To spend a bit less than half our annual salary on our wedding? Any regrets if you have done the same?

(204 Posts)
Buttonholes Fri 02-Aug-13 21:10:14

We have this money in savings but are we spending too much? I keep thinking about the other things this money coud go towards. We are paying for our own wedding by the way, no help from parents.

OH is fine with it. I can't sleep from worry though sad

It's not only about the money but also managing expectations. If we spend all this money and it's not absolutely bloody wonderful I will feel gutted.

Buttonholes Fri 02-Aug-13 21:11:22

I should mention we have a mortgage and 4 DC's!

If we didn't have the children yet I probably wouldn't worry so much.

LieweHeksie Fri 02-Aug-13 21:12:31

I think you are b

WorraLiberty Fri 02-Aug-13 21:13:03

If you're worrying about it, I wouldn't do it.

I think some people spend a ridiculous amount of money on one day

It's fine if it causes no worries at all, but that's not the case here is it?

heidihole Fri 02-Aug-13 21:13:49

Christ don't do it. Pay down the mortgage and take kids to Disney land

Don't spend £££ on one day. You've hit the nail on the head - your expectations will be huge and you run the risk of disappointment.

hermioneweasley Fri 02-Aug-13 21:14:24

Personally I woukdn't but if your mortgage is small, you have savings for your DCs and you have 3-6 months' income saved otherwise, then go for it. If you don't have those things (and really good life insurance with 4 DCs) then I wouldn't think it was a very financially responsible thing to do.

TeenAndTween Fri 02-Aug-13 21:14:53

Well, tbh it seems a lot to me. Especially if it is all or almost all your savings. Would it not be better to have a less extravagant day, and start married life with a good safety net?

The bit you need to remember is you are making a big commitment to each other. Everything else is just a party.

Maybe work out what the really important bits are, and spend on them, and then try not to spend too much on other areas?

Forgetfulmog Fri 02-Aug-13 21:15:06

How much is it?

Nosy me grin

wibblyjelly Fri 02-Aug-13 21:15:09

Personally, I wouldn't use that type of money on a wedding, but would put it towards the marriage (ie putting it towards your mortgage). One day vs making the rest of your lives together financially easier)

HystericalParoxysm Fri 02-Aug-13 21:16:26

Mortgage over wedding, definitely. If you have no mortgage, well, go for it!

thenightsky Fri 02-Aug-13 21:16:43

It's easy to get it all out of proportion. The wedding industry feeds on it.

I got married 30 years ago for under grand. Our memories are just as good as someone who spent 20x that.

Have a serious think OP. Are you doing it for you or to impress your family and friends. If you have 4 dc already then you and your OH are tight together without any fancy stuff.

Think who you're spend for.

defineme Fri 02-Aug-13 21:17:36

Oh no -4 dc and you're spending that on a wedding?
I took my vows very seriously, but I also take saving for kids' futures/emergencies/education/etc etc very seriously. I assume you already have that covered?
Rein it in-simple is classy.
I wanted to tell the world how much I loved and was committed to dh, but a simple ceremony, nice food and fun party can do that.

Back2Two Fri 02-Aug-13 21:17:37

If you can't sleep fom worry then it sounds a bonkers thing to do it sounds completely insane to me anyway

Your comment about expectations is spot on. I think you know that you think YABU

Vivacia Fri 02-Aug-13 21:17:49

How are you spending so much?

Buttonholes Fri 02-Aug-13 21:19:23

We have good life insurance, a 50% mortgage, and some money saved for DC (about £15k). We don't have any other savings however, this will use them all up.

We do have large families and we would want them all to the there so inevitably it will be a 'big' wedding in terms of size. And lots of guests certainly pushes the cost up.

Forgetfulmog Fri 02-Aug-13 21:20:45

How much is it? I'm on my phone & can't see the full title

TimothyClaypoleLover Fri 02-Aug-13 21:21:03

Depends what your annual salary is but IMO the more money spent on a wedding the more worry and stress. Entirely up to you but if you are already worrying about it to the extent you can't sleep you are probably spending too much. The more money spent on a wedding the more pressure there is for everything to be perfect and the more stressed out you are in the lead up the less chance you will actually enjoy the day.

You don't have to spend a fortune to have the best wedding ever. Too many people get caught up in all the crap that comes with weddings but at the end of the day is just about you and your partner and nothing else matters.

Unexpected Fri 02-Aug-13 21:21:27

Sounds like madness to me! No matter what your salary, spending 6 months of it on one day cannot be sensible. If you earn £40,000 that means spending £20,000, if you earn £10,00 that means spending £5,000. No matter how much or little you earn, half is just too much!

if you can't sleep for worry of the whole thing, the day is NEVER going to match up to your expectations.

We spent a lot on our wedding 4 years ago & we're still paying it off. It was a lovely day but to be honest with hindsight I wouldn't do it like that again.

LieweHeksie Fri 02-Aug-13 21:22:41

Sorry. Phone ate my post.

I think that is an insane amount of money.

WorraLiberty Fri 02-Aug-13 21:23:46

You live together, you've got 4 DC and a mortgage.

What is the point in having a huge, expensive celebration this late in the day?

Why not just have a small registry office do, a family party and then spend a bit on a nice honeymoon?

OutragedFromLeeds Fri 02-Aug-13 21:24:44

I think you're completely insane, but not unreasonable. If you can afford it and that's what you want to spend your money on then you're perfectly reasonable to do so.

What would happen if one of you were made redundant 2 weeks after the wedding?

Viviennemary Fri 02-Aug-13 21:24:55

It's too much if you have four DC's and other things to pay for. In fact it sounds mad. If a young couple want to do this it's fair enough. But not in your position. But that's only my opinion. In the end do what you think is best. But don't spend the money and then next year think what a waste that was.

Awful idea. This is only my opinion mind you, and I'm sure plenty of people will contradict me. If you are in love and happy together you will have a wonderful day. Do you actually believe spending thousands and thousands will magically make it even better. Do you believe your partner will be looking at you walking down the aisle thinking you should have bought a more expensive dress, for example. Don't fall for the idea that it's your wedding so it has to be 'perfect'. Life isn't perfect and marriage certainly isn't. It should be romantic, fun, loving, happy and none of these things actually cost a penny.

TimothyClaypoleLover Fri 02-Aug-13 21:25:16

£15k saved up for 4 kids will not go far, particularly if they all want to go to uni. In your situation I think I would rather have a smaller wedding and use the money for the kids futures.

Just because you both have huge families, doesn't mean all the family has to be invited.

Buttonholes Fri 02-Aug-13 21:26:31

I'm doing it because, OH wants it, to not disappoint our families who will all want to be present, to have a bloody good party, to have gorgous wedding photos to put up (I know the last one's not the best reason in the world)

ZZZenagain Fri 02-Aug-13 21:27:14

don't spend half your annual income on it. You are already worrying, if things don't go as well as you wish, you'll spend a lot of time regretting it too.

Do something nice but don't go overboard with it. These celebrations are all spiralling out of control IMO and it isn't really necessary. If you were completely comfortable with it, I wouldn't see the harm but you are not.

BrianTheMole Fri 02-Aug-13 21:27:34

I wouldn't do it. Its just one day.

littlemisswise Fri 02-Aug-13 21:27:49

I wouldn't do it, and I think that fact that it is keeping you awake at night means you don't really want to.

We got married almost 20years ago. We had a small wedding, didn't get into debt for it, it was a lovely day and we have happy memories of it.

My sister got married 2.5 years ago, they had 7 DC between them, aswell as 4GC. They had a big wedding, which was paid for on credit over 10years.

I, personally, do not understand why people spend so much on their weddings, you are all married the same way at the end of it.

arethereanyleftatall Fri 02-Aug-13 21:28:35

It is entirely up to you, but...
No way would I spend that much on my wedding. I think it's absolutely loopy. We hosted ours in our house, cost about £200. I honestly believe no one, including us, had any less fun at ours then any other wedding we've been to. My hubby and my friends were there and that's all that matters.
We spent the money instead on a glorious kitchen extension, and every time me and my friends sit round my island, I know we made the right choice.

