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    • Former MSE Andrea
    • By Former MSE Andrea 1st Sep 09, 11:55 AM
    • 9,419Posts
    • 22,334Thanks
    Former MSE Andrea
    0 WOW
    Great 'How to Have a MoneySaving Wedding' Hunt
    • #1
    • 1st Sep 09, 11:55 AM
    0 WOW
    Great 'How to Have a MoneySaving Wedding' Hunt 1st Sep 09 at 11:55 AM
    They say it's the biggest day of your life, and financially at least that's always true. The ultimate romantic gesture isn't far from being the biggest single cost around, and its impact permeates through families.

    We'd love brides and grooms that have either already tied the knot or are in the planning stages to help out those about to start off on the same journey with their top tips and suggestions on where to cut the cost.

    Got an ingenious way to save on invites? Is it cheaper to make your cake yourself? Are charity shops worth looking at?

    Click reply to add your tips.

    Related Guide: Getting Married: How to Have a MoneySaving Wedding (we hope to add tips from this thread when we update that)

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Page 1
  • Noggin the Nog
    • #2
    • 1st Sep 09, 6:29 PM
    • #2
    • 1st Sep 09, 6:29 PM
    In "The Thrift Book", India Knight recommends not bothering with a posh hire car but asking nicely to borrow someone's car if they've got a glamorous one. She says a friend of hers even left a message on the windscreen of a nice car that she saw parked locally, asking the owner if she could borrow it for the wedding - her message was a little illustrated poem, with her phone number on it. The owner phoned her and lent her the car. She wrote that another friend saw somebody selling a Rolls-Royce locally on Ebay and contacted him to ask (as charmingly as possible) if she could borrow it for her wedding - he agreed and insisted on driving it himself (fair enough, for insurance and security). As India says, people are likely to be flattered that you admire their cars so much and are likely to feel pleased to be asked to help.
  • Noggin the Nog
    • #3
    • 1st Sep 09, 6:35 PM
    • #3
    • 1st Sep 09, 6:35 PM
    You could always make your wedding dress out of loo roll; hold an annual toilet paper wedding dress competition that demonstrates that it is possible! You would have to be quite brave, though, and hope it doesn't rain.
  • RichardHowells
    • #4
    • 1st Sep 09, 9:56 PM
    • #4
    • 1st Sep 09, 9:56 PM
    My friend Lindsey *bought* tablecloths on eBay for less than the price to hire them. They were gorgeous. After a wash/iron they'll go back on eBay for another bride to recycle.
  • karen3w
    • #5
    • 1st Sep 09, 10:57 PM
    • #5
    • 1st Sep 09, 10:57 PM
    I bought a lovely wedding dress from Monsoon, then found the same dress for half the cost on Ebay, so took the original one back for full refund and bought the one on Ebay.

    Also, I went to the florists and told her that I only had about 65 left in my budget for flowers and could she help? Instead of the 250 upwards I'd been quoted elsewhere (for only my bouquet and two for bridesmaids, plus buttonholes) I got all I wanted for 65 and they were beautiful - the only difference was she waited to see what was in the van instead of ordering the roses - they were much cheaper that way and I still got champagne roses - and she used cheaper ribbons, which you really couldn't tell.

    We had a fantastic wedding and only spent a few hundred - mind you, it was very small and we just went to the local pub for a lovely meal afterwards.
  • mnc
    • #6
    • 1st Sep 09, 11:13 PM
    • #6
    • 1st Sep 09, 11:13 PM
    My top tips: (probably quite obvious ones but hopefully will help somebody)

    1. Make your own invites, placecards etc. I bought 100 blank cards and envelopes from The Works for 7.00. I bought accessories to make my own designs. Once I'd made the invitations I had enough card left over to make all the placecards and gift tags for presents. Lots of people commented on how personal everything was and I enjoyed making everything as well as saving a lot of money too.

