Am I Insane?

(55 Posts)
milkteef Thu 16-Aug-12 11:13:05

Hi everyone. DP and I have been together for almost four years and two years ago he proposed. We're on a tight budget but would like to get married. It wouldn't be a big white wedding (I'm having a lovely ivory dress made in China - a reputable company that my best friend got her wedding dress from last year), a simple register office ceremony, afternoon tea in hired out pub afterwards and then a simple buffet and disco for 60 in the evening.

I've decided to keep costs down that I would do everything myself ie. make my own wedding decorations as much as I can, cater a cold buffet and afternoon tea myself with a little help with transportation and cooking from my sister and her wife, do all of my own hair and make-up and possibly the bridesmaids too, source things second hand and from ebay shops etc but I keep getting told that this won't work and I am insane. We're on a budget of £1300 for everything - the bridesmaids are paying for their own low-budget maxi dresses, bags and shoes but I think it's perfectly doable as I'm not expecting more than to marry my best friend and have a bit of a knees up.

I've had comments about my hen night too. I've decided to do a cocktail masterclass in a cocktail bar in the next city with just myself and my three bridesmaids and then meet up with the other women later on for a night on the town. I'd pay the £150 for the masterclass, some drinks and a private area but the rest of the night is pay your own way and if anyone else wants to come to the masterclass they pay the £30 a head themselves. Apparently this is all wrong. It's my wedding, I've been with my partner for four years, we live together and have DC's and to be honest, I'm not interested in neon fancy dress, getting rat assed pissed and strippers. I'd rather organise it myself and have a good night out rather than the 'last night of freedom' stuff.

So far we have the ceremony, bridesmaids sorted, flower girls sorted, hen night, photographer, a reception venue, the menu, the rings, the flowers (artificial), DP's suit etc all planned and booked and we just have to pay it off over the next 13 months. We were going to buy Spotify as a makeshift DJ where people could make their own playlists to go with ours. I was going to put £80 behind the bar for welcome bucks fizz or cava and a toasting drink but then have it be a pay bar and was going to spend a maximum of £150 on cakes, sandwiches and then the lot for the evening buffet. I think it's completely doable if I make some cakes and go to Iceland and Asda for buffet items.

Am I really insane?

Ketuk Thu 16-Aug-12 11:18:24

Not at. All.

But why have a hen night?

Thumbwitch Thu 16-Aug-12 11:19:00

No you're not insane and anyone who tries to tell you that you're doing it "wrong" should possibly be excluded from the guest list!

I would suggest that your only "mistake" is telling judgeypants people how you're planning to do it - keep it all under your hat until the wedding.

I had a low-ish budget wedding - did my own makeup, didn't have any bridesmaids or groomsmen (or best man), had 2 friends driving the cars, had 4 friends doing the photos (got lots of lovely ones, thanks), DID hire an actual DJ for the evening (very good), didn't have a cake (did 5 different little cakes in boxes as the favours, killed 2 birds with one stone) - but mostly didn't tell anyone about it beforehand and just did it My Way.

Oh and I didn't have a hen night as such either, as we organised the whole thing in 7w flat, and it was hard enough getting a wedding date everyone could manage, let alone a hen night as well!

Your hen experience sounds fine! People will either come because they want to or not bother - and you'll know which ones are the real friends then.

anairofhopeFORGOLD Thu 16-Aug-12 11:19:17

Sounds ok to me. Its your wedding it sounds hard work but do able.


FizzyFishAddict Thu 16-Aug-12 11:22:47

Sounds like you have got your priorites right speaking as someone who had to veto monogrammed toilet paper from their own affair, among other horrors

Your do sounds very nice to me!

As for the hen party, i went for a posh afternoon tea with my three chums, it was lovely, got to wear a pretty dress and chat to them, cost £22 each!

milkteef Thu 16-Aug-12 11:26:56

I'm having a hen because I don't get to go out a lot normally and it would be nice just to have a night out and do something different than go to the local pub. Plus, I love cocktails. Not really a last night of freedom as opposed to an excuse to have a few cocktails with friends.

It's been a nightmare this past week. I have three bridesmaids ranging from a size 6/8 to a size 24. Finding a dress has been almost impossible and when I did find one someone always had a problem with it. I've finally managed to veto a simple mocha jersey maxi dress for £10 and I'm going to tie a chiffon chocolate sash around it to make it look a bit more dressy. I've only told the bridesmaids what's going on and there's just so much 'Well you should do this' sort of thing I wish I hadn't bothered. From now on I think I'll keep the planning to myself. They're very much the big white wedding in a castle/fancy hotel kind of women so maybe our ideals differ a little.

