getting in the car, driving to different cities to trawl the gentlemen’s outfitters or wedding dress shops and wasting time and money that way.

Find a budget-friendly venue

Another huge cost for the wedding is the venue and all the catering and entertainment on the big day. The cost of this will sometimes determine the size of your guest list – you may need to cut people that you’d ideally like to invite to your wedding because you can’t afford to pay for those extra people if there’s a cost-per-head.

Often a venue will offer a wedding ‘package’ where everything is included, but you’ll pay a premium for this convenience. Sometimes it’s a thriftier option to hire a venue – such as a community space, hotel conference room, village hall etc – and then bring in your own caterers and entertainment.

Again, this may take more time to plan the individual elements BUT you’ll be getting exactly what you want in terms of food, drinks and entertainment rather than what the venue prescribes. Sure, they’ll offer you a choice but it may be rather limited to what they are able to provide. If you’re choosing all your own favourites – fish and chips, Status Quo tribute band, barrels of your go-to beer etc – you know that you’ll enjoy it and the wedding will feel more personalised to you.

Photos on your big day

One of the biggest expenses of your wedding is often hiring a photographer to capture your big day. But it doesn’t have to be that way – you CAN cut the cost of photography if you really want to save money and don’t particularly mind how your day is captured. For example, you can always just ask friends and family to take photos and send them to you after the event. Sure, you won’t have all those posed photos that a professional photographer would take, but it won’t cost you anything either!

I’ve also shared a blog post with ideas for making your own DIY photobooth props, so be sure to check that out if you want to host your own photobooth for guests to take their own snaps during the reception.

A lovely idea for entertaining guests during the wedding is having a photographic slideshow running that shows your love story. You could include photos from your engagement shoot if you had one, and could even add in photos of parents’ and grandparents’ weddings to make it really personal to your family.

I hope these few ideas have given you some inspiration for planning your own wedding this year. Let me know how you get on with finding some wedding bargains in the comments. And if you’re already married and managed to save cash on your big day, please share your advice below too – it all helps! 🙂

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This article is a sponsored collaboration. The pink links in the content indicate a sponsored link or information source. The blog post reflects my own experience and the sponsor hasn’t had any control over my content 🙂

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Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in Lifestyle Promotion Studies and is trained in Personal Money Management. She loves to ‘get the look for less’ so regularly shares thrifty-living advice, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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