Great 'How to Have a MoneySaving Wedding' Hunt



  • Rotti
    Rotti Posts: 232 Forumite
    Photogenic First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    As several people have already commented, you don't have to spend a lot of money to have a good time, and the day should be about the union, not impressing others. My first wedding in the 70s was at the Registry Office with a small group of family and friends and a proper sit-down meal for everyone afterwards. It took 3 weeks to arrange from the engagement to the day, we used family cars and I had a very ordinary "posh frock" with a few trimmings. As the budget was tight we had a weekend in a hotel in Dorset and then a family owned caravan for the remainder of the week. With the money we saved him, my dad put down the deposit on a house for us. Nearly 25 happy years later, hubby number 1 died suddenly and two years later I was lucky enough to be arranging another wedding, this time without "help" from mother! So we again went to the Registry Office in family cars, got a great deal from a florist, bought our outfits in the sales and made our invitations and table decorations. Each table had a 50p tall shot glass from Habitat with flowers and a home-made table flag (double-sided Union Jack and Stars & Stripes) and we gave them to the guests as they were leaving. We had 40 guests and took over an entire Italian restaurant for the lunch period, until 4pm, and had a cracking 3-course meal (with choices) with all the drinks for £1200. They did us a great deal as they would not have filled up at lunchtime anyway and were happy to close for our party. We had a lot of fun arranging everything and we had the day we wanted, not necessarily what was expected of us by others. A lot of the time, once a wedding party gets going, the bride and groom might as well not be there!

    I get the impression more and more these days that weddings are more about "braggability" value than anything else, with circles of friends all trying to outdo each other. The cost is the thing you hear most about, along with exotic honeymoon destinations. The whole thing in real terms represents the deposit on a house or a new car! The sad thing is that many people get themselves or their parents into debt for a one day shindig, with some even remortgaging their homes to pay for it. As soon as you put the word "wedding" into a description of any goods, the price rockets beyond all reason. Wedding Fairs didn't exist years ago, and favours is an American idea that has found its way over here, but instead of simple bags of sweets and treats people feel the need to go overboard with the contents. With money tight let's see a return to good old-fashioned DIY weddings that don't cost the earth but are still a day to remember. :love:
  • I got my dress (a designer dress, brand new) from one of Oxfam's ten bridal shops. They had a great selection, most were previous season's stock, donated new to Oxfam, so hadn't been worn, and I really liked the fact that the money I paid (only 125 for a dress that should have cost a lot more) was going towards the work of Oxfam.

    If you are not near one of their bridal shops, they also have some online on their website.
  • We got married a few months ago..found a good quality photo book company that does those Italian style wedding books, just as fancy but was relatively cheap. Ordered online, ours came out lovely, took about 4 was (you need to get high quality photos from photographer if you're using one tho).
  • bigzippy
    bigzippy Posts: 4,034 Forumite
    Forgive me if this gets a bit repetitious... I get married in only 10 short days!! (and still so much to do!) but this is how I'm doing it:

    The budget was originally £5k for 140-200people and I reckon that I've brought it in at £500-1000 under that! We managed to spend much less than that as various family members have pitched in and for birthdays and christmases we asked for money instead of [STRIKE]carp we'd throw away[/STRIKE] gifts ;)

