How to add a personal touch to your big day without breaking the bank

Wedding days are one of the few occasions that a couple can be as self-obsessed as they wish, and tell the story of their lives, their present past and future. Creating the perfect wedding for ‘you’ can be as elaborate as you wish – anything from aisle runners to confetti can be used the way you want  – but the more you put in, the more is taken out of your account. Here are a few simple ways to personalise your nuptials in style without overreaching:

Invitations
The first stage of the process, and one which the internet has changed beyond all recognition. Once a time-consuming and costly exercise, you can now create and buy personalised wedding invitations in any style from rustic to retro and Wild West to Wonderland. One word of advice; try to match up the invitation with the eventual theme of the wedding itself.

Go second-hand
The cost of stylising each table at a wedding can be extortionate if you buy everything new. However, if you know the style of the wedding early in the process (perhaps when you sent out your invites) then you can pick up bits and pieces from car boot sales, auctions, eBay and other sellers in plenty of time. Finding pieces for a Victorian/80s/holiday/Irish theme, to name but a few, will be easy tasks. Alternatively you could hire items from various site.

Photograph wall
A great idea for the entrance or walls of the venue showing self-printed pictures of the bride and groom from throughout their lives. Another option is to create a specific wall showing guests who are attending or absent friends, created from pictures found on social media. The ink costs might not be too cheap, but will still be miniscule compared to professionally-printed efforts. Pick up cheap frames for the pics or just mount them on stiff card and watch everyone enjoy trying to find pictures of themselves.

Ask friends to perform
Live music is always a great way to entertain the gallery, but not necessarily a cheap option if you’ve already got a DJ as well. So here’s where you call upon one of your performing friends (everyone’s got someone who can belt out a tune) and ask them to do a mini-set in lieu of a wedding present. Performances can also include magic and stand-up comedy, or perhaps caricature drawing.

Family favours
Borrowing from members of your family can save a huge amount of money, but also brings an element of nostalgia to the proceedings. Cherishing a grandmother’s wedding ring and an uncle’s vintage car as part of the day will bring pride to the whole family. You may even be able to re-use a wedding dress; for example, this writer’s wife wore a dress that had already been worn by two other members of the family (it helps that an aunt was a dressmaker who could make adjustments). If no family heirlooms exist, borrowing a sibling’s sound system or similar could save cash.