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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.

Syon Park may be an option if you are in London
www.syonpark.co.uk/weddings.asp

handcream Wed 08-May-13 14:54:30

Blimey, £30k on a wedding that you havent got around to for 10 years and 2 children later. I wouldnt let the older generation dicate to you what they want tbh.

We got married over 15 years ago when the new rules regarding places to get married had just come in so there were only a handful and all very posh - Cliveden anyone.... We didnt chose Cliveden but we did chose something similar and very posh!

Here's how we did it for £3k

1. Late afternoon wedding. No cars, bridesmaids, ushers, and all of that marklarky

2. Champagne on the lawn then into dinner and all guests gone by midnight

3. Dress was by a single dress designer who gave me the dress at half price as it was my size and she couldnt get the fabric anymore. I know there are a number of companies who will buy your old wedding dress providing it is in excellent condition so that might be worth a look.

4. We only had 24 people (I dont know 200 people!) and NO children.

So, if you have the money lying around then of course do it but if you have not bothered for 10 years then perhaps there are other things to do with it.

sparechange Wed 08-May-13 14:51:16

I looked at, but didn't book, this place, which does all-in packages including a free bar, wine with the meal etc. And it has a pretty impressive venue for photos etc
the.hac.org.uk/weddings-private-events/wedding-packages/

There are other places like that which will do an all-in package, so you know up front what you are spending.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Wed 08-May-13 14:37:07

It was 15 years ago. If we spent £500 I'd be surprised.

I didn't want a wedding though. I just wanted to be married. If it had been entirely up to me, I'd have gone with him, signed the contract and gone home grin, but we compromised with a very small marking of the occasion. Mainly because people would have thought it odd if we hadn't.

I couldn't WAIT for it to be over! We only had family members and a couple of friends there and it was still hell. All those people looking at me.

cost wise, the outfits maybe a hundred or two - he wore a grey suit, yellow tie and white shirt and I wore a blue chinese style silky outfit. ran a brush through my hair and shoved on some make up
the registry office - I think it was £50. £20 deposit is all I remember because my husband said to the registrar "It's amazing how much you can get for £20 these days" grin
no cars or flowers or any of that stuff, we just went together in his car, taking as many with us as would fit in.
we all walked to the pub afterwards and had lunch, I think everyone paid for themselves.
then we all went our separate ways and met up in our local in the evening. The landlords were mates of mine and gave us the place for free.
everyone paid for their own drinks
I'd arranged with the local catering college for them to do a buffet - catering students are always (or at least they were back then) VERY eager to get a chance to practice and I think it cost us £60 or £70 or something like that.

job done. married 15 years and counting. (don't know why I'm counting, there's no parole to look forward to wink )

violetbean Wed 08-May-13 14:23:56

We spent around £15k on our wedding last year on a Saturday in central London - around 190 guests. Managed (through extensive search) to find a hotel with a lovely function room where 3-course meal, inc room hire, was £28 a head. Spent rest mainly on photography, drinks, presents for people who helped out and church service.

Saved money by buying cheaper dress, cheapest wedding car we could find, cheap (but good) local DJ, M&S cake, local florist just for bouquets and church volunteers for decorative flowers in church. Was lucky too because bridesmaids chose a BHS dress that I got at a discount from a voucher in a wedding magazine.

It can be done, just depends on your priorities, constraints and how much time you have to organise things.

Happy to PM our contacts / suppliers if that would help - just PM me.

Snugglepiggy Wed 08-May-13 14:07:37

I'm with you Northern and Floggingmolly and agree OPs response was not nice.But each to their own.
I personally don't see why after I0years and two DCs anyone would want to do the whole traditional big venue and wedding thing?A celebration yes.A party after a small intimate ceremony.I understand that.My DB got married after 20 plus years and three DCs and it was lovely to have a big family meal and celebrate.But tbh if he had expected us to travel to a far off venue ,pay for hotels and big wedding do type outfits - which lets face it most of your guests will probably have to do - I would have been bemused, if not annoyed.
My niece has just got married after 2 years living together and a baby and it cost about £20k and they are saving for a bigger house.I thought that was slightly bonkers tbh but maybe I am a party pooper.

Floggingmolly Wed 08-May-13 13:37:51

Do you really, Mabroon? I'd imagine op's assumption that 200+ people would be delighted to spend the day watching her get married might be slightly more delusional, actually.
Nobody has 200 close friends. Of those, she'd be lucky if around 15/20 of them genuinely give a toss she's getting married.
To the others, it will be a nice day out if it doesn't interfere with anything else they've got planned.

AnneEyhtMeyer Wed 08-May-13 07:37:58

I don't care how much anyone spends on their wedding, it is entirely up to them. I've been to weddings costing far more than this and also some done on a shoestring. Neither type was better than the other.

