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Valentine’s Day is approaching, and love is well and truly in the air, especially for recently engaged couples such as: Channing Tatum and Zoe Kravitz; Millie Bobby Brown and Jake Bongiovi; and Ed Westwick and Amy Jackson. Not every newly-engaged couple will have a celebrity budget available, so Katy Simpson, personal finance expert at Virgin Money, and Chloe, founder of Chloe’s Deal Club, are sharing their top tips on how to create a magical yet budget-friendly wedding.

1. Be realistic with your expectations and don’t get carried away

Katy explains: “Budget weddings don’t need to be any less special than a more expensive event, however, they might not look like the lavish celebrations you see on the pages of wedding magazines. Get creative with where you are looking for inspiration, Instagram accounts like @budgetsavvybride and @rockmywedding are great places to look for unusual ideas about how you can plan and style your wedding on a budget. Agree a budget with your partner in advance, as well as the priorities for the wedding to ensure you’re on the same page and can stick within your spending goal.”

Chloe adds: “It’s so important to make sure you don’t get sucked in and book things you don’t really need. Sure, LED dance floors look pretty but you and your guests will have just as much fun dancing on a dance floor that doesn’t sparkle and light up. Another obvious one is the photobooth – they’re cool but having one definitely didn’t make or break our wedding, and we could have saved money here without feeling like we were missing something. A cheaper option would be putting a disposable camera on each table so guests can capture photos for you to look back at. Lastly, favours are a good one to cut if you’re struggling to stick to a budget, as lots of guests leave these behind so they go to waste.”

2. Use tools to help you budget and always negotiate

Katy says: “Use the tools available to you through your current account to help you stay on track – many, including the Virgin Money M Plus current account, now have functions that allow you to create a dedicated wedding savings pot to watch your money build for the big day. The Virgin Money mobile banking app also allows you to track any wedding related transactions with a clever tagging feature, as well as budget better to help you hit your savings goals. If you don’t have one already you could even open a joint current account with your partner, so you can both contribute to the same pot. Set clear goals for how much you want to save each month and be strict with how much budget you allocate to each aspect of the big day – research is key to making sure you know how much you can expect to spend on everything.”

Chloe says: “Also, make sure you’re always trying to negotiate everything to do with your wedding. There’s absolutely no harm in asking for a discount or haggling an upgrade on your food and drinks package. I managed to secure discounts on everything other than my wedding dress, which was £1 under budget, and negotiating saved me thousands of pounds.”

3. Be flexible with the venue location and date

Chloe advises: “It may be an obvious one, but always worth mentioning if you’re looking to save money, as choosing a date out of peak season can get you a much better venue price, leaving you with more money to spend on other things.”

Katy explains: “Wedding venues can often be the most expensive part of your wedding. While Saturday weddings during the summer are the most popular time to get married, you can often reduce venue costs by being flexible on the day and time of year you choose. Winter weddings can look just as gorgeous and will often be much cheaper. If you can gather your guests for a mid-week wedding, you’ll be sure to cut the costs further.”

4. Opt for something homemade or borrowed

Katy says: “Prepare to save hundreds if you dare to DIY. Try making decorations to adorn your venue or ask guests to bring something for the dessert table – there are so many ways you can save money by doing more yourself. If friends or family have got married recently, ask them if you can borrow items like tableware or centrepieces they might have from their own wedding. You can also look into renting wedding dresses, suits and bridesmaid dresses, enabling you to save a huge amount of money while also being more environmentally friendly.”

Chloe adds: “With something like our wedding invitations, we had three options – pay a company a lot of money to create these for us (which we couldn’t afford), DIY them or send guests a text. We went for the DIY option, as I had my heart set on gold foiled invitations. I watched tutorials, got a cheap, second-hand laminator, and made the invitations myself. Also, wedding décor groups on Facebook should be your new best friend. You can find second-hand décor on these for a bargain and can always resell anything you do buy after your wedding, so they could end up being free!”

5. Make sure friends and family know what your plans are

Katy explains: “Pressure from family and friends can sometimes be tricky to negotiate. Individual expectations for what your big day should look like can differ vastly from yours and the temptation can be to overspend to meet these, whether that is the number of guests or what your catering is like. As tricky as this might be, it’s important you stick to what you and your partner want, it is your big day and your budget after all."

Chloe suggests: “If any of your loved ones wish to contribute to your wedding day, it’s a good idea to have a conversation with them as early on in the planning process as possible, so that everyone’s clear on the budget, priorities and expectations.”

Watch Chloe’s Instagram reel on how to save thousands on your wedding here.

Click to find out more about Virgin Money’s current accounts and joint accounts.