It seems, after a long break with tradition, marriage is coming back into fashion. After the freedom and sexual liberation of the Sixties, more and more couples moved towards living together as opposed to getting married. Those events heralded the decline of the moral fabric of society.
This has been recognised and many couples are realising the advantages to providing a stable and secure home not just for themselves but for their children too. To this end, marriage is once again on the rise as people seek out that meaningful, lasting relationship.
However, given the constant rise in mortgages and living costs, getting married in style these days can be a mission in itself. Everybody wants their big day to be extra special, preferably without bankrupting themselves, but that happens sometimes! There are ways around this though, it just takes a bit of research and budgeting and you can have the wedding of your dreams and still afford not to sell your gran to pay for it.
The most important aspect of any wedding day is the bride's dress. Any woman will tell you it's all about the dress. For the men reading this, never, ever, minimise the importance of the dress. If this isn't just right on the big day you will hear about it for the rest of your married life and that doesn't sound like domestic bliss to me.
Take a look on the internet. Shop around for discount stores and even take a look at eBay. There is nobody that will be there watching you take your vows who could possibly have an inkling that your dress isn't brand new. They get worn for just a few hours under carefully controlled circumstances. You could possibly have it professionally cleaned but often there is no need. Designer wedding dresses can be snapped up at a fraction of the cost. There are also groom and best man outfits as well as bridesmaids and even mother of the bride outfits.
Flowers, headdresses and all manner of accessories can be snapped up in the same fashion. It is possible to kit out a whole wedding team in coordinating outfits on a very tight budget.
The wedding cake is also important and this is another good reason to shop around. Try local bakery's as some will be branching into wedding cake supply. This is a cheaper option that a specialist supplier and will be a fraction of the price.
If you can keep numbers to a minimum you can lay on a very intimate reception for close friends and family if you hold it in a private home with a decent size garden for overspill. You will find most people will ask if they can contribute towards a buffet anyway.
Another important aspect is that of transport. Car hire is one option that can keep costs down. Some people like a horse and cart for that traditional look but if you want to keep costs low then try various car hire companies in your area. Have a scout of the adverts in shop windows. People often buy their dream car to renovate then want to make money from it so they hire it out for weddings. This is cheaper than a larger company who can afford to turn work away and you can get just as impressive a car as any other.
Car hire options will depend on your budget. You can get anything from the traditional Sunbeam for that touch of vintage class up to a Bentley. If you're looking for car hire with a difference, it's possible to hire a Hummer or even a pink Cadillac. Of course, the options depend on how much cash you have at your disposal but it definitely pays to shop around and ask around family and friends - you will often find someone knows someone else with a half decent car they are willing to lend.
This is your big day but there is no need to be broke after. Think hard about what you want, what you need, what you would like and what you are willing to forego for something else and then shop like a demon!
Wedding expert Catherine Harvey looks at the way car hire can help keep wedding costs down.