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



  • Delphinum
    Delphinum Forumite Posts: 59
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    If you do put disposable cameras on (like we did 8 years ago, people didn't have many camera phones then) don't let kids get a hold of them.
    We got about 20 photos of the glasses on the table. Very annoying when they were a fiver each camera then processing on top.
    We spent most of our money on the honeymoon and had a small wedding with only immediate family. I'm glad we didn't do the big wedding and I'm sure there were people who weren't happy about it, but really it's not about them. :)
  • nigel-p-miller
    nigel-p-miller Forumite Posts: 2 Newbie
    As someone who got married twenty eight years ago I can honestly say both my wife and I both wholeheartedly agree that the money spent on the day is practically a waste of money to end up pleasing every other member of the two families bar the two who really matter on the day. The bride and groom.
    Venues , cars, reception costs, meals, photo,s, videos who really needs them and it seems most weddings now are a chance to show off to friends about who can waste the most money.
    Everyone seems to forget that the day should be about the commitment you make to each other and not whether everyone goes to the reception on a red double decker London bus.
    We have already told our kids to go somewhere nice in the Caribbean take only the essentials get married on the beach and carry straight on with the honeymoon. Hence saving around fifteen to twenty grand to put towards housing when you are starting out together.
  • londonlydia
    londonlydia Forumite Posts: 428
    Eighth Anniversary 100 Posts Combo Breaker
    Only been a guest myself, but had to share the story of the biggest waste I've ever seen... A CHIMNEYSWEEP. Not sure if this is a London thing, but I went to a wedding where the bride had spent £200 on hiring a man to dress as a chimneysweep as it was good luck (he wasnt even a real one!)! All he did was drink several of the glasses of fizz and be letcherous in he was covered in soot as well all he did was cover all the ladies' dresses in black dirt!
  • TessaGroves
    TessaGroves Forumite Posts: 1 Newbie
    I know its not for everyone but we eloped and got married just the two of us, then had a big party a couple of months after we got home. As it was an evening do and out of season (October time), we got a bargain on having a lovely venue (which would have been way out of price range for a full wedding!). We had a buffet, which was really nice and allowed for mingling as we didn't do table plans etc. We did our own flowers for the tables, which we bought from the local market the morning of the do, and then my mum picked ivy from local fields that we dangled around the room. We really enjoyed this way of doing it!

    If you wanted a traditional wedding these are the corners I would cut...
    • don't have an enormous cake... places like m&s do party cakes for cheaper and you could buy some decorations yourself... who remembers a wedding for the cake?
    • don't bother with favours - or if you do make them very little.
    • don't pay lots of money for table plans etc. Some friends printed and laminated a page for each table and hung them from a plant that was already at the venue.
    • wedding cars are lovely, but not necessary. Ask around friends, or people coming to the wedding and go with the nicest car they have!
    • I think if you have wedding cake... why pay for dessert as well!
    • Think about buying 'pre-loved' or selling on afterwards. I know people who have sold off their wedding dresses/bridesmaid dresses etc afterwards... as lovely as it might be to have that momento... are you ever going to wear it again? If not... make some money back!
    • Think outside the highstreet for the rings. Places such as Birmingham jewellery quarter are MUCH better value for jewellery, you can also haggle and play shops off against each other.
    • Watch the size of the bridal party! More bridesmaids = more money! (i have to say, i would be cross if i was asked to be a bridesmaid then asked to pay for the dress, particularly if i had to buy a specific dress). I know people who have had lots of bridesmaids but have asked them to pay for their dresses, and have just asked them to go with a theme such as pastel colours... this can sometimes look nicer and less twee than everyone in matching dresses (and means they can choose their own budget!).
    • My last tip is... try to have the wedding a little later on in the afternoon. If you ask around, most guests say wedding are often a touch too long, plus, if you sit down for the 'wedding breakfast' at 3/4pm you end up feeding people AGAIN during the evening reception. I often think a 3pm wedding would make much more sense!
  • amyleannewalker
    amyleannewalker Forumite Posts: 46 Forumite
    edited 28 May 2014 at 3:25PM
    We had our dads drive us to the venue, just bought ribbons for the cars. Was really nice to share the journey with both bridesmaids and my Dad!

    Also we skipped a starter which saved us loads, had a fish and chip van for the main - (a massive hit!! We used a national company called KK Catering and they were fab) - and served our wedding cake for dessert. Although our cake was mostly fake (except bottom tier for cutting) so we actually served pre-cut wedding bars from Marks and Spencers. They do reasonably priced cakes actually, really worth looking into. We used foam for the top tiers and had a friend ice them, then I decorated with false flowers the night before.

    We also got married in February which earned us a 50% discount on the venue.

    I made our bouquets from lilies and roses bought from Tesco! Bought some nice ribbon to put round them after watching lots of DIY videos on YouTube and loads of people commented on how lovely they were. We also had candles instead of flowers which cut costs hugely. We made our own centrepieces (just cheap glass vases filled with sand, some shells and a candle).