    2. Find somebody who does flower arranging as a hobby - evening classes, local village community etc. I was lucky enough to find an old lady who enjoyed flower arranging as a hobby. She ordered all the flowers direct from Holland, created all the bouquets, buttonholes, flowers for registrar table, centrepieces for the table and set everything up for 160 total. They looked amazing and were the fraction of the cost of a florist.

    3. Buy vases for your centrepieces from Ikea. They have a huge selection at great prices and can be sold on afterwards so you get most of your money back. They are also very good for lanterns and candles.

    4. Make your own favours. I bought glassine envelopes and bulk pack of wildflower seeds from ebay. Printed my own personalised labels for the envelopes and then put some seeds in each one. Was a bit more unusual and well received by guests. Also did sunflower seeds for the children.

    5. Instead of hiring an entertainer such as magician during the meal, write some quiz questions about yourself and partner and put in an envelope on each table. It was a great ice breaker and got everyone talking to each other between courses. We gave a prize of bottle of bubbly for the winning table but could be anything or just for fun.

    6. Buy your wedding rings online. They can be bought a lot cheaper than in the high street jewellers.

    7. Buy your dress direct from China. I used Milly Bridal and was over the moon with the dress I received for under 300 including postage. It looked so much more expensive and was made exactly how I wanted it and to my measurements. You can save on Bridesmaid dresses too this way.
    Last edited by mnc; 01-09-2009 at 11:20 PM. Reason: spelling error
  • Shain
    • #7
    • 1st Sep 09, 11:18 PM
    Little savings add up! Oh, and always ask nicely!
    • #7
    • 1st Sep 09, 11:18 PM
    When we got married 3 years ago, we did the following, actually for various reasons, but they also saved us money:


    2. I got ready at a relative's house close to the wedding venue and arrived at the venue on foot, after a relaxing 5 min walk chatting to my dad. No worries about being late, either! We left in my new husband's car.

    3. We had the ceremony and the reception at the same venue - much easier for everyone and we negotiated a good deal

    4. I bought a wedding outfit in an independent "normal" clothes shop and asked very nicely if they'd consider giving me a discount as it was my wedding outfit - and they did! Hubby bought his suit in the M&S sale (bargain!).

    5. We had a hot and cold buffet - less formal and cheaper. And we supplied some wine and champagne then people moved on to a cash bar.

    6. We only invited people we actually wanted at the wedding, rather than people we could have felt duty-bound to invite!

    7. My husband's mother made the wedding cake as a wedding present and we had it iced by a friend of a friend for much cheaper than we'd normally have to pay (and it was a lovely cake, beautifully iced)

    8. We asked around and found a florist and photographers who were just starting out. They used photos of our wedding to show future clients, we got good rates and both did wonderful jobs.

    9. I did my own makeup (cos I'm quite good at it) but got my hair done professionally (cos I'm not!)

    10. We told everyone we were dealing with that we were getting married (and the very romantic - and true! - way we met and fell in love), and people were very kind. We were given stuff and discounts by lots of people, probably because we weren't really expecting it...

    11. We sold the left-over decorations (unopened packs of rose petals, etc) on eBay

    12. We made table decorations - candle holders - from cheap Asda glass tumblers wrapped in ribbon, and then gave them away to guests afterwards

    13. We made our own wedding favours with sugared almonds, ribbon and net we bought on eBay

    14. We videoed our own ceremony and reception by having a camera running in the corner on a tripod - not a professional film, but a lovely reminder of the day, which is what we wanted. We had those disposable cameras (bought on sale) on each table, but actually, only about 10% of the pictures were any good at all. Useful addition to the "proper" photos though.

    15. We designed our own order of service and used a local printer to produce them

    16. We used an ipod and some speakers for the music at the ceremony and reception

    We actually asked for donations to charity instead of gifts - didn't save us any money but gave us some great karma to set us off on married life!
    Last edited by Shain; 01-09-2009 at 11:28 PM.
  • skinnyinny
    • #8
    • 1st Sep 09, 11:31 PM
    • #8
    • 1st Sep 09, 11:31 PM
    When obtaining quotes, remember that the word "wedding" in your enquiry pushes the price up! Try getting quotes for a similar sized non wedding event - a reunion dinner for 80 guests may be surprised at the difference...

