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To spend a bit less than half our annual salary on our wedding? Any regrets if you have done the same?

(204 Posts)
Buttonholes Fri 02-Aug-13 21:10:14

We have this money in savings but are we spending too much? I keep thinking about the other things this money coud go towards. We are paying for our own wedding by the way, no help from parents.

OH is fine with it. I can't sleep from worry though sad

It's not only about the money but also managing expectations. If we spend all this money and it's not absolutely bloody wonderful I will feel gutted.

digerd Sat 03-Aug-13 10:45:37

Where we lived Germany, the guests paid for themselves - money put in the card handed to the groom as we entered the reception room. The amount of food and wine was limitless, then the most luxurious midnight buffet at 1am. Usually lasted from 7am - 4am with a live band. All drinks were free. The last wedding I attended was in 1995 and cost around £80 for a couple. Not tradition to give presents.

lljkk Sat 03-Aug-13 11:00:44

I am foreign so don't get it anyway. Where i'm from a wedding is a at very most 4-5 hour event, Not this 11am-2am type extravaganza.

I would be on fence but I don't think you should wipe out all your savings. Glad you are finding some ways to cut costs.

Alconleigh Sat 03-Aug-13 11:02:40

If I had to hand over £80 on top of train fares, 1 or often 2 nights in a hotel, cost of attending hen do etc I simply wouldn't go. However, that tradition will have arisen when people were popping down the road to the wedding of someone local I assume, and in that context it actually makes quite good sense in a way. Personally I think a lot of wedding issues are because we don't live as we used to, and so the cost to guests of attending a wedding can be huge, but the bride and groom often forget this, as they are blinded by the amount they are spending. Which is why I am pro free bars; if your guests have spent hundreds each to attend, the least you can do is give them a few drinks.

Crumbledwalnuts Sat 03-Aug-13 11:04:02

I think it's a bit bonkers and it's unusual that you wouldn't want the money for the children. Weddings are troublesome beasts.

madmayday Sat 03-Aug-13 11:10:21

OP - you sound like me - a people pleaser! Always worrying if everyone else is happy and catered for - at the (massive) expense of yourself. The thing is, your panic will definitely show through. If you're stressed out now, it'll only get worse on the day and even if everything goes off without a hitch, there'll be a weird, tense vibe which is not how you and everyone else to want to remember your wedding day!

I've been to weddings where one or both of the married couple are stressed for whatever reason and you always get some shit-bag guest saying; "I give it 6 months!" But it's true that it doesn't bode well - you guys should be relaxed and enjoying yourselves!!! Then everybody else will follow suit...

Definitely scrap the free bar! Free bars were a 1980's thing, when alcohol was cheaper and everyone was in that Thatcherite, showy-offy, keeping-up-with-the-Jones's place. Nobody does a free bar any more (and quite right too)! A bit of wine with the meal is perfect. You're already paying for music and food for 200 people! If they're at all ungrateful about that then they can fuck right off!

Also scrap the evening buffet - especially as your dinner finishes late. Some cake (or cheese and crackers) would be a good compromise, or even some pringles and peanuts!!! (Everyone will be drinking and boogie-ing by that point, so no need for more food at all).

I'd keep the photographer, as it's important to you and you'll always have the memories. But my God - once you get rid of all the unnecessary food and booze, you'll be able to relax so much and just enjoy yourselves! Plus, your saving account won't be empty - winner all round!

Enjoy your day OP!

Alconleigh Sat 03-Aug-13 11:32:26

I am always puzzled at the idea that I should be grateful for a mediocre hotel meal that's cost me about £300 all told, but maybe I am a curmudgeon!

BettyandDon Sat 03-Aug-13 11:39:09

I don't like a balloon arch too US high school graduation for me. But if you are inviting kids balloons are a god send as is a bubble machine ;)

themaltesefalcon Sat 03-Aug-13 11:43:15

Utterly farcical.