Thesimplethings Fri 02-Aug-13 21:29:30

Personally I wouldn't. We spent 26k approx on ours. Most of it on expensive cars, flowers, marquee etc. No honeymoon. Yes we had a lovely day however some of the best weddings we have attended have been budget weddings. I much preferred those and had no idea at the time they were on a budget.

One was a lovely church ceremony mid afternoon, back to a big function room with outdoor space and children's play area. Food was buffet style but things like whole roasted salmon etc. It was great! We since found out that it was 50 pounds deposit for room. Family and friends provided the buffet and helped decorate. Brides dress was second hand etc. the whole thing was less than 500 pound.

Look into it carefully.

Polyethyl Fri 02-Aug-13 21:29:35

I know someone who spent a ludicrous sum on her wedding. Just beyond all reasonableness sort of vast expenditure - and they were both police sergeants so not on massive salaries. The marriage failed after 18 months.

ShellyBoobs Fri 02-Aug-13 21:30:27

Bit confused.

What do you mean, 'half our annual salary'?

Is that one of you earning? Both of you?

Is the 'half' after or before tax?

arethereanyleftatall Fri 02-Aug-13 21:30:42

Oh, xppsted with you op - the one and only thing I regret is not having any proper photos of it!

PrettyKitty1986 Fri 02-Aug-13 21:31:54

Half of your annual salary is a lot IMO.

Df and I are only spending on our wedding what we can comfortably save in one year. Which is a lot less than half of our annual salary.

sunshine401 Fri 02-Aug-13 21:32:06

Why do the same topics on here always happen. It is strange.

Buttonholes Fri 02-Aug-13 21:32:14

It is going to be a simple wedding. We a spending alot of money on music, food and photography. And a free bar which is a massive part of the budget. Not many flowers, no cake etc.

MissDuke Fri 02-Aug-13 21:33:06

We spent 50% of my wage on our wedding. I was only earning £10k back then though, so it was half my wage, not our combined wages. We had no children, a small mortgage and were very young.

I defo would not spend half of my current income on a wedding, now that I am earning a decent wage. I loved my wedding and wouldn't change a thing about it.

It sounds like you really don't want to spend that much - if you don't want to then don't do it!

Buttonholes Fri 02-Aug-13 21:33:23

Both of us are earning, and it's half of our take home pay.

violetwellies Fri 02-Aug-13 21:33:28

I know a couple with several DC's in your position, they put a marquee up in his Dads garden, bought a barrel of beer (or two) and a hog roast (went in the gargage), the gusts sat on (borrowed) straw bales or hired chairs and tressle tables (from the village hall), they had a live (local) band and strung lights round the garden so folk could find the loo. It isnt a massive garden, there were laods of family and friends, it was fab.

TimothyClaypoleLover Fri 02-Aug-13 21:33:54

I have been to several weddings where friends/family have taken the "official" photos and tbh they are just as good as ones taken by proper photographers. So you can still have your photos without spending a fortune.

violetwellies Fri 02-Aug-13 21:33:55


PrettyKitty1986 Fri 02-Aug-13 21:35:11

Free want your head examined. I'm paying enough for everyone to have a nice meal and glass of bubbly for a toast. Other than that they're buying their own drinks!

Thesimplethings Fri 02-Aug-13 21:35:49

No! Don't do a free bar! Provide an arrival drink and a toast that is it.

Lizzabadger Fri 02-Aug-13 21:37:47

Don't do it.

ZZZenagain Fri 02-Aug-13 21:37:51

Is the venue very expensive?

stuckonsmallrock Fri 02-Aug-13 21:37:59

I got married in a barn & had the reception there too. My Mums friend made the top & skirt I wore (it cost £60 & half of that was on the silver trim I fell in love with). A friend DJ'ed for the price of petrol money & do you know what? It was the most magical day of my life. Friends & family were there, they are the important part. All this bollocks about matching chair covers, table decs, etc etc is irrelevant.

Save the money, put it into an account for DC's uni fund, first car, whatever. Spend it on your family, not the wedding industry. You wont regret it.

notanyanymore Fri 02-Aug-13 21:38:16

I think its totally up to you. Its not wrong of you to spend your savings on you and your dp getting married just because you have children, they are part of it to. But, if your not happy with it you should reign it in to a point where you are. Nothing should blight your families big day smile

vaticancameo Fri 02-Aug-13 21:38:21

I wouldn't. We got carried away with our wedding and spent loads. It was a lovely day, but that's it - a day. In the planning stages you forget how quickly one day goes by. I have since been to some "budget" weddings which were just as gorgeous as mine, and I really wish we'd done the same.

You don't need a free bar, bloody hell! Glass of fizz when people get there, provide wine on the tables if it's a sit-down meal, but that's it!

violetwellies Fri 02-Aug-13 21:38:27

Another couple, registry office then beach party - bring your own picnic rug and booze.
Others hired a fish and chip van then did strawberries and cream.
One friend blew her budget on food and bubbly for the guests and pared down everything else, her FIL paid for a celidh band in his barn.

Expensive weddings are often just that, expensive. The best ones are often very low budget.

TimothyClaypoleLover Fri 02-Aug-13 21:38:42

OP, how many guests do you have? To spend half your annual salaries on a simple wedding must mean you have a fair few guests. If that is the case perhaps you should reconsider your guest list or else reconsider the food/free bar. For example, I think a free bar is good for a smallish to medium wedding but if you have 200 people going it is madness. Do you really want to blow all that money just so people can get drunk for one night?

Buttonholes Fri 02-Aug-13 21:38:44

We're already doing it I'm afraid, the wedding is 4 weeks away.

Maybe I am just having per wedding jitters?

When we first discussed the wedding however, we planned to spend only two thirds of what we're actually spending. It has gone up a lot. I think I've been a bit silly with the menu/over influenced by the caterer's sales team.

SanityClause Fri 02-Aug-13 21:39:12

I'm not the right person to comment, as we got married in Las Vegas - just the two of us.

I can understand having a lovely party for your families, but does it have to be the whole OK magazine deal? Would something simpler not be just as good?

I bet lots of the family you are inviting, particularly the older ones, didn't have a do like the Beckhams, and would be very happy just to see you say "I do" in a lovely dress.

Pinupgirl Fri 02-Aug-13 21:39:13

You sound a bit immature op.nice photos? Pfft! You have 4 dcs-the horse has already bolted.Go to the registry office then hire local hall for buffet.Dont waste your savings on a bloody glorified party.

Thesimplethings Fri 02-Aug-13 21:39:15

If you have 200 guests and each have one drink at 2 pounds that's 400 pound straight away! Your drink bill will end up thousands. Hell no! Book a professional photographer but no way would I pay for everyone to drink all day and night free.

ShellyBoobs Fri 02-Aug-13 21:39:23

Both of us are earning, and it's half of our take home pay.

Thanks for the extra info, OP.

Still not sure whether I could do it, myself.

We haven't married (yet?), been together 15+ years so maybe should, but I just don't think I could stomach spending 50% of our annual income on one (admittedly fabulous, I'm sure) day.

Not much help...

vaticancameo Fri 02-Aug-13 21:39:55

And music - just get a DJ who will play cheese. Honestly, that's what people like and it gets them up and dancing more than a live jazz band etc.

Pinupgirl Fri 02-Aug-13 21:41:29

You already doing it so why post?-oh stealth boast.yawn.

Buttonholes Fri 02-Aug-13 21:41:43

We have 200 guests. The free bar is going to cost a fortune.

It's not too late to change that aspect - but is it terrible to have a cash bar at a wedding? I haven't minded when I've gone to other weddings with cash bars but when it comes to our wedding, I can't help feeling bad about inviting people then telling them to buy their own drinks! We would still provide wine with the meal.

PrettyKitty1986 Fri 02-Aug-13 21:42:06

All this info but no much are you talking op?

Thesimplethings Fri 02-Aug-13 21:42:45

How do you know it will be half your take home pay? Have you restricted the free bar? If not you need to.

I'm sure you will have a lovely wedding and yes it's probably the jitters, but please put a limit on the bar.

Congratulations in advance

ImperialBlether Fri 02-Aug-13 21:43:19

Can you just give us an idea of how much you're spending? I find it really hard to think I'd spend that on a wedding.

