Practical tips to help you improve your credit rating and avoid expensive high interest loans
The fairy-tale wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan may be beyond the reach of the average couple’s budget. But creating an extra special day needn’t break the bank.
With experts putting the cost of the average wedding at an eye-watering £18,000 to £25,000, it’s no wonder wannabe brides and grooms are searching for guidance on how to cut the cost of their nuptials.
Thankfully the internet is brimming with some top tips on how to economise.
June is peak season for weddings. In fact, from now through to September is regarded as the peak period for tying the knot. But that also means paying peak prices. So how about getting hitched out of season?
And it’s not just the time of year that saves money. Opting to say “I do” on a Friday 13th, traditionally regarded as unlucky by some, can save you a packet. House for an Art Lover, a venue in Glasgow has been offering discounts since 2013. It offers a 13% discount (13, get it!) on any Friday the 13th.
A winter wedding, a midweek wedding or even a wedding abroad – can all reduce expenditure.
One company has spotted a gap in the market. If you are flexible and don’t mind the stigma, you can buy somebody else’s wedding on the cheap from Cancelledweddings.co.uk. It’s not in the best taste but a forthcoming wedding booking in London that would have cost £11,400 has been slashed to £5,000.
That price can be beaten if you don’t mind a traditional pub knees-up. Pub chain Wetherspoon’s can offer the full package for just £3k. One of its pubs near Fleet Street, the Knights Templar, can accommodate the ceremony, a three-course meal for 100 guests and a DJ….not forgetting the cheap beer on tap.
Naturally, the biggest spend will be on the venue and food. It may be easier to be more frugal on other items, such as the dress, the invites and the cake.
Doing your research as well as learning the art of the haggle can pay dividends.
Fleet Street’s finest money journalists have some personal tips.
The size of the budget, and how to carve it up, was decided jointly with my husband-to-be,” she said. “The quickest way to blow your budget is to invite too many people. For our wedding, we vowed our guest list would be capped at 100 people. The rule was we both had to know the people invited and, ideally, that they knew a fair smattering of the other guests.
We put a set amount of money behind the bar, did a deal on a job-lot of prosecco (buying discounted champagne around New Year’s Eve is another great money saving tip) and had a no-frills buffet of bacon rolls, chips and macaroni cheese for the vegetarians.”
Clearly, it’s all in the planning. However, things can still go wrong; it’s knowing how to deal with a wedding-related crisis that counts.
The Citizens Advice Bureau offer these top tips to protect yourself:
Get agreements down on paper: Get what has been agreed written down and signed by yourself and the trader. This includes details of the service, price, delivery timings and cancellation details.
Check cancellation terms: Make sure you understand what your rights are if you have to cancel or if the trader cancels your order, including how much notice and what happens to deposits and repayment plans.
Act quickly: If something has gone wrong, such as the flowers not being up to scratch, speak to the seller straight away in order to get a full refund or replacement.
Gather evidence: Take photos for proof. For example if you’re rings are being resized, take photos in front of the trader before the work is done and get shots of different angles of the rings. Then if anything is different you’ll have proof.
Extra protection: If you pay by credit or debit card you might be able to get money back from your card provider if you are having difficulties sorting out a problem with the seller.
Insurance: You can get specific wedding insurance to help your day run smoothly but it’s important to make sure the policy covers your needs.
Protection from paying by credit or debit card or taking out wedding insurance gives you the added comfort of knowing that if there is a problem that you can’t get sorted out, the Financial Ombudsman Service are likely to be able to help you
Paying for it….ah yes, that oh-so-tricky subject of who is to foot the bill for the big day.
More than half of couples (51%) receive help from relatives to pay for wedding bills, according to a survey by wedding planning website Hitched.co.uk.
Image: Hayley Jayne Photography
However, the age-old tradition of the father-of-the-bride picking up the tab is now well and truly out of the window and it’s down to the individuals involved to split the cost.
If the recent survey by TheKnot.com is to be believed, approximately 45 per cent of a wedding is generally paid for by the bride’s parents, 42 per cent is paid for by the bride and groom and 12 per cent is paid for by the groom’s parents.
It’s easy to recommend that you reduce your monthly spending in order to tuck away the money. But the harsh reality is that shelling out £100 less each month will only result in a wedding fund of £3,600 after three years.
That said, if you have a gym membership that you don’t use or you haven’t switched your energy supplier recently, it’s worth cancelling wasted subscriptions and doing the switching thing as every little helps.
The savings maths is quite simple. If your wedding is in one year, divide your budget by 12 to find out how much you need to save each month.
If saving is going to take too long, you might consider using credit cards or loans.
With credit cards, the best option would be to take a card with a 0% rate on spending, and for the longest period. This part of the market has become very competitive recently so there are some great deals. Sainsbury’s, for example, is offering 0% on spending for 31 months.
A battle among personal loan providers is also helping. The best rates on loans of between £7,500 and £15,000 recently dropped below 3%. Sainsbury’s is offering 2.7% while M&S and Cahoot are charging just 2.8%.
Of course, these lenders save these deals for people with the best credit histories. If you have a mark on your credit file for missed payments or other problems then you’ll be rejected. You could go for a card that is more likely by Googling for a lending eligibility calculator.
Needless to say, think carefully before borrowing money for a wedding. Rethink your plans if the spending is getting out of control.
Ultimately, it’s about the people, the speeches, the fun and the dancing – that will make your wedding priceless.