    • getting married in the afternoon (3ish) means you realistically only need to feed people once. If you're worried about them getting a tad peckish why not serve up bits of cake/biscuits at the church while folks are stood about waiting for photos to finish?
    • we're getting married in our church and they haven't asked for a penny. They even offered us the use of the other rooms for the reception!
    • talk to friends/relatives who've recently got married to see what sort of prices they paid for things, add it all up and see what figure you get to. Think about what they had for that price and whether you'd pay it if it was nothing to do with a wedding. I'd never, for example, pay £75 for a pair of going out shoes so there's no way I'd pay it for one day's worth of shoes.
    • budget/book it as if you have to pay for everything before discussing cost and options with parents etc - that way you a) get what you wanted in the first place, b) any money you do get is a bonus
    • if you don't want to or can't borrow a car, keep your eyes peeled when you're out and about and if you see any wedding cars about just go up and ask the driver how much they are... we managed to get something like £200 off just by going direct through the car owner than through the booking company.
    • friends making cake for near enough cost
    • groomsmen all asked to pay for their own suits/outfits (which only come to £100 anyway)
    • bridesmaids parents/grandparents all paid for their outfits
    • flowers are being done by the lady that does the church flowers for cost, and I contacted the B2B who's getting married the day before me to see about splitting flowers cost - saved us both money and we're now great friends!
    • friends with hobby interest (which we've seen previous work of) are doing the photography, with backup from other family/friends who have decent cameras and an eye for it. If you do this tho - make sure you do a list of all the must have shots that you want - it will give you peace of mind that you won't miss getting a photo with someone, and will give them direction and peace of mind that they know what you want.
    • friends doing the music at both church and venue
    • we set the buffet price per head (working on the basis that, come on, I could get individual pizzas delivered for everyone for less than a tenner!) before we went in to meet the caterer, let her subtley know that we knew a bit about costings of food (both coming from different sectors of the food/catering biz previously) and decided on a (non standard) buffet menu based on what we actually like and built it up to the set price we had in mind (£8.50/head)
    • ask about paying by the bottle rather than by the glass or for drinks packages
    • have a look at your local councils websites to see what function venues they have-you'd be surprised! Ours is council owned, but is a gorgeous black and white (outside) tudor building with oak paneling inside, and it's only £200 to hire and the catering starts at £5.20/head using their "Citywide" caterers too
    • do as much as possible yourselves (stationary, favours etc)
    • have a look in BHS, Debenhams etc - usually nicer, more easily available, cheaper and with cheaper accessories than the bridal shop stuff. There's more chance of sales and ordering online in emergency too
    • centrepieces: keep them simple! It doesn't have to be an extravagant floral arrangement to look nice - sometimes a single flower in a nice simple vase looks much more elegant (we're having 2 fake gerberas from ikea (£1.38), a vase from tesco (98p) and some stone chips in the bottom, with some butterfly cut outs from the right coloured card (about £4 for all of it) for our centrepieces and they look much more impressive than you'd imagine!)
    • favours - lovehearts (works out, if you shop right, at about 8p a roll) that we're personalising ourselves
    • personalised wine bottles for all the groomsmen, musicians, registrar (again from the church), videographer (from the church), etc
    • jewellery the bms will wear on the day are their gifts
    • my nephew (usher)'s gift is a personalised key fob off ebay
    • my dad's (tee total) gift is a personalised hanky off ebay
    • if you go in a bridal shop where the staff are lovely, utilise them - talk to them about whether you need a hairdresser/alterations/seamstress/tiara etc - they will almost always have trusted people they refer people to
    • wedding rings from the Jewellry Quarter (if you go there go to Juniper Jewellers, the couple is lovely, they're fast and efficient and the stuff they sell is gorgeous too! Can't recommend them enough!) for £700 cheaper than the highstreet wanted for a lesser ring!!!:shocked:
    Mostly, work out what's most important (that you're not willing to scrimp on) and then be realistic. You can do a lovely wedding on any budget, so long as you're realistic about how much things cost and whether they're necessary.:rolleyes:

    I can't wait for my day!!! (so much so that I can't sleep...:rolleyes: :shhh:)
    "I am indelibly stained by hope and longing" - Nuts in May
  • my friend and i do free consultations for couples on how to get the best deals for thier money we can get them discounts to help their money go further. see
  • We decided what our priority items were and spent on those to ensure quality where it mattered to us eg nice food.

    We bought our drinks from Majestic on sale or return and got our money back for the left over booze.

    We didn't have any favours, we decided we'd rather save the £100 min it would have cost us and spent it else where.

    Always ask suppliers if they can do you a deal, we never paid the first price they quoted, they all came down.

    We had our ceremony and reception at the same place and realised noone would see us arrive/depart so we travelled by minicab.

    My parents bought my wedding shoes for me as a Christmas present about 6 mths before the wedding. I'm sure other things can be bought as gifts suchas bags/accessories.

    Hope that's of use to MSE brides/grooms to be!

