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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

DiskFix Thu 09-May-13 10:25:29

We married abroad, in the country where my family lives. My DH had several elderly relatives who were unable to travel and some younger members who couldn't afford travelling. So we had two parties. In the UK we had a party in a nice pub overlooking a wonderful beach and bay. DH's relatives where very grateful that they could come and celebrate with us.
Abroad we had the wedding ceremony. Only his mum, brother and closest friends came from the UK. We kept all very simple.
My mum made my dress and my sister printed the menus and made table decorations.

honeytea Thu 09-May-13 09:43:44

Fab tips!

I love the idea of cup cakes, I will start to look for some decoration ideas smile

I think some sausage rolls from greggs would be nice! It is only 1 mean on 1 day so the way I see it is that is doesn't really matter if the food is a bit random. I will make it clear that anyone who doesn't feel able to bring some food should not feel bad.

In Sweden they specify what the guests are expected to wear, the lowest option is suit jacket and the women to wear a dress in a fine material (silk?) I will ask if we can make our own option of smart casual.


LadyHarrietdeSpook Tue 07-May-13 11:25:36

DOH- I've just seen your in Sweden...the Swedish equivalent of Greggs.

I still think it's a hassel for people though, I wouldn't do it unless there is some cultural precedence for it.

yearoftherat Tue 07-May-13 11:23:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LadyHarrietdeSpook Tue 07-May-13 11:23:33

I wouldn't rely on guests to bring food. One - you'll have no idea how much you'll have and can't complain if people stop off at Greggs on the way and turn up with a dozen sausage rolls. I think the stress of this would outweigh the cost savings - you could also end up spending a fortune trying to compensate for people not bringing stuff. You'd just be chucking money at it to make the problem go away.

Two - it's a big hassel for guests, particularly if they are travelling to you (no means to prepare anything from scratch) and if I had kids with me as well, it would push me over the edge trying to get all that organised.

I mean - as an alternative...I would do the booze route. You could ask people to bring a couple bottles of something. But mind the corkage.

Please have enough seating as well.

yearoftherat Tue 07-May-13 11:22:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

StoicButStressed Tue 07-May-13 07:58:24

Oh, one other thought re Wedding Favours - stemming from a funeral that I organised recently and which I was DESPEARATE to be very 'personal' and not 'prouduction line' kind that doesn't actually have anything to do with the people involved (apologies for bringing funeral into it, but the pic of this is on my profile if you want to see it as uploaded pics for the lovely MN'ers on here who helped me.)

I'd found pre-seeded (Forget-Me-Nots) 'butterflies' which, whilst looked like a craft item, were actually made of pre-seeded composite paper online, and one of each was stuck to the top right corner of the Order Of Service so that people could then plant them at home to have a lasting and 'nice' memory.

The site (are quite a few) ALSO did lots of wedding ones, but they were quite expensive so if budget doesn't stretch to it, you could so similar by buying - wholesale - flower bulbs and wrap each in muslin tied with ribbon/bow that matches flowers etc.

StoicButStressed Tue 07-May-13 07:27:09

Love idea of more personalised wedding rather than a mega bucks but less personal onesmile

These are my tips if help?

1 - UNDER NO CIRCS TELL ANYONE (STORE/SUPPLIER ETC) THAT WHATEVER YOU'RE GETTING IS FOR A WEDDING grin Their margins just rocket up for anything weddingy.

2 - DRESS: Would def investigate THIS route for wedding & bridesmaid dresses - pic here is actually a 'bridesmaid dress' but if in barn am guessing will not want long dress/train etc(??) and it's only £65shock [DEF do your research first tho & check testimonials etc..]

3 - FOOD: Great that friends bringing dishes, but make sure you do the ness (TGod cheap!) 'framework' round that - IE Jacket potatoes; bread; butter; sauces/salt/pepper etc. All low cost but essential and rounds meal off.

