Are you or someone you know planning a wedding this year? Before you throw yourself into the preparations, the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission has some tips for anyone tying the knot in 2016.

1. Make a wedding budget

Make a Wedding Budget with CCPC

Check out the wedding budget planner on the Competition and Consumer Protection’s consumer website. 

This handy tool allows you to work out your spending in an easy, clear way. It will help you calculate all costs, big and small. Most importantly it will help you to prioritise your spending, helping you decide what is really important for you on the big day and what can be cut.

2. Start saving

Start Saving!

From expensive mortgages, childcare, school and college fees - your longer term expenses as a couple can really add up. To avoid starting married life on the wrong financial foot, consider opening a savings account dedicated to your wedding costs. You should try and save as much of the wedding costs as you can in advance and minimise the amount you need to borrow.   

On consumerhelp.ie you will find a comparison tool that helps you compare the interest rates on savings accounts from the main providers. 

3. Struggling to meet the cost

A personal loan could help you tie the knot

If you are struggling to stay within your budget and feel that you need to borrow, check to see how much it will cost you and how long it will take you to repay the loan. You can do this by using our personal loan cost comparison. You may also be able to borrow from your credit union, if you have an existing account with them. 

If you have to borrow to help pay for your wedding, borrow as little as possible and don’t be tempted to spread the payments too far into the future. This will cost you more in interest and could have an impact on your future plans. 

4. Be flexible with your plans

Your dream day needs to be flexible

Although it is a very special day, try and stay flexible with your plans - it could save you money.

  • Consider getting married off-peak: The month and the day you choose to get married on could save you thousands. In terms of venues, be open to alternative venues and think about the experience you can create. 
  • Ask for help: Cake-making and decoration, calligraphy, photography and music are popular hobbies people have, ask if friends are willing to help out.
  • Join on-line discussion forums and read up on wedding blogs to find out about others’ experiences with suppliers and shared tips on ways you can cut costs.

5. Pay by credit/debit card

Use your cards

Paying by credit/debit card instead of cash offers you some protection if things don’t go as planned. For instance, you may be able to request a chargeback if something goes wrong, such as the bridal shop closing down. A chargeback is when your card provider agrees to reverse the transaction. Avoid signing a contract with a venue until you are sure what is and isn’t included in the price being quoted.

6. Paying a deposit

Put down a deposit

Quotes, contracts and receipts relating to the wedding should be kept safe in case of any issues with a supplier. Remember, when you pay a deposit it shows that you intend to buy a product or service and you enter into a contract with the supplier. So you may not be able to get your deposit back if you decide to use a different supplier after you have paid a deposit. It is important to make sure that you and the supplier are clear about all the details so ask for written confirmation that includes details of the exact product or service that you are buying, the deposit you pay, when the balance has to be paid and when the product or service will be provided

7. What about insurance?

Insurance is always a good idea

Taking out wedding insurance offers you more security if something does go wrong - such as cancellation, or a trader failing to deliver a service. Many insurance providers offer wedding insurance so make sure you know what the policy covers and compare costs before you buy.

To get more tips and advice on managing your money for life’s big events, check out the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission’s website www.consumerhelp.ie.

Clodagh Coffey is Head of Consumer and Digital Communications with the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC). The CCPC is responsible for enforcing competition and consumer protection laws across the economy. To help consumers make informed decisions it also gives independent, unbiased information about consumer rights and personal finance products and service through its consumer helpline 1890 432 432 and via the consumer website.