If you had a cheaper wedding (under £5k)

(33 Posts)
Emsy1449 Sun 13-Oct-13 18:21:52

What did you do and how did you do it?

Oh, music was ipod and speakers, plus we bought a couple of disco lights.

Registry office
Village hall
About 80 guests
Flowers from the market arranged by friend
Other decos from eBay
Minimal new clothes
Booze from supermarkets etc
Afternoon tea we made ourselves the day before, lots of cupcakes and sandwiches etc
Hog roast

Do spend money on a couple of teenagers to clear tables and serve drinks or you'll be running around when you should be enjoying yourself.

Rufus44 Wed 16-Oct-13 11:21:47

23 years ago and got married abroad, only parents as guests and they paid for themselves

So came in at under 4k which included, 3 week honeymoon, our outfits, photos, video, cake and flowers

FoxMulder Wed 16-Oct-13 11:17:04

Oh, I didn't have bridesmaids because I never understood quite what they were for!

FoxMulder Wed 16-Oct-13 11:16:23

Ours was pretty traditional. We had everything you'd expect from a wedding, I don't think we'd have spent more if money was no object. I think it came to £2K. Got married in a church (free), walked to the reception (would have been weird getting in a car for 5 minutes - besides it was fun parading through town in the fancy wedding clothes!) at a 4* hotel. Had their normal lunch menu, not their 'wedding' menu which was twice the price but with less choice. No table decorations etc, just because I didn't see the point. Then had an evening do with a buffet & a disco type thing. I guess the costs were kept down because we don't have massive families/groups of friends. Got my dress off e-bay. Even if I was a millionaire I just don't think I could have justified spending £1K on a dress I'd wear once. Oh, the photographers were quite inexperienced so relatively inexpensive.

Mbear Wed 16-Oct-13 11:03:51

We got married at a local posh hotel and did drinks and food, but there was only 14 of us. Then on the sat night we hired the local community centre and had about 85 guests. Did the food through supermarket and every week for about 6 months prior my mum would add a bottle of wine to her weekly shop. (Really wanted to provide drinks for all and hated that one choice of White and red thing).

We did have a proper cake and my dress was made, but we had no photographer, no cars, no bridesmaids etc. we asked a few guests to bring a pudding. Handmade invitations and used cheap luggage labels for the seating tables. Flowers were tulips and we bought stuff from ikea (little vases filled with sweets on the tables) which then guests could take away as the 'favours'. All in was just under £5k!

LondonNightmareInGhostlyBoots Wed 16-Oct-13 10:14:08

We spent quite a lot tbh, mainly on food and drink, had 150 to the day and about 50 more in the evening, from 4 pm til 2 am. That cost about 9k for the hall, decor (expensive really, but it did look nice) dj, security, 3 course sit down for 150 with coffee and two types of pudding then evening buffet, and all drinks and the bar.

But we saved a lot on random stuff like no favours (they always pissed me off)

I got a vintage taxi but not sure I'd bother again, bridesmaids etc got a booked cab to the church and I would probably do that. then again, the taxi fitted my dress!

vistaprint are great for invites, I got about 100 fully custom pretty invites with fancy paper, matching envelopes with our names inside them, matching evening invites and envelopes, little personalised matching stickers for the information sheet and something else I can't remember now for £100. i got some of those gold shiny pens to write them in - the ones that click when you shake them? order of service was printed at home and looked fine. Place names we ordered blanks on amazon, cost about £4 for 200 and wrote them in the same pens.

We saved masses on flowers - found a local place to us, they were stunning and really good quality, £123 for a good sized brides bouquet, with lillies and Roses, 8 bridesmaids, 2 mothers, 2 grandmothers, fob, groom, best man and 4 groomsmen (if anyone is in sw London I'd be delighted to share their number they start at about 20 quid for a large brides bouquet). The venue did fake flowers in vases for no cost, the church ones were a little pricey but had to use their people, wouldn't have bothered if we didn't have to. If it was a reg office we probs would have made up some fake arrangements and then taken them to the reception

Bridesmaids dresses were another one, I think they cost us 30 quid each including fabric and were made to measure by a fab dressmaker we found -again more than happy to share contacts if you are in sw London.