Where I agree with NorthernLurker is in the fact that after ten years and having DC together, an elaborate wedding (whether costing £30k or £1k) is a bit OTT.

Mabroon101 Wed 08-May-13 07:32:36

I thought the reply to Northernlurker was spot on and well deserved. Her assumptions regarding the OP's friends and family were nasty even if they were based on her personal experiences and what she gave, she got back.

To the OP, have the kind of wedding you like because only you will know what you can afford to pay for it. I think your family will be delighted you're tying the knot and will be very happy on the day.

I generally find that those who speak out against the kind of weding you would like to have are those who would love to have one like it but cant afford it.

Just ignore the partypoopers.

Pigsmummy Tue 07-May-13 21:58:47

Try Charterhouse school Godalming, their hall is available for weddings, it's 45 mi s from London, you can't marry there but the Hall and grounds are stunning, the registry office is about 2.2 miles away in Guildford. The Hall Hire is reasonable, you can bring your own booze, the food is fantasic. Seats 126 for main sit down and more at night, we married last year, if you want more info email me.

Floggingmolly Tue 07-May-13 21:35:25

I'm with Northernlurker, actually. Ten years and two kids in and you don't think people will be slightly bemused at your sudden urge to spend £20k+ on your wedding?
Your reply to her was nasty, btw.

dc1961 Tue 07-May-13 21:24:36

My wedding in 2008 was my second but actually cost £80 for the ceremony with just myself, husband, son and his girlfriend and my friend. It was a very romantic special day and, although I had wanted a bigger do initially, I'm glad we did it this way. We went for a slap up meal after the ceremony and then flew off on honeymoon. I have no regrets. Did the Full Monty wedding first time around.

About £12k 10 years ago for 50 day guests plus another 30 for the evening, but that was the whole shebang including dress, suit hire, flowers, a car, photographer etc. That was at Ware Priory, so not too far out of London

TattyDevine Tue 07-May-13 17:19:46

Oh and nice flowers but not shedloads. You could totally do your own boquet from fake stuff from Dunelm these days if you were trying to cut costs, honest nobody would know and if they did they wouldn't care and you could keep it forever.

TattyDevine Tue 07-May-13 17:17:45

I paid £30 per head for a 3 course sit down meal, but that was in Devon, 12 years ago, so you'd be hard pushed to pay any less in the South East or anywhere probably these days.

No wonder you want to spend less if you have all those people though, I had about 80 people.

In all, I think we spent about £10k on our wedding. It was fab. It was in a church and things we paid extra for (and therefore you might be able to cut down on) were church bells, organist (who then ripped up our cheque because he realised my DH was his old choirboy (not dogey lol), cars, cake was about £150 3 tiered traditional jobby, we had a DJ not a band, we had balloons, I made the table centrepieces from cheap and cheerful stuff from BHS and the like. Bridesmaids were just in Debut by Debenhams dresses, which were lovely on them (we were all quite young, in our early 20's) and I bought those for them and matching shoes, my dress was £450 off the peg ex sample! (DH spent that on a linen blazer the other day...how times have changed grin )

We had a buffet for evening people but in reality we didn't have many evening extras because we don't live in Devon, its just where DH is from, so most guests travelled and made a long weekend of it which was really nice.

We had shitloads of wine on the tables!

Had a proper photographer too which was good.

ButternutSquish Tue 07-May-13 16:34:38

I think for £20k you can have a lovely wedding at a very nice venue.

We got married at The Rhinefield House Hotel in The New Forest about 6 weeks ago. They do packages, and I'm sure other hotels do too.

We saved money by not needing cars as we were married and fed at the same venue, no to chair covers, a M&S cake, made all the stationary and used Vistaprint. Made our own cake topper, wedding favours, jewellery, etc. One thing not to scrimp on is your dress and your photographer, how you look and feel will be with you forever, along with the photos!

We came in at £18k which is alot of money, but still under our (and your) budget.

Matildaandthematches Sun 05-May-13 21:01:36

I second looking into Kew Gardens Cambridge Cottage. My friend got married there a few years ago and was a gorgeous wedding. Most of us are in London so we didn't have to shell out on hotels for the night and I know she did it on a weekday to make a London venue affordable. Not sure what the whole thing cost but I can't imagine it went over £20k. She said the venue itself was a bargain and she had fabulous wedding photos done all around Kew gardens.

CatHackney Sun 05-May-13 15:41:39

Sounds like Kew.gardens (on a Friday) may be what you're after: www.kew.org/business-venue-hire/kew-events/weddings/wedding-packages/index.htm

We.got married.there and it was fabulous, but agree with other posters - we had 60 guests in their small venue (cambridge cottage) and it seemed the right size for us.

