....in thinking the cost of weddings is becoming beyond todays young people

(313 Posts)
concernedrose Wed 16-Jan-13 00:26:45

DS is planning on getting married next year. He and fiance both have good jobs but are paying off student loans, and pay £850 a month in rent for a tiny one bedroomed flat. They also are trying to save for a mortgage. So imagine their (and our) horror at the price of weddings. It seems that to be able to do everything for under £10,000 is virtually impossible in the area we live in. And they have accepted they wont be able to have a honeymoon immediatly after the wedding. This seems a vast sum of money to me, but even calling in favours from friends and relatives, (ie cake making, invitation making, flower arranging) it looks like this is what it is going to cost. Oh well, anyone for beans on toast!!!

ZooAnimals Wed 16-Jan-13 00:32:56

How much does a registry office cost? They probably already have clothes, add on a cake, invitation and some flowers and you're in under £1000 I reckon.

Flossyfloof Wed 16-Jan-13 00:33:44


fridgepants Wed 16-Jan-13 00:36:53

Most people I know in LTRs are concentrating on buying (or saving for given how big the deposits are where I live) a place first. The only couple I know who have got married brought the wedding forward for family reasons and I think his parents were in a position to help out with that - they didn't take a honeymoon afterward either.

DP and I haven't properly discussed the issue yet but I do have the feeling it's going to be a terrifying amount of money if we do go for it. Neither of us are traditional people and don't much care about what one 'ought' to have at a wedding - there is a lot of wedding industry and tradition bullshit that convinces you that you 'need' to get posh invitations/an elaborate cake/expensive flowers/a £3000 dress or you're letting yourself down on your Big Day - but people still need to be fed.

LibraryMum8 Wed 16-Jan-13 00:39:15

YANBU, but...that's what it's going to cost if you want the trimmings. That's what it cost us 13 years ago! And our reception was a day one, we did have a band, but it was in the afternoon, and we generally cut corners where we could. Like I said, this was 13 years ago with only some of the trimmings.

I love dh to death but if I had to do it over we would have eloped. We thought about it but my mum would have been crushed. I was an older first time bride (36) and she was so proud. I just couldn't have done it. But I think we would have announced that we were going to elope right from the beginning so there would be no backlash. Being Catholic didn't help either, had to have the thing in Church, etc. Knowing what I know now, we'd have a Christian Minister in our home and 'be done with it'.

fridgepants Wed 16-Jan-13 00:39:21

The wedding above involved an invitation which was a postcard they designed with the date and details, she bought a dress that was a nice white dress rather than a 'wedding dress' and had 'best women' rather than identical bridesmaids who wore what they wanted (which she said was more true to who they were) and the favours were button badges and origami cranes the couple made themselves. If you've got time and flexibility then you can work something out.

The trick with weddings is not to tell venues etc it's a wedding wink

TheBrideofMucky Wed 16-Jan-13 00:43:53

Yes, it's a lot of money. We bought a house first as it seemed like a bigger priority at the time. Of course it's possible to do it cheaply at a registry office but then I don't blame them for wanting to make a big day of it with all their family and friends either. It depends whether they are happy to wait a while and save or whether they just want to get it done quickly I suppose.

YABU, I had my wedding for much less than a grand. Registry office, then pub lunch for 30 people, a normal sponge cake with some fake flowers on it, dress for £80, kilt hire and we booked the lounge bar of our local pub which was free if there was over a certain amount spent at the bar, they gave us the number for the karaoke/dj they used and invites were designed at home and photocopied onto some nice card at a photocopy shop, also we put up a note at the local college for a photography student to do our pictures, she benefitted because we gave her a few quid and they were good for her portfolio and we got loads of lovely photos. It can be as cheap or as extravagent as they want.

"there is a lot of wedding industry and tradition bullshit that convinces you that you 'need' to get posh invitations/an elaborate cake/expensive flowers/a £3000 dress or you're letting yourself down on your Big Day"

I don't agree that it is tradition, it is mostly the dogma preached from the "wedding industry".

I was married in 1990 and certainly it wasn't usual for people in my WC area to have what the equivalent income group wants today.

The cost only needs to be high if you need to have a large number of people to the wedding breakfast and not stick to evening invites only.

deleted203 Wed 16-Jan-13 00:45:10

YABU. Of course you don't need to spend anywhere near £10,000 on a wedding. You only need to spend that if you are insisting on having a great big white wedding day with all the trimmings. It's perfectly possible to have a church wedding without spending anywhere near that amount of money.

MikeFlowersPops Wed 16-Jan-13 00:46:17

My wedding 4 years ago cost £3000

my brothers getting married in May at the bottom of Snowdon, on a campsite theyve hired. They will say their vows in a barn decorated with fairy lights and flowers done by friends. Bride will be wearing a dress from monsoon, her flowervgirls dress was £3 from a charity shop, my brothers boss suit is from a retail outlet wotsit. We're all chipping in with the catering.

The whole lot will come up to 3/4 k max including a hog roast and a celidh thingy, AND it's bring your own beer so theyre v popular......im looking forward to it although I did hmm at the email I recieved with exciting news for 2013...... 'heated showers' grin

concernedrose Wed 16-Jan-13 00:57:19

believe it or not, £10,000 is not "a great big white wedding with all the trimmings" It is going to be far from that. It is a hotel which is licensed for weddings, the registrar is £550 !, a wedding breakfast for 30, and an evening reception do for a further 50. The guest list could easily be bigger, but they are going to try and keep it at 80. As for big white dress, it wont be expensive, more like a few hundred, and the bridesmaids dress's will be much less. It is the venue and catering which is costs so much, intresting about not mentioning it is a wedding, never thought of that. We are making savings, by doing own cake/invites/phtography/flowers/borrowing friends posh car. We are not being sucked into to the "big wedding" trap, they are being realistic, but i can see how easily spending can get out of control

never ever mention it's a wedding, especially to the cake lady / man and venue / caterers.

It's just a party, no bugger has to tell them what sort of party !

MidniteScribbler Wed 16-Jan-13 01:01:58

YABU. My wedding cost $1500 (about £1000). We had a cocktail party by a lake, served finger food. Still managed to provide food and drink for 80 people for that. Used our own music, did my own hair and makeup. If you want to do it cheaply you can and still have a fabulous time. If you absolutely must be a 'princess for a day' then you have to pay for it.

concernedrose Wed 16-Jan-13 01:03:13

Toastie......i really love the idea of a celidh at the bottom of snowdon, it sounds fab!!

BlatantRedhead Wed 16-Jan-13 01:03:48

DP and I talk about what we want for our wedding all the time, but if we got everything we wanted we'd never have the damn thing because it would cost so much! When we eventually tie the know I won't be spending some extravagant amount, it'll be as cheap and cheerful as we can make it. Cant even think of wasting £10,000 when we should be using to buy the house we'll raise our children in...

ZooAnimals Wed 16-Jan-13 01:04:28

All those things are optional though. Lovely if that's what you want, but not necessary, not a case of 'oh no, how are we going to scrape £10,000 together'. It's a luxury. If you want it, have it, but don't moan about the cost.

Personally, I think spending £10,000 on one day is insane.

BlatantRedhead Wed 16-Jan-13 01:04:34

*knot, ffs...

nailak Wed 16-Jan-13 01:07:50

yabu, hire a community centre hall for fifty pounds an hour, decorate it yourself, or use hall above a restaurant so they can cater.

Bogeyface Wed 16-Jan-13 01:12:06

Well for a start, get rid of either the meal or the buffet. If your budget wont stretch then he cant have it, end of!

For our wedding we priced it up and realised that having 70 guests for a late afternoon dinner worked out cheaper than 40 for dinner and the rest in the evening with a buffet. We got married at 4pm so we only had to feed everyone once. Or, have a more substantial carved buffet, again later on.

We also approached a hotel and they gave us a deal for the whole thing, so the meal with wine and sparkles for the toast, plus extra wine for the tables, cost under £1000. They gave us table cloths and napkins to co-ordinate with our colour scheme and let us use their table decorations. We used their PA system and did a play list on our ipod (with another as a back up!). We got married at the registry office for less than £100 and then had a poet friend of ours do (what we consider to be) the proper ceremony at the venue before the dinner.

The whole shebang including flowers, cake (just remember, they included a cake too), 4 BM dresses, suits, my dress etc came in at under £2000 and the people that know what it cost still can't quite believe that we did it on so little.

It can be done, you just have to adjust your expectations. Or throw a £10,000 party, its up to you.

GTbaby Wed 16-Jan-13 01:12:18

Op I think u need to look at a different venue. No way do u have to spend that much on a guest list of 80!

I had a party for my son. 150 guests. Food n DJ. Paid for the bar tab. For 4k. We didn't have a cake. Spent very little on decoration. N have not included my outfit cost. But it is doable.

Doubt mind mentioning roughly where u live? As I'm sure there r other cheaper venues.

Bogeyface Wed 16-Jan-13 01:14:10

We were invited to an evening do a few months later btw, and the invite said "There will not be food at the evening party, so please eat before you come!" no one took offence that I heard of, and we didnt miss it at all. Saved them a fortune though.

Thumbwitch Wed 16-Jan-13 01:19:10

How close is the nearest registry office? It will cost them a lot less to marry there than to haul the registrar out to licensed premises. Save about £400 straight up.

With the hotel that we used for our wedding (5y ago, cost ~£5k) we were actually going to be charged a surcharge for having fewer than 50 people to the meal. I think it came in at £55 per head for the reception including wine on the table and this was our biggest outlay.

I don't quite see where your son and his fiancée are spending the money if they're DIYing so much? We DIYd cars, photographers, flowers, cake and pretty much anything we could get away with. Didn't have decoration flowers other than those which came as part of the venue package (Table dec included in price) so it was only my bouquet really, which I did myself, ditto the men's button holes (just my Dad and DH) and MIL's corsage.

Mostly YABU though - weddings don't have to put people into debt or cost the earth.

Bogeyface Wed 16-Jan-13 01:24:19


This is where we got married. Had the ceremony in the Wedgewood room and the meal/dance in the Tudor room. We paid extra to have the ceremony room for an hour.

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Wed 16-Jan-13 01:29:06

hotel/ licensed venues are always expensive because the alcohol is priced at retail and the food is at a huge mark up

Can you find a hall where you can arrange your own catering (Hog roast maybe) and bring your own alcohol? You could probably have all 80 people all day for that.

concernedrose Wed 16-Jan-13 01:29:12

wedding to be in surrey, hence expensive venue and catering, and this was one of the cheaper ones!!!! and we have cut back on everything we possibly can. Maybe we are unknowingly being sucked into the clutches of the wedding industry. We are fortunate in that it is affordable, it is just that it seems a huge amount of money. Guess it is all about priorities.

Bogeyface Wed 16-Jan-13 01:35:05
Bogeyface Wed 16-Jan-13 01:36:47

This one is £6.5k for a meal, drinks and bacon buttie for all 80!


Bogeyface Wed 16-Jan-13 01:38:06

My BM flowers would have been £35 per bouquet, so I bought 4 ready made white rose artificial posies from Dunhelm for £4.99 each and you really couldnt tell the difference, they looked lovely and girls still have them in their dressing up box!

CaseyShraeger Wed 16-Jan-13 01:39:08

It would be cheaper to marry in the register office then move on for the reception. Cheaper again to go for an afternoon wedding so that you only need one lot of food -- you could make that a buffet and skip a sit down dinner entirely.

We DIYed my sister's wedding by hiring the village hall and doing a buffet ourselves -- five or six close family friends/family groups brought along a few dishes each and we bought some other stuff from supermarkets, brought over wine from France when there was a cheap Channel-crossing deal, bought a little bit more wine from Tesco so that we could take advantage of their free glass hire, and hired a friend of a friend's university student son and his friends to be wait staff for the day (not much waiting needed as it was a help-yourself buffet, but they kept clean glasses flowing, kept on top of the washing-up and made sure wine bottles were replenished). Our uncle made the cake, my sister's godmother made her dress and friends did the flowers.

Granted, my (now ex-) BIL turned out to be a git, but it was a lovely wedding.

Bogeyface Wed 16-Jan-13 01:39:46

Oh and favours. We bought a pin, testicular cancer and breast cancer, for each guest so the charity got a donation and the guests got something that they could actually wear rather than almonds or chocolates or whatever that would get forgotten when they went home. I learned that lesson after my sisters wedding!

Does it show that this is my pet subject?! grin

Bogeyface Wed 16-Jan-13 01:41:57
Thumbwitch Wed 16-Jan-13 01:54:20

I got married in Surrey too..

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

OhTheConfusion Wed 16-Jan-13 02:13:27

Barnett Hill offer a package deal. I have never been... but DH and I are invited to a wedding there in March and I know the couple are sticking to a tight budget.

Catchingmockingbirds Wed 16-Jan-13 02:23:38

I think it goes beyond anyone's means nowadays. Weddings are a bloody fortune!

OhTheConfusion Wed 16-Jan-13 02:34:53

Also, Surrey has many pretty village halls... cheap to hire, bring in caterers or do it yourself and you would still be cheaper providing alcohol than hotel prices.

I did this for DH's last BIG BIRTHDAY. I used lots of fabric bunting with seasonal flowers in teapots and tealights in jam jars, mismatch crockery and glass hire (free from sainsburys). I hired a hog roast (it came with a whole hog and a baked potato per/head plus baps) I made up a selection of salds, homemade roast veg tart and had a 'dessert table' containing DH's favourites with the birthday cake in the center. I provided roughly 1 bottle of wine per head (all less than £5 in supermarket half price deals) and had a barrel of ale gifted from a friend who owns a brewery grin, there were also endless soft drinks.

I managed to feed (and intoxicate) 52 adults and 15 children for £800.
Granted I made the bunting and it took a good few man hours to do but it was fab!

INeedThatForkOff Wed 16-Jan-13 02:49:28

YANBU in the sense that if you're having a sit down meal at a hotel, that's what it will cost; however a slightly less exclusive sort of place could be cheaper. Also, of course, plenty of people hire a hall, have a hog roast, ask guests to bring their own booze and can do it much cheaper.

FWIW, 3 years ago, £12k got us the banns; church and organist; sit down meal for 120 (only drinks though were on arrival ad a glass of wine with meal which felt mean); evening party with DJ and buffet for 150; photographer; suit hire; rings ... and I think that's it.

There was no separate room hire charge and my mum paid for my dress (not hugely expensive), grew flowers, made the (lovely) cake and made the bridesmaid dresses (just my two teenage sisters), thus saving us ££££s. We did pay for linen chair covers to make the venue more 'wedding' a.d though they were effective, that was a corner we could have cut.

Still no honeymoon, but we do now have two DCs smile

Ericaequites Wed 16-Jan-13 03:02:43

A wedding is just two people who wish to commit to each other until death do they part, and some legal paperwork, along with friends and family. It doesn't need to get expensive. I had a nice wedding two years ago in a hotel in the States for forty with a full meal, nice cake and open bar for under the equivalent of £ 5000. It helped that neither my husband or I have many friends, and I made my own dress.

Bogeyface Wed 16-Jan-13 03:07:11

Getting married is cheap.

But a wedding is, especially these days, a luxury. And £10k is ridiculous.

Mimishimi Wed 16-Jan-13 03:11:24

Would they consider a registry wedding and an afternoon tea in a friend or family member's garden.

MrsHoarder Wed 16-Jan-13 03:15:50

We got married less than three years ago for considerably less than £10k. We married in DH's family church, and were up North. I wasn't all that fussed about a "big" wedding, but my Dad really wanted me to have one and insisted offered to pay. Also to reduce the cost the following were DIY/from friends as gifts:
- Bride & bridesmaid dresses
- Cake
- Photographs
- Table decorations and favours
- DJ
Our flowers cost £80 (bride, bridesmaid and buttonholes) and we asked for the church to be done in our preferred colours that week.

ComposHat Wed 16-Jan-13 03:28:51

Getting married in June, there's no way we'll be spunking anything like 10grand on it. Couldn't even if we wanted to.

People witter on about their 'special day' but most summers I go to two or three weddings held in hotels/stately homes and you know what? They all blend into one another. Same food, same readings, same clothes and same rituals. They are a blur of bland excess.

We are having a registry office wedding in late afternoon and then having a buffet in the basement of a local cafe for six quid a head. We are buying our clothes from a high street shops, then having an Ipod disco. No cars, no photographers, no sit down meal, no decorations on the tables, no make up and hair artists, all unnecessary faff to make someone else money.

It should be fun and less hassle/stress than the whole meringue dress in a country house sham.

BananaPie Wed 16-Jan-13 03:52:41

Registry office is around £100.

Sit down meal for 30 in function room of restaurant should be doable to a high standard, including wine for £50 a head which works out at £1500.