  • "Mostly, work out what's most important (that you're not willing to scrimp on) and then be realistic. "

    I couldn't agree with that statement more!!! Our main priority was getting matching rings that we were happy with and that would last a lifetime. Our were £245 for both from F. Hinds Jewellers, and we got them on layaway so didn't have to pay the lot in one hit :j They're gold bands (5mm and 7mm) with an interlocking circle print going the whole way around the centre of the band...when the light catches them they look like they have diamonds in (certain wedding guests had to have a close up scrutinisation before accepting that they did not actually contain any stones or gems!!)

    Enjoy every second of your day 'Bigzippy' as it flies so quickly then all you have left are your rings, photographs and memories xx
  • shineON_4
    shineON_4 Posts: 1 Newbie
    edited 3 September 2009 at 6:21PM
    I managed to find lots of ways of saving money but still having a fantastic day (without being obvious that i saved money!)
    Here are my tips:

    1) Stationary-if you go to The Paper Mill you can get a huge box of A5/A4 card and paper in all sorts of colours and print styles for £5-you can mix and match them and as long as it fits in the box, it costs only £5!
    If you know people who have already got married you can borrow other decorations from them-I work in a school so I borrowed their heart and star shaped hole cutters and used these to decorate-I also went to some craft sales and found extra bits-I even have tons left over! It cost me a total of £30.

    2) Table decorations-This also works with centrepieces-if you know people who are/have recently got married they might have left over bits that you could borrow/have/buy for a cheap price. My sister in law lent me her 12 circular mirrors and bowls she had found on ebay for cheap, I gave them back to her after the day and she is lending them to someone else now! Then I just put in some beads and candles I had in the house, with sprinkled star beads around from hobbicraft. Total £20.

    3) Flowers-although fresh flowers are nice they dont last long-silk flowers can be bought in specialised flower shops, created in a style really unique to and be a nice decoration to help you remember the day. I got mine from Boarhunt Flower Mill in Hampshire-bunches of 8 full size ivory roses cost only £3, and if you take a scrap of coloured material you can find silk flowers that match almost every shade! A bit of green tape of even sellotape wrapped in ribbon (hobbicraft) look fantastic. Smaller flowers can be taped together and attached to safety pin clips for buttonholes. Total £60.

    4) Cake-If you dont know someone who can make you a great cake as a wedding present, Asda do a great range of celebration cakes-they are plain white iced fruit cakes ready to be decorated in any way you like. I sprinkled star purple coloured beads with wires (hobbicraft) and silk flowers on mine. Total £20.

    5) Dresses-If you know someone who can make you the dresses as a wedding present as I did then that really helps-otherwise your bridesmaids could wear similar colour dresses, or decorate their dresses with the same accessories to make them match. Wedding dresses can be bought 2nd hand or even hired for the day-you will always have the picture to remember it by!

    6)Photos-if you have a friend who can take photos as a wedding present then this can really help-someone else can buy you the album and photos as another present.

    7) Car-ask your friends if they know anyone with a fancy car you could you, or borrow a campervan or black cab to be a bit unusual!

    8) Wedding gifts-you can ask for money to pay for your honeymoon which stops this being a big expense! Or just give people the opinion of gifts or money if they prefer.

    9) Venue-it is FAR cheaper to have a wedding on any day but saturday-ours was on a sunday and we instantly saved £2000 on the venue we liked (Farnham House Hotel). Plus DJ-Wedding DJs cost around £350+ but I found a DJ at a friend's party who was willing to charge only £150-just be careful that they have a licence as some venues are really picky about this.

    10)Gifts-scan the internet for good deals-I found some lovely sites selling gifts and favours that could be also used as placecard holders and centrepieces-that guests could use to put a photo of the day in afterwards to remember it by.

