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DP Finally making an honest woman of me!!!!

44 replies

mum2toby · 15/04/2003 07:50

Well folks, I thought I'd add a wee bit happier news (well, happy for me anyway!). After a 3 year engagement DP and I have finally set a date to get married!!!!!!! HURRAH!

Only got 6 months to organise it so we'd better get a move on and no doubt I'll be on Mumsnet asking advice on flowers.... who to NOT invite.... trying not to offend friends and family etc etc and all the other traumas that come with weddings!

We're trying to keep it very low key and, therefore low cost, but already it seems to be spiralling. HELP!

Has anyone got any really good tips for keeping the cost of weddings down. We're not having a sit down meal, just an evening buffet, so that helps.

Anything else, oh wise mumsnetters????

OP posts:
Wills · 15/04/2003 13:49


To save money .... There are many "outlet centres" although I don't know Scotland that well I'm sure they must have some and places like M&S and BHS do sell a lot of their bridal stock very cheaply at these places. (for the flower girl).

Also in terms of the cake M&S do a simple but elegantly decorated fruit cake in different sizes so you could investigate put that into a tier.

Good luck

Meanmum · 15/04/2003 13:52

Oh yeah, a girlfriend of mine had inidividual chocolate cakes in those little cupcake shells for her wedding cake. She had put little roses on top of each one and put them in a tier going up. Looked fantastic and everyone had an individual cake that they could easily take home.

This will mean lots of cooking for you or your friends and I think you can by a decoration to go on top of each cake really cheaply. even if you just went with gold and silver balls (edible) to put on top for a different look.

SamboM · 15/04/2003 17:12

CONGRATULATIONS Mum2Toby!!! How exciting, although I got married nearly 8 yrs ago I still remember it so clearly and it really was such fun!

Money saving tips, we hired the oldest routemaster in London instead of a car and all our mates/family fitted on too, they decorated it brilliantly and it was extremely riotous going back to the hotel! It was much cheaper than a posh car too! We only had an evening do too, got married late in a reg office and had a glass of champagne back at ours for family, then invited everyone to the evening do.

A tip, don't let too many men with beards kiss you or you'll end up with a red face!

mum2toby · 15/04/2003 17:13

Great tip SamboM!

OP posts:
leander · 16/04/2003 00:14

massive congrats to you both.

slug · 16/04/2003 10:12
  1. Get your friends and relatives roped in. My sister in law is a photographer, so she took the photos as a wedding present. I also had an ex bf do the same thing. My brother is a cameraman and offered to do a video but we declined. Has anyone got a nice car? Put a bit of ribbon on it and you're laughing.

2. Marks and Sparks do wedding cakes. We got three layers for about £30, I then put fresh carnations in red and white on them. Looked professional and cost next to nothing.

3. Dress - touchy subject at the best of times. If you know anyone who sews, you can make it a lot cheaper. Alternativly if you're not fussed with the white dress palaver, get yourself something designery that can be worn again. I had a black number from ghost, which apart from being in the sale and reuseable, also stretched over my 7 month bump.

4. Venue. We got married in a pub - well actually a very nice place on the River in London. Getting married on a Sunday made it a lot cheaper and easier to get a date. The registrar came out and did the deed there.

5. Like breeze, we asked for vouchers (John Lewis). We stated that we wanted a new washer/dryer. It's nice because even our unemployed and poverty stricken student friends could contribute.

6. Music. We burned 2 CD's of our favourite music. At the last minute we hired a DJ. He alternated his own stuff with our CD which seemed to suit everyone.

For my eldest sister's wedding, they had the reception at their house. As I was unemployed at the time, my present was the catering. My sister bought the food and I cooked it and served it all for her, with the help of a friend. My brothers drove the wedding cars, one was the barman and friends took the photos.

In my experience, the more you involve your friends and family in the actual jobs of the wedding, the better the whole event is. The only suggestion would make about money is don't skimp on the alcohol. Ever been to a dry wedding? (shudder) Having said that my inlaws wedding present to us was the bar bill.
Ghosty · 16/04/2003 11:20

Congratulations Mum2Toby ....
Agree with all the above!!!!
We saved money for our wedding too ...
a) Cheap dress ... off the peg ... but very pretty
b) DH's father has a friend who owned a vintage car so we invited him to the wedding so that we could borrow it ... My dad and my brother had reasonably nice cars at the time so my mum drove herself and the 'big' bridesmaids to the wedding and my brother drove his daughters (the little bridesmaids)
c) Chose bridesmaid dresses that my two friends would REALLY like and would wear again and had a dressmaker copy them ....
d) My mum made and decorated the cake ... and decorated the tables.
e) Instead of having the traditional table flowers stuck in an oasis that usually florists charge a fortune for I got empty blue glass water bottles from a local restaurant. My SIL decorated each one with our names and the date in silver and gold pen and my mum put 3 orange gerberas and some bear grass in each in the centre of each table .... sounds odd but looked AMAZING!
f) Got married on a Friday ... much cheaper than a Saturday ... our venue was half the price.
g) Get your own booze ... if you can ...

