Top tips for a VERY budget wedding

(24 Posts)
ThePartyArtist Thu 23-Jan-14 14:30:47

Ok, I suspect I am not the only person to post on this topic but bear with me! The biggest thing that's making me think the small budget is tricky is that we'd probably want 100+ people!

For a while DP and I have been considering getting married. We really do not want to get into debt and don't have anything like a big budget (maybe £2k).

I'd go for a DIY-type do out of choice so that's fine. It would be non-religious so no need for a church. Other things I could do without are favours, chair covers, sit down 5-course meal, fancy cars...

Can anyone suggest practical ideas for making it happen on a low budget of about £2k, without people having an awful time / thinking it's naff or stingy! (I do know of friends who not only got friends to decorate and bring a dish but also charged £5 a ticket - that's probably going too far!)

Tommy Thu 23-Jan-14 14:36:13

I would suggest stop thinking about it as a wedding and start thinking about it as a party
you then won't need matching clothes and napkins, "favours", flower arrangements for tables (or just v simple), etc
Ask your friends who are arty crafty to help - I'm sure they'd love to. I had a great evening before my friend's wedding making posies for little bridesmaids out of silk flowers (bought at cheapy shop) with a ouple of friends.
make your own invites - easy to do if you have a printer
etc etc

jeee Thu 23-Jan-14 14:39:14

I'd say 'no presents.... but bring a bottle if you wish'. That way you'll have enough alcohol to fuel any party.

And don't worry about seeming naff or stingy. As long as you don't ask for money I think that whatever you want to do is fine.

JayeAshe Thu 23-Jan-14 14:39:23

When booking anything - venue, catering, cake etc do not mention the word "wedding" call it a "big family party".

cookielove Thu 23-Jan-14 14:47:32

If you want to do on the cheap there are lots of different
ways to do it:

Get married at a registry office and then celebrate at a restaurant after

Get married on a weekday and have everything at the venue (much cheaper)

Make everything, invites, decorations, cake, food etc.

Look for everything in the sales

rent bridesmaid dresses

Get your dress in a sample sale, some charity shops sell
only wedding dresses

Hth

ThePartyArtist Thu 23-Jan-14 14:54:13

Thank you for the tips, I'm so happy that so many people replied! It is a good idea thinking of it as a party rather than wedding. I thought of limiting the ceremony itself to a very small group but then it gets complicated to start prioritising different people over each other...

I guess what might be best is a small, humanist wedding, late in the day (so only feeding people in the evening). The idea of bring a bottle is good (bring a dish probably too complicated / stressful). Anyone got experience of ensuring people bring drink to SHARE rather than guarding their supply?!

I am a huge charity shop fan so that would not be a problem about the dress!

Does anyone have thoughts on what would be a reasonable budget to do something like the above?

ThePartyArtist Thu 23-Jan-14 14:56:39

And... do you think people would be ok about travelling for a relatively low-key / evening only type wedding? I am just conscious that a lot of the relatives are at the other end of the country and they all had huge horsedrawn carriage type weddings, so might feel this is a little low key to travel for?

HelloDoris Thu 23-Jan-14 15:03:34

Our budget is a little bigger then yours but we've been digging for deals to keep the costs down. We've hired a village hall for the weekend, which means we can bring our own food and drink. We've gone for a civil ceremony the day before for us and 2 guests and then having our friends lead our ring exchanging ceremony on the day. Decorations have been collected from various shops and im waiting for a quote from our local floristry college for flowers. If it's too expensive I'll learn how to make paper ones. My mum is making the cake, my dress came from a Chinese Internet site and was £168. But I was willing to shop around or buy second hand to get the dress I wanted. Phase Eight, BHS and Monsoon do some gorgeous designs and really well priced.

We're having favours but using second hand books so cheap as chips.

Erm...

HavantGuard Thu 23-Jan-14 15:04:24

What JayeAshe said is very true. The word adds £££ to what you're charged.

I'd think about what you really want and what matters to you. How many people do you want there? Would you like an evening or lunchtime thing? What would make it special/feel wrong to miss out.