Hiring out a bar / part of a bar for evening drinks for 80 - maybe 2k? You may be able to negotiate a minimum spend deal in which case you could put the minimum spend behind the bar / use it to buy everyone a glass of fizz, and people can buy their own drinks after that.

wibblyjelly Wed 16-Jan-13 04:41:16

You can do weddings really cheap. We went to the registry office, friend did hair/makeup and cake. Wedding dress was £70 in an online sale. We did food, hired a hall with a bar (didn't put any money behind it, but did give everyone a glass of cheap fizz for toasts) We took a laptop to the hall to do our own music, and we decorated it ourselves. Did it all for under 2k, and that was 8 months ago.

BratinghamPalace Wed 16-Jan-13 05:16:25

For my big day we decided before on exactly how much we would spend and stuck to it. We had a great day. We got buskers to play outside the church, they then lead the way to a small art gallery that we had hired with one huge long table, lots of candles and a few shiny things. It was beautiful, different and a lot less expensive that the traditional fare but seemed much more expensive!! Was thrilled. You would be surprised what you can come up with without loosing any festive glamour.

exoticfruits Wed 16-Jan-13 05:31:46

I think that you can have a perfectly nice one if you go for an alternative, BratinghamPalace's one sounds lovely..

YorkshireDeb Wed 16-Jan-13 05:31:49

I'm not married yet but of all the weddings I've been to over the years the best was definitely the cheapest. All you need is a bit of imagination & time - rather than having exactly what everyone else has - that's what makes it expensive and boring and unmemorable. X

ilovechips Wed 16-Jan-13 05:39:30

Is it compulsory to have expensive weddings in Surrey then? ;)

I'm in Hampshire and got married last year for less than £1k - we hired a bus to take 25 guests plus us to the register office, then for a wonderful meal at a restaurant on the beach, non wedding food we allowed people to select pretty much what they liked - then back to our house for drinks and music and a buffet. Flowers we made ourselves using bouquets from the supermarket, and they looked wonderful - took our own photographs and I made the cake. My dress was second hand and so was my bridesmaid's, and we did our own hair and makeup. Everyone commented on what a fabulous day it was.

By contrast we went to a formal hotel wedding, approx £20k, a couple of months later with standard wedding food, hours getting photographs done, string quartet, all that kind of thing - and it was nowhere near as relaxed and fun...

JusticeCrab Wed 16-Jan-13 07:46:59

I think you can do a cheaper wedding than 10 grand. Saying that, the cost of most things is becoming beyond today's young people, a fact which precisely no-one in a position of any importance is doing anything about.

HappyMummyOfOne Wed 16-Jan-13 07:51:10

£10k on what is essentially a party is simply madness, especially as they dont yet own their own house and are saving for one.

Marriage is about the vows, everything else is just an add on luxury. It can be done very cheaply if they just truly want to be married.

BeeBawBabbity Wed 16-Jan-13 07:56:29

My wedding cost £500 (12 years ago). Registry office, dress from coast, 7 people having dinner after in a local hotel restaurant. Flowers from my Mum' s garden and photos by by mil's neighbour.

But I' m really not a fan of big white weddings.

ubik Wed 16-Jan-13 07:59:13

Why get married?

We never did, could never afford it and are happily living under the brush!

Chopstheduck Wed 16-Jan-13 07:59:42

£10k and they can't afford a honeymoon! shock

yabu. I really don't understand how people want to blow such huge amounts on wedding. I think mine was £600ish (minus the rings) and I live in Ascot grin

I'd rather have the holiday of a lifetime, or the deposit for a house than a huge party. We got married in the local registry office, which was actually in a stately home type place set in gorgeous surroundings, then hit the west end to celebrate after. It was relaxed and fun. No flowers, no cake, and family took pics. It was about the commitment for us, not a big party and all the traditions.

I wanted a big posh cathedral wedding all my life. When I met DH I didnt care though.
We planned on Las Vegas, then I got pregnant so we did it here. Registry office followed by tidy restaurant for the meal, under £1000 (and my dad paid about £600 of that for the food, I paid for dress, DH suit, flowers, ceremony, favours) my sisters bought their own bridesmaid dresses as they were just normal dresses.
So many people think they need a big "venue" for a wedding, and you normally get substandard food at a hotel or county house type place, and temp staff doing the waiting!

Oo, i missed rings off the list!
And I missed a YABU too

Chopstheduck Wed 16-Jan-13 08:02:56

we did spend quite a lot on the rings, but that is a lifetime thing, not a one day party.

I think some people do want huge parties, that's their choice, but moaning about it like it is mandatory is being unreasonable.

marriedinwhite Wed 16-Jan-13 08:07:01

Agrees with Birdsgottafly.

People need to cut their cloth and stop being so aspirational. And well off people don't spend silly money on hotels, etc.. They have large gardens and put up a tent. They do that because it's cheaper. We had a fabulous country wedding in 1990 for about £7k I think - might have been less. We didn't go over the top but it was fitting for our family. The flowers were from the garden (bouquets made), no favours, family cars, local lady made cake, dresss was £750 (which was a lot). 100 guests, sit down meal, champagne and pimms, late wedding - 3.30pm - string quartet, beautiful evening and people stayed very late because the champagne kept flowing. Twas lovely but could have been twice the size and could have cost two or three times more even then. If we hadn't had the money we could have done it for 2k with fewer guests in a local hall and a buffet and that would have been fine and that was what people in did. And there was nothing wrong with it.

whiteflame Wed 16-Jan-13 08:08:33

I hear what you're saying OP. It's not so much that weddings are more expensive than they once were, rather that every penny is needed for other, now more unobtainable things.

Having got married myself and been to several friends weddings during the past couple of years, the ones I enjoyed most were definitely the less expensive, more informal ones.

Slightly off topic, but what on earth is with wedding favours? (I'm not from the Uk) I've seen them in films and always thought they were only for really posh people - why would anyone need a present for coming to a party?!

RubyGates Wed 16-Jan-13 08:09:52

Why spend £10,000 and spend the beginning of your married life in debt?
Spend what you can afford (which others have shown can be very little). You are demonstrating your love and comitment to one another, not your comitment to your credit card or bank manager.

I've know marriages that have started by costing the couple more than they could really afford and that have ended under financial strain before the weddings were finally paid off.

You have to ask whether the couple care more for each other or for what everyone thinks about the wedding. If they care more about the latter, then they probably shouldn't be getting married in hte first place.

HecateWhoopass Wed 16-Jan-13 08:10:34

It's as expensive as you want it to be!

We got married for around the £500 mark.

And that included outfits!

But then, I REALLY didn't want a Wedding. I just wanted to get married. I would have been happiest just getting 2 people off the street to be witnesses grin

registry office
meal in a pub afterwards (everyone paid for their own I think. I can't actually remember grin )
evening do - mates of ours let us take over their pub grin
catering students at the local college did the buffet.

married. party with our mates. job done.

So the cost of getting married is affordable to the vast majority of people, it depends entirely on the type and scale of the party they want as to whether that party is affordable.

WaitingForMe Wed 16-Jan-13 08:10:37

I had a very cheap second wedding but it was still amazing. My bouquet cost £4 - two bunches if mistletoe from a local garden centre. We got married in a registry office the day before and made up our own "real" ceremony to take place in front of a fireplace at our favourite restaurant. There are loads of options.

Badvoc Wed 16-Jan-13 08:11:09

Well you can do it for much less than that of course!

Mayanbob Wed 16-Jan-13 08:12:28

You don't need to spend that much on a wedding. I got married in March last year - we had wedding at hotel (with registrar coming out), wedding breakfast for 60 including 4 drinks. evening buffet for 90, hired dj, bought DHs suit and best mans suit (didn't like hire suits) and bought wedding dress, yes we had a friend doing photos, family car, did decorations ourselves (except chair backs) and 1 bought cake and one made. We spent just under 5k, and if we'd had to we could have spent less - but we were fortunate to have saved that before and defined our budget... That said, we already have a mortgage. (A priority over wedding for me)

SizzleSazz Wed 16-Jan-13 08:14:49

We had a meal at licenced hotel, but did fri as that was cheaper. Had large cheeses for our cake so that was the evening food. Taking our own fizz and paying corkage was cheaper.

Wedding dress £125 from bhs, one bm and flower girl dresses from bhs. 2 small flower sprays, no buttonholes. Bought matching ties for the main men and they all wore own dark suits with white shirts.
No photographer, cars, favours, table flowers, cake.
We did provide plenty of booze, had a harpist and a band but this is where I wanted to spend money rather than on 'fripperies'
Cost c.£5k and was a smart boutique hotel wedding.

TiggyD Wed 16-Jan-13 08:20:02

There's a difference between getting married and having a wedding.
There's also a difference between an expensive wedding and a cheap wedding. Mostly price. Spend what you want to spend and then don't complain about what you chose to pay.

Bonsoir Wed 16-Jan-13 08:21:11

Weddings have become outrageously vulgar and overdone, IMO. I mostly hate weddings - they go on for far too long and are ostentatious and commercial.

One of the best wedding parties I ever went to was in a field in deepest France. The wedding itself was in a rural church. Everything was ultra rustic except for the Dior wedding dress.

mam29 Wed 16-Jan-13 08:22:27

I got married in hometown wales in 2004.

we did it for 5grand.

that includes

dress-105 debenhams sale
giring grooms clothes
bridemaids dresses*2
presents for groom/bridemaids

flowers from valleys florist lovley ivory rose boquet for me, pink roses for bridemaids. button holes and very simple 3roses in tall glass vase table centrepeice on reception tables.


car -150
dj-for evening
cake-local lady
hairdressers and makeup lady for 4of us.

boquet of flowers for mil and mum

proper photographer-350-yes she was cheap but ok.

deceorations from confetti, co.uk did all planning and decs myself ie tea lights, love sparklers cofette.

3course meal for 52
buffet for 100
accomodayion for immeidaite guests
some alchol wine on every table and cava toast.

Im sure I forgot something.

was fab day

GirlOutNumbered Wed 16-Jan-13 08:24:11

Mine cost £4k last year... The wedding breakfast only for close family and friends. Then a big BBQ at our house the next day for everyone else.
My dress was Biba, although I did splash on shoes. No fancy car, we married in a hotel so were already there. Huge bouquets provided by sister in law.
Invites from Internet,
Fantastic, amazing time that stretched for three days!

Bunbaker Wed 16-Jan-13 08:28:26

"Agrees with Birdsgottafly"

So do I. I got married in Surrey nearly 32 years ago. Using an inflation calculator I have worked out that our wedding would have cost about £1,000 in today's money.

The best wedding I went to was my cousin's DIY wedding. The actual ceremony took place in a registry office with only very close family attending. The reception took place in my auntie's beautiful garden. We were lucky that the weather was beautiful. My cousin asked not for presents but to bring a plate of food to share. He paid for drinks which flowed all day and paid for a couple of helpers to help serve the food and wash up. He also hired crockery, wine glasses etc. The atmosphere was absolutely fantastic and so relaxed. My sister and I did some of the catering for the evening and the day just flew by. It was just wonderful.

I would say that a wedding is just one day of your life, a marriage is (hopefully) for life, so to spend more than you can afford on that one day is just senseless.

phlebas Wed 16-Jan-13 08:29:31

it's paying for a hotel that makes it stupid expensive - much better to hire a venue (hall, barn, marquee whatever - we went here) & hire your own caterers (or do the catering yourselves) - far nicer & a fraction of the hotel cost. We bought our own flowers & got a floral designer (!!!) to put them together for us, bought our own alcohol, dressmaker rather than wedding shop for dresses, found an independent cake maker etc. Also registry office rather than getting a registrar out to the reception venue.

We had a pretty posh, over the top, lots of guests, big white wedding, food & alcohol freely flowing all day etc - and it cost far far less than 10k, you won't get that 'off the peg' from a hotel though.

Ariel21 Wed 16-Jan-13 08:39:32

Weddings can be expensive - it just depends on your budget and what you want. I got married in September, we made savings in some places (wedding cake a gift from kind family member, home made invitations, favours and bunting, 2 grand dress second hand on EBay for £250) BUT even a hot evening buffet for 120 people cost about £2000 (3 choices and 2 sweets) and this was in lieu of a wedding breakfast. Out venue was my parents' field - but we did have to pay for a marquee so not always a cheaper option.

You just have to set a budget then try and stick to it - keep within your means. Not easy though, and takes lots and lots of careful planning! We went halves with my parents, so am pretty lucky in this respect.

CheungFun Wed 16-Jan-13 08:40:48

DH and I got married abroad in Italy for this very reason! It is much cheaper getting married abroad, we had all the trimmings and 23 guests in total, so it felt much more personal, everyone had a good holiday and felt part of the wedding.

I think it's worth looking at as an option.

Hullygully Wed 16-Jan-13 08:41:37

It's shocking.

My ds got married last year and we had very little change from fifty grand!! And it was by no means a big fancy affair, we didn't even have the helicopter.

Poor young people just can't get off to a good start in life. As the govt is so keen on marriage there should be subsidies, they should match whatever the bride's father is paying.

As a handfasting celebrant I get to go to lots of weddings. The weddings that have been the best are those that are personal, not the ones that have all the "must haves" promoted by the wedding industry. A £300 dress can be as stunning as a £3,000 dress. A hog roast or fish & chips van can be as yummy as a 3* meal. A venue can be cheap, or with a handfasting, even free.

I can see that there is a move towards more personal (and cheaper) weddings, but it is a long time coming. Do the legal bit in a registry and then have a personal wedding celebration, not the conveyor-belt or lack of imagination that make "normal" weddings a little bit samey.

ENormaSnob Wed 16-Jan-13 09:03:26


Have a look at some of the old threads on here about best/worst weddings.

Scheherezade Wed 16-Jan-13 09:13:08

Yabu. I'm getting married in July. Hiring our village hall for £6 an hour.

Scheherezade Wed 16-Jan-13 09:17:06

I do disagree with posters saying to just go to the registry office. The church ceremony isn't expensive, its the reception/party which costs.

Hammy02 Wed 16-Jan-13 09:21:30

YABU. Unless you live in Monaco, I don't believe you can't have a decent wedding for well under £10,000.

Bogeyface Wed 16-Jan-13 09:24:50

I know more than one couple who had to negotiate wedding debt as part of their divorce......

squeakytoy Wed 16-Jan-13 09:27:34

I live in Surrey and got married here. Absolutely no need to spend that much on a wedding.

Registry Office and a buffet reception is all that is needed. Very easy to do for under £2k.

iseenodust Wed 16-Jan-13 09:30:53

YABVU See all points above and then decide on winter wedding. Hotel venues welcome you in November and it's all cosy. wink

CailinDana Wed 16-Jan-13 09:32:01

We went abroad with our friends and only close family and had a fantastic time. Paid 80euros for a cake that would cost about 600 euros in Ireland, paid 700 euros for a photographer who would have cost about 3000 euros in Ireland (as he provided an album and 200 photos for that price) etc etc. Things in UK/Ireland are a total rip off. We had the full shebang for about £5000 - big dress, flowers, fancy hotel, the whole lot.

LadyMargolotta Wed 16-Jan-13 09:33:36

YABU. A wedding with 80 guests is a luxury. We just had 12 guests, and we all had a beautiful day anyway.

Hammy02 Wed 16-Jan-13 09:33:37

People get into debt for the sake of a wedding? For about 10 hours of a single day? Madness.

PaleHousewifeOfCumbriaCounty Wed 16-Jan-13 09:33:47

I got married in a gorgeous country hotel, in december, with roaring log fires and fairy lights. We didnt bother with a night do (spent that bit of the budget on two nights in a beautiful suite in a lake district hotel). We put two hundred pounds behind the bar and people paid for their own drinks after that. Food wise we had a beefed up afternoon tea, it was just lovely. Made my own cake, favours were retro pick and mix bags, dress was eighty pounds custom made from china. Photographer was a local lass starting out, didnt pay for a big album, negiotated a price for her edited work provided on disc. If you want my biggest tip? Dont get married on saturday. We got married on a friday, and gave people plenty of notice. When the price packages arrived, we compared their 'party menu' to their 'wedding menu'... Only difference was the price. I look at the photos and everything looks so relaxed, everyones laughing and chatting, drinking, and it looks so cosy.

AnEventfulEvening Wed 16-Jan-13 09:34:27

I know a couple who recently got married and had a reception for 60 people. Their budget was £1000 for everything (venue hire, dress, food everything).

You need imagination.

Their wedding was beautiful and very personal.

Unlike the couple we know who spunked £40k up the wall on theirs.

