To be upset about my wedding venue?

(997 Posts)

Name changed
Basically have a tiny budget. We were going to cut our guest list but we don't want to. We love everyone on it.
Have been offered The British Legion as a venue for free. Best man works evenings there.
We have decided to take it so we can afford to give everyone a nice time. Its bloody ugly inside. Has lovely big field though/n pretty outside etc.
I know I chose this, and I am not wanting to save up for few years as I just want to marry dp and have all our friends and family there. And would be stupid to not accept such a generous offer.
Just venting I guess... and wondering what to do about the fading carpet, chipped paint, arcade machine...

Hassled Sun 13-Oct-13 16:20:24

Flowers and cheapo paper decorations and tealights and balloons - just fill it with stuff, and obviously people, and no one will notice the ugliness. It'll be fine, honest - no-one really cares about venues, as long as they're having fun.

SoupDragon Sun 13-Oct-13 16:20:26

Which would you prefer - compromise on which people you have there or compromise on the venue?

Venues can be tarted up, guests can't be faked smile

CrohnicallyLurking Sun 13-Oct-13 16:21:27

Maybe you could buy lots of plain fabric and drape it around the room? If you bought wholesale then it might only cost £1 or £2 a metre, and you could drape it round the whole room for £100 (assuming it's a fairly small room!) The arcade machine can be switched off and hidden behind something.

And if you buy everyone lots of booze with your tiny budget, they won't even notice the decor!

Rosencrantz Sun 13-Oct-13 16:23:14

Get yourself on Pinterest. You'll get loads of great ideas and tart up that room like there's no tomorrow!

Congratulations OP!

rallytog1 Sun 13-Oct-13 16:24:46

I had my wedding reception in a fairly ugly community centre. I honestly don't remember anything about how the room looked that day. I was just thrilled to see so many people I loved having a fantastic time.

When you look back on your wedding day, you honestly won't remember the decor. You'll remember the people and the fun.

nilbyname Sun 13-Oct-13 16:26:39

Take the venue and stare looking in Pinterest for budget inspirTion.

You could FILL the play with tea lights and white fairly lights, lots and lots of fresh flowers and it will be stunning.

Make sure the loos are absolutely pristinely clean, put in a nice basket of hand soaps, hand moisturisers, some little bits for ladies to freshen up with and lots of fresh flowers and scented candles.

Decided to take this on account of
B) Very cheap drink
C) The out door space

We want to look after our guests and I hope that we can make them comfortable..
Have sourced a very good pub circuit band for around £300. Have about £800 max for food and don't want a buffet.. Maybe barbeque/ hog? Large 1 pan paella caterer? Don't know.
I'm not sure I have £100 for drapes, it's a good idea though

IHaveA Sun 13-Oct-13 16:29:30

You can make anywhere look lovely with nice lighting. It doesn't have to be fancy just carefully positioned and thought about.

The chipped paint and faded carpet is ok. Can you turn off the arcade machine? Are the loos ok?

I would take the free venue and love it for its free'ness.

Hope you have a wonderful wedding thanks

LIZS Sun 13-Oct-13 16:29:38

Get a screen t hide the machine etc . Agree with using softer lighting and fairy lights, gauzy/voile fabric draped, tablecloths and colour coordinated napkins and flowers.

Cross posts with some of you(very slow typing)
Thank you.. I think just the whole thing upsets me.. I have between £1500 - £2000 to spend on our entire wedding and the church is just shy of £500. I just want guests to have a good time and feel I cant successfully do this on my budget.
Being a whinger I know

stella69x Sun 13-Oct-13 16:33:17

Those that care about the decor don't deserve to be there anyway! It's you day that you want to share with them. Not the bloody room!

IHaveA Sun 13-Oct-13 16:36:13

Good decision!

Cheap drinks really seal the deal.

Your food suggestions sound perfect.

I am not sure about drapes, I would save the money for candles, table centrepieces and other stuff grin

ScarerAndFuck Sun 13-Oct-13 16:39:24

What you need to do, is send out a few save the date cards to people you don't want at your wedding, then when they confirm they are free, tell them they are to be your unpaid decorating help for the day.

That'll sort it for you wink

Pinterest is good for cheap decorating ideas. Big thing at the moment seems to be helium balloons with chiffon draped around them and long strips of fabric cut to look like fringing strung back and forth to make screens.

I think that mostly we will be outside.. its on a cricket pitch. So loads of space.. Not sure we could do sit down meal.. and we are planning on a afternoon wedding(about 3pm) with food about 6ish. Possibly not a sit down, due to lay out etc

IHaveA Sun 13-Oct-13 16:42:27

The BEST wedding I have been to have been the low key affairs. I love casual, friendly fun wedding. I don't like anything pompous and some weddings are too fussy for my liking.

Cheap drinks and tasty not posh food are important but the rest of it not so much.

Am off to nose at pinterest...

If you cannot afford drapes how about making bunting? You could do it out of coloured paper if you needed to and get lots hung inside and outside - it would all continue through then?

Start collecting glass jars now - if you put a tea light in them
(About £3 for 50 from ikea) they make great candle holders - you can tie ribbon round the top if you want to jazz them up?

If it's outside how about a BBQ?

JenaiMorris Sun 13-Oct-13 16:46:16

Table decor is where you need to focus, even if you won't be having a formal, sit down affair.

I've been to a million weddings and some of the best have been in Legion type places. As long as there's enough food and enough seating, Bob's your uncle.

ZenNudist Sun 13-Oct-13 16:46:19

Cheaper venue & more guests every time (I didn't practice what I preach tho'! Married at a beautiful hotel in Cyprus with 25 guests!)

BUT. The best weddings I've been to we're about the people there & keeping them well fed & watered. Defo decorate & get friends to pitch in tarting place up. Don't worry about inviting every cousin & random workmates. Just good friends & close family. So much better than some overpriced venue where the food isn't even any cop.

My best friend got married in a registry office, we all crammed in, it was boiling and sixties style carpet. Afterwards we went to a farmhouse barn where all of her many friends were given a delicious BBQ and we decorated with pics of the couple as babies & fairy lights, white table cloths plus bought a cheap carpet to cover the floor. She catered all the booze as well. Her friend & her aunt both did a cake. It wasn't glam, the venue still looked fine. It was great fun.

Another memorable wedding was in a scout tent in a blustery field near the south coast. The night before was a mare for decorating the tent but the food was lush & it was all somehow lovely.

I'd just try & decorate your hall as best you can & focus on who is there.

ScarerAndFuck Sun 13-Oct-13 16:47:53

Something like this for the fringing.

Or this and this

Or fish and chips? Talk to the chip shop about a job lot? You could try and get some personalised paper to wrap them in?

ScarerAndFuck Sun 13-Oct-13 16:48:45

Or these paper pin wheel things look nice and would probably not break the bank.

NoComet Sun 13-Oct-13 16:49:15

look into what you can beg, borrow or hire.

Legion may have table clothes etc your local WI might.

We have loads of garden centres who grow stuff on for pub hanging baskets and tubs and I know school have borrowed plants for table decorations.

Wedding DD was bridesmaid at grow pots of gerbras herself.

Keep your eyes open around Xmas, new year and Valentines all sort of stuff appears in pound shops and in sales.

sadly, though very effective you're talking towards a £100 to make much of a splash with helium balloons (I did the church hall as a wedding present for a DF and couldn't get the price down).

ScarerAndFuck Sun 13-Oct-13 16:52:37

Or there's this one, which is balloons pinned to the wall with tissue paper streamers hanging from them. It's quite an effective but cheap and easy way to cover a big space of wall.

Thumbwitch Sun 13-Oct-13 16:54:56

The reception venue we chose had the most hideous carpet in the main room. It was lavender and lime green in big 70s pattern, I thought.

The bloke in charge said to me "once you have all the tables draped around, and the dance floor in place, I guarantee you won't notice the carpet."

He was absolutely correct - people remembered our wedding for lots of (good!) reasons, but not one of them mentioned the hideousness of the carpet, and I didn't even notice it on the day myself.

If you dress tables nicely and have focal points, people will absolutely not notice chipped paint and faded carpets/hangings, so long as they are not actively dangerous. And if by some tiny chance they do, they are unlikely to mention them - and if they are rude enough to mention them, then they are not friends of yours.

A friend of mine got married in the local Scout hut after being let down by her preferred venue; it was very plain indeed but we prettied it up with greenery and crepe streamers. I'm sure you can find somewhere to acquire greenery from? Your garden, your parents' gardens, your friends' gardens? Doesn't have to cost anything and can transform the place.

LongTailedTit Sun 13-Oct-13 16:56:50

I think you've def made the right decision OP, don't worry! Marriage is not about The Wedding, it's easy to get caught up in decor and fluff, but it's not the point of the day.

One cheap idea that could work for you is crepe paper streamers kind of like this - if you choose a strong colour and use them at each end of the room they'll draw the eye towards them and distract away from the less pretty stuff.

Def get the fruit machine turned off and covered up, unless you have lots of teens coming and don't mind them congregating there?

If the venue is still bugging you nearer the big day, make sure you set up a photo area with a pretty or plain backdrop (and maybe a basket of daft props etc), so there will be lots of pics of you and your loved ones without the venue in.

Also, say yes if people offer to help! Get them booked in for early on the day so they've got time to get changed etc later, but don't try to do it all yourself.

Earthymama Sun 13-Oct-13 16:57:41

For our Big Gay Gay last year we had a beautiful venue, well upstairs was!! A converted church!!
But we ate and had evening do in the downstairs room which we decorated to look like a old style church hall tea! And used lots of Shabby Chic stuff, fr. I'm our home as we like twiggy shitnstuff!!
Charity shops for
Voile or lace or net curtains to drape over ugly things, over tables.
White or pale coloured sheets for table covers
Odd and quirky china that we mixed with plain white plates etc.
Vases for couple of large flower arrangements

Cheap shops ie B&M for fairy lights
Disco lights

Bunting and lights

Another friend had a club house room like yours on the shore and did the same sort of thing with a beach/sea theme using shells and pale turquoise voile, it was lovely.

So was ours, I loved it though will not cater when we do it all again to celebrate an anniversary, it was very tiring.

Maria33 Sun 13-Oct-13 17:03:27

Get rolls of cheap chintzy fabrics off the internet and make it look like the inside of a morrocan tent like the second picture here . My friend did this for a party and it looked fab. You could hide the whole ceiling, cover the fruit machibe up and then dim the lights, put in fairy lights, get in cheap booze and fish and chips and have a lovely time!!

JenaiMorris Sun 13-Oct-13 17:07:08

Without wishing to be a terrible killjoy, aren't acres of polyester combined with tea lights a bit of a fire hazard?

raisah Sun 13-Oct-13 17:08:53

If it is free then can you buy a couple of tubs of cheap paint from B&Q & paint the hall & lobby area as a donation in lieu of the hire fee? That way both parties benefit, you get a freshly painted hall which will look lovely & the BLwill get a mini refurbishment that they couldnt otherwise afford. 70

PAsSweetOrangeLurve Sun 13-Oct-13 17:16:05

Lighting, balloons, streamers will all make a difference. Keep your eye out for net curtains being given away or sold cheaply on eBay or Freecycle etc. Dye them and hang them.

Once you have some nice table decorations, flowers and candles etc I guarantee that nobody will notice!

Whereisegg Sun 13-Oct-13 17:23:13

Try dry cleaners for sheets from hotels (my local one sells hotel towels that haven't come up the brightest white, the huge bath sheets for 50p for dog towels. They are pristine to my eyes).
These could be pinned/draped.

Also agree with seeing if legion would let you re-paint the room.
Basic cream/white is very cheap!

If no dimmer switch, go in one evening when room is empty and experiment with removing various light bulbs for different effects.

SirChenjin Sun 13-Oct-13 17:24:09

There was some do or other going on in our High School's dining area the other day. Not sure what, but someone had transformed it with lots of muslin drapes, fairy lights, balloons, table flowers etc - it looked amazing.

Best thing about it was this - get long garden canes and tie into a wigwam (use quite a few canes and don't have huge gaps between each cane), then interweave with white fairy lights. They had quite a few of these around the room, they looked amazing.

I honestly think it will be possible to do amazing things with the venue on a budget. Have a great day smile

ethelb Sun 13-Oct-13 17:28:07

Bunting. Loads of bunting and when it is full of people you won't be able to see what it looks like.


When is the wedding? Can you plant some bulbs now so that you can fill the place with flowers?

coffeewineandchocolate Sun 13-Oct-13 17:28:50

We had bacon and sausage butties and veggie burgers for non meat eaters. We served with curly fries and all the guests raved about the 'buffet'.

You could do some salads etc with it too for cheap enough and still have enough cash for pudding smile

Kundry Sun 13-Oct-13 17:31:15

TBH your wedding sounds great - loads of guests, a hog roast or barbecue is fab food, outdoor space, emphasis on who is there and your marriage, not saving up until you can afford the perfect favours or some such rubbish. It'll stand out as having been a wedding that people actually enjoyed.

What time will you be at the venue - the dark hides a lot of paint chips!
Other than that, balloons, bunting, cheap muslin draped about, party stuff - and don't knock the arcade machine, there'll probably be a queue for it!

When's the wedding? If it's summer and outside is pretty, could you move the tables outside, decorate with bunting and wild flowers and only move inside when it gets cold later and everyone's too pissed to notice the decor?

CiderBomb Sun 13-Oct-13 17:36:40

I once went to a wedding where the reception and night reception were held in an old miners club . The room was absolutely massive with a big stage and they were able to invite more people than they would have had it been in one of the fancy over priced hotels in the area.

People spend ridiculous amounts on weddings these days and I think half of the time it's showing off and trying to out do others. My mum and dad's reception was held in the back room of their local pub!

Thank you.. What a lovely response. smile Some good ideas there.
The wedding will be in July. Am thinking possibly a 3pm wedding than an early (ish) meal at 6pm.
Mot sure that I would be allowed to paint or that it will fit into budget.. but will keep it in mind. Fresh coat would help. However, need to buy dress( another nightmare in itself) suits etc.. Only have about £200/£300 for all outfits shock
There are picnic style benches outside, probably not enough for everyone though. Loving these ideas.
I feel slightly better. Just focusing on fact have family and close friends there.


BMW6 Sun 13-Oct-13 17:48:14

Re your dress and bridesmaids - can you sew or know anyone who can make dresses from pattern? I made wedding dress for sis and was a fraction of shop bought.

