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Please help me plan my wedding!

(33 Posts)
lemonjelly131 Fri 31-May-19 11:51:50

*So we’ve been engaged for 2 years, have 2 young DC, I’m a SAHM so we have a very tight budget (£3500 ish) I’m just clueless as to where I’m meant to start, DP is useless at planning. Like who do I have to contact, what do I say?! Some tips on how to do it cheaply but nicely would be great, maybe a run down of what your costs were so I have an idea. We love to get married in church but have no clue where to go afterwards, love a sit down meal but not sure if it’s do able on our budget?

We both just want to be married, I’d happily elope but DP wants his whole family there, so the guest list is a big stress. I’m only close with my parents and young sisters, been NC with my real dad about 4 years but all my family (grandparents, aunties, uncles) are on his side so it’s kind of awkward. So for me it’s like do we invite all my family and feel awkward and there be a weird atmosphere on our wedding day or not invite any of them and feel like it’s a room of his family.

I’ve found a dress on the highstreet for £180, got the girls dresses from monsoon. Just need to sort DP and DS a matching suit! If anyone knows where you can get a matching suit for DP and a 2/3 year old??

Any advice, tips & experience would be very appreciated! And if you got this far thank you!!* smile

OP’s posts: |
JoMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 31-May-19 12:47:44

Bumping this thread for you, @lemonjelly131 smile flowers

QforCucumber Fri 31-May-19 12:50:32

We did ours 3 months ago, eloped to Vegas with 2 friends and had a party at home.

Regarding venue if family are a big want have a look into local village halls, we originally did this before deciding to run away - full weekend hire was about £700, then just need to sort catering. There are places here (NE) who do bar hire for free with a minimum of 50 paying guests.

DH suit was from River Island, got DS one in the same colour from Ebay (sainsburys though)

Our entire ting including dress, party, food cake and 5 nights in Vegas with flights was £7500 smile

QforCucumber Fri 31-May-19 12:52:09

You could get married in a small local church, say only 20 guests allowed (so close family) then have a reception in a hall like I've mentioned above where you invite the family you do know, so they don't feel 'left out' and you don't feel so awkward.

delilahbucket Fri 31-May-19 12:59:06

I would sort your guest list first and then that will determine the rest. You could do immediate family only and have a meal at a nice pub/restaurant, or have lots of people and do a buffet (there are options beyond sandwiches and salads such as barbecues or fish and chips).
Getting married in a church is very expensive and will eat into your budget, so is this something you definitely want to do?
Suit rental may be cheaper for the boys.

MrsGrannyWeatherwax Fri 31-May-19 13:01:09

Heya, well congratulations to you both.

For a church wedding you can ask at a few local churches for thier availability and if they require a donation or fee (some do, some just ask for a small donation) but you will often have to have a chat or a few chats with the vicar. Registry offices vary in price but can usually get one sorted for well below £1k and they fulfil the purpose. My brothers been looking for a small registry do and it was £650 for it all. You can often find the prices online too.

Reception wise, you have various options here too. A village hall or community centre rental can often be the cheapest method then hire in a Caterer company of your chosen foods, or use a supermarket like Tesco’s / M&S for a nice cold buffet. If you have a budget left after that you can get a DJ (£200 for an evening I paid). Or look at a few venues you like, they often have offers on for slightly out of season timings - £2000 for 60 guests etc. Groupon is another surprising win for weddings done at a slightly cheaper price.

Main savings are made by not doing the whole decorate the venue, extravagant invites, flowers etc and getting a nice cake rather than a wedding specific masterpiece. M&S do a nice one and local cake shops will do a nice design.

Good luck

Sexnotgender Fri 31-May-19 13:03:36

We had a bring and share ceilidh at our church.

We did some food and asked everyone to bring a dish.

Was great fun and everyone had a lovely time.

flowery Fri 31-May-19 13:03:53

”Getting married in a church is very expensive and will eat into your budget”

Is it really?! I would have thought getting married in your own church would have been cheap? We didn’t as we are not religious and don’t attend church but I’m surprised to hear it would be expensive.

BlueChampagne Fri 31-May-19 13:08:33

Getting married in your parish church will save you the cost of a special licence. Your vicar might have some tips for venues.

Try to avoid anything specifically for the wedding market - it's an excuse to up the price.

If you're not bothered about a cake cutting ceremony, don't bother with a cake. Play the eco card with wanting to avoid waste/imported flowers/paper invites etc.

Sexnotgender Fri 31-May-19 13:14:49

Depends on your church. Ours isn’t expensive.

Jaxhog Fri 31-May-19 13:19:46

I'm a big believer in only spending the minimum on a wedding! Especially if you're funding it yourself. Otherwise its a free party for relatives and an opportunity for 'friends' to get drunk at your expense!