I like the DIY idea as it means it's more personal to us. The food is picnic style and will be on shabby chic inspired tablecloths and everyone will use paper plates. No doubt it will be hard work but with 13 months I'm sure I can pull it all together in some form. I'm not saying things will be perfect but does it really need to be?

cocolepew Thu 16-Aug-12 11:27:19

Sounds ok to me, I did my own hair etc. Though personally I wouldn't fancy the cocktail masterclass thingy. I just went to the disco with my mates and got drunk.

But its your hen night and you can do whatever you bloody well want!

cocolepew Thu 16-Aug-12 11:29:26

Actually getting to drink the cocktails sounds ok grin

KickTheGuru Thu 16-Aug-12 11:32:39

We got married in our garden. We had a lovely oak tree and we had people stand about. We dragged a table outside for the signing and had chinese balls hanging from the tree and bubbles instead of confetti.

We had the reception at a restaurant who gave us their whole second floor.

We spent MONTH glueing and sticking and creating the decorations. I've kept them all. We created everything.

And we combined our hen and stag do and had a BBQ at home with a bunch of mates. Neither of us drink very much and we wanted to celebrate the last night of "not being married" with each other.

You're not insane. I would only have had a more formal arrangement for the music... smile

KickTheGuru Thu 16-Aug-12 11:34:24

And due to various time constraints, we had 5 months to do it all in. So 13 months is plenty grin

I wouldn't change a thing about it. It was fun and relaxed - exactly how me and my DH are.

Everyone said that our wedding was a reflection of what we are like together and that the photos were happy. Nothing was posed.

KickTheGuru Thu 16-Aug-12 11:34:59

OH sorry and we had two ice cream cakes because we both actually hate normal cake

cocolepew Thu 16-Aug-12 11:35:18

I got married in a registary office in a ordinary dress but did have a sit down meal and disco, I bought plain cake tiers from M&S and put fresh flowers on it and just put carnation buds in vases on the table. If I was doing it now I would have a buffet. My brother had a cold buffet, cooked hams etc and it was really nice.

Hope it goes well smile

cocolepew Thu 16-Aug-12 11:37:48

We made our own invitations. This was before everyone had computers and we did it on the printing machines you used to get in shopping centers grin

KickTheGuru Thu 16-Aug-12 11:39:10

We made our own invitations as well but only because we were cheap skates.

I just do NOT see the point in blowing thousands of pounds on one day. I really don't.

And we didn't have a shotgun wedding (in case anyone was wondering)

It sounds fantastic! smile

I did all the stationery for my friend's wedding last year - that was my gift to her and her husband as they'd been together for many years and already have DC's and a house, etc.
Theirs was fairly hands-on and the atmosphere was wonderful.

Oh, and by the way, congratulations!

FizzyFishAddict Thu 16-Aug-12 11:42:05

I second the thing about M&S cakes- i had a big posh wedding parental pressure and the quote for the wedding cake was £1,300 shock.

I refused to have it during the same row when i banned the fireworks!!!

The same amount of cake from M&S cost £120, I asked the florist to shove some flowers on it when they did the table decorations on the day (£80, i think!), it looked really spectacular and i felt very smug with the amount of 'this is the best cake i've ever eaten' remarks

So much wedding stuff is just an absolute and total rip off, and it is such an emotive day it is very easy to get sucked in to things.

Stick to your guns and do what works for you.

milkteef Thu 16-Aug-12 11:42:06

I wanted my DP's friend's band to play but he said they've done a few weddings and none of the other band members like them so it's a no. I can't abide by dodgy music from a DJ and the weird muffled microphone talking between songs etc. I just thought Spotify on the laptop would be simple and fun for everyone to kind of get behind and be involved in.

We're doing the chinese paper balls too. I want to make them myself though as it costs so much to buy them. I love the bubble idea. I thought to make things a bit more entertaining in the evening we could have some sparklers instead of the big fireworks some people have or sky lanterns. Simple and fun and probably cheap if I pick them up in the sale this year after bonfire night and new year.

The decorations will be simple. Glass jars for tea light candles, some artificial flower arrangements that I'll do myself, bunting around the bar and paper balls. DP is making a chest with a ribbon and corsage for cards to put on a table and we're having a little table of photos for our family and friends who have passed away and couldn't be there. Apart from a few strings of LED or outdoor white fairy lights I don't think I would want much more. I'm certainly not bothering with tablecloths on all the tables and chair covers.

