Post # 1
I’m feeling low about budget this evening. My OH and I are what we’re calling ‘pre-engaged’ (i.e. we’re planning in secret and have been ring shopping but he’s not officially proposed) and last month we sat down and totted up all the quotes in our spreadsheet so far to see where we’re at financially.
Everything is SO expensive, and I already feel like I’m cutting back a ton. I really didn’t want my wedding to cost more than around 15k because that seems like an obscene amount of money to me already (I always secretly thought I could do an awesome wedding for 10k), and already all my venue options are bumping the costs up to £17k or more.
We’re already only looking at Friday or even Sunday weddings in super low season (November or February), so I have literally NO idea how people can afford to get married on Saturdays in summer. I’m based in Oxfordshire and a lot of our favourite venues are in the Cotswolds area, so I don’t know if that’s what’s hiking the price up, but it’s mind-blowing to me that we’re being charged around £3k for Friday venue hire in freaking NOVEMBER without even adding food or drink in.
Our guest list is 120 total but we’re looking at quotes for 75 in the day and 100 at night just to cut costs. I’ve completely given up on being able to afford a videographer because I can’t justify an extra £2,000 or more on top of £17k, and in my mind I’m set on getting a sample or second hand dress because we can’t afford to splash out.
I know this post must sound super ‘woe is me’ and I know UK brides do have incredible days on budgets a lot smaller than £15k, but I’m just really saddened by how little that gets you these days – and the prices keep rising because we’re not getting married until 2019! I’ve always dreamed of a fun, quirky wedding day filled with wonderful touches, and I’m sad that my only budget options are hotels and banqueting halls that don’t let you customise.
Help bees! Are my expectations unrealistic? How did you deal with tight budgets in the UK? (I hate even writing that because £15k shouldn’t be tight!!)
Post # 2
thatweddinggirl : have you considered getting married somewhere else? Oxfordshire sounds expensive! I’m a uk bee from the south coast and our wedding cost no more than £2500. But we did our reasearch and only paid for the things that we couldn’t make or do ourselves. The important thing is the marriage not the wedding, one day goes too fast to spend that much!
ETA: how did we do it cheap? Found a nice registry office that fit 120 people and hired our local village hall and decorated it our own way (lots of car boot sales and thrifty ebaying). Catering we hired a local food van but we contemplated hog roast or BBQ or buffet.
Post # 3
I got married in oxfordshire too for £12k with church, band and all alcohol and food included. 150 guests and 20 extra in the evening.
we hired a big village hall – saves masses. You can’t have a civil ceremony there but could do that elsewhere if you didn’t want a church. We had marquee drapes hung inside to smarten it up. We had a posh bbq. Hired linen from Berkshire linen hire and chair covers from chair covers for brides. Flowers from green and gorgeous (fabulous place) – mum and friends did tables and company did the bouquets and button holes. Wine bought on sale and return from local wine merchant, bubbly from sainsburys when they do 25% off.
Post # 4
Oh dress – I got one from the current season for £1300 (plus around £200 spent on alterations and cleaning) and sold it for £800 just after the wedding.
Post # 5
Our wedding including rings and honeymoon came to just over £15k but a third of that was honeymoon and rings. We got married up north so that will factor in the price but we didn’t really cut back. Have a look at places that are in chain hotels. We had our reception at a best western hotel and we had an all inclusive package. There are nicer venues out there but the hotel fitted everything we needed for the day and it was a reasonable price. We also booked before they got the price list for 2016, so we got the wedding at 2015 prices – we booked at the end of December.
Holiday Inn, Britannia hotels do deals as did most best western hotels that I looked at. Try other chain hotels such as Ramada. If you really don’t want a hotel reception then look at village halls and community buildings. You’ll have to set these up yourself but if you have an army of willing helpers you should be OK. There are some nice community buildings and they’ll need a bit of decoration.
If you’re having a civil ceremony then look at going to the registry office rather than having the registrar visit your venue. If you want fresh flowers look into seasonal flowers, speak with a florist about what is cheap in your colours. For me that meant staying away from roses too.
Don’t worry with save the dates – pretty much every wedding site will tell you to do them but they’re not really a thing here and you’ll probably confuse your older relatives who think it’s an invite. You also don’t need to include RSVPs because traditionally in the UK you would use your own stationery to write the couple a nice note on your acceptance of their invite.
You can have a nice wedding for your amount but it might not be the most desirable venue or the prettiest flowers. Work out your priorities and allocate money to those budgets and go from there. Good luck.
