Great 'How to Have a MoneySaving Wedding' Hunt

Former_MSE_Andrea Posts: 9,614
Combo Breaker First Post I've helped Parliament Rampant Recycler
edited 1 September 2009 at 7:24PM in Shop but don't drop
They say it's the biggest day of your life, and financially at least that's always true. The ultimate romantic gesture isn't far from being the biggest single cost around, and its impact permeates through families.

We'd love brides and grooms that have either already tied the knot or are in the planning stages to help out those about to start off on the same journey with their top tips and suggestions on where to cut the cost.

Got an ingenious way to save on invites? Is it cheaper to make your cake yourself? Are charity shops worth looking at?

Click reply to add your tips.

Related Guide: Getting Married: How to Have a MoneySaving Wedding (we hope to add tips from this thread when we update that)

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  • In "The Thrift Book", India Knight recommends not bothering with a posh hire car but asking nicely to borrow someone's car if they've got a glamorous one. She says a friend of hers even left a message on the windscreen of a nice car that she saw parked locally, asking the owner if she could borrow it for the wedding - her message was a little illustrated poem, with her phone number on it. The owner phoned her and lent her the car. She wrote that another friend saw somebody selling a Rolls-Royce locally on Ebay and contacted him to ask (as charmingly as possible) if she could borrow it for her wedding - he agreed and insisted on driving it himself (fair enough, for insurance and security). As India says, people are likely to be flattered that you admire their cars so much and are likely to feel pleased to be asked to help.
  • You could always make your wedding dress out of loo roll; hold an annual toilet paper wedding dress competition that demonstrates that it is possible! You would have to be quite brave, though, and hope it doesn't rain.
  • My friend Lindsey *bought* tablecloths on eBay for less than the price to hire them. They were gorgeous. After a wash/iron they'll go back on eBay for another bride to recycle.
  • I bought a lovely wedding dress from Monsoon, then found the same dress for half the cost on Ebay, so took the original one back for full refund and bought the one on Ebay.

    Also, I went to the florists and told her that I only had about £65 left in my budget for flowers and could she help? Instead of the £250 upwards I'd been quoted elsewhere (for only my bouquet and two for bridesmaids, plus buttonholes) I got all I wanted for £65 and they were beautiful - the only difference was she waited to see what was in the van instead of ordering the roses - they were much cheaper that way and I still got champagne roses - and she used cheaper ribbons, which you really couldn't tell.

    We had a fantastic wedding and only spent a few hundred - mind you, it was very small and we just went to the local pub for a lovely meal afterwards.
  • mnc
    mnc Posts: 74 Forumite
    edited 1 September 2009 at 11:20PM
    My top tips: (probably quite obvious ones but hopefully will help somebody)

    1. Make your own invites, placecards etc. I bought 100 blank cards and envelopes from The Works for £7.00. I bought accessories to make my own designs. Once I'd made the invitations I had enough card left over to make all the placecards and gift tags for presents. Lots of people commented on how personal everything was and I enjoyed making everything as well as saving a lot of money too.

    2. Find somebody who does flower arranging as a hobby - evening classes, local village community etc. I was lucky enough to find an old lady who enjoyed flower arranging as a hobby. She ordered all the flowers direct from Holland, created all the bouquets, buttonholes, flowers for registrar table, centrepieces for the table and set everything up for £160 total. They looked amazing and were the fraction of the cost of a florist.

    3. Buy vases for your centrepieces from Ikea. They have a huge selection at great prices and can be sold on afterwards so you get most of your money back. They are also very good for lanterns and candles.

    4. Make your own favours. I bought glassine envelopes and bulk pack of wildflower seeds from ebay. Printed my own personalised labels for the envelopes and then put some seeds in each one. Was a bit more unusual and well received by guests. Also did sunflower seeds for the children.

    5. Instead of hiring an entertainer such as magician during the meal, write some quiz questions about yourself and partner and put in an envelope on each table. It was a great ice breaker and got everyone talking to each other between courses. We gave a prize of bottle of bubbly for the winning table but could be anything or just for fun.

