Great 'How to Have a MoneySaving Wedding' Hunt



  • i just know this is going to get pooh poohed but my wife and I got married in 1954 and it cost us practically nothing. Yes, it was a white wedding in church with organ, and the reception was held at my wife's parents bungalow with the patio doors wide open as it was a beautiful day and guests roamed the garden. the reception was paid for by my father-in-law. He also paid for the cars. my best man was a married mate of mine and he lent me the suit he got married in, his wife lent my bride the wedding dress. They were also best man and matron of honour. i paid the church cost which was seven guineas. We didn't have any fancy ideas about going abroad, we went to Hastings because you don't have to go abroad for a honeymoon, if you love each other you only have eyes for your new spouse. we came back from there with 30 shillings but we got by and have had a happy 55 years together. by the way our wedding photos are in black and white. No videos then!
    If anyone does it cheaper than that i'd be amazed.
  • We discovered this just by lucky accident - if you are intending to have a church wedding, book for the first weekend after Easter. The church we married in was full of flowers and they didn't cost us a penny!
  • We got married this year, and arranged it in 8 Weeks!! which was no easy feat:-)
    My tips:
    • I made all my favours myself, got packs of haribo rings and hearts, and put 5 of each in a piece of sellophane, and fixed with flowers on wire, which i got for 10p each from a dressmakers.
    • Made all the table decorations from artifical roses, in oasis, with ribbon.
    • Used lots of candles on the tables (from asda)
    • Used Ballons in the wedding colours, as it lifted the eyes and was great for photos.
    • My florist was very reasonable, but it does depend on the type of flower you would like, and your season. I had hyanciths, roses, and freesia. Brides, long top table decoration, 12 button holes, for £160.00
    • Ask family and friends to help you, they will be honoured.
    • We chose to have little bridesmaids (4 years) and they were able to wear their dresses again.
    • The cake was amazing, very tasty, and i highly recommend this, it was from Costco for £12.00!!! The will decorate it for you, at no extra cost, and we bought muffins and buns for the children too, for £12.00 Went down a treat.
    I hope this helps, if you have questions about the tips, please ask, i am happy to help.
    Enjoy the planning, and dont get too stressed out
  • minerva_windsong
    minerva_windsong Posts: 3,808 Forumite
    edited 2 September 2009 at 1:10PM
    I'm not married but both my sisters are, so I'll use what I gained from them and my experience of working on bars at weddings last summer (apologies if any have been mentioned before!):

    1. Have the wedding in the afternoon - say around 3 PM. That way people can have lunch at home beforehand and you only have to feed them once.

    2. A buffet is always cheaper than a sit down meal, not least because you won't need separate menus for the kids.

    3. Very few people can tell the difference between sparkling wine and champagne - one of my jobs was to pour out the sparkling wine for the toast and so many guests told me that the champagne was lovely!

    4. Get family and friends to help you out as much as possible. My sisters' wedding dresses were upwards of £2000 each to buy off the rack, but we showed them to my dad's cousin, who is an amazing seamstress, and she made them for £200-300 each, as well as making the bridesmaids' dresses. This is also useful as it allows you to change things - for example, my bridesmaid dress for one of my sister's weddings was blue, but it didn't come in that colour in the shop. Alternatively, buying off the rack in Monsoon/Debenhams/BHS works well too, or buying the bridesmaid dresses out of department stores' formalwear ranges or from shops such as Coast. Buying a style your bridesmaids can wear again is good.

    5. Make your own invites (my mum made them for my sisters). The materials are available cheaply in Hobbycraft. Or if you're going uber cheap, get a photograph of you and your OH that you both like, scan it into a computer, possibly photoshop something like 'X and Y are getting married' over the top, print it out and stick it on some card, and write the details on the back. Job done!

    6. Good Food magazine normally has wedding cake recipes in its May or June issues.

    7. If you don't want to fork out for a band or DJ, make a list of the songs you want after and/or during the meal on your MP3 player and hook that up to some speakers. You can also do this for the ceremony, or go old school and put them on a CD.

    8. If you don't want a church wedding, go for the registry office rather than a hotel - it will normally be much cheaper.

    9. See what freebies the hotel throw in, but also what they charge for other things. For example, I know of places where the bride and groom's stay in the hotel after the wedding was included in the price, but where you had to use their DJ. It may be cheaper to hire in someone else, but then again it may not as they may have special rates for working with that hotel.

    10. Only give favours to the women and children. If you're not inviting kids anyway you've instantly halved your costs. Or don't have favours at all. Alternatively, if you do have favours for everyone write people's names on them (say on little cardboard tags) - et voila, no need for place names!

    11. Get seasonal or silk flowers. Often it's importing them that rackets up the price.

    12. Work with the venue's colour schemes. I was reading the other day about someone who got married in a local county hall where they had a bee mosaic on the floor, so they had a yellow and black theme.