So far we're deciding between a pub that can fit 60 people (it has a lovely decking patio and is very cheap to rent the lounge and bar) or a church hall which has a bar. Both allow us to provide our own catering as long as we buy alcohol and soft drinks from the bar but the church hall doesn't have an outdoor area. Not that I think we'll use it as our wedding is in October. The only difference is the hall can hold up to 200 people so it may look a bit sparse with only 60 in.

FizzyFishAddict Thu 16-Aug-12 11:43:12

Another wedding i went to recently had an evening buffet and they had a cheese wedding cake made with five different tiers of cheese that was also part of the buffet, everyone loved that!

KickTheGuru Thu 16-Aug-12 11:44:52

It really takes me back to ours. We did our table decorations based on earth, wind, water and fire - we had rocks with flowers stuck on, a goldfish bowl with fish inside and an orange tape around the top, then the flowers were lillies.

We also designed the table names around well known road names in England smile

milkteef Thu 16-Aug-12 11:45:57

I was looking at the M&S cakes. They look lovely and I could add my own floral arrangement because I'm cheap. I'd only need a large and medium tier to feed 60 people and have extra. Could I just put one on top of the other or would it not hold?

KickTheGuru Thu 16-Aug-12 11:46:22

You're going to have such a blast. It's totally how a wedding should be, in my opinion.

Something that you guys create together for your lives and your future.

My DH and I agreed that we would rather have a marriage than a "wedding" so we did what you guys are doing.

I loved it. And the imperfections came out really nicely in the photos :D

milkteef Thu 16-Aug-12 11:52:52

I can't wait. If I could afford to I would move it up in an instant but it's going to take me the year to pay things off in installments grin

Thumbwitch Thu 16-Aug-12 11:53:31

Depending on whether or not you are expecting any children at the wedding, you might need to check with the pub whether or not they'll allow them inside.

FizzyFishAddict Thu 16-Aug-12 11:55:54

or the M&S cake I think you would need to use the columns between layers to make sure one doesn't sink into the other- m&s sell them along with the cake- you don't have to have those greek column affairs that leave a gap between layers- they have stick ones (i think called dowels?) where you shove them into the bigger cake to provide support for the next cake on top so it doesn't all sink in together (you can't see them once the second layers is on the top)

KickTheGuru Thu 16-Aug-12 11:57:16

Naw we did ours and we could have a had bit more time. I had all my mates and family around me for the week before and we pretty much spent that week stressing and running around.

Then my family and mates had to sort some things out the night before (we were all up until about 1am sorting things on the Friday night) and then early on Saturday morning.

The one thing I would advise if if you can get help for the day. Someone you can trust to do exactly what is in your head. When you arrange everything like this, you don't realise how much time and effort you will put into it.

When we left the restaurant, we gathered up all the lilies and the fish and my DH walked home. It was about 1am, the streets were quiet, lit up by the street lights, I had the goldfish and my DH had the flowers and his jacket top slung over his shoulder. I am actually going to get someone to paint what I think it looked like. It's the best memory of the night. The simplicity of it still makes me smile smile

milkteef Thu 16-Aug-12 12:01:06

I'm going to view the pub on Monday so I will ask about children. I know they usually allow children until 9pm as they serve meals.

milkteef Thu 16-Aug-12 12:01:46

The image of how I imagine you and your DH walking home with all of that is hilarious. I hope to have similar simple, lovely memories.

cocolepew Thu 16-Aug-12 12:03:14

I bought the columns for my cake from a baking shop, I think they were 20p each!

KickTheGuru Thu 16-Aug-12 12:03:33

In a wedding dress and everything!!

I think that's what you get from a chilled wedding though. I think the memories are not as....formal. If you know what I mean?

I took my petticoat off on the dance floor (I have no decorum). My DH was under my dress wrestling my petticoat out grin

You're going to have SUCH an awesome time!

FizzyFishAddict Thu 16-Aug-12 12:04:50

YY to simple memories- my favourite bit of my wedding was sneaking off with DH for five minutes into the house for a sneaky cup of tea whilst we could hear everyone else outside in the garden
funnily enough it wasn't the string quartet or i kid you not the wandering bloody minstrels!

KickTheGuru Thu 16-Aug-12 12:06:39

Hahaha fizzy

We also stayed at home that night. My DB and SIL had a bunch of decorations for the bedroom so they did up all nicely and they arranged the presents at the foot of the bed. They had champagne and strawberries and engraved glasses. They had petals on the bed and candles around.

Naturally, I sat on the floor and started crying grin

milkteef Thu 16-Aug-12 12:11:47

That is so gorgeous KickTheGuru. We don't have the budget for a hotel so we're going to come home too. Our marital home ;). Knowing DP and I we'll order a kebab and cook a fry up for breakfast as our DC's will be staying with my sister.

