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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Groovee Fri 26-Apr-13 16:57:43

Mine was £6K but it was 15 years ago. Full sit down meal and a good day. Though if I did it again or was to go back... I'd disappear with my gran and 2 friends and do it without my dad's family there.

SantanaLopez Fri 26-Apr-13 16:57:50

Ha, I thought you meant just £30 grin

Groovee Fri 26-Apr-13 16:58:03

oh and we had 100 during the day and 220 at night.

expatinscotland Fri 26-Apr-13 16:58:16

Why not get married at a registry office, then have a knees up in a pub or Brewer's Fayre type place afterwards?

wonderingsoul Fri 26-Apr-13 16:59:32

do a registary office and book a reasurant. (even if you have to book the whole place..which i think would be wuite nice to really) would be far cheap imagine

justmuddlingalong Fri 26-Apr-13 17:00:06

Registry office, 12 guests, about £1200 all in. Fantastic day.

I was going to suggest registry office then taking over a restaurant. You'll be able to negotiate a fixed price set menu with a few choices and it will be a lot cheaper not being subjected to the wedding tax!

IloveJudgeJudy Fri 26-Apr-13 17:00:26

We got married over 20 years ago. Can't remember exactly how much we paid, but we did have it at a lovely venue - a village hall in beautiful surroundings. We paid a caterer and bought our own drink.

Perhaps you could find somewhere like that instead of paying an absolute fortune to a venue just for the hire?

Cross posted wonderingsoul - great minds!

Tailtwister Fri 26-Apr-13 17:01:05

The very best wedding I've ever been to was one I suspect was quite low budget. The ceremony was a civil one and took place in a lovely hall in a school and the reception was in the local church hall. Friends and family came a day early and helped do all the decoration. Caterers were brought in and we ate at trestle tables. It was lovely to be included in the preparations (a real privilege actually) and knocked spots off all the big traditional weddings I've been to.

SantanaLopez Fri 26-Apr-13 17:01:07

Are there any church halls about you? My friends hired one with a lovely little garden for photos and then for wee ones to run about in, and then all they had to sort was catering. It wasn't a stately home, but it was clean and cheap. Plus take strategically placed pictures and no one knows any better!

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

hired a wedding dress
family member made bridesmaids dresses
family member made cake
friend drove us
got cheap as chips photographer (who actually looks at their wedding photos?)
dh hired morning suits from somewhere cheap like greenwoods
went to local 1970's hotel and had sit down meal and cheesy disco -

everyone said it was great

Tailtwister Fri 26-Apr-13 17:05:03

Forgot to say that lots of people contributed things for the wedding. The bride made her own dress, a relative made the cake, a friend took the photos (plus we all sent in the ones we had taken and there were a few very good ones). It was personal and lovely and really showed how much the couple were loved. Very emotional (wipes away a tear).

orangeclock Fri 26-Apr-13 17:05:33

Sorry the title should say £30k plus not £30!

Thank you for all the suggestions so far. I do want somewhere very lovely and elegant as a venue so happy to spend a bit. Just not to extremes!

AlnwickRose Fri 26-Apr-13 17:06:44

10 years ago. About 3k. 15 people.

orangeclock Fri 26-Apr-13 17:06:53

Would love to hear about actual names of lovely inexpensive venues too please! We live in London but happy to wed in town or country.

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

Dont spend a fortune, its crazy IMO.

20 years ago married DH, local registry office, party back at our flat , caterers for amazing food and drink. Best day ever. Total spend £1000 including new dress and suit that he still wears ( mine does not fit and would look a bit stupid now TBH!!!!). Home made cake, decorations and invites, no photographer, drove ourselves to Reg office and back.

absentmindeddooooodles Fri 26-Apr-13 17:07:50

All the venues I looked at were offering the sit down meal (3 course) for a max of £30 a head including drinks! Saying that, welcome drinks were extra and overnight accommodation was too albeit at a discounted rate. These venues ranged from really nice hotels by the sea, to stately homes and farms! My budget is £5000 and I've managed to get exclusive full weekend use of a beautiful farm, a big hog roast and buffet. For 200 people.Kitted out 6 grooms men in Cornish kilts, 5 bridesmaids, 2 ushers, 3 flowe girls and a page boy. Plus my dress, a band, dj, loads of other entertainment, cake and transport. Also favours invites etc. dear god did it take some looking around, and a lot of home made touches but it really can be done!!!! Where abouts are you? If I'd gone for the sit down meal option for my 200 in Cornwall, a nice venue would have set me back around 7000 all in. I think the wedding overall would have been around 9000. If you play a few people off each other (photographers etc) you can get some really discounted rates! Sorry for rambling, am in total wedding planning mode today haha. I hope you have a lovely lovely day whatever you end up doing.

AThingInYourLife Fri 26-Apr-13 17:09:03

I was thinking this was classic MN - unwilling to part with 30 quid to get married grin

theoriginalandbestrookie Fri 26-Apr-13 17:10:28

Goodness we paid £10k 7 years ago and that was in a posh hotel for around 100 people.

Don't go mid week whatever you do. It's a massive pain for people to get to the wedding and will involve them taking 2-3 days off work.

We went to our friends wedding recently and it was lovely, done on a real budget. They held the reception in a community hall and had a catered hog roast. The DH is a real ale fiend so they bought in some casks and set up a bar. Friends provided desserts ( that the children all made a dash for as they didn't really like the hog roast)

I sense that is not for your, but don't get attached to the having it in an expensive.It will cost an arm and a leg for your guests to stay there and bar drinks will be extortionate.

It is a big day and it's important that you have the right wedding for you, but at the end of the day the main thing is that all your friends and family are together and that you are getting married.

Tailtwister Fri 26-Apr-13 17:10:30

I would say that choose which parts of the wedding are the most important to you and then spend the money there. There are always ways to cut costs and you can do that by calling in favours. You would be amazed the hidden talents your friends and family may have. Someone's bound to have a posh car you can use (wedding cars are extortionate and are used for such a short time) and a bespoke dress is often cheaper than something off the peg!

mrsjay Fri 26-Apr-13 17:10:31

Ha, I thought you meant just £30

so did I I was like what eh thats a bit stingy.

fwiw I think 20k is way over the top for a wedding scale it down imo

theoriginalandbestrookie Fri 26-Apr-13 17:11:38

We could set an MN £30 wedding challenge - see who can find the cheapest wedding dress on E-bay that's wearable !

ipswitch Fri 26-Apr-13 17:11:40

Oh and I lost my amature wedding photos some years ago ??? in a house move, never thought about them for 10+ years so no point getting stressed about loosing them somewhere.

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

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

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

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

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

10k including honeymoon for 50 guests.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good luck!

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

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

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

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

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

£20K is a lot.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My veil: £50 from Etsy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cake: M&S job, £180.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lolapink Fri 26-Apr-13 17:34:06

Mine was 5k 4 months ago, it was in a hotel on Windsor and we had 60 guests. We had on a week day so got 20 percent discount.

It's the guest numbers that make the difference - £100/head all in isn't extortionate.

That said, a local sports club like a rugby club or football club might have a big venue with kitchens.

Someone I know got the local college to cater her wedding and hired a hall - they were delighted because it was such good practice for the catering students. They did it at cost plus a small donation so it worked out at under £20/head. They then did a soft drinks / booze run to the cash & carry and everyone was steaming well provided for.

PiHigh Fri 26-Apr-13 17:34:10

We got married in a church in the Lakes, had traditional cars, photographer, groom/best man/ushers in top hat & tails, my dress was about £600 iirc, 3 course sit down meal in a hotel afterwards and then a buffet in the evening plus a disco. We saved money by having a friend of the family do the church flowers and my sister did the cake. We had 70 guests plus some more for the evening only and I think the total cost of the wedding was about 6k.

LaQueen Fri 26-Apr-13 17:34:19

Oh, and saved money on our wedding cake - just bought the plain, white iced fruit cakes from M&S, and positioned them on a fancy tiered cake-stand, and decorated it by putting my wedding posy on the top tier.

Neither of us like wedding cake, and thought they were a huge rip off - we were quoted £700+ [shocked]

ChocsAwayInMyGob Fri 26-Apr-13 17:34:49

We got married 8 years for 8k and had 150 guests. We got married at 3pm in a nice hotel and had the reception and evening do there.

I saved us money by ignoring the hotel menu. It was £30 a head for a very boring meal. I said "instead of your menu, we will pay £20 a head for a hot buffet". Rather than lose the business they agreed. We also brought in our own wine and Cava and just paid corkage. Instead of floral arrangements at the tables which would have cost £600 we had Helium balloons. It cost about £60.

We didn't bother with bridal favours, or a wedding car (since I got ready at the hotel). We didn't have bridesmaids, or champagne. We allowed kids, and put a Poundland gift at every place that child was sitting at.

You can definitely do it for under £30k and have quite a swanky wedding!