We hired our outfits and had the reception at my parent's house. If you don't have a big enough house, hold the reception at a local community centre and hire a local caterer. Hotels may look nice but are horrendously expensive and often have indifferent food. It also reduces any expectations that you'll be footing the bill for hotel rooms. Ask your respective families to 'dress' the hall while you and the bridal party get ready. We also didn't have an evening party, just a buffet late afternoon. This also meant people could get home afterwards without having to stay in a hotel.

We did pay for a good professional photographer, which I've never regretted.


Whatnotea Fri 31-May-19 13:23:25

Use a church hall or community hall

Go to the registry office - service outside costs approx £600 to get the registrar out (not sure if this is the same if they go to a church)

Have a bake off for dessert & do your own catering and buy your own drinks so no per person charge.

Decorate the hall with fresh flowers.
Play list from your phone rather than a DJ unless you can get a cheapish one.

I love a no frills wedding where it is all about the bride & groom.

Jaxhog Fri 31-May-19 13:23:31

Getting married in church shouldn't be too expensive (we did this), but can quickly escalate once you add flowers/decorations, bells and choir. But you will get good photos. Can you get friends/relatives to arrange the flowers/decorations?

Don't get a special licence either, having banns read is much cheaper.

Jaxhog Fri 31-May-19 13:25:38

I've also attended a wedding in a community hall recently, where everyone brought a dish. They also had a cash bar, after a drink of bubbly was provided by the groom. Great fun!

Lemonjelly131 Fri 31-May-19 14:46:20

Thanks everyone!
@QforCucumber does a lot go into organising/decorating a village hall? be worried I'd have to spend loads on decorations to make it look nice

@Jaxhog do the flowers get expensive? My mums offered to get the cake so that's once less thing to worry about

Would people mind a cash bar?

Sexnotgender Fri 31-May-19 14:48:05

No one will mind a cash bar!

QforCucumber Fri 31-May-19 14:48:46

@Lemonjelly131 the place we looked at for £500 offered an 'internal marquee' which was lovely however was £500. we were just going to put bunting and flowers on the tables, honestly - noone cares!

I've never been to a wedding that's not a cash bar.

Lemonjelly131 Fri 31-May-19 14:54:48

Oh thank god! Ok breathe... where do I start??

stucknoue Fri 31-May-19 15:05:01

I work for a church so I can tell you how it works from that side. You can get married by right in your parish church (the website "a church near you" will tell you your parish church, you do not have to attend the church. Alternatively you can marry in any Church of England church you "have a connection to" this is pretty loosely defined so individual diocese and vicars interpret differently but typically attending 3-4 services is enough, as is having a parent or grandparent married there, close family member attends (and you go occasionally eg Christmas).

The cost for a church wedding is around £500 plus music costs which vary locally.

For a reception you could rent the church hall and order a buffet from the supermarket entertaining ranges or a local caterer, alternatively look for hotels or banqueting suites which do not have a wedding licence ideally (they tend to be cheaper as they can't compete in the complete wedding package market), alternatively pubs, marquee in someone's garden (I had this) and social clubs are all possibilities - choice we depend on where you obviously.

Off the peg dresses from the main high street shops are often good or oxfam have second hand in large branches, bridesmaids/flower girl dresses are available from supermarket websites even!

A photography student is a great option (I did this) and M&S sell plain iced wedding cakes you can stack - order decorations online. Church flower arrangers may be able to do your flowers for far less than florists charge.

Suits might be better rented or go with just trousers and waistcoats, M&S is a good starting place if buying.

You could probably do it for £2k or £2m! It's all about choices. Happiness in the future is what matters.

stucknoue Fri 31-May-19 15:06:30

Ps it's an extra £28 if it's not your parish church (2019 prices)

QforCucumber Fri 31-May-19 15:07:24

We found suit hire more expensive than buying the basic 3 piece in River Island - we got in the Jan sale for £90 instead of £140.

QforCucumber Fri 31-May-19 15:07:50

First thing to decide - a date, that gives you a timescale to work towards smile

QforCucumber Fri 31-May-19 15:09:56

Breakdown of our costs (I found my spreadsheet)
Reception£2,886.00 (Local golf club, included catering for 100 people)
Mens Suits£230.00 (2 suits, ties, shoes and also DS age 3 suit)
Shoes,Earrings, Hairpiece£100.00
Ceremony Vegas£460.00
Las Vegas£1,930.00
BM Dress£100.00

Total ££7,716.99

jackio2205 Fri 31-May-19 15:19:11

It's guests that is the expense really, so make your group small and intimate, or.... have it just you two then throw a party when you're married?
Other idea to explore is a twilight wedding, lots of venues do weddings that start at 6pm or something, so no sit down meal just a buffet for guests which is a whole lot cheaper! X

Honeyroar Fri 31-May-19 15:32:10

Could you work out how many of his family would be there, then pick an equal number of close friends of yours to make up the numbers? I know what you mean about having family members there that would make the occasion feel awkward rather than special. You could always invite your dad or aunts/uncles/grandparents to the evening do if you feel like it would create a war/really upset them if you missed them out completely?

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