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Today's young couples are up against tremendous odds when planning their big day as the cost of a wedding has skyrocketed over the past several years. Just a few short years ago, it was reported that the average cost of a wedding in the UK was in the vicinity of £15,000. That was in 2008. Just five short years later, in 2013, that figure rose to more than £18,000 and last year the cost rose to at least £20,000. Even so, there are several innovative ways to save money. Here is why a London wedding doesn't have to be expensive.

Save a Considerable Amount by Booking Early

Just because a wedding is to be a formal affair, it doesn't mean that everything must be catered or that the venues need to be amongst the posh hotels and halls. For those dead set on booking halls or hotel banquet facilities, it is advisable to book as early as possible. Venues quite often will offer a hefty discount if bookings are made at least a year in advance and particularly if they are in the off-season.

Keep the Cost of Food and Beverage to a Minimum: Self-Cater

In the same articles that enumerate the high cost of weddings in the UK, The Guardian also suggests that it is possible to keep the cost of food and beverage to a minimum by self-catering the food. Many foods can be prepared in advance and frozen until a day or two prior to the big event. It is also suggested that guests may be asked to share in the cost of liquor. Of course if money is not an issue, there can always be an open bar. However, the bride and groom, or their parents, may only wish to provide champagne for the traditional toast. A bar could be hired to serve cash-on-demand cocktails and liqueurs if one is not available at the venue.

Dispensing with Traditional Wedding Attire

According to The Telegraph, the average cost of a wedding dress in 2013 was £1098, and that was two years ago! Prices have risen since then by double digits so the cost today may be up by several hundred pounds. And this doesn't even begin to take into account the cost of attire for the groom and the bridal party!

Unless the bride will be wearing her mother's lace wedding dress, the best way to save money would be to either shop online for gowns purchased and never worn or to consider period piece costumes which could actually be hired for the day. Many brides are reluctant to wear gowns bought by other women who never made it to the altar as they consider it bad luck.

Wearing period piece costumes can also help to reduce the cost of venues as the wedding could be held at a park or monument that fits the historical setting. Many young women like to browse second-hand shops for outlandish dresses that simply "speak" to them.

Whether opting for a traditional wedding with all the bells and whistles or seeking alternatives to those formal ceremonies, UK wedding savings can be found online with just a few clicks of the mouse and a bit of perseverance. Take the time to shop around, but by all means, get it done early on for the best prices and availability of choices.