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Tips for a cheap wedding.

(55 Posts)
honeytea Sun 05-May-13 19:42:39

Me and DP are planning to get married next summer, we have a very limited budget and not enough time to save (it is important to me that my Grandpa can come to the wedding and he has an illness which means it is likely he won't be able to travel in 3 or 4 years time --the time it would take to save up enough--)

We live in Sweden but I am English so my family will be traveling and staying in a hotel/rented houses.

I am thinking of asking guests to bring a dish with them instead of a present, I won't be asking the UK guests to do this, their travel/hotel costs will be high anyway, we will make it clear people don't have to bring something but it would be lovely if they feel they can.

We have found a location, it is a large old barn converted into a party location, it seats 200 people and has tables/chairs/plates for 200 people.

Any tips on a good place to buy very cheap (a couple of 100 pounds at the very most) wedding dresses?

Any good cheap bridesmaid tips?

Is it ok to have a play list lots of ABBA as we are in Sweden ;)

Tell me about the cheap weddings you have been to/held.


Thank you! thanks

NumTumDeDum Sun 05-May-13 19:49:48

Buy an off the peg dress for example from Monsoon, BHS or Debenhams.

Have your ceremony in the afternoon so you only need to provide one meal.

Have more foliage than flowers for the bouquet and decorations, and stick to flowers that will be in season and don't require importing. Alternatively grow your own in pots for table centrepieces.

Get a friend or relative to do the photography. Even if you need to buy a decent camera for them to use this will be cheaper and you get all the photos not just a selection and you can reprint at will. Ask your guests to take lots of pictures and email them to you.

In terms of decoration Pinterest is your friend for lots of DIY crafty ideas.

roisin Sun 05-May-13 19:53:06

I didn't have bridesmaids! It made things much easier, is simpler and cheaper!

mummywantsaliedown Sun 05-May-13 19:53:59

Why not give your bridesmaids a budget to buy their own dress in a colour and length that you specify? It takes some of the pressure off, no fittings to organise, and the bridesmaids can keep their dresses. It's FINE to have a play list - it's your day.

mummywantsaliedown Sun 05-May-13 19:57:13

NumTum is right about pics. Lots of people sent us their own pics of my wedding and a lot of them were great, and captured moments we wouldn't have asked a professional to do.

NumTumDeDum Sun 05-May-13 19:58:25

Sorry had to post quickly baby woke up! Playlist definitely ok. I am asking my guests to request a song with their RSVPs so that I can cater for everyone (although I might veto if any Boyzone comes up).

Are you able to make your own cake? Can you get ready iced cakes in Sweden? I am buying a marks and spencers one and adding ribbon in my colours and decorating with a flower topper.

Oh, and congratulations by the way!

DXBMermaid Sun 05-May-13 20:00:02

No bridesmaids, buy dress secondhand off internet, serve alcohol but only wine and beer, limit amount of people, limit choice of food and keep it simple, gather foliage from nature to decorate venue, send electronic invites, play lists are great, do your own make-up and hair if possible, use your own car.

The one thing I would not save on is the photographer, but find one that will give you the images on cd so you can print them and don't spend on an album, make your own.

honeytea Sun 05-May-13 20:10:16

Thanks so much for the tips!

The photography thing is an issue as I am a photographer, not a wedding photographer although I have done a few and they were the most stressfull days of my life! I will have to try to not be behind my camera all day. I like the idea of asking people to take photos and send them to us.

numtum I love the idea of the guests requesting a song I will be borrowing (stealing) that idea smile

The cake tradition in Sweden is to serve creamy green cakes (called princess cakes) I will try to find out where the cheapest place to buy them are smile

LoganMummy Sun 05-May-13 20:13:32

I helped a friend organise her wedding with budget if £1,000 for everything. Few suggestions would be;
Charity shop for wedding/bridesmaid dress. We visited a few Oxfam shops that only sell wedding outfits. Brides dress was £60 and bridesmaid dress was £35.
Contact local uni/college for photography students. We had two in their final year who were keen to build up portfolio - we gave them £20 each and they were excellent!
Ditto for make-up/hair - the students we had were on professional development courses and had to achieve set number of clients, they both had over five years industry experience.
DJ friend and friends in band provided music.
Groom and best man hired outfits.
Cars were family friends who drove bride/groom etc to venue.
Late afternoon ceremony followed by fish & chips for tea (no evening buffet) - not ideal for everyone but worked for friend.
Cake from M&S with fresh flowers on top - £60.
But the main way of keeping the cost down was to ask family & friends if they had anything they could let my friend borrow. She had offers of loads of things - cloak, dresses, shoes, cake topper, table decorations etc.

