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Unexpected and clueless bride to be

Hi everyone! 

My name is Sophie and I am recently engaged to my childhood sweetheart (of 9 years!) was never expecting to be engaged after all this time and i already invested my “wedding fund” from my parents into property so we will be doing this all on our own  

I have zero knowledge On the wedding scene... and I just wanted to ask if There is such thing as a “chilled out, outdoors wedding”?! Thinking a festival, boho vibe. 

this is really my dream as I have anxiety and would struggle with the stress of a big white wedding I think! 

I wanted to try and keep it around 8k ish (bearing in mind we have a venue that will be free hopefully - haven’t had the awkward £££ convo yet but it is a friend‘s land! and they have confirmed we can use it!)  

AM I BEING COMPLETELY NAIVE?! any help would be appreciated. Planning for 2020 summertime In the UK. If not then will have to look at going abroad. 



    A wedding is only as stressful as you make it (or your family haha!).. If you want low key, minimal fuss - then plan that!

    In terms of outdoor - will the whole day be outdoor or just the ceremony? Where will guests eat/sit? Will you have a back up plan for rain? X

  • Ashley72Ashley72 Posts: 1,136 New bride

    Congratulations on your engagement! Weddings these days are definitely more about what you want and is reflective of you and your fiance than ticking the big white wedding boxes. I think the boho / festival feel wedding is actually quite a big trend at the minute if magazines and the internet is anything to go by. The only thing I'd say to think about is a wet weather alternative, especially in the UK and if this past weekend was anything to go by. Sometimes a DIY venue can end up surprisingly expensive because you need to bring literally everything on site (cutlery, chairs, glasses, toilets!), so be sure to factor all those things in when you're looking at your budget and guestlist.

    It sounds like a fab idea though - I've not been to one but would love a really relaxed festival feel wedding! Good luck with your planning x

  • KelllieKelllie Posts: 78 New bride


    I'm in Scotland and had a humanist ceremony, as it is the celebrant that is registered and not the venue you can actually get married anywhere my original plan was the beach (damn rain! lol) not sure if they have similar elsewhere in uk.

    Chilled weddings are great, I have only 7 people there in total as I also have anxiety and a big wedding just wasn't for me.

    I never really had a budget we kinda just saved and paid as we went it was prob only around 4k.

    The photographer an videographer we're defo the most expensive part but we felt most important.

    We also hired out a private dining room for meals, dancing ect and got everyone a room for the weekend at the local hotel. 

    The celebrant was a bit extra as we had to get her to come to us on a wee island. 

    The rest was for decorations ect as i never went and got an expensive gown and the boys just used the suits they already had so that defo kept budget down. 




  • thanks for the quick replies! I was looking into Marquees they are coming to around £3k But open to other ideas... I want a bring your own booze (I’ll Do a huge wholesalers shop too) 

    so maybe a barn rental could be just as cheap? if anyone has had / knows about a barn rental wedding?

  • MrsB2B2020 wrote (see post):

    thanks for the quick replies! I was looking into Marquees they are coming to around £3k But open to other ideas... I want a bring your own booze (I’ll Do a huge wholesalers shop too) 

    so maybe a barn rental could be just as cheap? if anyone has had / knows about a barn rental wedding?

    I think if you're looking at marquee hire etc then chances are your wedding will be over £8k.. You'll have to hire tables, chairs, cutlery, crockery, caterers, servers, heaters, portaloos etc and I would imagine that will all be very expensive.

    In terms of a barn wedding, whereabouts are you?

  • We are in Yorkshire. 
    LittleBlonde wrote (see post):
    MrsB2B2020 wrote (see post):

    thanks for the quick replies! I was looking into Marquees they are coming to around £3k But open to other ideas... I want a bring your own booze (I’ll Do a huge wholesalers shop too) 

    so maybe a barn rental could be just as cheap? if anyone has had / knows about a barn rental wedding?

    I think if you're looking at marquee hire etc then chances are your wedding will be over £8k.. You'll have to hire tables, chairs, cutlery, crockery, caterers, servers, heaters, portaloos etc and I would imagine that will all be very expensive.