KittyAndTheFontanelles Fri 26-Apr-13 17:34:49

Mine was £6000 2 years ago. Live ska band flown over from Jamaica, party on a boat for 100, my dress, his bespoke suit, wedding breakfast for 40. grin

My dress was 1200 so the most expensive item grin

Binkybix Fri 26-Apr-13 17:34:51

I love Ian Stuart dresses - 2 of his were in my final 3. They are beautiful.

orangeclock Fri 26-Apr-13 17:35:07

sooperdooper, where did you travel to? Wedding in the sun does sound tempting. Did you pay for guests to fly or did they cover that themselves?

cheeseandchive Fri 26-Apr-13 17:37:45

We got married last year, had about 150 people and spent about £14k. Some of the things we did;

- fed everybody once rather than some people once and some twice.
- Had canapes, hog-roast and cupcakes for meal. We paid for an arrival drink and toast drink and everything else was cash bar. Had cakes in the evening for people to eat.
- Had cakes for guests after service then canapes at reception. That seemed to tide everyone over till mid-afternoon!
- Sparkling wine instead of champagne.
- Groomsmen all wore own shirts/ties.
- My dress was £150 - £60 for actual dress at vintage fair and then £90 for alterations
- Friends drove us to and from wedding/hotel etc
- Relatives did bouquets, button holes and vases of flowers. Friends then brought a vase each from ceremony to reception to double up!
- Used candles as centrepieces rather than flowers
- Went to MAC and spent money on make-up rather than make-up artist on the day. Spent a bit of time practicing at home and meant I had it for honeymoon too.
- Paid for a consultation at hairdresser (about £30) to show me how to do my own hair - a friend then practiced with me and did it on the day for free.

Sounds a bit miserly but it wasn't - we picked a beautiful venue but just made sure we didn't spend money unnecessarily. Recognise that you can't spend money on everything, choose the things you want to prioritise and enjoy it and then get creative with everything else.

I'm getting married in September, near where we live in Sussex. It's costing £15k.

I'm getting the vibe that the OP isn't actually interested in how you can get married without spending enough to feed and house a family for a year.....hmm

superbagpuss Fri 26-Apr-13 17:40:17

we got married in a golf course that didn't have a wedding package and only allowed members to use the facilities - thank you friend of a friend - hot food dinner but in buffet style meant everyone got dinner and pudding and the only difference was they had to get it themselves saved at least twenty pounds a head. full wedding in church, dinner for 96 people, lots more in evening and live band for less then eight thousand. it can be done

HiggsBoson Fri 26-Apr-13 17:40:21

I'm with you NL. Madness. How do people find all this money?

Woofers Fri 26-Apr-13 17:40:46

We paid £16k.
Local church - I walked!
Marquee within walking distance from church.
Out door catering for meal and evening buffet
Live band
Face painter and magician
Pay bar - saved a lot there! Was 100 for that as they took their profits.
Bulk buy wine and champers - tescos crates on offer. 1 red 1 white1 sparkling for each table of 8.
We had180 to the day and total of 250 at night

We didn't have a honeymoon, but went away for two nights to a local hotel. £ 250

Photographer was the biggest expense and if I was to do it again is pay the same for the photographer. £1200

Best bargain was face painter £50 for 2 hours. All the guests young and old loved it.

We made our own invites and orders of service. And table plan was on a washing line. Cake was home made and the florist did a cheap cake topper. I used some lace from my dress to decorate the middle tear.

cheeseandchive Fri 26-Apr-13 17:41:08

Just seen your bit about getting married later in the day - we got married at 1pm, then had cake afterwards. Then there were lovely canapes at the reception and dinner was at about 5/6pm. That way we only needed to feed people once, and no-one complained of being hungry! Try and feed people one main meal and then supplement it with something either side that they can pick at.

HiggsBoson Fri 26-Apr-13 17:42:18

But 14/15/16K is still crazy!

£1K would be our limit I reckon :-/

quoteunquote Fri 26-Apr-13 17:42:43

Hire a village hall (£50), hire a Ceilidh Band and caller(£300), tell everyone to bring a plate of food(potluck style) and a bottle rather than a present (£300 spend yourself), and what time to be at the registry office (£50)for your "dress down wedding" and then take your family on an unforgettable special holiday, if you want to spend that kind of budget.

African safari, whale watching, something amazing.

cathers Fri 26-Apr-13 17:43:17

It doesn't surprise me that estimates are 30k for 200 people.
We got married 12 years ago now and had only 80 people in a country house, canapés, course meal and drinks ( 5 glasses) , and in itself, that was about £6000. Without anything else. Our total cost was just shy of £20k.

LaQueen Fri 26-Apr-13 17:44:26

Binky I know they're ruinously expensive...but, I tried one on, and I was lost... smile

KansasCityOctopus Fri 26-Apr-13 17:44:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Wishiwasanheiress Fri 26-Apr-13 17:45:27

It entirely depends on where u are in country, expectations of that area and requirements. I did 250 sit down for full day ie no night guests. My side of family totalled 85. Dh 30, plus friends, kids etc. my parents assisted. Our county is set up for sit down or was 10yrs ago only. It was nearly impossible to do marquee/BBQ type. I tried. We totalled 25k all inclusive of honeymoon etc too.

You can do what u want but alot of compromising is in order. U need to decide what u will and what u won't compromise on. Then shop around. Work instinctively and ask friends for recommendations. Fb can be v useful!

littlewhitebag Fri 26-Apr-13 17:45:35

We had a huge wedding - church, sit down meal, guests at night with buffet. The total spend was £1000.

It was in 1985 though!!

And i wore a massive meringue blush

orangeclock Fri 26-Apr-13 17:45:45

Thank you, some brilliant ideas and tips here. We'd be happy with a plain m&s cake decorated with fresh flowers too laqueen.

kitty how brilliant flying in a ska band! How did you find them?

LaQueen Fri 26-Apr-13 17:46:28

OP also we got married on a Friday - so got a 20% discount on the venue/food/drinks etc.

kilmuir Fri 26-Apr-13 17:47:10

20k????? no way. downsize, more intimate and have a great holiday/honeymoon

LaQueen Fri 26-Apr-13 17:47:28

Binky did you choose an Ian Stuart dress?

Wishiwasanheiress Fri 26-Apr-13 17:47:33

Mine was church, full trad white using all expectations of older generation and I really worked via what I thought my dad would want and what I grew up wanting. Dh loved the fuss too! smile

Wishiwasanheiress Fri 26-Apr-13 17:50:21

One if final dresses was Ian Stuart! Was red. I dream of it still. I thought dad might die if I did that so had white instead. Dress was his dollar so seemed fair.... Did have massive train though. When I say trad I mean trad! No minimalist and 2 cala lillies. I did full on with roses. Still love that dress....

BigBongTheory Fri 26-Apr-13 17:52:01

I know someone who hired their rowing club club house somewhere near Kingston. Great views and pretty cheap.

DoctorRobert Fri 26-Apr-13 17:55:16

last year, 4k. that was only for 20 guests though.

AnneEyhtMeyer Fri 26-Apr-13 17:57:04

I'm with NorthernLurker.

cornyderpy Fri 26-Apr-13 17:57:12

well I've just googled Ian Stuart wedding dresses out of nosiness and now I feel robbed.

LifeofPo Fri 26-Apr-13 18:04:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

KittyAndTheFontanelles Fri 26-Apr-13 18:07:49

They were in the back of a local events magasine. The lead singer was Jamaican (and 74grin ) and lives in Jamaica, some of the other members live in Britain.

They were show stopping, I'll be honest with you. grin

KittyAndTheFontanelles Fri 26-Apr-13 18:09:01

er magazine I meant blush

cheeseandchive Fri 26-Apr-13 18:12:23

Life, the dressmaker who altered my dress thinks it was actually made out of curtain material! It was an actual dress when I bought it though, so don't know if that counts.

mumofweeboys Fri 26-Apr-13 18:12:26

About 5k all in, 10 years ago.

We had sit down meal for 30 (kept it to aunts and uncles only), then evening reception for 100 plus.

We got married in lovely church so had great photos then went for city hotel as it was cheaper than anywhere else and once inside it was just the same as a posher place.

The food alone was half budget.

If you want somewhere lile stately home your going to be looking towards 10k without food.

Kundry Fri 26-Apr-13 18:21:34

Last year, 30 people, sit down meal, £4K

There are lots of things you can compromise on or just not have but ultimately for your budget you can either have a sit down meal with fewer guests or a buffet with more.

We didn't have hen/stag nights, groom wore suit he can wear again, my dress was £500 as it was sold as a bridesmaids dress which are cheaper. Bestman dressed himself. I made the bridesmaids dresses (all children) - these could have been bought cheaper but were lovely.

Photographer was a bargain at £800 and I would highly recommend them - I nearly fainted at the cost of some other photographers. We didn't have a video which also saved.

Flowers were also a big compromise - stuck to 3 centrepieces plus bouquets for me and bridesmaids and a couple of buttonholes - if I'd had the venue decorated like in the wedding of my dreams it would have been extortionate.

Invites were done by a friend of a friend who was into card making - they looked as if they cost £100s so I'd recommend you start asking if any mates are into this!

Also decided that favours were pointless- another huge saving!

Wedding was lunchtime, promptly followed by sitdown meal with no evening do - if you have to have an evening do and entertainment, the cost will rocket.

Venue was a local hotel/restaurant - so saved on cars by my staying the night so not needing a car! We could have walked down the street to the attractive photo spot but on the day were having so much fun we didn't bother. This would be my main suggestion - when planning the wedding the lovely perfect photogenic venue seemed very important. But on the day being with friends and family was much more important - plus they hate being stranded miles from anywhere while you go off to have photos by the lake or whatever. As long as the venue gets what you want and can provide the quality of meal you are thinking of much of the rest is just window-dressing.

