To not want to spend £30+ on wedding? How much did you spend and where?

(232 Posts)
orangeclock Fri 26-Apr-13 16:56:26

My partner and I have 2 children and are approaching 10 years together. We haven't married yet because we just haven't got around to it. We feel married already but think it would be wise to make things legal. We'd like to get married next year with about 150-200 guests, and we want to do something fairly lovely in a beautiful venue with a sit down meal.

Can I ask where you got married, how many guests, and how much did you spend?

I have looked at a couple of lovely venues but they cost out at £30,000 plus with the catering! We just don't want to spend such a huge chunk of money.

£20,000 would probably be our limit and I still think that's a small fortune.

We can't escape the sit down meal - older family would expect it. I also would like a really lovely venue and a good photographer.

We're happy to skimp on cake, cars, honeymoon, simple decorations, getting married off season and maybe mid week. Also starting later in the day so it's not an all day celebration.

I would really appreciate hearing your wedding experiences and any tips for not spending an absolute fortune! Thank you.

CloudsAndTrees Fri 26-Apr-13 17:12:07

You can have a wonderful wedding for £20, that a pretty good budget. We spent close to £30k but we could have spent less and still had the same wonderful day.

We had afternoon tea instead of a sit down meal because we generally don't like any sit down wedding meals and everyone likes sandwiches, scones and little pastries. Plus it didn't last as long as a meal so we had more time to spend with the guests. It saved a lot of money which we spent on champagne and wine instead, so everyone got a lot of free drink.

This was at a lovely riverside venue, in an expensive part of the country, but part of the budget was spent on staying there for three days and paying for the best man and bridesmaids to do the same. So no need to pay for cars. We had 80 daytime guests, 100 in the evening. Didn't scrimp on the photographer, but could have done without having it videoed. We never watch it!

wimblehorse Fri 26-Apr-13 17:12:40

10k including honeymoon for 50 guests.

sooperdooper Fri 26-Apr-13 17:14:31

We spent about £9k but we got married abroad and that included our 2 week all inclusive holiday, and we paid for a 4 course meal and free bar for 35 guests, we could've spent a bit less tbh but no way I'd spend £30k on a wedding

I think that after a ten year relationship and two kids you shoudl have better things to spend your money on that a big 'wedding day'. That ship hasn't just sailed, it's way out to sea. You do realise your 200 guests will spend the day bemused at how OTT you're going don't you?

YoniYoniNameLeft Fri 26-Apr-13 17:15:15

Ours was £1500. We had 16 people in Gretna Green. It was lovely!

EldritchCleavage Fri 26-Apr-13 17:15:21

If you have 15o-200 guests and want a sit-down meal, then it really is going to cost. Could you have fewer people? Many venues that are nice won't take that many people, either.

As to venue: City companies e.g. Stationer's Hall are good. Middle Temple Hall is nice. Kew Gardens has a place called Cambridge Cottage which is lovely, but I don't know if you could have a dance there. Not cheap though.

We can't escape the sit down meal - older family would expect it

Tempted to say bollocks to that. Unless they are paying for it, what you have is entirely up to you.

sparklekitty Fri 26-Apr-13 17:17:11

Someone I know is getting married at Great Fosters in Egam. All in they're spending much less than 20K

Another lovely venue is Richmond golf club, no idea of cost but been to a wedding there and was lovely.

Some of our friends are getting married in Pembroke Lodge in Richmond/Kingston. Looks beautiful. No idea of price but wouldn't imagine they're spending over 20K

orangeclock Fri 26-Apr-13 17:18:33

No they won't Northern Lurker. They'll have a lovely day celebrating with us. Sorry your friends and family would feel that way, how horrible for you.

My friends and family attended our wedding 15 years ago. It cost around £4000 btw.

HiggsBoson Fri 26-Apr-13 17:21:38

20 large is flippin' ridiculous for a wedding, it really is.

Binkybix Fri 26-Apr-13 17:22:32

Depending on what you want to provide for guest in terms of booze etc, and where in the country in are looking at, I think you might struggle to keep costs down.

We spent about 13k, about 100 day guests with canapés, sit down meal and evening food (for 120) and unlimited booze in a medium venue in the Midlands. Had expensive dress, but friends did photography and cake, no favours, cars etc.

Good luck!

expatinscotland Fri 26-Apr-13 17:24:44

Then take over a restaurant or look at a golf or rubgy club hall and catering.

Oblomov Fri 26-Apr-13 17:24:47

Sparkle, friends of our got marreid at Great Fosters, Egham and it was lovely. Very expensive, but nowhere near the 20k mark.

expatinscotland Fri 26-Apr-13 17:25:13

£20K is a lot.

SanityClause Fri 26-Apr-13 17:26:02

I'm inclined to agree with NorthernLurker, but then I'm not one for big weddings, anyway. Surely it's the being married that counts?

Still, if you want to have a big party for friends and family, go for it.

I have heard it said that often if you book a venue for a "party", as opposed to a "wedding", the prices are often much reduced. It's worth a try, anyway.