Post # 6
loz24 : absolutely! It was cheaper to go to a registry office than have the registrar come to a venue. Also vista print do lovely invitations and always have discount codes
Post # 7
Ohhh luvvie, same boat here, I think it depends what you want from the day, like I just want to get married, would be happy in a registry office for all I care,but So wouldn’t want that am sure, I know he wants a destination wedding but my mom and brother n elderly grand parents wouldn’t be able to make it, so that leaves a wedding here but will probably be budget through the roof! even a marquee is 8k or a hotel wedding, and this is just me looking in general not specifically planning,
Just seems like so much money for one day, which I’d rather put to a house or maybe a nice holiday
I really feel ya, the only advice I can give is mis out its a wedding on certain things like flowers n stuff cos it’s as if they hear that word n add on extra zeros! Nobs!!
Post # 8
thatweddinggirl : I know what you mean about restrictive hotels etc, have you thought about a converted barn?
Post # 9
Thanks everyone – glad to know it’s not just me! I looked at registry offices to keep costs down but the nearest decent one to me is Oxford which only allows 25 people at ceremonies during weekdays! My mum would never speak to me again if I did that!
Post # 10
Another UK bee here. We are holding our ceremony (and hosted canapé reception) in a national trust building, for hiring of the space plus canapés it’s working out at about 1500. I couldn’t say if this kind of price bracket is similar up and down the country, but it could be worth looking at if you want something with a bit of originality
Just to add, we are not having a plated meal, once the canapé reception is over its straight to the evening doo at a small hotel where we are having a hog roast with plenty of extras
Post # 11
Yup it’s Oxfordshire venues not helping your costs. I was in oxford for 4 years and oxon and surrounding areas are a pricey part of the country.
The bees have given you some good alternative ways to make it cheaper.
For me my biggest savings were
– flowers. Got creative with a lot of free green foliage and mixed real flowers in with excellent faux flowers from China. If you go this route message me and I’ll dig out the best ebay sellers. I bought lots. Some ghastly but found some crackers.
– dress. Secondhand gown from my favourite designer that was over 3k bought for a couple of hundred pounds on preloved. China for huge custom veil.
– cake. A cake making friend did ours but if not a plain m&s cakes stacked up with real flowers on top would have been elegant and cheap.
– invitations and other printing. Done by local print company. I showed them styles I like from various online images and they re created and I kept it simple. Bought heavy weight envelopes from ebay. I reckon we saved £400-500 this way even in standard basic wedding packages from etsy etc.
– Darling Husband bought a new savile row suit unworn on ebay for a song. Amazing quality. Spent a little more on exact tailoring for him. No formal hire wear. His two best men wore their own (very smart) suits.
– no bridesmaids. Just little flower girl with plain satin white dress (very pretty with big skirt) from monsoon.
Excluding rings and honeymoon we did it for 10k and that’s including a blow out on the best well known photographer, a lot of entertainment, good wine and a high spec videographer. It also included professional hair/make up so not being tight. 65 in day, 120 in the night so it can be done. You just have to think away from standard wedding venues and look where to save.
Post # 12
Yeah it’s not just you weddings cost a bomb. I’m in the southwest I had to pay £1000 license fee just to have my wedding at my venue. Then the registrar on top was £650 I think it was. So I was £1600 down on just the actual ceremony!! You can cut corners and it’s worth deciding what’s really important to you. But one thing if you can afford a videographer do it! I so wish I had. There was so many bits I wish had been captured in film, I wish id gone for a cheaper photographer and had a videographer as well.
Post # 13
- Wedding: January 2021 - City, State
Nope they’re super expensive, we got a four thousand pound discount on our venue because we booked at a wedding fair.
we have a dream venue and my dad paid for the deposit, we got money off our photographer £300, as he was at the fair).
we aren’t having cars so that’s saving money, all in we are about 15k for a huge wedding
Post # 14
Hello I’m from Oxfordshire too. I’ll private message you x
Post # 15
I’m a US bee but you sound a lot like me! I initially wanted to stay around $10k but after pricing things out I realized $15k would be a stretch and I think we got closer to $20k. And my wedding was BBQ, paper plates, plasticware, plastic cups. No programs, no favors, flowers from a farmer’s market that my aunt arranged, cake from Costco, kegs of beer and wine brought in by me. We did have 160 people and had a photographer $1,350, DJ, $1,200, venue, $3,000, shuttle rental, $1,100 I also paid for most of hair and makeup for the bridal party and some others for about $1,300. I could have gotten back down to around $15k if I wasn’t generous about hair and make up and the shuttle but we had a Friday wedding so a lot of people missed work and travelled a ways so I wanted to make things easier for them. Another thing I would suggest is don’t automatically discount venues that are more all inclusive. In some areas I’m not sure we saved with DIY.