If you’re a Netflix subscriber, you may have already seen the reality TV series, Cheapest Weddings. As its name would suggest, each episode in the Australian-based series documents two or three engaged couples trying to pull off their dream weddings on shoe-string budgets.
Some of these couples are older students paying off debt, others are business owners who’ve put all their money into their startups to get them off the ground; the common theme is that they don’t have much cash to spare and don’t want to get into more debt than they already are in by throwing a lavish wedding.
So, what can we learn from these tenacious couples when it comes to planning a memorable occasion ‘on the cheap’? The lessons are actually quite varied! Here are our top four.
Decide on a venue first and find out what their package includes
Where you plan on hosting your wedding ceremony and reception will greatly determine what ‘extras’ you’ll need to budget for beyond your actual venue hire. Many dedicated wedding and event venues include the rent of tablecloths, cutlery, crockery and other basics with their venue. Venues like school or town halls, bowling clubs and art galleries often just offer an empty room to decorate, so will require you to outsource suppliers.
This is perfect if you can get these items cheaper elsewhere and your supplier gets these to you in time. Here’s a horror story: one of the couples in the series hired a DJ for their wedding, but it transpired that he didn’t own a car, so he contacted them the day before the wedding to ask if someone could pick him and his equipment up for the reception! The answer was “no”, which left the bride and groom without a sound system for their speeches and evening celebrations.
Expect to DIY – but invite your family and friends to help!
We noted that most couples on the series were able to save a fair penny by doing much of the preparation and set up work themselves. From doing their own floral arrangements and cooking the food for the reception, to getting a family member to bake the wedding cake, and setting up their reception venues themselves, couples who were willing to get stuck in and get their hands dirty - and who had friends willing to do the same - managed to stick within budget.
If you do take the DIY approach, be sure to find out from what time and for how long you’ll have access the wedding venue to set it up. Also be sure also have a few willing helpers! One couple on the series hired out a local bowls club for their reception and only had two hours, on the afternoon before the wedding, to set it up and no one arrived to help them. No bride or groom needs that amount of stress before their special day…
Shop around for cheaper products
There are many online platforms that sell second hand or cheaper wedding products, so you don’t have to shop at expensive bridal boutiques or stores for your wedding décor, shoes, jewelry, bridesmaids’ dresses, wedding dress or suit for the groom. Just be sure to order all items well in advance so you don’t have a last-minute emergency about orders not delivering in time or items of clothing not fitting properly.
Hire a novice photographer
If you’re willing to compromise on a high level of professionalism and quality, you can also save money on your wedding photographer by enlisting the services of one who’s still working on their portfolio. They’ll generally be cheaper than a big name photographer and are likely to have fewer bookings competing with your wedding date.
At the end of the day, a budget wedding in Ireland can be very tastefully and successfully done – especially if you do your research and are willing to be creative about it. You don’t have to go as far as having your wedding reception in your backyard – unless you want to, of course – but you can cut corners without it looking amateur and cheap.
Visit the Ardboyne Hotel
The Ardboyne Hotel has a number of wedding packages to choose from for the price-conscientious couple. All our packages include a five course gourmet meal for you and your guests, and complimentary accommodation for the bride and groom on their wedding night, with breakfast included.
Click here for more information.