    Also, keep an eye on the amount of wine/champagne bottles that you go through - I know that in some venues it is common to charge for an extra few bottles to top up the bar takings.

    (based on my experience in the hotel trade)
  • gemenar
    • #9
    • 1st Sep 09, 11:44 PM
    • #9
    • 1st Sep 09, 11:44 PM
    Buy table decorations from wholesalers - vases, jug, sweetie bowls, confetti, ribbon etc from wholesale florists - search for Michael Dark Ltd. They offer a higher discount the more you buy, and you can save a lot compared to looking on eBay for these things.

    Make your own invited - buy some cards and envelopes and then add buttons, bows, sequins etc to them. I've sewn ours on my sewing machine and stuck buttons on them to make flowers!
  • hayleyclissold
    wooden '10 for 1' (800 for 36!!! IEP wholesale ) roses, double as decor for the venue ( i added fresh cut foliage and ribbon, put two together and layed x 12 per table, in the colours of my theme) and attach a tag for favours!! everyone loved taking them at the end!!

    Invites.... vistaprint, magnets so people are constantly reminded!!
    Last edited by hayleyclissold; 02-09-2009 at 6:40 AM. Reason: more info added
  • Scruffstone
    Call in favours
    If there's friends and family who owe you or are in a trade that's useful or have a hobby that is useful to how you're having your wedding then ask them to lend a hand as your wedding present.

    We did this with :-
    - wedding cars - two relations happened to have one black and one white BMW;
    - a friend does flower arranging;
    - a friend is a part time photographer;
    - another friend is a caterer;
    - we both used to work in the same pub, so the landlord got us good discounts on the alcohol;
    - we used the same pub's function room for our party in the evening for free;
    - a friend is good with gadgets and he filmed it for us;
    - a friend made my wedding dress for me, from 2 different patterns combined together;

    I think it cost us about 2k 7 years ago.
    • debbs
    • By debbs 2nd Sep 09, 7:10 AM
    • 22 Posts
    • 15 Thanks
    My husband and I met on 29th September and married on 29th February the following year. To look at the photographs you would never know that it was done on the cheap or only arranged from start to finish in 2 months. I guess the best money saver is not having the time, people who plan weddings months even years in advance are going wrong straight away as it gives you too much time to spend more money that you haven't got. We was very lucky and knew a cake maker (although 115 17 years ago wasnt cheap) a neighbour drove my dads car to the church (wearing a hat and gloves to look the part), another neighbour did all the flowers, a friend in the printing business sorted out the invites etc, an uncle did the photos, work colleague filmed it. We had a hall with a hot meal, disco and buffet tea so that part of it wasnt cheap but as cost effective as we could get it, so it can be done if you put your mind to it. We owed nothing to nobody at the end of it and with so many marriages failing I cant think of anything worse than somebody still paying for a 20k + wedding years after the day and possible failure and divorce.
    Last edited by debbs; 02-09-2009 at 7:13 AM.
    • gropinginthedark
    • By gropinginthedark 2nd Sep 09, 8:23 AM
    • 104 Posts
    • 80 Thanks
    lie to the venue!
    We visited one potential venue, having looked at the a la carte menu outside and established that a decent meal could be had for 30 per person we went inside and enquired about a wedding. The response: fixed menu, 50 per person - "and then you'll be wanting flowers on each table, that starts at 2 if we provide silver vases for your own flowers and then you'll want the services of our wedding manager, and you'll be wanting a decent champagne for the toasts..." Surely if they can make a profit with a la carte for 30 (and the normal restaurant service included flowers on the tables) a production line of standardised menu and a guaranteed 50 diners on a Friday evening shouldn't end up closer to 100 a head.