Surely no one could be so utterly foolish and irresponsible.

RedToothBrush Sat 03-Aug-13 11:44:18

ThreeMusketeers Sat 03-Aug-13 10:31:33
^Agree, the most important aspect for guests is the quality - and quantity - of food and drink. That's what will be remembered and talked about.
Everything else is same-old-same old - country houses, flowers, etc.^


Can I remember what I ate at the last 5 weddings I've been to? Just about, but I really have to think about what I had. The last one was very safe, nice but a bit dull. The one before that was er... safe barbequed steak. The one before that was er... a very standard buffet. In fact I think every wedding I've been to the food has been safe and chosen to please as many people as possible rather than being 'good' as such. If anything it tends to be somewhat bland and no descript but made to look pretty. Best I can really say about any of them was it was 'nice'. As long as its fills people up and is 'nice', thats all you need and all anyone really cares about. Same goes for drinks - there just needs to be enough for the meal - and I've got to be honest, I generally expect fairly cheap plonk at a wedding. Its not something I'd talk about the quality of after the fact!

And the same-old-same-old thing about county houses, flowers etc only tends to apply to groups of people who lack the imagination to add a personal touch to the wedding and just buy their entire wedding out of a catalogue. I've been to a lot of dull weddings with the same old-same old - they tend to be ones who spent a ton of money.

The people who have to do it on a budget, have to do more with less and it shows, not in being flash but it the personal touches and involvement of friends and family to make the day special because of the real thought that has to go into it to make the money stretch.

As for paying for booze for everyone rather than having violin players. Both are a luxury that no one expects. If you can't afford either, no one will think the worse of you for not paying for them. Unless you are stinkingly rich and famous.

You go to a wedding to celebrate WITH the bride and groom, not ON them. It usually costs you for the privilege of doing so. And thats what it is, a privilege not a right or expectation.

pickledsiblings Sat 03-Aug-13 11:45:24

OP, much nicer for your DP to buy his older relatives a drink, there can't be that many of them to get around. Great that you are axing the free bar and 10pm nibbles. Good luck with it all, hope you have a lovely day.

TSSDNCOP Sat 03-Aug-13 11:53:58

Hmm tricky one. I spent a lot of money on my wedding, it was what DH and I wanted and we had no other financial accountability at the time. We saved and had the day we wanted, including free bar

TSSDNCOP Sat 03-Aug-13 11:58:43


...piano player etc.

BUT would I do it now with a house, kids etc? No I don't think I would because I'd be doing exactly what you are and worrying about whether it'll be worth it.

Elegant civil wedding, larger party and a holiday for the 6 of you would be the way I'd go.

Buttonholes Sat 03-Aug-13 14:15:13

I do feel better now that we've got the cost down with the free bar.

I don't think it's unreasonable for people to buy a few drinks. Taking into consideration that hardly anyone will be travelling for the wedding because we're holding it in our home town. So no hotel costs, just a mini cab home if drinking.

KatAndKit Sat 03-Aug-13 14:34:44

Im getting married on Friday. Also big family as most cousins are older than me and are now married with children. We saved lots by picking a Friday in fact. No free bar, reception drink plus top up offered,wine with starter and main course, toast bubbly. Reception drink and toast does not have to be real champagne, cava or prosecco is fine and much cheaper.
as our wedding will be at 3 and the dinner at five there wont be a big evening buffet as i think it would get wasted. Guests will have a bacon or sausage butty and a slice of wedding cake for dessert. This is a very economical option.

TarkaTheOtter Sat 03-Aug-13 15:12:53

There seems to be a competition on mumsnet to get married as cheaply as possible.
We spent a reasonable sum on our wedding (not such a high proportion of income but we were less financially established) and I don't regret it at all. It didn't mean we had loads of flash decorations etc but it did mean we could have a sit down dinner for all our friends/family and lots of booze. You can have personal touches with an expensive wedding too.
Compromise on things you don't care about but if a free bar is important to you then go for it. For me it was having a sit down meal rather than a buffet. We did use prosecco for toasts and a "cheese" cake (with breads, hams and chutneys) doubled as an evening snack after the dancing.