ElectricMonkBelievesInSanta Wed 16-Jan-13 09:35:21

I got married last summer in Bristol, and managed to do everything (including 10 day honeymoon) for easily under £3,000:

- Church fees were about £500, including choir, organist, flowers, and 2 sets of banns;
- Afternoon dinner/lunch was just over £200 at a lovely local pub, with 2 courses (starter and mains) each for 14 people;
- Cake was made by my MIL and served at her house;
- My DH's suit was about £260 from M&S (and is now his best work suit), my outfit came to £180 (tiara £30, dress £100 and shoes £50 could easily be worn again);
- My bridesmaids' dresses came to less than £60 for the pair, despite being from Monsoon and made of silk, because I bought them from a friend who sells overstock online;
- My bridesmaid stayed together as one lived in the city, so I only needed to pay for a hotel for the one friend who lived far away (came to about £70);
- We had my dad's car as our wedding car;
- I did the flowers, courtesy of Waitrose, for £12;
- I did the invitations and Orders of Service, courtesy of ebay, for abut £15;
- Our hotel room was a 2 night deal and came to £65;
- We didn't have a reception - everybody who wanted music came into town with us for a local festival;
- Our honeymoon was in England and lovely, it cost about £750 for 10 very indulgent days.

I think that's everything for about £3,000 and it could easily have been less if we had needed/wanted to cut back. We were lucky in that, as we were still students, nobody expected us to have the money to invite everybody's partners and have "venue" or a "reception". However, I think I'd do the same again, regardless of our circumstances - it was lovely to spend the day just with people we were comfortable with and wanted to spend a lot of time talking to, and the only people who found the day difficult or stressful were the ones who wanted to "keep up appearances" unnecessarily at the expense of everybody's convenience.

RubyGates Wed 16-Jan-13 09:35:24
BiddyPop Wed 16-Jan-13 09:36:57

My DBro is getting married this year, and reckons the wedding won't leave much change from 30,000. shock

When I got married (just over a decade ago), between everything, it cost roughly 7,000.

natwebb79 Wed 16-Jan-13 09:38:31

That's why we're buggering off to a registry office with two witnesses and booking a luxury hotel for two nights for our honeymoon. Even if I have a dress made and fiancé gets a suit it should come in at around £1500. Most of that's the hotel! Having a party for everyone weekend after. Pub does function room for free, family will chip in to do buffet. Will be wonderful grin

Lavenderhoney Wed 16-Jan-13 09:44:18

Why don't you look at hiring a village hall? Some are very pretty, they have loos, car park , and you pay an extra 50p an hour for music licence, or something like that. Then contact loal caterers and say its for a party, and a local good band -and some village halls have a bar too.

You will have to get your money out for a hotel. You pay for all the overheads etc. what about wine? Ask if you can provide your own and get onto majestic warehouse as they will provide glasses too. The hotel might charge a low corkage but you could negotiate.
Have you been to see them and asked how to cut costs, ie a cheaper menu, with more seasonal and cheaper ingredinets, tap water not bottled- ask to see the quote itemised line by line - and go through it ruthlessly.

Adversecamber Wed 16-Jan-13 09:44:57

If that is what people want fine but hotels charge loads. I went to a wedding where the couple got married under a gazebo decorated by the family and then had a huge BBQ last year, it was lovely.

We had registry office and village hall, not fancy but it is the marriage and not the wedding that counts.

It's the fact that people want stuff that is not actually required, they think they need it. If people can afford all the extra guff without getting in to debt or it being a hardship all good but I do not understand at all the tick list of must haves.

ethelb Wed 16-Jan-13 09:48:16

You don't have to have a hotel wedding (they rip you off imo) naice cars, expensive outfits, lots of flowers, rip off photographer you know. I hate the expectation that guests get fed twice and can get drunk for free (tipsy yes, but all you could possibilly drink? NO!).

A local village hall with a kitchen will be abotu £300 and caterers a couple of grand. Registry office is what £280? You can work out what extras from there.

wibblyjelly Wed 16-Jan-13 09:50:45

The problem is companies and hotels hear the W word, and add an extra 0 onto their prices!

Crinkle77 Wed 16-Jan-13 09:51:09

If they want to get married that deperately they don;t need to spend a fortune. You can go down the registry office.

BegoniaBampot Wed 16-Jan-13 09:55:10

know a girl who still lived with her mum and dad with her two kids an her boyfriend. they wanted their own place but put spending thousands on a big fancy wedding asa priority over a deposit for a house. probably way over 10 grand.

Jins Wed 16-Jan-13 09:59:09

It's all about getting married vs having a wedding isn't it?

Guests don't remember a 10k wedding any more than a 1k wedding I don't think.

Booyhoo Wed 16-Jan-13 09:59:47

yabu. all that stuff is optional. a wedding can cost as little or as much as you want it to. really the only essential part of getting married is the legal bit. you dont even need to dress up. if your sone and his fiancee choose to buy into all the other stuff that's up to them but plenty of people dont and they're still married at the end of it all. no-one makes you buy all that stuff. you choose to.

PaellaUmbrella Wed 16-Jan-13 10:00:52


The scale of a wedding and what it costs is down to the couple. It suits the wedding industry to tell us that the "average" wedding costs 20K or whatever, in order for people to buy into the utter nonsense of it all.

I got married last year for a fraction of what you're proposing. Here is how we saved money:

1. My dress was from the high street and only cost a couple of hundred. It was actually linked to by another poster on a thread recently and people were commenting on how lovely it was.
2. My mum made my veil and our cake
3. I did my own hair and make-up
4. We made our invites
5. We found a photographer who could do a 4 hour package rather than all day - all we really needed and much cheaper than normal.
6. No DJ or entertainment - we compiled music on an iPod
7. Provided our own cava champagne for after the ceremony
8. Our ceremony flowers doubled up as reception centrepieces

and lots more. It can easily be done. If your DS and his DF really want to get married, then they will.

Bunbaker Wed 16-Jan-13 10:05:10

I agree with Jins.

How on earth do you manage to spend nearly £50k on a wedding hullyGully?

Sokmonsta Wed 16-Jan-13 10:07:34

Yabu. The things people want are just that, wants. All you need is someone licensed to marry, an appropriate place and the friends and family you want there. Too many people invite extended family because they feel obliged to, because auntie so and so thinks uncle what'shisname should be invited due to x y or z.

The pressure put on people is enormous. Just for one day. And that before you take into account the dress the bride must have, the matching hired suits for the groom and ushers, bridesmaid dresses, hen and stag do, the catering for a sit down meal, buffet for the evening reception for the people who weren't invited good enough for the main affair. Church bell fees, pay for the choir as your guests singing won't be up to scratch..... The list is endless.

People should look at what is important to them. The person they want to spend the rest of their life with, or showing off to friends/relatives how much they can spend to have a good time/have the best wedding - some people get very competitive and lose sight of what the day is actually about.

Mine was a registry wedding. Organised in 2 weeks (time we went to registry office to earliest date we were allowed to get married). Dh already had a suit, I bought a dress as had nothing suitable, but which could and has been worn since. Dc's had party clothes. Rings were bought the day before. We invited the maximum number of people allowed (26 of our closest friends and family, max 30 inc ourselves and dc). My parents paid for a sandwich reception at a nearby hotel as couldn't bear the thought of us just going to the pub for a quick drink.

We were already booked to be out that night. Honeymoon was a two night Groupon offer taken the next day.

I feel sorry for the couples who think they need to spend x amount of money to show everyone how committed they are. They are forgetting why they are really getting married.

pictish Wed 16-Jan-13 10:09:43

If you're struggling to have a wedding for 10k then I suggest you all examine your priorities again. Ridiculous!

This is one of those "my diamond shoes are pinching my feet" dilemmas.

I don't want to go down the competitibe frugality route, but really OP, 10k for a wedding is PLENTY and THEN SOME.

Sokmonsta Wed 16-Jan-13 10:09:46

Oh, and we got married before 1130 as the price went up by more than triple for the afternoon! Well worth checking times out too.

Thumbwitch Wed 16-Jan-13 10:11:55

"Scheherezade Wed 16-Jan-13 09:17:06
I do disagree with posters saying to just go to the registry office. The church ceremony isn't expensive, its the reception/party which costs."

Yes. but the couple in the OP aren't getting married in a church, they're getting the registrar out to the hotel.

Hullygully Wed 16-Jan-13 10:13:26

How do you spend less, Bunbaker?? If you want any sort of decent affair?

CaseyShraeger Wed 16-Jan-13 10:14:28

Hully, you are naughty.

AnEventfulEvening Wed 16-Jan-13 10:14:56

I remember the 1k wedding MORE than the 30k one!

I did the photography (which ARE better than the 30k couples professional ones)
Flowers were cut from friends gardens (and I did them up into displays despite having never arranged flowers in my life - it was easy peasy)
The family and couple did the food
The got mismatched china from charity shops to serve it on
The venue hire was about £500 for the whole weekend (some of us camped over)
The bride made all the dresses
They had the 'proper' ceremony at the registry office and then repeated vows at the venue
They made the invites and service cards
A friend did the cake
We put up christmas lights and fabric to decorate the venue
We put on a BBQ in the evening for anyone who got hungry
They got friends to bring good quality booze over from France
They didn't 'do' a car. This was in part because no one actually was ever going to see the bride arriving anyway

And you know what? Everyone chipping in and helping made the day ten times better and it felt like a family and friends occasion rather than everyone just turning up.

I really think people have completely lost what a wedding/marriage is about.

EuroShagmore Wed 16-Jan-13 10:15:16

You don't need to do all the things you mention, OP. We spent a similar amount on our wedding, but we were in our mid-30s and could afford it. Most of it went on food and drink, as many of our friends and relatives are foodies and wine buffs! We didn't bother with things that didn't mean anything to us - bridesmaids, best man, usher, fancy rings, favours, etc. You could easily have a registry office do and then a reception in a local pub or function room for much, much less. In fact, some friends of ours did this last year - registry office and then drinks and dinner at a "naice" local pub. Twas fab.

pictish Wed 16-Jan-13 10:15:36

Don't talk rubbish Hully - you don't need to spend 50 grand to have a 'decent' wedding.
Pie in the sky!!

Hullygully Wed 16-Jan-13 10:15:40

Why casey? If you can afford a decent bash, why not have one?

StrangerDanger Wed 16-Jan-13 10:16:00

My divorce was more expensive than my wedding. Folk can't have it all ;) lol x

pictish Wed 16-Jan-13 10:16:15

Oh you bisom Hully - you are taking the royal pee! grin

Yfronts Wed 16-Jan-13 10:18:19

It doesn't have to be expensive though really does it? It never used to be expensive in the 1950's as people kept it simple. Its only today people want to put on a show and make it very commercial.

Hullygully Wed 16-Jan-13 10:20:02

Do you want a break down?

Dress (accessories etc): £7,500
Bridesmaids dresses (accessories etc) X 6: £6000
Venue: £12,000
Transport (without helicopter): £4,000
Catering: £10,000
Booze: £5,000
Entertainment: £3,000
Sundries: The rest.

And that is by no means the fanciest wedding I attended last year. I overheard some friends refer to it as a "Modest affair, but very sweet" shock

Chunderella Wed 16-Jan-13 10:20:52

There are lots and lots of ways to have the big day with all/most of the trimmings and shave several grand off, you just need to be creative. I'm not talking about having a very quiet do for under 1k- that's great for those who want it, but it doesn't sound like that applies here. But there are ways and means.

Some great tips on this thread already. I'd add a couple more. Lots of venues are cheaper 'out of season'. Up and coming places often offer deals- my friend got a superb deal from a new hotel for her November wedding. They were trying to get established in the wedding market so they were willing to bargain. There must be somewhere like this in Surrey, if they choose to go the hotel/wedding venue route. If everyone lives reasonably nearby, hiring a village hall and asking all guests to bring a dish could be a good way to do things. Obviously if eg the bride is German and half the guests are flying in from Berlin that might not work so well, but if most people live nearby then exploit it. Food is where the big expense tends to be for weddings, so if they can tackle this they could easily shave a couple of grand off.

Couple of other things. If they want to hire suits, just do it for the groom and best man. No need for the ushers to all be kitted out. Photographers who are still at/have just left uni and are trying to establish themselves often offer very good deals too. Does any friend or relative have a posh car they'd be willing to loan for the day? Dresses can be bought from outlet stores. Things like favours and table centrepieces eat money and hardly anyone will notice them anyway. Invitations can mostly be done by email these days.

elliejjtiny Wed 16-Jan-13 10:22:28

We had a big white wedding in 2004 for £4k. Church was free. My dress was £370 in the sale. bridesmaids dresses x4 £60 each from next. Flower girls dress in the monsoon sale. £20 each for hair, we did our own makeup. Hired 3 suits for DH, best man and my dad. The flower girls dad worked for Audi so he borrowed a posh car from work. Village hall cost £250. Got loads of little vases from charity shops and random candles to put on the tables. photographer cost £350. Friend's mum did the video. Mums friend did cake and flowers and we just paid cost of ingredients, flowers etc. We made our own invitations. Catering was the big expense, £10 per head for 100 people.

I think we could have done it cheaper if we'd tried eg done the food ourselves or got a photography student to do the photographs.

Jins Wed 16-Jan-13 10:22:37

Hully you spent far too much on the food and nowhere near enough on the booze


Yfronts Wed 16-Jan-13 10:23:14

Why don't use use a cheaper location and caterers?

mrsshackleton Wed 16-Jan-13 10:25:47


Why don't your son and dd get married at the local registry office? closest family and handful of close friends in attendance.

Back to yours, or in-laws or theirs, whichever is biggest for a buffet from Waitrose, then push back chairs, stick an iPod into speakers and everyone dances. The best wedding I ever attended was like this, in a two-bedroom flat.

A few months on or on their first anniversary, they could have a bigger party in a village hall or wherever, similarly self catered and invite more people.

There is no need for wedding breakfast, evening reception etc. If they can't afford it, don't do it.

Hullygully Wed 16-Jan-13 10:26:47

Jins - the damn bride (a gold digger, family no money hence we paid for the lot but hey ho he got her from a catalogue and I doubt in all honesty anyone else would have had him, he lacks in certain areas) wanted the cake gold-leafed.

specialsubject Wed 16-Jan-13 10:27:06

first, lose the big white silly dress for 'a few hundred'. Second hand, ebay or just get a really nice dress from a similar source and look good, not like a toilet-roll doll. Think Pippa, not Kate.

second - no pointless fripperies. Chair covers, favours (NO! Just NO!), expensive invitations, save the date cards, OTT table decorations, huge fussy cake.

third - get married in the registry office, invite just a few. Pick a slot as late as possible then move on to the party venue. Most people will be grateful not to have to sit through the wedding although the reg office only takes 15 minutes.

because that is all it is, a party. Spend on good food, reasonable drink and a good band.

congratulations to the happy couple.

Jins Wed 16-Jan-13 10:28:47

That explains it I suppose but still - only £5k on booze? That would barely cover top table surely?

Hullygully Wed 16-Jan-13 10:30:17

Top table got the good stuff jins, her family (bloody thousands of them) got the plonk because they wouldn't know the good stuff if it jumped up and bit them. And it was watered down too, to try and keep them under some sort of control.

thesnootyfox Wed 16-Jan-13 10:30:31


There are lots of things that have got expensive and it concerns me. The price of petrol, food, housing and childcare are expensive and it is worrying that people (including me) are struggling to afford these things.

But weddings! Seriously you don't have to have an expensive wedding. I'm not going to feel sorry for someone because they can't afford an expensive bash in the same way that I don't feel sorry for people who can't afford first class plane travel.

MaxPepsi Wed 16-Jan-13 10:32:17

I got married recently. Less than £10k.
I didn't skimp on anything.

Church Wedding
Reception for 80
Evening reception for a further 100
2 adult bridesmaids dresses
My dress which I wish hadn't got, thereby saving myself even more money
Table decorations
10 suits for the men, 8 adult, 2 kids, yes 10 suits
flower girl
reception room hire
frivolous extras like printed ribbon
and we had a honeymoon out of that too!

Easily doable. I don't live in London but the area I'm from is not Cheap

Ragwort Wed 16-Jan-13 10:38:11

Agree with nearly everyone else, don't get sucked into this 'must have a big (ish) wedding' - as another poster comments, all these bland hotel style weddings blend onto one boring event, no doubt with poached chicken as the main course grin.

Years ago I got married in my parents' back garden in a scout marquee - we did our own catering, an ordinary 'frock' from Monsoon or similar, trip to France to stock up on wine & champagne, it was great!

5alive4life Wed 16-Jan-13 10:39:31

oh and i are in the same situation. we are not engaged but talk about getting married when we can afford it. we pay 850 month for a tiny one bedroom flat and are trying to save to buy our own place in the next 1-2 years. im planning to do the whole wedding for 5k,close family and friends only. its very possible to do it on a budget!

atthewelles Wed 16-Jan-13 10:45:45

I agree with other posters. You can have a lovely wedding without spending thousands. But some many people get pulled into the forumlaic style wedding - the three tiered cake, the ubiquitous strapless wedding dress that costs a fortune and looks like every other bride's dress for the last five years, the bland hotel meal, the loud raucous band, the chair coverings, etc etc etc.

A bit of individuality and creativity would make a day a lot more special to me. As it is every wedding you go to seems just the same as the one before and the one before and the one before ie totally unoriginal and boring.