If not, BHS etc have some lovely elegant dresses for surprisingly low cost.

ZenNudist Sun 13-Oct-13 17:49:40

Yy to hog roast & cheap drink. Getting everyone nicely tipsy always good smile

What size are you op? I have two unworn wedding dresses upstairs - indecisive blush - which I would happily give to a good home.

OP we were invited to an evening do recently where the invite advised us to bring 'your dancing shoes and money to buy your supper from the fish and chip van'. Unfortunately we couldn't go but I thought that was a great idea. They were up front about the fact they couldn't afford to cater it and were concentrating on having a good time and a celebration.

People get very het up about weddings but what's really key is the warnth in the room for the bride and groom. Get launched on your married life with fun and laughter and best wishes. It's a good beginning.

newgirl Sun 13-Oct-13 18:39:04

Google oxfam wedding dresses too

How about placing 2 box ball plants by front door (markets sell them £8 each) to give a smart first impression?

Go with everything White? Terracotta pots with white gypsofilia in them?

ATruthUniversallyAcknowledged What a lovely offer. I am a size 14/16, am losing weight though(just dropped a dress size) am hoping to be 12 maybe even a 10! by the time of wedding though. Would you be able let me know prices/ location. (pm if you prefer)

newgirl Sun 13-Oct-13 18:40:54

Have afternoon tea? I would be v happy to have neat sandwiches, scones, cakes tea and fizz. If it's good enough for the ritz

littlewhitebag Sun 13-Oct-13 18:42:46

We had our wedding reception in a very ugly hall. We chose it, rather than the fancy hotel up the road, on the basis that the dance floor was massive. Very important to us that we could dance.

It was 1985 and decorating halls was not really done. It was a fantastic wedding reception because of the people not the venue. Our friends still talk about his good it was. I think people these days spend far too much money on what is basically just a giant party. I am sure it will be a great wedding.

RandomMess Sun 13-Oct-13 18:43:45

I would honestly have to prefer for my meal myself than have to buy a wedding gift, it's def about celebrating the occasion with the couple smile

littlewhitebag Sun 13-Oct-13 18:43:54

Oh and we also had scampi and chips on the menu. It went down very well I can tell you!

Ooh afternoon tea and chip vans .. what clever ideas smile
I adore afternoon tea
newgirl I have terracotta pots, quite a few..

Grotbagstwin Sun 13-Oct-13 18:44:24

I went to a wedding at the ugliest British Legion, they hung bunting across the roon ehich distracted from ugly curtains and their tables looked amazing, white linen and flower decorations the bride did but they looked like a florist had done them as she taught herself from youtube videos, no one looked at the carpets and walls, the tabes wowed when we waled in and the night was amazing.
So much better than the fancy wedding a week later where it was £7 for a vodka and coke and a £50 taxi ride home, people were wishing themselves back to the legion!

You can do a lot with balloons tbh. You don't even need helium ones. The slightly pearlised ones look great if you get a bunch in lovely colours.

Ok so have just reread through all the posts. Regarding food how does this sound: Change things around timings etc, will have to work it out. Have a slightly earlier service, followed by a tea at the church(?) (they have a little back room used for the children's service) ie sandwiches, scones, cakes tea and fizz as newgirl suggests.
Then all on to the legion for the band, cheap plonk and a delivery of fish and chips in the evening?
Is it a bad idea to stay at the church for tea? Would it be better at the legion? They are not too far from each other.. about 5minutes in car.
'Tis a beautiful church.

SirChenjin Sun 13-Oct-13 19:23:13

No - not a bad idea at all, it sounds fab!! Can I come please?!!


SirChenjin Sun 13-Oct-13 19:25:21

You could have photos outside the church too - if it's a beautiful church then it makes sense to do it there. Forget a formal photographer though, you could give a few people disposable cameras or get people to take photos on their digital cameras and then upload them to a website or Wedding FB page.

Shosha1 Sun 13-Oct-13 19:26:20

DNiece had afternoon tea, (vintage style) and a ice cream van in the afternoon, with a chip van at abut 8.30 in the evening, it was brilliant.

The afternoon tea, was done on blankets outside on the green in front of the village hall the reception was held in.

SirChenjin Sun 13-Oct-13 19:32:18

Also - just having a look on ebay and there are quite a few dresses on there with a 99p-few quid starting price. Maybe worth having a look? Limit to 'auction only' though as someone has cleverly posted a whole load of dresses from her shop on there, but they link though to gloves when you click on them

SirChejin the more the merrier!
I always wonder with these sort of threads... you know- if one of you are actually on my guest list.

SirChejin could you link please?

NewBlueShoesToo Sun 13-Oct-13 19:41:33

What about a hog roast in the evening? They can be incredibly good value for lots of people and often come with lovely salads, sauces and bread.

SirChenjin Sun 13-Oct-13 19:43:29

Does this link work?

If not, you go to ebay and type in 'wedding dresses size 14' then click the 'auction only' option on the left hand side of the page and 'sort by P&P and price lowest first' - and then all theses dresses come up. I love this one and this one - am very jealous of you!! smile

How much are hog roasts then? has anyone had one recently for rough price ideas?

ProfondoRosso Sun 13-Oct-13 19:44:42

Oh OP, don't worry, it sounds like it's going to be lovely! I had my reception in a municipal hall near my house and it was pretty shabby but we dolled it up a treat! And it was completely me and DH's kind of place. He's DJed for years and has always put his nights on in working men's clubs, ex-servicemen's clubs and miners' welfares, mainly because the drinks are cheap, the staff are always kind and helpful and it's nice to bring a bit of extra cash into these places which are disappearing these days and are often used by the elderly.

We had lots of tealights in glass ramekins (100 free tealights when you sign up for an Ikea family card!). Most of the ramekins were saved from desserts!

We had white metal flower pots from Ikea with lovely white cabbage roses we got cheap from the trade market. The hall (as such places often do) had a glitterball, which sounds naff but actually created a lovely effect. And we put Tunnocks teacakes on every table!

If the Monsoon sale's still on, they had gorgeous dresses, some around £40-60.

Honestly, if you do it with heart, it will be lovely. And check Freecycle for any wee bits and bobs you could use. smile

Yes link works.. they are beautiful and even better they aren't strapless, self concious

IwishIwasmoreorganised Sun 13-Oct-13 19:55:03

If any of those ebay dresses are near me - I'd happily pick it up and post it to you (I'm in south east Wales).

On the other hand if you are near me, please ask if there's anything that I might be able to lend or help you to source.

It sounds like you're going to have a great day whatever you choose.

happyhorse Sun 13-Oct-13 20:00:32

Afternoon tea and chip van sounds fab. I bet it will be the best wedding your guests will have been to. My friend had a cream tea in the church hall after the service and later we crammed into a big gazebo in her back garden, all covered with fairy lights, and ate food delivered from the local Thai restaurant. It was really lovely.

SirChenjin Sun 13-Oct-13 20:01:31

I'm in Edinburgh - so ditto from me

UniS Sun 13-Oct-13 20:03:16

Church hall tea sounds great. you can do tea and cake for LOTS of people for not much money, every one ( of any age) who rocks up to see you get married can join in weather they are invited to the evening do or not. Then on to the legion for a fun evening party with invited guests.

Do you know any teenagers who can be persuaded to waitress the tea and cake?

friends did tea n cake n short speeches at the church after the wedding then onto a small family dinner , skint students, it was a lovely afternoon.

Lavenderhoney Sun 13-Oct-13 20:11:20

I think it sounds lovely. Everyone will feel comfortable and if you make the tables nice and stick up balloons no one will notice any chipped paint. Go at night before and make sure the lighting isn't too harsh.

As long as the loos work, they don't run out of booze, and its happy, it will be perfectsmile

Go one evening, take a pad and write down what you think. An arcade machine could be retro you know- put some balloons round it.

People are going to celebrate your marriage and future together, not working undercover for the wedding venue police. And if any one makes any comments or like my dsis won't go as its not posh enough- they don't deserve to be there. Could you do a wartime theme? Which would sit nicely with a tight budget, in a nice way, i dont mean that badly- And maybe do a collection for the legion?

Some of the old music hall songs are great, my dm knew them all, knees up mother brown, my old man etc. and you could have daisy daisy as your first dance!

PAsSweetOrangeLurve Sun 13-Oct-13 20:22:32

The main thing that guests want from a wedding is:

To feel wanted and welcomed
For the service not to be too long and for there to be somewhere to sit down whilst it happens, in the warm and dry
For there to be something going on whilst the endless photography takes place - an open bar to go to with a clear invite to wait there and sit and have a drink whilst you do the photo business
For there to be somewhere to sit and eat, for there to be food - ideally some of it hot - a decent variety and plenty of it
For there to be alcohol and plenty of it - a paying bar is absolutely fine
Some music and somewhere to dance

The last wedding I went to was OK. The bits that weren't so great had absolutely nothing to do with the decor. I guarantee you that none of your guests will remember the carpet or the colour of the walls.

SunshineMMum Sun 13-Oct-13 20:27:16

I actually love traditional weddings like this. I have done flowers for a very modern church hall and an old village hall and you wouldn't believe how they scrubbed up. You can get friends on board with the decorating (as long as you invite them wink) It will be fabulous.

Some great ideas on here. Congrats OP. I also have a wedding dress I'd be happy to donate. It's red though (pics on profile). Appreciate most people prefer white but would love it to get some use smile

KeatsiePie Sun 13-Oct-13 20:29:14

It's going to be wonderful, don't worry!

Few ideas from mine:

My mom and sister made all my flowers from paper and cloth as I did not have the budget for centerpieces (quotes were seriously in the thousands hahahaha). Instead of vases I saved all our espresso cans for a year (they are pretty bright cans, that's my style) and we stuck frogs in the bottom of the cans and anchored the stems in. Super cheap. They were beautiful and I still have them all.

My mother and I went to a discount fabric place and found several different partial rolls of lovely semi-opaque lacy cloth in complementary tones. Super cheap. She cut them out, didn't even hem as who would notice, they looked amazing.

I got about a thousand tea lights and put them all over the place. Again, super cheap.

We had an area of flat wall so brought a laptop in and projected a movie onto it -- just a cool old vintage movie played silently for background color. I forget what it was, DH chose it.

I did not do this but other brides who used the same space hung white Xmas lights around -- not just against wall, but looped down from ceiling across the room -- this creates a canopy of fairy lights.

And my dress cost $85 (which is what, around 140 pounds?) in a vintage store and everyone loved it. You'll make it work. If you're into vintage and DIY charm this is a great blog for ideas.

imsureineverdo Sun 13-Oct-13 20:30:34

Could you rig up a folding screen to disguise the arcade machine? Cover it in fun photos of the two of you?

My friend did a gorgeous shabby chic type wedding on a real budget, she saved jam jars, tied odd bits of ribbon, lace etc and added a few cheap flowers. A couple of those on each table and some fairy lights dotted around would make all the difference.

ethelb Sun 13-Oct-13 20:33:24

I second PA.

I net that it is warm and dry and there are enough seats and tables!

kiriwawa Sun 13-Oct-13 20:33:25

When's your wedding? You can do amazing things with bolts of fabric from the charity shop for pennies and get lots of flowers and plants for free.

Actually if I were you, I'd ask your guests to contribute flowers. People (unless they're crashing snobs and then I hope wouldn't be your friends) love to feel they're part of a wedding. So you could decide on some kind of theme and ask your friends and family to bring blue and pink flowers (for example). Then you could decorate the BL venue with fab flowers

That plan sounds ace. Can I come?

Dress would only cost you the postage, but would be about a size 12. I'll try to find pics so you can decide if you'd be interested.

We had a hog roast - arranged through a local butcher, not someone who advertised themselves for weddings - for less than £500 for 120 people. (DH and I are arguing over exactly how much! He thinks £100. I think he is deluded)

If you're anywhere near Birmingham you can also save money on rings (Jewelry Quarter), fabric for table clothes / bunting (rag market) and flowers (flower market)

HobbitWorrier Sun 13-Oct-13 20:45:00

My favourite wedding reception ever had a massive table of Breads and Cheeses for the buffet. It was just the ticket for soaking up the alcohol, and with dishes of pickles and chutneys, totally hit the spot!
Enjoy it, the people are what makes your wedding, not the paintwork or food!

Viviennemary Sun 13-Oct-13 20:50:45

It's only a matter of opinion, but I don't think it matters that much what it looks like inside. And if you get some good photographs outside I think it will be fine. Serve nice food. Most guests would rather have that than a fancy interior and not much to eat.

Gadgettherobot Sun 13-Oct-13 20:56:40

I had these people (link below) for my evening food, and people still talk about how amazing it was to have unlimited chips, burgers etc... I know it wasn't the main meal at mine so not everyone eating it (but some people were gannets) but it was £300 for evening food for 150 people... so very reasonable. They just rocked up and set up outside the venue. And Adrian was lovely.

I would also recommend crepe paper streamers, if you get loads and loads you can amass lengths to hide anything, cover the ceilings etc.

Also pom poms made if tissue paper - Pinterest is covered in them - if you can find cheap tissue paper in bulk or on sale they are easy to make and look fabulous grouped together.

Longdistance Sun 13-Oct-13 20:57:02

We had our wedding reception at a Freemasons locally. It wasn't a pretty place either.

I paid for seat covers, table clothes, balloons and flowers for the table. So true, I dressed up a turd grin

Also, we had wine on the tables and paid corkage, and got out guests drunk smile

mameulah Sun 13-Oct-13 21:04:59

Our friends got married in a British Legion and it was a spectacular day with the most delicious wedding breakfast I have ever eaten. If my DH and I had wanted a big wedding I would DEFINITELY have chosen to have the party part there!

Thank you to all of you for the lovely advice and offers. I do love MN smile

TO answer some questions;

IwishIwasmoreorganised and SirChenjin I live in the South East and getting married in Surrey. Thank you and I will let either of you know if I find the dress near you. thanks

Tillyscoutsmum and
ATruthUniversallyAcknowledged What a beautiful offer from you both. However I just wouldn't feel right accepting it. They are your special dresses from your big days. I really appreciate your kindness though thanks

KeatsiePie and Gadgettherobot Will check them links out now.

