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Biggest waste of money? What do you wish you'd spent more on?

(53 Posts)
xax1980 Sun 10-Apr-16 07:32:36

I'm in the planning stages for our wedding this year and feel (financially) like I'm on a boat that's gaining speed that I can't get off. One thing that's true is that everyone seems to add on a little extra as soon as you mention 'wedding'. What was your biggest waste of money? What do you wish you'd spent more on? Thanks so much for any advice.

Laquila Sun 10-Apr-16 07:39:46

Wish I'd bothered getting my hair and make-up done professionally rather than just putting on exactly the same stuff I wear every day and styling my hair as it always is before plonking a veil on top. I would still have wanted to look like me, but a with more staying-power and definition for the photos!

I also wish we'd got a more experienced photographer, rather than a friend of ours who was starting out, who only charged is a small fee, his work is SO MUCh BETTER now and I sort of resent that! Also wish I'd got someone to video the ceremony.

Other than that the only other thing I'd change is I'd have remembered to get a bloody guest book - was annoyed at myself for that hmm

fessmess Sun 10-Apr-16 07:40:29

Mine was nearly 20 years ago now and all in cost £2000. I had a taxi to the service, us and guests went to hotel in a coach and my sister made the cake. I had a fantastic day full of wonderful memories. We spent £3000 on the honeymoon which was 3 weeks travelling around Europe, which we needed after the hecticness of the wedding. I think you're doing the right thing, it's a horrible feeling being ripped off. I liken it to eating out at Christmas or flowers sold for Mother's Day. Good luck.

Laquila Sun 10-Apr-16 07:44:40

We had beautiful handmade favours made by a member of the family and it wasn't much extra work for him, but in general I think fancy, labour-intensive favours are a waste of time and money and can send the bride/maker slightly insane - there's a lot to be said for a few mini eggs in an eBay drawstring bag or similar!

NicknameUsed Sun 10-Apr-16 07:45:41

I wish I had used a professional photographer. My uncle was a keen photographer but at the end of the day all we have is a few snapshots.

I agree that way too much is spent on fripperies at weddings these days - wedding favours, matchy matchy chair covers, decorations etc. We didn't have any of that. It simply never occurred to me.

We just got married in church at 3 PM and had the reception in a hotel near the church. Having an afternoon wedding was far more practical for guests who had to travel and cheaper for us.

mrssmith79 Sun 10-Apr-16 07:47:24

Honestly, I wish I'd invited less guests and spent more on making sure the ones I did invite had an amazing time. There are people I invited that I haven't seen or spoken to since!

marshmallowpies Sun 10-Apr-16 07:47:36

I wish we'd budgeted a bit more for drink - the bottles of fizz we'd allowed for 'arriving at reception time' ran out in no time. We also didn't budget for any canapés to go with the fizz and I wish we'd been able to stretch to that.

I also wish we'd spent more time on group family photos but that wasn't an issue of money, it was the weather - freezing cold, so we cut the photos short and it was only after I realised we'd not got all the groups I wanted. A peril of having a winter wedding!

Laquila Sun 10-Apr-16 07:48:22

I'm on a roll now - obviously it hugely depends on your personal style and what kind of wedding you're having, but another thing that feels like a big waste of money to be is matching suits for the bridal party - we just asked the men to wear navy or grey suits, and bought them all matching shirts and ties, and it looked really good. Obvs doesn't work for everyone though.

Laquila Sun 10-Apr-16 07:51:03

Agree with a pp that it's really nice for guests to have canapés on arrival at the reception venue - personally I'd rather have this, and then simple cheese and biscuits or bacon butties later in the evening, than no canapés and a full evening buffet.

We had cava though, instead of fancier/more expensive champagne - I've never regretted that for a minute!

chubbyrunner Sun 10-Apr-16 07:51:06

In hindsight, definitely would've had a smaller guest list. Massively reduced. I don't know what I was thinking, I think it was baby brain. Which brings me to my next point, don't have a baby in the middle of planning a wedding! Or put an offer in on a bigger house either (honestly, what was i thinking!) Would've liked a better DJ for the reception but that was DH's job and, like with everything else, he left it to the last minute! But my biggest thing was definitely the guest list!

esiotrot2015 Sun 10-Apr-16 07:51:26

I also wished we'd invited less guests

We could have saved money and gone in a more exotic honeymoon

Mostly I wish I wasn't so dresser and enjoyed the day more

Merrow Sun 10-Apr-16 07:53:09

The dress was a waste of money! I don't really know what to do with it now... But I did feel great on the day.

We made a real effort to cut down on all the little things that seem to add up, so we did the invitations / RSVPs ourselves, didn't have any favours.