You could have a restaurant meal or hire a room and do your own buffet or have champagne and pizza! You might want to have a registry office do followed by lunch with 15 guests and then a big evening party at your house. You might want to get married and then have everyone go to the pub afterwards. You've got enough for a lovely wedding if you make sure you focus on what matters most to you and you don't get distracted by trying to meet people's expectations of what a wedding 'should' be.

VenusDeWillendorf Thu 23-Jan-14 15:04:26

Elope, and sign the register whenever you want, then schedule a party for whenever suits, and the weather's good.

Have a garden party, where everyone brings a bottle of something.
get caterers in. you should be able to feed 100 people for 7 quid a head, with choices of mains, and starters, and pudding. do a bit of research about this.

if you need garden furniture and gazebos, your local church / community centre should have some for hire.

buy your dress on the sales, or make your own, and make your own accessories. wear old blue shoes!

think of it as a family party. I agree Jayeashe, never mention the word wedding to anyone when looking for deals, or booking anyone (they add 20%).

If you use a restaurant, get a deal for a family get together.

have fun.

we catered for 170 for our wedding on a tight budget of 2K, and we had a champagne reception (Marks and Spencer brand, 6 for 5 deal) and went to the local cash and carry to get the nicest wine for the cheapest price.
we had three choices of three courses: all we had to do was heat the trays up in the oven and people helped themselves, on disposable plates.

the local church loaned us the gazebos and neighbours loaned us their benches and tables.
Guests brought musical instruments, and played a few bits and bobs, and we had a sing song.

very stress free.

HelloDoris Thu 23-Jan-14 15:12:22

Ooh we're buying a large slab of our alcohol from Aldi, we are lucky that we have access to France on our doorstep so we may do a booze run there too.

We're also lucky as my OH brother is a DJ so said would do our wedding gifts disco for free and my OH works in an industry that means we can get all had decorations free plus the help to put them up.

My best advice is find all the friends you have that have the skill set you need and ask them to help in lieu of a gift. Very good friend of ours is a professional photographer and is delighted to be doing our pics.

HelloDoris Thu 23-Jan-14 15:13:22

WTF is a wedding gifts disco? ! I meant evening disco.

ThePartyArtist Thu 23-Jan-14 15:44:04

Thanks everyone! We have been thinking of doing a joint-30th birthday party, I wonder if we could combine the two. People might have slightly lower-key expectations of a 30th birthday party. Dunno if it's a bit tight to organise by September / October though!

Something else I have always wondered about - DP and I are both vegetarian, and so are many of our friends. A few relatives (inc. DP's father) are very keen on meat though. What would be the best thing to do? I sort of feel as if it's our wedding 100% of the food should be stuff we can eat, or am I being unreasonable?

Dilemma two - my 87 year old grandma is literally at the other end of the country and travelling is pretty much out of the question. She'd struggle here for the occasion if invited but other relatives would have to be given responsibility of looking after her which would be a bit unfair on them. I am very close to her and sort of feel she'd be very hurt to be left out, but she also knows travelling is virtually impossible. Any ideas?

HavantGuard Thu 23-Jan-14 15:48:11

You need someone close to her (geographically) with a laptop/tablet and broadband and someone at the wedding with a tablet and wifi. There's no reason she can't watch it live.

HavantGuard Thu 23-Jan-14 15:51:53

Through skype.

HavantGuard Thu 23-Jan-14 15:53:50

You could send up a bottle of fizz and a buttonhole for her too.

mistlethrush Thu 23-Jan-14 15:59:56

The vegetarian issue - we had a buffet for our wedding - there were two very clearly non-vegetarian things, and everything else (including some really nice 'main course' options) was vegetarian.

We have been celebrants at many budget weddings.

My advice would be to have a small registry office wedding, book the smallest room possible so that you can't have any extra guests.

Then have a handfasting/outdoor wedding at a venue of your choice, and encourage everyone to bring picnic food. Or hire a village hall and self-cater. Get some friends to do buckets of coleslaw, potato salad, bean salad, green salad, and then just buy sliced meats and cheeses from Aldi.

You can decorate the area using ribbons, greenery etc.

The benefit of a handfasting is that none of your guests will even notice they didn't get an invite to the Registry office wedding, it's relaxed, informal and everyone feels involved. It also won't feel like you've had to do anything on the cheap.