    6. Buy your wedding rings online. They can be bought a lot cheaper than in the high street jewellers.

    7. Buy your dress direct from China. I used Milly Bridal and was over the moon with the dress I received for under £300 including postage. It looked so much more expensive and was made exactly how I wanted it and to my measurements. You can save on Bridesmaid dresses too this way.
  • Shain
    Shain Posts: 41 Forumite
    edited 1 September 2009 at 11:28PM
    When we got married 3 years ago, we did the following, actually for various reasons, but they also saved us money:


    2. I got ready at a relative's house close to the wedding venue and arrived at the venue on foot, after a relaxing 5 min walk chatting to my dad. No worries about being late, either! We left in my new husband's car.

    3. We had the ceremony and the reception at the same venue - much easier for everyone and we negotiated a good deal

    4. I bought a wedding outfit in an independent "normal" clothes shop and asked very nicely if they'd consider giving me a discount as it was my wedding outfit - and they did! Hubby bought his suit in the M&S sale (bargain!).

    5. We had a hot and cold buffet - less formal and cheaper. And we supplied some wine and champagne then people moved on to a cash bar.

    6. We only invited people we actually wanted at the wedding, rather than people we could have felt duty-bound to invite!

    7. My husband's mother made the wedding cake as a wedding present and we had it iced by a friend of a friend for much cheaper than we'd normally have to pay (and it was a lovely cake, beautifully iced)

    8. We asked around and found a florist and photographers who were just starting out. They used photos of our wedding to show future clients, we got good rates and both did wonderful jobs.

    9. I did my own makeup (cos I'm quite good at it) but got my hair done professionally (cos I'm not!)

    10. We told everyone we were dealing with that we were getting married (and the very romantic - and true! - way we met and fell in love), and people were very kind. We were given stuff and discounts by lots of people, probably because we weren't really expecting it...

    11. We sold the left-over decorations (unopened packs of rose petals, etc) on eBay

    12. We made table decorations - candle holders - from cheap Asda glass tumblers wrapped in ribbon, and then gave them away to guests afterwards

    13. We made our own wedding favours with sugared almonds, ribbon and net we bought on eBay

    14. We videoed our own ceremony and reception by having a camera running in the corner on a tripod - not a professional film, but a lovely reminder of the day, which is what we wanted. We had those disposable cameras (bought on sale) on each table, but actually, only about 10% of the pictures were any good at all. Useful addition to the "proper" photos though.

    15. We designed our own order of service and used a local printer to produce them

    16. We used an ipod and some speakers for the music at the ceremony and reception

    We actually asked for donations to charity instead of gifts - didn't save us any money but gave us some great karma to set us off on married life!
  • When obtaining quotes, remember that the word "wedding" in your enquiry pushes the price up! Try getting quotes for a similar sized non wedding event - a reunion dinner for 80 guests may be surprised at the difference...

    Also, keep an eye on the amount of wine/champagne bottles that you go through - I know that in some venues it is common to charge for an extra few bottles to top up the bar takings.

    (based on my experience in the hotel trade)
  • Buy table decorations from wholesalers - vases, jug, sweetie bowls, confetti, ribbon etc from wholesale florists - search for Michael Dark Ltd. They offer a higher discount the more you buy, and you can save a lot compared to looking on eBay for these things.

    Make your own invited - buy some cards and envelopes and then add buttons, bows, sequins etc to them. I've sewn ours on my sewing machine and stuck buttons on them to make flowers!
  • hayleyclissold
    hayleyclissold Posts: 4 Newbie
    edited 2 September 2009 at 6:40AM
    wooden '10 for £1' (800 for £36!!! IEP wholesale ) roses, double as decor for the venue ( i added fresh cut foliage and ribbon, put two together and layed x 12 per table, in the colours of my theme) and attach a tag for favours!! everyone loved taking them at the end!!

    Invites.... vistaprint, magnets so people are constantly reminded!!
  • If there's friends and family who owe you or are in a trade that's useful or have a hobby that is useful to how you're having your wedding then ask them to lend a hand as your wedding present.

    We did this with :-
    - wedding cars - two relations happened to have one black and one white BMW;
    - a friend does flower arranging;
    - a friend is a part time photographer;
    - another friend is a caterer;
    - we both used to work in the same pub, so the landlord got us good discounts on the alcohol;
    - we used the same pub's function room for our party in the evening for free;
    - a friend is good with gadgets and he filmed it for us;
    - a friend made my wedding dress for me, from 2 different patterns combined together;

    I think it cost us about £2k 7 years ago.
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