Top tips to get hitched on the cheap
Slash the invitation list, go on a booze cruise, pay less for the dress . . . but don’t skimp on the Tayto sandwiches at midnight
Ditch the chocolate fountain: Kristen Wiig had the right idea in ‘Bridemaids’.
1. Be ruthless with your list. Must you invite every aunt and uncle and all your nephews and nieces, people in your office that you hate and that person who nodded to you on the bus that time? Of course you don’t. The average cost of feeding and watering your guests will be about €15,000. Cut your list in half and you will save yourself more than €7,000. It does mean you will get fewer presents, so you might want to strike the meanest of your friends off the list first.
2. Do you really need to get married on a Friday or Saturday? Does it have to be the summer? Let’s face it, there is almost as much chance of gales and driving rain in July as there is in November. If you have your wedding on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday and off-season, you will see the price tumble. And yes, your guests may have to take a day or two off work but sure isn’t that a bit of craic for them?
3. Plan for sooner rather than later. The more time you have to plan the more time you have to lose the run of yourself. Choosing to get married in November 2018 as opposed to November 2020 will limit your spending options and while it may put you under a bit of pressure, it will all get done and it means you pay 2018 prices instead of 2020 prices.
4. Dresses should cost less. Irish brides spends an average of €1,500 on the dress. Let’s say they wear it for 12 hours, it means they are paying €125 an hour just to wear the dress. That can’t make any sense, can it? You can find loads of dresses selling for no more than €200 on donedeal.ie, while we found wedding dresses on Asos for €80. Oxfam has a bridal collection and most of the dresses it sells “are brand new and have been gifted to Oxfam by designers and bridal boutiques”. Others have been donated but each gown is in mint condition with prices ranging from €50 to €400. A downside to this option is that the shops may not have your size in the dress you want to say yes to, but all dresses can be altered.
5. Cut back on wedding cake, which can cost upwards of €500, in favour of a home-made chocolate biscuit cake, or tiers of cup-cakes. Let’s be honest, no one really likes wedding cake and by the time it is wheeled out everyone is either too drunk to eat it or too busy doing the Walls of Limerick. Or both.
6. Have a champagne reception by all means but don’t bother with the champagne. Serve Spanish Cava instead. It is almost as good and less than half the price.
7. Take a booze cruise, especially if you are planning a big wedding. The Republic has the highest duty on wine in the EU, at €3.48 a bottle, and more than half of the cost of a €9 bottle of wine in Ireland is tax. More than 80 per cent of all the wine in the Republic costs between €8 and €12 a bottle. When all taxes are added, they make up €4.28 of the price of the cheapest bottle; another €3.20 goes on distribution and packaging, leaving just 52c for the wine. A €12 bottle of wine attracts €5.02 in tax and €4.80 in other costs, meaning the wine costs just €2.18. If you travel to France and buy wine for personal use, you will relieved of the need to pay duty and much of the distribution cost. The cost of the trip, over and back, will be €500 and €1,000 will easily get you enough wine for 250 people.
8. We are creatures of habit and tend to pick hotels for our weddings. Pick an unusual venue rather than a hotel and get the caterers in. Do it cleverly and it will save you thousands. Do it badly and you might have a terrible wedding and waste a fortune.
9. What are we like? Do we really think fireworks, chocolate fountains, ice sculptures and doves flying about our heads are what we need to prove our love? The only wedding trend Pricewatch can get behind is the one what has made Tayto sandwiches at midnight popular. Not only do they taste amazing, they are also incredibly cheap and not even the most gouging wedding venue can charge too much for the things.
10. Call in favours for drivers, cake makers, invite-designers and while you should encourage all your friends and family to take snaps and record videos of your big day, if having a proper professional record of it matters you will need to call in the professionals.
11. Get married in Vegas and throw a party in a pub when you get home.
12. Consider taking out insurance. Weddinginsurance.ie offers policies starting at €33.99 for cancellation cover of €5,000, rising to €129.99 for cover of €40,000.
13. Look in odd places. Dealz has launched a range of wedding stuff, including invitations, favour boxes, table decor, metallic balloons, bunting and confetti with prices starting at €1.50, while Aldi is currently selling all sorts of wedding paraphernalia at prices which looked very low to us.