    I hope this all helps!
  • Great thread! I'm getting married to my lovely man next July (eeek, that suddenly seems very close!) so have read through with great interest. Here are some of the things we're doing - a lot have been mentioned already, and they're not quite as good as some on here - my god some of you have had amazing weddings for next to nothing! - but hopefully they might help someone out :D

    * Our BM dresses are from Ebay... worn once and dry cleaned, as good as new. Nobody will know! I also got our little BM dresses in the sale at Debenhams 70% off - I work there too, so get staff discount, but they were a bargain even without that. They were £65 each full price, but I ended up paying £51 for 3 :D

    * OH’s dad has a classic Scimitar car that’s his pride and joy, so we’re using that rather than paying £400+ to hire one. He’s chuffed to bits to have a ‘role’ in the wedding too, so it’s lovely for him as well as moneysaving.

    * Church is free - we’re not church goers ourselves but my mum is, and the minister at her church has offered to do our service for free

    * OH’s friend is a chef so is making our cake. (if he hadn’t offered, I was just going to get two or three of the standard fruit cakes from M+S or Tesco too, like other posters have mentioned, and decorate them myself. I’ve found myself standing open-mouthed at some wedding fairs and thinking ‘£600...for a CAKE! It is a CAKE people for the love of god. My first car was £600!’ lol.

    * We’re having a coach to take guests to the reception venue. We shopped around for the quotes - they said £500 at first, but we have managed to get that down to £360 with haggling. So don’t be afraid to ask for discounts - tell companies what other people have quoted you, and ask them to beat their quotes!

    * Me and my mum are making the invites and order of service too. I thought it would be really hard which put me off, but you can get the cards already folded in places like The Range and The Works, along with the things to stick on them saying ‘wedding invitation‘ etc, and the print the insert to go inside them from a computer. We are splashing out on some lovely organza ribbon to tie round ours, but even so we think we can make them all for about £60 (quoted £300+)

    * We were a bit overexcited when we first got engaged, and booked the first photographer we saw. However he was very expensive! After a lot of thought, we swapped him for a cheaper one last month - still really good, but much better value. We did lose our £150 deposit with the first man, but the new one is £850 cheaper so we’re still £700 better off! This has really taught us a lesson - to shop around before committing to anything. It’s easy to panic and think everything has to be booked up straightaway, but take a step back before you go mad booking the first photographer/venue/dress or whatever that you see. And don’t be afraid to change arrangements if you find something else cheaper, or which will suit you better!

    * Favours - little organza bags off Ebay, they work out about 10p each. We are just going to buy some big tins of sweets and put a few in each bag, hoping to do 100 favours for about £30.

    * We’ve got those wooden roses that another poster mentioned too - they were in our local market, 200 for £20. We’re going to attach tags to some to use as place settings, and also use them on the ends of pews in church along with some nice ribbon.

    * No videographer - my uncle has a video camera, so I’m going to ask him to video the day. It could be interesting :lol:

    * Paying for all the wedding stuff with a cashback credit card - this gives protection in case any companies go bust, and also gives us cashback on everything. Hoping it will add up to a nice £60 or so to go for a meal with, to cheer us up when we get back from honeymoon! (we will pay it all off before getting charged interest of course!)

    Our wedding is a big traditional one (big families!) and it’s costing £10k which is a hell of a lot - BUT I think we have easily saved ourselves another £4-5k by shopping around and seeing where we can make cutbacks and savings. We also would never get into debt for it - we gave ourselves 2 and a half years to save up. We worked out our budget as soon as we got engaged and then planned things around it - I think too many people just go full steam ahead and book whatever they want without working out how they’re going to afford it all!

    Attempting to pay off our debts! Balances Jan 2018 -
    Family member £3,700 - Virgin CC £1,000 - MBNA £1,700 - Barclaycard £2,500 (was £2,700) - Halifax CC £1,280
  • lynneee
    lynneee Posts: 877 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Post First Anniversary
    When I got married 2 years ago, I had got my dress from Banardo's charity shop. At my local shop they have a separate room with new dresses donated from various wedding shops that are either from previous season, or ex display etc. and very helpful staff! I loved the fact that I paid £250 for a dress which should have been about £2000!! It also felt good knowing that on a day when I was spending a large amount of money, a good amount was going to charity.

    Good luck to everyone getting married soon, it was the best thing I ever did :D
    mortgage £800 overpayment 2022. £600/£2400 2023 🙂 savings £1853/£1800 😊
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