We had a lot of useful friends so got things like flowers at cost (I dread to think how much they would have been... I think we would have gone for only a bouquet if we had to pay full price!) but we intentionally bought a cake because we had a really firm idea of what we wanted and didn't want to be disappointed if a friend did it and it wasn't right.

Oh, we didn't have dessert. I think that saved a fair whack. We had cake and made sure all other dietary requests (quite a few vegan friends, for instance) were handled with cupcakes.

How far along in planning are you? Do you have a venue sorted? We chose a pub we really liked the look of, so we didn't need to bother with any decorations - I think they slung up some fairy lights for us and that was the full extent, so that made things easier. Also avoided trying to choose caterers!

We spent extra to have a photo session before the wedding. Both of us are really uncomfortable in front of the camera and we felt it was worth the expense to meet the person and get a feel for what they were like / how they worked. She turned out to be lovely, and it probably wasn't a necessary expense in the end, but it did make a bit of the day I was stressed about a little less stressful.

BasinHaircut Sun 10-Apr-16 07:55:07

A friend made our cake as a gift which was lovely of her. Although it didn't turn out great and she was disappointed with it.

I wasn't really bothered and just grateful and touched that she did that for us, and it tasted great anyway. And seeing as it was our dessert that was the most important thing IMO.

But if I had to change one thing it would be that I'd go with my original idea of getting 3 different sized cakes from our local 'posh' cake shop and just stack them myself and stick a bride and groom on top. Would still only cost about £150.

I think in general people spend too much on flowers that no one really takes any notice of.

insancerre Sun 10-Apr-16 08:03:03

I will have been married for 29 years a week tomorrow

I can't think of anything I wish we had done differently

We had a low key wedding on a budget but loads of people contributed in some way that made it a very personal wedding

My mum bought my dress and she paid for a neighbour to make the cake
My aunt did all the catering
My friend did my makeup
My uncle did the photos
My dads friend drove us in his classic car
We friend did the disco
We invited all family and everybody we knew and the neighbours and all my parents friends and DH invited all his RAF friends
We had our reception in our local community centre and my dad paid for a free bar
We got married in the registry office and I wore a bright cerise dress.

29 years later and the only thing that matters is that the people who mattered were there to share in our day

Shinynewbed Sun 10-Apr-16 08:03:38

Plan it as much as you can by yourselves. Do not let your mother in law/anyone else take over. Huge huge regret. Which leads me onto.. Only have people who you know and love at your wedding. Nothing worse than having to keep asking"And what's your name?"

I'd have loved a videographer looking back. Really wish I could watch the day back and see some already lost relatives. I think they are lovely monentoes and it was purely a cash reason why we didn't have one.

Biggest waste was the cake. 4 tiers plus cutting cake. Came back from honey moon to most of it gone mouldy in our kitchen. Excellent. It was tasty when I ate my 3 slices on the night though. Ha.

MaureenMLove Sun 10-Apr-16 08:05:00

We have been marred 25 years this year, so I probably just don't get the latest fad that couples seem to have these days, but I notice that complimentary flip flops are popular!hmm. Why?? Why do you need to provide comfy footwear for people? Waste of money there I think!

Also these tables set up with heaps of things for kids to do and piles of sweets. It's the parents job to keep their kids entertained. You have enough to do!

I recently went to a wedding where that was the case and the groom told me he'd worked out how much it was costing him per minute. Nice!

BasinHaircut Sun 10-Apr-16 08:07:49

Just to add, we didn't spend hardly anything on 'stuff' because I'm just not that way inclined. Food was a 'naice' buffet followed by wedding cake and everyone just sat wherever because it was in a pub.

Our bar bill was £5k (central London) which cost more than the rest of the wedding, including my dress, put together!

Just decide what is actually important to you and cut your cloth accordingly. No one remembers your favours or flowers etc.

All of our effort went into the playlist. not just for the disco which was a bit more 'freestyle' but for waiting at the registry office, background music for dinner etc we spent hours and hours, choosing songs that meant things to us and different guests and to build the mood into party time. Sounds wanky but music is really important to us and can really be the difference between people being in the mood for a party or not. Cost nothing but IMO is what made our wedding the bollocks.

defineme Sun 10-Apr-16 08:19:23

Wish I had had professional make up, but then I was 24, looked 18 and it didn't really matter.
Wedding didn't cost much because it was a week day and it was a 3* hotel in the 5* setting of a beautiful country park and the weather was stunning.
Family all paid for different bits eg db bought dress, aunty cake, mil friend did table decorations. I was very relaxed about guest list because if pil kind enough to contribute to cost of reception then of course their best mates can come.
It was the best party I have ever been to, we danced/chatted til dawn and I loved it.