4 - TABLE DECS: I (& I am sooooooo NOT a crafty bod) decorated the - huge/for over 250 people - reception venue for my DS. Aim was for it to be UBER low-cost but NOT 'look' 'cheap' IYKWIM? ANd it looked FAB (was soooooooo relieved!!!) & SO many people commented on it with DS just going "WOW" when she walked insmile

CENTREPIECES: Ordered one helium ballon (in their colour theme/match her flowers etc) per table (25 so negotiated much cheaper price than just buying 1 or 2) & got store to use sparkley glitter marker to write her & DBIL names on one side/date on other and l'il 'kisses' all round edge each side (sounds awful written down, but were stunning & the 18-24 inches of ribbon meant no big centrepiece blocking peoples views of each other).

I collected same number of stones from beach (all about 4-5inches across) and spray painted them gold so on the stone was a kind of bronzey muted gold colour (IE NOT mad blingy yellow gold!) and used those to secure the balloons AND allow me to make them all same 'height' for tables.

CANDLES Got vast bags cheap tealights; for 4 or 5 on each table (sent DS1 around hall every 90 minutes to replace them before went out!) to really make it glow; they went in - free! - saved up/cleaned baby-food jars with the 'screw thread' at top of jar covered in ribbon (same colour as balloons) and tied with cute bow. Ribbon was from cheap fabric store.

TABLECLOTHES/NAPKINS: Bought 'real' (IE not paper as that DID look 'cheap') tableclothes from IKEA (& obv can be re-cycled over & over again; the right colour napkins from IKEA; coloured perspex 'upright' napkin holders 1 per table from, yeswink IKEA.

HTHsmile - Oh, and congratulationsthanks

PS Lights - if anyway you can get those long fat stringy lights to hang from end to end in barn, I'd def do that as they look stunning and add to rustic chic;)

ItsYonliMe Tue 07-May-13 01:14:21

I love the sound of all these wonderful do-it-yourself weddings. So much cosier and intimate sounding than the stuffy traditional ones.

timtam23 Tue 07-May-13 00:29:47

I got married on a budget

No bridesmaids!
Dress - lovely beaded Art Deco style off the peg from Principles in the sale - £60 - I didn't want a traditional dress so that kept costs down.
Flowers - from MIL's garden & I had a hand-tied bunch of flowers from local florist.
I made the cake (very amateur but it tasted fine - neither of us like fruit cake so we had mango & coconut sponge).
We made the invites etc - bought fancy paper & envelopes & printed them on the computer.
No wedding car - I hired a silver London cab from local taxi firm - gave the driver £40.
A friend did the photos and we asked everyone to send in their pics afterwards.
No disco - we put lots of music onto an Ipod and played it in the evening.
Wedding was at 2pm so we had a few canapes/drinks after the service then a meal at 4ish and people left quite early (was a Sunday wedding).
No wedding favours etc

Pluto Mon 06-May-13 23:08:41

Are there any specific Swedish customs you really want to incorporate into your wedding? Will it be in midsummer? Can you do a smorgasbord rather than hot dinner? Can you walk from church / place of marriage to your reception? I thought Swedish weddings were traditionally fairly small affairs - do you really need 200 guests?!

ExRatty Mon 06-May-13 20:40:07

I also went to a wedding <when we were students> where everyone chipped in £50 for their meal and booze...instead of gifts
held at a restaurant and then dancing afterward in the room

we all bought little sweet gifts anyway
brilliant brilliant wedding

ExRatty Mon 06-May-13 20:37:00

We did a registry office and a house party. Good playlist and made peach bellinis with prosecco so that everyone was sozzled. It was so relaxed ans fab