UniS Good idea re the teens. Is 19 too old do you think? (DBs mates)

Lavenderhoney Dis your dsis not attend your wedding on account of the venue? shock thanks


Scrounger Sun 13-Oct-13 21:16:39

The best wedding celebration I went to was in a pub, they hired a band, food on the bar and the groom sang Tom Jones - best ever, it was so much fun and everyone had a great time. Go for it, tart it up but get the booze flowing and everyone will have a great time.


mumofweeboys Sun 13-Oct-13 21:19:19

I think it's bloody refreshing to have someone who is more bothered about getting married and being surrounded by people you love more than all the trappings that's some people feel they must have.

Hope you have an amazing day

SirChenjin Sun 13-Oct-13 21:21:58

19 sounds perfect - they will have a great time smile

Bogeyface Sun 13-Oct-13 21:25:05

Re Food, YY to the chippy van. The best wedding I went to arranged for the local chippy van to come to the venues, guests could choose from a menu (pie, fish, sausage etc) and then the hosts paid the bill. It went down a storm.

They hired plates and cutlery (look online, it is a lot cheaper than you would think) and dressed the tables beautifully. It was great.

They also hired a marquee liner for the room so the rather sad and dated village hall looked like a luxury marquee (although I am not sure how much that cost).

Flowers, go to Dunhelm, they sell ready made posies for £5! I bought them for my bridesmaids and they looks fabulous. I bought some more silk flowers from there and made a wrist corsage each for me and my MOH. My head dress I made from an ivory hair clip, and some french netting (the merry widow style stuff) from ebay, cost less than £10.

Dress, where are you? My local hospice charity shop has started a vintage/bridal department with some gorgeous dresses for under £100. Some are a bit dated but some are genuine vintage and look stunning, makes me want to get married again grin

Bogeyface We are south east England.
Loving all the British Legion/ village hall wedding type stories

When I say fish and chip delivery, I meant get the local to drop it off. Maybe put an 'order form' type note in the invitations and do it that way. ie Sausage/ cod/ veggie option.. They have children's meals too.
Is this ok do you think? Or should I get quotes for a van?

ChippingInNeedsSleepAndCoffee Sun 13-Oct-13 21:49:15

A van might be a better deal and it's a bit more fun - but if not, F&C delivery would be fine too smile

Afternoon tea at the church sounds lovely. Costco do great platters of sandwiches/cakes etc at a good price. Someone you know will have a card!

Flowers - find your local flower market and buy them yourself, put them in jars - just as pretty!

I'd put something on the invites along the lines of what someone else said above about not bringing presents, just enough cash to buy F&C & drinks.

Take up the offers here - people wouldn't offer you dresses etc if they weren't happy for you to have them!!

I love weddings like this - lots of fun and none of the boring crap! grin

NachoAddict Sun 13-Oct-13 21:54:19

I love the fish and chips option, make sure you talk it over with then first though, dint just phone out of the blue for 100 fish and chips.

A bbq would also be amazing.

The paper pin wheels up thread look gorgeous and paper pom poms would be lovely. Also paper lampshades or lanterns would be pretty.

Check that you are allowed candles before you buy any, we weren't allowed at our venue.

Your wedding is going to be fab and your marriage even better because its clear that's whats important to you. Not the wedding but the marriage. So many people lose sight of that.

babyicebean Sun 13-Oct-13 21:56:55

We had a hog roast and there was plenty for seconds and thirds, they did salads, rice dish things, sides etc. plenty of rolls and they did me the most amazing crackling and stuffing batch. We found ours through a local butchers and the meat was amazing.
We had a thnk you note from a guest with a footnote that it was the first wedding he had been to where he didn't have to stop for food on the way home.

Bogeyface Sun 13-Oct-13 21:59:20

Oxfam Bridal is online!

34DD Sun 13-Oct-13 22:05:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

34DD Sun 13-Oct-13 22:09:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Bogeyface Sun 13-Oct-13 22:16:06

Have added a couple of pics to my profile.

One has the headpiece I made and the corsages I made on it and the other is my BMs with their dunhelm posies (I think they look real!) and their £30 Debenhams dresses. With shoes and tights their outfits came to less than £50 each and my pageboys 3 piece suit came from the local market for £15 including shirt and tie!

34DD Sun 13-Oct-13 22:17:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Bogeyface Sun 13-Oct-13 22:20:43

34DD, we had a friend who went to the local college and asked if any of the students would like to do their photos for a meal and free drinks (I think they put a limit on the amount!) and they were overwhelmed with offers. The photos took a wee bit longer as they agreed to do some arty shots that they wouldnt have otherwise had done in order that the student could show certain techniques. Worked out well though as one of the arty photos was their favourite and they have it on their wall!

Wish we had thought of that!

Bogeyface Sun 13-Oct-13 22:22:09

and the arcade machine well bling it up and let the kids play on it keep them amused

They are in so many pubs now I doubt anyone would notice it, but I also doubt that kids would be allowed to play on it, afaik they are over 18's only. At best you could ask for it to be turned off.

34DD Sun 13-Oct-13 22:35:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Bogeyface Sun 13-Oct-13 22:40:11

34DD makes a good point.

Wedding specific places are far more expensive. When you are looking to hire or book services say that it is for a large family party, although some suppliers are onto that now and will ask if it is a wedding. Then you have to lie! I think it is disgusting that they put a premium on wedding services.

WallyBantersJunkBox Sun 13-Oct-13 22:52:31

Op - I was in Ikea the other day and they had a fab selection of tissue fold out hearts etc to hang from the ceiling - grey, white, pink and green. Co-ordinating tissue paper and gift bags etc.

Buy your teelights in bulk bags from there and place them on mirrors or metal charger plates you can beg scrounge or borrow?

Some shops actually hire/loan out candle holders if you buy the candles there. You can use a patterned hole punch and cut out tissue table confetti etc.

I went to a community centre wedding and they had sit down at 5pm, then at 9pm they brought out a huge urn of tea and cheese and jam scones etc. it gave everyone a second wind for the evening (and was delicious). You could bulk bake a load of scones and sponges to cut into fingers and freeze in advance?

34DD Sun 13-Oct-13 22:54:10

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

WallyBantersJunkBox Sun 13-Oct-13 22:55:09
34DD Sun 13-Oct-13 22:57:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

bountyicecream Sun 13-Oct-13 22:58:56

Not read whole thread but I can remember very few reception venues.

But can remember some absolutely fantastic weddings down to the people, company, dancing, copious amounts of wine ....

Have a great day

My BIL's wedding was cheap and cheerful, they asked all the guests to provide some favourite songs and made a playlist on the i-pod that was set to random all night (no dj ) and the food was a massive vat of curry and naan bread delivered in buckets from the local takeaway. They also asked people to bring their favourite cocktail ingredients, and people took turns being the barman, but that may not be possible in licensed premises (theirs was at home)

Bogeyface Sun 13-Oct-13 23:02:00

Another thought, post on Freegle.

I responded to a post a few months back and gave away the table numbers I didnt use (that had been gifted to me via a wedding website, so try them too), 10 square glass vases from Ikea that I used to put LED lights in and some wedding music CDs (again, free from the wedding website). They were lovely and sent me a photo of their wedding!

Lilacroses Sun 13-Oct-13 23:15:01

This is a brilliant thread!! Makes me want to get married all over again! We had a very DIY wedding OP and the reception was in a village hall. Friends decorated it for me on the day with bits we'd sorted, helium balloons, gerbras in pots etc. It looked fantastic. We had an amazing buffet that people still talk about now. I loved every minute of it. The suggestions and offers on this thread are absolutely wonderful. Hope you have a lovely day.

TheInquisitor Sun 13-Oct-13 23:20:42

Not read all the pages, but seriously, you're worrying over nothing.
It sounds like a cliche, but at the end of the day, people aren't going to care less over fancy schmancy decorations or what colour schemes you have, they're only going to care about spending your special day with you!
I've been to a lot of weddings, and the ones that I remember most as being the most brilliant were the ones that had cheap drink grin, plentiful food (buffets are lovely!) and good company.
The low key ones and not the 'trying too hard' ones are ones that are the best!

TheInquisitor Sun 13-Oct-13 23:21:49

Sorry, forgot to say - Pinterest is definitely a great idea, you'll find loads of ideas on there!

ancientbuchanan Sun 13-Oct-13 23:23:47

Use the arcade machine as a stand for flowers. Throw a white sheet over it and there you go.

ancientbuchanan Sun 13-Oct-13 23:25:06

Ps, I hate formal sit down efforts. Make your brides maids and ushers introduce people and they will have a much better time.

ChippingInNeedsSleepAndCoffee I think my dsis has a costco card.. will go and have a browse

To everyone that's linked, have bookmarked them to look at with dp.

So many good idea's on here, I'm going to sit down tomorrow with a notepad and cup of coffee -- or glass of wine-- and note them all down.

Lovely- thank you MN

ChippingInNeedsSleepAndCoffee Mon 14-Oct-13 02:44:56


Want2bSupermum Mon 14-Oct-13 02:59:37

I put DH's birthday party together in a bar in Hoboken, NJ. It was vile but cheap. I turned the lights down so you could see who you were talking to but not much else. It was a genius idea as I spent nothing on decorations.

Lavenderhoney Mon 14-Oct-13 04:06:12

IfIdontknow, yes that was one of the more shock reasons!

She checked it out on the Internet and called me to tell me how it wasnt what she expected, what with her normally holidaying in 5* hotels and all.

She didnt come. No matter, a jolly good time was had by all.

- photos, a friend did ours for free, and were invited anyway. She put them on a cd, and we just had printed via photobox what we liked. I like the idea of asking a tutor if any students are any good and would do a free day to get it on their portfolio. You will have to be ok they use your shots for their marketing.
- a relative also filmed the evening, which we didnt realise- and secretly got friends and relatives to give us hints and tips. Very amusing to watchsmile

Lavenderhoney seriously? shock indeed. What did the rest of your family say? DH? I think its very sad for you thanks

What fabulous friends you have too- that's a lovely idea, nice keep sake of your day

Bogeyface Just seen your photo's.. lovely smile Very impressive.. I'm not that crafty though.. mine would end up looking like a threw on a giant net curtain

sarahtigh Mon 14-Oct-13 08:47:41

ring up a dressmaker do not mention wedding but ask price for party dress in simple style, I believe ben de lisi does dresses for debenhams at about 100-150, if bridesmaids are little girls party dresses can be got for less than £20 at many shops

no one will really notice venue if having fun, it will be light until 9-10pm anyway after that tealights in painted glass jam jars I would not buy acres of fabric

a few flowers, if you have a garden could plant some even for table decorations,

we got married on £2000 though we had morning ceremony at church then to nice restaurant for lunch, made my own cake, sister took photos did our own hair and make-up , dressmaker made my dress ( and it was cheaper than practically every shop too) as I wanted sleeves and dresses with sleeves do not exist in shops and that included a weeks honeymoon self catering in Provence

monkeymamma Mon 14-Oct-13 08:49:55

Op we had our wedding in an old rotary club venue. Here's what we did: scrubbed the kitchen clean (my dad catered the event), took out all the plastic chairs and put them in he basement, ditto the heavy old curtains. Arranged the existing tables nicely then added tablecloths, crockery, cutlery and beautiful chairs all from the same hire company. We draped white voile (ordered from a discount fabric warehouse) all around the room and lit it with IKEA's cheapest uplighters (think they are around 4.99 each and we bought 6, u can always ebay them afterwards too). Flowers were wild honeysuckle which my dh gathered the day before. It looked fantastic, we had an absolutely wonderful day and wouldn't do it any differently if we went back in time with unlimited funds. Your wedding sounds great, time to quit worrying and look forward to your day. Your budget sounds fine to me, traditionally people married with much less and noone expected ridiculous £££££ weddings in the past!

monkeymamma Mon 14-Oct-13 08:54:43

Ps look out after Xmas for fruit cakes which should keep till the wedding, way cheaper than wedding cake. If u manage to find 3 different sizes all u need to do is stack em up and stick some flowers on top. Voila!

Also do any of your guests have aspirations as musicians or djs? Could be a good way to save.

Ditto with photos although u might want to ask more than 1person just in case - then u have a few different ones to choose from!

LoganMummy Mon 14-Oct-13 08:57:51

I don't know if this has been suggested but would you consider contacting your local college/uni to see if any event management students would fancy doing your wedding as a project? Even just coming up with ideas for you, sourcing best value for money in your budget etc. Would be great for their portfolio and you get some good ideas!

IloveJudgeJudy Mon 14-Oct-13 08:58:34

I haven't read your whole thread, but just wanted to add that we had our wedding breakfast in a village hall with a cricket green outside. So many of our family have said it's the best wedding they've ever been to (and I have a big family). We did most of the catering ourself, friends did the table decorations, we did most the stuff as cheaply as we could. People really don't notice the venue unless it's really marvellous imo.

Please don't worry about the venue, it really is about the people you invite and making them feel welcome, which I'm sure you will do. We also got married in July - it's the best month! One of the best photos we have is of the two small bridesmaids climbing on the climbing frame next to the village hall in their lovely bridesmaids dresses.

bootsycollins Mon 14-Oct-13 09:01:18

Cheap drinks and a band! Paaaaaaaaaarty time!

SecondStarToTheRight Mon 14-Oct-13 09:03:29

We made all the invitations for our wedding by getting a sheet of A4 card, folding it in 3 and putting all the info on printed sheets inside & tied it with a ribbon. I made the corners of the card pretty by using a shaped cutter to round them off and put a "wedding invitation" sticker on the bottom left hand corner

I have loads of the card left, and will happily make you some outer sleeves (or just send you the blank card) if you want.

PervCat Mon 14-Oct-13 09:04:16

where are you roughly? maybe we can enlist some helpers?!

PervCat Mon 14-Oct-13 09:05:09

the things that make a wedding crap are NOT the carpet
IMe its too long hanging around without food, crap food( spend on that imo) and the whole day being too long

PervCat Mon 14-Oct-13 09:06:31

mate of mine had a village hall and on the tables had pretty vintage style vases with wild flowers on, homemade shortbread with lavender sugar ( WAS TO DIE FOR) made by the mIL for favours and fair lights everywhere - oh and those huge paper pom poms

PervCat Mon 14-Oct-13 09:07:37

( dont do fish and chips - unless very fresh will just be hot stodge)

shewhowines Mon 14-Oct-13 09:38:01

Went to a wedding with pea shooters (polystyrene balls and cardboard tubes bought cheaply online) and those long balloons you blow up and let go to wizz around the room. Got the guests from different tables/groups interacting from the get go. don't let them start till after the soup

monkeymamma I don't know any one musically talented..