I hope you do have a really lovely day.

Thesimplethings Fri 02-Aug-13 21:44:31

Provide wine with meal, 1 set arrival drink, and 1 glass if bubbles for toast. That is it. Or you will end up with people ordering 20 pound a shot whiskers etc.

TimothyClaypoleLover Fri 02-Aug-13 21:44:44

200 guests and a free bar is utter utter madness. Please stop the free bar now! A free bar is a nice thing to do but not for that many guests. If you are providing wine for the meal that is more than enough.

ZZZenagain Fri 02-Aug-13 21:45:22

is it all booked and have the invitations gone out?

Thesimplethings Fri 02-Aug-13 21:45:25

I think most people expect to buy their drinks at a wedding

Buttonholes Fri 02-Aug-13 21:45:42

We just estimated for the bar, average of 2 drinks per hour for each guest over 4 hours after dinner.

We were also going to have extra food for later in the night about 10pm. Necessary?

ShellyBoobs Fri 02-Aug-13 21:45:42

We're already doing it I'm afraid, the wedding is 4 weeks away.

In that case I'd just knock the free bar on the head and save a fortune.

You can then enjoy a fantastic day at a much reduced cost.

I don't think many people would expect a free bar?

They certainly won't get enough enjoyment out of it to justify the massive expense to you.

If you've got a couple of hundred people and they all have a few drinks each it will cost you £thousands. Would the day be worse if people spent £10 of their own money on drinks?

They probably won't even think about it, yet it will cost you massively to provide free booze.

Terrible idea IMO.

ZZZenagain Fri 02-Aug-13 21:47:08

I missed that the wedding is 4 weeks away, well if the only thing you can change cost-wise is the free bar, do that.

pianodoodle Fri 02-Aug-13 21:47:14

I was 7 months pregnant when we got married so we didn't feel able to justify huge expense. I'd lose sleep as well over the amount you are talking about.

Our biggest wedding costs were our registry office fee, my dress (less than £200), flowers for me (£35 they were beautiful but simple)

We had a couple of amateur photographer friends with decent cameras so didn't pay for a professional.

I did my own make-up because I didn't want to waltz in looking like someone my DH didn't recognise! I bought a Touche Eclat and used it as foundation did a great job smile

I have a family member who owns a country pub with nice gardens for the photos and his wedding present was the buffet.

So with a mixture of good luck and keeping it simple it was less than £500 and was a perfect day!

We don't have a big family though and you do. Would it be the worst thing in the world to just say it's very close family only? People should understand. It's a huge amount of money to spend just to not disappoint people...

notanyanymore Fri 02-Aug-13 21:48:04

Pinupgirls sound like you may have some issues. Best off starting your own thread or seeking professional help.
Op, there is nothing wrong with having whatever kind of wedding you wish and having dc's doesn't mean you only 'deserve' the basics because you haven't 'done it right'. Your lucky, the day is about your new little family and they all get to be there. Don't feel guilty just enjoy it, it will mean a lot to your dc's too.

TimothyClaypoleLover Fri 02-Aug-13 21:48:57

10pm is far too late for extra food. If everyone has had a 3 course sit down meal around about tea time they will not really need anything at 10pm. Surely the wedding finishes not much later than that?

Thesimplethings Fri 02-Aug-13 21:49:08

We had 120 guests provided wine with meal, arrival drink, and a glass of champagne for toast. Bearing in mind we had four bottles per table of six. It cost us nearly 5k just on drinks

Buttonholes Fri 02-Aug-13 21:49:38

I feel better about scrapping the free bar now. I'll talk to OH about it.

He's worried our Aunts and Uncles will be offended. I wonder if we open a tab for select older relatives to use, could tht work or am I opening a can of worms?

notanyanymore Fri 02-Aug-13 21:49:46

Oh but do scrap the free bar if you can!

beepoff Fri 02-Aug-13 21:50:20

Cut what you can now. Free bar for 200 guests is what, £5K? No-one will mind paying for a drink or two. I'm assuming you'll provide wine with meal etc.

Thesimplethings Fri 02-Aug-13 21:51:23

No need for extra food at 10pm either. People won't care then. If you feel you must...being out nibbles.

SanityClause Fri 02-Aug-13 21:51:28

Oh, x-posted.

Is there any way you can scale it back. Could you choose a simpler menu, or is it all agreed?

Could you reduce the variety of drinks available, at all? So offer just wine, beer and soft drinks, but no spirits?

Because DH and I didn't have proper wedding photos, a couple of years ago, my birthday present was a family photo session. We had lovely photos of the children, singly and in groups, family photos and some of DH and me together.

ZZZenagain Fri 02-Aug-13 21:52:18

I don't think they'll be offended unless a free bar is standard at all your family get-togethers. Dh or your dad/brother or someone else can drop by the elderly relatives if they are all at one table with a few extra drinks and see that they are well supplied. That shouldn't be too difficult.

arethereanyleftatall Fri 02-Aug-13 21:52:29

Food later on in the night is unnecessary. I ve been to several weddings where we had a full 3 course meal at 5, and then a hog roast at 10. Why, why, why? It doesn't make the night more enjoyable, just more expensive.
And, cap the bar.

I've been to two weddings this summer - one in a swanky country manor house that included sit down meal and evening disco, and one in a registry office with a picnic at the park afterwards. I'm not joking, the expensive one was boring and I couldn't wait to get away, the informal one was fun and emotional. It all comes down to the people and the attitudes ultimately.

ZZZenagain Fri 02-Aug-13 21:53:25

you said the music was very expensive too. Any way you could change that?

TimothyClaypoleLover Fri 02-Aug-13 21:54:02

notanymore - of course OP can have whatever wedding she likes if she is happy with that but it sounds like she is having second thoughts about spending so much money so there have been suggestions about stopping the free bar to save some money (to actually save thousands). She will still have the big wedding, just not an unnecessary big wedding when the money could still be spent on the family but in other ways.

xkittyx Fri 02-Aug-13 21:54:59

Definitely scrap the free bar. I disagree that food at 10 is unnecessary. I hate not being given enough to eat at weddings, and if the main meal is at 5 or 6 I'd definitely be hungry again.
Just buy the older rellies some drinks. No tabs - things could get out of hand.

Cakebaker35 Fri 02-Aug-13 21:55:34

Don't do it, no need, you can ave an amazing day for not v much. Spent £5k tops on our wedding 3 yrs ago, 80 guests, an amazing day and had so many comments on how nice and relaxed it was. Spend your money on mortgage, kids, hols etc.

ZZZenagain Fri 02-Aug-13 21:56:17

what kind of food is being laid on for 10pm? I think snacks would be enough

Buttonholes Fri 02-Aug-13 21:56:43

What do you all think about the late buffet food? Is this just a new fad? We'll finish dinner at 8pm.

I do think poeple will appreciate a bit of extra food later on but I'm not sure they will miss it if we don't do it.

pianodoodle Fri 02-Aug-13 21:57:06

Argh just noticed you're already doing it anyway.

Just wasted time talking about my cheapo make-up tips then! Hey ho...

ZZZenagain Fri 02-Aug-13 21:57:26

If you finish eating around 8, you don't need a whole lot more food at 10pm IMO

Cakebaker35 Fri 02-Aug-13 21:57:42

Just re read and you're already doing it so no idea why you've posted then confused

MrsLettuce Fri 02-Aug-13 21:58:59

What's done is done, you just have to try to relax and enjoy it. But, DO limit the bar to two 2 drinks per person though, it's perfectly reasonable and will give you a hell of a lot of peace of mind.

ProtegeMoi Fri 02-Aug-13 21:59:17

The free bar is madness!

Yes if you have 20 guests but for 200 no way, definately cancel that. Noone expects a free bar at a wedding.

The 10 o'clock food depends on what time you are eating.

We did at 2pm sit down meal, then a 7pm buffet and couldn't have ate more if I tried, if you not havig an evening buffet however then keep the 10 o'clock food, if you are then scrap that as well. It will only be wasted.

TimothyClaypoleLover Fri 02-Aug-13 21:59:52

Why would you need food at 10pm if you only finish main meal at 8pm? You wouldn't have dinner at home at 7pm and then have a buffet at 10pm. If your main meal is early afternoon it might be worth considering a buffet but surely people are not going to be hungry after 2 hours. Another complete waste of money for you.