Good luck!

KelleStar Sun 05-May-13 20:40:11

Borrow things! My uncle has a classic car that we used.

A friend made really lovely cakes and was happy to provide me with a three tier raspberry and cream pavlova.

I had an 11am wedding, 1pm reception which was a ploughmans buffet. We avoided a disco and evening do (and copious amounts of booze) as it's not something we like.

Grandparents provided the champagne for toasting.

Family bought some food, otherwise MiL and Mum catered, hired village friends teenagers to help serve and wash up.

My brother and brother in law are amateur photographers and took tons of natural pictures for us. I wish I had appointed someone to 'organise' people in the group photos though as they were really not the best. I did this duty for my sisters recent wedding and she got a few more formal style photos (and I was able to reposition her so her bingo wings looked more flattering, wish someone did that for me!)

My dress was an end of season sale dress, the hem was battered, but I am short and needed 8" cut off which was no problem. Was 60% off, paid £180 for a maggie sottero dress, made me look amazing and had a great amount of boning that my 34GG boobs didn't need an additional bra to be well supported.

I made my bridesmaids dresses from fabric I tie dyed myself. 3 dresses for less than £100. I am very much an amateur sewer.

Flowers were arranged by the WI, I bought the flowers at market the day before, cost of £75 for flowers. I grew my own sweet peas and didn't trim my bushes, so that I could raid for foliage, in fact mil and grandparents also grew flowers for me to use. Neighbours were also happy for me to raid their gardens too. I made a donation to the WI for their help.

The village hall we used had their own music system, so I loaded up my iPod with some favourite tunes and put on shuffle. Was fab and cheap.

We had a great time and it was very chilled out and fun.

tribpot Sun 05-May-13 20:51:54

God, those green cakes. I would definitely opt for some alleged British tradition of chocolate cake or something to avoid having one of those again smile

My top tip is probably not relevant - but it's not to admit things for a wedding. As here that triples the price of anything. So I held my wedding meal in a local restaurant and pretended it was a 'family party' to avoid the price tag. Wedding photos were taken care of by the other guests plus someone random passing by in the park who we got to take a pic of us all.

Are you looking to buy a wedding dress in Sweden, or in the UK?

cloutiedumpling Sun 05-May-13 21:09:19

I bought an ex display dress which was a lot cheaper. Yes, it wasn't the dress of my dreams, but it was £100 instead of £2000.

Any friends who would make favours for you? I was at a friend's wedding where the favours were little bags of tablet which had been made by a friend.

Any friends who are amateur musicians? I've played at a couple of friends weddings.

I bought flowers from Tescos, vases from Au Naturel and made up my own displays for the diner tables. Some of the flowers from the church were taken to the hotel for the top table. I've also helped to decorate a few churches for weddings - good fun and everyone chipped in for the flowers.

I did my own make-up and my Mum made our cake.

I think people like to be involved at weddings. It makes them feel more part of the whole event. Don't feel guilty about asking for favours.

NumTumDeDum Sun 05-May-13 21:30:53

<beams> feel free, I stole borrowed the idea from my cousin.

DeskPlanner Sun 05-May-13 21:35:38

Have posted on your other thread. Love what your planning to do. Just wanted to say, you might get some ideas on the wedding topic. Lots of tips on there for a cheap wedding on there.

Slobberedupon Sun 05-May-13 21:42:28

I found an amazing 50's vintage dress of eBay in the US, their vintage is cheaper than over here in the UK and because it was second hand incurred no VAT for shipping (not sure if that could be a concern in Sweden), then had it altered to fit at a tailors. In all it cost me £130.

