Have a Cheap Wedding Without the Wedding Price Tag
Everyone who has planned a wedding or looked into it knows that at soon as you mention the 'W' word, the price of everything jumps up. So many people have said it to me, especially as I am sorting out my own big day.
As far as the food goes, feeding your guests is the biggest bill. But as you delve a bit deeper you realize everything else is costly too.
The Wedding Reception
My partner and I thought painfully about how we would have a nice wedding without getting into debt to pay for it. The ceremony comes at an unavoidable price, but looking at it doesn't really have to cost an arm and a leg.
But then when you go on to check out reception venues, feeding everyone is not straightforward.
We looked at many options. These are two of the venues we looked at:
Large hotel in the south of England
- Most expensive package £130.00 per person with a minimum of 80 people
- Cost of most expensive room £3,000
- Most expensive ceremony room £800.00
Plus drinks on top and any extras (Evening buffet, hog roast, DJ)
Smaller hotel in the north of England
- Top price for ceremony, wedding breakfast and evening reception £425.00
- Evening buffet £15.50 maximum price and drinks and extra's on top
The difference does appear to be massive, but then the hotels are rather different. One overlooks the River Thames in a grand setting while the other sits in a small town, away from any big cities.
So if you were to go with the second option, compared to the first you would think you were getting a good deal.
Of course the hidden costs will slowly become apparent, such as table linen, chair covers, wine and soft drinks, flowers and favors. But if you were to do things a little differently the cost could probably be halved - if not more.
How? By removing the 'W' word!
Here's how to do it
Providing you're having a relatively small wedding, you can do some shopping around to get the best price for what you want.
Your ceremony comes as standard, you can't really avoid that! Costs range from:
- £265.00 in Britain for a registry office (Before April 2012)
- £321.50 in Britain for a church (Before April 2012)
- Or for a basic package in Vegas it's $75.00 (although prices there vary quite a lot!)
You have other options too if you want to marry abroad, on private premises or in another religious place.
Once you have done the legal bit, here's how to celebrate:
Book a restaurant
Do this well in advance so you stand a chance of getting all of your guests a seat. Book for as many guests as you choose to have. This could be a party of 30 if you like.
When you do the booking, it will be assumed it's a party or celebration. They may even ask if it's for a Birthday and offer cake and a song. You don't have to tell them anything. But do your homework first.
Choose a restaurant you really like or one that has a good room layout for all of your wedding guests. If you don't manage to take over the place there may be other people there, but as it's your celebration, you probably won't notice.
So what are the costs?
For lunch at the same hotel in the south of England over looking the river Thames, the most expensive dish comes to £19.95 per person. Dessert comes in at £5.95 per person.
There is a bit of a difference between £130.00 and just under £26.00!
Drinks come on top, but you are still onto a huge saving! There is no venue hire (you'd still pay this if even if you budgeted in a community hall) and guests can pay for their own extra drinks once the wine has gone.
This was a real eye opener to me. Although the cake in all their glory with the icing and decorations are a work of art, the prices seem to go up a bit when it's made for a wedding.
For example, at the weekend I got a price list for sponge or fruit cake. In English pounds, for a 6 inch round iced sponge cake would be £15.00. The biggest size is 12 inch which comes to £55.00. Then there are sizes in between priced accordingly.
I studied these hard, working out the costing of one 6 inch, one 9 inch and one 12 inch. Without added decorations the three tier cake would come to £95.00.
With all the other bills to pay I thought this was a little steep. Until I looked down the price list further.
For a 3 tier 'wedding' cake I would be paying at least £260.00!
That £95.00 now seems a little more appealing.
It just goes to show, if you tell them what it is for, you will be paying the price. I am hasten to add, I will not be telling them what my cake is for!
When it comes to wedding attire, there are one or two ways to do it a little cheaper. A wedding dress is a wedding dress, unless of course you are being a little less traditional.
You can try the high street or ebay for dresses or even ask someone to make you one up. But the groom has a little more flexibility.
For a full on wedding suit to buy in Britain, you are roughly paying a minimum of £120.00 for a 'cheap' morning suit. For anything more stylish or designer, expect to pay through the nose.
Now my husband to be got a good deal on a suit. He wanted a colored suit rather than the usual grey or black, and paid £80.00 in the sale. It wasn't a wedding suit but smart enough for our day.
Hiring a suit is even cheaper. You could be saving a further £20.00 if you choose to do that.
Flowers are lovely at a wedding and it would be rather strange for a bride not to have a bouquet. But by going along to a florist and having you flowers ordered in may be costly.
The prices of flowers peak at certain times of the year such as Mother's day and Valentine's day and they vary enormously for weddings.
A hand bouquet can be anything between £30.00 and £65.00 depending on the flowers you want. A larger teardrop bouquet could be £50.00 to over £100.00.
You then have bridesmaid's flowers, button holes and for a formal wedding, table arrangements too.
This is where your local market comes in handy. As long as you can find the flowers and colors you like, you can pick up bunches which are kinder on your pocket. Then when you get home, separate them and bind them to make individual bouquets. The saving could be quite dramatic.
Alternatively, use silk flowers. You can purchase them in advance and they'll last long after the wedding. A basic bunch of roses will cost around £12.00, whilst button holes and corsages are about £1.00 - £2.00.
Do your shopping around for discounts.
You can also save in other areas on your wedding day, such as asking friends and family to help you out. Photographers, limousines and DJ's push up the bill.
For the sake of one day, you can make it amazing and unique but breathe a sigh of relief when you check your bank balance. It's your future together that is far more important after all.