    At the next venue we said we were arranging a big family reunion. It was a better venue (a small "stately home" hotel) We had an excellent meal for 40 per person and that included wines (and Pimms in the garden first). As it was unannounced as "wedding" we had to provide seating plan and table favours ourselves, but that's no big deal. I guessit would be harder if a young couple turned up and tried the same approach, the venue might smell a rat, especially if it was one of those events the youngsters like with an evening disco to which they also invite their "B list" friends (but I've been to some - the "A list" guests are fatigued by then and drifting away and the "B list" don't all turn up so frankly they've not been a great success).

    As for photos: I have a friend who had a sideline as a wedding photographer a few years earlier. He told me that when he decided he wanted to stop (he had a very well-paid weekday job and wanted his weekends back) he doubled his price. He still got the same number of bookings and felt guilty about charging such a lot of money to young couples who couldn't really afford it but did it because everyone does. So he just quit.
    At our wedding we merely asked that anyone who got any good photos let us have copies. Yes my photographer friend was invited and his photos were good but so were many others'. We wanted a good wedding album to put some prints in - a high street photographer offered us a nice one for 150 but we thought that was a lot so we found a wholesaler. They were a bit tricky so we turned up with a proper looking "Wedding Photographer" letterhead we printed off from a PC and bought the same album for 40.
    Wedding dress set us back 40, luckily my wife has a fantastic figure and good taste so she kept an eye on sales and bought what was probably intended as a "maid of honour" simple gown and looked a million dollars.
  • guinnessgirl
    Catering & venue
    We got married three years ago, had everything we wanted and spent just over 4k. I know that's not as cheap as some other moneysaving weddings, but considering we had a big church do and a fully catered reception for ALL the guests, I think we did quite well!

    My first tip is re the reception venue - we hired a village hall in a very pretty village near Leeds and paid something like 250 to have the hall booked for Friday night, all of Saturday and Sunday morning too. Then we went to Hobbycraft, bought a load of balloons, confetti, and one of those big catering paper tablecloth rolls, and decorated the hall on the night before the wedding with the help of a big group of friends. We had a venue decorated exactly how we wanted it, in our wedding colours, for hardly any money! plus we had a fun evening with our friends doing the decoration.

    re catering - if you want to treat all your guests equally and put on food for all, but don't want to break the bank, why not hire a hog roast or similar? We spent 500, and for that, we got a full hog roast with salads, sides etc PLUS desserts for 100 people! We then asked a friend who is a good cook to create an alternative vegetarian dish for the 5 or so vegetarians attending. We bought all our own wine from a local wine man, cava and champagne from Tesco, and then a group of my friends acted as servers for the evening!

    There's lots more where that came from - my mantra throughout the whole wedding planning time was, 'can we do this cheaper?'
  • sarahlpage
    Our wedding came in at just under 7000.
    Quite a lot, but considering we had 150 guests for a 3 course sit down meal and disco with buffet, we thought it was pretty good.
    We got married in a little local village church and the WI did the flowers.
    My sister in law made the awazing cake as our present, and out neighbour decorated it with delicate sugarcraft flowers.
    Out top tip - check out your local community centre as a possible wedding venue - they aren't all flat roofed 60's pre-fabs. Ours in Southwick is a beautiful 16th century barn, converted into a theatre but available on request for weddings when there's no shows on. The food was good and plentiful - our dinner consisted of a choice of starters (melon or goats cheese and red onion tart) choice of main (roast lamb + seasonal veg or vegetable puff) and choice of desserts (Strawberry pavlova or fruit salad)
    We had sole use of the building and gardens, had a lovely buffet later with sandwiches, quiches etc and a great disco (friend of a friend)
    I made all the invites, favours, menus, Who's who guest lists etc myself using our home printer and pastel card to match the theme, cost about 40.
    My dress was an amazing January sales find in Debenhams - just what I was looking for and a bargain at 60.
    Our car was driven by the local butcher who has an amazing classic car, he was very reasonable at 150 for the whole day.
    The photographer was the only thing we didn't scrimp on - he was 500 and well worth it.
    Just to let all those couples to be know - you can have your perfect day without paying for it for the next 10 years!
    First time mummy to be and saving the pennies!
    • musicals
    • By musicals 2nd Sep 09, 9:04 AM
    • 144 Posts
    • 615 Thanks
    If you are having musical entertainment, choose a versatile group of musicians who can play for your ceremony, drinks and wedding breakfast, such as celebratewithmusic (who we went for), or a band that includes a DJ who spins the discs between sets. With music the cheapest is not necessarily the best, so get as much as you can out of the musicians you hire.
  • ssampat
    my wedding
    I have just had my wedding in Marrakech - how can that be a cheap wedding I hear you ask...

