Eighteen months since I blogged.
I'm not married yet.
I nearly am though :)
The last year and a half has been a bit of a rollercoaster personally and professionally - luckily for me my fiancé and I have both managed to keep our jobs (he's even had a couple of promotions) and we've managed not to argue ourselves out of our wedding. A tough time... but then it's been tough for everyone, and I feel very lucky we've almost made it to our wedding day relatively unscathed.
As it's less than a month to go before the big day (*eek*, *faint*, *sweat nervously* etc) I thought it might be useful for me to impart the very humble scraps of advice that may or may not be useful for those newly-engaged, terrified fiancées emerging blinking into this Brave New World of the recessionista bride:
- Save, save and save a bit more: it's very likely your wedding will cost more than you think. Our final wedding budget is approximately 50% over our original estimate, adn we thought we'd budgeted pretty tightly. Nothing wrong with sticking a few wedding bits and bobs on a credit card somewhere, but taking out a mahoosive loan to spend on a one-day party? Maybe not the best idea
- Think like an accountant: think of the most boringly sensible person you know. Now double their boringness. Now imagine them talking about the benefits of tracker v fixed mortgages, the different types of ISA on the market, why the recent VAT increase is a good/bad thing... you've got it! That person there! THAT should be the voice in your head you double check every wedding purchase with. Yes, it's tedious. But asking yourself again do you REALLY need those vintage pearl hairpins, when you know the ones from Accessorize would do and are half the price, will really help you in the long run.
- Reduce, reuse, recyle: sales are your friend. eBay is your friend. Friends who have just got married are now doubly your friend. Embrace the wedding dress sample sale! (I did, and saved a grand on my dress). Stalk new brides on You and Your Wedding and on eBay - the stuff they're selling has been used ONCE! For a FEW HOURS! And your recently hitched mates are likely to have a plethora of things you can borrow for your big day - hey, if you ask to borrow their veil/garter/tiara/groom (perhaps not the last) you're validating their excellent taste in the most public way possible. Easiest way in the world to get your something old/borrowed.
- Bargain like a bad-ass: don't be afriad to ask for discounts. Pick your moment wisely and you could be shaving hundreds if not thousands off your budget. Good times to try to hammer out a deal: if you're getting married out of season (suppliers are more likely to be struggling to find the business); if you're booking at the very last minute; if you're buying lots from the same supplier (e.g. discounted veil/tiara if you're buying your dress from the same shop). Not good times to haggle: they've already offered you a realistic, nay generous discount; it's a small family-run supplier who are already offering goods at a very low price; if you're getting married on a Saturday in August (they don't need your business that much - there are hundreds of brides queueing up at this time for their services)
- Put yourself in your guests' shoes: it's easy to get caught up in the wedding magazine ideal of their idea of the "perfect wedding" - which is usually wall-to-wall designer and packed with the latest (costly) trends, which all add up. As long as you have what you want, you don't need the uber-expensive bells and whistles the mags are saying you "should" have. All your guests want is to share your day, see you smiling and to have a good time. That's only going to happen if you're happy and relaxed. Put down the desiginer letterpress invitation catalogue (even if its pages are so reassuringly thick and glossy). Step away from the Louboutin shop. Your guests will still love you.