For flowers I found an online flower website that sold to the public as well (they tend to last longer than high street flowers) ordered all of the same flower to keep cost down. Did a sample bouquet just tied with ribbon, plain vases from Ikea for the tables with the same flowers.

I had one matron of honour who I said to just wear one of her favourite dresses (she has great style so no concerns there). She did my make-up and nails.

Was lucky enough to have a friend who does visual graphics so she did the invites and order of the day etc as her present to us. Another friend works in reprographics and printed them for as a present. Another did did our photography.

It was lovely how many friends offered to help and really like being involved instead of buying us something. You do have to be pretty laid back as you definitely can't be a bridezilla or you'll lose friends this way. Definitely check out how many friends would like to help you, it really makes the whole day feel much wider than just the both of you which is fantastic.

cherrynapper Sun 05-May-13 21:47:00

I helped my SIL buy her dress and although it was in America she bought it 2 days before her wedding costing £35 from Macy's in their sale.

Make your own bouquet from supermarket roses & foliage.

Get bms to buy their own dresses.

Buy a supermarket cake and add icing etc to make it your own.

Get a friend to do the photography.

Ask around to see if anyone has something you can use.

UnrequitedSkink Sun 05-May-13 22:05:52

Some nice (and some cheesy!) ideas from this US blog post - I especially like the lemon and lime table centrepieces:

UnrequitedSkink Sun 05-May-13 22:06:20

Damn, linkylink

elQuintoConyo Sun 05-May-13 22:28:34

What extras can you axe? bridesmaids/matron of honour/flower girl/paige boy? favours?
Would you be willing to buy things off ebay: wedding dress, shoes, veil/tiara (etc), cake topper?
Lots of other stuff off ebay from other people's weddings, like 40 vases, 80 floating candles, silk flowers etc. My friend got rid of all her table decorations this way.

I'd second letting students do things at the wedding: photos, harpist, make up, band. A friend took our photos and they're great, plus everyone e-mailed me their photos which were all natural and delightful - and captured things going on that we missed. There aren't any 'forced' photos or fixed twee photos on a bridge or anything like that.

I also made: invites (very simple), place cards for the table, thank you cards (also very simple). My bouquet was made of felt and buttons (some given to me by 3yo niece in Australia, Grandma's button tin, one from my DM's wedding dress etc, very meaningful to me). I am annoyingly crafty wink

If I could do it all over again I wouldn't change a thing smile

kweggie Sun 05-May-13 23:04:37

do your own flowers- have a practice with friends before the big day. Pick colours that are in season on your wedding day. Ask neighbours and friends if you can snip in their gardens- they will be thrilled!

FairPhyllis Mon 06-May-13 01:46:30

Does the dress have to be all white weddingy? If not just buy a dress you really love for 100 quid.

Or look at TKMaxx's online wedding shop. Or wear a bridesmaid's dress instead of a wedding dress.

Bridesmaids - ask them to wear a party dress of their own if you don't care about being matching.

CoolStoryBro Mon 06-May-13 01:56:53

For me, the biggest waste of money was the photographer. It took up too much time and all the photos, except for one, are In an album I haven't looked at in years. I got very bored of having my photo taken very quickly.

I'm a lot more comfortable behind the camera!

vix206 Mon 06-May-13 08:10:45

I've not read all of the thread but my wedding in 2005 was £1200 and this is how we mainly did it:
- 20 guests only
- £125 made to measure dress from china (via eBay)
- married on a Sunday, no cars, no bridesmaids.
- ceremony at 12, wedding breakfast 1-3 then relaxed with guests in hotel bar before leaving at 4 for flight to Thailand smile
- found an ex-pro photographer who still did the odd wedding job.

Only real regret is the photographer as our photos are rubbish. He was cheap for a reason hmm my eyes are closed in almost every picture and he didn't use digital so no cd images.

If we'd had more money I'd have stayed and had an evening 'do' with a band and more guests.

But we had a beautiful, intimate wedding and didn't end up in debt so all in all no regrets!!

MrsLettuce Mon 06-May-13 08:23:16

these would make lovely bridemaids dresses

MrsLettuce Mon 06-May-13 08:46:18

IIRC you wanted a short dress for yourself, this is very pretty
nice neckline a silver / gold / sparkly belt instead of the pink

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