SecondStarToTheRight That's lovely! Am going to pm you

PervCat I am getting married in Surrey, very near Kent border. You think not a chippy dinner?

shewhowines grin

Think all the suggests of students are a great idea by the way. Am going to look into that

SirChenjin Mon 14-Oct-13 11:06:54

Any of the schools or colleges in the area who might have students able to play music or sing?

I think a chippy dinner is a great idea - although Perv has got a point re timings.

SecondStarToTheRight For some reason, I can't pm you.. It's not letting me click on you to do so..? In fact not letting me on any posters?

SirChenjin Mon 14-Oct-13 13:37:36

Are you clicking on 'message poster' on the right hand side?

SirChenjin No. I am not blush

Have done it now. Thank you

SirChenjin Mon 14-Oct-13 13:45:16


So chip supper/ no chip supper? confused What to do!!?
The chip shop is 2 roads away. (4mins roughly) Perhaps the first batch they make up will be to stodgy by the time they get to the last? maybe. I don't know.

I worked it out roughly.. As most expensive ie everyone ordering cod and chips (which they wont) Its about £450. Though children's meals a lot cheaper and some might have sausage etc
Thought we could do a stand with large jars of pickles (gherkins, onions eggs) and condiments . As well as plenty of crusty buttered rolls. Plus napkins and cutlery.


catsrus Mon 14-Oct-13 14:02:15

I went to a brilliant wedding (in a boring hall) almost 30 yrs ago where they asked for no presents but everyone who lived locally to bring food to share (fantastic variety of food!) and people who came from a distance to just bring themselves or something like a giant pack of crisps for kids.

There was tons of food, lots of conversation "who made the xxx? it's gorgeous - have you tried that salad?" and so on. all they had to do was supply the paper plates and napkins etc. It worked really well and meant they could invite everyone they wanted. Our friends still talk about it as one of the best weddings we ever went to.

SirChenjin Mon 14-Oct-13 14:09:37

Is £450 stretching your food budget? If so, what about the hog roast option, or a buffet with loads of cold meats, salads, breads, chutneys etc? Costco would be a good place for buffet type food, I'm sure. Catsrus's suggestion of asking for guests to bring a dish is a good one.

£450 is ok for my food budget.

Roughly £700 / £800

BohemianRaspberry Mon 14-Oct-13 14:26:08

seconding catsrus went to a lovely wedding that had no gift list but each guest signed up to bring some food to share. For the far-flung guests just boughts crisps and things - but some brought beautiful pastries, nibbles, cakes and all sorts.

We signed up for and brought £20 worth of cheese for a cheeseboard that went down brilliantly well. The friends that travelled with us bought two huge boxes of crackers for cheese so we paired up nicely.

There was also loads of food left for guests to take away too!

(Instead of wedding cake find an industrious family member to bake cupcakes and pile high!)

Wedding dress wise - I got mine 85% off in the clearance sale at the wedding shop and my parents paid for it to be altered as a gift to us.

I think be honest with people that you are struggling with the budget and they are only too happy to contribute and muck in - especially if they don't have to buy presents.

Easy centrepiece for this time of year? Bare branches in glasses hung with ribbons, baubles and stuff with tealights around the bottom. One wedding we went to had the placecards handwritten and hung from the branches of the table!

Easy hall decoration - crepe ribbons starting at the edges of the ceiling and all going into the middle.

SirChenjin Mon 14-Oct-13 14:45:55

I think the chippy tea is option is a great one - really. Everyone loves a chippy tea, esp. if it comes with cups of tea, white bread and butter, and nice sauces, all served in paper on plates. A bit of wedding cake afterwards, or something sweet, and hey presto - wonderful!

Up here in Edinburgh we have our chips with brown sauce - a kind of runny, vinegary, HP sauce. First time I was asked if I wanted "salt n sauce" I hadn't got a clue what the chippy lady was talking about grin

SirChejin I told dp about the chippy idea last night when he finished work.. He thinks its brilliant and is really looking forward to it.

Also yy to chips followed by cake, was thinking of getting a chocolate cake anyway, to double as pudding. So many times we have been to a wedding, seen the cake cutting then nothing..? I mean where do these cakes go? confused

SirChenjin Mon 14-Oct-13 14:52:30

It is a brilliant idea smile. I think the key is to keep it casual, fun and quirky. People will remember that (and the fact that they are all together celebrating your marriage) far more than they will a bog standard hotel with the ubiquitous chicken and a pricey bar.

SirChenjin Mon 14-Oct-13 14:54:02

Mmmm - chippy tea followed by chocolate cake. Bliss smile

goodmum123 Mon 14-Oct-13 14:55:11

Ask guests to bring a blanket or outdoor chair to make if a casual outdoor do, love the idea of a chip van delivering fish and chips. Buy your own ice cream and sprinkles for pud x

So chips it is smile chips & cake. Cheap and cheerful.

Now just need to figure out about the tea part.. It seems that despite what I first thought the food can be done in the budget I set for it.

Scarer - ^What you need to do, is send out a few save the date cards to people you don't want at your wedding, then when they confirm they are free, tell them they are to be your unpaid decorating help for the day.
That'll sort it for you wink^

Oh you are naughty!!! wink wink LOL!!!

IfIDontKnow - How do they normally rent out the room? Is there any way that you could make a donation to the BL if they have drapes/room dividers that they can loan you for the day?

Some clever lighting will draw peoples attention away from the fixtures and fittings & I'm sure you'll have a really lovely day!

Blankets- what a good idea. The Legion does have picnic benches, not enough though I think. So this solves it perfectly.
Seems though that delivery may not be the best idea? It works out nice and cheaply, however I will get a quote for the van linked up thread

* WhatchaMaCalllit* Normally just rented out as it is. People mostly have a disco for birthday do or whatever

I think the bring a dish type wedding that pp's have described sound wonderful by the way. Think I saw something similar a few years ago on a tv program

SirChenjin Mon 14-Oct-13 15:08:07

A tea urn?

Our Scout troop have a couple that seem to go everywhere with them. Maybe your local WI, Scouts, something like that would have an urn you could rent? Alternatively ebay have them which I may have discovered by accident whilst spending time planning your wedding rather than doing my very boring work

They do have a scout hut near to the church. Will ask.

Without wanting to out myself however if any of you are people I know in RL, you'll know anyway when you rock up at the wedding you helped plan grin we are getting married in Surrey, and live in Kent. We / the venue aren't far from each other at all. And majority of guests live in the town of the church.

Not far from Westerham in fact...

The suggestions made so far have been brilliant.

If there is a college that do photography/event management/interior design near you/the BL Hall, why don't you approach the lecturers there and ask whether anyone would be interested in helping out and that you'll let them use whatever images they need to for their portfolios going forwards?

I've been at a buffet style wedding and the only hot food they had was chicken curry and rice. They did cold meats and salads for anyone who didn't want the curry. There was plenty of bread rolls and butter to make up sandwiches if anyone wanted. Each table had a bottle of red and white wine on them and anything else you went to the bar to get your drink.

The most important part of that day was the dancing so if you're trying to work out where to spend your money, I'd recommend listening to a few DJ's or a couple of live bands and put your money there. People will remember the dancing afterwards, not the decor!

PervCat Mon 14-Oct-13 15:27:59

im the only naysayer to fish and greasy claggy chips then

SirChenjin Mon 14-Oct-13 15:33:48


PervCat do you think that's how they will turn out? I would be upset if everyone ended up with that for their evening meal

I'm positive the only way to know for sure is for me and dp to bravely test the take away delivery ourselves time as soon as we get the chance

PervCat Mon 14-Oct-13 15:36:55

i think chips only nice fresh not lukewarm - a curry is a way better bet.

SirChenjin Mon 14-Oct-13 15:37:58

If you get a van to deliver the F&C then they will not be lukewarm or claggy. Ignore the voice of doom.

SoupDragon Mon 14-Oct-13 15:39:22

Curry is foul.

A bottle of each per table is good idea. However, sadly we don't have exclusive use.
I'm sure that it won't be busy as they normally put notices up a few weeks before an event there and people normally respect this and go elsewhere. However these are normally evening birthday disco's.
And they have a few regulars who would come any way I think.
I don't want to be paying for random peoples drink.. how do I do this?

Oops. A lot of normally usage there.

I don't normally repeat myself this much.

SecondStarToTheRight Mon 14-Oct-13 15:46:21

Check out
In the forums there is a whole section on doing weddings on a budget - you can get some good ideas / advice from there.

SecondStarToTheRight Will check out tonight.

check it out

An acquaintance's wedding was catered by the local college students for £10 a head including the cake. They were simply delighted to have a proper project to get stuck into (menu/budget planning, scaling up, etc).

A local FE college will have students in all kinds of useful fields wanting the opportunity to build up their portfolios for cost or barely above. The results might be less than perfect but they'd be unique to your wedding and a win-win all round.

SirChenjin Mon 14-Oct-13 15:58:41

Surely the other people using the hall wouldn't come and sit and your tables and drink the wine on them though, would they?confused

FeministPixie Mon 14-Oct-13 16:02:35

is there any way you can get wristbands (Paper, ribbon) and that'll be the open bar pass? You'd obviously have to discuss it with the venue.

I would hope not. No I think they would do that. Just we aren't having 'normal' tables ie seating plans etc.. so not sure how to work it.. maybe I should take pics next time we there and put them up. Just don't know how to give our guests drinks etc.. Perhaps a token for the bar could double up as wedding favor.

cross post with FeministPixie

FeministPixie Mon 14-Oct-13 16:04:38

or, wait, if the booze is on the table I would hope people wouldn't drink it!

FeministPixie Mon 14-Oct-13 16:06:34

token/ card for the bar.

SirChenjin Mon 14-Oct-13 16:13:33

Token for the bar sounds good

Want2bSupermum Mon 14-Oct-13 16:19:08

check the capacity. With DH's 30th party the capacity was 130 so I invited 130 'people'. I made sure that all kids were coming and set up a kiddie corner for them. After we got to 130 they couldn't let anyone else in. Bit rude of me but hey ho.

persimmon Mon 14-Oct-13 16:23:37

Bunting, tea lights, flowers, plants, good music, good food and booze. They'll have a lovely time and enjoy celebrating your special day with you.
I don't really understand this liking for uber-swanky venues anyway.

I'm so glad I posted this. I feel so much better. I am so excited about marrying dp & grateful we were given a venue to allow all our friends and family to be there.
I just was so disappointed with the look of the place. I it didn't really matter as such but still upsetting. Shallow, perhaps, but true. However I think it was also the whole budget that was getting to me to be honest. It just seemed impossible. And what made it worse was that we didn't even want a swanky hotel, or designer suits, or fancy flowers. We just wanted to be able to supply everyone with good food, (not fancy) And a nice time.
All the MNer's that have taken the time to post and more have made me see that this can be done. Thank you a million times wine

TheFabulousIdiot Mon 14-Oct-13 16:51:59

mine was ugly. Just get everyone drunk.

Bogeyface Mon 14-Oct-13 17:05:20

Re the claggy chips....if you arrange for a chippy van to come then they cook it as they go, so everything will be freshly cooked.

SirChenjin Mon 14-Oct-13 17:27:53

Ahhh, you're welcome plus it got me out of working grin wine thanks

If you think back to the not so distant past, people got married on small budgets as a matter of course. It's only fairly recently that this whole OTT approach to weddings (notice I didn't say marriages?) has come about. £18k for the average wedding? To hell with that.

This week's paper claimed £21k, compared with £13k in 2003. Shall we compare house prices and salaries in the interim? They certainly haven't jumped by 50%.

Jenijena Mon 14-Oct-13 18:12:18

The best weddings I have been to have been in non standard venues - a student bar and a church hall. People want to be there with you.

FairyDairyLand Mon 14-Oct-13 18:28:16

Dirt cheap paper lanterns hung everywhere (start stocking up now.. a few every week from pound stores and the like.. I know with Halloween coming our pound stretcher has them 3 for £2), and then put cheap coloured glo-sticks in them (you can buy tons from ebay really cheap). They look amazing.

SirChenjin Mon 14-Oct-13 18:52:04

£21k??? shock

Yes, a very close family member got married for £21k a few years ago

SirChenjin Mon 14-Oct-13 19:27:52

And I bet you can't remember much, if anything, about the colour of the walls smile

No I don't smile

HelloDoris Mon 14-Oct-13 19:47:54

We're getting married in July next year on a teeny budget, in deepest Kent. I'm going to look for my dress at the wedding outlet shop in Bromley, their prices start at £125 (all off the peg so factor in alterations costs). Sorry on my phone and not sure I can link properly.

We've hired a village hall and will do the legal bit (register office 2 witnesses) the day before then have a ceremony led by one of our dear friends for everyone to enjoy. Then hopefully a BBQ plenty of free booze, luckily our chosen venue has no licence) and lots of other fun things afterwards. We're decorating our 90's conference style venue with lots of fairy lights and cheap flowers and charity shop asea!

Cannot comprehend spending so much money on one day, but that's just me!

Want2bSupermum Mon 14-Oct-13 20:02:02

The reason the costs have gone up is that venues charge a fortune. Stay away from the venue and the wedding industry and you can have a great wedding on much less than GBP21k.

I got married 5 years ago and my wedding at a wedding venue would have cost GBP30k+. Instead I asked my Dads friend if I could do the reception in their field, hired a nice tent and got things rolling. We had change from GBP10k for 86 guests. We had guests drinking champagne all night. During dinner we had a string quartet. The venue said it would cost GBP4k. I paid GBP200. The hotel rooms up the road at the travelodge cost GBP1 each. We booked all rooms for a grand total of GBP36. At the venue each room as GBP150 for the night with our suite being GBP350. Flowers would have cost GBP3k from a florist and we did them for GBP250.

OP get the week off before your wedding. You will need it.

Lavenderhoney Mon 14-Oct-13 20:15:54

Idontknow, yes, she should have been there, but tbh had form for being snooty at weddings. At my nieces, she arrived, moaned about my hair being messy (!) ate her dinner and left. Instantly. Before the dancing!

