Want to say ‘I do’ but don’t have the budget? 10 Top Tips!

So after months of hints and wasted trips to get your nails done, he has finally popped the question! Congratulations!! Here are some tips on how to tie the knot without breaking the bank.
1. Agree on a reasonable budget and stick to it!
Your wedding will float or sink by the stringency of your wedding budget. If there’s anything to get right, it’s this.
Firstly, NEVER take out a loan for a wedding- there’s no rule that demands you must spend a lot of money- you can have a beautiful wedding on a budget! Consider your financial circumstances and think carefully about how much you can afford to spend. Remember not to compare yourself to others; this marriage is about the two of you, and you will be the ones to deal with the consequences after the wedding. 
Do not include contributions and gifts from family and friends. People’s circumstances can change unexpectedly, so you don’t want to be dependent on their financial situations in case they are unable to deliver on their promises.
Think not only about the overall budget, but also about how you allocate your budget towards different things. Sacrifice on the things that don’t mean as much to you so you can spend on those things that do. Ultimately, agree on a budget that WORKS FOR YOU, and be determined to stick to it at all costs!
2. Keep your guest list under control 
Whilst it’s a nice thought to use your wedding to reconnect with your neighbours’, cousins’, ex girlfriend, be mindful of guest numbers as this will have a significant impact on your budget. If your mum wants to invite her whole church she needs to be willing to contribute to feeding them. When trying to shorten a guest list think about who you would be happy to invite out and pay for their dinner because that is essentially what you are doing with every invite. 
3. Be prepared for unexpected costs and get organised 
Weddings are like exam questions, there are almost always things that crop up that you didn’t plan for. Ensure that your budget is sufficiently within your means so that you can absorb any unanticipated costs where necessary. A great way to stay organised is with a wedding budget tracker on Excel to track every item that you need to pay for, how much of your budget you have allocated to it, and finally, how much you actually spend on each item. It will help you to easily see where you can cut back.
4. Start early and continuously do your research
Take the time to do your research, provided you and bae are both in the same head space, you don’t have to wait for the proposal to start. Research extensively on price ranges for various items and find the best deal for you. The internet is your best friend! Having said that don’t take for granted the value of giving a vendor a call. Vendors are not always the best at keeping their websites up to date and you are more likely to find good deals if you make a connection with someone over the phone rather than email tennis. For instance, local councils and wedding registry offices are sometimes able to offer special deals for particular days if you give them a call (as low as £50 rather than £400!).
Be mindful that, as you research, you may need to tweak your budget allocations where you have underestimated/over estimated the cost of an item, but do your best to keep the overall budget the same (or, better still, reduce it!).
5. Tap into your personal network and then tap into their network 
Make the most of the skills of your friends, family and other connections. You’ll be surprised by how much people are willing to bless you on your special day using their own abilities and talents such as hair/makeup, catering and baking.
Be sure to ask around for recommended wedding vendors, and ask if your connections can make the initial introductions. You are much more likely to get a special discount or add-on if you are referred by someone else that has already established a relationship with the vendor.
6. Make the most of social media
Follow wedding vendors and wedding inspiration pages on social media so you can keep abreast of new offers and ideas on how to be savvy with your wedding budget. Places like Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest are fantastic!
7. Cut costs at every opportunity
As you plan you may realise that some items in your vision for your wedding are quite simply unnecessary. Think twice about whether you really need that sweets table, photo booth or chocolate fountain. They are lovely additions, however, if you are struggling to make your budget stretch far enough, cut them out! Your wedding will still be lovely without them! Another way to cut costs is to do it yourself! Get creative and get your hands dirty. Where possible, make it yourself! Things like wedding favours are easy to make at home and will help you avoid the extortionate prices that some vendors charge. Particularly with save-the-dates and wedding invitations, if it works for you, consider going digital rather than paying for the printing and postage of these items.
8. Haggle!
Never accept a vendor’s prices at face value. Before concluding a conversation with a vendor, and especially before deciding to book them and signing a contract, be sure to ask whether they can throw in any extras or perhaps do a special deal on the price for you because you are working with a limited budget. It may feel a bit uncomfortable sometimes and it won’t always work, but so long as your courteous, what have you got to lose? Your pocket will thank you for it!
9. Don’t just opt for the obvious solution
When considering who to book for a service or where to buy an item for your wedding, don’t immediately resort to the most obvious retailer or most famous brand or person. Do your research because sometimes you can find smaller businesses that are willing to offer the same item or service for much cheaper! Just ensure that they are a reputable supplier and will deliver as promised. Websites like Etsy and Not on the High Street are good starting points.
Also consider looking further afield for venue locations. If you don’t have to be in London you can definitely save a pretty penny. Alternatively, if you do, it is sometimes more cost-efficient to book a vendor that is outside of the major city and pay for their travel costs. 
Finally, don’t underestimate the savings you can make hosting your wedding on a weekday and during an off-peak season, as venues and wedding services are generally cheaper.
10. Think of the bigger picture
As you plan towards your special day, be mindful of the bigger picture: a marriage which, by God’s grace, will last for the rest of your life.
Ultimately, remember that your wedding is just one day and your marriage is for the rest of your life. You might not get your own way but none of this will matter when you’re waking up next to the love of your life, moaning about who has to do the washing up and snoozing your alarm to put off doing the school run.
I’ve done enough talking. Ready, set, Google! Here are a few helpful websites to take a look at as well: 
o Etsy
o Amazon
o eBay
o Not on the High Street
o Fiverr
Wishing you a happily ever after!