MrsDeVere Fri 26-Apr-13 17:27:17

Ours cost 1k. That was in 96 so a while ago. Still pretty cheap though smile

We got married in our church then went across the road to the church hall for the reception.
I had a buffet and my dad did the food.
We had cafe style seating
I had two sunflowers wrapped in ribbon for my bouquet
My SIL made the bridesmaid and page boy outfits
My BIL did the music
MY SIL made my cake..
We had a pub come in and do the bar. We couldn't afford to pay for everyone to get pissed.
Of course not everyone has friends and relatives who can bake and sew smile

I got my dress made but it was a cocktail style so not much fabric needed.

I didn't have cars, I walked to the church.

A party is a better idea. You could do it for your tenth 'anniversary' and spend less money on a brilliant party dress rather than an over-priced (because they all are) wedding gown.

LaQueen Fri 26-Apr-13 17:27:56

11 years ago, had a civil ceremony in a lovely manor house.

We just wanted an intimate wedding, so only had immediate family, and close friends at ceremony and wedding breakfast, and I think we paid roughly £100 per head?

For the evening reception, we invited another 60 guests - and there was a buffet (but can't remember what that cost).

I think we did it all, for about £10K-ish. But, that didn't include my dress (which was an Ian Stuart) and the honeymoon.

Oblomov Fri 26-Apr-13 17:27:57

which area roughly Op? Name a few places towns/places or a few venues that you have already considered. Then some Mn'ers might have got married there themselves.

Oblomov Fri 26-Apr-13 17:29:16

Registery office, Boat down the thames. Dh has HUGE family and alot of freinds and we couldn't afford the venues around us. Was fab.

30 grand?? I don't blame you for being shocked at that figure!

We spent about 6k when we got married last year.

Service: in a local chapel, priest said "it's your church, so I don't expect money from you," but we gave him £200 as it would get put to great use in the parish. Plus £60 for the organist.

Meal: We went to our favourite French restaurant and chatted with them. They agreed to do pre-theatre prices for us as we were essentially providing them with a full restaurant for lunch. I can't remember the exact figure cost-wise, but we had around 70 guests.

Reception: We hired a beautiful Victorian municipal hall near our home and decked it out ourselves with help from friends the night before - £500.

My dress: £150 from Debenhams. And it was Ben de Lisi, a copy in white of a dress Kate Winslet wore to the Oscars a few years back. I loved it!

My veil: £50 from Etsy.

Flowers for my bouquet, tables in reception venue: We went to the trade flower market very early in the morning, and my mum sweet-talked them into selling to us. Loads and loads of beautiful, seasonal flowers, about £200 all in.

We hired buses to transport our guests between venues, and a car for me and my dad to get to the church: around £300.

Bridesmaid's dress (I just had the one): £50

DJ for reception: My DH is a DJ and agreed to play at a DJ friend's wedding for free if he would do the same for us.

Me, DM and DSis all did our own hair and make-up.

Photographer: a good friend of DH, brilliant photographer, £300.

Cake: M&S job, £180.

Basically, just call in favours wherever you can. If you have friends who are photographers, DJs etc, provide them with some work for the day and they might be happy to quote you a low price. Don't leave everything in the hands of the professionals - make your own bouquets, table decorations etc. I think a lot of venues reckon if they have you for the whole day they can charge you crazy money. Don't skimp on the bits that are really vital to you, but be a bit creative with the other parts. Hope you have a wonderful day! flowers

LippiPongstocking Fri 26-Apr-13 17:30:03

We spent £4k two months ago, 120 guests. Wedding dress (beautiful) from eBay cost £50! Civil ceremony, then we took over a beautiful local pub who did all the food, and we had a band for dancing after. Think it's disgusting to spend what amounts to the same amount as you'd spend on a deposit on a house on a wedding, frankly.

orangeclock Fri 26-Apr-13 17:31:09

Areas we've been thinking about are London, Cotswolds, Northamptonshire, Somerset. Parts of London by the river. Maybe even abroad if a shorthaul flight.

phantomnamechanger Fri 26-Apr-13 17:32:04

If I was in your shoes and could raise £20-30K I would not be blowing it on a one day experience, I would be investing in the kids' future, or spending on some fantastic family holidays or complete overhaul of the house. Maybe you have all those things taken care of already, the university fund and all mod cons, who knows.

IMHO, I will never ever understand why people feel the need to have a huge show that streches them to the limits and inevitably causes lots of stress. The wedding is about the vows and your relationship, your hopes and dreams for the future, your public show of commitment. You can do it very, very much more cheaply and not lose one jot of the fun, glamour and sheer joy of the celebration.

Your OP says you just want to legalise things, which i understand because of the kids - but you don't need to spend a fortune to do that. why not have a much lower key affair?

We had 100 people in a church hall, with a gorgeous buffet spread and then a barn dance with hot soup and a range of delicious pudds. It was everything we could have wanted. OK it was 16 years ago but I dont think we spent more than £3k including photographer (& albums), band, caterers, bridesmaids dresses and flowers/button holes. DHs parents had him a suit made and my dress was from a charity shop!

LaQueen Fri 26-Apr-13 17:32:30

Meant to add...we saved money on not having wedding cars (everyone got ready in the rooms at the manor house).

And, didn't have any flowers decorating the ceremony room/tables. We just had candelabra on the tables, and scattered rose petals.

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