She refused to allow her grown up dc to come to my wedding as well. I think I would have broken mn had I mentioned it on there! She was already upset I had had a baby boy ( that accolade was for her, thanks)

Btw- NOT curry.., kids won't eat it, old folk might not like it, it it doesn't go with most drinks, and is either too spicy or the rice is crap. Plus curry puke is revolting. I am aware I am becoming overly involvedsmile

But a chip van! Check out any fish and chip people, google on the net and ask around to the ones you talk to. The ones who do shows and stuff, at county shows. They might come along for you, and do you a deal. Will there be rolls with lots of butter? ( wistful) even the kids will be happy- your wedding is going to rocksmile

All dc were given a teddy bear at one lovely wedding I went to, they just choose one from a basket. They all had wedding ribbon in a bow, even my newborn ds got onesmile

Have you tried asking the WI if they have any contacts, or the BL themselves?

When we got married, the day after, we had a lunchtime barbecue hosted by mil ( cleverly arranged to keep her out of wedding arrangements) and as it was so relaxed and informal, everyone talking about the wedding, it was a lovely add on, like a Boxing Day partysmile

HelloDoris I didn't know Bromley had a wedding warehouse. may look for dd's flower girl dress

Want2bSupermum I'm a sahm smile so will be free(ish) week before. May get dp to book a few days off though

Lavenderhoney She sounds charming hmm yes there will be lots of rolls, buttered grin have requested quotes from the chip van up thread as well as local chippy to deliver

Poshnosh Mon 14-Oct-13 20:28:50

We could have used the local social club instead I went for pretty and paid nearly 3k for a beautiful function room and a really shit buffet for 80 ppl. If I could go back I would and have fish & chips or a BBQ!

Poshnosh Mon 14-Oct-13 20:29:11

And the social club!!

Poshnosh sad You had a good time though?

Lavenderhoney Dniece as in her dd?

PervCat Mon 14-Oct-13 21:03:18

its is over SO fast - i am still proud my dress that i loved cost me $125.
really - save your money

PervCat That's a good deal. Will enjoy every bit of planning now. Lots of people say the same. Over before you know it

lagoonhaze Mon 14-Oct-13 22:41:29

This is fab! We are looking a shoestring wedding too!

bubby64 Mon 14-Oct-13 23:11:55

We had a shoestring wedding, but it looked a million dollars! Very old village hall venue, tarted up with crepe paper streamers, large borrowed artificial flower decorations with smaller real flower and candles in jam jar table decorations plus a few helium balloons dotted here and there. White banqueting roll on tables with coloured paper table cloths on top, with matching paper serviettes in the colour theme of wedding. Work colleagues decorated the hall for us, I made the cake and mums WI friend decorated it, Mums other WI friends made the table decs and did my flowers ( and we had the wedfing a few days after harvest festival, so church was already decorated beautfully) and yet another helped her make my dress, and we all pitched in and made the bridesmaids dresses. The choir i was in sang for free, and yet another friend prepared the wedding food as a gift, we paid for ingredients. Money behind the bar lasted ages as it was cheap to buy the drinks. Brilliant day with loads of guests having fun, and it looked wonderful.

goodmum123 Tue 15-Oct-13 00:19:06

Lots if foliage in any tables collected from woodlands? Collect pine comes now and spray paint them gold or silver. Collect all sorts of lovely free natural stuff. Btw when is the wedding so I can think about other free decorations? X

If you need some cheapish table decorations my SS used gold spray painted pears for her wedding as the place card holders, looked fab. We did that easily ourselves day before the wedding. You could have those plus tealights and white wild flowers as centre pieces.

Want2bSupermum Tue 15-Oct-13 04:02:51

OP - I would ask someone (could your mother or sister do it) to watch the kids for the week before. You need someone on site to take over so you can get on with wedding stuff. There is so much running around when you do things yourself.

My centerpieces were flower arrangements (used oasis with foil under them to stop water leaking onto the table and stuck flowers in). Look at youtube for videos showing you how to do it. I then used foil covered rocks for the helium ballons. I got the ballons for GBP20 in costco.

For cake I did a three tier cake from M&S. It is available in their store. It does go on sale so if you like it I would ask when it is due to go on sale. For our wedding here in the US the cake came from costco and was $16. Talk to the bakery area because the employees here didn't ice the cake and gave me the icing in a ziplock back I gave them. I stacked it and decorated it myself the morning before our wedding. It was such a yummy cake!

Lots more lovely ideas on here.

goodmum123 Wedding's in July

massagegirl Tue 15-Oct-13 10:19:25

Afraid I haven't read the whole thread so sorry if I repeat!
I went to a wedding at a legion, it was fab, they also used the garden as well as inside, flowers, candles and lateens made it lovely and actually the slightly run down building made it charming, use it to your advantage, vintage shabby chic is well trendy innit?! Anyway they had couple of gazebos in garden with salad bits/cakes and had a BBQ, money behind the bar.
I also recently went to a wedding in a pub which had fish n chips from a van/stall, they were amazing and everyone was raving about how good they were and just want you want to go along with all that booze, plus everyone likes fish n chips and it was about £10 a head.

So I've had a quote from a chip van.. and its £7.00 per head! Am very happy with that. Am going to book it. smile

massagegirl Sounds lovely.

I reeeeeeeeeeeally want fish and chips now thlgrin

Glad things are working out!

Bogeyface Tue 15-Oct-13 22:31:44

Can you get a couple of other quotes too? And check the food before you book it, never ever book a supplier for food you havent tasted!

I would also ask if they batter the fish themselves (some places sell that awful frozen pre battered stuff which is revolting) and that they will be cooking the food fresh in the van.

Bogeyface Good pointers.. will do so. Not sure how I would try though- email them and request it ?

Bogeyface Tue 15-Oct-13 22:36:34

Well if they run a chippy I would go undercover and order some food!

Then yes, I would email about the other stuff.

Sexykitten2005 Tue 15-Oct-13 22:37:14

Best wedding I ever went to was one of my older friends last year. Her mum did a cake and she bought sweets to do a pick and mix instead of favours. Everything was handmade, she bought a rubber stamp from hobbycraft and used it to do her invites, save the dates, thank you cards and the order of service. Her dress was a £70 special from china off ebay which was a copy of a designer which was handmade. (Another friend paid £4000 for the actual designer dress and my mates fake looked much nicer !)No photographer so we were all encouraged to take photos, none were staged but several hid in bushes to get those 'intimate' staring in each others eyes photos that professionals always want to stage
At my mums blessing last year we found a wholesale florist and did the flowers ourselves the day before, no dj we got everyone to bring their iPods. Again photos ourselves.

You don't have to spend a fortune, the best weddings are about love not about how much money you have. Anyone who cares more about their surroundings than your day shouldn't be there.

Bogeyface Tue 15-Oct-13 22:40:37

YY to ipods but small point.......use a itouch that you can password protect (or hide it) otherwise you will get a total wanker removing the carefully planned playlist and putting on the smiths all night. I was not fucking happy!

RhondaJean Tue 15-Oct-13 22:44:49

Can I just say I would love to come to your wedding, I am so so SO bored of the identikit hotel pish right down to the enforced hurrah photo ŵith the glasses of champagne in hand and the obligatory pick and mix stall.

Bossybootsmum Tue 15-Oct-13 22:53:19

Spent tons of money on our wedding, got to the front to take my vows and thought "bugger, this is the only bit I care about". Moral of story, get married, have your reception in the legion and save a packet. You'll still be married and that's all that matters.

RhondaJean Tue 15-Oct-13 23:06:37

There must be a lot of wedding photos doing the rounds with me in the back looking bored holding a glass of champagne now I stop to think about it.

Sorry brides...

mummyplonk Tue 15-Oct-13 23:16:36

Good idea from starball^^

After Christmas you may find some love plain white fairy lights, gold/silver branches, feathers etc in the sale. In the meanwhile have a good look at your friends/families decorations when they put them up, am sure they won't need them in the summer and would be happy to lend.

WaitMonkey Wed 16-Oct-13 10:14:28

Glad everything is coming together. It all sounds brilliant. smile

mummyplonk Love this^ Will do plenty of sale shopping wine

So I have pretty much the chips sorted.. Any suggestions for the afternoon tea? Will have about £200 for it.

Is everyone local? Have a Bake Off! and get sandwich platters from Costco.

SirChenjin Wed 16-Oct-13 12:45:49

How about seeing if you have a local Bake Club? I'm a member of one up here, they are everywhere at the moment, thanks to TGBBO! Or see if your local WRVS/WI might be interested in baking for you?

SirChenjin Wed 16-Oct-13 12:46:44

A local Bake Club who might want to bake for you in return for club funds or for charity, I meant to say.

Most people are very local. Same/ next village. Bake off is a great idea!
I've never heard of a bake club..
<goes off to google>

SirChenjin Wed 16-Oct-13 13:05:31

The Clandestine Cake Club is in Surrey - not sure if it's anywhere near you?

Or - is there a local catering college who might be interested in doing some baking for you? Or maybe some of their students?

CMOTDibbler Wed 16-Oct-13 13:06:28

I love the idea of the chip van, but not everyone likes fish and chips - veggies and coeliacs for instance, so you do need to have veggie/gf/df alternatives lined up.

For the afternoon, I'd ask people to bring a dish (cake, scone, biscuit or savoury thing) plus the recipe so that you can start your marriage with an amazing recipe book where you will remember them and their food.

I did my own wedding flowers, as did some friends, and we all used silk flowers as you can pick them up way ahead, and then take your time arranging them as you like. One friend had fake calla lillies that she then threaded white fairy lights through and they have been a decoration in her sitting room ever since

Your wedding sounds lovely btw

For the afternoon, I'd ask people to bring a dish (cake, scone, biscuit or savoury thing) plus the recipe so that you can start your marriage with an amazing recipe book where you will remember them and their food

That's such a lovely idea. I think I will do this. Do you think people would mind?

What savoury things do you think? I could order some staples; Sandwich platters, glass bottles of lemonade, fizz etc

SirChenjin Wed 16-Oct-13 13:12:02

I think some will be fine about it, others might see it as something else to worry about if they are not bakers or cooks.

Greydog Wed 16-Oct-13 13:14:58

Sari fabric on Ebay can be really cheap. I had my birthdayparty at the local Legion, and we did the room with lots of bunting (amazon) posters of the film theme, and decorated the tables with baskets of oranges (the baskets were chip baskets from the sale at Aldi - no one noticed!) and on the rest of the tables I filled glass jars with flowers (also Aldi) as they only need to last the day. We did have a buffet, and I covered the tables with sheets and some fancy curtains from a charity shop! Several people asked who had done the decorations. I was very proud!

SirChenjin Yes, true.

Greydog So you should be! Do you have any pics of how you done the tables?

done= did

CMOTDibbler Wed 16-Oct-13 13:25:05

IME, people love to share food. And for those with dietary requirements, it means they know there will be things that they can eat for sure. And those that don't bake can buy things if they wish - veggie and dip platter, naice crisps, cheese, bread, salami etc. Savoury bake suggestions would be sausage rolls, mini pasties, cheese scones, mini quiches - oh, and chutneys!

Personally, I think that nice bread and ham/cheese/chicken separately is better than premade sarnies which are always a bit sad looking. Also lets people pick what they want

If you bought tea, milk, lemonade/dandelion and burdock/cream soda in glass bottles, jam, clotted cream, butter and made scones ahead of time and froze them, you'd have a bloomin good start to the tea. Oh, and poncey plates and cardboard cake stands.

Don't underestimate how much people like helping out at events. If I knew you, I'd be delighted to loan picnic blankets/ outdoor games/ decorations and to help organise the tea. And bake hugely. I love to bake, and its fab to get to do more

Perhaps pitch it as "we don't need presents but if you'd like to bring something then an edible contribution to our afternoon tea would be very gratefully received - please contact bride for details of where/when to drop off".

Then they contact you and say "shall I make my chocolate pavlova?" or "I could do a plate of cheese twists" and you say "yum, yes please, can you drop it off at the Legion by 10am on the day or is the night before more convenient?" or even "oh that's so kind but actually Auntie Gladys is doing one of them - any chance I could cheekily ask you to make some of your legendary rocky road instead? I enjoyed that so much last time we had coffee together"

cross posted but agree about separate bread/rolls/ham/cheese/salad rather than sandwiches - better for allergies and fresher and less work grin

Oh dear I'm so easily swayed hmm
Can you get dandelion & burdock and cream soda in glass bottles? If so where? I love them.. They are childhood memory inducing drinks..

SoupDragon Wed 16-Oct-13 13:30:43

Do you have a core group of friends who you know would be happy to bring food rather than a present?

I'm glad people have suggested alternitves for sandwiches.. I'm always a bit disappointed when I'm at a function and by the time I get to them , they are hard edged. Or soggy

I think I'm going to take every ones tasty food suggestions and cater it myself. I'm not quite mad brave enough to tackle it myself, however will just buy it in. I'm kind of with SirChenjin in that I personally would be stressed out if it was requested of me, so would not want any one to feel like that.
I am going to take all those gorgeous ideas though and use them. I'm getting hungry just thinking about it all.
And the games.. fab idea.. on the law of the church.

This is all so great.. <wanders off in search of the wine love MN thread

SirChenjin the cake club is about 20mins from me..

lilystem Wed 16-Oct-13 14:08:08

I haven't read all the thread but churches do have a bit of discretion as to what they charge. It might be worth having a chat with the vicar to see if they could help you out. I know our vicar would waive a bit of the fee for a local who was struggling. If someone offered to say, strim the churchyard or something that would also go down very well.

Might be worth a try.

lilystem Thank you. Dp is a gardener probably outed myself now so that's good to know.

Does anyone have any suggestions of how the actual tea part would work? Do I use tea leaves/ urn/ teapots/ teabags? confused

Oh yes, alternatives to fish and chips for vegetarians confused

I suppose just chips is pretty poor option. I have 2 vegetarians coming, so not sure what to do regarding them

Apologies if it's already been mentioned (in a rush to post stuff and get other things done) but also see if you can enter as many competitions as possible.

Friend of mine has done so and managed to get discounts/free items - e.g. stationery, decor, flowers, suite hire.
She's also doing lots of DIY - so there'll be lots of candles/tealights etc.

PS - veggie option - quorn sausages. Although you can get 'fake fish' - it's by [[ Linda McCartney]]. You might be able to get your fish & chips van to heat it up?

Sorry - link fail.

Competitions are good...
One of the vegetarians eats Quorn etc, the other has never eaten meat & I know she wouldn't want to replicate it.