As for aunts and uncles being offended at there being no free bar, I wouldn't want them coming to my wedding if that was their primary concern.

SwedishHouseMat Fri 02-Aug-13 22:00:25

If you have a free bar - it could become a challenge for some members of your family to drink it dry like my brothers at my wedding.

Mumoftwoyoungkids Fri 02-Aug-13 22:00:26

We went to a wedding where the evening do had wine on the tables but not a free bar. Could you do this? So there is some drink for people but the cost is limited.

Or go around and buy every guest a drink?

Or just have a "next round is on us" announcement.

Or free soft drinks but not alcohol?

I think a pay bar is fine (most weddings I've been to have one) but you can have a compromise.

MrsLettuce Fri 02-Aug-13 22:00:31

x posts

Heck, you have got carried away! Late night buffet would probably be largely wasted.

ComposHat Fri 02-Aug-13 22:01:35

absolute madness in my book. especially with four kids.

Buttonholes Fri 02-Aug-13 22:01:53

Scrapping free bar will save a lot. The late food isn't so expensive. It would be mini burgers or something. The menu isn't finalised,

I went to a wedding with late food and didn't feel it was necessary, I wasn't very hungry by that time. But that's just me and I would hate people to be hungry at our wedding!

TimothyClaypoleLover Fri 02-Aug-13 22:03:26

But its 2 hours after the main meal. How can anyone be hungry? If you must put some crisps out but there is no need for burgers.

Buttonholes Fri 02-Aug-13 22:03:57

We 're doing it anyway but only thing that's final at the moment is invitations, venue and music. I will use make up tips I was thinking of doing my own too.

Bearbehind Fri 02-Aug-13 22:04:57

Seriously, book a holiday, get married on a beach and have a party when you get home.

Spending half your annual salary on one day is insane.

Rightly or wrongly, with 4 children, many people will just see it as a formality anyway and really won't appreciate the expense you have gone to.

ZZZenagain Fri 02-Aug-13 22:05:02

ok so all you can change is the photographer, the food menu and the free bar.

BellEndTent Fri 02-Aug-13 22:05:20

IMVHO the answer to the question depends entirely on what the salary is. If a low salary, you're probably being foolish as the money could be better spent elsewhere, if comfortable then why the hell not? grin Congratulations btw.

Mimishimi Fri 02-Aug-13 22:06:12

Haven't personally but do know of people who borrowed large sums (equivalent of half their combined salaries etc) and who took years and years to pay it off. Your situation is a bit different in that you already have the money saved up but since you've already had four kids together ( presumably having been together for quite a while), I'd give the big wedding a miss personally.

ZZZenagain Fri 02-Aug-13 22:06:56

I think I would get a less expensive photographer and have a cake but in the end maybe if you can skip the free bar, it will be enough for you to feel at ease with the arrangements/cost.

MrsLettuce Fri 02-Aug-13 22:08:17

See, much as I'm all for scrapping the extra buffet and bar, I'd say having your hair / make up / nails (and all that jazz) done (or not done) is likely to make a massive difference to your stress levels on the day and how good you feel.

microserf Fri 02-Aug-13 22:10:24

Hmm. Just posting lot say we have big regrets about how much we spent on our wedding! Lovely day, but really sometimes wish had been above to persuade dh to elope to the local town hall followed by pub bash.

Buttonholes Fri 02-Aug-13 22:10:24

Late buffet is madness you are right. I have been talking to sales person from catering company today. He must be on commission!

The whole day is from 3-12pm. Dinner 6-8pm.

Can we get away with just wine for the toast/speeches? Caterer trying to sell me bubbles for this and I think it is what people usually do

microserf Fri 02-Aug-13 22:11:22

Can you buy your own bubbles and wine? This was the only thing we saved money on by doing a Calais trip.

notanyanymore Fri 02-Aug-13 22:11:28

Thanks for the clarification Timothy if you re-read my post you would see it is in answer to another poster who basically said if you already have dc you should just head to the registry office and have a sarnie hmm
I also encouraged reducing the free bar aspect as much as poss.
Obviously if op is worried let's try and help her reign in the finances where she can. But no one should be encouraged to think they don't deserve a 'proper' wedding as they committed the cardinal sin of having children out of wedlock. And the children are also a part of this day just as much as the bride and groom and will also be benefiting from it.

MrsLettuce Fri 02-Aug-13 22:11:38

A wedding must have cake, even if it's just a small and very simple one. Is very important indeed, lack of cake is guaranteed to cause much more muttering than a paid or limited bar.

violetwellies Fri 02-Aug-13 22:13:19

Cheap bubbles? The same price as wine? Otherwise go & milk another cash cow. Think you need to do some hard bargaining smile

TimothyClaypoleLover Fri 02-Aug-13 22:13:23

You will need bubbles for the speeches as it is the done thing but it will only be a glass each - although obviously you are looking at 200 glasses! Can you opt for cava over champagne? We did this at our wedding and no-one knew. Most people were too drunk on the free wine with the meal to notice!

MrsLettuce Fri 02-Aug-13 22:13:59

No need for champagne! That's for in bed the morning after. 'Bubbly' fine, IMHO. One glass per person.

Buttonholes Fri 02-Aug-13 22:15:00

We're only 4 years into our relationship. It doesn't feel very long and we're early thirties. One set of twins and we didn't hang about!

Googlella Fri 02-Aug-13 22:15:32

If you could find an inexpensive cake ( I think supermarkets sell plain celebration cakes), slices of cake would be a good substitute for the late night buffet.
Have a wonderful day!

Buttonholes Fri 02-Aug-13 22:18:36

We could certainly have cava for the toasts.

For after the ceremony and before the reception, we will need to give drinks and maybe food. Is it the done thing for this to be champagne too?

200 glasses of champagne is about £2000! Adds so much on.

Buttonholes Fri 02-Aug-13 22:20:04

Cake for a late night treat is a great idea! Thank you

TimothyClaypoleLover Fri 02-Aug-13 22:20:14

Apologies notanymore, just saw pinups "yawn" post, not the previous one about going to registry office. Totally misinterpreted, my mistake.

OP, our wedding cake was from the supermarket and had 3 tiers for £40. But presume you have probably already got the cake on order so too late there.

ZZZenagain Fri 02-Aug-13 22:20:59

she is not having a cake she said

ImagineJL Fri 02-Aug-13 22:21:48

Definitely scrap the free bar. No-one expects a free bar, especially not at a wedding with that many guests. It's madness. People won't think you're wonderfully generous, they'll probably think you must have had a secret lottery win, and they'll drink crazy amounts to make the most of it!

I would keep thinking about what I'd do when my kids wanted to go to university (which can cost about 30k these days I believe), and they can't go because all those aunts and uncles needed to neck free booze one day years ago!

I've been to loads of weddings and never known one with a free bar. The norm is free wine with the meal and champagne for a toast, then pay at the bar after that.

TimothyClaypoleLover Fri 02-Aug-13 22:21:51

Buttonholes - we had pimms for pre dinner drinks and that is a lot cheaper than champagne.

Pinupgirl Fri 02-Aug-13 22:23:43

Lol at the dcs will enjoy it.Yeah for a one day party.Am sure they would appreciate the security of the savings in the future a whole lot more.I just dont get the whole big show off,look at MEEE! Weddings,especially for those who have been together donkeys years with dcs already.

ImagineJL Fri 02-Aug-13 22:23:47

Summer weddings it's usually Pimms for the milling around bits. If lads don't like drinks with bits of mint and fruit in, they buy a pint at the bar. Pimms can be cheap as you can water it down a lot!

ZZZenagain Fri 02-Aug-13 22:25:15

so is it looking better now - if you drop the free bar, have an inexpensive cake for 10pm, have cava forthe toasts or pimms as pre-dinner drink, wine on the tables.

Does that work out ok price-wise? Otherwise speak to the photographer and see if you can change your deal.

maja00 Fri 02-Aug-13 22:27:45

Cava not champagne.
Something like Pimms or just wine for pre-dinner drinks is fine.
Definitely scrap the free bar!!
If you are eating 6-8pm, you do not need more food at 10pm - how about just some bowls of crisps/nuts etc on the tables at the reception?