I think it's daft to get married before you own a home. We are spending about 15k of our own hard earned money getting married. We already own a property and it's our money that we want to spend.

DPs sister has just got engaged. She lives with DPs parents and they are giving her 20k to get married with. That to me is crazy (and it's not because I'm jealous that she is getting money and her brother isn't) that money could be a deposit on a home rather than wasted on a wedding.

StickEmUp Wed 16-Jan-13 10:48:53

I got married on £3000 7 years ago.
It can be done, it was a lovely day according to everyone.

I just wasnt a look at me bridezilla about it.

StickEmUp Wed 16-Jan-13 10:49:47

the three tiered cake, the ubiquitous strapless wedding dress that costs a fortune and looks like every other bride's dress for the last five years, the bland hotel meal, the loud raucous band, the chair coverings, etc etc

Precisly why I was a cheapskate LOL

SaladIsMyFriend Wed 16-Jan-13 10:54:50

YABU you do not have to "do everything", surely the marriage is more important than the wedding? A friend of mine did it "all" for under £1000. You really do not have to have all the wedding "everything".

And my wedding was $199 (Las Vegas), honeymoon at the same time, and we will most certainly remember it as the happiest day of our lives even though we didn't have the big do etc. smile

curryeater Wed 16-Jan-13 10:55:50

The registrar is £550? Does anyone know how much it costs to get married in church, usually? Do you just pay the vicar and (s)he is a registrar too, or do you have to do a separate legal bit?

The only bit (other than the above, which is like, the wedding) I can't see you getting down too much in price is catering. If you want to invite people you have to have hospitality. I know some ways of doing this are cheaper than others but still, it has to be done.

erm, what are "favours"?

atthewelles Wed 16-Jan-13 11:02:05

Best wedding I was ever at:

Fifty guests in a small candle lit church on an early December afternoon

Mulled wine and cocktail sausages at bride's parents' house (also lit by candles) followed by shepherd's pie with loads of wine and beer

Sing song with bride's brother playing the piano

Bride and groom departed at about 10.30.

The End.

I really, really enjoyed every minute of that day.

Thumbwitch Wed 16-Jan-13 11:04:16

Favours are traditionally a set of 5 sugared almonds given to each of the guests - you're supposed to eat them to ensure health, wealth, happiness, long life and fertility. smile Wiki has more info on them. Not many people do the sugared almonds now though - all sorts of other things have replaced them.

Ashoething Wed 16-Jan-13 11:05:21

We had a very small wedding. Registry office and a meal for 25 guests after.No party,band or dj. It still cost us £3000. Although tbf £800 of that was for my dressblush

We could have done it far cheaper. My friend is getting married this year and her reception alone is costing £2000shock. But she is inviting all her extended family and their dcs-madness imo.

MWBBE Wed 16-Jan-13 11:08:49

When DP and I get married we have already agreed that we will spend less than £5K. And we both have good jobs, are already on the property ladder etc and have savings so if we wanted to then we could spend £10K or even £20K.

However neither of us think spending that much money on one day is good use of money (for us personally) and we would rather save the money to pay down our mortgage, save for later if we have kids and I become a stay at home mum, or blow it on holidays even - anything rather than just blow it all on one day!

To me what makes a good wedding is family and friends being there, good music and dancing, booze and food. You can do the booze and food on the cheap (have a BBQ, buffet, picnic, afternoon tea, get all your friends to bring a dish and get down the cash and carry to get the booze or do a run over to France). Just make sure you have a venue where you can bring your own food and drink.

Of all the weddings I have been to two of the best were (1) a barn dance in the local village hall, food was a buffet (everyone brought something with them) and bring a bottle and (2) a slightly hippie-style party in a field which again had a buffet and bring a bottle policy.

Ragwort Wed 16-Jan-13 11:09:43

Does anyone REALLY enjoy going to these bland, hotel style weddings? Genuine question. The last one I went to was one of the most boring days of my life grin.

pictish Wed 16-Jan-13 11:12:26

No. I've only been to four of those fancy hotel weddings in my time, and they were not my idea of a celebration.

I'm a scrappy informal type though. I always prefer things to be at a base level.

DeepRedBetty Wed 16-Jan-13 11:15:05

I've been to an awful lot of weddings now. The country house hotel type ones have blurred into a mixture of long queues for tepid wine while waiting for interminable photo sessions to finish, but two slightly different ones stand out.

One was a wedding in a Salvation Army hall, with only soft drinks served as both bride and groom were recovering alcoholics. It was actually terrific fun and it was lovely not to have a hangover. The bride wore (amongst other things) bright blue DM's and looked radiant, and everyone brought a dish as part of the feast afterwards. That was fifteen years ago, they're both still dry, still married and have three children. I think that totalled £1200.

The other took place at a register office on the Saturday morning followed by an informal outdoor ceremony and buffet in a pub's private room. It was timed to take place during a major street theatre festival (Winchester Hat Fair, if anyone knows that one) and the outdoor ceremony was witnessed by lots of random strangers as a piece of performance art. Since the 'celebrant' was a comedian, I'm not sure how many of them actually realised that the couple really had been legally married that morning! But it was a fantastic atmosphere. Again each guest brought a dish for the buffet, and I think the whole shebang came in at about £800. I did have a hangover after this one...

soverylucky Wed 16-Jan-13 11:15:43

Another one who "did it on the cheap".
No wedding car - my dad just put his through the car wash and added a ribbon.
My mum made the cake.
I had a boquet and so did my one bridesmaid. Groom, best man and parents had buttonholes - no-one else did.
Photography done by a friend of the family.
Close family only for a sit down meal. Evening reception for more people.
No honeymoon.
Ring from argos - (45 quid if I remember correctly)
No wedding favours.
Invites printed on home computer on some fancy paper from the stationary shop. (will never understand those really posh invites that ultimately get throne in the bin.)

What is most important is that over a decade later we are still married and still very much in love.

It is the cost of their rent you should be moaning about - not weddings!

squoosh Wed 16-Jan-13 11:21:27

My thoughts on weddings:

Some expensive weddings are great fun.
Some budget weddings are great fun.

I feel the need to point out though that you don't win a medal for having a 'my wedding dress was just my old apron, for food we gave everyone half a stale bun and a lick of a yogurt lid, we shared 2 litres of Merrydown cider and for music we borrowed our next door neighbour's radio. Everyone said it was the best wedding they'd ever been to'.

Cut your cloth to suit your whatsit, if you don't have it, don't spend it.

I prefer weddings that aren't held in hotels. Hotel weddings are the last word in bland, boring and soulless.

And please can I ask that people stop with the hog roast craze? Every wedding I've been to in the least couple of years has had a bloody hog roast. They look great when they'e cooking, they taste dry and bland. Desist at once!

Thanking you kindly.

p.s. No more twee bunting or mismatched china nonsense either!

gail734 Wed 16-Jan-13 11:22:03

Sad to say, but four years on, I regret my wedding. Not regret getting married, you understand... well only sometimes, ha ha! No, we spent £15K give or take. I was always too scared to add it all up. We paid for it all up front, paying it up month by month throughout our engagement. Now, we're really broke and I can't believe we spent so much on one day. We have a baby now, and that money would be so helpful. Have a nice, cheap and cheerful wedding. It might even be a cute story to tell the kids one day - "We got married in a recession, we had to bake our own cake etc..."

squoosh Wed 16-Jan-13 11:22:37

Also, what is the POINT of wedding favours? No one wants bloody sugared almonds!

Ashoething Wed 16-Jan-13 11:23:37

Have been to 2 hotel weddings which were boring and the food was shit. Couples disappeared for hours getting the photos done. Went to an evening reception in one but it was a buffet of bacon and sausage rolls which was great and a good dj. Another good one I went to was a ceilidh-only spoiled by dh's refusal to danceangry

This thread is making me want to get wed again!!

curryeater Wed 16-Jan-13 11:23:50

Oh god I quite like mismatched china, am I one of those people?
I would never have big wooden letters in the kitchen tho saying "EAT". (like I need any encouragement)

soverylucky Wed 16-Jan-13 11:24:55

Yes squoosh you are sooooooo right. wedding favours are such a waste of money. The worst are when you are given an actual ornament type thing keepsake that you can't eat. what are you supposed to do with it? It is obviously the most important day in your life but I really don't need a tile or simmilar with your names and the date on to adorn my home.

squoosh Wed 16-Jan-13 11:25:44

grin curryeater.

As long as the teacups are full of vodka I won't be complaining. I'm kind and thoughtful like that!

Thumbwitch Wed 16-Jan-13 11:25:53

I did favours, but had 5 little cakes/sweets in the box. Saved on getting a wedding cake as well - 2 birds with one stone, as it were. I can't bear the wastage of wedding cake!

squoosh Wed 16-Jan-13 11:29:14

A friend of mine went to a wedding once where Lionel Richie was the wedding singer.

From start to finish it sounded like the must vulgar, ostentatious, over the top display of extreme wealth that I've ever heard of.

Would love to have gone! wink

TroublesomeEx Wed 16-Jan-13 11:29:24

There are certainly statutory costs involved e.g. the licence and the registrar/vicar but beyond that pretty much everything you spend is discretionary.

fridgepants Wed 16-Jan-13 11:34:53

What is a £7k dress made out of, spun saffron? Posh dresses are lovely and if you're not the teeny tiny size that wedding dresses come in then getting stuff altered and fixed will cost (I have size 9 feet so there will probably be one pair of suitable shoes out there and they will inevitably cost £££) but you are wearing it for one day. It's essentially a stage costume.

sooperdooper Wed 16-Jan-13 11:35:16

But some many people get pulled into the forumlaic style wedding - the three tiered cake, the ubiquitous strapless wedding dress that costs a fortune and looks like every other bride's dress for the last five years, the bland hotel meal, the loud raucous band, the chair coverings, etc etc etc.

So many weddings I've been to blur into one like this! Boring boring boring!!

Most people seem almost scared to do anything different - best wedding I ever went to was in a tipi field with the local burry house providing the food and everyone brought their own booze, it was fab

We went abroad, said people could come for a holiday if they wanted, or not come, up to them. Had a chilled out holiday in the sun, got married in the middle, paid for everyone to have a nice meal, done. I'd have just gone to the registary office but DH wasn't keen so it was a compromise, we spent about £5k but that included our 2 week all inclusive holiday

We didn't have a cake, cars, favours, chair covers and my dress cost £200

You don't have to spend a fortune to get married, but it is possible to spend a fortune on a wedding - not the same thing

SpicyPear Wed 16-Jan-13 11:36:25

YABVU to come on here bitching about the cost of weddings when you they are having a whole day event at a Surrey hotel. There are many options for doing it more cheaply, and if you just don't want to that's fine, but don't moan about it. I have no time at all for my friends who spent thousands on their weddings and are griping about not being able to buy property. If they want to piss their deposit away on a wedding it's up to them!

OwlLady Wed 16-Jan-13 11:37:02

of course you can do it all for under 10k, it just means it wont be what they want or envisaged

weddings are bloody waste of money imo

OwlLady Wed 16-Jan-13 11:37:21

disclaimer, I don't care what anyone else does or spends it's up to them!

squoosh Wed 16-Jan-13 11:37:47

I'm quite fond of a loud and raucous band.

The bland hotel and the bland meal, not so much.

Flobbadobs Wed 16-Jan-13 11:39:46

We had bowls of jellybeans on the tables instead of favours!
YABU, your wedding is one day. Of course i's nice to have everything looking sparkly and lovely and have all the trimmings but it's not necessary. Find a friend with a nice car or a good camera, look at other options for everything, be different!

THERhubarb Wed 16-Jan-13 11:40:45

And so are they.
It's all about managing expectations. Weddings can be done on a budget and can certainly be done under £10k but these days it seems that the happy couple are not willing to compromise. Your ds could also be hinting about the expense in order to get you to cough up.

Here's how to do a wedding on a budget:

Get hitched midweek. Midweek prices are almost half the weekend prices and let's face it, if people wanted to attend the wedding they would take a day off work to do so. Those who would only go at the weekend are not worth having, thus saving you more money on guests! Go for a Thursday so that people can have a long weekend. Even a Friday is cheaper than the weekend.

Haggle. If you are booking a hotel/reception at an off-peak time then don't be afraid to haggle to get the price down even more. They'd rather have the booking than risk not having anything at all on that date.

Hire the photographer for the service only and encourage friends to take as many photos as possible.

Get your wedding bouquet from the supermarket. Just invest in some pretty ribbon and some extra dark foilage to decorate round the edges.

Make your own wedding stationery with embossed card, a colour printer, some ribbon and some sequins.

Make your own wedding favours by filling organza bags with sugared almonds as a traditional gift.

Ask the bridesmaids to contribute towards their own outfits. Many supermarkets such as Tesco have a range of bridesmaid outfits that can be worn again as party dresses.

Wedding cakes are expensive so get a cake stand and fill it up with lots of delicious little cupcakes.

A wedding buffet is cheaper than a sit-down meal.

Use helium balloons as table decorations.

It's more than possible to bring the cost of a wedding right down but of course it does require a little more effort and creative thinking. Your ds and his girlfriend may prefer to just cough up the money (or moan about it so you will) rather than have a budget wedding.

fridgepants Wed 16-Jan-13 11:42:04

Ceilidhs are the best. DP's brother's wedding was a church then hotel reception do, but he got his schoolfriends' family to play ceilidh music so we could all dance nad it was great fun. It's probably more expensive and difficult to arrange here but I'd love to do that.

Going abroad is a nice idea but not if you have elderly parents - you're essentially asking people to buy a £500 or so plane ticket and undertake a long journey and that seems an imposition for me.

squoosh Wed 16-Jan-13 11:45:11

I think asking bridesmaids to contribute towards their dresses is a bit too cheap. I'd rather not have a bridesmaid than ask one to pay for her own dress.

NickECave Wed 16-Jan-13 11:45:39

We got married in 2000 at a civil venue. We couldn't afford to have the reception there as well as the ceremony so looked at pubs local to the venue. Found a lovely one which said they could accommodate us and gave a rough estimate which was highish but OK. 1 month later the final quote came through with an extra £1K added. When we queried this it became clear that this was basically a "wedding tax". If we'd just wanted the pub for an ordinary party we wouldn't have been asked to pay it. Never ever ever tell the venue it's for a wedding.

THERhubarb Wed 16-Jan-13 11:50:35

Squoosh - if it's to buy a dress that they will then get to keep and wear again then it's fair enough.

I had just one Maid of Honour at my wedding and she wore her own outfit in the colours she wanted to wear.

If my dd was asked to be bridesmaid I would automatically offer to pay or contribute towards the dress. Why should they buy dresses for their bridesmaids and then get each of them a gift just for walking down the aisle behind them! Value for money - not!

BiddyPop Wed 16-Jan-13 11:58:06

I know that we got reasonably plain (navy with gold print) cards as invites, and made the OOS booklets ourselves using pc, work photocopier, a ream of nice cream paper (less than £10) and a pack of navy card (another <£10), some gold chord from haberdashery shop (about £5), a gold ink pad and a stamp the shape of a celtic cross (that was about £15!).

We did get professional florist, but not mad arrangements and both mothers helped do Church (lots of candles on a single leaf rather than arrangments in every window).

Hotel made nice chocolate cake - iced plainly in choc icing with piped edges, 3 tiers. Perfect!

We had a beautiful meal but arranged with the (small) hotel that a local RNLI group wanting their annual dinner do both same weekend (fri night, weddings was sat), so hotel effectively closed to other guests for weekend.

Church choir did music - didn't WANT payment (I used to sing for them when I still lived at home) but nice candle arrangement each bought from factory shop was cheap.

Uncle did ceremony - bought nice piece of art as present (about £100).

Sister drove Dad's car (cost - 1 roll of ribbon and a valet).

Best man drove groom in Groom's car (again - ribbon and valet).

Got a quartet from local music school for arrival at hotel. And hotel owner's son was in local trad group, so he invited his buddies to play that night (cheap classical , and cost of a few pints for trad). We didn't want dancing etc anyway.

DID pay for good photographer, but also put out disposable cameras on each table for later. And he was the best for photos we'd seen but actually far from most expensive.

I got dress and headress etc in shop getting out of wedding dresses for very little, shoes in winter sale and a wrap (depths of winter) was cheap too.

Suit rental - the guys shopped around.

Favours - about 5 sunflower seeds in little net pouch with growing instructions that my mum put together. (An aunt gave me a tub of the sunflowers growing a couple of months later!! Sweet!).

Did my own makeup, and went to the hairdresser that our family had been going to for years for updo (not that expensive as he did it v early in the morning).

FIL paid for hot whiskeys in pub across the road (that he was well known in) straight after church, and we did photos in hotel while others enjoyed those.

I could have done things cheaper again, but we still managed to keep costs down.

squoosh Wed 16-Jan-13 11:58:22

The bridesmaid is doing the bride a favour.

I've been asked to be a bridesmaid a number of times, happy to do it, the dress however has never been one that I've worn again.

