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can i ask for opinions??

(20 Posts)
whackamole Mon 13-Jun-11 22:33:17

we have a very limited budget for our wedding next year, and i am unsure what to prioritise! basically, we have booked the service at the registry office, which is obviously the most important thing, but i don't know what else we should do.

it would be nice to have a meal afterwards, i estimate this would cost (absolute max) about £900 for a 3 course meal for about 30 people (could be significantly less in fact, as i have estimated this on adults only)

but......i would love to have some pro photos done, and tbh i think this is probably more important to me as a bride. but it seems mean to shell out £400 (the best quote i have had) for possibly 1 hours worth of work (ie, just the ceremony) for one guy, and not treat my few guests to at least something!

dress, flowers etc are all in hand, these are the 2 things i am fretting about. we have booked 2/6/12, which is an extra bank holiday weekend as well (Jubilee i think) so i just couldn't ask my family to travel 200 miles, pay for a hotel then either pay for their own meal/not offer one! could I??????

clearly i am clueless here! please help!! what would you do?

forkhandles Mon 13-Jun-11 22:42:32

Also the meal is the social bit isn't it, if you didn't get together for a meal what would you do?

Do you have to do a three course meal? What time is the ceremony?
Or could you get family or friends to club together and give you the photographer as a present, or some of it?

What you really need is a friend who is a bit handy with a camera as it's nice to have shots of you getting ready and the do afterwards.

saycheese Mon 13-Jun-11 22:42:44

for photographers, can you maybe ask at a college/uni that does photography. I'm a student and we are always keen to build up our portfolios, so just charge costs/minimal amount to get the experience. In my class i think all of us have had several weddings to do this year and its all been for people on a limited budget, and so far everyone has been really happy with the pictures. Just an idea.

kitbit Mon 13-Jun-11 22:59:03

Buffet? Much cheaper, piles of lovely choices, informal mixing, cheaper (did I mention it's cheaper??) grin

Hassled Mon 13-Jun-11 23:02:05

Yes, a buffet would work. You do have to feed them something. Have you any thoughts re a venue - any nice sort of church hall type place near you?

BiscuitNibbler Mon 13-Jun-11 23:08:46

One of the most well-received meals at a wedding I have been to was bacon rolls and chips. I really don't think a 3 course meal is necessary, and really isn't appreciated or remembered by your guests.

Bue Tue 14-Jun-11 11:12:20

No you can't ask people to travel to your wedding and not provide any food or a reception of any kind! It would be pretty outrageous to sacrifice your guests so you can have a photographer.

But it doesn't have a to be a three course meal, and the suggestion about finding a photography student is a good one. If you compromise just a little on either side you can probably achieve everything you want.

melodyangel Tue 14-Jun-11 11:46:29


I catered the whole of my wedding, 60 people. Picnic lunch, quiches, new potato salad, pasta and the like plus a wedding cake and cupcakes for about £500. I did make it all by hand which was a lot of work but it really kept the cost down and it meant I knew that the vegan dishes were truly vegan.

If you have friends and relations that live close by they will be more than happy to help and it makes for a lovely intimate wedding.

Ineedacleaneriamalazyslattern Tue 14-Jun-11 12:09:58

I had neither a sit down meal or a photographer although the photos were very important to me.
We had a very small family only wedding and I had set up a photobox site and asked everyone to upload all the photos they took onto it and we had some absolutely brilliant ones I then made up a photobook on the site as our album.

I had intended on a sit down meal but it would have cost loads so we had a buffet at home. My parents did that for us and we spent what we saved on a meal on wine and things and family brought stuff too.
We had a party at home and later on the grandparents took over all kids and we went to the pub for a few drinks with SIL etc then we went to a hotel.
It was a fab relaxed day and as it was at home we got more for our money and didn't have the problem of ok meals over where do we go now?

jaffacake79 Tue 14-Jun-11 12:15:45

Depends where you are and what you need photography wise - my dh does wedding photography so if you are anywhere near Suffolk/Essex/Cambs then pm me smile

I think you have to provide a reception of some kind. For us this was a marquee in my lovely friends garden, and my fil and I catered it all. My friend made our cake and I made the decorations to go on it. A really great day, that wasn't spent worrying about how to pay for it all.

JanMorrow Tue 14-Jun-11 14:00:00

I think I've said this on here before, but one of the best weddings I've been to was a fairly small and low budget one which was at a registry office and then a pub with about 50 guests.

They had "exclusively hired" the whole place (this doesn't necessarily have to mean expensive, as most places will just ask for a minimum spend which would include any food ordered and any drinks the guests might buy after the meal).

The bridal party decorated the place themselves (it helped that it was a lovely looking country pub) and they had a mate's band play (and then just an ipod after that- which you could have all night if you didn't know/want a band!).

The food was from the pub kitchens and was bangers and mash and then the wedding cake for pudding and was actually really low cost. We had such a nice time because it was really intimate and stuff.. so you don't have to provide a fancy meal, as others have said, you can even make it yourself.

