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MoneySaving Weddings Article Discussion

edited 4 July 2013 at 10:03AM in Weddings & Anniversaries
107 replies 99.3K views


  • We got married in summer 2010.

    The ceremony was a the local registrar's office. Nice historic building with a small park outside. Fee was cheaper for a mid-week ceremony. I cannot quite remember how much, but it must have been around £150.

    Rings: white gold, bought on ebay for £200 for the pair.

    Outfits: we both decided on the day what to wear. Groom - smart casual. Bride - long skirt (actually one I made myself and wear for dancing regularly) and sparkling top. No extra cost. I changed into casual clothes when we got home from the ceremony and spent the rest in smart-ish bermuda shorts and a comfortable top.

    Food: had the local 'hog roast' catering service set up a marquee in our garden and arrange food on tables. All provided for £430 for 20 people and when guests when home, we supplied them with 'goodie bags' filled with leftovers. How's that instead of expensive favours?
    Cutlery (good-quality plastic) was supplied by the caterers and I raided local charity shops and ebay a few weeks before the wedding for cheap sets of glasses, so it wouldn't matter if we broke any in the garden. The most expensive set were the champagne glasses, £20 including postage for 24 glasses.
    Wine came from a recent trip to Carrefour in France.:beer:

    Invites: sent via email or told guests in person. We limited the event to 20 people (immediate family and very close friends).

    Decorations, favours, bridesmaids, flowers, DJ? None of that! Instead we made sure our paddle pool was up in the garden, ready to cool feet off and as good a meeting point for chatting as any bar. We had plenty of garden chairs, so people could sit down to talk instead hopping around to pop music.

    Photographs: we reminded everyone to bring digital cameras if they wanted to. The groom's brother is into photography, so he was happy to take pictures throughout the day.:D

    Car: the groom's old school-friend volunteered to drive us to the registrar's office and back home. Never mind his ancient car with a 'J' number plate, it did the job :rotfl:

    Honeymoon: the bride's father sponsored a 2-week holiday later in the year. For the 'immediate' honeymoon we went to the south coast of England for 2 nights and had a great time.

    Don't let planning and preparations stress you out. You are getting married to enjoy a life together and don't need to run into debt or save up for years, just so that hordes of people can attend a big fancy event. You can use the money you save for something only you two want to do.

    Aim to BE YOURSELF and a BIT SELFISH and stick to it!:T
  • I work in the Wedding industry in a hotel and have done for about 4 years in a number of different loctions.
    One point that has angered me to my core, is the 'dont mention the word Wedding'. This causes so many issues for us.

    The prices we have at my place of work are exactly the same wether you have a wedding, birthday party, christening reception, anniversary dinner. Food is the same, drinks are the same price 7 days a week, 12 months a year. The only things that vary are bedroom prices, higher on weekends.

    We have had problems in the past where people have lied about it being a wedding. We operate a one wedding at a time policy, so can you imagine how upset a bride & groom would be if another bride and groom turn up to use one of the function rooms after we have advertised and promised one wedding at a time????? let me tell you, nothing better than coming in on a sunday morning after working until 2:00 am and having someone shout at you for something that is technically not your fault!

    Also, weddings require a much more attention & staffing than a celebration dinner or party, if you dont tell us, how can we provide the service you expect and need?

    My advice - the best deals are struck with a shorter lead up time, we have a much better idea of how busy we will be within a 3 - 6 month time frame. Also being flexible on dates and times, avoiding peak days (saturdays/bank holiday weekends)
    Also, let us know if you have a budget and what it is. We can tailor make something to suit your needs.
  • Instead of wedding gifts, well we have been together for 25 years so what household items do we need?, we asked our friends/family to give anything they wanted towards part of the day eg. food, flowers, photos. We got all our photos printed on different sites with free offers (picked up from here) and albums etc were gifts. We had a budget of £250 and we had a fabulous day.
  • edited 13 February 2013 at 4:38PM
    Lexis200Lexis200 Forumite
    267 posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    edited 13 February 2013 at 4:38PM
    sexymouse wrote: »
    I might be wrong, but I don't think the article mentions getting married abroad. This saved us loads of money, as we only spent what we would have on a honeymoon anyway, as the wedding was included when you book a certain category of room and stay for a set time. I know it's not an option for some people, but our wedding was perfect, and we just had a small party for family and friends on our return.


    We had our UK wedding booked some 10 years ago, but for health reasons I had to cancel. It was only for 60-80 people, but the marquee alone was running into thousands, ditto food, over a grand for photographer - you get the picture.

    After 3 more failed dates and cancellations, when I was well we decided to go to Vegas. We only booked everything a month before we went (so that I didn't have time to get ill:)) which made it all seem much more exciting! In addition, only my family and one set of friends could come at short notice, so I didn't have to worry about inviting people I didn't want to.