Do I need a petticoat? I want to take mine off on the dancefloor!

KickTheGuru Thu 16-Aug-12 12:18:00

I was dead set against a poofy wedding dress. I didn't see the point in spending tons of money.

I didn't want a petticoat either (didn't even KNOW about them) but then I tried it on and fell in love with it.

I am a tomboy of note and I'd never dreamed I'd get married, I'd not planned a wedding day. I knew I wouldn't wear a white, Barbie doll dress though.

My DH allocated a bit more money to the dress and I got a poofy one with a petticoat. If you have a bit of splay on your dress, look at a petticoat. They do make a difference (and I wouldn't have a clue, really!)

KickTheGuru Thu 16-Aug-12 12:20:09

So go on - how do you see it all happening???

I was at a wedding where the minute the dancing started (after the first dance) the bride and bridesmaids took off their shoes, and tucked their very long dresses in their knickers, so that they could relax and dance properly.

I think that, along with those above, is a great wedding memory, not string quartets and bagpipes!

cocolepew Thu 16-Aug-12 12:22:59

My dress was so short when I bent over to sign the register I flashed my knickers to everyone blush.

We were staying in the hotel overnight, after the meal we went up to the room so DH could see the football results shock

JennerOSity Thu 16-Aug-12 12:24:06

Could your bridesmaids all have different styles to suit their different body shapes but the same colour so they go together? smile

milkteef Thu 16-Aug-12 12:26:55

I see it being a simple affair. I start off the morning with a fry up and champagne, do the bridesmaids hair and make-up where I will be fretting about getting tongue tied at the ceremony, sort myself out, get to the ceremony in a black cab for 3pm with lots of deoderant on and probably end up in tears (happy tears). Make the photographer take some shots of my good side (our photographer is a friend of ours who takes reportage off guard shots a lot - if he gets my bad side I might hit him with my bouquet), go to the venue and end up drinking, laughing and eating lots of sandwiches. I'll probably end up saying "I can't believe this" over and over again, getting my ivory dress muddy and changing into flat shoes while carrying two children. We'll dance like crazy people, I'll swoosh about a bit, I'll try not to burn myself on sparklers and we'll have lots of laughs at our pathetic attempt at a slow dance. I'll be calling it a night at around 11pm being bundled into a taxi with then DH laughing and being a bit tipsy with bunting wrapped around myself and cocktail sausages in my handbag for the dog.

That is seriously what will probably happen.

milkteef Thu 16-Aug-12 12:29:39

I agree, it's the relaxed weddings I have most fun at. The very formal elegant weddings make me feel like an imposter. I'm not sure what to wear or do or say and feel very out of place. I want a wedding where I can kick my shoes off and sit cross legged on my chair if I want to grin

greenwichgroove Thu 16-Aug-12 12:32:09

I got married on £100. I used my grans wedding dress, registry office, somene made a cake, mum made a buffet. Did all my own hair/ makeup and went in dads car, he took photos.

KickTheGuru Thu 16-Aug-12 12:35:04

Ah that brunged tears to my eyes. smile

It's what you make of it that counts. I am really so happy for you and only marginally jealous grin

milkteef Thu 16-Aug-12 12:36:04

That's bloody impressive greenwichgroove. I'm trying to keep the cost down as much as possible but my dress alone is £100 which, by all standards is cheap but I'd much prefer it if it was free grin

KickTheGuru Thu 16-Aug-12 12:40:16

If we were the same size and in the same city and you liked my dress, I would lend it to you

I had a photo taken in a lake though because I thought it would look cool resting on top of the water so it has some water marks on the bottom grin

milkteef Thu 16-Aug-12 12:45:13

Ooh!! We have a little pond with a bridge in our photo park. I want to stand by water on a damn ass bridge! Photo op grin

KickTheGuru Thu 16-Aug-12 12:48:38

We did that too. Did a recce to see where we wanted to have our photos done. We drove about 20mins to get there after the ceremony and had about 2 hours on our own with the photographer who was a mate and his wife and lots of champagne smile

Yay for the bridge photo op!

milkteef Thu 16-Aug-12 12:51:53

We have a wooden string sign saying Mr and Mrs that we plan to attach to the bandstand entrance in the park and pull faces behind. I want one or two posed shots to send to family with us all in but damn if I'm not going to look like myself and have our photos feel like us!

Best wedding I have ever been to was the simplest & cheapest - it felt like the whole thing was about them rather than about The Wedding, iykwim.

We had a relatively simple wedding, but if I could go back in time, I'd go simpler & cheaper - do what feels right to you & sod 'em.