We spent a fortune on a professional photographer and his pics were c**p compared to the photos that our friends took ... so if I were to do it again I wouldn't bother with that.

If you have a 'managing' mother or future MIL ... don't let them near it! We were really lucky as we organised our whole day ourselves ... no interference from parents etc and I am so thankful ... I have friends whose days have been ruined by their mothers!!!!

Frieda · 16/04/2003 12:18

Many congratulations mum2toby (and bride2be!). Sounds like you're going to have a fantastic day. We got married in October and had a beautiful day (complete with a rainbow at the end of the ceremony ? free special effect which looked great on the photos, but couldn't advise on how to arrange one, I'm afraid). One cheap tip for the table flowers ? big fat candle on a circle of oasis surrounded by hydrangea heads, which all but arrange themselves. So easy to do, but looked amazing. A nice (inexpensive) thing we had as well was a spiral-bound notebook which we asked the guests to pass round and write us a little message each in. Sounds simple, but it was almost as good a memory of the day as the photos.

edgarcat · 16/04/2003 13:28

Message withdrawn

Demented · 16/04/2003 13:45

Congratulations Mum2toby, you have had loads of good advice here. We had a fairly budget wedding, hired dresses, DH's car (fairly old white Audi) as bridesmaid's car (just the one bridesmaid), friend of my uncle made the cake (later found out that although he is a professional baker he is also an alcoholic, glad I didn't know that at the time), flowers from the market arranged by a friend, Clinique in Debenhams did the makeup for myself and bridesmaid (only catch was that I had to buy something from them but still cheaper than the professionals). The biggest extravagance we had was a hotel, meal and evening buffet (the meal was only for family and v close friends), a good band, hired car for myself and I had my hair done at the hairdressers, as it turned out we shopped around and these things were not as expensive as we had imagined.

We had an October wedding too, it was lovely, all the best.

Crunchie · 16/04/2003 13:52

Congrats Mum2toby. If there is one thing I like talking about after babies, it's weddings!!

I read your dress is coming from Debenhams, when I was in Debenhams this weekend they had some beautiful little girls dresses at about £25 - £30 which would be perfect for a bridesmaids dress (my little girl wanted one, but I told her we were already married so tuff!)

Try to make sure you get the negatives from the photographer. I think ours was the most expensive thing all day, but I had over 700 pictures! Look for one who may charge a fee, but charges cost on films/processing.

I love the idea of single cup-cakes, I saw this done for a very posh wedding on TV. Nigella has a great fairy cake recipie, get all your friends to make a couple of batches.

Where is your venue going to be? If you can choose somewhere that you can bring your own booze, do. I know france is out, but supermarkets often do specials on wine/beer. Sainsbury's are doing 1/2 price austrailian wine (£2.99 a bottle) at the mo. We went to france and brought back about 200 bottles of wine/sparking wine for about £400, then paid corkage of £5 per bottle. It was still cheaper than the house wine at £10 a bottle (and we had loads left!)

Keep it simple, we only served wine, sparkling wine, elderflower cordial (very pretty with mint) and orange juice for kids. No beer!!

My MIL did all the flowers, we had loads, and the bill was about £400 (cost price of flowers from the market) so you can image how many we had!

Enjoy planning!!

JanZ · 16/04/2003 15:19

Congratulations Mum2toby!

My costcutting tips from my own wedding experience are: contact your local council's parks department - they will almost defintiely have a "floral" section who are much more reasonable than a florists. Glasgow parks department did my bouquet, the bridesmaid's bouquet, flowers for the tables (like Frieda, we had big fat church candles surrounded by flowers - bought the candles myself at the House of Fraser sale, which meant I didn't need candles for years!), flower arrangements for the church and matching hanging baskets to hang in the marquee for a fraction of the price a florist would have charged. They even did the corsages and buttonholes.

We also had a marquee wedding (Mum and dad are fortunate in having an enormous garden - albeit shared with others in the house, which has been converted into flats), so it was easier for us to be in control and choose what we wanted to spend money on. For us wine was important (hence the marquee and self catering, as we objected to paying corkage or through the nose for a mediocre hotel wine). We negotitated a discount with our friendly Oddbins, plus got the wine on Sale or Return. If you do have control over the wine, the Segura Cava is a really good, drinkeable bubbly, and is over half the price of a comparable champagne.

I laid out and printed out my own order of Service and gave it to a local printer to duplicate. I printed off the menus myself at home on nice paper.

We also used a friend's car to get to the church - it was only a mile and a half away, so I begrudged the hire costs! We put a ribbon on the friend's car - and at the church the ribbon was transferred to dh's silver Puma, in which the two of us drove back to the house. It was actually nice to have those few minutes to ourselves.