    In terms of a barn wedding, whereabouts are you?



  • MrsCToBeeMrsCToBee Posts: 2,957 New bride

    If your budget is £8k I'd seriously reconsider dry hire - the costs really mount up. My brother borrowed a field and a marquee thinking it would be cheap and by the time they had hired everything in it cost significantly more than my wedding will, for more people with more included, in a pub. They had to hire flooring, tables, chairs, bar, dancefloor, get caterers in, generators, plus do all the set up and clean up themselves. It cost them over £10k and that was 5 years ago and they kept it very simple.

    There are other ways to have a casual wedding and for us pubs were the way forward and the cheapest option.

    I don't know where you are located but The Plough at Leigh and The Barn in Tunbridge Wells (both in Kent) are 2 pubs which do weddings at reasonable prices.

    We are getting married at The Barn and for 70 people in the day we are paying them £5k - that includes ceremony, welcome drinks/canapes, 3 course wedding breakfast inc wine and toast drinks, evening BBQ for up to 150 people and the DJ. They do cheaper options too.

    Our total wedding budget is just over £8k. Not sure if that's helpful at all.

  • Congratulations! Unfortunately A marquee/tipi/stretch tent wedding will very probably cost you more than £8k. Unless your £8k is just for your reception, and doesn't include outfits etc?

    You'll need to hire generators, toilets, kitchen facilities, chairs and tables, all tableware and these costs soon mount up. Then you have to budget in catering, drinks, bar staff and wait staff etc. Dry hire can actually be way more expensive than a regular wedding package.

    I'd perhaps look into alternative venues where you can have your chilled out vibe, but don't involve doing all the work yourself. I'm sure Yorkshire has a lot of those sort of venues, there's a lot of countryside!

  • Congratulations!!!! 

    Its definitely doable, but as others have said i think if you can find a venue that ticks most of your boxes youll be better off money wise. 

    I'm not local but we have a venue that will house the ceremony and the reception, and for the catering its coming in at about £5500 for 75 day guests for a BBQ, with canapes, half a bottle of wine each and 2 welcome drinks, PLUS 135 evening guests for pizza! 

    Most people these days dont expect much more booze to be included so dont feel like you need to supply a tonne for everyone! 

    Also, 10000% check out The Bridechilla Community (a facebook group) and the Bridechilla Podcast. Its so so down to earth, funny and fully gears you up for the challenges you might face and how to stick strong with the wedding you want! 

  • OmRumOmRum Posts: 947 New bride

    Hello, congratulations on your engagement! How exciting!

    I agree with the others: the costs will mount up and you will probably need to do much more organisation than you expect. Don't forget that your ceremony has to take place on a legal site so even if you had your reception on borrowed land, you would still need to pay a registry office, religious building or other legal venue for the actual service (which, let's face it, is the most important bit!). It might work out cheaper to have the reception at the same site, when you take into consideration marquee and toilet hire.

    In terms of food, you could go for a caterer who brings their own kitchen equipment, e.g. a pizza van, hog roast or BBQ. You can also get mobile bars who ask for a deposit but you get it back if your guests spend over a certain amount. Even so, you would have to hire the tables and chairs, which often come free with regular wedding venues.

    You can hire wedding venues which have barns or outdoor options, so you can still have your vision. In terms of the anxiety (I suffer it also) you may find that having a venue that organises things with/for you is actually less stressful, even if it seems more expensive.

    Saying that, I did have a family member who got married in a church and then threw the reception in the parents' massive garden. Unfortunately I don't know what their budget was, but they were able to borrow marquees to supplement the bigger one they hired, which fitted a band and dance floor. They hired hay bales for everyone to sit on and served a sandwich and cake buffet, then a hog roast. They did have to hire waiting staff and toilets, and also opened up some of the rooms in the house for people to lounge in.

    Overall, I think the boho festival wedding idea is lovely but you may find that you need to do as much organisation as with a traditional wedding. But these outdoor style weddings are in style at the moment, so certainly a lot of venues will be able to accommodate your vision if you decide to go in that direction.