    We did lots ourselves which was really stressful in the last couple of weeks, but totally worth it. The day felt so much more personal because we did a lot ourselves (with help from our family and friends) and we managed to keep costs really low.

    My mother-in-law was brilliant and made all of the invites herself as she is a crafter anyway so had all the bits required, and we used pebbles for the place settings meaning we saved on that too. I've seen playing cards used before too which was nice (although it was an Alice in Wonderland theme so it fitted well).

    My dress was also second hand at £46 (inc delivery) from eBay! I did then have to pay £50 for alterations but was still a steal!

    Lastly, we only invited 70 guests to the day, and had the rule that if you don't have their number in your mobile phone or you've not spoken to them in the last year then they probably don't need to be at your wedding! This cut costs hugely and felt really nice to have such an intimate day.

    For us (bar the venue and the food), the most costly things were the rings and the photographs, which we decided to spend more on because they were the things that would last when the day was over.
  • Murphybear
    Murphybear Forumite Posts: 7,175
    Tenth Anniversary 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    When I got married in Wandsworth Registry Office in 1978 there were 5 people present - me, him, my BF and his parents. They treated us to a meal in a decent restaurant followed by a bottle of Krug (only time I've ever had it!) at their house.

    Cheap wedding, we were saving up to buy a house. Marriage didn't last long, no kids or regrets.

    Current partner, he bought me a custom made platinum/diamond engagement ring and platinum/sapphire wedding ring, both of which I wear with pride. I took his name but we never actually got married. Still together 18 years later!

    Neither of us could see any point in getting married, we used the money we saved to buy a decent car.

    I still don't understand why couples strain their finances to breaking point to have a big wedding.
  • TBagpuss
    TBagpuss Forumite Posts: 11,191
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper
    pippinpuss wrote: »
    Bridesmaids are supposed to pay for their own dresses. It's tradition.

    Only in the USA. In the UK, traditionally the Bride (or her father if you are being old-fashioned) pays for the dresses, as she is the one choosing them. If you want your bridesmaids to pay for their own dresses, then you should also be allowing them to chose them, so they end up with a dress they like and can use again.

    In terms of savings generally:

    Decide which things are important to *you*, the couple. Not what your parents, or friends, or bridal magazines say you 'ought' to have.

    make sure that you are not taking advantage of your guests - it's not OK to expect guests to pay for their own meal, for instance, and if you plan to have a cash bar you should still provide something to drink, even if it it only water and soft drinks, and should consider the prices at the bar.

    Venues: dedicated 'wedding' venues can be very expensive - hiring a church hall or similar can work out a lot cheaper, even of you then spend money on decoration.

    Flowers - prices for wedding bouquets have a huge mark up. Consider buying loose flowers and making up the bouquet yourself (unless you desperately want something really elaborate)

    Photos - think about what you want. Do you want lots of posed pictures? if not, set up a Flickr account or similar, and print cads with the log in details and ask everyone to upload their pictures following the wedding.

    Cars - how important is it to you to roll up in a chauffeur driver Rolls? A car wash and some ribbon to jazz up your own / a parents' car to get to the ceremony and reception, and a taxi to leave in will be much cheaper. Bear in mind that often, everyone will be in the church/venue when you arrive, so won't see the car when you get there, so you are basically paying for a prop for a few photos after the ceremony. (plus, if you go in a friend or family member's car you can, if you, leave a pair of comfortable shoes there, and don't have to panic about whether it will arrive on time)

    If you can get married out of peak times you will find that you can negotiate, and costs will generally be lower, so February, November etc will be a lot less than June or August.

    The things *not* to scrimp on are things which effectively mean other people are paying for your day - so no getting people to pay for their meals, if you ask friends to do photographs / cake making / decoration make clear that they are free to say no, and that you regard the time and effort they put in to be their gift to you, and do not expect them to give you another gift as well. If you ask a friend to make your cake, pay for the ingredients yourself - particualarly if you want a traditional fruit cake - the ingredients cost a lot and mount up very quickly - I made one tier of my sisters cake (I offered to do so, she did not ask!) and the ingredients alone cost over £50, for example.

    some of the nicest weddings I have been to have been the least expensive. One couple I know had a tiny registry office wedding (immediate family only) then a big, casual reception - buffet meal, a couple of barrels of beer and boxes of wine, ice-cream van for dessert, and some games such as giant jenga and garden snakes-and ladders which kept the children present entertained.
    All posts are my personal opinion, not formal advice Always get proper, professional advice (particularly about anything legal!)
  • brightonman123
    brightonman123 Forumite Posts: 8,532 Forumite
    reception open bar!
    Long time away from MSE, been dealing real life stuff..
    Sometimes seen lurking on the compers forum :-)
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