Big wedding on a budget(50 Posts)
We are getting married next year. We have kids, are in our late 30s and have both lived in a lot of different cities over the years which all results in a massive guest list with lots of kids. Probably 150 day and 50 evening guests. We have found a big barn with lots of room for our guests which isn't too expensive. There is no corkage and we can do whatever we want for food and decorations. Can we do this on around £7000? What are your tips for keeping costs low?
Work out what is important for you and make cuts elsewhere.
A cake can cost a fortune or you can buy one from Marks and Spencer and put flowers on it - or get a friend to make it as a wedding present.
Use Oxfam or the sales for your dress - or make it.
Do your own flowers. Buy them wholesale or Tesco bouquets for decorations. Have an evening a couple of days before with a few friends to do the decorating of the church.
Start collecting jam jars for tea lights and vases.
Get pretty bridesmaids dresses of ASOS or similar - don’t have too many bridesmaids.
Don’t do favours - or just make fudge.
Sell anything you buy or make (like bunting) afterwards.
Go for a later in the day wedding so you don’t have to entertain people for so long.
Avoid fancy cars.
Use friends skills as much as possible.
A wedding ball. Invite all guests to one event. Get married as late as you can- 4?.
Band, big roast, loads of booze.
Thanks all! love the idea of a hog roast. Not sure about getting married later on. We have a lot of people travelling a long way and also we don't want our special day to be pretty much an evening do (especially as the younger kids will start to get cranky about 7)
We thought about having a cake table rather than just one cake - all our baking friends can bring a cake and I'll bake some myself. Also like the idea of a cheese cake (cake made out of different cheeses) which could double as an evening food if combined with lots of breads, chutneys, pate's etc.
Sounds lovely but you would need a lot of cheese?
Our local butcher does a three tiered pork pie “cake” for weddings
Not sure about getting married later on. We have a lot of people travelling a long way and also we don't want our special day to be pretty much an evening do (especially as the younger kids will start to get cranky about 7)
Sticking to this idea that a wedding has to last all bloody day is the reason why they're so expensive a lot of the time. It also means people travelling have to shell out for lodgings the night before a lot.
Just get married later on and have one big do then you can cut a lot of costs. One big buffet.
Also like the idea of a cheese cake (cake made out of different cheeses) which could double as an evening food if combined with lots of breads, chutneys, pate's etc.
So you want an 'evening do' with only cheese and bread as the food?
You're trying to stick to a formulaic wedding idea that doesn't suit your budget or the amount of guests you have. You're not kids just starting out, you're an established family. People aren't going to expect the indentikit white wedding with all the bells and whistles.
It's definitely doable.
Ways we saved money
- using mostly dried flowers and foam roses and only using real flowers for my bouquet and a the key buttonholes
- doing most things ourselves, pulling in favours when appropriate
- using the cake as a dessert course instead of having both
- having wedding and reception in same place, no transport to pay for and only had to decorate one place.
- i wore a second hand dress and had it altered to fit
- i did my own hair and make-up
Things we thought we worth spending on
- photographer, although only purchased photos, not album.
- suits for the men
Entertainment is so important, we had friends dj, but the best weddings always have a band.
If you go to a make up counter like Bobbi Brown, they'll teach you how to do your make up for free. I then bought a few products and still use them now - v worthwhile. It meant I could do my own make up on the day and touch it up throughout. Saves a lot on having someone come and do it as a one-off. I also went to have my hair done at the hairdressers that morning. I'd had a trial done beforehand too (but I'd lied and said it was my sister's wedding as they hike the price if you say wedding for exactly the same service).
Yes! The venue hire and legal costs are fixed but you can save elsewhere by capping your clothing budget, limiting bridesmaids and buying off the shelf dresses. A hog roast and/or buffet for food, buy some drink and invite people to bring a bottle. I don't know what the venue hire or registrar costs are but the rest could be done for £2-3k
We’re getting married at 3 and then having an afternoon tea and then a hog roast with loads of buffet food. Could you swap it round, cut the cheese cake early and do cheese boards etc as an afternoon snack whilst cutting some of the cakes brought by friends? Then in the evening do hog roast?
There’s some beautiful bargain wedding dresses on chichilondon at the minute for £100ish. If you’ve got instagram I’d recommend @cheapweddingstuff cause I’ve seen some good ideas on there although some stuff you just don’t need haha!
And please don't just offer cheese. I'm diary intolerant, a lot of people are, so it'd be bread to eat. Yum. Almost as good as an evening do I once attended where there was no food besides fucking sweets - bowls of Haribo and lollies on the tables, cake, shortbread and sweetie card. All the diabetics left fairly early on.
I agree with you about not having it too late OP. I don't mind travelling for a wedding, but I'd prefer longer to catch up.