We also didn't have sole use of the venue which I think they like to charge £££ for - it made absolutely no difference to us at all. On the day I was so happy a marching band could have been in the room next door and I wouldn't have noticed.

LynetteScavo Fri 26-Apr-13 18:33:01

I didn't have any flowers, apart form my bouquet and and the bridesmaides bouquets. Mostly due to DH suffering terrible hay fever, and not wanting to set if off. (We got married out of his hey fever season). I think I saved an awful lot of money, and tbh, I don't think we really needed to lavish the venue with flowers/balloons. (balloons were in in the '90's)

The only thing I was (slightly) unhappy with, and wish I'd spent more on was the photographer. I would have liked some natural black and white ones. Just by luck we ended up with one natural one, which the photographer didn't think we'd go for. I have 3 of my wedding photos hanging above my desk, 14 years later, so I think that is something not to scrimp on.

I would't pay out for an expensive band. By then everyone is so sloshed, they have no idea if the music is on an ipod, or the best cover band ever.

MissPB Fri 26-Apr-13 18:47:43

How about here

or here

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I get the feeling you are asking for help looking for venues rather than discussing the whys and wherefores.

Our wedding was around £8k which was ten years ago - we had about 80 guests all day (no evening guests), lovely meal and dancing.

All good fun - really don't buy into the Wedding Industry idea of a wedding they are just trying to get you to part with your money!

Rural pub with a good rep for food & a big garden, marquee - The Perch in Oxford, for instance.

Start looking on Pinterest for ways to put together a relaxed polish to it - wild flowers in jam jars sort of thing.

BallerinaZeena Fri 26-Apr-13 18:56:41

Who cares if 'older family expect' a sit down meal?! It's your day etcetc

And 20k!!! shock So much money. I'd skip the wedding and have a year off and take the whole family travelling!

Sopster Fri 26-Apr-13 18:57:32

We had our reception at The Plough in Leigh, just outside Sevenoaks. Beautiful 16th century barn attached to equally beautiful pub. Can't remember the exact pricing a but was way way cheaper than anywhere else we looked at. Did the whole day for less than10k. It was around 7 years ago.

BeaWheesht Fri 26-Apr-13 19:00:16

Mine was 6k for 70 day guests and another 30 at night. 3 bridesmaids, church wedding, hotel on coast with 3 course meal and buffet And drinks. Got married in borders and 8 years ago. Don't scrimp on anything but didn't go mental eg cake was £350, dress £1000, bridesmaids £100 each etc

30k on a wedding when you have been together so long?

You must have money to burn OP.

Mrsrobertduvall Fri 26-Apr-13 19:04:26

I think it's ridiculous to spend so much on a wedding if you can't afford it.
We had 13 people to our ceremony (registry office) and lunch at Cafe Rouge. Then about 100 to a do in the evening with buffet.

In total it cost about £1500 17 years ago.

dinkydoos Fri 26-Apr-13 19:04:50

[binky] would you recommend your midlands venue? Will you Pm where t was if so!

Tommy Fri 26-Apr-13 19:05:12

we spent less than 10K - can't remember how much exactly. It didn't give the impression of being a "budget wedding" (I don't think!) but we didn't do things like make all the men wear matching outfits, didn't have a posh car, didn't have a colour scheme as such, made our own invites, didn't do traditional favours etc.
My dress was about £250, had 2 child bridesmaids and one of their mums made their flower baskets with stuff I'd bought from a Inexcess type shop.
You can do it more cheaply than popular media suggests - keeping away from wedding hotels who do the whole package helped a lot

dinkydoos Fri 26-Apr-13 19:06:09

arrgh. Bold fail! binky!

landofsoapandglory Fri 26-Apr-13 19:06:44

£30k on a wedding!shock if I won the lottery tonight I wouldn't spend that!

totally forgets I have been married for over 19 years and had a cheap as chips wedding

Tommy Fri 26-Apr-13 19:07:16

mu mum made the cake as a gift and some friends of DH's parents iced it - again as a gift. A couple of friends also decorated the venue with streamers and balloons

BlameItOnTheBogey Fri 26-Apr-13 19:07:26

I got married about 7 years ago for 7K following the strategy of: spend money on a venue but skimp on all the trimmings. We had 150 people in a big old country manor house. My dress was quite pricey too but that and the venue (which included food) were the bulk of the cost.

We used london black cabs as our wedding car. Didn't bother with favors, had a DJ and not a band etc. Had a big chocolate cake for the wedding cake. Made our own table seating chart. My instructions to the florist were; make me any bouquet with seasonal flowers. If you don't sweat the details you can really keep the costs down.

Our wedding looked super expensive and people were shocked when they found out how little we had spent. It really can be done.

Nat38 Fri 26-Apr-13 19:08:27

How about a council owned venue??
I live in Leicester & a couple of people I know have held their receptions at Beuamanor Hall, which the county council own & also did the catering & it was all lovely-venue great, food fantastic, photo`s I have seen, seem to back up these claims!
Hope this helps!

BlameItOnTheBogey Fri 26-Apr-13 19:09:14

Yes yes to whoever mentioned invites. It boggles my mind that people spend any real money on these. You can order them super cheaply from the internet. All people do is read the info and then bin them, surely?

TheSecondComing Fri 26-Apr-13 19:15:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BrienneOfTarth Fri 26-Apr-13 19:23:13

Weddings can be as expensive or as cheap as you want them to be. You just need to keep a grip and remember that there is a huge industry out there of very persuasive people with excellent sales skills whose livelihood depends on persuading you to stretch your spending further than you want to. Lots of things that are presented as "must have" in bridal magazines, wedding shows etc are pointless and add very little value to the day.

What is important is:
* being surrounded by the people who love you
* with nice (but no need for fussy) things to eat and drink in good quantity.

Everything else is optional. One of the nicest weddings I ever went to was done on a budget of less than £1000, a significant chunk of which went on booze. simple ceremony in an ordinary, not particularly picturesque church, then the reception was a "bring and share" buffet in the happy couple's back garden.

For a budget of £20,000 you could have plenty of the fancy extras, you just have to pick which ones.

But I'd always say that you economise by toning down the grandure, not cutting the guest list. A simpler meal in a cheaper venue with all your friends there will be MUCH more meaningful than a lovely venue where you can only afford to pay for dinner for 50 of your friends.

KittensoftPuppydog Fri 26-Apr-13 19:28:18

500 quid. It was in 1989 though. And some of that went towards the honeymoon. Dress cost under 200, pub lunch for close family and 2 friends each, then pub hire for a massive party the next day.
It was absolutely lovely and just what we wanted. Didn't want a crowd at the registry office and only included family under duress.
Everyone took photos and gave us copies.
I just don't understand why it has to cost so much. I couldn't have felt happier if we'd spent 30 grand. Married for 25 yrs next year, possibly partly because we didn't start off with a huge debt.

Heinz55 Fri 26-Apr-13 19:28:52

4k 15 years ago. £200 on a wedding dress that I wore once - I still think was a terrible waste of money. Dh's suit was £600 and he's still wearing it to every wedding and funeral - much better investment. Wedding rings (platinum) were about £800 - worn every day: great value!
120 people in a small country hotel. No photographer which I regret now. Kind of. one bridesmaid in an off the peg dress. No hair or make up (well, I had hair and make up but I did it) we all walked to and from the church. Simple and it did the job. I think 20K is a shocking waste of money but you wouldn't be the first or the last.

We got married in Gretna Green. Just ourselves and our 2 witnesses. The couple of days accommodation, travel and wedding fees etc for that was about £700. I bought my dress off eBay for £30. He went for the full kilt regalia which probably cost £400, but that's an optional!

We had a family get-together celebration for everyone afterwards. That was a buffet supper in a local restaurant, (£350) we provided wine (£100) and paid a corkage fee, and I splashed out £100 on a stunning cupcake tower which people are still talking about. I paid the airfares for my 2 adult children to come and join us.

It doesn't have to cost a fortune to have a memorable and special celebration! But it helps if family are on-side.

GirlOutNumbered Fri 26-Apr-13 19:34:52

We only spent £5k. Small wedding in hotel for close friends and family and then a big boozy BBQ in back garden the next day. We Hired a big BBQ and a chef and bought loads of booze. We got friends to make cocktails.
It was fab.
I got invitations printed from the Internet and picked wild flower from mine and SIL garden,

racmun Fri 26-Apr-13 19:35:21

We're getting married this year. To keep costs down we're having just family to sitdown meal and then all friends to just evening drinks and will put money behind the bar.

Really couldn't give a shit what our cake is like do will buy that in M&S and put some flowers on it etc.

Not having a wedding car but am having really good photos.

Going to cost circa £5k which I think is loads for one day. Even the thought of that much makes me sick. No way would I spend £20k on one day........

