The Great Hunt: Your wastes of wedding cash - what should newlyweds avoid?

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  • tain
    tain Posts: 710
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    edited 21 May 2014 at 2:27PM
    I'm getting married next year and have been given advice from every angle on what to leave out.

    Pretty much everyone says don't spend too much as the party atmosphere is where it's at, and that's free. But you can't tell a bride to be to cheap out, so scrap that idea.


    Big fancy photo albums - I've got 6 siblings who have all been married. I've seen just 2 of their wedding albums, and none of them have got them out more than once or twice. So don't bother with £70-200 for fancy ones, unless you value every viewing at £100 a pop.

    Video of the wedding - Same as above really. Almost never gets watched, so unless you value that viewing in the hundreds of pounds, I wouldn't bother either. Especially as everyone and their dog has a smart phone with decent camera on it.

    A three course meal at a venue you haven't tried the food of - annoyingly, almost all venues force you to have their catering at your wedding, meaning when you're looking at venues you need to be judging them on both venue quality and food quality. However we visited no less than 30 venues in Essex, and just 2 of them gave us a taster of their food. I went to a wedding last year and while the venue and everything was beautiful, the food was some of the worst I'd ever eaten (seriously - lumpy mash like wallpaper past, warm prawns in a shop-bought prawn cocktail, etc.). They paid over £40 a head for that as well. And I'll forever remember their wedding as 'the one with the awful food'.

    Edit: We asked at every venue about trying their food. For all of them that didn't have a restaurant that was open to the public, you had to put a deposit down before you got to try the food.
  • tain
    tain Posts: 710
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    Having recently got married (and dealt with all the hilarious stress that went with it!) one thing I'd say you can do without is the expense of hiring a photo booth. It's a great idea, but who can't find other things they'd much rather spend £600 on??

    Ours was only £320, and for the effort of setting up and having two people by the machine forcing people to take photos, that's not that much to pay. Plus we don't have an SLR that we can afford to get broken.
  • suchgreatheights
    suchgreatheights Posts: 43 Forumite
    edited 21 May 2014 at 3:15PM
    I'm not married, but I love weddings and went to 6 last year. From a guest's POV, the things I think are pointless:


    • Favours
    • Video
    • Disposable cameras

    Regarding who should pay for things, I firmly believe that the wedding party (bridesmaids, groomsmen, best man etc) should be paid for 100%. Accommodation too, if it isn't a local affair. If the couple can't afford to pay for bridesmaid dresses then either hire them or fire some bridesmaids!

    Cash bars are ok, but not if it's being held in an expensive venue. One wedding we went to was £6 a bottle of beer and £25 a bottle of wine and no money behind the bar. Result: a sober reception. Get a marquee and some barrels and charge £1.50 a pint or a charity donation.
  • MrsV_to_be
    MrsV_to_be Posts: 11 Forumite
    I think by far the biggest waste of money at weddings has to be disposable cameras on the tables. I've heard so many of my friends say they spent a fortune having them all developed to end up with very few decent pics out of them. As everyone now has digital cameras or their mobiles, we decided at our wedding to put some blank cd's on each table with a little poem asking guests to download their photos on to the disc and return it to us - we ended up with some cracking pics at a fraction of the price of disposables! And the leftover cd's didn't go to waste, we brought them home and use them in the house.

    I know some people think chair covers are a waste of money, but it's really all about personal taste. As so many others things for our wedding were done very cheaply (table centrepieces were £2 each, favours, invites, cake etc all made by my own fair hands) I think the chair covers were our only extravagance, and to me they really made the venue look just how I wanted so it was worth it. We did however phone around and made sure we got the cheapest price we could!

    One piece of advice we were given by the hotel was not to provide a glass of fizz for everyone, as they said they often end up pouring it out as so many guests don't like it. My Dad opted instead to buy each guest one drink to toast us with, then anything after the guests bought themselves. It probably helped we were fortunate enough to find an excellent venue which didn't charge through the roof prices for alcohol!