Wilding Wed 16-Oct-13 15:11:04

I'm a veggie and I'd be perfectly happy with chips! But chip shops normally have a couple of veggie options - could they do some cheese and onion fry-its or something? I'd ask the chip van, I'm sure they can come up with a couple of options for you.

Wilding Fry -its?

wink1970 Wed 16-Oct-13 15:20:48

Hello OP

sorry if this has been suggested elsewhere, have you tried Freecycle or similar sites? all sorts of things get given away, and you can ask people for candles/fairy lights/ balloons etc - you never know, someone might have hosted a wedding or similar recently and wants to get rid of their stuff!

Ok so here's where I'm at the minute;

I have the venue which is free. The church service is Just under £500.We are having afternoon tea after the service which is yet to be priced. Fish and chips in the afternoon (either £450 at the most for chip shop delivery or £560 for the chip van) My food/drink budget is £800 maximum. So will have a bit left to buy the tea food bits and get drink for people)

Entire budget is £1500-£2000 (and that's stretching ourselves) Maximum. So once catering and ceremony have been spent then I have £700 left.

This is for outfits, cars, rings, flowers, decorations, Entertainment, Photos and I do want to look nice too (ie hair and make up)

I guess I could do without cars & flowers. They are very nice, but not essential. That would free up a bit. So just the rest

Hello wink1970 I will look there..

I think the church does sound expensive, yes. Does that include "extras" like the Mothers Union doing their own flowers, or bell ringers, or the organist?

No its the basic C.O.E wedding costs for 2014

wink1970 Wed 16-Oct-13 15:56:26

Hello again OP

why don't you post your rough location, and if anyone's nearby they might feel able to donate 'stuff'.

personally, I have a size 12-14 wedding dress anyone in Kent is welcome to. It's been sat in a spare room after being cleaned & vacuum bagged.....

I'm in Kent.
The wedding is in Surrey.. Think Oxted/ Westerham way

lagoonhaze Wed 16-Oct-13 16:08:12

Try looking at chapels if not particularly dedicated to one church. Much cheaper!

posted early..

Meant to say I have already on this thread had 2 amazing offers of wedding dresses, and really massive thanks wine however I feel like if you've worn your dress for your special day, it's a precious keepsake.

Thank you for your loveliness though thanks

Glendaanddennisarentinvited Wed 16-Oct-13 16:16:37

We've just had a quote for £350 for a photographer to do 2 hours work. Ours is a very unusual wedding but my rationale is this...

I would like a professional
Friends and family don't want to "work" on the day
The photos are better quality
A relative of DH photographed my first wedding. If you saw our album you would think only his side attended.
Professionals are discreet.

I don't want to be photographed getting ready.... Just literally a snapshot of the day (!)

HelloDoris Wed 16-Oct-13 16:25:23

our budget is about £3k, luckily we've had some help from parents with this (doesn't include my dress as my mum is buying). My bridesmaid has suggested we approach one of the make up departments in Fenwicks and see if we can get one of the make up ladies to do ours for us on the cheap. If that fails I'm going to approach our local college to see of any of the beauty students want a job.

I'm buying up lots of really cheap vases from charity shops and car boots then filling with the cheapest flowers from the market for the tables. Have had a quote for paper flowers, for £100 I can have 1 bridal bouquet, 2 bridesmaids bouqets and as many buttonholes as I like. There are plenty of tutorials online for things like this so maybe worth investigating if you're crafty.

Rope in the skills of friends and family, ask prolific cake makers to bake for the tea part of your day in lieu of a gift!

I'm buying a second hand ring to match my vintage engagement ring, my OH is having a titanium one that costs £12.50.

I'll try and think of some other things we're doing on the cheap and post them.

My OH's cousin has just sent save the date cards out for her wedding and her venue is amazing, have to admit I felt more then a little jealous when I looked into it. However I know our day will be so unique to us and perfect.

GlenandDenis Sounds like a very good deal.. Just that half our our left over budget. sad

HelloDoris Yy to the wedding envy. I know what you mean.. However I have forced myself to stop looking at beautiful barns/ wedding blogs etc since starting this thread. I am very excited to be marrying my dp and all the support on here has been fantastic. Your wedding sounds lovely

Glendaanddennisarentinvited Wed 16-Oct-13 16:34:36

Sorry - bit tactless. We were going to approach a local art college if we didn't have a quote we were happy with.

Good luck x

ProfondoRosso Wed 16-Oct-13 16:53:45

We hired urns, cups/saucers and teaspoons from a local caterer for our reception, IDon'tKnow. We bought Earl Grey and breakfast tea, and a jar of Carte Noire from Asda and repackaged the tea in very nice jars (the sturdy ones you get with the airtight flip lids and metal clasps), £1 each from Asda. We also bought loads of Tunnock's Teacakes (from Lidl) and laid out a milk one and a plain one for each guest (the milk chocs are red and the plain chocs are blue - very pretty under the lights). We were allowed to use the kitchen at our hall to store milk from the night before. Do you reckon the Legion would let you do that?

Oh, and we also had a jar of sugar lumps!

Approaching a local art college is a great idea. My DSis is a photographer who has done quite a few weddings and would only charge £75 for the day on her first few jobs (and the pictures are beautiful). If anyone's in Glasgow or the West of Scotland, her prices are still very reasonable! smile

Blimey the costs have gone up! Is that not your parish church? Are there different fees for different "applicants"?

Ten years ago our licence was something like £75 and the chapel £10 including candles...

Glenanddennis No worries!

Horry No its the standard charge for anyone wanting to get married. As charged throughout C.O.E across the country. This does *not include the choir or organist.

ProfondoRosso Wed 16-Oct-13 17:11:11

Wow, that seems a lot, IDon'tKnow. Last year, we paid £60 for the organist and the priest was going to give us the chapel for free (we gave him £100 in the end). This was Catholic, though.

It was important for me to get married in a chapel, and I'm guessing it's important for you to marry in a church too. If it's not, I would suggest choosing somewhere else and paying a celebrant, but if it's something that means a lot to you, then don't budge.

Herisson Wed 16-Oct-13 17:15:27

Somebody I know of sent all their guests a triangle of fabric and asked them to embroider/draw something personal onto it. They made them up into bunting to decorate the venue. It was a really really lovely idea and the fabric wasn't v expensive, I don't think.

Glendaanddennisarentinvited Wed 16-Oct-13 17:26:59

Were paying £463 for a registrar (+ additional cost for room hire). So it wouldn't save much doing it out of a church.

lagoonhaze Wed 16-Oct-13 17:31:48

Chapel is approx 220.

Yes it has taken 1/4 of budget. In reality more as would be quite a sad, eery service without the organist and/ or choir, so feel like we need to. Don't walk to be walking up the aisle in silence :/

So the choir is £80 & Organist is £120(ish?) from memory.. Or vice versa..

IHaveA Wed 16-Oct-13 17:35:49

I have never regretted not having professional photos. Our photos are mostly happy snaps but there are a few gorgeous ones. This was pre-digital too.

lagoonhaze Everywhere?

IHaveA Wed 16-Oct-13 17:38:31

Gosh, the organist is expensive sad

Maybe there is an alternative?

Could you just have a choir and piped music. A choir is lovely.

Longtallsally Wed 16-Oct-13 17:39:26

I really regretted having a photographer. Didn't want one, was persuaded, and then spent ages standing around being photographed, when we could have been spending time with friends. Best thing we did was to give a single friend the brief to take as many photos of people as she could throughout the day - she did a brilliant job and we had some great informal shots. She enjoyed it too, as she had a focus for the day.

On the other hand, we didn't want a video either but ended up loving that!

canyou Wed 16-Oct-13 17:44:06

For music in the church do you know any music teacher or music school who has pupils who would play? My DSD gets loads of gigs this way, she is a harpist unfortunately not near you, she gets €50 for playing church and drinks reception.

ProfondoRosso Wed 16-Oct-13 17:48:33

One thing you could do is look outside the scope of 'wedding' photographers.

The guy who did ours is a professional who has worked for the Face and ID. DH knew him because he's photographed DH's band a few times. He normally charges £300 for a day's work, and that's what he charged us for the wedding, and the photos are great - not cheesy, no striding across the grass or looking meaningfully into each other's eyes! Because he was used to reportage, and being in a million places at once, capturing vital moments that you might miss otherwise, he was brilliant - really captured the feel of the day.

So, if you or DP know anyone who is a photographer, or know someone that knows someone, speak to them. And you'll get a lot of highly skilled students at art schools who have never shot a wedding before, but who know a lot about lighting, composition, capturing the important moments of an event and the little, quiet moments too.

ProfondoRosso Wed 16-Oct-13 17:49:40

And an acapella choir is one of the most beautiful sounds in the world. smile

3rdnparty Wed 16-Oct-13 17:52:07

dresses/suits again Jan sales are probably your friend dress was a 'cocktail' dress from a department store own evening wear dept so less than £100 - but i had no fixed idea what i wanted (except not trad gown) so was easier to be flexible - but my mum made me go to a bridal dept think it was berkatex (sp) and try on a few which was really useful for working out what shape /style/colour etc worked ....esp as I usually live in jeansgrin it was also funny seeing the lady in the dept nearly pass out when I told her was getting married in 6 weeks not 6 you have plenty of time to buy but would start to think about shapes/colours etc..

dh got also got a suit in a dept store sale think it was Jaeger so hung really well for about £100 - M&S also do some nice suits in their Autograph range which often have offers/discounts or are in the sale- hiring can be effective if you want tails etc but not sure that'll work on the cricket pitch!

re afternoon tea if you or someone in the family can bake a lot of tea tray bakes can be made in advance and either keep (gingerbread) or freeze-sponges/drizzle cakes, for kids stuff like gingerbread men & ladies (for a wedding) - the dough can be made well in advance and frozen and just iced white or left plain or smarties for eyes/buttons etc-

flowers -I just bought big bunches of what was in season in the colours I wanted from a local florist- did talk to them in advance so they got extra in and plonked(was supposed to be arranged but ran out of time - only i noticed!) in large vase as centre or you could place in front of the fruit machine -July should be lots of choice of seasonal a friend did similar and had loads of sunflowers - really eyecatching on plain white tables in gloomy hall

Bloody hell sad

It helped me that the organist was a friend (we paid for his b&b nearby but otherwise didn't pay him) and our soloist was also a friend doing a favour.

In all honesty knowing a person is always the cheapest way. I've sung a friend's wedding for nothing very gladly before and would do so again. Hell, I'd gladly do yours if you weren't so far away.

HelloDoris Wed 16-Oct-13 18:32:39

Oooh meant to say if you're near Ashford, get yourself down to the designer outlet centre jut after Christmas, suits in the sale will be dirt cheap!

Horry wine

I will look for seasonal flowers, don't think we could afford florist though. As much as I like flowers, I think they are going to have to be bottom of list atm.

Perhaps I will ring local newspaper and ask about photographer.

HelloDoris am very near that outlet grin

Actually, did you say Surrey? Will discreetly ask around and see if any of my multiple singing friends fancies singing a register in exchange for a cup of tea and some homemade cake grin

HelloDoris Wed 16-Oct-13 18:49:49

Oooh I'm about 30mins away in Canterbury! :D

Will carry on thinking, if I can think of anything else ill shout.

Horry Yes, wedding is in Surrey. thanks

SirChenjin Wed 16-Oct-13 19:04:30

What do you still have to factor into your budget IfIDontKnowAndYouDontKnow? I'm kind of losing track of where the MN wedding planners have got to smile

mummytime Wed 16-Oct-13 19:04:50

£120 my DH doesn't charge that much and we're in Surrey.

Do you have any singing friends?

SirChejin Posted this up thread ;
^Entire budget is £1500-£2000 (and that's stretching ourselves) Maximum. So once catering and ceremony have been spent then I have £700 left.
This is for outfits, cars, rings, flowers, decorations, Entertainment, Photos and I do want to look nice too (ie hair and make up)^

mummytime No singing friends unfortunately

ancientbuchanan Wed 16-Oct-13 19:21:48

Bromley college is bound to have photography students, and also ask all of your friends to take pics and send them to you. Our lovely day is really memorable because of everyone's snaps. One friend put instant cameras on each table so that they would have a variety. In fact, if you did that and had a friend who could take lovely pics of you as their wedding present to you, you'd save a fortune.

Urns and t pots, the British legion is bound to have them. If not see if you can borrow from the guides or church in westerham.

On the choir, really don't you have singing friends? If you put a call out to MN some if us could run a choir for you? Again, it could be part of their wedding present to you. People love getting involved.

Flowers, easy easy. Get plastic shot glasses from the pound shop or if nec waitrose, max cost 10 quid. Buy those carnations that have lots of heads per spray. Put one or two into each shot glass and fill out with ivy or evergreen you have nicked from somewhere. . Wee but effective. Get yourself something to carry, and buy carnations as button holes, you don't need them made up. Get a vase of nice flowers for the bar and to go on top of the arcade machines that you have covered up. Don't worry about the church.

lagoonhaze Wed 16-Oct-13 19:24:03

Yes chapel much cheaper overall. Do some ringing around and Google Methodist chapels.

ancientbuchanan No I really don't know anyone musically talented in any way.. Really feel I should do grin

Bromley college : do I just call and ask?

SirChenjin Wed 16-Oct-13 19:50:10

Ah, that'll learn me to not read the thread properly!


Its not a lot really. confused
Think flowers and cars will have to wait

SirChenjin Wed 16-Oct-13 20:05:26

You can probably do the outfits for about 2-300 in total, cars - do you know anyone who has a nice or quirky car? Rings - how about vintage/antique? Flowers/decorations/entertainment/photos - some really good suggestions up thread. I think you'll be fine, honestly. It's amazing what people will donate or give as presents smile

notagiraffe Wed 16-Oct-13 20:14:21

IfIDon'tKnow - the most memorable gorgeous wedding I ever went to was in a shabby village hall. It was the atmosphere that made it.

And one of the worst was a posh wedding at a stately home which was so formal that every one almost passed out because you had to stand in the sweltering sun for photos before being allowed one tiny glass of champagne and making small talk for an hour. I asked the waitress for some water and she said, 'It's a glass of champagne, that's all, until you sit down.'

Pretty buildings do nothing for a wedding if the atmosphere and spirit of the party isn't there.

And I've also seen very ugly buildings transformed for weddings with paper lanterns, tea lights, flowers. Fill your day with people who love you. You won't regret it.

