Great 'How to Have a MoneySaving Wedding' Hunt

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  • We got married in July and managed to have exactly the wedding we wanted without breaking the bank. We were very fortunate with some of the people we know which saved us a lot of money, but we also did lots ourselves which helped.

    My bridesmaid's brother in law is a printer so he printed our invitations & order of service cards for us, after we'd designed them.

    My brother's friend is a photographer so he took our photos for us, then put them of Flickr so all our family and friends could download and print them free of charge.

    Instead of expensive suit hire for the men they just wore their own suits and all had the same buttonhole.

    Our florists were a new company so were a lot cheaper than others and really keen to do a good job. Instead of shelling out a lot of money to decorate the church and reception we had two large vases of flowers which we then took to reception venue.

    My Dad drove me to church in his car - what's the point of hiring a posh car to arrive in when everyone is already in the church and won't see you?! My uncle borrowed his boss's Porsche to drive me and my husband to the reception.

    We found a venue that didn't charge corkage so we were able to buy all the drink ourselves and provide everyone with drinks all night for the same price that some venues charge for a standard 1/2 bottle of wine and glass of bubbly package.


    We had a hog roast with new potatoes & salad for our meal with no starter - SO much cheaper than a traditional sit down meal.
    Instead of the £500 chocolate wedding cake we first looked at I made 12 chocolate tortes to serve for dessert. The recipe was so easy and they froze well which meant I could make them 2-3 weeks in advance - which helped ease the stress! We had a cheese wedding cake which did cost £200 but provided an extra course and there was enough left over for celebrations the next day and for people to take some home.

    We made the table decorations ourselves - old flowerpots with a candle in and dried lavendar and wheat around the outside, with a piece of raffia tied around and a parcel tag with the table name. Much cheaper than floral table decorations. I also made the table plan board which was so cheap and easy.

    Our reception venue was also decorated with bunting that my bridesmaid made for her wedding.

    Our band doubled as a barn dance band and covers band so we had the best of both worlds.

    We had a fabulous day and it was so relaxed - everyone said it was a great wedding and they loved the fact that our personalities came through in all the things we'd done ourselves.
  • I'm going to try not to repeat what has already been said.

    Our wedding and reception were at the same place and I got ready there = no need to wedding cars.

    I got blank CDs for 10p each from Tesco and gave them to guests who sent them back with their photos on.

    I got advice and a quote from an expensive 'designer' florist and nearly fell of my chair. Went across the road to a normal florist, described what I wanted and got the lot for a tiny fraction of what the other place wanted.

    I had charity pins as favours, £1 each and to a good cause, and made little cards to explain why we'd choosen that charity.

    Lady from work made and decorated a wonderful cake. Ask around, you never know what hidden skills people have.
  • We got married on December 27th last year and arranged it all in about 6 weeks.
    i bought my dress in the sale from a gorgeous wedding dress shop, it was £150 reduced from £900! I had to spend another £75 on alterations as it was a size too big. I saw a gorgeous fur stole that went beautifully with my dress, but it was £100. I bought a very similar (in fact nicer) one from Ebay for £20. My shoes were the ones I'd worn to be a bridesmaid at my sisters wedding, as I loved them. My fascinator was reduced in the sale from £100 to £25, and I got a hooped underskirt in the sale for £10.
    A friend of a friend did my flowers, the button holes, flowers for the venue, my hair, my makeup, and put all the balloons and little love hearts etc in the venue. She also lent us all the vases, candles etc. This was all for £80.
    We weren't going to have a photographer, but hubby's mum and dad paid for this for our wedding present.
    We did splash out on a car, as we wanted to have one for the photo's, but as it was so cold, we didn't get many outside photo's.
    As the wedding was just after Christmas, the reception venue still had loads of twinkly fairy lights up and it looked beautiful. Also, the venue for our reception was free, and a 3 course sit down meal was £25 a head and the food was amazing.
    My friend did our cake for our wedding present, and got loads more orders as a result of how brilliant it looked :-)
    Mummy to 3 fabulous boys all under 4 :eek:
  • We set out planning our wedding with the idea that the most important thing was actually being married and all the ceremony etc were nice incidentals. I'd have been married in a bin bag if I had to!!