    As an anxiety sufferer myself, I do recommend having a longer engagement if you can (1 year+) so that you don't have to rush the organisation and you've got plenty of time to make decisions properly. Also, a good team of bridesmaids is a must-have - people who don't mind if you need to meet up to go over the minutiae of some little detail which is bugging you and keeping you up at night that most people wouldn't think twice over!

    I wish you all the best with whatever you decide to do. Don't forget to post here for ideas!

  • As everyone already mentioned, the blank canvas wedding can frequently be a lot more expensive than the hall-hotel-country house wedding package. We found that out, as we own considerable property and thought it made the most sense to just have a marquee here. Not!  After the actual marquee rental, chairs, tables, cutlery, coolers, grills, flatware, loos/ handwashing stations, power generators, portable lighting, flooring, sound system, etc, we were looking at thousands and thousands without even adding in clothing, invites, and food and drink. If you're thinking budget, you're far better off finding a venue that offers affordable packages.

    Just because you go with an established venue and/or package doesn't mean your wedding is going to be uptight or boring. YOU set the tone, with everything from what you incorporate into your ceremony, to your colours, to your outfits, and everything else. A wedding in a field can be completely uptight and a wedding in a posh hotel can be an absolute just depends on how you plan it.

  • Congratulations to your engagement, what an exciting time :) 

    We have just had our wedding last weekend and it was pretty much similar to what you're describing. Chilled out, festival/boho style, 75 guests. While it what absolutely perfect and just what we wanted, I would do a lot of things differently now :) We went waaaaaay over budget, thinking that we could save money by not hiring a package/location which offers everything and do it all ourselves instead. The tipi and food alone came up to around 8,5K, and that was with us sending out lots and lots of quote requests and getting the best deal possible. It really does add up really quickly, and instead of our 12 - 13k budget which we set ourselves at the beginning we ended up with around 19 - 20k instead. 

    I would recommend a location/package now as they will already have so many things there, especially decoration, but I have read quite a few threads here of people who made a 7k - 8k wedding possible and it looked amazing :) 

    Lots of luck,

    Nadine x

  • Jane165Jane165 Posts: 6 New bride

    Congratulations lovely!

    I recently had what most people would consider a budget wedding (London church wedding, reception in a restaurant, evening do in a pub for 110 guests), as did one of my best mates (registry office then marquee on family land in Wales for 130 guests). In both cases we started with a budget of around 10k but ended up spending around 13 as generous family members chipped in for extras we were going to do without (more expensive dress, professional photographer, extra round of drinks).

    As people have said on here, unless you have friends who can do you a deal you may well end up paying more for a DIY wedding. Here are our top tips for slashing the bill:

    - cut the numbers- goes without saying that the more people you have the more you will spend feeding and watering them. It's the biggest cost and easiest to cut

    - send save the dates and invites by paperless post. Always worth sending the thank you letters by real post though. We got some great ones done by Vistaprint on sale.

    - look in the off season- you'll pay peak prices May-September, December and Valentine's. You can get lovely weather in April.

    - Go for a venue that isn't a traditional wedding venue to save thousands- pubs, restaurants and church halls can be really great options. They can do cheaper catering options like hot buffets.

    - Buy your dress on the high street. My mate got a Jenny Packham lookalike from Phase 8 for £500. Coast, Monsoon, Whistles, Ghost, Ted Baker and others do options.

    - Buy bridesmaid dresses on the high street. So many great options.

    - Do your own makeup and hair if you're good at it. You'll look like you!

    - Don't bother printing orders of service. They get chucked.

    - Write out your own table plan and place cards (kits online). Get cheap decorations online- candles are MUCH cheaper than flowers and nobody notices these things.

    - Chaps can wear their own suits with new ties, if their suits are decent. No need to match. Looks more modern if they don't.

    - Make your own cake or get it from m&s

    - Taxis not wedding cars. Save £500!

    - Registry office is cheaper than a church.

    - DJs are much cheaper than bands, though my friend got a great deal on a ceilidh band and it was brilliant!

