I am currently on my way to a hen do this weekend and as I rush round looking for Euros and my passport I couldn’t help staggering at the news that the average wedding in the UK now costs more than £15,000. Are couples seriously splashing out the equivalent of a decent deposit on a flat on what is essentially a huge party? I know how easy it is to get swept up in the moment – my friend Vix spent a very strange and stressful year playing maid of honour to the world’s most high maintenance bride. Said bride saw nothing wrong, in the height of the recession, on insisting that her hard-pressed bridesmaids not only fork out for £100 shoes each, but then pay to have them dyed pale green. To this day I only have to whisper the words “eau de nil” for her to turn that very shade and reach for the brandy bottle. And it’s not just the bride’s family and those in the wedding party who have to dig deep, as hen nights have grown from a simple boozy night out into three or four day extravaganzas, often abroad, it’s quite possible to blow £500 on a hen do, and that’s before you’ve splashed out on the compulsory pink cowboy hat. With three weddings already lined up this summer I was starting to get a bit panicky so I was cheered to stumble across Nicola Ray’s website, Cheap Wedding Success. Nicola is in an enterprising bride who decided she wanted her wedding day to be the best day of her life, but didn’t want to devote the rest of her life to paying for it. So she set herself a budget of £5,000 and still managed to organise a sit down meal and constant running champagne for 100 guests. Having pulled it off she decided to share the secrets of her success with the world and ended up creating a very successful business helping brides to keep it real. So with the wedding season in full swing let me know your favourite “hang the budget” wedding horror stories, either as a bride, bridesmaid or wedding guest and how you survived it! Amanda Scary statistic of the day: Shopkeepers are feeling the pinch as sales figures revealed a 2% drop in takings in the first two weeks of June (compared to an 18% rise in April thanks to sunshine and the royal wedding) so it’s a buyers’ market out there – if you have something big to buy, now’s the time to snap up a bargain. Deal of the Day: Babies R Us are marking Child Safety Week by cutting the cost of their car seats in half – visit the KidStart home page and have a browse.