Saving Money on your Wedding

Beautiful lush palm trees overhang white chair separated by a grass aisle. A wooden frame with drawn back curtains is at the top of the aisle.

It’s wedding season y’all!

Laughing like whoo amongst the falling confetti and balloons

I love weddings – the excitement, the amuse bouches, the joy, the tasty wedding favours, the love buzzing in the air and most importantly… the cake.

So quick pop quiz: How much does it cost to get married in England and Wales?

Giving notice will cost about £35 each, so £70 in total (£47 if you’re from outside the EU and need a visa to live in the UK but who knows how that might change).

£46 for at the registrar’s office. £86 if it’s at a registered religious building.

(In Scotland, it’s about £65 not including the notices, and Northern Ireland it seems it varies depending on the time and day. DAMN.)

We have our baseline.

Next question:

How much does a wedding cost in England and Wales?

Ah. Suddenly, you can feel a shift of seismic proportions with that one word.

Wedding.

You’re supposed to feel [and spend] like a member of royalty on your wedding day, right? You should make sure it’s the best day ever for everyone, okay? You NEED A COLOUR SCHEME AND BY ALL THAT’S GOOD AND MIGHTY ALL MUST MATCH IT, ALL, EVEN IF YOU HAVE TO SPRAY THOSE FLOWERS GREEN YOURSELF!

Screaming bridezilla throws down her bouquet.

Phewf.

Maybe your bank account and your Pinterest dream board are having issues though. Let’s talk and see if we can’t help you out a little.

Your priorities are key.

The rule to being happy with however much you end up spending on your wedding is to spend it on things that really matter to you. There is a big difference between that and “Oh, that’s a really nice idea!” or “I like that!”

Shirley from community saying in a super perky manner 'Oh, that's nice!'

Starting with your most important things as your foundation then moving up will automatically mean you save money because you’re spending it on the things you think/feel are the most important. And not all of them will cost money.

Which means that if you haven’t even thought about the decorations or you think dancing is a punishment bestowed on those who have angered the Funky Chicken deities then…well, skip ‘em.

If making sure your favourite funk band tear up the room or that everyone is suitably fed (hi) is a priority, then make it so.

There will be some compromise – you other half may value things you just don’t care about. Mine was far more traditional than my ‘let’s get married and buy a picnic from the supermarket!’ backside.
But that’s the main person with whom compromise should come in, really.

Everyone will have their own opinion and they are very welcome to put them into place during their own weddings/vow renewal ceremonies.

I say this as someone feels they are easily cowed by pressure, so this thought helped me put my foot down when others were seriously exerting the pressure.

Two people discussing Power posing and how it may just be some crock.
Adam ruins everything.

The Guest List:

Something that seems really obvious now but I hadn’t really understood fully at the time, is that the more people you invite, the more expensive your wedding might be.

Especially since you have to find a place big enough to host them if you have quite large numbers and then you want to feed them.

I think our estimation at the time of our wedding was £25/person for a three course meal. Your mileage may vary.

This was a real bone of contention because a family member of mine was adamant on inviting lot of their friends and family and we simply told them that there would be nowhere for these extra people to sit so invite away. It didn’t matter anyway, since two tables worth of family members from that side didn’t turn up on the day because of a new rift no-one had informed us about.

Miss Jay clutches the decolletage in shock, SHOCK I TELL YOU.

Anyway, when I read about people with ridiculously low wedding costs, it’s usually because they have a verrrrrry small guest list. Like a 5-course meal wedding for £5000? Oh, it’s in Thailand and you only had 14 people.

Also, the people you invite to your wedding will probably feel obliged to invite you to theirs if they’re not married yet, so there may be future financial implications! Every wedding I’ve been to so far since we’ve been married has been someone who was at our wedding!

Your Financial Obligations

A big complicated bit is if you accept money from other people towards the wedding – you may then feel obliged to take their opinions or request into consideration.

Which is fine, just know that reasonable requests aren’t always cheap. We received some money from a set of parents and they made two requests which were reasonable and also severely limited us in terms of venue we could use for that ceremony. More on this later.