Outfits obviously mine and dp's. Then our 3dc. And bridesmaids. Am thinking about asking family member to use the ones they had for wedding ( I was one of bridesmaid and dsis was another of them) I want the dresses for my 2 dsis so hopefully?

Well ring are obviously important that they last. Am more than happy to wear vintage rings.. I think it's nice they have a history to them. Cars- I suppose we could ask around.. Yy brilliant suggestions on here for flowers/ deco/ photos. We did think about a band that would cost around £300. Large chunk of budget though...

Oh and best mans outfit too.

SirChenjin Wed 16-Oct-13 20:40:45

Hmm...a lot of outfits there, but I think ebay might be your friend there - if you start looking now you will probably find a few bargains (you can sort them by lowest price first), or the sales for summer dresses?

The band is a lot at £300 - maybe see how much you have left over and go with that? Or music on the ipod?

Yes well if I use the band it leaves me £400. Its not enough so band is on hold definitely, probably

Yes it is a lot of outfits. I think my 2 bridesmaid sorted tbh. So its just us really(me, dp & 3dc) along with best man

SirChenjin Wed 16-Oct-13 20:52:45

What sort of outfits were you thinking of for your family and the best man?

IloveJudgeJudy Wed 16-Oct-13 20:54:45

Wrt cars, in our pretty big family we always just ask around to see who's willing to drive the bride/bridesmaids. They put those ribbons you can get on their cars and that's it. It looks lovely. You don't need to hire a car. It's a lot of money for not much imo.

IloveJudgeJudy That's perfect wine

I obviously need a dress, dp, 2 ds & best man need suits and dd a dress

SirChenjin Wed 16-Oct-13 21:04:56

Yes, but were you thinking casual, formal, matching suits? Or could your DD wear a party dress rather than a bridesmaids dress, the men/boys just regular suits or did you want them matching?

I think casual(ish) is fine, because of the type of wedding we are having. Its turned into more of a large party then a wedding tbh.. grin So informal fine.

However #i know dp would like a 3piece, because he would him and dc to wear jackets in church

would rather him and dc*

SirChenjin Wed 16-Oct-13 21:13:59

That will help keep costs down - and you've got loads of time to sniff out the bargains in the sales or on ebay! I'm sure that other MNetters have used the China ebay wedding dress suppliers with great results - they come in at a fraction of the price. Maybe worth a look? smile

owllover Wed 16-Oct-13 21:22:20

What size and height are you?

I have looked at the ebay's bridal wear and the suits too.. some great prices.Just always seems to good to be true IyswIm. However if others have used them and they seem good then that's great.

I'm a size 14-16 (ish) at the min. However I am gradually losing weight (have dropped a size already) so should to a 12 possibly even a 10 come July. Which is why I havnt panicked yet about my dress grin

I am 5ft 3. Dp is a lot taller than me so will probably have to wesr heels. I find them quite uncomfortable though confused

TerrorTremor Wed 16-Oct-13 21:34:07

Why not have something nice outside, depending on what time of year it is if it looks lovely outside?

SirChenjin Wed 16-Oct-13 21:36:15

Just remember to pay with Paypal - then you've got peace of mind

TerrorTremor Yy to outside. smile I plan to. Just hope it doesn't rain

AuntPittypat Wed 16-Oct-13 21:41:04

Hi IfIDontKnow. I think your wedding sounds so much fun! It'll definitely be the feel of the day that people remember rather than the carpet/walls and it sounds like the day will have such a lovely relaxed and happy atmosphere.

If you think you would use it, I have a few bunches of fake ivy that I'd be more than happy to post to you. We were going to hang it over the windows of our wedding venue earlier this year but they actually had some real stuff left up from a previous wedding so we kept that up there instead. I know fake ivy sounds a bit naff, but it looks pretty real - especially if you hang it up high where no one can look too closely! Just message me if you think you'd like it.

And I spent £100 on my dress, from Debenhams and it was perfect. I just could not have relaxed in a dress that cost 20 times that, and it meant I didn't feel the pressure to have the perfect bridal hair and make-up job to go with it!

ancientbuchanan Wed 16-Oct-13 21:48:18

Email the heads of department at Bromley college. See what happens.

Re choir, put out a call to mumsnet, tell them which day, what you want sung, and see who is available. Before you spend 80 quid, see if you can do it cheaper. It's a heck of a lot. You might not get the choir robes, but you might get a fun group of people. Most reasonable singers are used to sight singing and as long as they can rehearse for an hour before hand can do most hymns. If you want something really special you might need the choir.

Auntpittypat Thank you. MN is helping me greatly to notice the potential I have for a fab day

Is that aloud? A choir that's not the church's?

rabbitonthemoon Wed 16-Oct-13 21:57:27

Op read a fair bit of the thread but bit all so sorry if this repeats things anyway;

Your day already sounds lovely!
The best wedding I ever went to was in a British legion, lovely buffet, friends band. They gave us all sparklers to hold up as they left - it was a memorable one.

My wedding dress cost £120 and, I'm told looked a lot more. I got a bridesmaid dress ordered in ivory, lots of places do this. I can't even remember where mine was from now but dessy might give you ideas.

The absolute best bit of my wedding was walking in to the room after the ceremony and realising that everyone we loved and cared about were all together. It wouldn't have mattered a jot where it was. I realised that might never happen again and that it was a moment to hold in my head forever.

That's lovely rabbit thanks

Meant is that allowed not aloud.

Where would I put a call out for choir on here? Whats a reasonable price for a choir than? confused

<trying to be tactful>

A choir that's charging £80 won't be a brilliant choir. It will be the church choir who are all volunteers and keen and happy, but not trained musicians. At least one will be stone deaf, and one will be nine years old.

They will happily sing hymns they know and an anthem they already know.

All of that might be absolutely lovely for you - depends very much on how snobbish interested and knowledgeable you are about church music in general, and the extent to which it's your local parish church and your community and so on.

If you put a shout out on Mumsnet you might get a similar musical level, but on the other hand you might get a dozen or so genuinely good singers who'd all practise something they all like and your chosen hymns separately, then come together on the day for a quick run through and a stunning performance. Or you might get a generous soloist who'd sing something absolutely awe-inspiring while you're signing the register.

Do you know what kind of music you like? Have you thought about hymns, anthems, prayers, etc? What style is the church - traditional, high, evangelical?

purpleflower123 Wed 16-Oct-13 22:31:04

We got married on a budget.

Our rings were £40 for both including delivery from ebay (plain titanium)

My dress was a bridesmaids dress, cost £200. They said it was getting more and more common for a bride to wear a bridesmaids dress in cream or white. As I don't like strapless dresses it gave me a lot more choice. It was also no where near as heavy as the other dresses I tried on.

DH's suit was from debenhams in the January sales it was about £100, DDs dress was £10 from BHS and DSs suit was £15 from ebay.

FIL drove us in his car with a set of ribbons on (£2 from ebay)

Decorations were from ebay too, cost about £150, paper table cloths, tea lights balloons, champagne bubbles from poundland and fish bowls. The fish bowls were cheap from ebay with some water gel balls in and 1 gerbera sat in the middle.

I spent £30 on bouquets from ebay for DD and I. Just plain cream faom roses.

Ebay, Amazon and January sales are your friend smile

Everyone says what a great day our wedding was, it was so relaxed.

Good Luck smile

I have not a clue when it comes to church music. blush The church is in the village we moved from. Lots of family and friends live near by.

Church is evangelical.

purpleflower The pound shop has wedding things?

purpleflower123 Wed 16-Oct-13 22:55:11

They had a few bits in the party section. We got married a couple of years ago but I'm sure I saw them recently. It was a pack of 5 or 6 in the shape of a small bottle. The kids loved them, even the adults had a go smile

Thats great to know

Where abouts on MN do I ask about choir?

I'd suggest MN Local or just Chat tbh.

Have you tubed acapella weddings. That's beautiful smile

Acepella wedding choirs I mean

owllover Thu 17-Oct-13 00:19:20

Thought my dress might fit but I think it would be too short for you. Shame as it's sitting gathering dust. Best of luck. For table decs eBay and a canister of helium is your friend.x

K8Middleton Thu 17-Oct-13 00:32:02

Just seen this thread. So exciting! Love a good wedding on the cheap. We had an expensive looking wedding for a fraction of the price because we were smart. I say we, I mean me. Dh bought his suit hmm

I have loads of tea light holders left over from our wedding. All sorts of different shapes and sizes but all clear glass. You are very welcome to them. I'm in Surrey.

owllover thanks Thank you anyway. Lovely thought.

K8Middleton grin

Charlesroi Thu 17-Oct-13 08:54:21

Have you thought about asking if local guide or scout groups can help with decorating your venue or hosting your tea party? If they are working towards some badges they might do it (and they'll look very smart in their uniforms) and I wouldn't think they'd charge much. I don't know if this is practical, just a thought.

SecondStarToTheRight Thu 17-Oct-13 10:20:10

Rings - have got anyone who would exchange their tescos club card vouchers for Goldsmith / Samuels/ Argos (or similar) vouchers for you?

ProfondoRosso Thu 17-Oct-13 10:48:15

That's a good idea from Charlesroi - I'd have really enjoyed making bunting and things when I was a Brownie! An especially good idea if you have DC in the Brownies/Guides/Scouts, or have close friends who do.

The best thing to do re: art colleges is to find the photography dept and email or phone the department head (phoning might get you a quicker response). The University for the Creative Arts in Kent looks like it has good stuff going on: UCA Photography

Just to add, my dress was £140 from Debenhams, and it was gorgeous. That was full price, not sale. It was Ben de Lisi for Debenhams and basically a white version of this dress that he designed: Kate Winslet red dress So definitely see what he's got on offer at Debenhams now.

And is there a trade flower market near you? We got our flowers at a trade market in Glasgow. My DM sweet talked the stallholder into selling to us, as we're not in the business, and we saved a lot of money. Plus I made my own bouquet with cabbage roses, florist's wire and grey ribbon. I made all the table decorations in the same way, but put them in white metal flower pots from Ikea.

K8Middleton Thu 17-Oct-13 11:15:42

Kent Institute of Art and Design is well respected and has a good photography department iirc.

Good idea Charlesroi

I don't know anyone who would do that Secondstar. We don't have Tesco card ourselves either.

Have bookmarked the link Profondo

Have put the call out to singers. Over on Chat. Hope I'm allowed to that.

Have been advised to play a cd in church instead. I didn't know this was an option. Has anyone does this/ know of this?
If so, looks like thats the way to go.
I have no idea what would be suitable/ unsuitable etc.

Posted to soon.
Suitable regarding what songs etc.

Well, what kind of music do you like in church when you're there normally?

PavlovtheCat Thu 17-Oct-13 13:55:47

can you put up a marquee/scout tent outside? as an extension? We had a scout hut for our wedding venue (outdoors, that was our 'inside'). we used fairy lights, straw bales, and net curtains hung around to make it look awesome. You mostly need a shit ton of fairy lights, so you can dim the main lights, lots of flowers, muslin swathes, wine.

How about taking some photos of the inside and getting some ideas from us here once we see it. I am sure we can help you make it fabulous!

PavlovtheCat Thu 17-Oct-13 13:57:29

oh, talking about using colleges and such like, that is a fab idea. We had a spanish guitar player at our wedding. We paid him £100 but he would have done it for the train fair and some wine. He had just finished his degree, and was working in hotels etc to get some money together to fund his postgrad course. He was amazing.

Horry I am not a regular church goer. I go to the 'Messy church' with with dc every month. My ds1 goes to their preteen type social groups. I attend for major events, Christingle etc.
I am not sure of the hymns etc though. However I see they have a ceremony service planner on C.O.E website, so will use that for pointers.

Pavlov I will get photo's asap and post them up.

ProfondoRosso Thu 17-Oct-13 15:44:10

Using a CD might actually be a great idea. For one wedding I went to last year (in a beautiful old disused church in the Highlands, there was no organ, no real space for musicians, so they had an ipod dock and the music they chose was lovely.

I don't know if the C of E is more rigid in terms of specific hymns for parts of the service, but we had Schubert's Ave Maria for me walking up the aisle, played on the organ and Mozart's Laudate Dominum (no vocals, just organ) later.

Both of these are beautiful (and suitably holy). If I were to choose a recorded song to play, it would be Maria Callas doing Ave Maria: Ave Maria And Pavarotti doing it is wonderful too.

Thomas Tallis composed gorgeous choral music which sounds great on recording, such as this: Te Deum

Have a think about hymns you like and have a recce on YouTube for lovely versions of them.

Profondo Your wedding sounds great

Some music ideas for you to listen to.

FWIW We had La Rejouissance for our recessional and it's really triumphant on an organ.

Horry I quite like Ave Verum corpus. Thanks for the link

I think I'm going to have to go down the cd route. I really would love an organist, however have listened to some great recording thanks to Horry & Profondo. They sound fine on recording, so may ask to play it in the church beforehand to see if it echoes or sounds ok.

Mumzy Thu 17-Oct-13 22:23:32

Look what you can do with balloons and organza

Nottalotta Thu 17-Oct-13 22:25:42

Ah OP we had a wedding on a budget. To be fair our ceremony was at the historical town hall and was fabulous, but we were there for 25 minutes......

Our reception was at a local pub in the 'function room' which was plain with square tables horris chairs and nasty carpet. But, there were people sitting on the chairs, cloths on the tables and the carpet couldn't be seen. It was fabulous. All the people we loved, great food, i had made favours, we had jars (as in jam jars) of flowers on the tables. It wa really fantastic. Decorate nicely and enjoy every minute.

ancientbuchanan Thu 17-Oct-13 22:47:35

Yes, jam jars possibly with a twist of ribbon are great. And don't forget tea lights in jam jars and paper bags in the evening.

You do realise we are going to want to see photos?

Mumzy they are some fab ideas on there. So clever to use them that way

Nottalotta Your wedding sounds lovely

anchientbuchanan Of course. I am going to put pics up as soon as I can to give an idea of what I'm working with. And of course after the place has been decorated and after the wedding.

zipzap Thu 17-Oct-13 23:06:37

I wouldn't go down the instant camera on the table route these days - they're not that cheap when you take developing costs into consideration.

Lots of people have camera phones and many people will dig out their 'proper' camera (be it a dslr or a pocket one) for weddings - again most of these will be digital. Set up a private page in advance of the wedding that people can upload to and make sure that you put the url for it on anything that you print for the wedding - so if you do an order of service or menu or seating plan, even the invites and thank you cards. Plus have some little slips with it on too. And really encourage people to upload their stuff and share it with you - just make sure that you let them know you won't be letting it loose on the www - that the photos are just for the guests to look at.

