Valuable tips for the Big Day
Getting married can still be as expensive as ever – but for those prepared to put in the effort, there are myriad ways to get better value on many aspects of impending nuptials
IT FINALLY feels like summer again and, with the rising heat, many couples have started counting down the days towards their wedding. Irish brides, it seems, are unwilling to cut back on their big day, despite the ongoing recession – although many are finding ways of saving some money.
Wedding planner Tara Fay notes that while brides may not be slashing their budgets, they are looking for better value and are “more cautious” overall about their spending.
“They definitely are shopping around and doing price comparisons on every single thing,” she says. While costs such as hotel packages may not have declined by that much, couples are now getting better value, with more included in the package.
Couples may still be spending as much as they would have before, but they are just forgoing the “extras” such as chocolate fountains and favours, which no longer may be a priority.
“I tell people to make a list of the top five things that they really really want – and to put their money into that. And then they should make a list of stuff they don’t really want,” says Fay.
For many brides, a major expense has always been the wedding dress, with some spending up to €10,000 in the heady days of the boom.
While Vera Wang may no longer have an outlet in Brown Thomas, for some, a top-notch garment will always be a priority.
“People who want to spend money on the dress will spend it,” notes Fay. For some, shopping trips to New York or London are still on the agenda, for others, however, saving money is more important, with more and more brides seeking out second-hand or sample dresses.
Donedeal.ie, for example, lists numerous second-hand options, while you can also purchase dresses from outlets such as Oxfam on Dublin’s Georges Street or Barnardos in Dún Laoghaire.
According to Oxfam, most of its dresses are brand new and have been donated by wedding retailers and designers, with prices starting at about €250. The disadvantage of this option is that they may not have your size in a dress you love, although dresses can be altered.
Suzanne Hourican, owner of Covet, an upmarket dress rental shop in Dublin’s Powerscourt Centre, is seeing an ever-increasing demand from brides, bridesmaids and wedding guests alike for her services.
“Whether one has the money or not, it is difficult to justify splashing out €3,000-plus on a designer evening or cocktail piece that is so distinctive it is very often only worn once. As a result we are filling a much-needed gap in the market,” she says.