    I tried on a ton of 'ready now' dresses, found the one I wanted for just shy of £900, and promptly went home and phoned every shop I could find until I hit one that had the dress on sale for a third of the price.

    I had my ring - a platinum band to match my engagement ring - made, at about 1/2 the cost of shop bought and obviously done to exactly my specs. My hubby used his previous wedding ring which was sentimental to him as it was his grandfathers. We did have the old inscription ground out though - I'm not one to worry about an item's previous use, but that was a step too far even for me:D

    I made our invites using a photo of us both printed on vellum. It took about 4 hours and looked super.

    We had 5 days in Vegas, got married in the Valley of Fire which was soooo much better and more special than our original traditional plan, and had a wonderful buffet wedding breakfast at the Wynn hotel at only around $35 a head for every food we could have wanted. The next day we went to the Grand Canyon, flying to it by a little plane, then helicopter to the bottom, then pontoon ride along. The wedding itself was organised by a company in the States and included photography, flowers and a cake.

    When we got back we had a 'reception' (for that read 'booze up':)) at a lovely but not well known venue near us, where we had a hog roast for 80 which came in at £500. My sister (a keep amateur photographer) did the photos, and that worked out brilliantly as she knew who were friends and family and who were the OH's work lot that we felt obliged to ask! No favours were done as, quite honestly, who cares about a chocolate in a box or a bag of almonds? Oh, and it's worth asking at your venue if they have an OHP you can use (or similar). Hubby hooked up his lappy with photos of the wedding and the rest of the Vegas trip which were shown on a big screen throughout the evening. It was a lovely touch, especially as he sorted it himself and didn't tell me about it beforehand.

    I made the cake (luckily that's what I do) so the only cost for that apart from standard ingredients was the flowers. As they were Calla Lillies which are stupid expensive, I found a wholesaler and got 30 or so for £20ish. I also used some of the flowers for table decorations. I (well a friend actually as we were running a bit late) cut them down to about 2" of stem, weighted them to the bottom of a little square vase (bought from Ikea @ under £1.80 each) and filled with water and a few pebbles.

    Every single aspect, at home and abroad, came in at about £6k, which I appreciate is still substantial, but that's what I was looking at being charged for just a marquee and food 10 years ago, so I was very happy with it. Plus my lovely parents chipped in for over £3k. Oh, and we got the flights to the US courtesy of Tesco clubcard, and that was around £2300 for the four of us :D

    The only thing I would have done differently is inviting OH's work lot. I didn't know most of them, and he actually only wanted about 1/2 dozen of them, but felt he couldn't ask some without the others. As a result we ended up paying for food and drink for about 35 people who I couldn't care less about; a couple of who were actually downright rude on the evening.

    If you are in the same situation, go with your gut. Don't invite work people out of obligation, it's just not worth it. Family is a different matter...;)

    Lastly, don't get het up over having every little detail precisely as you plan it. It'll cause you no end of headaches, and honestly, ask every woman on here who's been through it, you just don't care on the day about those things that seemed monumentally important before.
    Te audire no possum. Musa sapientum fixa est in aure.
  • [FONT=&quot]On researching weddings, being a spreadsheet geek I worked out costings for various options early on and found to get a budget wedding to the standard we wanted would cost between £5k-£7k. This included evaluating weddings abroad to hiring town halls. My concern about a cheaper wedding abroad is the fact you end up passing a large cost onto guests. So based on this research I settled on a £6 budget for a UK wedding.

    Ok, I went over budget by initial £1k however take into account based on my initial research I was looking at £6k for basic wedding, not a castle wedding! We think our wedding could have easily looked to have cost over £20k and felt we got exceptional value for money. Also when it came to booking it all the mums covered most of the cost, which we had not expected.

    Here is what I got for my money, including some tips to keep costs down in some areas, whilst splurging on others.

    Exclusivity of Rowton Castle for 24 hours including all 18 bedrooms and breakfast the next morning, top table flowers, wedding breakfast for 50, Evening reception for 100, drinks on arrival, toast and wine in the meal, disco and photographer in the day including 40 high resolution prints on DVD

    We had a wedding on a Monday to reduce the costs considerably. We also booked it with 14 weeks notice of the wedding day which was ideal timing to plan the wedding, any longer would have drove me up the wall. We paid extra for all the rooms to get exclusivity and then sold them at cost to guests. (£60 for a room for 2 instead of £120).

    Suit hire for groom, best man and father of the bride, we considered buying suits however groom wanted something special

    Wedding dress & Accessories
    Everything came from ebay or discount stores. Total outfit cost less than £100. Dress off ebay was an ex display costing £700 new however it fitted perfectly. Go for a corset back if buying on ebay so will fit 1 size bigger and 1 smaller. Items now back on ebay being sold again

    High street dress and shoes from BHS that could be used again

    I made 2 x bouquets and 6 button holes myself by buying the flowers and materials from habbycraft. Cost £40 and have made back £20 by reselling on ebay.

