While starry-eyed lovers vow to stay together for richer or poorer, it’s no harm to kick off this new phase of life with a little bit of prudence tucked in alongside the old, new, borrowed and blue.

A wise woman once told me, "When poverty comes in the door, love flies out the window." With the average Irish wedding and honeymoon now costing over €26,000, it pays to heed this not-so-romantic advice!

Here are the Money Doctor’s top tips to ensure you can celebrate in style, without inviting financial stress to your wedding.

Budget, budget, budget!
38% of couples spend more on a wedding than they had planned, so make a budget your first port of call after sharing the good news. Set a fixed budget for your non-negotiables: the venue is a big one, but apart from that, you can save money everywhere.

The invites
Look into websites like OptimalPrint.ie, VistaPrint.ie and Canva.com for beautiful, affordable wedding invitations you can design yourself.

Wedding invitation
Why not design your own invites online?

Save the date
Consider a weekday rather than a weekend service – a definite way to save money on the venue. Invitees who cannot attend will always send a present!

The first dance
While a band is a must-have for many (being a band member, I would say that!), think about whether you need a DJ too.

SteamClock Software’s WeddingDJ app costs €2.29 on the Apple app store and allows you to create organised, easy-flowing playlists of your ideal songs for every part of your big day, from the ceremony to reception, right down to the bride’s procession, cocktail hour and first dance.

newlyweds dance
Think about whether you really need a band on your big day

Hens & Stags
Be discerning when planning hens and stags. More and more people are staying in Ireland, and while some venues can hike their prices at the sight of a bridal party, ask around for good deals – or even look into spa packages and weekend breaks on sites like Pigsback, Groupon or LivingSocial.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you could save money by planning a ‘sten’ (Stag & Hen combined) and hosting just one trip or event instead of two.

spa break
Have a relaxing hen night with the girls

Chicken or fish?
Be creative with the food: buffet menus can be a lot more enjoyable as well as affordable and a trip up north to Marks & Spencer will land you a stunning wedding cake or you can use this information to barter with a down-south provider.

Wedding cake
If you have an especially talented close friend or family member, think about asking if they might bake your cake, make your wedding video or do the bridal party’s hair or makeup as a wedding gift.

Big pink wedding cake decorated by flowers
Do you have an amateur baker in your life?

Enjoy a long engagement
Plan as far in advance as possible: this will give you more time to save, as well as to be realistic about timing.

A summer ceremony sounds lovely, but with July to September being the most popular months, you could save a pretty penny getting married in February (the least popular).

Alternatively, take a chance on CancelledWeddings.ie, an online brokerage that sells cancelled wedding packages in the UK and US at rates reduced by up to 65%.

empty notebook, pencil and pink peony flowers
Plan your wedding as far in advance as possible

Be a smart saver
Be astute with your saving. Set up a dedicated savings account and implement a direct debit immediately – and remember, you’ll need an account you can access on demand as wedding costs arise. Check out:

  • EBS Family Savings (1.75% AER - save between € 100 & € 1000 per month for 12 months)
  • KBC Bank regular saver account (0.5% AER but an additional 2% if you open an "extra" current account with them)
  • Bank of Ireland’s GoalSaver (0.25-1.35% variable AER)
  • Permanent TSB’s Online Regular Saver (1% AER)

Then, download an app like Hitched, Wedding Tracker or Wedding Planner to keep your budget to hand and linked to the other elements of your wedding. 62% of couples rely on savings to pay for their wedding, so make every cent count.

Of course, everyone wants the dream wedding followed by the trip of a lifetime – but they’re not worth having if they mean you start marital bliss in a pit of debt. So do yourself a favour and do the maths so you can enjoy this next, great adventure.

For more information click on John Lowe's profile above or on his website.