GirlOutNumbered Fri 26-Apr-13 19:35:56

Oh and my dress was Biba, from house f Frazier and hubby just bought a new shirt and tie.

oscarwilde Fri 26-Apr-13 19:44:12

Haven't read the full thread sorry. I got married in the City of London. There are some lovely venues (google for a list of those licensed to hold weddings) for Guild houses etc and you can either have a civil wedding there or marry in a City church (lots of lovely old churches tucked away around the City). No problem getting a Saturday dates off season and lots of deals too. No accommodation but the weekend is quiet in the City so people got great deals to stay in top business hotels. PM me if you would like more personal info on where we went.

oscarwilde Fri 26-Apr-13 19:50:30

Wedding was circa £20k for 110 guests all in. Deliberately picked a venue with limited numbers to stop things getting silly. Stripped out all the usual wedding flim flam (favours, save date cards,engraved seating plan, stupid amts of flowers etc) and spent money on food, booze, great band and a photographer. Had a fantastic day, don't regret spending a penny.

chattychattyboomba Fri 26-Apr-13 19:55:22

Where: Banyan Tree resort, Phuket, Thailand
Guests: 100
Spent £30k
Including: dress, bridesmaid dresses, groom and groomsmen, ceremony, catering, some booze (we b.y.o wine & champagne as the tax is through the roof but this was including a corkage fee) wedding planner, flights (me and DH) villa, fire dancers, flowers, fireworks, rings, honeymoon in Vietnam & Cambodia, make up artist etc etc.
you definitely get more for your ££ in Thailand!

catgirl1976 Fri 26-Apr-13 19:59:08

Las Vegas

6 guests, maybe spent £2.5k including the whole stay in Vegas smile

DewDr0p Fri 26-Apr-13 19:59:09

We spent about £10k 14 years ago but went for the full shebang with a very wow venue and a big guest list. If I were doing it now, I would be much more selective on the guest list tbh and probably choose a more intimate venue. Basically we prioritised making it a really good party so spent most of the money on food and drink.

But some of the things we did to keep the costs down and up the champagne budget were:
- no wedding cars (asked friend with an audi to drive me instead)
- no cake (noone appeared to notice grin perhaps because we had spent all the money on champagne )
- no favours and very simple flowers in empty bottles on the tables
- bridesmaid dresses were £22.50 each in the Debenhams sale grin
- asked best man etc just to wear a nice suit and we provided the ties which I made myself which was a bit of a mistake as I can't sew but they looked ok
- designed the invites/menus ourselves and dh pulled in a favour from a friend to get them printed (now I think much easier to get stuff done via internet)

I have to say though some of the nicest weddings I've been to have been the ones on the tightest budgets. One friend had theirs in their (not at all grand) back garden and all their aunties made the buffet. Another friend hired and decorated the church hall and got a hog roast but the whole day was festival themed as they are both really into music. It was fab.

MousyMouse Fri 26-Apr-13 20:02:11

registry office
+ 500 for a nice meal out with closest family and friends.

FatherReboolaConundrum Fri 26-Apr-13 20:11:13

Not sure I'm really the person to advise not that that's ever stopped me since I've been with DP a lot long than you and your DP have been together and I wouldn't spend £30 on getting married, let alone £30K, but have you thought about an Oxford or Cambridge college? I've been to a couple of weddings in colleges and they give you amazing setting and ceremony/reception all in one place.

I got married at Turkey Mill in Maidstone, funny name but beautiful venue. Google it and you'll understand! grin

It cost £25k for 100 in day and 200 at night. We had the money at the time and didn't get in debt.

BUT we then needed £15k of IVF treatment to get our daughter, if I'd known that I wouldn't have spent that much hmm

IncrediblePhatTheInnkeepersCat Fri 26-Apr-13 20:26:35

Our wedding cost less than 10k - wedding in Nevada Desert outside Las Vegas, just us and both sets of parents, honeymoon in Hawaii, then a formal reception at local barn 3 months after coming back.

That was 6 years ago and wouldn't change any of it! We could really enjoy our vows and each other without stress, then enjoy time with friends and family later (plus I got to wear my dress twice!).

If we'd had the ceremony in the UK, we would have spent far more and wouldn't have had the money for such a fancy honeymoon.

MagicHouse Fri 26-Apr-13 20:28:40

The best weddings I've been to have all been outside (beach/ lakeside/ gardens). I would be careful about "beautiful" venues - from the outside it looks amazing, but as a guest I always find them slightly uncomfortable and not particularly memorable. I would concentrate on an unusual venue.
My own wedding was abroad on a beach in Thailand, 10 guests, the most amazing day, sunbathing by the pool inbetween lunch and dinner, fireworks/ dancers.
Ended in divorce though, but that's another story wink

Amaxapax Fri 26-Apr-13 20:30:15

I just got married a month ago. We spent (deep breath) about £15k. Sometimes I think that we shouldn't have done it, but I had a fantastic day and several people said it was the best wedding they had ever been to.
We had the full thing, so civil ceremony, canapés and drinks, three course sit down meal, evening buffet, cake, band, etc. We had about 90 guests.
Guests/food are definitely the most expensive part of the day. Our venue charged about £65 per head, and we actually had a discounted rate because we were friendly with the staff.
My best tip is to find an up and coming photographer. I met ours at a wedding fair and negotiated a rate of £700 for full day coverage. That was £200 below his asking price. He has since been featured on several blogs and now charges twice what we paid.
We had a lovely venue and I have lots of money saving ideas, despite how much I did spend, so PM me if you'd like.

IncrediblePhatTheInnkeepersCat Fri 26-Apr-13 20:41:15

Also, for cutting costs on flowers for the tables, we chose the flowers we wanted and ordered them just as stemmed flowers from the local florist. We then bought cheap vases and DH, along with FIL arranged them that morning.

I made up the favours myself, made the seating chart, place cards and table names etc. We went to the toy shop to choose figures for the M&S wedding cake too. No cars. No photographer at the reception. (Photographer at Las Vegas was included in the package. Think it was about £350 for limo from hotel to desert, minister, bouquet, photographer and video).

Biggest costs were food, flights and my dress.

NoWayPedro Fri 26-Apr-13 20:42:35

I was an event planner in my previous role; not a wedding specialist but I've done my fair share of banquets and special events, both in this country and overseas.

IMO, if you've been to one nice banquet in a nice hotel/venue, you've been to them all, as other than atmosphere (which you can't buy) there is little to distinguish between weddings.

A lot of the agonizing over decisions will be lost on most guests and are the same things 10 other weddings will have that month in that same venue. Price most certainly does not equal quality or enjoyment at weddings.

Send me an invite to a homemade do anytime.

Springforward Fri 26-Apr-13 20:46:04

£6k including a week's honeymoon on Greek island, 6 years ago.

We wrote out our own "social stationery".

We married in church, donating £200 for doing so (Catholic churches don't charge according to our priest as a Catholic person has a right to be married in church). The service was late in the afternoon and the reception was at a local golf club, whose events manager described our brief as "relaxed but classy", which I think summed up what we'd asked for very well!

Guests bought their own drinks from the bar. Dinner was served at 6pm and was a hot/ cold buffet followed by dessert and cake. I bought the cakes from Marks and Spencer and decorated them myself with paper roses from eBay. We had 70 guests for dinner and dancing, wine on the table at half bottle per adult guest, and there was lots left over which went on the bar.

Flowers were limited to altar and top table only, we had no wedding favours but did do gift bags at dinner for 10 small children to keep them occupied.

My dress came from Monsoon and I had it fitted by a bridal dressmaker. My bridesmaids both also wore dresses from Monsoon. The men wore their own lounge suits and we provided buttonholes for close family. I had a wedding hairdresser do me and bridesmaids, but we all did our own makeup.

We had one wedding car, which was a gift from a kind relative. Our photographer used a digital camera and didn't work from a fancy studio but did a fabulous job, and we were able to afford an album with about 60 prints.

We were horrified at all the tat available at wedding fairs, I think that's where the costs can really add up TBH.

We had a fabulous time and our guests commented on how relaxed it was. Wouldn't change a thing if we were doing it again smile

The only murmur we had was from MIL who was hoping we'd lay on cars for close family, but who backed off amicably when we said we couldn't afford them, as we paid for everything ourselves.

Wylye Fri 26-Apr-13 21:20:52

£8k three years ago, 85 guests, full day with afternoon tea, sit down evening meal, and late buffet. Country house hotel venue for ceremony and reception.

We did all the flowers and decoration ourselves, and said yes to almost every offer of help!
An old colleague did professional photos at mates rates, £600 for the whole day, worth every penny.

The only thing we regretted paying full price for was the shit local DJ. Would have done better with an IPod full of our favourite tunes.

£30k is about half of my entire mortgage, as far as I am concerned it is madness to spend that much on one day in your life. Especially when you have children and a life to consider.

We got married in a registry office, invited 30 guests and had a sit down meal in the Marriott hotel in Liverpool. Total cost about £2000. We didn't have an evening do or anything, and tbh, although I enjoyed it, I don't especially look back at it as such a wonderful day. I had a headache (literal) on the day and the whole thing was a headache to arrange.

I wish we'd got married just us and the children and then told everyone afterwards.

We did that. Registry office with DD and my dad and the girl who works for us, followed by lunch in the local gastro pub. Cost very little and we told everyone else afterwards.

Blankiefan Fri 26-Apr-13 21:31:53

Try to find a venue where you hire the caterer separately - more choice and more room to negotiate as they don't necessarily get the job because you love the venue.