I'd also task at least one keen amateur photographer on either side of the family with making sure that they have a couple of photos of everybody on their side of the family in. And maybe you would need a friend or two to do this too, if there's not a big overlap between friends and family. I was at a wedding a little while ago and ds1 (then 4) hogged my pocket camera (to the point where I bought him his own for christmas afterwards!) and if you ignore the hundred or so pictures of the carpet in different places at the venue there are some great pictures in there and a completely different viewpoint (literally as his eyeline is so much lower than ours). So tasking an interested child could also provide great results.

I'd also second investigating the local college photography course or a local camera club as a pool of photographers that might do the day cheaply for you.

zipzap would you suggest your idea and photographer from college/ papers etc, or just friends and family?

SourSweets Fri 18-Oct-13 05:25:06

Hi OP, no time to read the whole thread right now, sorry! I am an event and retail display artist and would happily make some stuff for you. Bunting, invites, name places, coasters, table decorations etc. I also specialise in displays from recycled materials so it would be cheap (no charge for services, obviously).

Soursweets It's a very long thread grin
What a lovely offer. wine Have sent you a message.

I'd just like to say thank you a million times over to everyone who has posted on here.

I really thought I would get a few YABU posts, and some reality checks.
Instead I have a wonderful thread full of lots of lovely ideas & some kind offers.

I have actually cried been very touched by all the support on here.

I now am really looking forward to see how it's going to turn out. Cant wait.

So wine to all you beautiful MN'ers.

SourSweets Fri 18-Oct-13 09:07:08

Messaged you!

My dp is unsure about the whole tea bit. He doesnt know if people would want to be hanging around the church etc... confused
Also I did speak to the church about it, and they said they aren't sure the back room would do it. However we are welcome to use the church hall which is a 4 minute walk away.
What to do?

Never mind- we are having the tea... He was picturing cucumber sarnies and milk jugs.hmmgrin

Dubjackeen Fri 18-Oct-13 14:38:30

I have only dipped in and out of this thread, but I want to say your wedding is going to be just fab! Some lovely ideas here, and offers of help.

Dubjackeen wine

I know the thread kind of gone disappeared now. Is this a whole different thread? Just I thought of something & I wondered if it was a good or bad idea?
If we got married in a registry office, just us and witnesses (?) and then had a blessing and party a week later. Would that be ok?
So still have the venue/ chips/ tea etc. Just without the big price. Is this a bad idea? Just I'm torn. To have a big room (30people) registry office is more expensive (about £650 here) HI don't know how much a blessing is. Just know that we would like it to 'approved' by the church somehow.

gone disappeared ??! confused apologies for my nonsense grin

stubbornstains Sun 20-Oct-13 10:26:02

Re:the tea- I would make more use of your lovely big outside space, and hope to have it there. Maybe lay the food out inside the building, and have blankets/tables outside? Some kind of big tent/shelter would be ideal, but I guess it relies on being able to borrow you know anybody who has any connection to the Scouts or similar? You could even organise (or task someone else with organising) some outdoor games? Great icebreaker, and fun for the kids.Of course, you'd have to have a contingency plan for rain...

Re: fairylights- stock up at Christmas, when they're super cheap in all the supermarkets/ pound shops.

So have the tea at the Legion instead of the church? What kind of games?

Please ignore my post about the registry office. It's a silly idea bought on by panic worrying

stubbornstains Sun 20-Oct-13 10:31:11

Silly things! Welly wanging, egg'n'spoon ,coconut shy, that kind of stuff... (think of the photo ops!)

stubbornstains Sun 20-Oct-13 10:34:47

I know you can't afford to hire anything, but this kind of stuff is all the rage at the moment....wouldn't be too impossible to knock up some home made versions...


stubbornstains Sun 20-Oct-13 10:35:13


stubbornstains Sun 20-Oct-13 10:35:38


stubbornstains Sun 20-Oct-13 10:36:32

OK, I get it. It doesn't want to be a link blush

Its not working..? I tried copying and pasting into address bar too. No luck

ProfondoRosso Sun 20-Oct-13 10:39:26

Hi IfIDon'tKnow, if I were you, I'd check that a blessing won't just cost the same as a full service - can you speak to the priest?

Absolutely nothing wrong with doing registry office then a church bit and party later (I know a few people who have done this), if that's what you decide.

Having tea in the Legion is a good idea, kind of reduces the amount of moving around that needs to be done, and I bet the Legion would let you use their kitchen (for storing milk, etc) and they might even have urns you can use.

I asked the partners of two of my friends to set up the tea stuff for us while we were making our way over to the hall post mass and lunch (lovely guys who weren't fussed about coming for the whole day - more for the shenanigans at the end!) They sorted all that out and we gave them a bottle of whisky each. Honest, you'll be surprised and delighted at how willing to help people are when it comes to your wedding. smile

Got working. THe h was missing from http grin

Profondo We do have a few people like this. Friends partners to help.

Posted too soon again hmm
Meant to say that the registry office idea was out of worrying about it all etc. Just keep thinking of things I've forgotten and getting stressed how to afford it all.

ProfondoRosso Sun 20-Oct-13 11:05:25

Do you have a wedding spreadsheet? smile It bloody saved my sanity and helped us keep track of costs.

I think the register office / blessing / party idea sounds equally lovely. I know exactly what you mean about wanting church oversight though.

Profondo No wedding spreadsheet. Did you make get one on the internet? This is a good idea. I dont know what to allocate to what.

Horry Its ok. I think I was being silly, and as Prondo said, its probably the same cost any how.

ProfondoRosso Sun 20-Oct-13 11:25:04

We just made up a normal Excel spreadsheet, with a column with everything we needed to do: guest list, make invitations, send invitations, book restaurant etc, a 'done' column in which we'd write yes/no, another column to list costs associated with that entry, then a final column to state whether or not those costs had been paid.

And we had a separate spreadsheet with a list of contacts for each venue/service.

Ok.. thank you. Does anyone have any idea of how much they allocated to what? Or did they make it up as went along?

My budget is stretching more and more as we go and its horrible

Have I forgot anything? Outfits/ Cars/ flowers/ decorations/ rings/ food/ reception music/ ceremony music/ drink/ thank you gifts/ hotel night

ProfondoRosso Sun 20-Oct-13 16:26:29

All I would add to that would be invitations, guest list, photography, rehearsal and seating plan if you're using one. smile

ancientbuchanan Sun 20-Oct-13 18:17:22

Op, this is going to be a great wedding, full if the people you really want.

So ask those who live near to bring things for tea, or the supper. Honestly. If you want say that is their present to you. You'll avoid things you don't want. And instead of having a wedding present list, get them on a dropdown menu write what they are bringing.

If you provide tea, fizz, wedding cake and venue, that's fine.

PeriodFeatures Sun 20-Oct-13 19:01:51

Oh lucky you!! Outdoor space. If the weather is good, string up loads and loads of fairy lights outside, get some hay and straw bales, the hog roast or paella sound fab. Outdoor giant games, a live band. You could do some amazing stuff. People will not believe it when they arrive.....

stubbornstains Sun 20-Oct-13 19:35:39

Ahem blush

lagoonhaze Sun 20-Oct-13 19:38:06

Did you ever look into local chapels? A couple of hundred cheaper?

gastrognome Sun 20-Oct-13 19:51:58

Just wanted to say your wedding plans sound absolutely lovely! Have you considered renting the men's outfits? My DH rented his from Debenhams at minimal cost and it looked great. Lots of choice of colours, etc.
We just rented his and asked the best man and ushers to wear similar coloured suits, and we bought them their ties in the same colour as DH's.

justmyview Sun 20-Oct-13 20:34:33

My wedding dress was sold as a bridesmaid dress, but I had it made in Ivory. £120. Simple, but I thought it looked nice

My cousin bought simple 'normal' dresses from Debenhams for her bridesaids £25 each but looked smart when 4 girls were wearing the same

Haybales.. thats a clever idea. I will look into Debenhams- I didnt know hired suits.

I have looked into chapels.. I havn't found prices though

OK. So just to check. I need the following:

Reception Music
Ceremony Music
Order of service
Hotel Night
Welcome drinks

That a lot . Obviously the reception has been done. And the church. Just the rest to sort. Have an idea of the food, just have to play around with how much it all costs etc

We had Debenhams suits too, lots of choices of shapes and colours and patterns and kilts. Great service.

Order of service is optional, I'd say. Church will have lots of copies of CW2000 for the actual liturgy bit, and the hymns you choose can be on the board/OHP. Or DIY for the cost of a bit of toner and a ream of paper.

Oh, choose readings. At least one Biblical.

I think Debenhams may be out of budget, having had a look.

Good to know that the church will have service information. Will save us sorting it.

Bogeyface Mon 21-Oct-13 00:35:13

We had the men in plain black suits which they all had anyway (and you can pick them up for a song at Asda if your OH doesnt have one) with black ties (black and white was our theme) and white square pocket hankies. They looked fab.,default,pd.html Black suit for less than £30!

They are very cheap!

HAs anyone used ebay for mens suits before? Like this

ancientbuchanan Mon 21-Oct-13 10:50:14

Cars, Fgs don't hire. Get some white ribbon and instruct your OHs ushers to do them. They will have a lovely time.

Wedding present list.

Seriously, if there is something that would make your day special and you can't afford it, ask your friends. Eg,

" we would love some flowers at the reception "

Much nicer than more stuff, which you prob have already.

anchientbuchanan We wouldn't hire.. Its too much. Do you think just to use our car?
I havn't even thought about wedding gift list tbh. I don't feel like I can have one. We are living together already, so have everything we need.No gift needed.
We are funding the wedding ourselves, perhaps rightly so however we did have an offer of help from a family member. They have now decided not to, hence our budget being so small. Also an offer of a possible venue (family farm) which has also not come around. So don't feel we can ask family on account of unreliability.
*Disclaimer. These family offered this help without being asked. I appreciated the offers very much. And understand that people are fully within their rights to change their minds. Just explaining how this situation has come about

ancientbuchanan Mon 21-Oct-13 13:22:43

Yes, abs right to use your car. And for the others that will transport your key people, just hand them a roll of white ribbon and some scissors.

Ah, I understand. Yup.

I know the feeling about wedding presents. But as soon as you send the invitations people will ask you. So worth thinking about what you do ask for.

People I know have asked for the following

A book list from hatchards
Charity gifts eg to the red cross and good gifts
Contributions to the honeymoon

So you don't need to be bound by convention. We ended up with three toasters. With floral patterns, not my taste.

ancientbuchanan Mon 21-Oct-13 13:27:49

You can prob find cheap ribbon on eBay but MNrs will be able to tell you where the best sources aka cheapest are.

Charlesroi Mon 21-Oct-13 14:03:12

For flowers for decoration and tables you could buy bedding plants or sow seeds like lobelia, begonia, surfinia (and maybe some herbs). Think hanging baskets and pots.
If you buy some early in the season you can take cuttings, grow them on and save a bit more. Plus you can take them home afterwards.

I know you feel you can't ask for presents but, as others have said, people may want to give one. I'd put a no-gifts-but-if-you-really-nsist-some-Amazon-vouchers-would-be-nice on the invite.
Design and print your own order of service and invites. Print them on a coloured sheet of A4.
Welcome drinks - look out for introductary offers from wine clubs (there are a few where there's no monthly commitment). Start buying a bottle or two of fizz a week and storing it away?
Hotel night - book as early as possible and don't mention weddings. How about a nice country pub/B&B and take your own special booze.
Cake - meh. It's just a fruit cake, some marzipan and a fancy icing job. You coud make your own, and a good dosing with some booze should cover most sins.

OK. Lots of white ribbon. smile

Will get looking on ebay. Will probably order it off there as decided to decorate the church pews by putting a white pull bow at the end of every other one.

Keep posting to soon hmm
Instead of flowers.

Bogeyface Mon 21-Oct-13 14:22:10

YY most people will ask for a gift list and think you odd that you dont have one. You could create an Amazon wish list that you could send a link to, better to do that than end up with gifts you dont want. I got given a massive ceramic bread crock by a well meaning aunt, which I had to take back as it wouldnt fit into the kitchen!

Charlesroi Crossed posts- I'm slow at typing. Just noticed your post.
I will speak to dp about the flowers, he is a gardener so thats perfect.

Think we are going to have a chocolate cake. DP can't stand the fruit cakes.

Bogeyface What doI put on a gift list? confused

shrinkingnora Mon 21-Oct-13 15:58:18

I know someone who had a hen party decoration making evening. They all drank lots of wine and made pompoms etc

PervCat Mon 21-Oct-13 15:59:16

me too


was she a red head?

shrinkingnora Mon 21-Oct-13 17:00:09

No. That would have been too bizarre!

I went to a lovely wedding where they asked people to bring food eg savoury for 6 or pudding for 6. It worked really well and was a fantastic icebreaker. Think they asked for less from couples and the food was delicious. They got loads of French sticks and butter to add to it. May well have been the nicest wedding food I've ever had actually! I also discovered that the wood fired pizza oven people at the market do wedding catering. That kind of thing might be a bit more expensive though! Also went to a wedding catered and served by the local WI. Was very cheap and very yum.

As long as there is enough food to soak up the alcohol no one really minds what it is!

I would decide what the most important bits are to you and then spend accordingly.

We had loads of b&q and ikea vouchers for our wedding, actually very useful!

Important to us is that we're getting married [cheesy emoticon] that everyone has a fab time. Good food & plenty of it. Affordable drinks for guests. I want of us all to look gorgeous too grin

* all of us I meant

shrinkingnora Mon 21-Oct-13 17:12:26

Barrel of beer from local brewery? Can be very cheap! If you were a bit closer to us I'd do you a deal. I really think I'd give the everyone bring a dish thing a go. The food is usually the most expensive thing.

shrinkingnora Mon 21-Oct-13 17:20:50

Just remembered what another friend is doing - buying all sorts of vases and bottles and jugs for the table decorations. They're then going to put wild flowers and dried grasses in them.

shrinkingnora Mon 21-Oct-13 17:22:13

Should have said from charity shops! She hasn't paid more than £2 for any of them.

Will scout the charity shops. I need to anyway because someone sent me a link for brooch bouquet & I'm hoping it works out cheaply. And its so pretty.

Thank you anyway nora