As I say I'd go without a bridesmaid rather than ask someone to pay for their own dress. Just sounds awfully tight. If someone said 'Do you want to be a bridesmaid and how about wearing that nice red dress you have?', that's a different matter. I'd be completely fine with that.

Jins Wed 16-Jan-13 12:00:00

I agree squoosh. If you want a bridesmaid you pay for the dress

Hullygully Wed 16-Jan-13 12:05:16


I think it is an HONOUR and a PRIVILEGE to attend the bride and you should be delighted to pay.

Jins Wed 16-Jan-13 12:07:03

Could you not fit a dress or two into your 50K budget for your DSs imaginary wedding last year Hully?

Chunderella Wed 16-Jan-13 12:11:39

Forgot to mention earlier- wedding rings are often discounted in January sales. Daft but true. we got ours half price that way. There still might be time for DS to do this now.

THERhubarb Wed 16-Jan-13 12:11:46

Err, then call me tight and slap me with a dead kipper.

Most bridesmaids dresses are now so modern that they can double up as party dresses so they can actually be worn again and again.

Perhaps having had a budget wedding myself I know how much these things can mount up so I would not hesitate to offer to pay for all or part of the cost of a dress.

If the bride wants you to look pretty and fit in with her colour scheme or wear a hideous number that you would be happy to burn after the ceremony then fair enough if she wants to pay for that. But I would have no shame in asking any bridesmaids to contribute towards their own dresses.

Yes I am a tight-arse. grin

OwlLady Wed 16-Jan-13 12:12:14

my mum made my bridesmaid her outfit
we also had the party back at her a couple of weeks later after the wedding
and we had a couple of nights ina guest house in this country as a honeymoon

how working class

HazleNutt Wed 16-Jan-13 12:12:52

Of course you don't need 10K to get married and have a lovely wedding. We didn't save on anything we actually got, just ignored all the "must-haves". Wedding car, wedding ribbons, keepsakes, fancy invitations and place cards, wedding candles, 10 bridesmaids in matching dresses, tons of second-cousin-twice-removed guests whom you havent' seen for 20 years and won't see again - those and many other things are totally optional, but they add up.

Jins Wed 16-Jan-13 12:20:26

It's not tight exactly THERhubarb but if someone asked me to be a bridesmaid and then expected me to pay for my dress I'd decline. It's just not that important to me and I've got plenty of things I can wear to a wedding.

If on the other hand I had a dd that was desperate to be a bridesmaid and a contribution was expected then I'd stump up for it.

It is something that is becoming acceptable. It was definitely not the thing when I was younger

THERhubarb Wed 16-Jan-13 12:23:49

Ah but when you were younger Jins the bride's mum probably handmade all the dresses - right OwlLady?

Plus if bridesmaids decline because they are asked to pay for the dresses they then get to keep and wear again, then you could see that as just another saving and a sign that they weren't really that arsed in the first place.

Bridesmaids are so over-rated. When my then 10yr niece asked to be my bridesmaid I told her no without hesitation. Cheeky brat! grin

OwlLady Wed 16-Jan-13 12:27:18

I am 35 you cheeky cowgrin

OwlLady Wed 16-Jan-13 12:27:38

I have been married 15 years though <teenage bride>

THERhubarb Wed 16-Jan-13 12:28:32


Jins Wed 16-Jan-13 12:28:58

I don't remember who made the dresses tbh. It would definitely be a sign that I wasn't arsed though. grin

OwlLady Wed 16-Jan-13 12:30:46

I just think people put too much on emphasis on stuff tbh, in general. I really wasn't that bothered about the stuff element. I wanted to get married to my now husband and I wanted my sister to be bridesmaid before she died, nothing else was really that important

OwlLady Wed 16-Jan-13 12:31:04

sorry that was a very serious post blush

THERhubarb Wed 16-Jan-13 12:32:16

My best friend was a teenage bride. Her mum made the bridesmaid outfits. I had to wear a peach nightie. It was way too big for me. I looked ridiculous. She kept the bloody photos too.

I can't believe I let her get away with wearing what she wanted to mine. Mind you I did ask her to scramble under the table and unstick my painted DMs that had stuck together in the warmth of the room.

See, I was so tight I didn't want to pay a fortune for wedding shoes so I just painted my DMs white. I didn't realise the paint would become sticky in the warm room though. I couldn't prise my feet apart!

THERhubarb Wed 16-Jan-13 12:33:44

Aw OwlLady - just goes to show how stuff is indeed not that important. Celebrating your special day with those who love you is. I'm pleased your sister got to be your bridesmaid and I hope you didn't force her into a peach nightie smile

ComposHat Wed 16-Jan-13 12:34:15

I think it's daft to get married before you own a home

Daft to have an expensive wedding yes. But ours will cost about a thousand pounds at most. That wouldn't go anywhere near constituting a deposit (even if any mortgage company were daft enough to grant us a mortgage)

atthewelles Wed 16-Jan-13 12:37:56

A girl in work is getting married in July. Every day we are hearing new stories of how she's fallen out with her Mum over whether to hire a bus to the reception or not; she's furious with her bridesmaid because she told someone else she hated the dress she has to wear but told the bride she loves it; the photographer quoted one price but has now increased it and its too late to find anyone else decent; the hotel want to charge extra because they forgot to include the vegetarian option in their quote; her aunty Joan won't come if her Uncle John is invited because they fell out over something last year; and on and on and on.
The girl is stressed out and exhausted trying to organise the 'happiest day of her life'. confused

ChessieFL Wed 16-Jan-13 12:38:36

This thread is very useful as I have just got engaged so just starting to think about our wedding.

I can certainly see how people could spend £10k quite easily if you go for the full hotel thing, sit down meal, dress from proper bridal shop, several bridesmaids etc. Even the little touches can add up - e.g. chair covers - they may only be £4 each to hire, which doesn't sound much, but have 100 guests and thats a bill of £400. Do that a few times and you could easily spend £2-3k just on the little touches that, lets' face it, most people don't really remember or appreciate anyway.

I am already starting to think of ways it can be done cheaply - I have already ditched chair covers, favours, bridesmaids dresses (just my 4 year old DD who will have a normal party dress!), cars off my list!

In my view you just need to keep your guests warm, fed, watered, and don't keep them hanging around waiting too much! And it doesn't cost much to do that.

squoosh Wed 16-Jan-13 12:38:37

I'm surprised more people don't elope. The idea of planning a wedding makes me want to have a stiff drink followed by a lie down.

curryeater Wed 16-Jan-13 12:39:36

Is it ok to ask a cousin or a friend to be a best woman and wear what they like and you don't buy them a dress?
Can you serve your own booze in an unlicensed venue (like a church hall)? I mean if you aren't charging, you just buy it and serve it? Are there usually costs associated with this like hotels charge corkage?

Onlymydogunderstandsme Wed 16-Jan-13 12:40:29

I think it's easy to get sucked in to the whole big wedding culture we have going on where everyone is trying to out do each other and now it seems to be more common that the hen and stag do's have to be not one night out but a week abroad etc etc.

We got married within 8 weeks of getting engaged and spent about 4k, we had the wedding we wanted but kept in mind it's not all about a wedding day it's about a marriage! I couldn't wait to marry my husband, I would have eloped just the two of us if that's what we had needed to do. Each to their own though and if you have the money then go for it but I think a lot of people lose sight of what it is actually about.

ChessieFL Wed 16-Jan-13 12:40:45

I'm starting to feel like that already squoosh and I've only been researching things for a couple of weeks!!

ComposHat Wed 16-Jan-13 12:43:48

I couldn't be arsed to think about favours, save the day, seat covers and all that shite it took us all our energies to phone up the registry office to book that.

In fact none of that stuff would enter my head at all as being useful. So it doesn't really feel like we are cutting back

Fairylea Wed 16-Jan-13 12:43:58

No way do you need to spend anywhere near that!!

We got married in march at a very nice hotel in Norfolk. We had 40 guests (maybe you need to cut numbers?), a sit down meal and everything else and it cost us £2500. We also had a bridal suite which was lovely with a bath big enough for two.... or three as I was heavily pregnant!

We got a cake maker to make a simple two tier white sponge cake and decorated it ourselves with dried flowers... that cost £90 for the cake.

My flowers were £100 - just a simple hand held for me and one for dd aged 9 who was my only bridesmaid.

My dress was £150 from house of fraser. Which was amazing as I tried on some which were £2000 plus in other places and I actually preferred the cheaper one.

We had a weeks honeymoon in Rome for £800 in a 4 star hotel. Which if you were really pushed you wouldn't go on.

Weddings are not what you spend but what you make them. Everyone had a lovely time at ours.

And our photographer was £450.

THERhubarb Wed 16-Jan-13 12:44:32

Chair covers? WTF?

curryeater - yes that is what I did and I think she was mightily relieved that she did not have to wear a peach nightie.
No you cannot serve booze in an unlicensed premises I don't think.
Yes hotels do charge corkage but it still works out cheaper especially if you buy your wine from Aldi and yes they do still charge corkage for screw tops as I discovered (but you had to ask right?)

Hullygully Wed 16-Jan-13 12:48:19

You can't not have chair covers. I don't think the marriage is legal without chair covers and toning sashes.

squoosh Wed 16-Jan-13 12:51:25

The almond industry would seem to do a roaring trade from weddings.

GregBishopsBottomBitch Wed 16-Jan-13 12:54:13

Do it on a week day, my sister found out if she had her wedding on a week day, she'd have knocked a grand off.

ComposHat Wed 16-Jan-13 12:54:55

I imagine the whole almond industry would collapse. After reading this I now think it is my moral duty to have Almonds at the wedding.

Will no one think of the almond sugarers?

squoosh Wed 16-Jan-13 12:55:50

At the people who make the little netty almond holding bags!

THERhubarb Wed 16-Jan-13 12:55:54

Why not be different and go for walnuts?

GregBishopsBottomBitch Wed 16-Jan-13 12:56:04

Also my sister never had a photographer, my uncle did it, everyone else took photos, and she had disposables on the tables during the reception.

princesschick Wed 16-Jan-13 12:57:18

I know loads and loads of people who have done their weddings on small budgets, some as low as £1,000 - including rings, outfits, registrar, dinner, well everything really! It was brilliant.

I remember lots of magazines have inspiration in them for smaller weddings when I was planning my own.

Here are some of the costs / ideas

*local registry office (£200-£250)
*second hand / vintage wedding dress / high street dress (£35 - £200) OR find someone to make the wedding dress - my friend's cousins made hers as her wedding gift and another friend found a dress maker to make a stunning dress for £400
*get someone whose good at photography to do the photographs or just have a professional to do an hour of shots of the bride and groom.
*bridesmaids buy their own dresses and shoes. BHS and high street shops do loads of bridesmaid type dresses.
*have a make-up lesson for free at benefit and buy the make-up to do on your own or get a good friend to do it.
*don't bother with a band. Get all guests to send in a song with their RSVP that they would like to hear and put a play list together on spotify. If you are in a pub they will have a sound system. I think you can still sign up to have access for a day without the adverts for about £1?
*don't bother with paper invitations, do an email and get someone to put together a simple website with all of the details for the day.
*suit hire or high street for the groom - Zara do some nice suits for under £200.
*for the reception find a pub / restaurant / village hall / own house and garden or friend / relatives house? Sit down or buffet by outside caterers or get everyone to bring a dish to make a big picnic OR something really simple from a local deli / bakers. One of our friends had a late ceremony in Cornwall and got a load of local pasties and their families did salads and desserts, which went down really well. Or another was a teacher and had the school dinner ladies to do gourmet sausages from a local farm shop in Brighton with mash and peas and fancy gravies. Another just did a sit down in a nice restaurant for 20 adults and 10 kids. Provide all of the booze yourself - kegs of ale, tesco wine by the case for wine deals if you can - we did this for my wedding and saved a bomb on wine and champagne.
*small posy bouquet for the bride bought the day before - £25 and single rose button hole for the groom - £5 OR friends to do flowers?
*don't ask for presents but ask for everyone to contribute something to the wedding or money toward the house.
*a honeymoon could be a weekend at a nice spa hotel or a cosy cottage in the country.

I know people usually want the big white hotel wedding but hotels / venues do charge so much money because they can. There are so many cheaper, quirkier and more individual ways of getting married for a small budget. Some of the best weddings I've been to haven't been the big fancy ones but the small ones with loads of family and friends helping and personal touches. And it's all about being in love and tying the knot not fancy chair covers and designer dresses smile

HTH xx

Good luck!

concernedrose Wed 16-Jan-13 12:58:35

thank you all, lots of good ideas which i will pursue. So exactly who are all these people who spend 18 grand?, which is what we are told the average is, not one person who has responded on this thread has spent anything like this aqmount.
Incidently, my wedding 28 years ago was on the mega cheap, as we had just finished phd/medical studies, so were broke. fab wedding at registry office, followed by country pub buffet. People still talk about it, especially the funny bits, like we drove ourselves in out battered yellow beetle wearing huge orange cagoules as it was tipping down with rain, how the best mans car broke down en route and had to be rescued by us, and a quite a few other things which made the day so memorable, and also relaxing, so i knew in theory it may still be possible to do a cheaper DIY wedding. I feel long hours on the laptop researching

Fairylea Wed 16-Jan-13 12:58:57

We had no chair covers ... and we sent everyone home with a bit of wedding cake instead of bloody almonds !

GregBishopsBottomBitch Wed 16-Jan-13 13:00:07

The idea of a big a long wedding day is my idea of hell, my perfect wedding would be in the summer, nice open space, a buffet, a barbeque, a cd player with a cheesy disco ball, places to get comfy and for everyone to eat drink and make prats of themselves.

ubik Wed 16-Jan-13 13:04:59

Dps American cousins keep coming over to Scotland to be married. It costs an absolute fortune (although they can afford it) but I always end up sitting at a table, picking through yet another microwave hotel chicken dinner, watching the bride and groom sitting there having financed a party for a load of relatives they barely know, and think why?

Why not have a wedding in the states with all your friends instead of thousands of miles away in a dreary Scottish castle, which looks amazing in the photos, but to which you can only invite a couple of pals and your mum and dad and assorted distant relatives.

ubik Wed 16-Jan-13 13:09:49

Oh and for wedding photos, a friend bought loads of disposable cameras and put them on tables to encourage folk to take photos and the collected them in after the reception and had them developed. It was really nice record of their day from multiple perspectives.

Badvoc Wed 16-Jan-13 13:10:15

My milmade the b maid dresses. Mydresswas in the sale.
Local floristdid flowers and we providedbuttonholes for the guests asfavours.
Cars were bogof offer andcakd was made by friend of mil.
We did a large church wedding for 120 at a 4 star hotel for under £6k

THERhubarb Wed 16-Jan-13 13:10:25

OP, save your breath.

Your son and his girlfriend don't want a wedding on the cheap. They want a posh dream wedding with all the trimmings and don't want to compromise. For every suggestion you come up with, they will have an excuse as to why that wouldn't work.

I think they are sending some really big hints your way in the hope that you will offer to cover some of the cost.

Spending hours researching budget ideas on the internet would be a complete waste of your time. That's not what they want you to do. They've gone over budget with their ideas and I'm sure that if they cut back they could save thousands, but they aren't prepared to do that.

And those figures are largely quoted by people within the wedding industry to put pressure on young couples that this is the amount they are expected to spend because everybody spends that much. It isn't true. Where are these stats from? Has anyone been asked for a survey how much they spent on their wedding? Or do they just ring round hotels and ask how much they charge for an average wedding and use that?

THERhubarb Wed 16-Jan-13 13:13:26

Ooh another good tip is to approach your local Uni. Lots of students need practical experience so you can find trainee chefs who are willing to help out with the catering; trainee cake decorators; trainee hairdresses and even trainee dressmakers.

We hired the University canteen for our meal and the staff couldn't have been more chuffed!

cloudpuff Wed 16-Jan-13 13:14:14

Its depends on which part is important to the couple, the actual getting married part or the extra for show bits. Getting married in a hotel is optional as is most of the other faff, its not a necessity, if you want them, fine, but the couple need to accept that thats what they cost, you cant really moan about it. Loads of suggestions have been given on how you can make it cheaper. A wedding breakfast for 30? I'd be cutting that out straight away.

Me and DH always wanted to go off abroad to get married and spent several years researching prices, but because we have similar outgoings to your son we finally accepted that it was never going to be so at the beginning of this year we booked the registry office in the next town and fucked off and got married without telling anyone but the two witnesses. The whole thing came to less than £300, which was within out bidget and means we are not in debt over it. We've been together 13 years now and wish we pissed off ten years ago to do it.

A lot of all the extras at weddings are for other people's benefit and not the actual bride and grooms, I've been to several big weddings over the last few years and at all of them the bride and groom looked so stressed that I doubt they actually enjoyed the day.