Also, just because someone offers to pay for something doesn’t mean you have to take it. Like, if that beauty therapist appointment has an ‘impromptu’ hair removal session, you can duck out. [“That doesn’t happen in real life!” Yes it does, ask me how I know].

Cowboy walking. Or John Wayne walking.
Ouchie, ouchie ouch ouch

Research

And by this, I mean read real-life anecdotes, good and bad, as well as the magazine editorial of ‘Top 10 wedding must haves!’

I’ve linked to as many people and resources as I can in my upcoming post about our wedding but make sure the person’s story lines up some way with yours – are they eloping, but you’re worried that doing that might finish off your Nanna? Awesome that you’tre already thinking about your priorities! Still worth a read, just keep in mind what will be appropriate in there for you.

A lot of the things I found at the time were US-based and there are some traditions they talked about (rehearsal dinner? Whut is dat? WHY ARE YOU ALL SO OBSESSED WITH MASON JARs WHAT EVEN ARE THEY OMG I’M DYING OF FOMO?!) that we apparently don’t do here.

Obviously they don’t mention what is traditional over here (didn’t realise my husband wasn’t going to make eye contact with me as I walked up the aisle until I…was walking up the aisle).

Cute kitty tugging on your hem for some attention. Notice meeeee!

However, the financial discussions Stateside (though price varies from state to state, another thing I hadn’t quite grasped) tend to be more in depth and can be helpful for a first idea. Don’t at me if you think I’m wrong – link me (down below, in the comments).

You can also join (and float about in) wedding groups on Facebook local to you – someone might have hired a venue, or posted a tip that you think is ingenious or be trying to get rid of their giant DIY crafted floral wall to someone within 5 miles. Impulse purchase warnings apply.

Going to other people’s weddings and parties also counts as research – I picked up a buffet caterer I liked at one wedding and noted an idea for our music at an Aunt’s 50th party.

Janelle Monae spinning her pencil like a badass in a room full of intersectional haters.

Planning a wedding together is a pretty major financial obstacle course.
But I believe in you! Good luck!

Spongebob and Patrick running together, partners in crime! *cue soundtrack*

2 thoughts on “Saving Money on your Wedding

  1. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life July 28, 2019 / 11:58 pm

    I always thought relentlessly extravagant weddings were “a bit much” because I personally hated the idea of a huge ‘do as culturally expected (so many cultural expectations, so little time or energy) but assumed I’d never have reason to attend one so I was a little judgy about the idea of them. Lo and behold the last two weddings in the past five years were of dear friends who are the kindest and most generous people in our sets (which is saying something, we have good people), and they were $$$$Blowouts.

    It turns out as long as I am nowhere near the limelight, (thus no make up required) I’m quite happy to attend a fancy shindig where I dine on shrimp cocktails and oysters and my kid is plied with 16 kinds of desserts. Wait. Mmm… Yeah ok it’s only gonna happen once.

    After all, this is what made someone in the planning party, including bride and groom, happy, and I know they can afford it so who am I not to happily imbibe with them? 🙂

    When it’s my kid’s turn, I will still preach “save the money for big things in life, not a party” buuut if they can well afford it, I’m willing to see things their way.

    Liked by 1 person

    • A Black Penny August 2, 2019 / 7:34 am

      I have thoroughly enjoyed the weddings I’ve been too and some of them have been like Pinterest in real life.
      Me, on the other hand? I just cared about the food and making sure as little fuss as necessary was made.
      Man, the desserts and food at weddings are something else. I feel like I don’t even treat myself that nicely when we go out on dates. I also feel that a full stomach of good food also helps the guests really get into the spirit of wishing your marriage well 😂
      If my kid decides to ever get married, they’ll get the same talk from me. I don’t know if I’d gift them money when they’re getting married though…and if they can afford it, I’m also fully prepared to eat as much cake/dessert/whatever the food trend in the future may be as possible. Cheers!

      Like

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