I read about the woman who threw a hissy fit because her guests wouldn’t pay about £800 towards her wedding and it was costing about forty grand for a fairytale wedding but let me ask this: why are you getting married? Is it because you love that other person so much that you just wanted to be connected to them more than just living together can bring? Or is it you just want a massive circus, spend so much money you are generally paying it off for the rest of your life (probably way after the divorce is finalised) and trying to one up Susan you haven’t known since school and then having the marriage because it’s the thing to do in the list of your life?.
While there is nothing wrong with wanting a nice day and having all those things, the things you have to remember is this: weddings are a headache, weddings bring all kinds of drama, weddings bring out the worst in people and weddings go by so fucking fast is it really necessary to spend thousands upon thousands on stuff that while it looks nice, you aren’t really going to appreciate or get so hung up that something hasn’t gone according to plan that you forget to stand back with your new husband/wife during the day and think ‘we did it! We got married’ and actually enjoy your special day. You can spend it if you want to of course, no one is telling you not to but do you really need that candy cart that cost hundreds when you can do a candy station for half the price? Do you really need that fancy meal when most people will sit there and be hungry after (or not like the dish being offered) do you really need all the gubings for the bridesmaids, flower girls, mother of the bridge and maid of honour? Do you really need that hanger?. The answer is fundamental no, you could spend the extra money on a nicer honeymoon or towards other stuff if you have it spare (which I am assuming you don’t), as long as you marry the love of your life, a hanger isn’t needed or a canvas bag announcing whose who in your party.
Both my marriages I have done it on a budget and I’ll be honest my first marriage with only two weeks to arrange it there was something that I regretted enormously and wish we could have had somethings but I never regretted it at the time, it was only a few years later when I attended another wedding (I had only ever been to one in my life) that I actually thought ‘we should have had that’ but we didn’t and my next wedding I wanted to step it up a gear but still remember the reason why I was getting married and not get carried away, we had the hangover bags, we had the toiletries in the bathroom, we had a few extras that were a bit of an add on at the last moment but we did it all on the cheap and no one noticed and here is the thing, no one expected it, people don’t care if there is hangover bags or a can of hairspray in the loo (and generally is just gets nicked at the end of the night!).
One thing Adam reminded me time and time again, the wedding was for us and everything else was for everyone else.
If you want to get married on a budget:
Here’s how we did it and cost less that five grand:
Getting married on a week day was a lot cheaper than a weekend, of course if you want the traditional day you can marry on a Saturday but expect to spend about another hundred or so pounds, you can have the church wedding (which would have been my ideal day but A it’s expensive and B Adam isn’t religious.
Find a venue that has free hire, we hired the local pub and while this isn’t a venue of choice for a lot of couples again, it’s just a party with family and friends to start your married life, I would be lying if I said I didn’t want the wedding breakfast etc but we knew we wouldn’t be able to afford the £25 or more ahead per person plus extras, so if you just want a party, hire a pub or church/community hall (with a hall you have to supply the booze, I knew my new family would spend loads of money at the bar so this was the better choice). Hiring a pub with free venue hire was a good deal, we paid £500 for the dj and food, there was tons of food and the dj was good. The pub did everything we wanted and more, they even played geeky movie music for us on arrival that we didn’t even think of but it was a lovely touch, it was such a nice place to have it.
The dress: the dress for the bride is probably the thing that you will spend the most money on, my first dress cost £39.40 and my second for my second wedding cost me £50 from simply be (I did buy one for £180 also from simply be, as a larger bride but this wasn’t what I wanted), if you want to buy an expensive dress, do it because if you feel good it makes you happy but you don’t have too, I think despite me only spending £50 I managed to make it look more by spending another £14 on a navy tutu underneath. The leather jacket I already owned and it was chilly on the day of the wedding so I put it on last minute.
The men’s suits: Adam for his from primark for £60 and it is fantastic quality, the boys suits all cost less that £30 each and we only chose the groom and best man to have a suit jacket so that lowered costs and don’t be afraid to ask your best man to buy their own suit (let them know you are on a budget beforehand) and if you aren’t bothered about colour so much, thankfully our best man (Adams brother) was more than happy to get a suit that matched Adams).
Our invites were done diy and while they didn’t look amazing, they did the job! They cost less that £20 to produce.
Wine: we were told we could only have wine on the table for the toast, Adams Aunt instead of a gift bought the wine for us, it was a touch we wanted but thought we would never afford, so that was very welcome.
Bridesmaids: we paid for two bridesmaids (BM’s) dresses, we had six BM’s, their mums were more than happy to buy their daughters dresses, we bought for my step daughter and Adams sister, again we wasn’t overly worried about style or colours, it worked perfectly in the end as we had two in Ivory, three in superhero dresses and two in navy blue (the maid of honour also purchased her own dress).
