So this is the season of love. And I have seen my own fair share of engagements and marriages recently! But it all can be very expensive, from gifts, to the ring, to the dress, it adds up!!! Here are some tips to help, after all love shouldn’t cost a thing!
a) Make your own ring: The UK has two world-famous jewellery districts: Hatton Garden in London and Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter. These are full of hyper-competitive specialist merchants, which deal in bulk and loose pieces and are usually cheaper than normal high street shops. Haggling's required. Fit the stone in a setting at any regular jewellers thereafter.
b) Consider coloured gemstones: If you are more of a non-traditional type, check out rings with coloured stones. Non-diamond rings such as opals, amethysts, garnets, pearls, emeralds, sapphires and tanzanite are often less expensive, and you can typically upgrade the size of the stone to a MUCH larger one! I personally love unusual stones… giant amethyst rings with smaller diamonds surround for a fraction of the price? Sold!
c) Remember your 4c’s: "Four Cs"--Carat, Color, Clarity, and Cut. You can sacrifice on everything here to save some dough but the not the cut.
d) Choose an unusual cut. Square rocks are less popular for example so are therefore much cheaper than the more common circular cut pieces. They look better too in my opinion...
a) Venues: booking the wedding of your dreams on a non-conformist day like a weekday or Sunday can slash the venue price by about 60%!!!! I know! Crazy…
b) Don’t say the N word! Nuptials or Weddings are the words that make the quotes from EVERYONE get inflated. So avoid saying it’s for a wedding when getting quotes from suppliers. When booking the florist for example, simply say it’s a large family event. After the quote is finalised call and ‘update’ the order to include the bouquet.
c) Ask if you can get it free- you can get a lot of things for free these days just ask, even if you don’t get it free ask for a discount. For example many supermarkets like Waitrose offer free glass hire, you can get up to 1000 pieces of glassware for free. Just bring them back clean.
d) Giant Photography bill? Get the photographer to come for only a few hours to take the dressing up/arrival/ bridal party post wedding photos only. This can cut your professional photographer bill by 50% at least as the quote is usually hourly. For the dinner and disco part, make your guests your personal paparazzi by placing a disposable camera on each place setting and ask the guest to take pictures and send you the processed film as a gift. They get to take picture and you get free prints. Win! Win!
Happily ever after’s should be free… in a perfect world, but it’s not. Don’t break the bank for the few days of celebrations, ending up with a lifetime of debt.