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Help me plan a budget wedding!(13 Posts)
We'd like to get married soon (the next year or so) but we don't have a lot of money. We just bought a house and our mortgage is a lot so it's important we keep the costs down.
I don't really want to get married in a registry office and we're not religious.
If you got married on a budget then please can you tell me how you did it? How many guests you had? Etc need some ideas to get me started as everything seems so expensive!
A self catering reception venue will save you a fortune. We self catered for 120 guests and it cost us less than £300 in total for the food. Difficult to find though and may have to get creative. This was the first step in our budget wedding and the rest just fell into place after.
The other thing we did was "marry" in a non-licensed venue. We had a humanist ceremony which is not legally recognised, but got married legally in the registry office the day before.
Our venues (approx 1/2 mile apart if that) cost us about £1000 in total from Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon and £250 of that was refundable damage deposits. We decorated everything ourselves (with the help of some talented and crafty friends), did the clear up ourselves (well, MiL and her friend did). We hired a bar (cost about £50) and guests paid for their own drinks. DJ was on mates rates (everyone knows a DJ somewhere or another). Dress came from a charity, guys hired suits, 2 adult bridesmaids very kindly offered to buy their own dresses (they also chose them).
All in all, we spent less than £2500 including honeymoon (cottage in the lake District for a week)
I think the first thing is to think of it as you throwing a party for your family and your friends. Think about what makes a good party and go from there. Forget about things that you think you should have or do because it is a wedding, and just plan a great party.
We had 50 guests, we found a venue with a licence they was cheap because they just provided the venue ( a beautiful old mill), no catering or staff or anything.
We then found someone to cater the food, rather then using expensive wedding caterers, we planned out menu ourselves and approached cafe owners/ small restaurants till we found someone happy to cook what we wanted.
We bought all our own alcohol, didn't have a bar or expect our guests to pay for drinks.
The venue included accommodation for 30 as part of the cost so we could offer most guests free accommodation as well (the venue's main function is a residential location for school trips running outdoor chooses for schools)
I bought a wedding dress from China from eBay, they did an exact copy of a designer dress I tried on and sent them the detail of, and only charged £90 for. So what if it was cheap, it was only worn once and it looked amazing.
Dh got his suit made in China too, he just had to send them all his measurements. We did this rather than rent so they he would then have a good suit for other occasions too.
I ordered all the flowers myself from 'triangle nursery' and made my own bouquet using YouTube tutorials.
Didn't bother with cars ( the venue was where we got married and had our party too)
Instead of presents I asked my guests to make a cake, and we had a big cake table full of everyone's ( normal sized) cakes. Everyone loved that.
The main thing we focused on we throwing a good party, lots of filling food and drink, and keeping costs down for our guests.
We built our own Jukebox too for music so didn't need a DJ or anything
You can do it any way you want. It can be as cheap as the licence and bus fare to the registry office for you and your witnesses.
Step away from wedding magazines, Pinterest etc. and think about what's really important to you.
I know you don’t want to get married at a registry office but it is the cheapest way of doing it. Otherwise you’ve got to hire a venue with a marriage license and then pay about £450 for a registrar to come out for it. Alternatively you could wIt until the government make what’s changes they intend to make to where you can get married. It’s been in the news the last couple of days. They want to make it cheaper and allow people to get married in pubs and fields etc.
A humanist wedding is legal in Scotland. Where are you based OP?
Don't call it a wedding or go anywhere that has " wedding" in the title.
I'd agree that's it essentially a party. Guests are the bit that rack up costs - size of venue,food, hire of chairs or whatever. Keep them to a minimum if you want to save on costs.
The biggest difference from a normal do is that guests need to feel justified in spending money, getting time off work, childcare/ dog are, present etc etc. Make it clear what's included in your day to manage expectations.
Secondhand is the way to go with lots of "extras". They will only have been used once ( if at all as people often overbuy). DIY might not always equal cheaper.
Our wedding was at a really nice council venue, quite often they have alternatives to the registry office itself.
We had our evening do in a village hall, they are brilliant (round here anyway) because they have all the tables, chairs, crockery, cutlery. They might well have a stage and PA if you are lucky. We hired glasses from Majestic and catered ourselves (pasties, salads, fairy cakes, frozen desserts). We hired disco lights and did an MP3 player disco (we had a ceilidh band too)
Forget about favours, linen, too many flowers - we literally had a bouquet, buttonholes, flowers to go in my hair. So many of the "little extras" are completely unnecessary and utterly forgettable.
Don't do without a photographer.
I'm a cake designer so I have alot of contacts in the wedding industry. One of my friends (a videographer) said that one of her guests saved hundreds by telling vendors that the event was a "blessing" and not a "wedding" as alot of the time the term "wedding" means people are inclined to charge a lot more for their products and services (genius!) so barter with your vendors with regards to this. With regards to a cake - make it yourself - or if not get a dummy cake (I charge up to 50% less for dummy tiers). As mentioned, only invite close family and friend to keep numbers down, self cater, join Facebook wedding groups where there are lots of brides selling beautiful second hand dressing for half the price. I also know florists that provide flowers for a cost (unarranged) as they obviously have access to the flower markets. You can do it :D Enjoy it!
We got married in a registry office, it was a gorgeous old building with sweeping marble staircases and lovely oak panelled rooms. We got some beautiful photos. Have a google of attractive registry offices in your area, you might be surprised, there are four in my area in beautiful buildings...
Once you've decided where you're marrying, decide on what's important to you and what isn't. We decided cars weren't important (I went in a black cab!) or cakes - M&S do a wonderfully tasty off the shelf wedding cake - you buy whatever tiers you want and just add ribbon/flowers/decs as you like. Our three tiers cost £100, although ten years ago (sorry PurpleJanuary!). We barely look at our video anymore, never did really (although we bought a camera and had someone film it rather than hire someone). Flowers weren't overly important - we just ordered buttonholes and a simple bouquet for me. I was all set to buy nice pot plants and decorative pots for tables, but I got a work trip to somewhere that sells orchids very cheaply, so I bought small vases and brought hundreds of orchids back for the tables.
We booked on a Friday (to get a specific date) so it worked out cheaper. We only had an evening reception for everyone, so had a really big, varied buffet with hot and cold food for a fraction of what the sit down reception would've cost. We just had immediate family and best friends at the ceremony and we went for a restaurant lunch afterwards. If you booked a late ceremony it eliminates that.
In the end it all looked beautiful, and cost about £4500.
Haha Honeyroar it's okay!! Infact now you mention button holes, you can buy flowers online and dry them yourself. I often put thistles on my cakes and always think of making my own button holes when I get married because they would be so easy to make! Literally buy some thistles and gypsophila, hang them upside down for about 6weeks and tie with some twine and/or lace and/or pretty ribbon. There is soooo much you can do! Hobbycraft wedding section is a dream too! I could go on, way too overly enthusiastic about stuff like this...
Work out what is important to you
Having all your many friends and family there? Just having your parents and great auntie Mabel there?
Feeding everyone well? Open bar? Self-catering and not having an afternoon plus an evening do will help you keep costs right down
Depending on where you are, some registry offices are lovely, so don't discount them altogether (some are fairly soulless affairs granted)
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