    I used a great wedding planning company Marrakech Weddings who help you plan your wedding for free. Sonia got me quotes for all the different venues within my budget (2,000) and discounts on the room prices at the place I chose. She got the price of the alcohol down as well and got me a celebrant for 50!

    We ended up spending under 1,000 for the best night of my life - our own riad in the medina in Marrakech with lots of delicious food, music and belly dancers - and a great cake!

    We had a great holiday with our friends and we got 1 flights out there with Ryanair!

    The decor and candles were all included in the price and so all I had to pay for was my dress!
  • LouB
    We got married June just gone, and although we wanted the full works, we didn't pay anything like the "average" cost of a wedding these days.

    I would recommend starting planning early - that way you can choose the options you want and are cheap, rather than what's available.

    We got married in the village church, and although it's not for everyone, I would recommend considering it as a moneysaving option. "Licenced venues" such as hotels know they can charge more,and may ask for several thousand pounds room hire before you even look at catering. With the ceremony sorted, you have more freedom to pick the reception.

    As we live right opposite the Church,we didn't need cars.
    For the reception, we hired the village hall,and put a marquee on the car park(this wasn't as expensive as it sounds). We used a local caterer, and bought the wine from a cash and carry. Our caterer offered to run a cash bar,but we just got in some barrels of beer from a local brewery (who also provided the equipment free of charge).

    Regarding flowers,I spoke to a few florists,and the good ones were happy to work within a budget. They can recommend flowers to suit which won't break the bank- the florist used lots of folliage and ivy to create decorations. We had minimal arrangements, and did the rest of the decorating with friends and family.

    I made all the invites and favours,as others have suggested.
    I bought my dressin a sample sale at a small shop which made their own dresses-it was much better quality at a fraction of the price of the high street chains(its worth looking at this time of year for sales).

    We chose who photographer who offered a "digital package"-they just give you a cdofallteh photos,and you gettoprint out the ones you want.I would highly recommend this over having to pay for their prints and albums,and it also means you can emailthem to family and friends.

    There's no need buy expensive cakes-we chose to have a cake made of different cheese, which a local cheese shop prepared,but otherwise I would have just bought a ready made cake from M&S and decorated it with a few flowers.

    Don't be fooled that expensive is better.Both the photographer and florist were cheap as they were just starting out - but this meant they were keen to do a good job.
  • selbel
    1. Ebay will help make a little money go a long way. I brought my tiara (new, 20, rrp 70) and 10 disposable cameras with flashes a lot less than you can get them in the shops.

    2. I designed my own invites on the computer, took them to a printers and paid a total of 17.50 inc VAT!

    3. Try contacting your local adult education college for flowers, cakes, hair, make-up and photographers if they run courses in these areas. A lot of people looking to start out are desperate for wedding experience.

    4. Have a free makeover done in a department store/boots. All make-up counters offer this to encourage you to buy their products (but there's no obligation to buy) and they will do the make-up how you want (I went to boots before the hairdressers on my day!).

    5. Try asking for a wedding / bridesmaid dresses on freecycle, you'll be surprised at how many women are willing to help you out! - I've seen a couple of dresses on my local freecycle lately.

    6. A wedding I went to had lucky dip lottery tickets for the favours, 1 per favour is relatively reasonable and the guests loved them!