Next have some lovely suits atm, full 3 piece suit for £100 or so in a lovely dark grey, we got them for our groomsmen. Other colours etc there too! dh's and bm's (prince edwards I think - long jackets no tails) off ebay - Formal Tailor is the shop name they were very good, we got their shirts there too. fast delivery and good quality. We got the ties on amazon, again very good. tbh I think we spent the same as hiring on buying but now they all have a formal suit shirt and tie, and tbh they felt better quality.

If you are having a meal in an organised place ask if you can bring wine and if they ask for corkage offer to pay a glass wash fee instead - we offered to pay £100 for glasswash, which meant we could bring as many bottles of wine as we wantedb- which weer ordered from tesco I think they had a deal on I made my ddad do this so I have no idea!

wedding cakes are actually surprisingly ok to make yourself if you can bake at all -if you use a stand rather than stacking them they are very very easy, really. No need to dowel, and just cover them with flowers, you can buy icing moulds for flowers and just use shop fondant, saves much much cash! You can hire cake tins if you don't have large enough ones, or make many smaller cakes. Freezer is your friend, and when using buttercream add egg white powder, a sachet per lb for stability.

a lot of shops you can buy sample dresses which work or much cheaper. again, I have details of shops that do a wide range of sizes (from 6 -26/28) and prices (starting from about £100) in south London.

Shoes etc -again, London but if you can get to Finsbury Park, just round the corner from the tube there is a road known as wedding Road, just full of shoes, dresses, bridesmaids stuff, mob outfits - please go! It's just past the temple (I think mosque) entrace under the bridge, (road to the right if you are facing towards the arsenal stadium)

spot the one still on her honeymoon who's not over the whole wedding thing yet grin

Workinglate Tue 15-Oct-13 16:57:05

We spent £4900 including the cost of the honeymoon. We had 120 guests. We didn't have an evening do - left on honeymoon at about 5pm, after the reception. Our honeymoon was UK based and just a few days long, then we came back and spent the rest of the week quietly together at home, which was lovely.

Other places we saved money:

Rings - my engagement ring was vintage (1930s). We bought the wedding rings online from Bay Rings, which had the best prices for gold at the time.

Invitations and orders of service - I designed these and got them printed locally.

Monsoon wedding dress.

Secondhand wedding shoes from eBay.

Sparkly little secondhand tiara from the market.

We were lucky with the venue - local country park that has a big posh house where they do a full wedding package. They also have a much more ordinary cafe with tons of space, so we hired that instead and got the gorgeous country park setting without the massive price tag.

My cousin is a florist so she made the bouquets and buttonholes as my wedding present, and also advised me which flowers to buy as centrepieces for the tables. I bought the flowers from the local wholesale place and the people at the venue kindly plonked them in vases for me.

We had a buffet rather than a served meal. There was plenty of food, hot and cold, and it seemed to be a success! They charged £10 a head per adult, half price for kids.

We paid for one drink per person - prosecco/juice on arrival - and then people bought their own drinks.

Music - I had a singer, a guitarist and a violinist. The singer did it as a wedding present as she's a friend. The violinist did a skills swap with me and her friend played the guitar for £50.

I went to a local youth enterprise which is trying to help young people set up their own businesses, and I got a hairdresser to do my hair and two bridesmaids for £85.

I found a fairly new photographer who is still developing her profile and experience. She photographed the wedding and did about an hour of posed shots of us and the guests for £100.

We bought small presents for everyone who took part, e.g. parents, ushers, bridesmaids, but no wedding favours for guests.

My uncle drove me to the venue and my husband drove us off on honeymoon in his van, so we only paid for ribbons.

My MIL made the cake.