Photographer: we was very lucky to know a professional photographer and their wedding gift to us was the photography for the day, so we didn’t spend a penny. I would have loved a videographer but my dad captured the wedding and we have something to look back on, one tip: have an ‘ unplugged’ wedding which means no photos during the service because it means everyone enjoys the service.
Order of service: we printed our own and probably cost a few pounds to produce with the paper and ink and really, it was just done as an extra for one of my sons to have a job, you don’t really need them if you are having a basic wedding.
Cars: my step father in law offered to drive in his nice car, again saving money, think about it, apart from people passing by who are going to see you arriving at the venue? Everyone else is inside! We paid £7.99 for personalised ribbon on eBay.
Flowers: my friend made my bouquet as my gift and button holes cost less than £15 from eBay. I wanted lollipop bouquets for the girls but never thought I’d be able to afford it, Wilkos had a special offer £1.50 each the day after Mother’s Day!
Cake: we paid £100 for our cake as my old boss makes cakes and was part of their wedding gift.
Room to get ready in: we stayed in a nice hotel the night of the wedding and was very lucky that we were getting married later in the day and the hotel said we could get ready from 11am, so everyone came and for ready there, it felt like a bit of luxury but only spent £70 on the room with another £30 for food to feed everyone.
Make up: if someone offers to do your make up, take it and have a trial beforehand, Adams aunt offered to do mine as I was going to do it myself and I am glad she did as she calmed my nerves, we did a trial a couple of weeks before so I knew what it was going to be ok.
Hair: again I wasn’t going to spend out on my hair but thankfully my sister in law knows a fantastic hairdresser and I dyed my hair myself (well Adam did!) and spent £20 on my hair and £10 on my youngest step daughters and another BM.
Nails: again I wasn’t going to spend on this but a family friend does nails and I’m glad I did: total cost £20.
My sister in law also blinged some trainers she bought be from primark, they had flashing lights and were around £17, I never expected them to look like they ended up, they were and still are beautiful.
My biggest expense
Shoes and actual make up: I spent the day in London which was a huge expensive day out and brought a pair of irregular choice shoes for £80, I always wanted a pair but sadly I had to sell them, the nice lady who I sold them too sent them back to me for the day after I asked her if she could wear them on my wedding day and I told her what for, it was such a nice gesture. I also spent over £300 on benefit cosmetics, it’s still in use and only use on special occasions so it was money well spent! That was my biggest expense and not one I recommend.
We also spent £8.99 on the men’s shoes from primark and you couldn’t really tell they wasn’t converse.
we had hangover kits, we spent £4 on personalised bags (total cost) and spent about £15 on: tea bags, coffee, mini cheddars, milkshake straws and paracetamol (be careful with them as you can only buy so many at a time and careful of children taking the bags), we printed a sign at home.
We spent about £20 on toiletries for the bathrooms, we brought two baskets from Wilko’s for £2 and are using them now so money well spent.
We bought favour bags from eBay (£3 for 50 I think) and went and bought mini eggs from home bargains and spent about £5 for five bags which were ample and in the end they got lost and never got given out!
Decorations: we spent about £30 on decorations from eBay and family members also pitched in and helped, it really added to the atmosphere.
Postbox: we bought a cardboard one from home bargains and decorated it ourselves, all in probably £5 was spent.
We had a canvas instead of a guest book and this cost £6 with the easel cost £18 (which collapsed half way through, little tip buy a more expensive one or smaller canvas!)
Presents: this was our biggest expense, I insisted on getting gifts for everyone that helped with the wedding and probably spent £160 in total but this isn’t necessary, no one expected it and we were there ages giving them out. We were lucky to have a family member (another of Adams aunt) who makes plaques and this was one of the BM gifts and I got little bracelets, with the bags of 99p each, each bag probably cost £3 to put together, we could have spent more but if I know younger kids they will probably get lost in no time, we got things for our kids from each other, I can guarantee you now that only my eldest knows where his gift is, we got fantastic posters for them all, they cost £3 each and we’re 2 for 3, with frames and bags they cost £5 each.
Hoodies: one thing we said we wanted wanted hoodies and I found a great eBay seller and they cost £45 total and are perfect.
I never thought of having one but ring box: we bought a plan box for £1.50 from the works and Adam decorated with wrapping paper, it cost less that £5, on esty they are going for £25, so if you don’t mind a bit of diy go for it!
I managed to get most things from eBay or amazon and cut costs where I could, so you can have the special things but shop round, don’t always look for things with wedding in the title as this is where the cost bumps up.
Admittedly we wouldn’t have been able to afford the day without the huge help from friends and family but family generally want to get involved so let them.
Also another tip: we found a free wedding website and uploaded all the information for guests on here and everyone could rsvp on here, word to the wise: you will be chasing people right up until the day, people won’t commit or say they are coming they will just assume you know they are!
Also remember what you want, the thing you want and your other half, don’t be swayed to change your mind because it will look better, some can’t see your vision but once put together they see it all.
If you want any advice just ask!