    7. Try making your own cake. I wanted a cupcake wedding cake. The shop I asked quoted me 600. I baked 150 cupcakes, freezed them, defrosted them the day of the wedding and a friend iced them for me for a total cost of 50 (including 10 to hire the stand!).
    • MeNikki
    • By MeNikki 2nd Sep 09, 10:16 AM
    • 635 Posts
    • 2,155 Thanks
    We got married on 31st December 2008.

    We married in our local registry office, which in our case is an old Georgian building. The ceremony took place in a lovely room still decorated with a gorgeous Christmas tree. Our registry office has a veranda leading of the room, so that was ideal for photos, as well as the little courtyard with a honeysuckle climber (that amazingly was littered in little yellow flowers).

    I bought my 'wedding' dress in TKMaxx at a time when they had lots of 'prom' dresses. The dress I chose was a lovely off-white with embroidered bodice. As it was rather cold, I bought a faux-fur shrug of ebay for 9.99 (including P+P). In Accessorize i picked up a hair band made of plastic pearls for approx 8, a fascinator from eBay (4.99 inc P+P). My shoes I bought in the New Look summer sale and set me back a whole 7. I did my own hair and make-up on the day and a friend helped me in the dress.

    My husband picked up a gorgeous suit (that he can also wear at work for important meetings, etc) in a local shop that had a sale on. He paid approx 150 for the suit, 2 shirts, belt and 2 different ties.

    In front of our registry office there is a canal where many ducks and geese live. So as a 'wedding favour' we made little bags filled with special bird seeds. To tie the bags we re-used the ribbons and decorations from our christmas crackers.

    I made my flowers myself. The day before the wedding my husband and I went to a local Flower shop and picked 2 different sets of flowers (1 white and 1 red as I wasn't 100% sure yet what would go better with the outfit) and spent 35 for a variety of roses, flowers, greens and ribbons. I then spent the afternoon putting the flowers together. Yes, it may not have been as professionally done as a bouquet from a florist, but it also didn't come with the 120 price tag I was quoted by a few for a simple rose bouquet on the 31st December. And to be honest I have seen worse bouquets that cost an awful lot more. So I am always proudly proclaiming that I made it myself

    As for the photography, I am part of a camera club and a few of the people I invited are hobby photographers. We got some gorgeous pictures from them. Had one enlarged to 12x16 inches (4.99 from internet) and bought a lovely IKEA frame (9.99). The picture is hanging on top of the stairs and we got a smaller print in the living room. One of our friends gave us a lovely M&S album with a selection of pictures that she took.

    After the registry office we walked along the canals to a pub, where we just ordered the drinks as anyone liked and some platters of shared starters, sandwiches etc as and when required. As we only had a small party this was a cheaper option than pre-arranging all the drinks and foods.

    The pub is along a small canal with footpath, so rather than arringing cars (that could not have gotten there anyway) we decided to walk the short distance. Saving us a lot on car rentals and it was nice to be able to just be outside feed the ducks and geese and hold my husband's hand.

    As we did our wedding on 31st December and announced it quite late (we didn't know until end of October whether on not we got the date), we only did an morning/noon. By 3pm most people had to leave to get changed for their New Year's celebrations with friend and family. Saving us the hassle of having to organise an evening-do that we couldn't afford at the time. BTW we invited people face-to-face, phoned them up and eventually sent out an email reminder rather than paper invites as they might have been lost among all the Christmas cards.

    After we got home, we went and bought our favourite applie pie and custard and had that with a glass of champagne.

    The whole wedding cost less than 1,000 and yes if we would have had a little bit more money we might have spent a bit more on food and drinks, but as it was right for us at the time. And all the people invited loved it, said going to the pub was so refreshing.

    My motto was how can I get a lovely day together on a non-existent budget. We had been thinking of getting married for a few years, but always put it off as we could not afford it. By having a look through sales, I just picked up bits and bobs for my outfit as and when I saw it. Saving a lot of money during the process.
    Life without string would be chaos.
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