Definitely get some kind of cake - small and cheap is fine. A friend of mine had 3 tiers of amazing gateaux made by a local bakery/cafe for less than £50.

Can you scale back of the flowers? They really aren't vital.

I'd look for a cheaper photographer too.

PurpleGirly Fri 02-Aug-13 22:29:46

buttonholes I get the impression your wedding is not about marrying the man you love and the children you share, but about one day and how it appears to others. Cut back as much as you can, your guests won't notice or care - have never heard guests saying " ooh what a crap wedding, they had cheap cava and we had to buy our own drinks". This is about your commitment to each other, not to your mates getting a free bar. I hope you have a great day but your concerns show that you know something seems wrong ...

girliefriend Fri 02-Aug-13 22:30:07

Sorry not read all pages but no cake confused


No cake??!!


<wonders what the world is coming to when you can spend half your combined annual salary on a wedding and still not give your very pissed thanks to the free bar guests a bit of cake>

ImagineJL Fri 02-Aug-13 22:32:23

When I said champagne I didn't mean the real thing obviously. I've never had that at a wedding, always cava or similar.

Buttonholes Fri 02-Aug-13 22:34:02

Well we're now down to a third of our salary not half which I feel a lot better about.

The sheer amount of money we were spending on drinks alone was scary.

We have paid a deposit to an expensive photographer but he's really good and I do want good photos. I am an amateur photographer so it's something that will bug me.

Think you mumsnet advisors! I might get a better nights' sleep tonight.

maja00 Fri 02-Aug-13 22:36:09

A third, especially as you aren't going into debt, sounds better.

Buttonholes Fri 02-Aug-13 22:41:47

The cake decision is less about cost (though that is a nice by product) and more because I don't really see the point of a wedding cake. There are no candles to be blown out! I would feel silly holding the knife together and cutting the first slice thing. And I don't really like cake that much either.

I didn't think people would even notice there wasn't a cake, maybe I've got that wrong.

Ohhelpohnoitsa Fri 02-Aug-13 22:41:56

IMO spend as little as possible. Have you ever heard anyone (except bride & groom) say how much they are looking forward to a wedding.... no, most people say "oh we've got a wedding to go to next week" like its a real drag. Someone will always slate the food and usually someone will have too much to drink. I certainly dont want to pay £ks for that. I agree with an earlier poster who said the industry preys on this emotional blackmail stuff. People start off with small intentions then get sucked in to the whirlwind. My friend paid £700 for bows on chairs. My word. Another friend is getting married v soon and having a tantrum because her bridesmaid wont cut her long hair to match the length of the other two brideamaids and therefore the photos will look odd. i dont know when I brcame so cynical but it all seems ridiculously self indulgent & completely wasted on. I HAVE been to four or five absolutely fabulous out of this world weddings but still believe it is crazy. crazy crazy. crazy. each had something that wasnt perfect for everyone.

greeneyed Fri 02-Aug-13 22:42:29

I got my cake from M & S had to pre order it was about £100 for three tiers, don't know if they still fo this. Florist decorated it with flowers and it looked great. Yes scrap late food if you are not having seperate and additional evening guests. Def not bubbly except perhaps for tol table if you fancy it. No free bar, have just been to a big wedding where people were absolutely taking the piss and ordering shot after shot, it was embarrassing. You can order extra wine or keep your own tab at the bar and instruct friends/ rellies to order your older relatives drinks on the tab if you think it is necessary. Have a lovely day!

greeneyed Fri 02-Aug-13 22:44:20

The cake is a big thing for some people.

Buttonholes Fri 02-Aug-13 22:44:58

Thanks greeneyed, good tips.

bluestar2 Fri 02-Aug-13 22:46:54

Def get rid of free bar, there are always guests who just take the piss with these things. To expensive and to much trouble for pissed guest problems.
We spent a small fortune on our wedding. If I did it again I would not spend that amount or invite all the family( who I see once in a blue moon) allegedly required to attend. Have a look at m and s wedding g cakes, perfectly lovely and don't cost a fortune. Enjoy your day. I'm sure your dcs will love it too.

arethereanyleftatall Fri 02-Aug-13 22:47:03

Can you get to Calais for the drinks. Much cheaper.Majestic very good.

Ohhelpohnoitsa Fri 02-Aug-13 22:54:16

ues I went to a wedding last week with a free bar til 8pm. after 7pm some people (only some) were lining up 2 or 3 at a time for a couple of rounds to "see them through". So vulgar. Dont people get that a free bar is actually being paid for by their hosts?

defineme Fri 02-Aug-13 23:00:13

A lot of people prefer a good cava over champagne/the vast majority of people don't care as long as it has bubbles for toast. Bucks fizz or pimms is what we've had on arrival at recent weddings. No evening buffet or snacks if meal over at 8 and no evening only guests.
I understand the photography thing (don't you have any friends from your hobby that you could ask), but is music a passion too-what are you having exactly?
This is your day too and you need to enjoy it.

Buddhagirl Fri 02-Aug-13 23:06:43

I had a free bar, it's all about the free bar.... But then I had 70 guests

MrsKoala Fri 02-Aug-13 23:20:46

We had 2 Gateaux (a black forest and a strawberry from a local baker at £40 each and had enough for 80 people) as our wedding cake and some people thought it was the highlight of the day (not sure if that means the day was shite tho!). We didn't want a big cake (altho i had a 3 tiered chocolate cake with with white choc icing from M&S at my first wedding and we served it as desert with fresh strawberries and that was also lovely) I defo think you need cake.

Charlesroi Fri 02-Aug-13 23:26:56

Buttonholes don't have champagne - it'll be the cheap stuff. The caterers are charging you about £60 a bottle for something that probably costs about £15 in a supermarket (and tastes like it). Go for a good quality cava and halve the 'bubbles' bill.

MrsKoala Fri 02-Aug-13 23:34:27

We had Prosecco which i prefer to Cava. And it was lovely.

We also had jugs of Pimms and Bloody Marys as well as Prosecco on arrival, and most people went for them instead meaning much fewer bottles were opened leaving more for the toasts. (There was so much left over in fact some people took some home - cheeky fuckers (i asked what they were doing and they said 'oh we are going to give some to our friends as presents'!) - so don't put them all out unopened like we did thinking people would just open what they wanted and leave what they didn't want)

RedToothBrush Fri 02-Aug-13 23:47:14

I can't sleep from worry though

I think you answered your own question.
What does it matter what anyone else has done and how its turned out for them?

formicadinosaur Sat 03-Aug-13 00:03:17

They could drink you into debt. Just think many could have 4 or 5 drinks over the evening. Others 10 or 3. Yes provide wine for the tables. No don't provide a free bar. It's the morn to pay. Does it really matter what other think

Beastofburden Sat 03-Aug-13 00:12:40

No day can ever be perfect, whatever you spend on it. As you already know, building a family has got nothing to do with having a big wedding day. There is a cynical wedding industry out there trying to take our hard earned cash. Don't be suckered by them. If it isn't too late, I would say rethink this. With a mortgage and 4 dcs I think you could do so much more with your money.

Old people like me are shocked by the escalation in what people spend on weddings and I am gaping at tidys gluezilla thread and the things people do in wedding madness. When I was young and dinosaurs roamed the earth in 1980 perms, if you had a big family they would bring the food with them, it didn't mean you spent the earth trying to treat them all to a hotel meal.

Beastofburden Sat 03-Aug-13 00:17:37

Ps you have done incredibly well to have half your annual income in savings. The peace of mind that gives you as a family is brilliant. Don't piss it all away into the pockets of a bunch of wedding sharks.

LondonNinja Sat 03-Aug-13 00:40:27

Our late buffet was largely uneaten - people just were not hungry. We had two bottles of wine on each table and everyone had a glass of bubbly. All in, including cake and honeymoon, it was pretty reasonable. Lots of guests kindly commented on how they'd enjoyed it - no one knew the cost of anything... It's not how much you spend that matters. Really, for one day, you don't need to go mad. And you certainly do not need to be losing sleep! Cut back, for goodness sake, as your current worry will taint everything if you overspend.

hermioneweasley Sat 03-Aug-13 07:32:43

I would definitely notice a lack of cake!