    - Cheap and filling evening food like bacon sarnies. No need for a full buffet. Also no need for an open bar. Provide the drinks with the meal but people expect to pay on the evening.

    The one thing both me and my friend paid full whack for was on a professional photographer, which we agreed was worth every penny. 

    Basically as long as your guests are fed, watered and have a bit of a boogie celebrating your love they'll have a great time. Nobody cares how posh the venue is or what the chair covers look like :) 

  • KrabbyKrabby Posts: 49

    Ok I have plenty of experience here As having a ‘chilled out’ barn wedding next weekend 

    barn rental was £2,300... great I thought. Will def be able to keep this whole thing to less than £10k... WRONG 

    Like previously mentioned, you will have to bring literally everything, you will have to think of literally everything, you will have to do literally everything. It has been mentally exhausting. 

    I think to get the chilled out vibe, you need to consider your guests in every single aspect. If your location is convenient and your guests aren’t worrying about food and drink then i think they’re more relaxed and able to enjoy themselves. 

    So my grandad is Arabic, and food (ie- plenty of it) is a very big part of the culture and we have over 20 middle eastern family members flying in for the wedding (121 guests in total) so we really couldn’t cut corners here at al. There will be food available at all times, apart from the ceremony and around 90 minutes after the main meal (though the Krispy kreme donut cake will be ‘cut’ in that time and theyll be able to help themselves to donuts then) 

    we are having M&S cold buffet after ceremony (£350)

    South African bbq for main meal and dessert (£3600)

    lebenese buffet in the evening (£1,500)

     Krispy Kreme donut cake (self stacked) (£150)

    all drinks provided (£2,500)

    then we have to pay for staff to help with it all (£600), massive fridge and hot plates hire (£300) 

    so that’s already £8k on food and drink alone. 

    But it was important that our guests felt as relaxed and looked after as possible so their only worry is to have fun. The few weddings I’ve been to (apart from 1) there wasn’t nearly enough food and in locations where nipping off to grab something wasn’t an option and I couldn’t enjoy myself or drink much as I was hungry (and can be a tragic drunk if I’ve not seen enough!) but that is just me. 

    Then you have to consider chair hire, table hire, toilet hire, decor, flowers, dress, music, it all adds up 

    you have to micromanage every single tiny aspect of the day. 

    if youre going for a boho outside vibe id really recommend keeping your guests to a smaller amount so you can really invest in the atmosphere of the day. I’d also recommend a wedding planner (for your own sanity!) 

    its too late for me to hire one now, and as I’m self employed I’ve postponed all the client work possible, which means with the amount of income I will lose this month- I could have invested in a planner! 

    Our wedding is going to come to around £17k in total... baring in mind that I’m an accountant so very good at budgeting and havedonemostt of the bits DIY!



  • Jane165Jane165 Posts: 6 New bride

    Krabby is right, DIY can be stressful. My friend who had the boho marquee wedding had a lot on her plate, and that was with a mega supportive fiancé and friends.

    My wedding of church, restaurant and pub worked well as each place had a dedicated contact/event planner who dealt with all the details for me. They also had low hire charges, reasonable food and drink prices, their own furniture and no extra staffing costs. I had to deal with the other logistics but the most tricky elements were sorted by others. Could be an option. 

  • Something else to consider...DIY also works best for those who have a lot of time on their hands. For those of us who work a lot and/or have kids and/or are also going to school, running a side business, etc., there is just no time to design, print, and post your own invites. Or create 15 table centerpieces. Or bedazzle your shoes.  My prev wedding was honestly a bit of a car crash as I spent zero time even just doing the basics, like finding good vendors and managing them. 

    I'd also add that DIY sometimes doesn't save money. If you screw up (and you undoubtedly will a few times) you end up having to buy more product. You also don't have access to the same suppliers as pro's do, so things a professional florist can get for next to nothing can cost you major £.  I did my sister's flowers for her wedding, and it cost me loads to do two BMs bouquets, one JBM bouquet, and table flowers in the perennial Mason jars.

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