Ruthiesj Sun 10-Apr-16 08:24:33

If I was planning again, I'd probably cut down on the cost of the flowers. A friend's mum offered to do them for us as it was a hobby of hers. However, because she wasn't a florist herself, we had very little visibility of the final cost. I think it's very easy to get carried away when you're at a wholesalers ordering 10 of these, 50 of those, etc. They were beautiful though!

I was glad to spend the money we did on the photographer, videographer and band. They were probably more expensive than average, but the band absolutely made the evening reception! And the photos and video have been such wonderful mementos of the day.

Duckdeamon Sun 10-Apr-16 08:24:56

I wish we'd done a much much smaller (and yes, cheaper) wedding (then DP and my mum wanted a big "do").

The biggest expenses are food and drink and since usually choices are restricted by the venue these are rarely good value for money. We searched hard for a venue where we could buy our own booze and choose a caterer, but pretty much only community centres allowed this.

Which (or similar) should look into and expose some of the shocking practice of the "wedding industry", especially hotels and "venues".

Duckdeamon Sun 10-Apr-16 08:26:17

Oh yes, we did scrimp on the music (DJ) and it was terrible! Although that was more that we didn't take the time to meet him and believed his promises!

BeaufortBelle Sun 10-Apr-16 08:55:11

25 years ag there weren't the add ons.

Flowers (church and friend)
Cake (local lady)
Cars (own)
Invitations and service sheets (both traditional)
Dress, head dress, veil, shoes (not designer)
Band (a string quartet)
Wedding rings
V good quality sparkling wine (don't scrimp on quantity
Canapes on arrival
Tent (yes, the portaloos were worth it)
Caterers and good quality simple food: we had venison pate terrines or spinach and cheese terrines, followed by fresh whole salmon, ham and turkey, new potatoes and fancy salads, then raspberry and strawberry baskets with plain chocolate drizzle (soo pretty).

The one thing I struggled with was finding a veil and a nice head dress. I bought a simple veil and eventually found a milliner for the headdress. She also made beautiful veils not much nor expensive than the one I bought but I didn't know.

Finally, we had a late afternoon wedding and the reception just stretched into the evening so no need for an evening party.

The wedding cost about £6,500 for 95 guests.

RNBrie Sun 10-Apr-16 09:05:17

We had a lovely wedding, 5 years ago, which cost £22,000. It was wonderful but I do regret spending that sort of money. I wish we'd saved it and put it towards the mortgage. As soon as we had kids and massive childcare bills it just seemed so stupid to have spent so much on one day.

Anyway... Specifics...

I wouldn't have had a fancy car, I'd have hired a dress rather than buy one, I'd have asked the flower ladies at the church to do the flowers instead of using a florist, I would do the ceremony later so you don't need canapés, just go straight into dinner. In fact, I'd probably do away with the whole catered thing and just have the reception in a nice pub with a room for dancing afterwards.

I'm glad we had a photographer, the photos are amazing. I'm glad I had my hair and make up done. I'm exceptionally glad I didn't have bridesmaids so no dresses/shoes/hair to pay for.

sooperdooper Sun 10-Apr-16 09:17:39

I'm glad we stuck to our guns and did what we wanted, we didn't really have any issues with people trying to take over

We went abroad, had a lovely chilled out holiday with all our friends and family and had the wedding in the middle.

I didn't have a posh car, just a decent taxi (nobody else sees it anyway!)

I had a gorgeous dress from House of Fraser, it was lovely a flowy and light, I'm glad I didn't get talked into a big heavy dress.

I wish we'd had a better photographer - he missed a lot of family shots, I don't even have a photo of me & my mum!!??

I'm glad we spent a lot on food & drink, we paid for the bar all night - as people had come abroad we didn't want the actual wedding to cost them anything

unlimiteddilutingjuice Sun 10-Apr-16 09:34:40

Biggest waste of money:
Favours: noone cares
Hiring a band: hardly anyone listened or danced. They all wanted to sit about chatting. I spoke to the singer and she said wedding gigs are always like that!

I'm glad I spent money on: A free bar. It really puts a rocket under the party!

I don't regret being stingy about:

The venue: We hired the back room of a pub for £150. The pub also did a buffet at £12pp. It was a middle market gasto-type pub with very attractive period fittings. I honestly think the surroundings and food were as good as you would get at a swanky venue costing ££s. It was The Salisbury on Green Lanes if anyone is interested.

The cake: 3 cream gateauxs of differing sizes, hire a cake stand. £50 all in and everyone thought it was delicious.

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