Ask the experts

Here is a selection of Q&As from Your East Anglian Wedding magazine whether it be about flowers, hair and makeup, fashion, wedding themes, health & beauty, cakes, stationery, legal advice. If you would like your question answered by our experts, please email it to editor@youreastanglian.wedding

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Hot topic: Money saving tips

Local wedding experts share their money-saving tips

A helping hand

A helping hand

Q. We've only just started planning our wedding and already feel like the cost is spiralling out of control. How can we organise everything and balance what we want with what we can afford?

A. Sadie Chivers says: Planning your dream wedding can be daunting and may seem like it will cost the earth, especially if you're unsure on where to start. Many people think that having a wedding planner is expensive, but not necessarily, especially if you find the right one. An established professional should be able to negotiate prices with their own trusted suppliers to bring you not only peace of mind, but get you the best deals possible without breaking the bank.

For time-poor couples, having one company to deal with throughout the whole process is also easier than paying a whole host of different suppliers. Mason's Great Event Co is a one-stopshop for weddings and we always make sure we're fully aware of what couples want at their wedding, the style they're looking for and the items they'd like to buy.

Keeping to a list of needs and wants, will help keep costs down and avoid waste on unnecessary buys. Then, if you have money leftover, you can always add extras on later. Never be afraid to ask suppliers if they can offer a discount either. Keep an eye out for deals, as often companies give major discounts for set packages and even bespoke ones too. Always ask for a full breakdown of the price so you can calculate exactly what you're saving. Finally the one thing I stick by the most is never be afraid to shop around and do a bit of bartering!

A dream come true

A dream come true

Q. We're on a tight budget for our big day. How can we have the wedding of our dreams, without breaking the bank and counting the cost afterwards?

A. Evangeline Wells says: A little ingenuity can go a long way towards bridging the gap between your bank balance and the wedding you have your heart set on. My advice is to:

❤ Firstly, shop around. Compare prices while weighing up value for money against quality.

❤ Speak to friends, search through wedding magazines and social media and ask people for recommendations. Not only will you get a sense of what's out there, but this is also a good opportunity to gather ideas and look for money-saving alternatives.

❤ Try to work out what areas are worth cutting back on and which are best left to the professionals. In my experience a cake should be the remit of an expert and by serving it as dessert you can cut down the cost of the wedding breakfast. A professional photographer is also a sound investment, after all you want your photos to last a lifetime. However, do your research and see if they offer any special packages.

❤ Think about the date and time of your wedding. Some venues offer last-minute packages that can work out cheaper. At Ufford Park Woodbridge, we currently have a late-availability wedding package for £2,999 which is proving popular. You could also consider opting for a Thursday or Friday wedding instead of a primetime Saturday slot or tie the knot later in the day so you don't have to feed your guests twice.

Food, glorious food

Food, glorious food

Q. We're massive foodies and would love to lay on a wedding spread for our guests to remember but we're worried about the price. How can we keep costs down without sacrificing on quantity or quality?

A. Natalie Creegan says: Nowadays you don't have to have a big budget as there are many alternatives to the traditional wedding breakfast. With festival-style weddings becoming evermore popular, the type and style of food you offer can be very cost-effective. Our wood-fired pizza ovens, coupled with paella pans, work really well for a relaxed vibe. Other popular choices include Mexican and Indian dishes. These can be set up as separate stations so guests are free to eat while they mix and mingle. They're also ideal for the evening do and are budget-friendly too.

Barbecue food is another great option and can be served to the tables on platters or set up buffet-style. We include a simple starter and our delicious double chocolate brownie tower dessert is to die for.

Grazing boards are slightly more formal but still very interactive and relaxed. We use long wooden boards for serving, which look stunning and we can provide endless options, catering for all tastes including veggie and vegan guests.

The wright stuff

The wright stuff

Q. We want our guests to be excited for our big day from the get-go, so getting the stationery right is really important to us. How can we give the best impression, without spending a fortune?

A. Rachael Riches says: Here are some of my tops tips for having great-looking stationery without blowing your budget. They're all small changes, so you'll still get great-looking stationery!

❤ Select a studio or house design rather than bespoke as this will take your designer less time.

❤ Ask about different types of card as this can have an impact on the price. To cut costs, opt for a more light-weight option.

❤ The shape can also make a difference; square is often more expensive and also a flat invitation is less costly than folded.

❤ A larger number of invitations often works out better value per card than smaller quantities.

❤ Consider the type of envelope. I tend to use luxury ones to match the stationery however, white ones can be more cost-effective.

❤ Include the RSVP details on the invitation rather than as a separate card. This is a good idea if you're asking your guests to email replies.

❤ Print any guest information on matching paper sheets rather than card.

❤ For order of service or order of the day cards, print on both sides rather than folded with paper inserts.

❤ Combine table numbers with menus, printing on both sides of the card.

❤ Have a matching design on your place cards but leave them blank to write on, rather than having your guests' names printed on.

❤ Have small table plan cards to stick to a mirror rather than a large printed one.

❤ Finally, book early to make sure there are no charges for urgent, last-minute stationery requirements.

Let them eat cake

Let them eat cake

Q. We're great cake lovers but can't afford a multi-tiered showstopper. What would you suggest that will look and taste great with minimum waste?

A. Emma Thorburn says: I often get asked to create something for couples on a tight budget that's relaxed, stylish and will feed lots of people. One of my favourite solutions is a cake stack or barrel cake which can be dressed in the flowers and greenery of the day, fruits, berries or confectionery and stay looking pretty right up until it's cut. You can go for one blow-out flavour and let your cake pull double duty as dessert, ensuring it all gets eaten, so no waste. Go for colour, flavour and style plus a cake maker who knows their stuff, for an all-round winner.

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Kings Lynn Town Hall
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Kings Lynn Town Hall
Woodhall Manor