We had a meaningful wedding and a massive party after - the two aren't mutually exclusive.

facedontfit Sat 03-Aug-13 16:10:55

Have a fab day Buttonholes and enjoy it.

FamiliesShareGerms Sat 03-Aug-13 16:31:33

OP, spend as ,uch as you want on the things that matter to you (eg we had a free bar, because that was important to us but no bags of sugared almonds). But if it is making you stressed, you are spending too much.

2rebecca Sat 03-Aug-13 16:56:45

I think mumsnet is just providing a balance to the wedding magazines that say the average person (who they have asked) spends zillions of pounds on their ceremony.
Lots of people get married cheaply and don't regret it.
The big expensive wedding is an option, but it's one of several options.
The being married is the important thing, and the first few years of marriage are going to be harder if you've no money left after an expensive wedding.
It's just a party, if you don't normally spend a fortune on parties why overspend on this one?

snickersnacker Sat 03-Aug-13 19:03:37

I'm so pleased that you've cancelled the free bar - guests drink so much more and then need a really substantial late buffet to soak it all up.

One tip, which may or my not be relevant to your families - but at weddings with DH's family I've noticed that many of the men prefer to buy pints at the bar to drink at the reception and meal because they don't like wine much. This inevitably means that the table wine doesn't get finished so make sure that you instruct the venue staff to collect any unfinished bottles and place them somewhere obvious so that wine drinkers can finish them in the evening. Don't let them take it behind the bar, however, as an unscrupulous venue might charge you twice for the same wine, and make sure they have ice buckets to keep the white cold!

pussycatwillum Sat 03-Aug-13 19:13:26

Our wedding cost peanuts nearly 40 years ago. We are still married (happily) and rarely if ever think about the wedding. It really isn't important to spend loads of money.
Friends of ours (also happily married) took the afternoon off work, got married in the registry office with just a couple of witnesses and then invited all their friends round for drinks and wedding cake. None of us knew they were going to do it, but everyone was thrilled that they had.

KathyinSC Tue 22-Oct-13 20:01:03

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

LateBear Tue 22-Oct-13 20:28:08

We had a sit down dinner and open bar, the only expense I regret was how much I spent on my dress. Ridiculous.

yoniwherethesundontshine Tue 22-Oct-13 20:53:51


Totally agree with every word.

I agree that the special memorable weddings are the ones where the couple has had to be creative about the venue and trimmings and food.

I am afraid I see typical large ish weddings in country manors as rather conveyor belt, impersonal and churning them out....

I just remember working in an office with a lady who had married after the children ( quite a bit older) and it was something that bothered her so they got married. Years later she was bitterly moaning she was still paying it off and to cap it all, the bloody groom and all the men buggered off for most of the reception as it was in the middle of the world cup or something?! She said it cost thousands and and she only has bitter memories of it.

Having been pushed to the wire myself, I can honestly say how much fun it was coming up with my own ideas and being forced to be creative rather than being spoonfed the same old tripe.

Also, as an aside I have been to soo many weddings where you turn up to a beautiful venue then you are shoved into a room that is modern with all the charm of a bloody school sports hall!

OP Thank goodness you have come to your senses re the drinks.

Most weddings we have been to, you get drinks with meal, drinks on arrival at the venue then pay for your own!

SpottyDottie Tue 22-Oct-13 20:54:24

NO! Don't spend that kind of money on one day. You can have a beautiful day without spending half your annual salary! You have children and your married life ahead. I've never understood why people spend silly money.

kilmuir Tue 22-Oct-13 20:59:09

You are mad. Wedding a couple of thousands and then take yourselves and DC on a fab holiday

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