Are you having a church or getting married on site?
Can you get someone with a nice car to drive you rather than hiring?
Shop around for dresses, plenty in the shops for a few hundred even if you want a big dress. Oxfam do second hand if you aren't bothered about new.
Asos or similar for bridesmaids.
Could you do wedding, photos with an ongoing afternoon tea straight after so people can eat cake whilst you pose in 43 different ways / circulate? Ask people to bring cake and biscuits. Buy and cook meat, buy cheese etc and provide buttered and non buttered rolls. They'll keep better than bread.
Then hog roast on the evening with plenty of salads etc for the veggies, plus your cheese cake wedding cake with crackers, pickles and bread for afters? And more homemade cakes / brought in gateauxs. That way anyone who is dairy free is only missing "supper" but can still have cake? You could supply dairy free cheese but no idea how nice it is.
We made our own invites, table centres, seating plan etc.
Wedding favours were £1 charity pins.
If you're doing it like this I'd be tempted to just invite EVERYONE to the whe thing
I would strip the 'trad wedding' to essentials -
you do not need:
expensive dress/shoes/wedding underwear/hair stylist makeup artist
in fact anything labelled wedding!
fancy paperwork/invites etc
hire glasses (majestic/waitrose)
wine on sale or return (majestic) with meal .....
Costco - for cases or soft drink
do a deal with a local icecrean fan for pudding/child entertainment
Use friend skills and contacts
I would embrace the barn - and space you could have a great day but would need to think through the day - that is a lot of people/children - almost mini festival rather than trad wedding - barn dance??? anyone know a band???
Could be great
Thanks for all the helpful advice. Of course I will cater for people with dietary requirements and not leave poor dairy intolerant uncle Jim chewing on a bit of dry bread. One of my kids is dairy intolerant so I will be making sure there is something for everyone. Bridesmaids are a bit of an issue as I have 2 daughters and 2 sisters that i cant imagine not being my bridesmaids so that's 4 dresses and bouquets.
Also the 7000 is on top of the venue hire and registrar
If you’re doing your own bar, get a keg of beer from a local brewery as it works out cheaper than bottled beers
Wine can be bought from Majestic for around a fiver a bottle - no one expects great vintages at a wedding
Instead of flowers for tables, get pots of herbs from a garden centre or supermarket, and put them in a plain ceramic or zinc pot
I did our 100 person wedding for £6k in 2016.
Ways I saved-
- Invites and programmes designed on Vistaprint for £60
- Found a inexperienced photographer at a wedding fair for £500
- Bridesmaid dresses were £35, great quality infinity dresses from Etsy
- Found a local caterer and asked her what she could do for approx £15 pp (a lovely and varied buffet)
- Made the centre piece vases myself
- Hired the church hall and only had to pay for electric (£60). No need for transport as we’d got married in the church.
- Decorated the hall ourselves
- Stayed in a hotel near the venue and walked to church
- Ceremony only started at 4pm so we didn’t make it a whole day affair and have to pay for two meals for our guests
It can definitely be done, you just need to think outside the box and be happy to be clear about budgets with vendors
I had a fairly DIY wedding, albeit a good few years ago!
I made my own stationery/orders of service etc
2 bridesmaids - my mum made their dresses
My dress, veil and shoes were half price in end of season sale
We did our own catering - a fairly elaborate buffet (now XH and best man were/are chefs)
I made the cake and colleague of XH iced it
We bought wine for arrival, meal and toast, but hired a mobile bar for the evening (our venue was free of charge)
Friends who had got married in the couple of years preceding recommended car and florist
We had photographer but basic prints package and I made an album for them later.
We bought a large set of pretty tumblers in a charity shop for about a fiver and used them as vases with flowers bought from Tesco the day before the wedding.
I didn't add up the entire cost, but honeymoon - 3 weeks travelling round Australia - was our biggest expense at £5.5k and it came in well under that.
I agree you will have to forget the average wedding reception formula - I've been to so many expensive weddings and they are all the same, despite the bride trying to make it more personal.
Best weddings I've been to were on a family farm (everyone helped decorate the barn and brought a dish/cake) and one in a restaurant where the couple hired out the whole place, we got a lovely sit down meal and then stayed there and partied the night away with a band.
Could hire a pub/bar & lay on food too?
Trying to cater over two mealtimes is going to be expensive no matter what so please ditch the traditional wedding formula. It's so nice to see more and more people doing this because honestly, evening dos are kind of rude unless everyone's local and a lot of people find these weddings that drag on and on and on tedious (not to mention having to stump up for lodging the night before or leave dead early in the morning). Consider an after lunch wedding and then having everyone for tea and snacks and then a buffet.
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