Negotiate, negotiate, negotiate.... Everything. Wedding prices are a joke. We got our fav band down from £1300 to £800; got wedding cars for £100 for 2 cars (by booking for an "event" rather than a wedding);nailed down corkage from £13 a bottle to £3 a bottle (and bought the booze from Majestic Wine on sale or return). Seriously - all the suppliers tell you that they don't negotiate. They ALL do! (be prepared to walk away and choose someone else)

Make choices about what's important to you and what's not. We paid quite a lot for the music and spent more than intended on booze - and I got a beautiful wedding ring.... But my wedding dress was second hand (£200 off Preloved), we got our florist to change the type of flowers so we still got the colours we wanted but weren't fussed by the type of flowers (and they were beautiful in the end), evening buffet was sausage/bacon/egg rolls - everyone loved it!

Oh - and don't pay for a wedding album. Get the photos on cd and make up your own personalised albums online - we made special ones for our parents that were really personal.

greenformica Fri 26-Apr-13 21:35:46

where do you live? Maybe we can make location suggestions?

Misty9 Fri 26-Apr-13 21:37:54

Hmm, 200 guests for traditional wedding and sit down meal is going to cost I'm afraid. But for other cost cutting bits:

Don't be afraid to haggle with photographers. I (email) laughed at the original quote for ours and was walking away, but he ended up doing it for half his original quote - and was brilliant. We had all day for around £1200 but if you're happy to just have ceremony photos for example, it's a lot cheaper.

Our wedding cake was a cheese tiered cake grin as dh doesn't like cake and I can't eat it. Cost was £85 for five tiers of cheese - and this formed a major part of the evening buffet too smile check out wholesalers for package deals.

I had silk flowers. Much cheaper than real (though I didn't have a choice as got married on the ONE day of the year that the flower markets are all closed) I think the cost was about £250 for all bouquets, buttonholes and table decs.

Shop around for stationary (sp?). Or make your own if you've got time/skill.

Make/do as much of it as you can/want! Looks so much more personal too.

We got married in the hotel du vin at Christmas time and spent about £9k all in, but only 20 people for sit down meal and about 50 for evening do.

Misty9 Fri 26-Apr-13 21:39:14

Oh, and we hired a jukebox for couple of hundred, instead of forking out for a dj. Looked very cool and meant people could choose their own music smile

greenformica Fri 26-Apr-13 21:39:57

Find a rustic old village hall surrounded by greenery and hire caterers/music etc. Or get one of those massive tents set up in someones garden or a farmers field. Does it really need to be in a stately home?

skaen Fri 26-Apr-13 21:45:11

Marquee in my godmother's garden. Waitrose buffet with my brothers school friends serving (lots if lovely 17 and 18 year olds) £4000 plus £1000 for booze -100 people at wedding and reception, whole village came to the party.

8k altogether with bus, DJ, band, dress photos etc but it was lovely as it was a lot of favours which made it so much more special.

KitCat26 Fri 26-Apr-13 21:58:50

We cut a lot of corners to do it as cheaply as possible. But the things we didn't compromise on were the food and the music (a band).

Wedding was on a Friday (didn't affect the price of anything ime), at my parish church. Catholic wedding so no charge, but donation only. Reception was a local hall with a separate (pay) bar, we provided the aperatifs, booze with the meal and first drink after that. We paid corkage, but it was worth it so we could have our own choice of wine, and we got it cheaply with tesco clubcard vouchers.

We made: the favours, invites, table decs, friends decorated the venue, mum made the cake, aunt decorated it, bridesmaids did own make up and hair and wore own shoes, I did my makeup, we took the church flowers down to the venue after the service (left the altar flowers though) etc.

Hopefully you will be able to have the venue, and wedding, you want for a less than you expect.

olgaga Fri 26-Apr-13 22:06:49

I think you'll regret spending that much on a wedding. If you want an "elegant" wedding, far better to go small and intimate for family and close friends - especially if you want a nice sit down meal.

Then you can have a really nice family "honeymoon". Think of the fabulous, memory-making holidays you could have for £10k!

Chiggers Fri 26-Apr-13 22:08:32

Got married back in 2006 with about 50 people invited. Cost was less than £1k and that includes a naming ceremony for DS thrown in as well as the rings, flowers, food and cake.

Best £900 we ever spent.

AdoraBell Fri 26-Apr-13 22:12:02

Golf club, 30 guests, 15 years ago, we spent about £500- ish plus my dress, £150 as it's not an actual bridal dress (not even whitegrin ) and £300 on tuxedoes.

theskyonasnowynight Fri 26-Apr-13 23:07:48

Loveliest wedding I have been too hired out the back half of a local pub. Buffet meal - different veggie salads and LOTS of bread and ham. Local Jazz band. All guests bought their own drink throughout. Couple put in the invites don't get us a present, get a bottle of wine for your table at our reception or if you don't drink give a donation to xxx charity. It was brilliant. Fumkily enough they are also one of the postwar couples we know and in a social circle which had seen weddings at the Dorchester. Its the one wedding I've been too ill never forget..

theskyonasnowynight Fri 26-Apr-13 23:08:40

Funnily and posher. Stupid phone.

Iaintdunnuffink Fri 26-Apr-13 23:51:20

The place where we got married only held 70, then we invited more for the evening but didn't expect many to come to that. We had it on a Friday and got good deals as the venue was a very new business. I think every thing came to 6k, including clothes. Everyone said the venue and food were fantastic. That was 10 years ago and I"m sure prices will have at least doubled for the venue and food since then.

A cousin of mine got married around the same time but paid 20k for a wedding at a similar large house in a nice place. She was very particular about flowers, clothes, favours, chair decoration, flower girls etc.

One of the best weddings I went to was a smallish one at a registry office with a great quality Chinese after. In hindsight I wish we'd done similar but I went along with what the relatives expected.

msmorgan Sat 27-Apr-13 00:29:10

We have been together 10 years, have 2 kids and after talking about getting married for years we have finally actually booked it. We decided 2 weeks ago and I now have all the important stuff booked.

Our wedding will come in at around £5500, we're having a small wedding (just very close friends and family) at a beautiful castle near to where we live. Ceremony followed by sit down 3 course wedding breakfast then night do with buffet is £2500, that also includes stuff like chair covers, fresh flowers, seating plan and some sparkling wine & wine with meal, and lovely room to stay in for wedding our night.

My dress is £700, beautiful cake £200, a harpist £200, flowers around £150 and an award winning photographer who has agreed to do it for £750 instead of his usual £1200.

We are getting married on a Friday in March, later in the day. The same venue and package in summer would have been 3x the amount.

Personally I would rethink the guest list if you want a beautiful venue and a more formal wedding, or have everyone there but go with a less formal venue. Then again if you really don't mind spending £20k my best tip would be to have an out of season wedding on a Friday or Sunday and haggle with photographers, florists etc.

ComposHat Sat 27-Apr-13 00:52:08

I would echo the view that once you've been to one wedding reception in a stately home you've been to the lot. However much money is chucked at it - on the minds of your guests it will be the same as the last six they've been to. No one woll remember the dress as it will be the same strapless sweetheart neck and ruffles that everyone has.

We are getting married and will have change aplenty out of two grand.

No photographer- hideously expensive and everyone is bored to tears by hours of photographs. We will ask people to sends us snaps.

No cars, pre booked black taxi to the reg. office.

outfits - normal suit that can be worn to weddings/funerals/bar mitzvahs and non wedding y dress in yellow.

late wedding so only one meal (hot buffet) to pay for.

reception in the basement of a 50s diner - room hire free if guests spend more than a certain amount at the bar. Spotify disco.

rings from wedding rings direct - more choice and a big saving on high st prices.

MsPickle Sat 27-Apr-13 01:05:15

Haven't read the whole thread, but if you're Londoners why not go for a London Landmark venue; you'll have all the wow and might be a way to save on sit down meal? So, for e.g., I believe that the Gherkin is licenced, Tower Bridge etc. Still not cheap but could be amazing photos/celebration?

showtunesgirl Sat 27-Apr-13 01:13:05

It can be done.

We had 100 guests to the sit down meal which was a 12 course banquet, then another 50 to the evening buffet.

And two weeks on the Amalfi cost.

All of which cost about £12k.

GTbaby Sat 27-Apr-13 01:20:30

Hampton court palace? Friend got married there. N she was on a bit of a budget.

I know a couple who hired the natural history museum. But they had Indian caters which seem to be cheaper per person.

Petersham hotel in Richmond.

There must b loads that would fit your budget. Just keep looking, and let us know what you decide.

eccentrica Sat 27-Apr-13 01:36:48

Also with NorthernLurker.

There aren't 200 people in the world who really care very much that you and your STBH are in a relationship. It's just a date on the calendar, another day of hanging around, mediocre food, bad dancing & identikt wedding dress. Sorry but that's the truth. Maybe you have 30 or 40 people who actually care. Celebrate with them. The rest is just spunking money up the wall.

ben5 Sat 27-Apr-13 02:31:00

about 10-15k. In total. My mum paid for my dress. I got the bridesmaid dress from a John Lewis sale and the flower girl a dress from Sainsburys! My friend made my cake.
We got married at Cameron House on the banks of Loch Lomond and had a sit down meal for 80 people. This included a bag pipe guy, flowers for table, 3 course meal follwed by coffee, room for us for the night, half a bottle of wine per person for the meal, a drink for when we just got married per guest.
We then had a photos, flowers, favours, gifts, registar. We didn't need a car as we had it all in one place and we had a band play in the evening.