    13. Serve the wedding cake as dessert. This normally works better with chocolate cake, sponge cake or cupcakes.

    14. Have balloons rather than flowers as centrepieces on the tables.

    15. Give your bridesmaids corsages rather than bouquets.

    16. Get your accessories from eBay or cheap shops like Accessorize, rather than from posh bridal shops. Or instead of a veil or tiara have pretty hair slides.

    "A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge." - Tyrion Lannister
    Married my best friend 1st November 2014
    Loose = the opposite of tight (eg "These trousers feel a little loose")
    Lose = the opposite of find/gain (eg "I'm going to lose weight this year")
  • I'm getting married in just over 7 months time and the best bit of advice I've been given about keeping costs down was from my dad. He said to accept everything that is offered to us graciously and to refuse nothing, because people want to help and want to contribute.

    So far we've had friends and family offer to do the flowers for us, pay for the flowers, provide the wedding cake (to the point that we now have a 3 tier cake AND a 100 cupcake tower!!), the cars, invitations, the food!

    In accepting all offers we've been given nearly £7,000 of stuff, most of them far far beyond what we could have ever have afforded on our own. We've not asked for anything but have simply said yes to anything that was offered to us!
  • smartie12
    smartie12 Posts: 7,658 Forumite
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    Being a true MSE couple we had a very MSE wedding:D

    We spent in total around £800 which included things we were going to use after the wedding (DH and DS's shoes for example)

    Me: dress was half price in Monsoon (bought it even before we set a date), wore black boots that I already had, did my hair and make up myself and had a single rose with a few bits of greenery.

    Hubby: wore a suit he already had and bought a shirt from asda!

    Rings were from the high street. Think they came to around £150 so our biggest expense


    Ceremony in local registry office - cheapest room! I was a bit worried about this but the ceremony was brilliant and the room was lovely!

    We went in own car to registry office and reception.

    My friend did the photography for free... had lovely photos done on nearby beach even though it was xmas eve!

    Afternoon reception at my local football club. Hall and bar for £100. It was already decorated with lights as it was xmas but we added balloons. Did the food myself (cold buffet) and we made CD's of various songs. Wedding cake was an M&S sponge cake - YUMMY! NO favours but did have pic n mix.

    I never understand why anyone would spend thousands on just one day:confused:
  • My tip would be learn to say NO- you get family and friends with all good intentions saying 'ooh wouldn't it be nice if so and so was your bridesmaid'
    Actually it wouldn't as thats more expensive for me. After all the stickybeaks put their penneth in we escaped out the country
    I did a package deal abroard and anyone that wanted to attend paid for themselves. We then has a 5 course meal at £20 per head at the hotel we stayed in. Much cheaper with honeymoon all included.
    I don't know if its still about but my dress was from Berketex factory shop in Grantham and it was reduced from £1000 to £400
    Also my friend had name places on her tables tagged to bags of sweets so saved on the favours for later.
    My other friend timed her wedding for mid afternoon so saved paying for 2 meals at the do later,
    :eek: sprouts
  • Gorwel
    Gorwel Posts: 21 Forumite
    Buy the flowers from Tesco. We spent £70 on bunches that retailed at £2.99-£4.99 each. Tesco allow you to pre-order and try to get you the colours you request (mainly white for us so that was OK) We filled the church with flowers for that price - pedestals, pew-ends, window sills, porch etc and were told the church had never looked so good. We'd added greenery from friends' gardens.
    I made the 3-tier cake from Delia Smith's recipe - You can't go wrong with Delia!! The fashion now is for smooth icing so that was simple with Ready-to-Roll and the flower decoration we put on top matched the rest of the flowers and made the cake look amazing for something so easy to do.
  • I got married 6 years ago and had loads of thrifty ideas.

    My wedding dress was from ebay, brand new with tags for £150. It was originally £800. Fitted perfectly, no alterations needed.

    Made our own favours with pals and a glass of wine while my husband was out on his stag night.

    We got married on a sunday (which is cheaper,just don't forget to pay a bit extra for a bar extension!) ceremony and reception all in a hotel and i got ready in the bridal suite so no cars.

    Table decorations were large pretty glass bowls with floating candles and flower heads in the water.

    we got married at 4:30 so only needed to pay for the main wedding breakfast, no evening buffet

    Best of all, the in laws paid for a 10 day trip to Dubai in a five star hotel using their Tesco reward vouchers!

    All this was arranged in about 3 months-it can be done and can be done cheaply but with no compromise on style, just be creative!
  • A rather extravagant money saving tip but we really wanted live music at our wedding. We searched through Confetti and found a group called Barbican Brass who do music for the service and background music at the reception for one fee as long as it’s within three hours. Saved us having a trumpet for the service, an organist for the hymns and a string quartet for the reception.
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