    I agree with a comment above to try the food first, you need to make sure it will be something you like. And I don't think there's any need to go a la carte, at most weddings I've been to with fancy menus half the guests just picked at their plates. We opted for a choice of steak pie or roast chicken, not only one of the cheapest menu options but every plate went back to the kitchen clean and all my family and friends said they really enjoyed to food, and the whole day for that matter too :)
    :kisses2: Married MrV 2012 :kisses2:
    :j BabyV due 2014 :j
  • MrsV_to_be
    MrsV_to_be Posts: 11 Forumite
    Another good tip for keeping the cost down is limit your guest numbers. Don't feel obliged to have everyone there all day, we have an unspoken rule in our family - Aunties and Uncles all day, Cousins at night. This really helps keep it much smaller, and cheaper, and most people prefer the party at night anyway!
    :kisses2: Married MrV 2012 :kisses2:
    :j BabyV due 2014 :j
  • Someone that s***s anything in trousers, incl other women, as they'll never be faithful
  • Thank you for your advice here Jackmcvitie, I am getting married in September and I love the camera idea. We were thinking a polaroid with a nice backdrop instead of a photobooth, but I will definitely look into a Digital SLR on a stand. Also love the heart shaped hole punch for table confetti, I'm going to look out for one of those!

    One thing that my partner and I are really passionate about is our guests not having to pay a fortune for drinks on the day so we found a venue where we provide our own alcohol and don't have to pay corkage. So we are able to do a free bar because we are stocking up on wine, beer and spirits when they are on offer at the Supermarket ready for the Big Day. We can spread the cost and get great deals.
  • kboss2010
    kboss2010 Posts: 1,465
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    Or you can spend £119 (bare minimum for cheapest registry office ceremony, giving notice and marriage certificate) and then see everything else as 'optional extras'. Whilst I appreciate £119 is a lot to some people, there's no law saying you have to spend silly money on a wedding if you don't feel that way inclined.

    Lol, great if you can get away with it but that would go down like a lead balloon in my "OH's" family given that all of their weddings have been huge fancy affairs. Mine would be equally as bad if I didn't have the wedding in my hometown on their doorstep (I live 350 miles away).

    Even worse, I'm a firm atheist and I *would* be judged harshly by the family for not having a religious ceremony. Went to a family wedding where the opening speech was practically a homophobic rant about how marriage is between a man and a woman joined in the presence of God - I have many gay friends, that kind of intolerance really offends me.:mad:

    I'd rather just avoid the fuss, stress and hassle for something I don't really care about TBH.

    Back OT, I would say ditch the rubbish in-house expensive beers and get a couple of kegs of real ale.

    Make edible centrepieces or use a cupcake stand and have cupcakes for dessert.
    “I want to be a glow worm, A glow worm's never glum'Coz how can you be grumpy, when the sun shines out your bum?" ~ Dr A. TappingI'm finding my way back to sanity again... but I don't really know what I'm gonna do when I get there~ LifehouseWhat’s fur ye will make go by ye… but also what’s not fur ye, ye can jist scroll on by!
  • BabyBoots
    BabyBoots Posts: 544 Forumite
    I happily did without - hiring cars, fancy invitations:

    We designed cheap Vistaprint invitation cards and they were lovely. I arrived in my bridesmaid's Fiat 500 with a ribbon on - it was fun.

    But are you sure you want to skip... the video?

    Unlike other comments above, I adore our wedding video. It was expertly shot, set to our favourite music. It was a beautiful day and I love watching it. It's wonderful to see your favourite friends and family smiling in the sunshine enjoying your perfect day. So many of those guests will pass away in our lifetime, and we'll have the beautiful memories of them captured forever.
  • Mooball
    Mooball Posts: 1 Newbie
    We are getting married next month & are having our wedding reception in a pub barn that does not have a marriage licence so its cheaper. we have enlisted help from friends to decorate the barn & are sourcing natural products such as ivy to decorate it. I have made my own birdcage veil for £5 and it took half an hour to make. We are not hiring a wedding car or having favours. The main ethos is for everyone to have fun. It's been really enjoyable planning the occasion & everyone feels they have had a part to play. I bought my dress for £25 in a vintage shop & had it altered so it fits me perfectly & is unique. I think it's important to not lose sight of the reasons for the wedding & it's not all about spending more than you can afford.
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