Disclaimer: I am a handfasting celebrant wink

stickysausages Thu 23-Jan-14 16:01:27

We hired a house, and while we provided beer, wine & mixers, we stated on invites guests bring their own spirits. Friend did buffet, meal in afternoon was catered. I'd say hire a hall, make it bring your own bottle & have a bbq or buffet. Nobody will think it's naff, they'll be glad of a cheap night! Nothing worse than a posh hotel wedding & paying a tenner a drink!

manechanger Thu 23-Jan-14 16:05:10

hi, where are you gettin gmarried? we hired a pub in the city (closed at weekends normally) for 250 and got local takeaway curry in to serve food (1000) as many guests were veggie and we felt curry was a better option for large catering, my dad put 1k behind bar and red and white wine and pints were free, other drinks had to be bought. everyone had one glass of champagne didn't have any flowers but pub provided a gerbera per table and table confetti. was lucky as landlady would normally insist on her food but she was off to have a baby and welcomed outside caterers in that instance. had disco for 200 and had around 140 guests no kids. it was over ten years ago and prices might have gone up but it was a good bash. If not near city then a village hall would be about same price and would be fine having caterers.

cocked up as then booked reg office and it shut at 12 so had 60 guests with 5 hours to kill and had to find somewhere to feed them so spent a bit more on meze buffet (about 10 per head) also great for veggie and meat options.

DottyDot Thu 23-Jan-14 16:07:57

Our civil ceremony was done very cheaply - we didn't actually have a budget as we had no money - I think the whole thing came under about £500.

We made our own invitations - to about 60 people - register office do. We said no presents but if people wanted to join us at Pizza Express afterwards (just over the road from the register office) that would be great - we put on the invite that there would be drinks and nibbles on the tables but could people pay for their own pizza.

It was fab - we stayed in there for hours and had the whole place to ourselves. We'd paid for a couple of bottles of wine that we'd bought in and some garlic bread and dough balls for each table. Everyone was happy to buy their own pizza and most also went on to buy wine too!

We had a small evening do just for family and close friends - about 20 or so people - at my Mum's. She ordered takeaway Chinese (bless her) and people stayed all night - it was great.

No special clothes - my only extravagance was a small posy of cream roses. Dp wore clothes she already had and I bought a skirt and top but something I could wear for other things as well.

Friends and family took photos and we ended up with loads of great photos.

It really was a lovely day - definitely do-able on a limited budget!

We've just done a wedding for just over £1k, it can be done!

However, this was a huge step down with 35 guests, arranged at very short notice midweek, rather than the summer party we had planned for 100~120ish people, which we could not get for under £4k. At all. But actually, doing it short notice meant that we skipped a lot of things because it just didn't seem that important - we had to prioritise very much on the details which were important to us. We didn't have flowers for the potatoes or chair covers (we did have balloons and little plastic scattered gems), we didn't offer a welcome drink, we didn't have a honeymoon. Basic registry office, came in our own cars, etc.

I love the idea of inviting your granny via Skype - DH recently "attended" his parents' wedding anniversary party via Skype as he couldn't make it in person as we live abroad. Perhaps you and your new husband could drop in to see her the next day so that you can celebrate with her in person and fill her in on all your favourite bits too? Take her a slice of cake grin

Potatoes?!?! WTF! I meant tables! I'm not even using a phone confused

MsAspreyDiamonds Sun 26-Jan-14 17:55:34

Start selling stuff on e-bay/car boots sales that you do not need anymore to generate cash for your reception.
for eg. I recently sold some gold bracelets that I inherited for 2k. If you set your mind to it it is amazing how much you can raise.

Open a high interest, fixed term notice account where you can save specifically for your wedding.

Cancel Christmas gift s this year, just buy small token presents if need be.

Cancel your annual holidays.

Cancel hobbies/subscriptions for a year

Have a late afternoon ceremony (4/5pm) so you can invite everybody to the wedding ceremony & reception afterwards. That way you have one set of catering costs so you can feed everyone. My friend did this & avoided paying an additional 2k for a buffet.

www.moneysavingexpert.com/banking/Budget-planning

This is a good site to help you budget for the wedding

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