Weddings are an expensive business. Mention ‘wedding’ when ordering anything for your big day and expect a massive hike in price. The average wedding now costs over £20,000.
THAT. IS. RIDICULOUS.
£20,000 was our house deposit. Think about what you could use that money for…during your ACTUAL marriage… do you really want to blow it all on one day?
Let’s get this straight before we go any further…. If you are getting married to have a big old fancy schmancy wedding day…you are getting married for the wrong reason. If you are getting married to spend the rest of your life with the person you love…then that is another matter.
A wedding…..in my opinion….is a PARTY…yes a party… (I just lost two thirds of brides right there didn’t I?….) to celebrate the start of your married life. I would have happily married P on a Wednesday afternoon, in jeans and a t-shirt at a registry office, with just two witnesses off the street, because I wanted a marriage. Not a wedding….a marriage. The reason we did decide to celebrate with our families and friends is because we wanted to spend time with them and have a ruddy good knees up in the process.
We spent around £4,500 on our wedding…still a hefty chunk of money that we had to save to spend…and now in hindsight I can see ways that we could have slim-lined it even more….so that is where this blog series comes in I guess!
This is going to be a topic that I can ramble on about over several posts, so here is my first purse-puckering tip.
Have a small Wedding Party and shop your outfits clever
None of this 6 bridesmaids and groomsmen malarky… I decided early on that I didn’t want to spend most of my budget on clothes… because that is completely cuckoo.
So I decided to just have a Maid of Honour and a little flower girl. P had a Best Man and that was it.
By doing this, I saved myself time, hassle and of course, money.
I understand that sometimes family will expect your cousin/sister/niece to be a bridesmaid, but it is YOUR day. Explain that you don’t want a large wedding party… I mean the organisation alone becomes a nightmare. Trying to get your 3 bridesmaids into town to look at dresses together is no mean feat…and then finding something that they AND you like? Keep it simple, keep it about what is important…you and your future spouse.
We actually ended up asking some family and friends to be part of our day in another way.
P’s sister and my oldest friend both did readings at the ceremony and a pair of good friends were our witnesses. My two youngest brothers gave out the Order of the Day at the ceremony, rather than us having any ushers (people know how to sit in chairs by themselves forgoodnesssake….) and they quite enjoyed having a little job to do.
I was able to let Lauren (my amazing MOH) choose whatever she wanted to wear. This made dress hunting sooooo stressless for me…because she looks fab in everything….and we didn’t have to match her with anybody else! I ended up getting her a designer dress in the sale at knock down price. She wore her own shoes and put real flowers in her hair that she bought the night before.
My little flower girl’s dress came from Primark, as did her headband, and she wore shoes she already owned and felt comfy in. There is NOTHING worse than putting new uncomfy shoes on a little one…and the pink glitter looked fab. Her little outfit cost £15 all in all. Please consider a cheap and cheerful option for little bridesmaids…they are just going to want to roll around on the floor during the reception anyway….
We also bought P’s suit in the sale 11 months before the wedding, and got him two pairs of trousers so he could then use it for work afterwards. He hated having to put on his old suit for meetings when he had a nice new shiny one there hanging right next to it, but he managed! He wore his nice work shoes, which he had only bought 6 months before the wedding as his old ones fell apart. My shoes were the only ones we bought in fact…and they cost me £20 from Debenhams. If we had bought all the shoes for the wedding party we would have spent around £150…. that is wine money right there….
We decided to just get matching ties for the Groom, Best Man and Dads. The option of hiring/buying 4 matching suits didn’t work for us, and I wasn’t really bothered about it. It wasn’t a deal breaker for me. It was in fact money better spent on feeding and watering our guests. The gents wore their own suits and they all looked very handsome.
Now a little confession…my dress….gulp….My grandmother has insisted since the day I could walk that she would buy my wedding dress and refused to hear any other option. So my dress was our wedding gift from her and my grandfather. Rest assured, it was not a £2,000 frock. That wouldn’t have sat well with me and I couldn’t have beared to wear anything too expensive it for fear of breaking it! I have however factored the cost I would have paid for a wedding dress into my end £4,500 budget.
My veil was my mothers from her marriage to my father, I just had to replace the comb, which was the easiest sewing job ever. I already had a clear plastic comb laying around too, so that was completely free. Veils unlike dresses, don’t really change much with fashion. See if a family member has one in the loft/top of the wardrobe!
My main advice for tiaras/sparkley head gear for brides is to avoid, avoid, AVOID the bridal shops. They are RIDICULOUSLY expensive. Keep your peepers peeled in Accessorize, New Look, Primark and the like, especially around prom/school leavers season. I know it is your special day…but you are going to wear the thing once and then put it in a box for all eternity…does it really matter if it cost £5 from Claire’s Accessories? I actually borrowed the clip in my hair from Lauren and wore it as my ‘something borrowed’. Don’t be frightened to ASK… most people are honoured to lend something for such a special day. I also borrowed P’s Mum’s pearls for the ceremony.
So I guess to sum up this post…when it comes to the people involved in the ceremony…keep it light. For your own sanity….
Then shop the sales…wedding planning takes quite a while so you should hit at least one sale seasons whilst you are planning…unless you are those AMAZING people who can plan it within 2 months…
And don’t be frightened to borrow/rewear items you already own….I took my leather jacket to wear in case I got cold, rather than buying a bolero/shrug…my earrings were a gift from two christmasses ago….weddings really should not be about buying EVERYTHING brand new….that’s insane….and if it’s ALL brand new is it really reflecting you?
I am not saying don’t mark a special day…before I get a barrage of ‘miserly’ comments…it’s about marking it in a way that you don’t bankrupt yourself for the rest of your marriage.
I am going to be doing quite a few of these sorts of posts covering venues, decor, food etc etc….I did start to write it as one long entry then I realised what a monumental post that would be! If you want to request a subject, something you are concerned about…feel free to pop a comment below.
Fingers crossed this has helped a few of you!