NaturalBaby Wed 16-Jan-13 13:18:26

YANBU. I did wonder at your 1st post if you are in Surrey!
I know someone planning a wedding depending on selling her house. If they house doesn't sell, she isn't getting married this year.

I went to a lovely wedding a couple of years ago - marquee in a field with a vintage/home made theme. It was lovely but hard work to plan if you work full time!

Nanabana Wed 16-Jan-13 13:22:19

i had a bit of a plush wedding, which was more to keep up with the joneses than anything else... We prioritised all wrong.. i.e.: venue, food, rings,dress, extra silly bits. Also had far too many guests.If I could do it again.. I would cut the number of guests to those dearest, and prioritised: rings (as they are forever), honeymoon, dress, food, venue. And all the frilly extras were just a pain in the arse to organise, guests may have oohed and aahed for about a minute and than that's it.. what a waste of time, money and energy!

mrsshackleton Wed 16-Jan-13 13:32:19

Totally agree with TheRhubarb that it sounds as if the hope is the bank of mum and dad will cover.

So please don't spend hours on the internet, just say firmly that weddings can be done for much cheaper. If they are old enough to get married, they are old enough to research and budget their wedding.

ouryve Wed 16-Jan-13 13:37:58

It's costs bog all to get married. The wedding is one day. It's what comes after that matters.

neriberi Wed 16-Jan-13 13:38:26

I got married 4 years ago, my wedding cost under 5k! My cousin got married 3 years ago, her wedding cost even less than mine. my sister is getting married later this year and her budget is 5k. You do not need to spend loads on a wedding! If our wedding had cost a penny more than 5k we wouldn't have been able to get hitched.

TheBrideofMucky Wed 16-Jan-13 14:24:01

My venue alone cost more than 10k. grin

But we waited and saved til we could afford it. If you are spending the rest of our lives together, an extra year to wait for the wedding you want with all the people you want there, all decently looked after is nothing. Fretting about costs and cutting corners due to affordability would stress me out much more.

mrsmalcolmreynolds Wed 16-Jan-13 14:25:10

Depending on where in Surrey you are, and if not committed to the existing venue yet, might consider here http://www.cowdray.co.uk/the-estate/capron-house-midhurst-town-centre-venue-to-hire/ which is where DH and I got married 5 yrs ago.

At the time it was extremely reasonable - £500 venue hire and then £45pp which included carved hot buffet with unlimited drinks, drinks reception (drinks unlimited again) with really nice canapes, table and chair hire, plus flowers. They were run at the time as part of Midhurst Grammar school and now run by the Cowdray Estate, so things may have changed, but worth a look. Our wedding was under £8k for 90 (all of whom came to the whole thing) and the organisers at this venue are the nicest people ever.

splashymcsplash Wed 16-Jan-13 14:30:56

Yabu as it can easily be done for far less. A friend had a wedding in a very posh part of London for 4000 (and half of that was on the band!) all in. You can hire a churchhall or other hall and get a caterer in yourself and buy wine yourself. Much cheaper that way!

YABU as it can totally be done for less - it depends where you look! DP and I are getting married in August - peak season! - for just under £5000 including a weeks honeymoon in south France. That's 80 guests, fed with a hot buffet, and evening reception. Look around and be inventive! smile

curryeater Wed 16-Jan-13 14:39:38

So you can serve alchohol (on a given-to-guests basis, not running a pay bar) in a non-licensed venue like a church hall?

If so, it must surely be nicer and perhaps even cheaper to get a good deal on nice booze and give it away in a venue like that, than to go to a hotel and pay their prices for some booze and have to have a pay bar as well?

BrittaPerry Wed 16-Jan-13 14:41:55

Cost me £110 to get married, then we accidentally made a profit on the wedding itself, because our only cost was food and we got more in cash present (despite asking for no gifts). I even sold my wedding dress for £250, which was a £60 profit :-)

squoosh Wed 16-Jan-13 14:45:24

I would prefer a tarted up village hall (pinterest will be full of decor ideas) with the food and booze brought in and everyone partying till dawn over a boring hotel reception any day of the week.

AnEventfulEvening Wed 16-Jan-13 14:50:18

I'm surprised more people don't elope. The idea of planning a wedding makes me want to have a stiff drink followed by a lie down.

I did.

You can stick your favours and family fights and go have your fairytale wedding for well under £10k here. here.

I am so glad we did, despite the MIL still muttering years after about how we aren't properly married as she wasn't there and as we didn't have a party and we should still have one. The words 'over', 'body', 'my' and 'dead' spring to mind.

squoosh Wed 16-Jan-13 14:51:25

Village hall wedding inspiration on Pinterest


squoosh Wed 16-Jan-13 14:53:10

AnEventfulEvening sounds bloody amazing!

princesschick Wed 16-Jan-13 14:56:33

Curryeater the wedding I went to in a church hall last year had a free bar with lots of ales and wines on a help yourself until it's gone basis. Lots of people took their own booze too. It was ace for me because I wasn't drinking and could take really nice soft drinks instead of being palmed off with £3 for a watery coke or bottle of mineral water hotel drinks smile

Autumn12 Wed 16-Jan-13 15:02:21

I had quite a fancy wedding and did it all for under 10k! We had our ceremony at a beautiful register office, laid on transport for our guests, laid on a generous amount of free alcohol, had great food with generous portions and I had a designer dress. I know that that is still quite a lot, but it was a Central London wedding and it was quite fancy. We have friends who spent 30k and I must say that our Wedding was better (in my unbiased opinion wink).

We cut costs in the following ways;

-Cheap invitations - spending lots of money on these is a total waste as they just go in the bin.

-Only had 40 very close family and friends to the day (does anybody really have 100 plus 'close' family members and friends?)

-Shopped around for everything. We had a bog standard coach rather than a fancy red London bus or anything expenisve like that.

- I didn't decorate the venue with flowers, instead I used the venues own candelabras and provide my own tealight holders etc. Looked beautiful, classy and cost so much less than flowers would have.

- I got my dress as a sample so it was less than half price yet in perfect condition.

-We chose a venue that didn't charge for hire and had a reasonable per head cost for the meal with wine.

-Instead of a DJ we compiled the music ourselves, we edited it all together so it was seamless with no pauses between tracks. We then hired our own PA system and lights etc for cheap. We had music that all of our guests loved with no cheesy rubbish chosen by a DJ that doesn't know us.

-No favours as nobody ever wants these.

I agree it looks like the hope is some cost will be covered. Perhaps you can show your DS this thread so he can see for himself that the wedding malarky is commercially driven.

DP and I have been together 26 years. If we ever decide to get married, I think it'll be a small and essentially fun wedding! I'm not paying for the pretty extras.

Tallalime Wed 16-Jan-13 15:08:17

You don't have to spend that kind of money if you don't want to.

We got married in 2011 it cost us 9k - of which 2k was honeymoon and 1k my dress.

We had most stuff too - cake, 5 bridesmaids and a page boy, groomsmen and groom in hired suits, fancy invitations, hired cars (VW beetle and camper, they were awesome!) hotel with sit down meal - hog roast option - for 50, wine on tables and pimms/ale for toasts, all 10 hotel rooms, make-up and flowers - we had the flowers in the church then SIL moved them to the venue, had the pew ends in little buckets which could then be used in centre of tables, cunning. - and cake.

We saved money on photographer - friend did it and the car people took some too which were wonderful and included in price. Wedding photographers take the piss IME. Entertainment DSis's fiance's family have wonderful string quartet and SIL's ex lent us all his disco equipment and she did music.

We could easily have cut the cost in half by having cheaper honeymoon and clothes and still had the hotel...

That's in Oxford.

Tallalime Wed 16-Jan-13 15:09:34

I mentioned cake twice there didn't I? I am a fan of cake blush

Kendodd Wed 16-Jan-13 15:11:33

YABVU and you know it.

You can do a wedding on a shoestring.

poshfrock Wed 16-Jan-13 15:16:40

I have to say that I would reiterate the "don't tell them it's a wedding" line. When we were arranging ours we picked a hotel with a restuarant that we ate at regularly so we knew the food quality was good and also that the prices were reasonable - about £17 per head for a 3 course meal. When I asked about having my wedding there the starting price was £25 per head for a buffet ! I pointed out that I had eaten there many times and had a set 3 course meal for less than £20. I asked why I couldn't just do that. I was told there were "special" deals for wedding. Plus we would have had to buy their wine which started at £10 a bottle for the house stuff.

So instead we went to a lovely pub ( 1/4 mile form hotel)with a function room by a canal - lovely views and an old bridge for photos. It cost £17 per head for 3 courses plus coffee and mints. Everyone had a choice of 3 starters, mains and desserts. We decorated the room ourself the day before. My SIL bought the wine as a wedding present and we paid corkage to the pub. There were bottles leftover which we gave to the waiting staff as thank you presents.

It was a wonderful day and came in at about £4k for 50 people ( excluding h/moon) - we spent the most money on the rings and the photos - ie the things that last.

poshfrock Wed 16-Jan-13 15:18:49

And the colours for everything were ivory and gold so our "favours" were Ferrero Rochers on the tables - went down a storm with the guests, especially the kids.

schoolgovernor Wed 16-Jan-13 15:19:39

(Hitches up Grumpy Old Woman Knickers!).
Young people today want everything, and they want it now. It seems that very few of them are willing to compromise in so many areas of life.
It isn't expensive to get married, it's expensive to put on a big event full of showy touches and extravagance.
I got married in 1983 (I'm vintage me...) and it cost us £250. That was a church wedding and included a dress given to me by a friend. We paid for the service, a hall, one car and food. My friends and I did the catering, bridesmaids and mothers were ferried about by friends. The disco was provided by an amateur mate. Obviously you've got inflation to take into account, but no way would it cost £10k to do similar now.
Our honeymoon was a lovely 3 day break in a small hotel in the UK.
We went back to our newly purchased house, where the dining table was garden furniture and we had a black and white telly donated by someone's Nan who had upgraded to colour. I think the only new furniture in the house was our bed.
Young people can't afford to buy a house these days... no of course they can't. I religiously saved 1/3 of my salary from the time I started work at 17 until buying the house 5 years later - more if I could, and my husband had done the same. We didn't expect to move out into our "own" places until we could afford to. I lived at home with mum and dad, paying for my keep and saving for the day.
Young people today... pah! grin

princesschick Wed 16-Jan-13 15:19:46

Hey Autumn it can be quite controversial and difficult to cut out family if you have a large family. We had 120 to the day and a further 80 guests in the evening. That was a restricted list, if we'd have had everyone we wanted it would have been more like 350 people - we were both shock shock shock when we sat down to do our guest list!I have a huge family - 60 of the day guests were close family - grandparents, aunts, uncles, first cousins, children and partners. My mum is one of 8 and I have quite a few rellies on dad's side too. Poor DH had one table of relatives and there were 5 tables of my relatives, but we couldn't have done it any other way!! So yup, some poor buggers like us do have over 100 'close' family and friends grin

Autumn12 Wed 16-Jan-13 15:38:57

Ah Princesschick see DH and I both come from very large families too. My Mum is also one of 8, and my DH's family are Irish so lots of them too. However, a lot of my family I only hear about through being connected on Facebook but I rarely see.

We took a particularly hardline approach as I knew that if I couldn't have the things that I wanted just in order to be able to invite more people that I would resent it.

I didn't invite any cousins to the day at all only the evening. We didn't invite any children either (all of the children we could have invited would have been ones we didn't know anyway). We also didn't invite anybody that we don't see or speak to regularly regardless of whether they were related or not. I know not everybody can do this though and it does help if you don't have the type of family who would get upset and put pressure on.

curryeater Wed 16-Jan-13 15:45:55

schoolgovernor, you can't get a job at 17 now, at least, not a paid one. You have to get into debt to the ponzi scheme that is now "education". Also you can't buy a house without at least 20% deposit, which is over 32k on average.

Looking up what a 17 year old might be earning in this day and age I found:

"The minimum wage for a 17 year old is £3.57. You will generally be lucky to get much more then that because at 17 you will not have the qualifications or experience for most of the better paid jobs."

That's about £7.7k per year. So on saving a third, even "religiously", this would mean about 13 years. Of course by then the houses will be even more expensive.
the 17 year old will be 30 and starting to worry about all those hysterical (pun intended) Daily Mail articles about declining fertility after 30...

When will old farts realise they are not better than young people, just lucked out when Thatcher sold off the council houses for peanuts?

(disclaimer: I am an old fart and regularly tut at genuinely sloppy or lazy behaviour by people of all ages and reserve the right to do so)

RibenaFiend Wed 16-Jan-13 15:46:31

DP has said we're not getting married until we've bought a house or we will never afford a house (currently in a flat) and I've said no DCs until we are married. So by the time we get round to ttc, I'll be 60 confused

princesschick Wed 16-Jan-13 15:53:36

Tough innit Autumn!. You are a much braver lady than me grin. All sorts of reasons as to why we couldn't do that. Soo glad the politics of our wedding are well and truly buried in 2010. Our blanket approach did mean that we didn't have too many complaints...but there were some about not inviting Mrs Miggins who is friends with Nan's cousin's neighbour or that second cousins partner an baby etc etc So you can't please all the people all of the time! It was fab tho and I'd love to do it all over again if I could.

concernedrose btw, all of the weddings I described above were in nice parts of Sussex...so I would imagine that the costs are not dissimilar to Surrey? And if they are, Sussex isn't far from you, so they should maybe broaden their search? I would just say to your DS and DIL that they should consider another kind of venue. Unless of course DIL has her heart set on something in which case she probably won't want to hear alternative suggestions. Are her parents contributing too? Could you tell them how much you are prepared to spend and that after that there is no more and then let them decide what they want to do? This is what our parents did and it worked really well.

concernedrose Wed 16-Jan-13 16:11:39

have told them we will contribute £2000, and i will do all stationary etc, her family will contribute about the same. They are more than happy with that, and always assumed they would be paying the majority, if not all. It is not that we are mean, we could pay for the whole wedding if we chose to, its just that we feel any money going in their direction in the future would be best spent towards the mortgage. I do agree with what people say about difficulties with the guest list. They both have a very wide circle of friends, both from uni days, and even from school days, and it is very difficult knowing where to draw the line, so it is just close family and best friends at wedding breakfast, and relatives and friends with whom they have frequent contact at evening do. What do people think about inviting people they know are very unlikely to come. We have a number of very frail elderly relatives who live in the north. We dont see them very often, but they always send christmas cards and gifts of money, and we send cards/flowers to them. We feel we should invite them, as they have always expressed an intrest in DCs lives, but dont expect them to come due to journey. We would obviously send them wedding cakes/phots etc after the event.

freerangelady Wed 16-Jan-13 16:13:02

I'm afraid to get a dream wedding they would need to spend a lot more than 10k. I'm one of those mythical people who spent 25k!! Well, tbh, my parents did as they're very traditional and saw it as them 'sending me off in style'. To be fair, although our wedding was amazing, it wast ott. We had a church service, followed by champagne reception followed by buffet dinner in a marquee in my parents garden and band
Afterwards for 120 people. My dress cost £350, the photographer was well under a grand, we didn't do favours. The expense was the v
Nice food and service and free bar I think. We did have quite nice wine too. No chair covers, local lady made an amazing
Cake for £300. I did go ott on 2 things - I wanted
A string
Quartet which cost around &400 and I wanted lots of
Lilies as a friend who would have been bridesmaid but
Had sadly passed away loved them and I wanted lots of
Them as a memorial if her on the day.

Yes a wedding can be done on the cheap and it's the vows that
Matter. Btw - a c of e vicar has the discretion to wave church fees if
The couple are struggling

fridgepants Wed 16-Jan-13 16:14:54

schoolgovernor - if I lived with my mum, I would be a) putting financial strain on a pensioner unless I was paying her market rate b) living in an area where one is lucky to earn £150 a week, rather than the salary I'm on now c) be hundreds of miles from everyone I know as I left my home town at 18 after years of hating it; and if I'd done this after university, I'd be living with my dad who is to put it mildly not one of my favourite people. DP is from a similarly poor and culturally shite area where it's extremely common for girls to get pregnant very young as they see few other things to do with their lives and there are very very few jobs (and we'd be 'overqualified' for those), and both of us have student loans to pay which takes a chunk out of the salary each month.

What you did back in the 80s doesn't work now, otherwise young people would never leave home.

Issy Wed 16-Jan-13 16:16:20

Looking back at our wedding twenty years ago, it was a fabulous (and cheap) day, but the elements I recall most fondly are those that were given to us or peculiar to us e.g.