unlucky83 Mon 06-May-13 20:36:52

I was going to say -do you really need to invite 200?
I have been involved with organising weddings (mainly the catering) and the best ones were smaller ones with just family/close friends...
The worse were big 2-300 with free bars. Never serve copious amounts of alcohol at a wedding unless you know the people really well. Have seen it all - fights, the sale or return booze thing (its paid for so we'll take a bottle or so home- you can't its sale or return - oh xxxs won't mind -actually they will - we had to call the police once as one guest punched a waiter because he stopped him loading boxes of beer from our van into his car), people weeing, puking and having sex in the bushes...yuck, yuck yuck ...
Always did our best to keep it away from the couple -but we've had a bride ...and a bride and her mother in tears...and some arguments (usually over whose 'friend' was causing trouble... )
One that should have been lovely (but actually spoiled by drunken free loaders) was a picnic lunch in a country park and wine in wicker baskets on blankets (instead of tables) by a lake (chairs for older guests and a marquee too in case of bad weather) ......something like that (marquees aren't cheap but maybe cheaper than a venue?) could be relatively cheap....and potentially idyllic...

honeytea Mon 06-May-13 20:15:51

We are not really ttc, ds is only 4.5 month old, it took us 2 years to get pregnant with him so it is very very unlikely that I would be pregnant as I am EBF at the moment so my period has not even returned. We intend to just not use contraception and hope for another baby at some point in the future but we both have fertility issues so an easy conception is unlikely.

Empire line is a nice idea if I am miraculously pregnant! smile

MumOfTheMoos Mon 06-May-13 20:15:42

We had a blow out wedding but having it midweek meant that I was able to save on venue, cars and photographer. Anyone for whom you're paying the time for - your midweek wedding is an extra for them so make sure you ask for a midweek discount.

You've got your venue and car aren't really a necessity but I would make sure your photographer is just there to take photos, not a guest good at takin photos - you need them to be working when everyone else is socialising.

Second about focusing on nice food rather than frills and formality.

KatAndKit Mon 06-May-13 20:03:03

If you are ttc then I'd wait until very near the time as if you have a year now and you get pg in three months time then you could be very bumpy! Empire line is good for maternity. I personally have decided to postpone ttc till after my wedding due to the dress issue but you have to do what works for you. It should be easy enough to get an empire line ivory dress.

honeytea Mon 06-May-13 19:57:49

Thank you so much for the tips! SOrry it has taken me ages to come back, it has been a hectic day.

I love the idea of having matching flowers for bridesmainds rather than buying them all a new dress.

Herb/flower growing is a lovely idea, as is the facebook group to keep in contact with everyone. I will send out some invites using some of my photography.

ANy ideas for some plus sized cheap dresses? I do have a year so I should try to diet really but I am unlikely to be under a size 14 and possibly pregnant with dc2

feralgirl Mon 06-May-13 19:51:34

I bought the most beautiful 1920s ivory silk dress for £60 from a vintage shop in London then spent about £50 having it altered a bit and cleaned up. I made my own invites out of DH's photographs (he's a photographer) and an aunt made the cake for our wedding present. Photography as a present from our three photographer friends. Joint stag/ hen (hag) do which was a meal out with all our mates and then clubbing in our local town.

Flowers all came from my parents' garden and their present to us was lunch catering and marquee (about £1K, by far the biggest expense).

A different aunt and uncle's present to us was to do a booze run to Calais; we bought a barrel of ale from the local brewery and also suggested people bring their own. Family all clubbed together and made the buffet food for the evening.

Evening venue was the local cricket club, hired for £20; DJ friends and friends in bands played for free as their present to us for entertainment.

No cars, no bridesmaids, no favours, no photographer as such, no stupid expensive stag and hen. Lots and lots of family and friend help; I've just remembered how incredibly lucky I am to have such generous and creative people in my life! Also no stress, little to no organisation and under £2K in total.

vix206 Mon 06-May-13 16:40:05

Ooh I forgot one thing. The cake. We got ours from tesco (square iced fruit) in 2 sizes and my mum made a tier of sponge cake and decorated all 3. It was delicious and only cost £30!

