“Congratulations on getting engaged! I’m so happy for you both! Have you set a date yet?”
And so it begins… Wedding Planning for the absolute novice. So after doing a bit of Googling, asking your friends, maybe your mum, you sit down and start to write out the list of things you now have to organise and purchase.
Start with the basics – venue for your ceremony, venue for your reception, wedding catering, wedding attire for the bride, groom & wedding party, flowers, the wedding cake, the photographer, favours, table decorations & centerpieces, stationary, transport, accommodation, hair & make up, the honeymoon…. Hold on, didn’t I say start with the basics?
You’re suddenly confronted with a list as long as your arm, with your bank account cowering away in the corner of the room. You can already feel your overdraft and credit cards waving enthusiastically at you as your heart sinks.
“How can I possibly afford the wedding I want on my budget?”
“Do I really need to get all the things on that list?”
“That seems like a lot of money, but I guess weddings are expensive…”
Setting the Budget
Setting a realistic budget for your wedding is dependent on many variables – your own financial situation, savings you might have already, gifts from friends or parents, and the kind of wedding day you’re hoping to have.
For some people, they want the full works – the fairytale wedding, designer dresses, premium suppliers and an extravagant honeymoon. It is little wonder then that their wedding spends can often exceed £20,000, and then some.
For others, as long as they enjoy themselves, spend the day with their nearest and dearest, and come out married at the end, nothing else really matters. And in an ideal world, they’ll spend as little as possible and put the money towards investing their future (a mortgage, a family, holidays).
“Are you allowed to do that at a wedding?”
The wedding market can swallow you up and spit you out with a predetermined image of how your wedding day should play out. You went to that wedding last summer – is that what it’s supposed to look like?
I showed a young couple around our wedding venue a few weeks ago. They didn’t have a huge budget to work with so I was surprised when they said they were planning on having a three course wedding breakfast when catering is so often where the huge expense lies. I asked them if they’d considered any other options; a hog roast or a BBQ, maybe a buffet or just Afternoon Tea – and the bride to be replied “Are you allowed to do that at a wedding?” It just goes to show how formulaic people have come to consider weddings to be when really, they should be the most personalised and individual event of your lives. After all, it’s meant to be about two people (and their families) coming together as one.
“It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to”
We hosted a lovely reception earlier in the year for a couple who spent just a few thousand pounds on their whole wedding, honeymoon included. A few thousand pounds is still a lot of money but very modest when it comes to the wedding world. They decided to hold their ceremony with just themselves, their parents and immediate family. They had some lovely photos taken on the day after they’d exchanged vows, and then went for an intimate dinner party to celebrate the occasion. Then, 5 days later, they held their wedding reception with us and invited 100 guests to enjoy a BBQ on the steps, a few (or more) drinks from the bar and some good live music. The bride had her wedding dress modified for the evening reception and they put photos of their ceremony around the venue on the night. They decided very early on that they didn’t want to deal with the stress and exhaustion that comes from holding the ceremony and reception all in one day. They did things their way, and they couldn’t have been happier with the outcome.
Whether you want a simple celebration and a registry office ceremony, or you want a County House Manor or even a castle, there are still ways you can save money with some easy DIY options. Here’s three money-saving tips to get you started –
– Floral Fix
Wedding flowers are notoriously expensive, ‘The Knot’ suggests that around 8% of your total budget could be spent on the flowers. To put this perspective – if you have a £10,000 budget, that’s an £800.00 spend on flowers that are going to last for a couple of days, unless you then pay again to have them dried out.
This tutorial from La Belle Bride shows you how to make your own custom Burlap Bouquet. Providing a real alternative to the traditional bouquet, I love the rustic vintage vibe and you could add whatever colours and details you wanted. Image sourced at La Belle Bride
– Do me a Favour
I recently wrote a blog on Wedding Favours (shameless plug, sorry!) which had some great favour ideas, with the cheapest coming in at around 60p each. But I’ve been inspired by my surroundings and love the idea of using pebbles from the beach customised with your guest names. They double up as both a wedding favour and a ‘place card’ and can be made for next to nothing if you opt for DIY. Image sourced here.
– Winter Wonderland
The vast majority of venues will charge you more for a wedding in the summer – FACT. We all love the idea of that garden party reception, Pimms & Lemonade on arrival and hanging bunting in the marquee. But reflecting on the last few years suggests to me that opting for a Spring, Autumn or Winter Wedding will probably result in better weather any way! And if you are lucky enough to get a heat wave, just remember the downsides too (think flushed faces, sweaty suits, and words to describe your *impossibly heavy* wedding dress that you thought you’d never utter). And besides, how magical does that look? Image sourced here.
Whether you plan to have a traditional day, a quirky alternative, or even decide to elope, try not to get too caught up in what you think you should do to conform to the norm. The most important moment of your wedding day is when you both say “I Do”. We mustn’t forget that.
Care to share? Leave a comment below!
If you’re looking for more money saving wedding tips – check out this post on thrifty wedding ideas