- venue was the house and garden of a much loved friend (my favourite photo by our amateur photographer includes their dog)
- we went to and from the church and on to our honeymoon in black cab - great memories of our best man running down the Embankment trying to hail it
- flowers were bought for us by a friend at the crack of dawn in the New Covent Garden Market
- the choir and organist were provided by a musical friend
- I didn't have a bridesmaid but just two little flower girls and when they refused to walk down the aisle my best friend dived in and became an impromptu bridesmaid
- my aunt made the cake but burnt it which made me laugh and I don't think the guests noticed
- our invitations were a postcard
- I bought my wedding dress as a sample from a boutique in a quirky back street in the City when I should have been delivering a legal document and my shoes in a sale

Looking back, I'm glad we were cash constrained because that's what made us inventive and involve our friends and family and be tolerant of imperfection and it's all that stuff that makes me smile twenty years later.

fridgepants Wed 16-Jan-13 16:19:34

Those of you who went overseas - how did you manage with guests? I would feel like I was asking people to fork out for plane tickets (and in some cases a new passport) and it would feel like a bit of an imposition. Did you pay to fly people out in some cases, or was it not an issue? I'm kind of taken by the Icehotel now...I wanted to go when we were in Sweden but we didn't get chance.

moonbells Wed 16-Jan-13 16:20:50

We economised on everything we could. I made all the dresses, MIL made the chaps' waistcoats (for less each than hiring), a friend of Mum's did flowers. Veil was my very first ebay purchase! I learned to ice cakes and did a three-tier one; that gave me a new hobby and saved several hundred quid while I was at it. All the invitations we did ourselves, ditto orders of service. We honeymooned in the UK. We found a venue which was (then) part of the local HE college and got three huge rooms for less than a third of the going rate for surrounding single-room hotel venues. Catering was theirs, but good value and we even got them to give guests a meal choice! We did splash out more on some things - mostly the things we'd have or use again after the date, like photos, rings.

There are websites out there to help couples get married for less - Google is your friend. This is the one I found useful.

princesschick Wed 16-Jan-13 16:29:54

concernedrose I don't think that's mean at all. Everyone has their different budgets / priorities. For example, DH's Nan & Grandad gave us a small cheque for our wedding but said that when we found a house they would give us a larger amount then. It was important that we put their money into bricks and mortar rather than a massive party.

Your DH and DiL just have to think what's important for them and not to be upset if they can't have a massive wedding. Otherwise they'll have to save. But a wedding for £10k is easily achievable. And everyone loves their wedding day - huge or small. If you don't love your own wedding, either something went catastrophically wrong that was out of your hands or you've married the wrong person!!

As for elderly relatives, we sent invitations to DH's Grandma and Grandad even though we knew they couldn't come so they felt included. Only problem was our invitation was seen as a 'ticket' and Grandad asked if he could send it to his brother as he couldn't come. MiL had to explain that this wasn't really appropriate! We visited G&G after the wedding and took favours, some photos and a video of the event and then went out for a nice lunch. Maybe your DS could do something similar after the wedding if they are close family? Otherwise, just send some photos. I guess it really depends how 'close' your relatives are. As you can see above I have a massive family but we stuck to this rule:
- Mums, Dads, Brothers and Sisters
- Grandparents
- Uncles and Aunts
-Cousins and partners and children
- Any other relatives that we are particularly close to
Anyone else either didn't make the list or was invited to the evening.

mollymole Wed 16-Jan-13 16:50:24


Is there a reason why you can't rent a village hall, or the back room of a nice local hostelry. Do you not have any one within the family who can organise the catering, get some one in to cater at the venue etc. Why can the couple not wed in the register office. Can you and the brides mother organise the catering or get someone in to do a huge barbecue, hog roast or something and then you can go to the wholesalers and buy the 'trimmings' etc or is ther a reason why they/you all feel that a sit down 'in venue' event is necessary.

The money being spent on the wedding would be much better used towards a house deposit.

AnEventfulEvening Wed 16-Jan-13 18:03:52

We didn't take any guests tbh. If you want a lot of guests, the Icehotel isn't the place to go. Its really only geared up for intimate weddings anyway - the church is tiny - about 25 tops. Which in someways, tends to make it easier in justifying.

There were three weddings the day we married; us who didn't have any guests and another couple who only had parents and the third with about 10 people total at most.

We did go for the most basic package available and took photos ourselves (we bought a new camera and tripod instead) but we did upgrade our accommodation. Together with an adventure sports activity it was about £2800 for everything for 4 nights (Activity was expensive but incredibly memorable). Of course its also your honeymoon too and not everyone adds that into the cost of the wedding. But it was a few years ago now.

The chalet was 4 bed and there were bigger ones available, so if you had people with you, you can save on accommodation. Which is either a good thing or a bad thing! It is worth making the point that there isn't really anywhere to 'escape' to either, so once you are there you are stuck with who ever you are there with. We were so relieved we hadn't invited my MIL and put up with her moaning once we realised this! She's have driven us both crackers!

I can see it being easy to add lots of extras on too. But to the credit of the Icehotel there really wasn't any pressure to do so at all and it would be very easy of them to do so. All things considered, the word 'wedding' didn't add a great deal to the package which I do think was a rarity (Ceremony, paper work and organisation and Ice Church hire was £700 which I was impressed at)

It was right for us, but I can definitely appreciate its not the right choice for everyone. We wanted a stress-free wedding without family hassles. Thats what we got. Everything was done for us. We didn't even bother to check what time the wedding actually was until the day!

Bunbaker Wed 16-Jan-13 18:26:28

"Also, what is the POINT of wedding favours? No one wants bloody sugared almonds!"

I agree. They didn't have "wedding favours" in my day. Is this a recent thing?

bluer Wed 16-Jan-13 18:32:48

I know a couple who have been engaged for twelve years...they're coming up for thirty now.....and they won't get married because they can't afford it. It's bull...what they can't afford is the big fat gypsy wedding that she'd love. They obviously don't actually value the institution of marriage or they'd have gotten the priest to wed them years ago

Bunbaker Wed 16-Jan-13 18:42:09

I couldn't agree more bluer. I think some couples overlook the reality of marriage, all for the sake of a big flashy cost-a-lot wedding which is only one day of their lives.

Having said that I still think a wedding day should be special. It needn't cost the earth though.

Spuddybean Wed 16-Jan-13 18:48:31

DH and i got married last Sat. We had it in central London. £490 for the registry office (westminster). £220 for my dress. £50 new shirt and tie for DH. £400 for a hotel for 3 nights (2 day honeymoon in London!) £1000 on food and drink in a pub nearby. £45 bouquet. £80 2 gorgeous gateauxs (sp?) which was dessert and the 'wedding cake'. £500 on rings. £50 on cds which we put on our ipod and plugged into the pubs av. 40 guests, free drink all night, plenty to eat, we all had a fab time.

greenplastictrees Wed 16-Jan-13 18:49:18

I'm getting married in Surrey later this year and there definitely are cheaper venues around. As others have said, hotels tend to be pricey! Village halls, wedding barns, pubs, school halls, e.t.c...are all a great alternative to a hotel and you usually have a bit more flexibility than in a hotel and can personalise it far more than you could have otherwise.

There is a nice registry office in Surrey as well (the other two I wasn't so keen on though). They have been very flexible with us. We plan on having music on the way in, my brother reading a speech, a family friend singing during the signing, so every bit as personalised really as we would have got in a hotel with the added bonus that we get to have our reception we were want rather than being pressured into having it at a hotel because we want to have the ceremony there! Oh and it's £240 instead of nearer £650! It would have been cheaper if we'd gone for a weekday too.

Scheherezade Wed 16-Jan-13 19:12:58

My church is costing £580, including bell ringers and organist, as well as all the legal certificate stuff.

We are getting married at 11, another couple is booked at 1, so we've met the other couple and are just having their flowers for free grin they're setting up the night before.

Scheherezade Wed 16-Jan-13 19:19:02

I have to say I sit right in the middle of this. I DO think a wedding should be personal, about the couple etc. BUT I also believe that for us some people it is a rare opportunity to just have a good party, celebrate that sometimes life isn't a big pile of crap. Have a good time with friends and family and celebrate something that's a bit bloody marvellous.

Babies, jobs, old age all come in the way of being able to do that, so whilst we can, why not just have a good party.

We're hiring our village hall for £6 an hour. Got fish and chip and ice cream vans for £7.50 a head. BYOB and cheap buffet food for the evening. Hiring a PA for £40 and having a right good party in the evening. Daytime has loads of village fete games - apple bobbing, splat a rat, coconut shy, giant jenga. Evening we have a side room we're sticking comfy chairs for people who need a rest and poker/roulette in.

I won't be made to feel guilty that I'm not popping into a registry office on my Tuesday lunch break. I live in a little village and am very active in the church and community. Our friends and family live hundreds of miles away and we barely get to see most of them, not since having DS (15mo). So I bloody well will let loose and just have a party for the sake of it.

I got married last year at a registry office, no honeymoon, I wore a cocktail dress, only invited 10 guests to wedding and party afterwards (meal in a restaurant).. came in at well under £1000 but extended family/friends were a bit miffed they weren't invited, I didn't want to spend loads but did want to get married. Part of me thinks its a shame we couldn't have had a bigger one, but the other half of me had the best day ever and probably would've had found the usual type of wedding quite stressful.

MerylStrop Wed 16-Jan-13 19:24:33

You can easily get married for under £10k. Why spend so much to make something MORE like everyone else's?

I reckon the amount spent on a wedding has an inverse correlation to the length & happiness of the marriage. Not strictly scientific that but you get the drift.

If they can't manage a wedding on what they can afford, they are perhaps not mature enough to be making lifelong commitments.

Scheherezade Wed 16-Jan-13 19:29:48

We have a spreadsheet with budget, for 100 guests (everyone is invited to the whole day) it's looking at 4k. I have booked/paid for my dress, underwear, veil, shoes, grooms suit, venue hire, church, bridesmaids dresses (£20 reduced from £50 in the January sales), cake, day and evening food and drink.

The only thing we're not yet sure of is flowers and decorations - we've made a rough guess at that. But my theme is edwardian village fete/garden party, so I'm only having a very small posy of forget me nots as a bouquet, I'm having fresh flowers as a tiara because I've always wanted that, bridesmaids wearing flower head circlets. Button hole for groom and best (wo)man - as his best man is a girl.

Scheherezade Wed 16-Jan-13 19:30:48

I say cake - my MoH is making the cake, and cupcakes. Best (wo)man is making the bunting, table cloths and some other decoration.

Spuddybean Wed 16-Jan-13 19:31:38

I agree Meryl. Purely anecdotally - i went to 2 weddings which were way over the top (one was £25k shock and the cake was 7st!!) and both were divorced within a year. My 1st wedding was about 8k and we were divorced within 2! My recent wedding was about 3k and i'm hoping i get at least 15 good years out of it wink

Scheherezade Wed 16-Jan-13 19:43:58

How many years would 5k get me? Am hoping at least 5 - we're buying our first house right now, and I want to make sure I get enough of DPs assets in the divorce ;)

rhondajean Wed 16-Jan-13 20:08:10

I should say first, I loathe and detest weddings, people overstuffed into airless rooms, bored bored bored, just like every other one you have ever been to, and 8 times out of 10 some poor woman who's life has peaked at that point.

But even if I was the biggest possible fan of them, I wouldn't be able to understand what those of logic would let people who don't yet have a secure home spend a small fortune on a PARTY. Because at the end of the day, that's all it is.

Im a massive fan of marraige, but it can be done for £200!

MerylStrop Wed 16-Jan-13 20:12:08

Scheherazade. £5k and under, AND you can afford it, AND you're clearly level headed. Ergo, for keeps.

squoosh Wed 16-Jan-13 20:13:37

I reckon the amount spent on a wedding has an inverse correlation to the length & happiness of the marriage.

Only if the money spent exceeds the money available to the couple without getting themselves into debt. I don't really like identikit £10,000 weddings but I also don't like the Smuggie McSmuggingtons who proudly annouce that their wedding cost £3.50, and the guests shared one cup of tea and a bag of frazzles between them.

There's nothing wrong with wanting to throw a big, fun, flash party if you can afford it.

expatinscotland Wed 16-Jan-13 20:16:42

YABU. £10,000?! Price of license, possibly chuch hire, rings from a pawn shop or QVC, perhaps a new frock and/or suit, dinner afterwards for family. Job done.

MerylStrop Wed 16-Jan-13 20:16:42

Squoosh I don't mean anyone to my comment entirely seriously, though there is some empirical evidence of it's truth amongst my friends.

The third sentence of my post though, definitely in dead earnest.

squoosh Wed 16-Jan-13 20:47:32

I agree, who wants to start married life owing thousands. Nope.

As I said before the planning of a wedding seems exhausting, I'll wait till I've reached J-Lo levels of wealth and divadom and have a servant arrange it all for me.

Scheherezade Wed 16-Jan-13 20:56:33

tbf we intended to use our money on a house, but since moving into this little rural village, getting heavily involved in community and church (am good friends with the vicar and the curate's family), plus the offer of £6 per hour for the hall, then getting a large back payment, we decided to just go for it! We're also buying a house at the same time. The vicar has offered us a house belonging to the church to rent in the meantime if we want it, for over £100pm less than the previous tenants.

We've managed to have the wedding we want, affordably. My dress is a one off design sample - they only made one as far as I am aware and it was less than half the price had it gone into production. And it's v.different and I love it smile

schoolgovernor Wed 16-Jan-13 23:34:01

"choolgovernor, you can't get a job at 17 now, at least, not a paid one. You have to get into debt to the ponzi scheme that is now "education". Also you can't buy a house without at least 20% deposit, which is over 32k on average.

Looking up what a 17 year old might be earning in this day and age I found:

"The minimum wage for a 17 year old is £3.57. You will generally be lucky to get much more then that because at 17 you will not have the qualifications or experience for most of the better paid jobs."

That's about £7.7k per year. So on saving a third, even "religiously", this would mean about 13 years. Of course by then the houses will be even more expensive.
the 17 year old will be 30 and starting to worry about all those hysterical (pun intended) Daily Mail articles about declining fertility after 30...

When will old farts realise they are not better than young people, just lucked out when Thatcher sold off the council houses for peanuts?

(disclaimer: I am an old fart and regularly tut at genuinely sloppy or lazy behaviour by people of all ages and reserve the right to do so) "

Problem with those calculations is that they might start off on minimum wage for a 17 year old, but it will increase. Even agency cleaners can earn double that. Given the number of parents on here who think it's unreasonable to charge a realistic rate to youngsters living at home then I'm sure some have even more opportunity to save than we old farts did. However, look around at lifestyles, the majority patently don't save at anything like the rate they could.

To buy a council house for peanuts you had to first be living in it. Personally, I wasn't...

Anyway, any young couple contemplating spending £10k or more on a wedding (as most of my friends' children seem to) obviously have no worries about raising deposits do they? If they did they wouldn't be so stupid to piss that sort of sum up the wall on a big dress and wedding favours surely... grin

Lavenderhoney Thu 17-Jan-13 05:29:53

I remember being flummoxed at being asked if I was sending save the date cards as well as invites. It was just another cost and seemed silly to me- we sent out invites in good time. I remember looking at the brides mags and realising it was just advertising and chucked it. It just seemed like hello with pricessmile

For favours, my dh and I didn't want to but mil insisted as its traditional. So we bought a favours pack online( almonds, little bags and ribbons) to be made up and had it delivered to her. We forgot to give them out so did it next day.

Our wedding day and night was lovely, but it's the next day everyone loved as it was so relaxed. Massive family party with buffet tables and drinks , everyone from families, friends, kids everywheresmile

I love a wedding. It's a chance to see family and cement our connections. And have a laugh at auntie barby getting tiddly on a glass of bubbly and dancing with the youngest most handsome man there. She was 80 and insisted. " it might be my last chance young man"

My dm also enjoyed the smell of the herbal cigarettes some of the more Bohemian guest had on the terrace late at nightsmile so relaxing...

Mimishimi Thu 17-Jan-13 06:14:59

Bluer: You mean that Pavee style wedding as depicted on that TV show right? Can't imagine other traveller communities putting off their marriage for that long - not least because you are definitely not supposed to luve together before marriage. I do wonder if that show has somewhat contributed to a desire for bigger weddings among the gorgies .. grin..even though it's still pretty unrepresentative of how most people in the traveller community get married.

Beveridge Thu 17-Jan-13 06:35:48

Wow. Ten grand IS seen as a pretty restrained amount to spend on a wedding here (NE Scotland) but I believe Scottish weddings average spend always was higher than UK average. We spent just under 10k, (refuse to count cost of rings as they are for life, not just a day!) and don' t think either DH and I were princessy about it!

Yes we did go down the hotel route but it was a local 3 star and we tweaked the menu which made the per head cheaper but presenting the averAge Scot with a finger buffet at a wedding will likely end in tears as something has to soak up the booze!

We also wanted a good ceilidh/dance band and that' s not cheap but it helped make the night.Parents chipped in, we cut a few corners and paid the rest ourselves but we already had a house so we weren't setting ourselves up for crippling debt (or any in fact)

Our choice, not for everyone but it was amazing to have a big doo and have all our favourite people in one room.And you can' t beat a big Scottish wedding-they become the stuff of legend and you never tire of talking about the really good ones! I believe it is a definite cultural marker - I have to been to an (gasp) English wedding and was struck by themmore low key nature of it all!