I bought loads of tartan ribbon and used that to tie up the menus - so they also became part of the table decorations.

The following year my brother got married and used the same format - the marquee at my parents. They saved money by getting flowers from the fruit market and then arranging them - but I know that that did frazzle my Mum a bit! She also made tonnes of tablet for the favours (I hadn't bothered with favours).

My Mum also made my and my SIL's wedding dresses, plus made the wedding cakes (got someone else to decorate them). But she is a bit of a super woman!

Like you, I wanted a classy, but not too formal wedding. The nice thing about the marquee was that we were in control. The day morphed from the wedding itself into a garden party (the weather was absolutely glorious - a beautiful may day), with people wandering down to the loch, before sitting down to a meal (provided by a local caterer, although the next year, my brother had a BBQ!), short speeches (with both my monther and I insisting on having our own say) and finishing with a ceilidh into the wee small hours.

We didn't have a top table - too formal for me - all the tables were round with ours, on which were sat dh and me, the bridesmaid/matron of honour and her dh, bestman and his dw and a friend acting as MC and his dp, in the middle, so it was easy for us to go and chat with everyone.

We also bought (cheap via the internet) single use cameras to put on each table to get different "pictures" of the wedding. We got some wierd and wonderful snaps!

slug · 16/04/2003 20:08

Another thought, we did the invitations ourselves. I used Microsoft publisher, scanned a photo of the two of us looking ridiculously happy (drunk!) and put it on the front. The inside was then personalised, very useful if you've got crap handwriting. I printed them off on nice paper (3 for 2 at WH Smiths). It's very easy to do, I've subsequently done them for two toher friends. Get someone who's handy with a computer to do them for you.

SoupDragon · 16/04/2003 20:38

If you're buying the dress from Debenhams, can you open an account card and get 10% off?

SoupDragon · 16/04/2003 20:40

I have a friend who had a tower of about 100 fairy cakes with edible glitter sprinkled on and ribbon wound round. It (they) looked fantastic!

Linnet · 17/04/2003 00:27

congratulations Mum2toby.

We cheated and booked a holiday abroad and arranged the wedding over the internet. Got married up a small mountain, just me, dh and dd as flowergirl and accosted a couple of hill walkers to be witnesses. We had a great time and even had a tiny shower of snow after the ceremony that was just like confetti. We went out for a meal at night just the three of us and had a great holiday/honeymoon thrown in as well. I hate to say it but our entire holiday and wedding cost just over what my friend paid for her wedding dress alone 2 years before.

I was lucky that I was able to wear the bridesmaid dress that I had worn to said friends wedding 2 years before, dh bought himself a kilt but he can wear that again. and dd wore a lovely dress from the next directory.

Our families are too complicated to all have under the same roof so we took the easy way out. But we had a great day.

We didn't have a wedding cake sadly, but had lovely flowers made up in a small florist in the town we were staying in.

Also for presents we just got a few things that we asked for, seeing as we had lived together for 8 years we didn't really need a lot. Mostly people gave us vouchers we got loads of vouchers for Frasers but our Frasers has now shut down so we'll have to travel to Glasgow or Edinburgh to spend them, well hey it's a day out, lol

there are some great books in libraries and bookshops that give you ideas on small weddings and loads of books on bridal flowers that you could work from if you or someone close is artisitic in that way.

also if you can get to a wedding exhibition any time soon they have great ideas, I went to one of them with my friend when she was planning her wedding and it was great fun.

good Luck

Bozza · 17/04/2003 16:54

Most of our tips are similar to others I'm afraid. Got my dress from a closing down shop. According to my sister's friend's mother who made the bridesmaid's dresses, headdresses and my veil it couldn't have been made for that price. We made the invitations etc ourselves. My Mum borrowed tins and made the cake, and Dad iced it. It was a traditional 3-tier fruit cake intricately iced though so I bet it still ended up them a fortune.

Also because the drive from my parent's house to the church was about 0.5 miles and from the Church to the Reception about 1 mile we hired one car and had it do two trips. ie it took Mum & breidesmaids to Church then came back for Dad and me, then took DH and me to Reception and went back for bridesmaids.

An acquaintance of Mum did the Church flowers (bought from flower market) and the ones that had been in the window sills were taken to the Reception venue to be used as table decs.

CP · 17/04/2003 19:15

I made myself very popular with the 'outlaws' (who have a huge family) by saying that nobody who I have not met will be invited - that way we easily saved on about 15 family members... Perhaps you could also try asking your suppliers if they will give you a cash discount - worth a try as some are willing. Congratulations and good luck.

Demented · 17/04/2003 21:18

Further to CP's point, I have 18 cousins who are mostly all married and many have children of their own but they are all alot older than me and I have had very little to do with them, I didn't invite any of them, saving at least 36 places, afterall who wants 36 or more people at your wedding that neither of you know? I invited all my aunts and uncles mind you.

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