Ouchmyhead Sat 27-Apr-13 02:38:01

I'm spending 10k, but with only 60 day guests. We are getting married in a beautiful 16th century mansion. We have saved thousands (no exaggeration) by getting married in December, on a Sunday! We don't need to pay for any decorations as they decorate the place with real trees and lights all over for Christmas, and Sunday isn't a popular day, it'd be even cheaper if we had it mid week, also look on Facebook for local photographers they will be a ton cheaper (I saved £500, and she is brilliant, just with no disposable income to fund a shop), my SIL to be is making our cake (she is a baker) and instead of flowers for the bouquets I'm making button bouquets (not for everyone, but seriously - google them, they look amazing, not as weird as it sounds!) Also making your own invitiations, Ebay is your friend when it comes to decorations - ribbons, card, little sparkly sticky bits are so much cheaper than in the likes of Hobbycraft.) Saving money in those places has enabled me to splash out on my dream dress, which was quite expensive (compared to the budget, it was 1.5k,) have the 4 bridesmaids and 2 flower girls I wanted and DP can have the 6 groomsmen he wanted (everyone's helping out by buying their own shoes.) Its just about prioritising what's important to you! Have fun planning!

LittleMissLucy Sat 27-Apr-13 04:33:17

Also 10K about 10 yrs ago.
Registry office
Dinner for 12
Party for 100+ with endless champagne and live music and copious canapes
and a HUGE cake
in a posh hotel in central London

plinkyplonks Sat 27-Apr-13 05:25:09

orangeclock -

Whether you spend £300 or £30,000, everyone gets the same deal - a day with family and you end up married. smile

My wedding cost £3.5k for 50 people for a civil ceremony next to the sea, including my dress & other expenses. Are you sure you really want to spend that much on one day?

A breakdown:

Food and venue hire costs £2400 (including canapés, 3 course sit down meal and buffet). Weekday last minute (within 6 months) booking - saved us a huge amount of money.

DJ's - provided by the venue

£90 - wedding dress I bought on Ebay imported from China. Absolutely stunning and out did anything I saw in the wedding shops! TKMaxx also had some stunning dresses for reasonable prices. Honestly you should see them, absolutely beautiful - you would not be able to guess the price of them!

£15 wedding shoes - TKMaxx in their sale

£250 Registrar cost - married on a weekday to save on fees

Wedding Cake - stand was provided by the wedding venue, my parents made the cake and my mum did the flowers for me.

Car - I have a nice car so I was happy to use my own.

Overnight stay - we were given a complimentary bridal suite for the night by the venue. All other table decorations, seat covers etc were all provided by the venue.

Photographer - £300, probably would recommend spending a little more than that!

£100 on bridesmaid dresses

£200 on kilt hire.

Definitely shop around on venues, look for mid week and last minute deals. Spending more doesn't necessarily mean nicer or better. Think of all the amazing things you could do with £20k...

badbride Sat 27-Apr-13 06:17:31

If you're considering a destination wedding as a possibility, can I suggest the Scottish Highlands? Advantages are:

--Short haul flight or a few hours on the train.
--Laws that give you more flexibility about where/when how you get married. We managed to effectively have the civil ceremony we wanted without all the "you can't have any religious references, however remote" crap you get south of the border.
--Stunning scenery, great choice of venues

IMO the thing that is bumping up your cost is the size of the guest list. Are these 200 people friends or family? We had an immediate-family-only wedding, then threw a party at restaurant later in the year for friends (and didn't mention the W word to the owner when booking). Everyone had a fab time, and it didn't break the bank.

EggsMichelle Sat 27-Apr-13 06:58:03

£7k two years ago.

Made all my invites, favours and decorations. Local lady who does flower arranging as a hobby did flowers (4 bouquets, 4 big arrangements, 4 little and 30 button holes in seasonal tulips £300). Dress from Monsoon (£300), BM dresses from eBay (3x £50), suits hired. Family friend drove me in posh BMW. Two cakes (1 became the desert, other from M&S). Private hire of venue, 60 sit down, hog roast for 100 in evening. Day was amazing, warm and sunny in March! only disappointment was the dj was terrible.

Oddsocksrus Sat 27-Apr-13 07:09:37

When we got married we had a marquee in the neighbours field, had a sit down for 50 and then a lovely cheesy disco with chilli or curry in bowls und the trees. Everyone said it was the most relaxed wedding they'd ever been to. My cousin did the flowers, mine and the bridesmaids dresses came from monsoon, dh's jacket cost more than all of them (4bridesmaids......) because he went to a tailor but that still wasnt the cost of hiring a full morning suit...

If we got married again we would go here
We love going there for days out and I just think it would a really fun wedding, in the country, you can go and see the pigs and reindeers in your dress, there are loads of things for the kids to do, the food is brilliant and I get the impression you would be really well looked after.
I have no idea what it costs it they may be worth having a look at??

Oddsocksrus Sat 27-Apr-13 07:10:21

Oh I should have said that our evening reception was for £200 and we spend £5k in total

CSIJanner Sat 27-Apr-13 07:11:06

I got married 8 years ago - cost £8K including honeymoon and apparently the cost of a written off car (according to DH, only he never deducted the insurance payout. Humph!)

It's cheaper to marry in a church than a hired room in the hotel/stately home etc. it's even cheaper to marry in a registry office. We baked the favours (cookies), made the invites and then went to wedding shows and bartered prices down.

We also got married on a Friday 13th. The date made it even cheaper - stately home dropped its price by 50% because they couldn't get rid of the date as neither could suppliers like cars etc. I also had my dress made as I had a bolt of silk and it cost £300 to make stead of £2K. The car got written off whilst driving to a fitting hence DH being an arse about adding it to the budget.

My BIL got married abroad - v nice, v hungover but ill or elderly members off the family like FIL and both grannies couldn't make it and were missed.

Altinkum Sat 27-Apr-13 07:12:48

We went out and made the day massive, and the nighttime cheap.

We spent £6-7k for a meal for 100. Cars, cake, photographer only came to about 1200.

On the night as we had travelling guests we booked it in a really nice working mans club (had a 100k refurb) but was cheap, hired a DJ, and family and friends and the local caterer did a buffet type food for guest in the night time.

Everyone we know and even the staff still talk about our wedding, and it was 5 years go.

Altinkum Sat 27-Apr-13 07:17:09

The average cost now to get married is a church is now £900, registry office is about £450 (that's what my sister paid last year) .

matilda101 Sat 27-Apr-13 07:32:47

Were abouts are you? My friend hires her lawn out to people getting married so you can put a marquee up and sort the catering and drinks yourself- that way you're not tied to hotel prices.
Our Saturday church wedding was at 3pm, had a marquee at my parents. Canapés were served while guests drank pimms and the main course and dessert were sit down. My mum made our cake, a family friend sorted flowers, a friend of my sisters did the photography and a friend of the family did the cars. Our wedding did cost about £20k but the drinks bill came to around £6k (and we'd got hardy's wine on offer from tescos at £3 a bottle!). On the plus side guests didn't have to pay for a single drink!

Have a look and see if you can find anywhere that just hires out space for you to do what you want with!

thegreylady Sat 27-Apr-13 07:52:22

8 years ago my dd's wedding cost less than £10000 that was a beautiful country church wedding with a reception in a marquee in a field. The caterers were excellent and the hired portaloos were so luxurious that my small dgd was asking everyone if they had seen the posh toilets!
£10000 covered flowers and dresses as well as the wedding. The music at the reception was by friends as were the photographs. It can be done-there were 120 guests and the meal was a Mediterranean buffet with 'lazy susan' serving things on each table + extras on a long table.

marriedinwhiteagain Sat 27-Apr-13 08:09:05

From reading your post carefully OP you say you want to get married because you have two children and want to make things legal. Well, why can't you do just that - local registry office, two witnesses, legal marriage. Job done. Then a few days/weeks later you hold a huge party to celebrate your 10 years together and your life so far in a beautiful venue - possibly on a Sunday afternoon into the evening. That should shave about £15k off the bill I think.

Personally, I think there is massive confusion nowadays between wanting a marriage and wanting a wedding with the real reason for the wedding lost in the commercial dream.

glorious Sat 27-Apr-13 09:22:49

I was also going to suggest Oxbridge colleges fathereboola. But they're not generally licenced to do the ceremony unless you have a connection (not them being stroppy, they don't tend to have civil licences and they need to apply to the Archbishop of Canterbury for a special licence to use the chapel).

I know this because we did it. £8k all in, 120 people straight through. Service, drinks and patisserie on the garden by the river, sit down meal. Pay bar afterwards. I got my dress second hand for about a third of the price. No cars and no favours. Bridesmaids in off the peg dresses.

Basically we got an amazing venue for nothing (husband's former college, but v cheap even if not) and spent mostly on food and drink. The champagne was cheaper than retail!