CheerfulYank Thu 17-Jan-13 06:52:29

Congrats Spuddy!

I had a fairly fancy wedding for about 5000 pounds. Had appetizers rather than a full meal, booked a lodge that was not usually used for weddings, bought a bunch of booze and just had a bartender friend serve it til it was gone.

It was fairly fantastic actually smile

My best friend got married in a courthouse when she was 21. They couldn't afford anything....she got a pretty but cheap dress and had a small number of guests over for some nibbles. She's still happily married ten years later.

Lueji Thu 17-Jan-13 07:22:35

Were weddings ever within reach of young people?
They have always traditionally been paid by the family.

And you can get affordable weddings.
Just set a budget and work towards that.
Many people have simple weddings and don't spend fortunes on the dress.

If you don't have the money, then, no, you can't have "everything".
That has always been the case.

curryeater Thu 17-Jan-13 09:52:20

Lueji is right, weddings were traditionally between broke young people starting out and the bride's parents paid for them and the wedding gifts enabled them to set up home. I think all the people saying "the money would be better spent on a deposit for a house" are talking about the traditional function of wedding presents, rather than the wedding itself.
I don't think weddings are relatively more expensive, it would be traditional to invite every single family friend and relative and they not pay a penny - because it was part of family life that by the time you had adult children this would be the way you would have an excuse for a massive family party, basically.

schoolgovernor - whether or not you were living in a council house, the release of all that stock onto the housing market made it a once-and-never-again buyers' market. It's all gone now and houses are blisteringly expensive relative to salaries. There is no point getting all bitter about twenty year olds with iphones when you had to use yoghurt pots and string, etc etc because the coupld of hundred spent on an iphone is worth bugger all compared to the cost of university (without which you cannot even apply for a job) and the cost of the crappy little flat you aspire to one day buy, well into your thirties. A 17 year old on minimum wage, let's face it, is at best going to go onto adult minimum wage. And do you have any idea how many young people - with degrees - have to work for free? I know it looks like they are all having such fun with their apple gadgets and alcopops and funny looking hair and trousers down their arses. But the reality if you are young now is pretty shit and I just want to stand up for them in the face of all this Harold Bishop-esque jowl-flobbling.

LaCiccolina Thu 17-Jan-13 09:55:34

Read thread. Lots of great points just can't get past the stonking word 'becoming' in op post.

Becoming? It went past it about 20yrs ago unless just ceremony!

squoosh Thu 17-Jan-13 11:05:48

Well Beveridge I personally find that Scottish weddings are very low key in comparison to Irish weddings. Scottish weddings end at midnight/1am!

I was so surprised!

FellatioNels0n Thu 17-Jan-13 11:19:27

Oh God Hully PLEEEEAAAASE tell me every post you've made on this thread is a wind up, and not just the one about tonal sashes. Please, I beg of you.

atthewelles Thu 17-Jan-13 11:21:17

Irish weddings are torture. They start at about 1pm and go on until about 4pm. A huge percentage of that time is spent hanging around outside the church waiting for the couple to have loads of photographs taken before they leave for the hotel; then hanging around the hotel for hours, starving to death, while the couple have another ten thousand photos taken; then hanging around after the meal while the room is set up for 'the band'. The band usually seem to think they're playing in Wembley Stadium so no conversation whatsoever is possible once they start.

atthewelles Thu 17-Jan-13 11:21:48

Sorry, they go on until 4 am not pm.

THERhubarb Thu 17-Jan-13 11:29:30

Of course everything is better is Scotland is it not? Reminds me of the Harry and Paul pisstake of the Scotsman in an English pub.

Again it's all about expectations. We live in a marketed world now. Adverts are everywhere; on Facebook, on iPods, newspapers, TV, bus shelters, internet, email accounts, etc. Almost everything that young people are into are taken over by ads. And these ads tell us what we need, what we should be wearing, listening to, eating, liking, watching and talking about.

All these ads give people a false sense of how the other half live. This raises expectations and they suddenly find themselves in a competition to have the best wedding, the best dress, the most guests because surely that's what most people do now isn't it?

Our grandparents got married in a church, wearing a gown passed down the family with just a few close family and friends present and then a small buffet would be prepared in the Church Hall.

Our parents still went for the church wedding but this time it was a little more grand with perhaps a new wedding dress that would be converted into a Christening gown for the first baby. Friends and family still provided things like the cake and buffet food and the reception was most likely held in either a Church hall or the local working mans club.

Children now feel as though they should provide a day to remember with no expense spared because they don't want anyone to think that they are tight or broke. There are Wedding Open Days in most hotels, wedding websites and wedding magazines to tell you what you need and how much it will cost and of course everyone is out to milk the average wedding for all it is worth.

And there's no point in sitting them down and telling them that it doesn't need to be this way because they will have been invited to super posh wedding themselves by friends and will feel the need to reciprocate, otherwise what on earth would their friends think of them?

So we might have been able to keep the cost of our weddings down but that is not what our children will want. They don't want a budget wedding, they want to be like everyone else and have an expensive wedding with all the trimmings.

squoosh Thu 17-Jan-13 11:41:56

I love Irish weddings! I've never had to hang around whilst the couple are having their photos taken.

Thumbwitch Thu 17-Jan-13 11:51:26

Yes but you're assuming these people have very sheep-like tendencies, Rhubarb, and feel the need to conform. Thankfully there are plenty of people who don't (goatlike! grin) and I have been to all sorts of weddings, from enormously expensive (yes, the 3 most expensive weddings I went to were the 3 shortest-lived marriages! it does work...) to back garden barbecue, pretty much (still going strong).

I'm actually a bit of a sucker for a wedding, and have only really been bored at one, where half the guests were business colleagues of the father - they all left before the evening entertainment, and no new people came because everyone had been invited to the whole thing, so it all got pretty jaded by about 10pm (and I was there with quite a few good friends too!)

AnEventfulEvening Thu 17-Jan-13 11:58:18

Anyone see Celebrity Wedding Planner last night?

Budget £12k.
They had a helicopter.
AND an Aston Martin.

AnEventfulEvening Thu 17-Jan-13 11:58:42

oh AND a Horse and carriage.

atthewelles Thu 17-Jan-13 12:06:39

Seriously Squoosh? That is my abiding memory of most of the weddings I've been to - the bride and groom disappearing for ages to have zillions of photos taken.

ComposHat Thu 17-Jan-13 12:15:40

yep photos photos always photos . hours of the things. 'can we have all the bride's family who have brown eyes, a pet cat and and two or more vowels in their middle name in this shot please.

Everyone else stands around bored out of their tiny minds. for this reason there will be no photographer at our wedding. We feel that expecting people yo stand around for hours bored and hungry to be rude in the extreme.

THERhubarb Thu 17-Jan-13 12:22:46

I am a cynic Thumbwitch and all around me I just see people trying to conform. Everyone has to have the latest gadget. People are up at 6am on Boxing Day to be first at the sales. Parents will do anything to get their child the latest must-have toy for Christmas.
I am pleased there are still exceptions but I reckon the majority of people succumb to the pressure to conform. Those around you may not as we choose our friends who generally live the same kind of lives we do.

My brothers and sisters all had the same 90s kind of weddings with large permed hair, blancmange dresses, dozens of similarly attired bridesmaids and all had their receptions in the Church hall with a hired DJ and a buffet.

I've been to other weddings including church weddings and hotel weddings and most were a drag. They didn't feel personal, they felt formal and staged.

Actually there was one, he had been wed before and they had their reception at a local cricket club. The food was provided by family, I think there was a band and the families knew how to have a good time. It wasn't a wedding that took itself seriously at all, it was a celebration and I think that's what missing with many weddings. They are all too caught up with tradition and formality and pleasing everyone that they forget they are supposed to celebrate. Hence the bride and groom are the ones still sober who retire early, shattered after their stressful day.

atthewelles Thu 17-Jan-13 12:38:06

I agree with Rhubarb. An awful lot of weddings seem to be about ticking boxes with a checklist compiled from all the other weddings the bride has been to. Fair enough, if that's what you want and you can afford it.
But it is sad to see people putting off getting married for years because they can't afford expensive chair covers and a four course meal for 150 guests and three bridesmaids etc. or getting themselves into huge debt to pay for these things.
There are lots of ways to make the day special without spending an absolutel fortune. But loads of people seem to feel a wedding day won't be a proper event if they don't spend thousands of pounds on making it identical to every other wedding the guests have been to.

squoosh Thu 17-Jan-13 12:39:58

atthewelles the bride and groom go off to have their photos taken but it doesn't interfere with the other guests enjoyment as far as I'm aware. Normally happens at the venue so people are busy chatting and mingling.

I don't need the bride and groom in my line of sight at all times in order to hav a good time. The photo thing only bores me if I'm actually in the wedding party.

SaladIsMyFriend Thu 17-Jan-13 12:40:00

I agree totally with Rhubarb too. I advise anyone who mentions getting married to go to Vegas and just do it, and have a lovely holiday at the same time.

CaseyShraeger Thu 17-Jan-13 12:41:27

We had a grand total of five formal group photos taken at our wedding (there wasn't room to fit everyone in one photo so we had all the male guests then all the female guests; then we had the whole wedding party, both immediate families together, and both sets of parents together), and popped out later during dinner to have a couple of posed photos (two setups and about four photographs) of the two of us together. No one had to stand around bored or hungry.

squoosh Thu 17-Jan-13 12:42:20

I agree that people are too conformist when it comes to weddings. Strong, opinionated people become oddly submissive to the Big Book of Wedding Rules. It's nice to see people mix it up.

squoosh Thu 17-Jan-13 12:42:53

Love to elope, definitely not to Vegas though. Ugh.

atthewelles Thu 17-Jan-13 12:47:45

It does kind of interfere with your enjoyment though Squoosh if you have to hang around outside the Church in the cold for ages waiting for them to leave, or are nearly falling over with hunger and trying not to drink too much while waiting for the meal to begin.
I was at one wedding where they provided canapes and some piano playing while the photos were being taken, and that was nice.

squoosh Thu 17-Jan-13 12:51:05

If that's been your experience well then yes I'm sure it did interfere with your enjoyment of the day. Personally, it hasn't been my experience at any of the weddings I've attended. Guests shuttled off to venue after wedding, wedding party left behind with photographer.

atthewelles Thu 17-Jan-13 12:54:21

That makes sense Squoosh. Most weddings I've been at, the guests seem to be expected to wait until the bride and groom leave before following them to the hotel where they again disappear for yet more photos.
A lot of guests now don't bother going directly to the hotel but head off somewhere for coffee and cake to keep them going until the meal is ready to be served.

Spuddybean Thu 17-Jan-13 13:54:31

With regards to the poster above who didn't send save the date cards. Neither did we on my 1st wedding. We thought we'd just call people and let them know, then send the proper invitations out 6 wks before the wedding. The entire dad's side of my family threw a strop and arranged a bbq on the day of my wedding, saying that as they hadn't had 'official' save the date cards they didn't think they were invited (despite the phone calls telling them that they were 6 months earlier). So none came because they were having a bbq in their garden. So let that be a cautionary tale for everyone, my family didn't attend my wedding because we didn't send save the date cards...or because they are cunts, you decide.

Thumbwitch Thu 17-Jan-13 13:55:53

That's fair enough, Rhubarb - I have to admit that I've been to a fair few "personal" weddings, including my own, where there were standout events that just made that wedding different and special without trying to, you know? Just things that were personal to the couple getting married. My own "special event" was organised by my best mate, who took on the role of MoH despite me not having any attendants - and it was a fantastic surprise, and hilarious.

The most boring ones were the most expensive, that's for sure.

oldandcrabby Thu 17-Jan-13 16:29:15

My friend's daughter got married this summer. Ok it was her second one but it was done on a shoe string: Registry office, hog roast and home made salads and puddings in parents's garden, even the elderflower champagne was home made, the real champagne with the cake, which was decorated by MIL. The dress and DD's bridesmaid's dress was from ebay and her flowers were jasmine and old man's beard buds from my garden. There were as many children as adults and they really enjoyed themselves so did the two families, even the millionairess aunt. Cost £500? The honeymoon was camping in Cornwall. The couple had just moved into a new house, wanted to celebrate with their familes and friends but had their priorities clear. It was a wedding I shall remember more than posh ones in glittering venues.

TheBrideofMucky Thu 17-Jan-13 16:37:38

I don't understand why an expensive wedding is automatically a boring one. I had been to lots of inexpensive weddings and lots of expensive ones. Most were boring as weddings tend to be. But some had good food and nice views. grin

Surely the more money at your disposal, the more options you have. You can make something personal and original whatever your budget. Saying expensive weddings are boring doesn't make sense and just sounds a bit bitter. Be happy with your choices, whatever they are, there is no need to run down anyone else's.

atthewelles Thu 17-Jan-13 16:50:49

But the reason a lot of wedding receptions are expensive is because the couple are following some format and trying to have everything the same as the weddings they've been to over the years. Fine, if that's what they want and they can afford it. But personally I prefer weddings that have some spark of creativity or originality to them and, in my experience, that is more likely to happen when people aren't spending a lot of money and have to rely on their imagination to make the day special.

QueenStromba Thu 17-Jan-13 17:06:14

What I have in mind for my wedding (if it ever happens) should come to about a grand. I'm thinking less than £100 for a proper wedding dress from ebay, about the same for silver rings (I hate gold), print invites ourselves on nice stationary and post for about £50 (most of that is the stamps!), supermarket cake, £200 for a late afternoon slot at our lovely local registry office, reception in one of our local pubs (no hire charge) with £3-400 of bar snacks put on and a couple of hundred on fizz. DP needs a new suit anyway so I'm not including that in the costs. We'd probably chuck an extra grand behind the bar though which would double the cost of the wedding smile

We could spend £10k on an identikit wedding in a hotel but it really wouldn't be us and seems like a massive waste of money that could go towards a house.

Scheherezade Thu 17-Jan-13 17:43:04

Hog roasts are actually very expensive, we looked at having one and it was far too pricey, not that much difference from having professional caterers.

squoosh Thu 17-Jan-13 17:47:49

Oh yeah, hog roasts certainly aren't a cheap option.

I think they're so overrated anyway.

marriedinwhite Thu 17-Jan-13 19:36:45

I seem to recall that alongside love there were three significant reasons for getting married:

The avoidance of sin
The procreation of children
Mutual comfort.

We switched avoidance of sin and mutual comfort.

Love and permanence is what the marriage is about. It costs very little.

The party is another matter and not entirely necessary - or not in the form recommended by wedding planners.

Just thought it needed saying.

The best bit of our wedding were the promises before God and their irrevocable nature as well as the blessing of the rings, covered with the priest's stole. That's why my doesn't come off - it might break the magic.

>>as you were<<

QueenStromba Thu 17-Jan-13 20:28:09

You've forgotten the not insignificant legal and financial benefits marriedinwhite, which are my reasons for wanting to marry my DP. At the moment my estranged family could turn up if I was dead or incapacitated and completely exclude DP, they could even legally remove all of my personal possessions from our flat after my death leaving him without a single tangible item to remember me by. It's very important to me that DP is my legal next of kin because half of my family are so bloody crazy that they might just do this.

The financial reasons to get married are things like spouses being entitled to half of the other's pension in the event of their death - I hate to think of either of us going through the grief of losing the other and having to deal with a massively reduced income at the same time. There's also the issue of inheritance tax. If you own a house together and each will your half to the other then you could end up with a massive inheritance tax bill.

Scheherezade Thu 17-Jan-13 20:35:06

That's very odd you say that married because I recall you saying you would strike a couple off your Christmas card list and never speak to them again if the party at a wedding wasn't acceptable to you.....

marriedinwhite Thu 17-Jan-13 20:41:14

Not quite the reason *sheherezade*. But I forgive you for not remembering the precise facts. It wasn't the party that wasn't acceptable it was their entire lack of courtesy and the lack of focus on the parts of the day that were important. I seem to recall we were invited to an evening party; told we were excluded from the wedding breakfast but it would be great if we went to the church to which we were not formally invited and then expected to spend from 3pm until 8pm killing time.

I think they wanted to give the impression of a grand wedding with lots of guests but couldn't be bothered to look after them for the rest of the day.

They are off my Xmas card list; they did not look after my MIL (they expected us to do that when we weren't invited to the wedding) and they excluded us from part of their day. Not what a wedding is about in my opinon.

Thumbwitch Fri 18-Jan-13 00:03:34

TheBride - I don't know if you were aiming your comments at me, but I certainly don't assume that expensive wedding = boring. It's just my experience of weddings that that has been the case so far.

hzsouthwell Sat 06-Dec-14 23:10:46

We had a beautiful wedding with a three course sit down meal for under £10k for 108 people.... You just can't do it in a hotel... Or buy a £3k wedding dress!!! (however this did include a bit band splurge!!!)

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