Daughteroughter Mon 06-May-13 16:36:34

We had invites printed by a local supported employment for people with mental health problems, good quality card and envelopes for 120 £50. A friend played the harp and others played the fiddle and bodrum for barn dance ( we were in barn. Used ivy for decoration very cheap. Got married at 3 so had one do with barbecue. Had a French wedding cake, pyramid of profiteroles which was dessert. Bar which we bought wholesale wine and beer and soft drinks. I had loose trouser suit found in sale, DH had Nehru jacket from Indian tailors.

KatAndKit Mon 06-May-13 15:29:28

Save the date - use facebook instead of sending out cards and send an email or an ordinary letter to any non facebookers.

Dress - many very pretty bridesmaid dresses are available in ivory. Bridesmaid dresses are a fraction of the price of wedding dresses so that might be the way forward. Otherwise there is Monsoon, BHS and Debenhams that sell high street wedding dresses. There is also Preloved if you want to buy second hand. I would avoid the made in china knock off designer copies as there are all sorts of horror stories on wedding forums when it has gone horribly wrong.

Invites - make your own. Lots of ideas online.

I'd be wary of asking people to bring dishes as you will not know in advance if you will have enough food or not. Asking people to bring cake is a nice idea though and will save you buying wedding cake. Perhaps ask for canapes and finger food and then make sure you sort out the main food yourself. 200 people is very expensive to cater for. The easiest way to make your wedding cheaper is to halve your guest list. Most weddings seem to be about 100 people.

It is definitely ok to have a playlist. I have been to weddings when this was how the music worked. I don't see a problem with it.

Nobody needs wedding favours they are a pointless waste of money. Also you can not bother getting place cards done for each person

AJBthesecond Mon 06-May-13 14:09:49

Instead of cut flowers grow little pots of herbs and flowers for table decorations. Tie a ribbon around the pots and they can double up as favours.

As its summer save money on food, maybe a BBQ. If you find a local farm they sell delicious sausages usually quite cheaply and some lovely fresh salads.

Make elderflower cordial which is delish for non drinkers and divine when added to proseco (loads cheaper than champagne).

For decoration start saving jam jars which look lovely with tea lights in, or as vases if you do go for cut flowers. Search out flower markets where florists buy their flowers, loads loads cheaper and chose flowers in season to save more.

For cake, when we got married we didn't want people to spend lots o money on presents so asked people to bake a cake and bring it on a dinner plate. We had an abundance o delicious cake and now use the plates everyday to eat off which brings lovely memories of the day.

Startail Mon 06-May-13 14:08:21

A good buffet is better than a bad formal meal especially if you have children, very elderly relatives, veggies or other faiths to consider.

Also roast on a very hot day at 4pm feels very odd.

We didn't bother with an evening do since it's my and DH's parents idea of hell. We also got married in his church so I didn't have to invite my whole village. This also meant we got alsorts of flower aranging, bell ringing and vicars fees waved because DMIL and DFIL did assorted church jobs and DH hsd been an alter boy (Yes the vicar knew I'm an athiest and wasn't worried).

Also it's a flower growing area so we got what was in season from the big green houses up the road, she also did bouquets for way less than the florist and it was huge and really pretty.

Dresses were easy as I have aunts and a DM who dress make.

Cake the caterer made, very simple with piles of silk flowers.

Wedding cars, a gold merc belonging to my one rich family friend and the flower girls Dads new silver ford. They decided to do it properly and flew into town for ribbons.

Hair decorations I made and veil and shoes were as cheap as possible.

no seating plan, no favours, no decorating the village hall.

We were students and the first to get married, non of the expectations people have at 30.

specialsubject Mon 06-May-13 13:32:49

200 people is a big party.

what people care about is a decent meal, creature comforts and a happy bride and groom. No-one really gives a stuff about favours, table decorations, colour schemes and all the other nonsense.

so lose the bridesmaids, wear an outfit that makes you look good and spend on the food. Doesn't need to be flash, needs to be tasty.

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