LOL - just read the bit about sitting cross legged - one of my fav photos is of me sitting on the floor, cross-legged in my wedding dress, having a very serious conversation with a mate's 18 month old smile

nutellaontoast Thu 16-Aug-12 12:57:54

Sounds fine! The only thing is you must, must, must think carefully about logistics. Where will you store the decorations? Who will put them up, and take them down again? (don't be vague about this, organise it! You may well be far, far too busy to do it yourself). Who will wash up after your afternoon tea? Imho, you can certainly buy all your catering from M&S (yum!) but pay for clearing up and putting out, and see if you can decorate your venue the night before with the girls then have a drink.

Also, go for the pub, nothing sadder than a half-empty venue, and October isn't that cold.

Don't read too many blogs and magazines, that way lies madness and unneccesary budget inflation smile


changingallthetime Thu 16-Aug-12 12:58:55

I did all ours except the food - I'd have had a nervous breakdown!!!!!!! I had a lOt of help - had six friends stay over night before who did balloons and were just generally great.

milkteef Thu 16-Aug-12 13:05:10

My maid of honour is helping me the night before to do the decorations and my dad and sister will take the food to the venue from my house and her house between the ground group shots and the time my husband and I (so strange to write that down) are doing our couple shots in the park. We'll be gone around 45 minutes and it's only ten minutes from my house to the venue in a car. Everyone will be at the venue having tea and cakes then before we arrive to join in.

KickTheGuru Thu 16-Aug-12 13:15:52

Pick an MC as well - like your dad. Ask him to take control of shouting out what will happen and when people need to do stuff.

I had an MC but didn't think that people will mill about until they are told what to do

milkteef Thu 16-Aug-12 13:16:16

I'm kind of thinking of scrapping the tea part. As nice as it would be it might be too much to wash up. At least if we just lay on mini tortilla wraps, prawns, finger sandwiches and cakes they can be washed down with tea or coffee bought at the bar (I'll buy the tea or coffee enough for one each) so they do the washing up behind the bar and the plates can be reused for some of the evening buffet things. They'll have a welcome toast of bucks fizz/cava, orange juice anyway to drink with them and then the evening will start at 7pm.

So it would be:

3pm - Ceremony & grounds of the register office shots of everyone
4pm - Park shots for us and the bridesmaids while the food is taken to the venue
4:45pm - Get to the venue, eat, mingle, have more photos done inside the venue.
7pm - Evening guests arrive.
7:30pm - Cake cutting, evening buffet and disco starts.

The only issue I have is that with a cold buffet a lot of the stuff like rice, pasta, meat etc would need to be refrigerated. I could sort out that the evening buffet things could be brought up and arranged around 6:30pm before the evening guests arrive so they would only be out of the fridge for an hour?

KickTheGuru Thu 16-Aug-12 13:21:17

We were going to have like picnic baskets on the grass after the ceremony and before heading up to the restaurant but we decided against it.

We had finger snacks at the restaurant. Otherwise it just added up financially as well. And the logistics get a bit much too.

Keep it simple. Ceremony - Bar. Then have whatever at the bar and see if you can get a couple waiters. That's the bargain about not doing it at home

milkteef Thu 16-Aug-12 13:28:02

It's the logistics I'm worried about. I can make enough finger snacks for 35 guests for under £40 including mini chicken wraps, cream cakes, macaroons, rice dishes, pasta dishes, crusty bread, little sandwiches etc so it would come under budget, especially as I'm just making a few homemade things for the buffet in the evening and relying on Iceland's lovely cheap priced party packs that actually taste alright so for a party of around 60 I could make it for under £60 leaving me £50 under budget for food. I want the extra £50 just in case though.

DP's uncle is a fantastic cake maker. I am considering asking him to make us a two tier iced cake (one tier red velvet and the other a simple buttercream sponge) and seeing how much he quotes. I would love it to be given as a wedding present but I obviously can't expect that but it's probably going to be much cheaper than the £200 I was quoted for a plain white iced one tier cake.

I have some time to figure out if people could help me transport the food and on Monday when I visit the venue I can ask if there's any way I could rent fridge space in their kitchen. The venue we chose doesn't have a room hire but you pay for the extra bar staff (five hours for £55 for two bar staff) so essentially I'm getting the entire pub for £55 on the premise that they make their money back when our guests buy drinks and I put money behind the bar for drinks.

I'm one of those people who likes everything done immediately. I'd love to have everything chosen, everything booked and everything planned so that it's just working out what to pay off when and counting down the days! Yes, I have a countdown app!

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now