QueenStromba Sat 27-Apr-13 12:44:44

This thread is practically annoying wedding bingo - so far you've mentioned midweek wedding, having the wedding in a random UK location and having it abroad (we're just missing child free, annoying poem asking for money instead of gifts and compulsory colour scheme). All of these things make it cheaper for the Bride and Groom but make things way more expensive and difficult for the guests. The wedding will be more expensive in total because all of your guests will have to spend a small fortune to go. The only thing guests care about when it comes to venue is how easy it is to get to. If you do any of these things then a lot of people won't go - it will easily halve your guestlist for you.

salemsparklys Sat 27-Apr-13 14:18:38

We got maried 12 years ago, reg office and had about 25 people then in laws had a party for us at their house with about 40 people, think we spend about £1000 max and I would do it again in a second. Infact we plan to renew our vows at Gretna Green at some point.

salemsparklys Sat 27-Apr-13 14:19:18

Eek, sorry for the spelling, 2 yr old DS sitting on me.

Lovecat Sat 27-Apr-13 14:28:39

We got married 22 years ago and it cost us £3.5k - I know this because I've been clearing out drawers and found all the bumph! We were married in church and then got cars to the local posh hotel that had beautiful gardens for the photos - sit down meal for 75 followed by disco & buffet for 150. Mum & Dad paid for photos as a wedding prezzie and FIL paid the bar bill ditto.

My BIL got married here a few years ago and I don't think it was too expensive. Beautiful place and a lovely day.

cheeseandchive Sat 27-Apr-13 14:30:49

You make a good point, Queen. I think it's easy to make a wedding seem more inexpensive when it's actually not, what you've done is just ask other people to shoulder the burden and the cost/time/energy for you. For example, my sister did my flowers which kept our wedding 'cost' down, but the sacrifice on her part was huge - researching all the flowers, driving to all the wholesale places, making bouquets etc.

I don't think it's a bad idea at all to ask people to help, I think by and large people want to, but it's probably worth remembering that if you're not paying then someone else might be!

piprabbit Sat 27-Apr-13 14:33:38

Check out venues that are owned and run by the local authority.

For example our local councils own the elegant Hylands House and the rather special Poplars Hall among many others. They aren't dirt cheap to hire, but they may well be licensed for ceremonies (or have the ceremony at the register office first) and because they don't include the hire of any services you can shop around for your caterers to get the best deal for your money on food and wine etc. I had some friends who hired a hall like this and asked the local indian restaurant to cater the food - which was amazing.

FoxyRoxy Sat 27-Apr-13 14:35:20

I got married where I live in Spain, we had about 90 guests and it cost 18k with me doing loads myself like making invites etc.

Lots of places have cheaper deals for weekday weddings, one of the hotel groups (sorry I can't remember which but someone else might) were doing a 3k wedding deal, possibly Britannia hotels? A couple of years ago, worth seeing if they still do similar.

Fluffy1234 Sat 27-Apr-13 16:37:17

I got married 17 years ago for 5k. I had 40 guests for service and sit down meal with wine and another 35 for buffet and party in the evening. I wished I had been able to provide a free bar but had only just graduated 2 months before and brought first house 5 weeks before so no extra money. Still we had a lovely day.

WorrySighWorrySigh Sat 27-Apr-13 16:43:29

£750 20+ years ago, 26 people. Posh restaurant, simple and quick photos (I never look at them).

Arisbottle Sat 27-Apr-13 16:50:08

Our wedding cost us the price if the church cannot remember how much that was, but would not be a lot . Wore a dress I had , DH had a suit , we walked to church. Went to the local for a pint and a meal, everyone bought their own .

mrspaddy Sat 27-Apr-13 16:50:16

Our wedding cost 25,000.. we were gifted the wedding car, cake and dress alterations. It is nuts. We had 200 people for five course meal and half a bottle of wine each.
A good way to cut down though is to not offer a choice for the meal (of course need veggie option but not two or three meat options).
Was at a wedding where the cake was the dessert. I think spend your money on a good photographer though and band is important.

WorrySighWorrySigh Sat 27-Apr-13 17:15:23

Look hard at your guest list. Dont invite 'duty' guests, you will be doing yourselves and them a favour!

Remember there is no such thing as a free wedding cake (see MN threads passim).

I would disagree about not offering choice for food unless you are happy that you know what your guests will want to eat on that particular day.

Arisbottle Sat 27-Apr-13 17:17:08

We offered our guests nowt other than a pew. They were quite happy , or too scared to say otherwise

HappyMummyOfOne Sat 27-Apr-13 17:27:08

£30k on one day is ridiculous, especially considering how many marriages dont last.

I'd rather have a very simple day that is about the vows not a lavish party and use the money on a mortage or uni fees.

Scheherezade Sat 27-Apr-13 17:29:25

I'm getting married in 8 weeks. 120 guests, 11am ceremony, all day reception. Everyone invited to the whole day. Free food and drink all day. 5k.

RugBugs Sat 27-Apr-13 17:38:55

I got a 30% discount from the venue for getting married in March 5 years ago so there are savings to be made off-peak.
With those numbers I'd have loved the painted chapel in Greenwich. I've been to plenty of events there and it's a lovely setting and the food is better than a lot of banqueting meals I've had.

pleasestoptalking Sat 27-Apr-13 17:43:52

We spent £6K 10 years ago. We got married in a small NT village in Wiltshire. We stayed in the Inn where we had the reception and were able to walk to the church. We got married in the afternoon then sent the younger guests off to the pub whilst we had afternoon tea with the olds. We had organised transport home for them all then had mulled wine reception and dinner for the younger lot.

We only had 40ish guests in the evening which was lovely but even so there are still some people we no longer keep in contact with.

We all met back at the inn the next morning to compare hangovers and have breakfast together before heading home.

I wanted to keep it small as we have very large extended families all over the globe and it was going to be a logistical nightmare. I'm also quite shy and didn't want a massive 'hoo ha'.

It was Christmas time so 'off season'. It was beautiful and intimate and I loved it.

As an aside. My 2nd favourite wedding was in a rather run-down country pile in Wales. All the family and friends got together to decorate the house with flowers, lay the tables etc etc and the couple got in outside caterers. It was lovely. Everyone felt involved, it was really friendly and very different. Most of us stayed there too. It really wasn't plush but it was really lovely.

I think if you go down the hotel and reception route it can be expensive and not very personal and quite 'samey'.

Good luck. Put lots of thought into it rather than lots of money.

OpheliasWeepingWillow Sat 27-Apr-13 17:46:03

20k, ten years ago. Village church, 60 guests, mid afternoon reception until 9pm. Big dress smile and lots of champagne grin

MrsPoglesWood Sat 27-Apr-13 21:21:37

Nope sorry I'm with Northernlurker even if you were my best friend I would be baffled as to why you were spending £30k on a wedding after you'd been together so long. But I would tell you that to your face without any difficulty. Cos I'm your friend you know and I wouldn't want you to waste your money....

Have you really, really nothing better to spend £30k on? Paying off your mortgage, home improvements, fabulous holidays, uni fund for your DC?

£30k on a wedding when you've lived together for years and have DC just seems ridiculous. And don't assume that those you invite won't think that. They will, but they'll just be too polite to tell you.

Arisbottle Sat 27-Apr-13 21:33:51

I would have quite liked a big wedding , I love a big party. Probably very selfish of me but I wish we had had a bigger do .

Buddhagirl Sat 27-Apr-13 21:36:04

8k, hired a barn for 3 days so went in the day before and dressed it up. Fed everyone once at 5pm, cake at night, had no posh car, no disco (2 skittle alleys instead) dress from monsoon, cheap cake, photographer and florist. It looked beautiful and because we did it all ourselves (myself) it was cheaper than getting a hotel to do it with rank food and dodgy carpets.

Buddhagirl Sat 27-Apr-13 21:38:03

Oh, 60 guests. Did the invitations, table plan, decs, alcohol, music by ourselves.

MisForMumNotMaid Sat 27-Apr-13 21:41:02

Under £1k. 60 people, canapes, champagne, wine, four course meal plus coffee, hotel rooms for imediate family, orchid arrangements for all the tables, wedding in Chapel, honeymoon two nights in London. We had an M&S three layered wedding cake and got live flower inserts and topped the cakes in orchids to go with the table arrangements.

We married on a Wednesday. The local hotel had a two course lunch for a fiver deal on. We negotiated to take over the place for the daytime only for I think it was £8 a head for four courses (they gave guests four choices for each course, but it was preorder) and they laid on fantastic trays of canapes too. My sister brought champagne as our wedding gift and we paid a couple of pounds a bottle corkage. Another daytime deal the hotel had on was quite a nice wine at £5 a bottle - it was £6 in Tesco at the time so at least a step above vinegar.

I had two DC then from my first marriage and so we didn't book a late into the night thing. Lots of guests stayed at the hotel (again we got a good rate) and the afternoon became evening with a lot of lounging around and chatting with the kids playing happily eventually being pushed upto bed.

I guess it depends on your personal finances but £20k seams like a humungous budget for a sit down meal for 150 - 200.

My tips for budgeting would be out of season/ less common day.

Think good Friday/ school holiday weeks/ winter wedding. The other thing is when you check out venues for your sit down meal just say its for a big family gathering when you're getting initial pricing. People seam to add pounds when you say wedding.

Decide what you will compromise on and what you won't.