DeskPlanner Sun 05-May-13 15:30:55

I can't imagine knowing 200 people I'd want to invite to my wedding.

elQuintoConyo Sun 05-May-13 15:18:14

Got married in 2010, town hall (really fancy-schmancy inside), 10 minute walk around lovely Roman town to lunch, 45 people, friend did photos, 1950s dress off e-bay 100 quid (cost the same to dry clean it shock ). Everything, including our dream honeymoon, was 3k.

We didn't do: music and dancing (I bloody hate that bit, old Scroogey me!), bridesmaids/paige boys etc, fancy cake, favours. I made all: invites, placecards, thank you cards. There was no way in hell we could afford anything like 10k - what do you get?

Having said that, here's a nice place to get married, they do great deals, too. Could you get to Somerset?

www.countryhouseweddings.co.uk/st-audries-park/

noviceoftheday Sun 05-May-13 15:06:52

My advice on weddings is always the same. Have the wedding that you can actually afford without getting into debt. We spent about £50k on ours (150 people), but, we were in the fortunate position of being able to afford it. So to answer your question, spend whatever you want on your wedding as long as you don't go into debt for it. Our priest told us in marriage classes that a lot of people moan about the cost of getting married. He said, it costs £60 for the license. Everything else is just extras. That made a lot of sense to me.

PorkPieandPickle Sun 05-May-13 14:40:18

Hi orangeclock.

If you want to keep costs down, and are not too specific about when you want to get married, have you looked on Groupon? we had been watching local groupon for about 6 weeks when we found a good deal, and bought it last April for a December wedding which saved 60% on the venue cost, it was a fantastic offer, and allowed us to afford a venue we couldn't have afforded otherwise. you may also find photography packages etc.

You could buy venue decorations off ebay, and do table decorations, favours, seating plan, order of service etc yourselves. a very grand venue needs very little in the way of extra decorations IMO because it will speak for itself, and no one will particularly notice the odd floral arrangement.

A winter wedding can be cheaper, but bear in mind you may end up spending more on suitable clothing for yourself/bridesmaids to keep warm outside, and non-seasonal flowers. any smokers can get grumpy!! As it was winter, our venue served bacon/sausage cobs in the evening, and people absolutely loved it.

With regard to where to prioritise your costs, keeping your guests happy is the best thing to do. we made a bulk booking at the local premier inn when they had a £19 a room offer, and gave the rooms to people who were travelling a fair distance. make sure they are going to be well fed. we also organised transport via minibus to and from the venue from 2-3 key pick up points so that guests did not have to drive, and could enjoy themselves.

The problem with a wedding so big, is that you are going to struggle to spend time with all those guests. No matter how lovely and reasonable people are, they do expect the B&G to circulate the room well. with that many guests you may well find you spend all your time circulating and trying to speak to everyone, not succeed, and not have any time to enjoy your day. We had 60 day guests, and an extra 40 evening guests, and we did not get to speak to everyone.

we spent about £9k including our honeymoon. so we spent half your budget, but had half the guests. i would imagine it will all cost more in the London area though.

Good luck, and enjoy your research and planning. hope whatever you ultimately choose you have a fabulous day.

Thatssofunny Sun 05-May-13 10:55:17

We'll pay about 5k (getting married in the summer) - although that's a bit of a lie, since my parents pay most of it. We've also been together for ten years, but our parents decided now's the time and we should get a move on with the whole wedding thing. I wanted a low-key event (went to a wedding that had cost 25k and it was sooooo boring, the kids couldn't do anything and you had to listen to endless speeches; I'm not a formal event person).

We've only invited close family (about 30 people), but it's going to be a three-day family party. The venue is an old farm, with a stream and nice fields around it. Lots of open spaces. I hate feeling cramped and having to watch my every move...one reason for not wanting a terribly posh venue. It's got enough rooms for everyone to sleep there for two nights. We'll have a BBQ the first night, breakfast in the morning, then the registrar is coming out to marry us at the venue and we will have a nice buffet (proper buffet, with a variety of meat and fish dishes to choose from). The day after, we will all have another breakfast together and then family will slowly disperse...until we meet again the weekend after for another wedding. grin

My wedding dress is from a sample sale, but it's absolutely lovely. I don't see the point in spending thousands of pounds on one day. After all, we've got a mortgage to pay off and are currently ttc.

waikikamookau Sun 05-May-13 10:45:42

buffet in my mum's house.
hired wedding dress and kilt

pretty inexpensive.

Ginformation Sun 05-May-13 10:44:13

Yes viva, a 4 o'clock wedding is def cheaper catering wise, and guests don't get as fractious.

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