Spent a lot of time looking on eBay for bargains, and kept focused on the fact that we wanted a large number of people there and so that was where the bulk of the money would go (food, drink, large venue) rather than tiny details that are soon forgotten.

I think it made a big difference that we didn't want an evening do. That would have really bumped up the cost because of a DJ, more food, etc. We really enjoyed being waved off by all our friends and family and then whizzing off on our secret honeymoon!

angelinterceptor Sun 13-Oct-13 19:17:26

Made my own very simple but quirky invitations and order of service menus etc
DH bought a nice suit to wear and keep.
We made my dress - probably about £100 max
Cheap shoes from outlet
One young bridesmaid is a shop bought dress - £50
Did my own hair and makeup on the day.
Lots of friends helped with flowers and cake ad decorating. So all done at cost only and then a gift for them all separately
Hired a cheap marquee ( from a church) out it in our garden. Got a friend to do the catering - really nice buffet style.
Free wine and beer all day.
Oh and we hired a band for the evening.
And my dad had an old car which we used as out wedding car and my brother drove us!
My sister and her DH did photos.

Very very simple and cheap.

FiveExclamations Sun 13-Oct-13 19:16:47

When I was about four months pregnant we booked three nights away on the coast and as we'd been talking about getting married before our DD was born, we decided to make that our honeymoon.

We managed to book a slot at the registry office the day before, I brought a cream top and skirt and my DH dug out his one and only suit.

We invited his mum (no other parents still living) and a few friends, I think there was less than ten people there. Then we went home and had a BBQ in the back garden. I think we did everything for about £500, maybe £600 at the most.

We had a mix tape I'd made playing during the ceremony, We walked in to David Gray's "Please forgive me" and out to Lou Reed's "Perfect Day".

It was actually a huge relief, we'd wanted to get married for a while and this gave us the chance to do it the way we wanted without MIL making a fuss. She was desperate for us to have a big church wedding with all her family there, but definitely not with me six months pregnant.

She still moans, 11 years later, because I didn't have a bouquet to hide my bump in the photos. [Grin]

Arisbottle Sun 13-Oct-13 19:05:15

Our wedding came in very cheap, we spent barely anything bar the church.

Dress- wore what I had, DH did the same . No flowers , car, bridesmaids ect . Went to the pub after.

We have just paid for a wedding for DHs sister and it came in under 5k - I think.

Dress bought second hand for £500. Her husband hired a suit. Rather than presents people bought food and we paid for drink . We had the reception at our home which saved a lot of money .

Ziggyzoom Sun 13-Oct-13 19:05:14

Called in lots of favours from friends. I really think the homespun weddings are far more enjoyable than tha fancy money-pit ones. grin

bec0901 Sun 13-Oct-13 19:02:32

Answer: got lots of help from friends and family!

Wore a vintage dress from a second hand shop.
Service at 4pm to reduce food and drink obligations!
Paid for church and organist.
Three friends took amazing photos (didn't do the posing thing).
Held reception in former pub open for private hires - free if we spent enough on booze.
Had hog roast for 70 (£1k) and family/friends brought all the associated breads, salads, vege stuff, canapes.
We paid for champagne then pay bar.
Cousin played live music during early part of reception (then disco).
Got a black cab to and from the event and went home to our own bed at the end of the night.

Wouldn't have done it any other way (except perhaps a Vegas wedding).

reup Sun 13-Oct-13 19:02:02

I forgot to say I made own invitations and bought a cake from m&s s as they do chocolate sponge wedding cakes and you buy the pillars. Walked to pub. Had small bunch of flowers for actual wedding, no car or any bridesmaids etc.

We had a village hall too. Very good, cheap venue. Wedding cars are a huge rip-off. We used my parents white volvo driven by my uncle. Dh spent the day before cleaning it. My parents could not believe how long he spent hoovering the interior etc. Kind of endeared him to them grin
Flowers - it's cheaper to do them yourself if you know somebody who has half an eye. Ask at the church.