    We wanted to get married where I'm from and all my family still live, which was 900 miles from where we live so our biggest cost was travel. We packed everything into the back of the car and drove up since it was a fraction of the cost of a train fare or flights.

    We planned exactly what we wanted together (my friends husband basically just had to turn up, she planned everything else HER way???! Odd... it was his wedding too?) First we contacted venues... and then booked the local museum. They stayed open after hours, we hired 3 rooms and it cost us £85! I got dressed there in one of the rooms so didn't need to hire cars. My husband arrived in our car, specially washed for the occassion :-) We drove ourselves to the hotel afterwards (yes, we were teetotal throughout!)

    My husband came with me to choose my dress and got a discount on it. He and the rest of the men in the bridal party wore their own suits and a white shirt, we gave them a tie (£4 from Debenhams) to 'link' them all together and they looked very smart. My sister was the bridesmaid and bought her own dress, it wasn't a conventional satin one (apparently there was NO way she would wear one of those) and so she can wear it again.

    My cousin and uncle played the music during the ceremony (free). My aunt made the cake and another cousin decorated it, and that was their gift. I made the cake topper myself about midnight the night before!!

    I made all the invites for about £10. We didn't have an order of service. We made the place names on the printer, printed up little tracing paper bags for the favours and gave charity pin badges. It sounds cheap and nasty, but they were gorgeous, honestly! :-)

    Or rings are palladium and cost £400 for both. My engagement ring is platinum and it looks exactly the same colour as my wedding rings. The engraving inside was free since we had it done at the time of purchase. They also polished my engagement ring for free before the wedding. I didn't bother with any other jewellry, I don't wear much anyway. I did my own makeup and hair.

    A friend set up a static video in the corner, and his wife did other bits of videoing throughout for free. Our photographer was amazing, she made us laugh so much. She put the photos onto a CD for us and they will print out 12"x8" good quality, and we can buy any larger ones from her if we want. If we want an album we can go back to her at any point in the future and she will put one together. She cost £450 and was there for about 6 hours, photographing the bit beforehand and all the celebrations afterward. We also had loads of photos from the guests who all seemed to have a digital camera!!

    We had our meal in the museum restaurant which has lovely new modern furniture so we didn't need to decorate. They didn't charge corkage fee, and my parents bought some champagne, though most of the guests were teetotal so that helped keep the cost down. On that tables were jugs of orange juice, water etc. The meal was the most expensive part at £30/head, 3 courses for 30 guests with tea /coffee afterwards (this also included the juice etc served with the meal). The food was amazing, and as we didn't have a disco or anything afterwards, the meal was very relaxed and people sat and chatted for hours.

    It was the lost laid back wedding I've ever been to and I loved every second!
  • Lots of good tips already, so I won't repeat them but will add a couple other things..

    Number 1 tip - Be Flexible! If you've got your heart set on certain table decorations, flowers, favours etc then you will have to pay whatever they cost. As long as you are open to options you can go for the best value thing that suits - a lot of my decisions were based on 'what's easiest, what's cheapest?' - made for less stress and more money saving! On the best day of your life you really won't notice all the details and you won't remember them for years to come like you will the amazing high that you get on the day!

    Prioritise - decide what is important to you and your day. For example, I spent a lot more on my dress than I planned to but felt fantastic all day in it. We spent hardly anything on favours, table decorations, stationery, because they didn't have a huge impact on the day.

    Finally - be aware that different local authorities charge different amounts for civil cermonies. My husband and I looked at a few venues and because the one we chose was in a different area to the other, we paid about half the price for the registrar to come to the venue and conduct the ceremony. I wasn't expecting this at all and the decision wasn't based on it as I thought it'd be similar everywhere - so it's worth knowing about! By travelling a few miles you could save a couple of hundred, take this into account when looking at venues.
  • Best bargain we found was the Oxfam wedding dress shop in Southampton. Really friendly and not at all pushy. Prices are a steal for unworn designer dresses. They say about 30% of high street prices. Shops all over UK

    oxfam.org.uk/shop/results.aspx?catalog=HighStDonated&category=ClothesandAccessories_Bridal

    I can't post links so please add www. to begining of link
  • Murray
    Murray Posts: 622 Forumite
    I got married in May this year and really didnt like the idea of getting getting my dress from China for various reasons so I splashed out on that.

