A "simple" (i.e. cheap) wedding with 150+ guests?! Is this possible?

(59 Posts)
threeleftfeet Fri 13-Jul-12 01:41:18

DP and I are getting married!

We're not into the whole white wedding thing, however we do want to have a celebration with our family and friends.

I've had a go at doing an initial list and I reckon it's at least 150 people (including 30 DCs).

We've got musician type friends so that bit of the wedding is sorted. I've seen type of the dress I want and it's about £250.

I'm guessing the biggest expense will be catering for everyone?

Is it possible to do a wedding for so many people without spending an absolute fortune. Has anyone got any tips? Perhaps on a venue with reasonable proces. We're definitely open to alternative suggestions!

How can you cater for so many people, nicely, without spending an arm and a leg?

TIS smile

threeleftfeet Fri 13-Jul-12 01:42:10

That should be TIA!

Goodness knows what TIS means?!! confused

threeleftfeet Fri 13-Jul-12 02:12:15

Our guests will be coming from far and wide (many from over 500 miles away) so we need to plan for them having somewhere to stay, for many of them the night before as well as the night of the wedding.

Although we'll expect the guests to pay their own accommodation (this is normal isn't it?), we need to make sure they can stay somewhere nice but not extortionate.

This is quite a logistical undertaking, isn't it?!

A friend of mine on a budget did a huge picnic for the meal and got lots of friends to help her make the picnic food. Each 'table' got a basket and a rug.

She was lucky with the weather!

Could you not hire a village hall & basically cater it yourselves just with a finger buffet or something?

Maybe not you personally but ask a close friend or family member to oversee it? Or even getting caterers in for a buffet would be a lot cheaper than a sit down meal.

Homebird8 Fri 13-Jul-12 03:54:51

My friend had a 'bring a plate' wedding with people coming from all over the world, they managed even with travelling, the food had loads of variety, and nobody paid a lot.
Whatever you do, enjoy it!

threeleftfeet Fri 13-Jul-12 08:49:18

The picnic sounds lovely but I don't think my nerves could cope with the good weather gamble!

I've found a venue I really like. It's kinda faded grandeur rather than grand, I stayed there as in the hotel a few years back and it's one of the friendliest places I've ever stayed.

Their wedding package is way over out budget though! They assume you'll hire the whole place. I've emailed and asked if they can break it down to just what we need.

threeleftfeet Fri 13-Jul-12 08:52:52

Also, it is acceptable to expect guests to pay their own accommodation costs, isn't it? The place I'm thinking of has options from posh 4 poster (reckon we'll have one of those!) through to camping via dorms, so people can get what suits their budget.

Springforward Fri 13-Jul-12 08:52:53

Yes, you can do it cheaply, just stay off the usual wedding circuit. Your catering and venue will be what pushes the cost up, so treat it like a birthday party and not a wedding, and you'll be fine. That's probably easier to do if you don't get married at the same place as the reception, and keep things on the classy-but-relaxed side rather than the formal-wedding-breakfast-and-evening-reception side. I think it's fine to expect wedding guests to pay for their own accommodation.

Book the latest ceremony slot at your chosen venue (think ours was 3.30pm), then people will have had lunch allready.

Photos after ceremony and jugs of Pimms or something.

All in for a fork.buffet (cheaper than a plated dinnet but not as cheap.as a finger buffet). Two courses (drop the starter), have the fork buffet about 5.30.

Disco provided by the venue or open mic for your friends

Cut the cake later (say 9pm) and serve to keep people going! Maybe look at the wedding cakes made of cheese and serve.with crackers, chutneys and fruit.

These were the cheapest type of weddings avaliable at our venue (where I work).

No not expected to pay for accomodation grin and id only expect a reception drink and or a glass of wine with dinner. Id expect a pay bar in the evening

PurplePidjin Fri 13-Jul-12 08:58:34

Accomodation: find local b+b's and ask if they'll do a discount rate for you to book the place.

My parents' 25th wedding anniversary: Keg of beer from local brewery. Boxes of wine from France. Fish and chips from chippie next door. Hired a school hall, lots of tables and chairs available. Band made up of mates. Plastic crockery and cutlery. Pea shooters and party games as centre pieces.

Awesome party, incredibly cheap and low stress!

threeleftfeet Fri 13-Jul-12 09:11:40

Not sure if that made sense! I mean both staying in dorms and camping are options, not that there's some kind of weird camping in dorms arrangement!

Perhaps worth mentioning that lots of our friends have hippy tendencies and would be happy in tents! We could even maybe borrow some teepees and large bell tents from friends and deck them out.

PurplePidjin Fri 13-Jul-12 09:20:12

Hire the church hall or school playing field and arrange for campers to be allowed to stay?

sleepymum50 Fri 13-Jul-12 09:30:48

the nicest wedding I have EVER been to was a marquee on the grass outside our village hall. Horrible weather outside, but marquee lovely and warm. They had some one cater a pig roast with we collected buffet style with salad. The dad had done a booze run to france for the fizz and wine. They had a disco.