If wedding is at 3 and dinner is at 6/7, I would serve a light buffet or canapés as soon as the reception starts, then scrap the 10pm buffet. Doesn't need to be champagne for the reception, just something fizzy for the toast. Plenty of good sparkling wines that aren't champagne. Reception could be wine, bucks fizz, Pimms and maybe a nice selectin of soft drinks for the drivers?

megsmouse Sat 03-Aug-13 07:42:58

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Wishwehadgoneabroad Sat 03-Aug-13 07:52:37

Well, as someone also in the 'wedding stress' club..!

Hmm. Personally I wouldn't.

I keep reminding's one day.

We're not spending very much at all, but still. I'm worrying about managing people's expectations. My lovely friend said last night actually - they know it's low key so they're not expecting everything perfect. He said he went to a £40k one and it was perfect. But for £40k he expected it to be.

Therein lies your problem!

Why do you want such a flash do anyway? Surely a registry office, a simple meal and a lovely honeymoon would suffice?

Maybe pay out for a decent photographer and have a lovely photoshoot with your 4 kids? You could dress them up etc and make a special day out of that.

So you have huge families?? So what! Doesn't mean they have to come to your wedding!

Sneak off to Vegas grin

Hanginggardenofboobylon Sat 03-Aug-13 07:55:36

What about a cheese 'cake' this can then double as a late night snack for the guests?

Definitely cava/prosecco not champagne.

Pimms for arrival drinks, with some sort of nibbles.

Congratulations, and enjoy your day

Wishwehadgoneabroad Sat 03-Aug-13 07:58:05

Sorry - missed the update!

In that case, definitely ok to scrap the free bar!

Have some drinks on arrival, then some wine (get people serving it though, don't just leave on the tables)

No one expects a free bar imo.

Totally acceptable for people to have to buy their own after you've given them the first 3 or 4 free.

2rebecca Sat 03-Aug-13 08:09:33

That sounds a huge amount of money, especially if you have 4 kids already and are really just rubber stamping the committment you made to each other years ago.
I'd save most of the money for child related costs in the future. I did my make up and hair and didn't organise expensive cars or hire expensive venues.
It is just 1 day and it won't be the most important day of your lives as you have already committed to each other.
Hiring a village hall can be great as you can then sort out your own alcohol, buying lots of nice wine, getting a couple of barrels of beer etc.
We organised our wedding so it was in the afternoon with food at 5. Then no need to provide 2 meals.

springytotty Sat 03-Aug-13 08:10:40

I wouldn't have a tab at the bar for older relatives. imo the people ordering for the older relatives will probably take advantage of it. let the others buy the older relatives drinks.

Glad to hear you're getting the expense down to something manageable. If you're not sleeping with worry, even though you 'have' the money and won't go into debt, then that's telling you something important. Much better to keep as much of the money you've saved for a 'rainy day' for your family.

I'm sure there's time to fine-tune some of the expense before the day. Then you'll feel you 'catered' for everyone, which includes you! Don't bother with food at 10pm if you've finished eating by 8pm - nibbles if you must but not full-on food. Get hard-nosed and don't let the wedding sharks bleed you dry. There's still time.

congratulations btw! I do respect you wanting to invite the whole clan. That's what weddings are about imo... but I'm pretty much on my own with that one these days . I hope you have a lovely time - I'm sure you will. All the stress vanishes on the day, somehow (ime). btw I didn't taste the (delicious, apparently) food - too excited. I ate it - from what I remember - but didn't taste a thing. Ditto the very expensive (classical) music - didn't hear a note! But the guests did, and enjoyed both.

btw you must have a cake! You may not like it but everyone else will, and will expect it. You don't have to spend a lot on it, or cut it either; just as long as there is one that is displayed on a table somewhere. Perhaps you can serve the cake late in the evening instead of food?

Dozer Sat 03-Aug-13 08:14:04

Weddings can be v stressful, even without the expense! You may or may not have a great time (depending on how much you enjoy hosting large events and various factors, largely outside your control), and could use that money for lots of other things, so sensible to cut back.

Our (large) wedding cost around £14k (ten years ago), in hindsight I would have done something much smaller, and not just for financial reasons ( found it weird and inhibiting having lots of friends' partners / family there I hardly knew). We didn't have DC and were lucky in having sizeable contributions from both sets of parents, and could afford it, but the cash could've been put to much better use!

Dozer Sat 03-Aug-13 08:17:25

We had several big, "ordinary" cakes made by friends and family, bargain and tasty!

The wedding industry is a rip-off.

moogy1a Sat 03-Aug-13 08:18:06

Don't let these mn'ers bully you into having a cake. I never had one and I went to a wedding at the weekend where they didn't either. And you know what, the lack of a slice of slightly stale sponge cake wasn't noticed by anyone.
The cheese cake idea is a good one though. 3 rounds of cheese as a "cake" then use that with some cheese biscuits and chutney as late night snacks.

ThreeMusketeers Sat 03-Aug-13 08:22:34

OP, regardless of your family situation, spending half of your combined yearly salary on one day is utterly, utterly ridiculous. Given you have 4 children and a mortgage, it becomes reckless and very unwise.

I loathe big weddings which invariably have mediocre wine, lukewarm bad food and ghastly relatives of the couple.

Dozer Sat 03-Aug-13 08:24:31

Of course the way to really save money is to have a smaller wedding.

Fine to invite whole big family and lots of other guests if YOU want to and would enjoy having a big group and seeing everyone. But if for other reasons, e.g. to please others, think twice. I did it to please my mother (who would've had family stress had we not invited everyone) and DH (lots of mates), and regretted it. I found it stressful being "on show", worrying about what they thought, and feeling pressure to mingle and speak to everyone (including people who seemed like strangers), not to mention some bad behaviour from random cousins!

Keep the photographer - ten years on that is the thing that we are still looking at and showing our dc. Well done for dropping cash bar, we did calais trip and got cheap but nice bubbly €3:50 (sparkling samur), plus some nice bottles of wine then paid £5 corkage - much nicer than the house stuff.

I would say drop evening buffet and rather have choice of cake or cheese. You can get cheap ones from M&S, save more by not decorating or cutting cake ceremony if it's not your thing,(means you can buy two big ones rather than tiered which would cost proportionally more), will make relatives feel more pissed if they can't remember the cake being cut but it just appearing. Look at the venue decorations askTidyDancer to do them for free do you need all the stuff they try to sell you. Dump or do your own favours.

Most importantly enjoy the day without worrying about the cost.

Thatssofunny Sat 03-Aug-13 08:42:02

We are getting married next week. We've got everything in one place (booked for two nights) - wedding ceremony, party and accommodation for all of the guests. Our families live in different countries, and even the ones living in the country we are getting married in live too far to drive home. It's not some posh country house, though, which lowers the price. Lovely place, but not high-end by any means.

We are starting with a "Polterhochzeit" the night before, when we are having a BBQ. The next day, the ceremony will take place. We are having a free bar (drinks selection is limited, though,..and we generally have sparkling wine instead of champagne) buffet dinner, three wedding cakes (two of which are home made - my family like cake,...and they will still eat it late a night), then some more food for anyone, who wants it later at night. Parties in my family tend to go on until about 6-8 am the next morning, though, and you need food with all the booze. grin
My cousin is a photographer, so he is taking the photos. Music is coming from my dad's laptop. My future SIL is a hairdresser. All sorted. My dress was £300 in the sale and possibly the most expensive item. DP's suit is second-hand.
It's not anywhere close to half of our annual income. However, we've only got 25 people attending, which includes DP and me.
Funnily enough, both our families are really excited about it. It's DP and me, who more or less just go with the flow. It's just a big family party, at which we happen to get married.

Last wedding I went to was really expensive...and slightly boring, as there was nothing to do but wait for food and hope that the speeches stop soon. Good luck. Hope you can manage to get the costs down a little. Enjoy your wedding!