The main thing would be keep the invites to people you really love and want to be there, keeping the amount of people down is the best way to save money!

whackamole Tue 14-Jun-11 15:07:39

Thanks for all your advice. I will definitely be looking into photography students! I am in Liverpool (sorry jaffacake!) so have 3 universities to choose from let alone the colleges.

The reason I was thinking the meal was because there is a restaurant opposite the registry which hires itself out for wedding parties, but I think you're all right - for the sake of convenience I will be paying loads more.

Mmmm......back to the drawing board I think!

raspberrytipple Tue 14-Jun-11 20:01:48

Definatley ask loads of people about photographers, Im not worried about pictures really but didn't want family to feel pressured to get them all for us, looked around loads and mentioned it to a woman at work and she said 'oh my partner is a wedding photographer, he'll do it half price if you like' so got a photographer for the day for £200. They won't be spectacular pics I don't spect cos he's quite old skool ifkwim but they will be nice. There will be someone who knows someone I'm sure, keep asking about. Wedding photography is notoriously fickle and difficult work hence being quite expensive.

Buffet at a pub is also a good idea, that's what we are doing and you can find some quite nice buffets for £5 a head

oohlaalaa Fri 17-Jun-11 09:40:43


I was a bridesmaids for a friends wedding, and we did our own flowers. As long as you are chilled about not having perfection, it is easy. Honest.

I personally think that a wedding dress is something that you can't save money on. My friend got a fabulous provonias dress for £200 off ebay. At the end of the day, it is only a dress.

I dont think you should save on food, when guests have made the effort to travel such distances. A lovely meal is what I always remember. Also, I always thing go for the most generous drinks package you can afford. I may be in the minority here, but I think food and drink are much more important than decorations.

Are fancy invitations necessary? Also I wouldnt bother with favours - usually they are left behind. I think so much of the wedding industry is trying to get you to buy unnecessary frills - a string quartet, photo booth, and sweetie table are not required for a fun day.

Good luck. xx

oohlaalaa Fri 17-Jun-11 09:42:44

Sorry, should read that you can save on wedding dress.

fuckmepinkandcallmerosie Fri 17-Jun-11 09:46:10

Posting and running so aplogies

But if you have family nearby could you do a pot-luck type meal? IIRC there was a thread where another poster was hoping to do this recently. Haven't time to search but maybe someone else will remember?

honeyandsalt Sun 19-Jun-11 22:37:58

Loads of great how-tos here

Re photographers, the college idea is a really good one, put a poster up in your local art college and offer a few hundred quid you'll probably have them biting off your arm. What I did is post my wedding photography as a portfolio job on - I asked for a few hours for £100 and suggested it would suit a student or someone wanting to build their portfolio. Over the two weeks or so after posting the ad I got 30+replies (so don't accept the first offer you get if you go down this route!) - I got a competent, lovely photographer who wanted to do most of the day for her portfolio. She was relatively inexperienced but a hell of a lot better than Uncle Jim with a point and shoot, better than some who wanted twice that amount, and incredible for the money. If you're on a budget I'd recommend that route - choose carefully, if you think someone sounds like a bit of a twunt you don't want them photographing your wedding.

Food-wise for 30 people if you can use a house I'd go for M&S and -importantly - hire some help to put it out and clear up (note on the DIY route - you will not have any time on the day itself to do anything yourself, so don't bank on it!!). Or hire a caterer. What we did was hire a big farmhouse self-catering cottage for a week (laid-back landlords who didn't mind us having a big party there!) and had the party there with caterers putting out an afternoon tea then a buffet. It was fab. OR just look a little off the beaten track - often if you approach places that aren't used to "doing weddings" you'll get a WAY better deal. So for instance if you know of a chic cafe or pub with good food you'll probably be able to negotiate something. Don't forget, if you're dangling a big job in front of them you have the negotiating power, so as long as you give them an elegant "out" by batting your eyelashes, pleading you're on a tight budget and asking for their best price you should get some sort of discount.

whackamole Fri 24-Jun-11 15:24:26

thank you so much for all your input! i have sat down with OH and thought about what we want - i am warming to the idea of a party with a buffet in a church hall rather than a fancy sit-down dinner for grandparents and those that we 'have' to invite.

i am planning on making some bunting from some cheap sheets and some votive candle holders from sprayed tin cans and old jam jars - shabby-chic, here we come!

Ineedacleaneriamalazyslattern Fri 24-Jun-11 23:12:36

Sounds lovely and I'm sure you will have a brilliant day. grin

qwepoi Wed 13-Jul-11 17:35:18

IMO food and drink is v important, essential in fact - at least the first few drinks should be provided, if your guests are happy will be a good atmos.
We didn't have a photographer - everyone emailed the pics they had taken(100s of them) and they were lovely, much nicer then all the formal posed ones.
Also did our own flowers (hint: go to a market stall and find out the nearest wholesale place, we went to a big barn in the morning and just chose things from buckets) and decorations - Mum, I and some others did them the day before (with a few glasses of wine) and was a really nice thing to do together.

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