For us we wouldn't compromise on the church, photography or honeymoon (wanted to do something we might not do again). Everything else was done on a smaller budget to make the three things above possible.

You can get married on any budget you want, big or small. You will find ways to save money or splurge it; it's up to you want you want and what you can/want to spend.

However, it's one day of the whole of your life.

If DH's grandad was still alive, I'd offer to rent him out to you to do the video. He filmed the whole of our wedding from the pew, standing up and sitting down with everyone. All I need on the video is the hymn lyrics along the bottom and I could sell it as a sing-along wedding DVD grin The unplanned, spontaneous things made our wedding day and they would have happened whether we spent £5k or £50k.

ivanapoo Sat 27-Apr-13 23:22:19

120 people, hired a fantastic waterside restaurant (2 floors), £8k 3 years ago.

We decided great food and a meaningful ceremony were important to us so spent time and money getting that right. Everything else was done on a budget.

It's up to you but personally unless you have it going spare in which case can you lend me a fiver? I think YABU to spend even 15k.

LittleMissLucy Sun 28-Apr-13 01:48:10

I don't understand why people are judging what you might want to spend. That's entirely your business.

ComposHat Sun 28-Apr-13 01:54:48

Because it is called am I being unreasonable and the poster aaked if 30 thousand was too much to spend.

plinkyplonks Sun 28-Apr-13 01:58:40

LittleMissLucy - I don't think people are judging! Of course it's up to the OP to decide how much she spends! But she's posted requesting people's opinions on saving money and choosing venues and people are posting some really good ideas on saving money and how much she could set aside for the wedding.

The 'wedding' event has been commercialised so much to the extent that its worth while reminding people it's the marriage part thats important not the wedding!! I live around the London area and I am staggered at how much some venues are charging for the event hire let alone set meal costs! For that reason I chose to get married in my home town, closer to my family and significantly cheaper than London prices.

LittleMissLucy Sun 28-Apr-13 02:39:29

Thanks plinkyplonks I had forgotten the AIBU element.

Beaverfeaver Sun 28-Apr-13 05:34:22

About £10k last year. 50 guests, hired out a smallish boutique hotel for two days and fed everyone and put everyone up for that

Itchywoolyjumper Sun 28-Apr-13 08:45:58

About 16k 4 years ago, including hen/stag night and honeymoon. And we did everything, pipers, a ceilidh band,
We had 80 during the day and about 250 at the dance.
We got married in the Highlands so it was all a lot cheaper than it would have been if we'd got married in the South of England where we were living at the time.
I think it also helped that weddings are traditionally about 3pm in the village we got married in so we really only had to pay for welcome drinks, dinner and a buffet.
It was all quite remote so we had to pay for transport from the church to the venue but it was quite reasonable.

TheChaoGoesMu Sun 28-Apr-13 09:24:11

Just under 5k a year ago. But 1k of that was on the dress. We had 50 of our closest friends and family who were there for the whole thing. No b list guests. We got married in a hotel, big buffet for food, a dj and a singer who played for about an hour and photographer who just covered the actual wedding. A friend made the cake, we had cava for toasting, oh and we had the wedding later on in the day so we didn't have to spend as much on food.

HarrietSchulenberg Sat 04-May-13 23:46:35

I like Tailtwister's wedding story the best. People remember weddings like that. Big weddings in traditional venues all end up the same and no-one remembers them properly anyway, apart from the bride and groom, and they never to talk to their guests properly anyway.
ExH and I got married on our 10th anniversary with our 2 small children as pageboys. Just immediate family, registry office and meal at a really lovely and very old hotel. Cost well under a grand and was perfect. Marriage only lasted 3 years and I am soooooo glad that we didn't spend shedloads on a crowdpleaser event - we had the day we wanted without buying into the whole ridiculous wedding industry.
OP just go for whatever makes you happy.

Iwantmybed Sun 05-May-13 00:11:11

$800. Total for the sunset beach wedding In Maui inc hair and 400 photos.
£4500 to get out there and 2 weeks accommodation.

Baiji Sun 05-May-13 07:39:59

I'm assuming that either you already have 80k + in savings for your childrens university degrees


Or that your children are unlikely to be gifted enough to secure a place on a degree course.

That being the case, do what you like with your credit cards money.

Figgygal Sun 05-May-13 07:44:08

If you want that wedding as described in op with that many people (and that is a lot of people) then you are looking at 30k easily im afraid.

I had a country house hotel in 2007 80 people in day 130 at night which cost £16k in 2007.

Featherbag Sun 05-May-13 07:53:23

Our wedding was £6k in total, with 100 guests at the evening reception (in the function room of local pub to keep costs down with hot & cold buffet) and 50-60 guests at the ceremony and 3-course meal after (this included coffee, cocktails after the ceremony, champagne and wine with meal). People are still talking about what a fab day it was 2 years later. It was on the Saturday of a bank holiday weekend too! My advice - think 'outside the box' when looking or venues! I can't say where we got married without totally outing myself as weddings at our venue are quite few and far between (if you want to know PM me and I'll gladly tell), but it was unusual without being totally off the wall, and it was perfect! Look at local attractions, museums, that sort of place. We bought the flowers from Asda and hand-tied the bouquets and made the table decorations - total cost £70. A friend with a nice car was our driver, another friend with a good camera did photos (not one formal shot, it was fab!) and guests sent us copies of their pics too.

I didn't skimp on my dress - that was £1k.

Alligatorpie Sun 05-May-13 08:13:09

I agree with the pp who are saying it s a ridiculous amount of money to spend for one day.
I spent less than $5000 ten years ago, and it was very low key. My aunt had a huge garden, the JP came to the house, we had a wonderful caterer, loads of booze, my mom did the cake, cousin did the music and friend was the photographer. we had 60 people.
I like the registry office suggestion, then a nice meal / party in a local restaurant - as posh as you like it.
If i was invited to a £30 000 wedding with a couple who had been together ten years and had dc's, I would think it was a waste of money. Even if your mortgage was paid off and your kids uni funds were secured, I would still think that. Sorry, but you asked.

VivaLeBeaver Sun 05-May-13 08:18:42

Get married late afternoon, then you only have to do one mel.

VivaLeBeaver Sun 05-May-13 08:18:51


Doubtfuldaphne Sun 05-May-13 09:04:12

You can get amazing deals if you get married in the winter. We got married in a regency building in a park - in the snow, then had meal and party at a very posh boutique hotel opposite with rooms included. We had the hotel to ourselves as they usually closed in January but opened especially for the wedding. The food was Michelin star, there was a band, wine included on reception and with meal for 150 guests.
All for 2k !!! We spent an extra 1k on dresses and the cake and little extras but I still can't believe how cheap we got it all.
Getting married in the snow was so pretty aswell and the photos are like something from narnia!

Keira Knightley just had a quiet registry office ceremony followed by massive bash in a marquee in her mother's garden. Sounds beautiful.

Of course it helps that the designer is a personal friend and her mother owns a castle, but I still bet they saved a fortune by "doing it themselves" and concentrating on food/drink.

Ginformation Sun 05-May-13 10:38:37

We had a similar sized wedding OP, but oop North. We paid about £10k. We managed to book a nice hotel venue (it was a cancellation sad) for the reception, and the beautiful town hall for the civil service. We all walked from one to the other- attracting quite a lot of attention as it was Gay Pride weekend too so a really festive atmosphere everywhere.

I quite frankly couldn't give a shiny shit about all the fripperies that go wth weddings. WHat was important was having everyone we loved there, and providing them with decent catering and an opportunity to boogie. Qute a lot of stuff was included in the package with the hotel- like table plan, flowers etc. The rest I did myself.

I did all the invites and order of service etc on our home computer, wore a high street dress, had an 'ipod' disco (each guest was asked for song selections on the invite, then I complied an eclectic play list - one for background music for the meal and one for dancing), a friend did the (simple) cake, we had access to our own sound system and hired disco lights v cheaply, I made up goodie bags for all our (nearly 30!) kiddie guests (mostly from Wilkos)

We didn't have skirts on the chairs, favours were just sweeties, I used a black cab as my wedding car, the photographer was there for the service and group photos only (then we used a photo sharing website for guests to upload their photos from the reception), I didn't pay for bridesmaid dresses- just told people a colour and the choice of buying something or using something they already owned (this went down well as no one was forced into wearing somthieng they were not happy with)...

Just focus on the fact it is one day. No need for sparkly shit.

Ginformation Sun 05-May-13 10:42:28

Oh, and the food was hot buffet, but beautiful quality. We had a choice of veggie curry, Lancashire hot pot, simple pasta dish and salads/garlic bread etc. We had some finger desserts, then wedding cake. Everyone seemd to enjoy getting up and mingling at the buffet tables. Much better than a formal meal, partic with so many children.

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

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

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

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

pretty inexpensive.

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

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

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

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

Hi orangeclock.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sounds like Kew.gardens (on a Friday) may be what you're after: married.there and it was fabulous, but agree with other posters - we had 60 guests in their small venue (cambridge cottage) and it seemed the right size for us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We had shitloads of wine on the tables!

Had a proper photographer too which was good.

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

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

quietbatperson Tue 07-May-13 19:22:05

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Just ignore the partypoopers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here's how we did it for £3k

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

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

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

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

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

Syon Park may be an option if you are in London

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