Rootvegetables Sat 03-Aug-13 08:50:07

We had the same big family issue, we did a do it yourself wedding and it was amazing. A beautiful marquee in someone's garden filled with flowers from the market did my own flowers had a huge hog roast ordered the rest if the food and cake from m&s lots of fairy lights. All family and all their children came, we carried on until 3.30 in the morning as there were no closing times. We got all the wine etc from France everyone had loads to eat and drink without spending anything. Honestly it was easy and fun! I'm shocked at the amount some people spend, it's only a day after all even if it's amazing! We still had a great band and a good photographer can make any venue look nice.

BettyandDon Sat 03-Aug-13 09:05:24

The only thing to bear in mind that the week of the wedding you will probably be nervous and stressed.

If you do any of the big things yourself, ie, cake, flowers, venue decoration, catering, most of this needs to be done in this week or in the last few days. Yes you save money but it is potentially opening up yourself to logistical headaches and stress right up to the last minute.

I was so stressed on my wedding morning I couldn't even get my contacts in. I was so glad I opted for a make up and hair artist as no way I could have done my own well with the nerves. Even though it was a lit of money. I am normally cool as a cucumber btw. Never get stressed or nervous about anything!

We also did the cake ourselves. We didn't factor in the heat and a lot of our essentials melted 2 day before. We had to buy double of lots of elements. Would have been cheaper just to buy a professional one.

You forget that professionals know the right ways of doing things and have things like refrigerated vans!

Elements of the wedding are super expensive I know but what I realised post event is that you are buying a 'service' as opposed to just a load of flowers or just a cake.

Balloons are also one to watch- they wilt in the heat and need to be done the day of really.

You will need a team of people to help do things yourself if you plan this at all. What we found was that people were super keen until they realised they were needed on the morning of the wedding and at that point they said 'but when am I going to get ready!'.

Buttonholes Sat 03-Aug-13 09:37:35

Thanks everyone. There are some very good suggestions here.

We're not paying for the venue itself, but using their in-house caterers which is expensive. I chose a nice venue so that we don't have to spend money on decorations. I know we are still 'paying' because the catering is over priced, but at least I don't have to spend time and money on decorations.

We will put flowers on the tables but that's it, no other 'frills'.

I think we have ended up being pressured into inviting about 20-30 more people than we really needed to and that has brought the cost up. Another thing is we are spending a lot of money on music but I see that as entertainment for the guests so I do think it's important.

This is the wedding we want, with the whole family there and our children with us, but I am mindful that it will take another 2 years to replace those savings.

Buttonholes Sat 03-Aug-13 09:38:34

After reading about everyone's experience I think I will definitely pay for a make up artist and hairdresser!

snowlie Sat 03-Aug-13 09:42:07

I'd be slipping off to a registry office at lunch time! Seriously it's such a waste of money for one day that few will remember in the way you hope.

soverylucky Sat 03-Aug-13 09:49:33

My wedding was cheap by modern standards (about 3k) but I still think that was too much. It is one day of your life. No matter what you do or how you do it you will never forget it and the most important thing is that you are getting married.
Definitely scrap the free bar. I have only ever been to one wedding with a free bar. Whilst it was great I really didn't mind paying for drinks at the others I went to. When we married my dad went around offering to buy a drink to anyone and everyone so I guess the majority of guests got one free drink in addition to the wine they got with the meal and the sparkly stuff for the toast.

Alconleigh Sat 03-Aug-13 10:09:04

I have been to heaps of weddings in the last few years. Guests don't give a monkeys about the decorations, flowers, table settings, favours, colour scheme etc. Seriously, I could not tell you who had what now; not because I don't care about the couples, I do, but because that sort of stuff is of no interest to those outside the immediate wedding party. And, sorry to say it, most of it is very generic. If you've been to one country house hotel you've been to them all, by and large.
What matters is that people are fed and watered as well as possible. especially if they have spent hundreds being there, which I generally have to attend friends weddings. Focus your budget on hospitality, not on appearances.

firesidechat Sat 03-Aug-13 10:14:15

Well I wouldn't do it, but it's not my wedding. As for the large family, you can still have lots of guests and do it on a budget.

firesidechat Sat 03-Aug-13 10:20:31

Alconleigh. I've just read your post and totally agree. The only thing that guests care about is having a decent amount of food and something to drink. Anything else is just window dressing.

My daughter got married recently and the vast majority of the budget was spent on food and a free bar. I know not everyone agrees about the free bar, but I think the money was better spent on that than on a balloon arch or violin player. No one got drunk by the way.

ThreeMusketeers Sat 03-Aug-13 10:31:33

Agree, the most important aspect for guests is the quality - and quantity - of food and drink. That's what will be remembered and talked about.
Everything else is same-old-same old - country houses, flowers, etc.

ThreeMusketeers Sat 03-Aug-13 10:32:31

Balloon arch?! How ghastly can you get????

springytotty Sat 03-Aug-13 10:39:37

Come off it Three ! May be ghastly to you, but not to everybody.

disclaimer: no I didn't but that's not the point

digerd Sat 03-Aug-13 10:45:37

Where we lived Germany, the guests paid for themselves - money put in the card handed to the groom as we entered the reception room. The amount of food and wine was limitless, then the most luxurious midnight buffet at 1am. Usually lasted from 7am - 4am with a live band. All drinks were free. The last wedding I attended was in 1995 and cost around £80 for a couple. Not tradition to give presents.

lljkk Sat 03-Aug-13 11:00:44

I am foreign so don't get it anyway. Where i'm from a wedding is a at very most 4-5 hour event, Not this 11am-2am type extravaganza.

I would be on fence but I don't think you should wipe out all your savings. Glad you are finding some ways to cut costs.

Alconleigh Sat 03-Aug-13 11:02:40

If I had to hand over £80 on top of train fares, 1 or often 2 nights in a hotel, cost of attending hen do etc I simply wouldn't go. However, that tradition will have arisen when people were popping down the road to the wedding of someone local I assume, and in that context it actually makes quite good sense in a way. Personally I think a lot of wedding issues are because we don't live as we used to, and so the cost to guests of attending a wedding can be huge, but the bride and groom often forget this, as they are blinded by the amount they are spending. Which is why I am pro free bars; if your guests have spent hundreds each to attend, the least you can do is give them a few drinks.

Crumbledwalnuts Sat 03-Aug-13 11:04:02

I think it's a bit bonkers and it's unusual that you wouldn't want the money for the children. Weddings are troublesome beasts.

madmayday Sat 03-Aug-13 11:10:21

OP - you sound like me - a people pleaser! Always worrying if everyone else is happy and catered for - at the (massive) expense of yourself. The thing is, your panic will definitely show through. If you're stressed out now, it'll only get worse on the day and even if everything goes off without a hitch, there'll be a weird, tense vibe which is not how you and everyone else to want to remember your wedding day!

I've been to weddings where one or both of the married couple are stressed for whatever reason and you always get some shit-bag guest saying; "I give it 6 months!" But it's true that it doesn't bode well - you guys should be relaxed and enjoying yourselves!!! Then everybody else will follow suit...

Definitely scrap the free bar! Free bars were a 1980's thing, when alcohol was cheaper and everyone was in that Thatcherite, showy-offy, keeping-up-with-the-Jones's place. Nobody does a free bar any more (and quite right too)! A bit of wine with the meal is perfect. You're already paying for music and food for 200 people! If they're at all ungrateful about that then they can fuck right off!

Also scrap the evening buffet - especially as your dinner finishes late. Some cake (or cheese and crackers) would be a good compromise, or even some pringles and peanuts!!! (Everyone will be drinking and boogie-ing by that point, so no need for more food at all).

I'd keep the photographer, as it's important to you and you'll always have the memories. But my God - once you get rid of all the unnecessary food and booze, you'll be able to relax so much and just enjoy yourselves! Plus, your saving account won't be empty - winner all round!

Enjoy your day OP!

Alconleigh Sat 03-Aug-13 11:32:26

I am always puzzled at the idea that I should be grateful for a mediocre hotel meal that's cost me about £300 all told, but maybe I am a curmudgeon!

BettyandDon Sat 03-Aug-13 11:39:09

I don't like a balloon arch too US high school graduation for me. But if you are inviting kids balloons are a god send as is a bubble machine ;)

Utterly farcical.

Surely no one could be so utterly foolish and irresponsible.

