24/12/2013 05:43 GMT | Updated 22/02/2014 05:59 GMT

Top 10 Tips for Weddings on a Budget

New data reported in the Huffington Post yesterday found that Christmas Eve is the most popular day for UK proposals. Fingers crossed, that means a lot of happy couples will be off organising wedding ceremonies very soon.

With the tightening of belts continuing post-recession, though, planning on a budget will be the harsh reality for many. With lots of wedding venues costing upwards of £10,000 for the venue hire alone, they rarely come cheap. But they needn't be bankrupt-ingly expensive either. Here are my top ten tips for keeping costs low.

  1. Start by pulling in the favours. You'll be surprised how talented your friends are and how happy they are to gift you presents, like baking the wedding cake or taking the photographs, instead of forking out on the John Lewis wedding list (the really, really lovely ones might do both!!)
  2. Buy your dress second hand. Not only will this save you money, it also provides an ideal opportunity to raise money for charity. Oxfam has a wonderful curated collection of donated dresses ... If you're super cool, you could even donate it back after the big day.
  3. Sell your story. Not for everyone but most wedding service companies (photographers, venues, flower arrangers) will knock £££'s off if you can help them get press on wedding blogs that accept submissions from real brides.
  4. Find a dry hire venue. Using a venue that lets you avoid a 'preferred' caterer can knock thousands of your final price, especially if you then do the catering yourself.
  5. Pick a date in January/February. You might have to contend with a bit of bad weather, but unless you go abroad you'll probably have that problem in August too. Prices drop significantly in these months as venues have far fewer corporate bookings.
  6. Have it in a field. Throw my cynical, August weather warning to the wind and have a festival style wedding. Beware though, costs can easily creep-up if you're not careful, my tip choose a location that is used to hosting events and can advise on how to keep costs down.
  7. Have a bring your own policy. Ask guests to a choose their favourite liquor and bring it with them, then hire an expert cocktail maker to mix up amazing new concoctions with the booze they bring. If anyone asks, it's dead on trend.
  8. Bake your own wedding cake. Nobody but your Nan will eat it, so it's only really needed for the classic cutting snap. Have a look here for a foolproof recipe from the beeb.
  9. Do your own flower arrangements. If you're in London head down to the New Covent Garden Flower Market in Vauxhall and pick-up flowers at wholesale prices.
  10. Invite fewer people. Never an easy thing to do but a good tip is to ask if they are part of your past, present and/or future life. If they tick two or more of these boxes they're in, if they don't well, they probably won't mind anyway...

Hope this helps! Any money saving tips to add? Give a comment below or tweet me!