    Table Decorations - £25 for 5 - bases and vases from home bargains (vases cost 30p each), with silk flowers from wilko. Now on ebay for sale.

    Honeymoon - Decided not to have one and just go on holiday as usual the next year.

    Favours - Bought off Facebook (Gifts with a twist). A personalised pack of love hearts wrapped in a personalised poem with a butterfly on matching colour scheme. £23.50 for 50 - highly recommended seller.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot] Entertainment & Photos
    Other than the disco included in the venue package a friend provided us with a photobooth for his portfolio free of charge and also did a few evening shots for us. The photobooth went down really well with guests. I also set up a hidden group on facebook and asked guests to take lots of photos and upload them. We got loads of photos and if we wanted high res we just asked for the originals.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]The photographer was charging £700-£1000 for an album..... no chance. So I made my own photobook using Blurb that not only included the formal photos, but the guests informal ones, the music we used in the ceremony, the readings, speeches and even images from facebook from well wishing friends. Its about 100 pages! We plan to also record a CD with the music from the day to go with it. The photobooks cost less than £30 each and are a great quality so the mums and dads also have one each.
    Wedding Stationary
    I made all of the wedding stationary. Got some plain cards, 2 heart shaped cutters of different sizes, some wallpaper/patterned paper an sponge sticky things. Took time but did the job. Printed off all text on PC.

    Wedding Gift List
    We put this poem in the invites and now have a new heating system.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]If a gift is on your mind
    We ask if you’d please consider
    Contributing to our boiler fund
    so we can take off a sweater. [/FONT]
    Our house is full of all the things
    a couple could require,
    and so a heating system
    is what we most desire. [/FONT]
    Then while we are at home
    without our feet so blue
    we'll sit back and know
    that it is truly thanks to you![/FONT]
    Extras that took us over budget but were worth it.

    Cake - Costs higher than planned due to one of the mums wanting us not to scrimp too much(and they paid for it). If this hadnt have been the case we would have gone to M&S and used the same ribbon from the flowers and the cake topper I bought off ebay

    Helicopter - The groom arrived by helecopter taking with him 2 mates however as it was going to be an experience for them agreed would only do it if they split costs between them. I saved money by driving to venue myself and drove back in my car the next day.

    Rings - Went to the Birmingham jewelry quarter so they still cost about 1/3 compared to highstreet, however went for a 18ct gold as we hopefully will be wearing them for a long time[/FONT]

    [FONT=&quot]Make Up Artist - I was going to do my own make up as im not really a make up person however last minute decided to get a make up artist. I would definitely recommend this as makeup stayed on all day and looked great. I did my own nails. For hair I used my mobile hairdresser.

    When planning my wedding I got a lot from the MSE forums, just hope that this post can help someone else with some ideas.

    Biggest tip though it to spend the time up front researching your options and making a realistic budget. Small things add up. Dont fall to the pressure of family for the extras, the request for a live harpist was rightly rejected and really wasn't missed on the day!
  • Important update! We have recently reviewed and updated our Forum Rules and FAQs. Please take the time to familiarise yourself with the latest version.
  • It's always worth giving Freegle a go ( ) particularly for things like accessories, favours and odds and ends, though I'm sure wedding dresses have been offered too.
  • 123lgoldie wrote: »
    is costing £1300 each and then the wedding itself is £1000 (this includes blood tests as its abroad they want to make sure your not diseased, :rotfl:)

    Lol! I've not heard that before! What if you were diseased...?!
  • If you're getting married in the next few weeks take advantage of the offer on MSE website (Thompson and Morgan) and buy 100 lily bulbs and give each of your guests a lily bulb (wrapped in ribbon or muslin) for them to plant and remember your special day.

    100 oriental lily bulbs for £25 delivered (RRP £140):money:
  • I'm creating my daughters wedding invitations currently and thought I'd add to this forum.
    As my daughter and her future husband have a house etc, they would like to request money to help out with other things such as honeymoon etc. They've bought a small wishing well which is going to be put into the garden later and she found the following poem so I thought I'd share.
    [FONT=&quot]Many of our guests have enquired[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]For a gift idea to be inspired[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]We have enough dishes and towels for two,[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]So we have a favour to ask of you.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]A wishing well we thought would be great, [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]But only if you wish to participate.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]A gift of money, an amount you can afford, would be really appreciated, you can be assured.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]At our reception, drop your gift in the well, Then make a wish, but shhh..don’t tell.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot] [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]We hope our request is okay,[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]For this would help make our day[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Then when we choose something new, [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]We can say it was thanks to you.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]And in return for your kindness, we’re sure,[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]That you will get all you’ve wished for.[/FONT]
    Thank you
  • I am so inspired by what I have read here that I will give anyone who mentions this post 15% off their booking with my service. I provide an ice cream tricycle for weddings across the Midlands (website.

    A genuine gesture of good will to all money savers who have helped me to save in the past :-)
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