RedToothBrush Sat 03-Aug-13 11:44:18

ThreeMusketeers Sat 03-Aug-13 10:31:33
^Agree, the most important aspect for guests is the quality - and quantity - of food and drink. That's what will be remembered and talked about.
Everything else is same-old-same old - country houses, flowers, etc.^


Can I remember what I ate at the last 5 weddings I've been to? Just about, but I really have to think about what I had. The last one was very safe, nice but a bit dull. The one before that was er... safe barbequed steak. The one before that was er... a very standard buffet. In fact I think every wedding I've been to the food has been safe and chosen to please as many people as possible rather than being 'good' as such. If anything it tends to be somewhat bland and no descript but made to look pretty. Best I can really say about any of them was it was 'nice'. As long as its fills people up and is 'nice', thats all you need and all anyone really cares about. Same goes for drinks - there just needs to be enough for the meal - and I've got to be honest, I generally expect fairly cheap plonk at a wedding. Its not something I'd talk about the quality of after the fact!

And the same-old-same-old thing about county houses, flowers etc only tends to apply to groups of people who lack the imagination to add a personal touch to the wedding and just buy their entire wedding out of a catalogue. I've been to a lot of dull weddings with the same old-same old - they tend to be ones who spent a ton of money.

The people who have to do it on a budget, have to do more with less and it shows, not in being flash but it the personal touches and involvement of friends and family to make the day special because of the real thought that has to go into it to make the money stretch.

As for paying for booze for everyone rather than having violin players. Both are a luxury that no one expects. If you can't afford either, no one will think the worse of you for not paying for them. Unless you are stinkingly rich and famous.

You go to a wedding to celebrate WITH the bride and groom, not ON them. It usually costs you for the privilege of doing so. And thats what it is, a privilege not a right or expectation.

pickledsiblings Sat 03-Aug-13 11:45:24

OP, much nicer for your DP to buy his older relatives a drink, there can't be that many of them to get around. Great that you are axing the free bar and 10pm nibbles. Good luck with it all, hope you have a lovely day.

TSSDNCOP Sat 03-Aug-13 11:53:58

Hmm tricky one. I spent a lot of money on my wedding, it was what DH and I wanted and we had no other financial accountability at the time. We saved and had the day we wanted, including free bar

TSSDNCOP Sat 03-Aug-13 11:58:43


...piano player etc.

BUT would I do it now with a house, kids etc? No I don't think I would because I'd be doing exactly what you are and worrying about whether it'll be worth it.

Elegant civil wedding, larger party and a holiday for the 6 of you would be the way I'd go.

Buttonholes Sat 03-Aug-13 14:15:13

I do feel better now that we've got the cost down with the free bar.

I don't think it's unreasonable for people to buy a few drinks. Taking into consideration that hardly anyone will be travelling for the wedding because we're holding it in our home town. So no hotel costs, just a mini cab home if drinking.

KatAndKit Sat 03-Aug-13 14:34:44

Im getting married on Friday. Also big family as most cousins are older than me and are now married with children. We saved lots by picking a Friday in fact. No free bar, reception drink plus top up offered,wine with starter and main course, toast bubbly. Reception drink and toast does not have to be real champagne, cava or prosecco is fine and much cheaper.
as our wedding will be at 3 and the dinner at five there wont be a big evening buffet as i think it would get wasted. Guests will have a bacon or sausage butty and a slice of wedding cake for dessert. This is a very economical option.

TarkaTheOtter Sat 03-Aug-13 15:12:53

There seems to be a competition on mumsnet to get married as cheaply as possible.
We spent a reasonable sum on our wedding (not such a high proportion of income but we were less financially established) and I don't regret it at all. It didn't mean we had loads of flash decorations etc but it did mean we could have a sit down dinner for all our friends/family and lots of booze. You can have personal touches with an expensive wedding too.
Compromise on things you don't care about but if a free bar is important to you then go for it. For me it was having a sit down meal rather than a buffet. We did use prosecco for toasts and a "cheese" cake (with breads, hams and chutneys) doubled as an evening snack after the dancing.

We had a meaningful wedding and a massive party after - the two aren't mutually exclusive.

facedontfit Sat 03-Aug-13 16:10:55

Have a fab day Buttonholes and enjoy it.

FamiliesShareGerms Sat 03-Aug-13 16:31:33

OP, spend as ,uch as you want on the things that matter to you (eg we had a free bar, because that was important to us but no bags of sugared almonds). But if it is making you stressed, you are spending too much.

2rebecca Sat 03-Aug-13 16:56:45

I think mumsnet is just providing a balance to the wedding magazines that say the average person (who they have asked) spends zillions of pounds on their ceremony.
Lots of people get married cheaply and don't regret it.
The big expensive wedding is an option, but it's one of several options.
The being married is the important thing, and the first few years of marriage are going to be harder if you've no money left after an expensive wedding.
It's just a party, if you don't normally spend a fortune on parties why overspend on this one?

snickersnacker Sat 03-Aug-13 19:03:37

I'm so pleased that you've cancelled the free bar - guests drink so much more and then need a really substantial late buffet to soak it all up.

One tip, which may or my not be relevant to your families - but at weddings with DH's family I've noticed that many of the men prefer to buy pints at the bar to drink at the reception and meal because they don't like wine much. This inevitably means that the table wine doesn't get finished so make sure that you instruct the venue staff to collect any unfinished bottles and place them somewhere obvious so that wine drinkers can finish them in the evening. Don't let them take it behind the bar, however, as an unscrupulous venue might charge you twice for the same wine, and make sure they have ice buckets to keep the white cold!

pussycatwillum Sat 03-Aug-13 19:13:26

Our wedding cost peanuts nearly 40 years ago. We are still married (happily) and rarely if ever think about the wedding. It really isn't important to spend loads of money.
Friends of ours (also happily married) took the afternoon off work, got married in the registry office with just a couple of witnesses and then invited all their friends round for drinks and wedding cake. None of us knew they were going to do it, but everyone was thrilled that they had.

KathyinSC Tue 22-Oct-13 20:01:03

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

LateBear Tue 22-Oct-13 20:28:08

We had a sit down dinner and open bar, the only expense I regret was how much I spent on my dress. Ridiculous.

yoniwherethesundontshine Tue 22-Oct-13 20:53:51


Totally agree with every word.

I agree that the special memorable weddings are the ones where the couple has had to be creative about the venue and trimmings and food.

I am afraid I see typical large ish weddings in country manors as rather conveyor belt, impersonal and churning them out....

I just remember working in an office with a lady who had married after the children ( quite a bit older) and it was something that bothered her so they got married. Years later she was bitterly moaning she was still paying it off and to cap it all, the bloody groom and all the men buggered off for most of the reception as it was in the middle of the world cup or something?! She said it cost thousands and and she only has bitter memories of it.

Having been pushed to the wire myself, I can honestly say how much fun it was coming up with my own ideas and being forced to be creative rather than being spoonfed the same old tripe.

Also, as an aside I have been to soo many weddings where you turn up to a beautiful venue then you are shoved into a room that is modern with all the charm of a bloody school sports hall!

OP Thank goodness you have come to your senses re the drinks.

Most weddings we have been to, you get drinks with meal, drinks on arrival at the venue then pay for your own!

SpottyDottie Tue 22-Oct-13 20:54:24

NO! Don't spend that kind of money on one day. You can have a beautiful day without spending half your annual salary! You have children and your married life ahead. I've never understood why people spend silly money.

kilmuir Tue 22-Oct-13 20:59:09

You are mad. Wedding a couple of thousands and then take yourselves and DC on a fab holiday

Ragwort Tue 22-Oct-13 21:05:37

Presumably the wedding has happened now, how did it go? Are you pleased you spent that sort of money?

thinks you are totally mad, but each to their own

MortifiedAdams Tue 22-Oct-13 21:09:22

Just have the wedding cake cut and served late
,.woth coffee for those that want it.

MortifiedAdams Tue 22-Oct-13 21:09:46

And just do free drinks while.dinenr is being served.

Ragwort Tue 22-Oct-13 21:11:27

RTT people - it was started in early August and OP said the wedding was in 4 weeks so she must be married by now grin. I would love to hear an update on how it all went.

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