    I do wish I'd had the bridesmaid dresses made by a local dressmaker though becuase that would have been a fraction of the cost of the dresses + alterations and they'd have been just as nice.

    Another tip is to have a hog roast if you are doing food in the evening. We had a hog roast for about 220 people and it cost £450. We also cut up the cake and served it in the evening.

    We also wanted a free bar so we stuck to beer, lager, cider, wine & soft drinks and bought it all from the supermarket when it was on offer (the barrels of beer were on sale or return). We then borrowed an outside bar from our local pub and some of my Mum's work colleagues offered to work behind the bar for us. It wasn't as expensive as you'd think, certainly no more than £3 per head and our friends like a drink!
  • Our top tips were:

    We hired a large house and self-catered. It was so much cheaper. Places that offer conference facilities normally have the number of rooms, tables and chairs you need, and there are also self-catering holiday lets that cater for larger parties too if you look online. We ended up with a National Trust place in North Wales hired for the entire weekend for the same cost as a few hours in a hotel - open fires, land, bedrooms and a catering level kitchen. All for little old us.

    We went to France with the car and stocked up on wine in Tesco's (clubcard points gathered up) and had a pay-bar run by friends' little sisters/babysitters etc (paid) but only charged cost-price for the booze, so a glass of wine was 50p etc. Was recieved very well!

    Used Tesco Clubcard points in Goldsmiths for rings so my wedding ring cost £10 in hard cash.

    Didn't have a sit down meal - had a buffet using M&S food, pre-ordered from their 'Food To Order' range (available online as well as in a catalogue available from their stores) and picked up the food that morning. They have a condition that says that if they can't provide you with what you ordered on the day they will give you a similar item and not charge you. We had ordered about £400 worth of food but actually only paid them £290! Best deal ever!

    Entertainment was a casino run by a party company, and fireworks. It worked really well and we had the best wedding ever. Loved every moment of it.
    Good luck to any of you planning a wedding, and enjoy!
  • lvu
    lvu Posts: 52 Forumite
    I got married at the end of June and the whole day including outfits for bride groom and bridesmaids came to less then £3500, some may still think this too much but we did invite 140 people. Here's a few things we did;

    Made all our own invites and invited people to RSVP by email, phone or text, hand delivered local invites and then only had to pay postage on people out of the area.

    I took a taxi with my bridesmaids to the ceremony, as everyone was inside noone saw me arrive so thought why spend the money for a 5 minute journey.

    Spent the year leading up to the wedding buying glass vases from charity shops, my budget was £1 or less.
    We paid for the flowers but a friend arranged them as her girft, I wanted lots of colour but not expensive so we went with what was in season and they were amazingly perfect. 1 bridal bouquet, 2 bridesmaids, 6 button hoels and 21 table decorations came to less than £200.
    For tableclothes we used cotton sheets from charity shops and runners made from cheap bright pink cotton.

    The champagne we bought ourselves and paid corkage, as there was not enough bar staff to open and serve it we left it on the tables for people to open themselves and share, this turned out to a hightlight of the reception as 30 champagne corks all went off at the same time. PS, we avoided designer brancd champange as I don't like the taste, saved loads of money.

    We told the best man and ushers to wear suits they already had, giving the pictures a sense of the person and their individuality,
    The bridesmaid dresses were summer dresses from Monsoon, 3 for less than £200 instead of £200 each at a proper wedding shop.

    A friend made the cake, and we had a hog roast and salad for the meal, masses of food for £6.60 a head, there was even enough left over for hot pork sandwiches later that evening.

    I had the wedding of my dreams and wouldn't have changed a thing but one of the best things was walking down the aisle knowing I didn't owe a small fortune to the bank or our parents.

    Work out what you want and find the cheapest way of doing it, and when getting a quote never use the W word (wedding).
    01/08/09 - Honeymoon credit card - 0% £2500 - personal OD £350 - DFD May2010
    Done it once, will do it again - DFW 534
  • lvu
    lvu Posts: 52 Forumite
    forgot to add, our favours were cd's of music from the cermony and reception, really easy and cheap to produce but if you're a couple who are into music then it can be a really personal gift.
    01/08/09 - Honeymoon credit card - 0% £2500 - personal OD £350 - DFD May2010
    Done it once, will do it again - DFW 534
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