ClipClap Sun 13-Oct-13 19:00:30

Darn phone! We wanted everyone at our wedding - ended up with about 160 people. Humanist ceremony in huge deconsecrated church used for gigs now. No booze, BBQ food (professional caterers), charity shop wedding dress, professional band and dj friends, tescos weddibg cake, flowers from the wholesale market, decorated ourselves. Came in at about £4k (about £3k for venue, music and food).

ClipClap Sun 13-Oct-13 18:56:36

We wanted every

RandomMess Sun 13-Oct-13 18:56:01

Oh yes I couldn't afford a professional photographer as the going rate around here starts at £1k sad

MaeBea Sun 13-Oct-13 18:55:00

oh yes, we had 90 people.. (inc us - v important point we forgot, worries about chairs but luckily had 2 last min pull outs so were able to sit down!)

MaeBea Sun 13-Oct-13 18:52:39

I had dress made by local dress maker, DH got nice suit with discount due to friend.

We got married in local registry office, but with just 2 witnesses (no parents) and in normalish clothes. Then went to pub with witnesses for bottle of champagne and sandwich.

The "wedding" was later that afternoon in village hall (hire c. £50). We had a humanist minister, but it was a pretty traditional exchange of vows. Before the ceremony guests had Pims and canapes.

Music was a cd we had done of favourite songs for after the ceremony and then a live band (I think £350, plus booze and meal).

Food was done by local farmers wife and was buffet style : lrg beef, lrg ham, various salads, quiche, apple pie and something else for pudding. She served it all and sorted clearing plates etc (with help from her daughter and others).

Drinks were beer or lager, red or white wine. Anyone who wanted anything else had to go to.village pub.

One thing I do regret is no Prof photos, but friend did good video with proper editing.

The hall provided tables, cutlery etc. We hired plates and glasses. We made table cloths, covered up all walls (full of playgroup art work!) and did all flowers, also my dad grew lots pots violas (terracotta pots from £shop) which we wrapped in ribbon as favours.

It was lovely - and local pub had lock in so carried on after we had to vacate the hall!!

culturemulcher Sun 13-Oct-13 18:52:34

Completely agree with merry about asking your friends and family to help, especially if it's it relates to their talents. E.g. one friend had a beautiful car and offered to be our chauffeur for the day. Another was a great baker and did the cake for us as a present. Another d-jed for us and yet another did a lot of the flowers.

We felt it made it so much more special for us than an 'off the peg' wedding - everything felt personal.

Buy your own wine/champagne. If your venue isn't happy, negotiate a corkage charge with them - they'll make money on each bottle and it will still save you a fortune.

wigglybeezer Sun 13-Oct-13 18:48:55

I had a very home- made wedding, it was great but like others I regret not having a proper photographer and I kind of wish I had bought a proper wedding dress. Everything else was really good and we had a free bar all night, in fact the barrels of beer didn't run out 'til a week later!

culturemulcher Sun 13-Oct-13 18:45:52

Two top tips from me -

first, whatever you do, whoever you speak to, whatever you're booking, do not EVER mention the word 'wedding'. It tripples prices on the spot. Say 'it's for a relaxed family get together'. Don't say e.g. bouquet, say 'hand tied bunch of flowers'. I swear I saved 75% on the cost of our wedding by never saying the word 'wedding'. It also frees up your thinking and makes you look more laterally at what you really want / need.

Second - don't stint on what actually makes your guests have a good time - get the best food and drink you can afford, and lots of it. Can't afford a sit down meal for 100? Get everyone to make their very best dish and bring it, or order party food from Waitrose, or book your favourite local restaurant out for the evening (don't mention wedding!) What people will remember is if they had a great time, not whether the buttonholes co-ordinated with the seat covers.

MerryMarigold Sun 13-Oct-13 18:45:20

Oh, it was for 200 people.

MerryMarigold Sun 13-Oct-13 18:44:15

Oh, I got my bouquet done professionally, but all the church flowers and the reception were done by Mum.

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