Our wedding was even cheaper, large tent on parents lawn (to hold booze etc.)
It was cold but dry. Family and friends ran a BBq. Friends were all booked into local B&B's and paid themselves. Got a couple of barrels of beer in from a local brewery, plus booze from supermarkets etc.

MrsLetch Fri 13-Jul-12 10:04:03

Get married on a Friday, don't invite people to the wedding, and just book the venue as an evening party - a lot cheaper.

Then invite friends for the evening celebration, so you'll only need to cater for the evening buffet. Get rid of the wedding breakfast, and that will cut out a lot of your costs.

Some of my friends have done this and it's a great compromise. The best one was an evening ball to celebrate. Everyone dressed up in black tie, had a fab time (one of the best weddings I went to) and it stands out for all the right reasons.

Worst wedding was where they tried to invite too many on too small a budget and cut corners (you can only cut so many before people notice, even with the whole village hall thing).

My advice, go for something totally different. Then people won't notice the savings grin

maples Fri 13-Jul-12 10:14:29

Our money saving tips were as follows:

- bridesmaids wore their own dresses and looked stunning
- no posh special wedding cars - used local taxi firm who sent a shiny silver merc and put ribbons on - cost £20 per car!
- ushers and best man wore own suits
- autumn/winter weddings save money on flowers - we picked ivy and used ivy and candles

threeleftfeet Fri 13-Jul-12 10:22:09

Aw, I want our friends there at the ceremony <old romantic>

Take your point about cutting corners though!

We have lots of musician friends, some of whom who I hope will play as our present, so the entertainment should be great - we just need the space and license for that really.

threeleftfeet Fri 13-Jul-12 10:59:25

I plan to give the bridesmaids a contribution to the dresses (£50?) and then let them choose what they want, it won't be coordinated. Also hairdressing on the day (flowers in our hair etc) but hoping to get that fairly cheap from a friend of a friend.

The day will be fairly unconventional so we can do away with lots of the traditional stuff that costs £££.

A contribution to their dresses would be a lovely gesture. If I were a BM and allowed to wear any dress I wanted, id be happy to buy it myself so a donation would be much appreciated!

A thing my friend wants is to ask all the women attending to wear a certain colour so they can all be bridrsmaids grin

We had a big white wedding very cheaply but it was lovely. Think about your friends' talents and ask them if they could do something on the day, eg a friend of mine had formerly been a florist - also you can pad out the flowers with lots of greenery, my mum's a music teacher, she organised some of her Grade 8 pupils to play for us - they wanted an opportunity to perform! Another friend sorted out the catering - we had a buffet style meal rather than sit-down. Some other friends have quite a large open-plan house, and let us hold the reception there - we were worried about space but needn't have been as people were happy to mill around. FIL did the photos (they were ok... I think he'd bigged up his abilities with a camera but other guests sent me copies of their photos). None of my BMs were particularly girly girls and wore DMs which we bought from the outlet place in Rushden for £20 a pair then sprayed them silver with spray paint!

Our cakes were from M&S, a friend put the dowling in so we could just take them to reception venue, stack them and decorate with fresh flower petals. So that cost about a quarter of the cheapest price we were quoted for a wedding cake.

threeleftfeet Fri 13-Jul-12 22:06:03

I'm going to have one go at asking for a quote from a wedding venue - the one I mentioned above. I asked them if they'd be happy to work with us to find a package that suited us rather than hiring the whole venue and they said yes, as long as we'd be happy to avoid the peak season, so it'd have to be sometime Sept - March.

They're such a lovely place, and when you don't put the word "wedding" in front of the occasion, fairly reasonably priced! If they can't offer us something affordable then I can be pretty sure we need to look at alternatives.

threeleftfeet Fri 13-Jul-12 23:17:03

Not sure if that makers sense! I mean if they can't give us an affordable quote then I need to forget about traditional wedding venues completely and go with something more DIY.

joanofarchitrave Fri 13-Jul-12 23:21:35

Bring and share meal. It is bog easy for everyone and cuts the single biggest cost right down. Obviously you don't ask for wedding presents, which cuts the cost for them attending as well. Actually, quite a lot of people will give you presents anyway.

You should still ideally provide drink though, but it's amazing how cheap that can be compared with food!

threeleftfeet Fri 13-Jul-12 23:27:15

I'm thinking for 150 guests incl. DCs, we'd need to ask them to quote for:

- the room for the wedding & whatever charges they have associated with the actual marriage bit
- meal (maybe sit down if affordable, if not then buffet)
- room for party till late (we supply all music)

What have I missed?!
What else do the venue need to provide?

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