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Bridalwave Interview: Wedding planner Sarah Haywood on keeping your wedding costs down

By AbiSilvester on July 1st, 2009 0 comments yet. Be the First

sarah_haywood2.gifOne of the positive sides to the recession is the way it’s made all of us think a bit more carefully about our own wasteful behaviour. Weddings are notorious for promoting it, so for those not wanting to spend a fortune it’s good to know that it’s OK to draw the line before you start massively over-spending just because you feel you have to at your wedding.

Sarah Haywood, who is working with bettermoneyskills to help couples budget wisely takes a tough line on this culture of over-spending, and firmly believes that if you don’t want it at your wedding, you shouldn’t have to pay for it.

Read on over the jump for her advice on how to afford the wedding you want!


Create your perfect day not Posh Spice’s

Sarah feels that celebrity weddings have a lot to answer for and that setting your expectations too high can often lead to planning disasters and over-spending. But that doesn’t mean you have to have a drab and boring day: she has plenty of good advice for keeping costs down so you can afford the day of your dreams – once you’ve made a few sensible decisions. Her ‘big five’ key wordswhen meeting a client are: how, where, who, when and budget – too many people get hung up on the finer details of planning a wedding before they’ve even confronted these issues, leading to fatal errors: after all, how can you decide on a venue when you don’t have a clue how many guests you can afford to cater for? Focus on the basics, then go shopping!

Small is beautiful

Sarah told Bridalwave that a good way to avoid this excessive expense is to plan a smaller wedding than you might initially have envisaged, shaving off all the ‘b-listers’ you feel you have to invite but don’t actually want around on the day. ‘Weddings are an extension of family’, she said, ‘so they don’t need to include everyone you’ve ever known’.

Since your venue and catering will account for a hefty proportion of your costs (as much as 40 to 50 per cent), hosting a smaller event will bring them down by a significant margin. Keep control of your guest numbers and cost-per-head and you’ll be well on your way to an affordable wedding (and more money to spend on some of those tempting extra details later on!)

Keep it simple

Sarah believes that the common decision to hold two seperate events – a ceremony with a smaller group of guest followed by an evening ‘do’ including others – is a false economy. In her view, the people you want to invite to the ceremony itself are most likely to be the people you actually want at your wedding, so it makes more sense to restrict the reception to this group alone.

Time it right

Timing is not something we automatically associate with cost-cutting, but when you think about it, the amount of time between your ceremony and the reception meal can make a huge difference to the expense of an event. Sarah advises holding your ceremony later in the day, allowing guests to go straight into a drinks reception without too much ‘hanging around’ – it means you don’t have to book your venue for as many hours as you otherwise would, and lowers catering costs.

An invitation is not a summons…

It’s YOUR day…but don’t forget how you felt when your best friend insisted you came to Corsica for her hen do then had the gall to include £500 pressies on her gift list! You’ll already have budgets on the brain while wedding planning, so think of your guests’ limitations too. Surveys show that guests are more than willing to splash out if they can afford it – they’re spending up to £250 on hen/stag dos and up to a whopping £500 on travel, accommodation and present for the wedding itself – so keep this in mind when you’re planning location, dress code and your gift list.

Sarah Haywood is the author of the UK’s best selling bridal books the Wedding Bible and the Wedding Bible Planner. She regularly appears as the ‘Wedding Doctor’ and on TV and radio in the UK and abroad and her weddings are featured in bridal and celebrity magazines. Sarah’s clients range from high spend celebrities and aristocrats to those looking for glamour and style on a limited budget.




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