Not the budget I had in mind

Hello all,

I think of myself as a frugal person and someone who thinks why spend lots of money on one day when you have a whole life together.

However after we did the guest list found a cheapish venue etc and did all of the totting up, the forecasts (my spreadsheets) show that our wedding is going to cost the best part of £16k.

I thought i would be one of these people who could get married for under 5k but this is now looking unlikely - am i missing a trick?




  • ducky_86ducky_86 Posts: 115

    Hello waitingbride84,

    I was the same as you! I was adamant to only spend £6k on our wedding. We are around £20k! This does include alot though- we are having a whole weekend wedding, inclusive use of a beautiful boutique hotel, 3 course sit down meal for 75guests, fireworks.... the works basically! Weddings are expensive, but they don't have to be. I know we could of done it cheaper, but in the end we didn't want to. So we gave our selfs 2 years to save very hard. 

    To makes things cheaper you can have your wedding on a week day, a later ceremony which means less meals, smaller guest list, more DIY...... also haggling! Thats one thing I do wish we done more of. We got so caught up in the whole excitment of getting married we didn't haggle. 

    The way I see it is yes its one day, but its a very important day- if you can afford to splash out (without getting in debt) why not?! Good luck with your planning! Enjoy it, plan well ahead. The time goes too quick. I have 12 days to go!! woohoo!


  • Me too, I thought it was ridiculous to spend excessive amounts on a wedding and really thought ours would be about 5k. I think we are already over 10k and its not until December and theres tons left to pay for. So I reckon it will be more like 15k and then theres the honeymoon.


  • oh2bmrsjoh2bmrsj Posts: 569

    i agree with the above, you can get married on a lot less than 5k .


    what you have to do is sit down and decide what YOU REALLY want .

    our wedding is no where near 5k but we want a really intimate wedding with no fuss because its the fact we are going to be married which is important to us !

    for us we would rather have a lovley family holiday afterwards , but that is OUR choice .

    it is purley down to your personal preference and as long as its what you want then you go for it .

    no one can tell you its right or wrong , its yours and your hubby to be day and you must have it how the pair of you want .



  • MrsE2be2014MrsE2be2014 Posts: 1,458

    We have found as soon as you put the word 'wedding' infront of anything costs go sky high.....when we first wrote a budget (obvs we didnt have a clue) we thought 20k but now everything is booked its looking more 15k which is fab! Like the other brides say everything has to be weighed up we have gone out of season and a Sunday and saved 3k its crazy! xx

  • amy-lou-22amy-lou-22 Posts: 1,259

    I'm pretty proud to have a (slightly revised) budget of £7k and am looking to go around £400 over. I also think I have a lot of 'extras' in for that amount such as photobooth, candy floss machine, videographer, 3 weeks honeymoon in USA... I know a lot of people who have been really helpful with discounts and freebies so I would suggest you ask friends and family who you think will be helpful and never be afraid to haggle. I am really happy with the way our wedding is going to turn out and I wouldn't change any detail, so being a budget bride really is possible!

    • I got my veil for free when I bought my dress.
    • My photography is FREE as a wedding girft from some friends in the business
    • We found a student videographer who charges half of the usual price.
    • We are using our own garden with a marquee so saving lots on the venue costs
    • Family friends catering company doing the food and only charging for the wholesale price of the food, again as a wedding gift.
    • Honeyfund as giftlist allowing us to stay in USA for 3 weeks rather than 2
    • DIY, be careful when looking at DIY as it can soon add up to be more than simply buying the item outright. Always research the cost of things online first to see the best price.

    When my mum first asked me what my budget was I said £5k and that would have been possible had I not added on some extras here and there but knowing when to stop is really important.

  • heliganedenheliganeden Posts: 1,848

    You can definitely get married for £5k, there are lots of things that aren't actually essential!

    You don't *need* a cake, you can get normal cars or ask someone who has a nice car to drive you, you can get a wedding dress for a few hundred pounds rather than thousands, you can have sparkling wine not champagne, a later ceremony and only feed people once, or have a really small wedding with only a handful of people image

    Think about how people you know can help, do you know anyone who can make invites, or decorations? I made invites for a couple of people as their wedding present, do you know anyone you can ask?

    You need to figure out what you want, just because some people have certain things doesn't mean you need to, make it unique by what you decide to do image


  • Ok - i dont think we have alot of extra's , such as fireworks  and a 3 week honeymoons -  we  have got alot  of people doing favours  for us  but yet  still  i think this is a stupid amount to spend- or am i being too critical of myself?  

    I have 200 for the day and  an extra 100 for the evening and i am based in London

    Software £109 - i had to buy MS office to do the planning - i started using the free online ones  but i kept getting annoyed and MS office is compatible with everything
    Book  £15 -  so put in bag to make notes and also as a keepsake
    Stationary  -this is maximums for design and print (i am hoping to print alot at work but just incase i don't feel comfortable)
    Invitations  £120
    Save the Dates  £20
    Guest book  £10 (bought for a £1 in the sale, but still need to buy pens)
    Photo Albums  £40
    Postage  £50
    RSVPs  £20
    Menu cards  £25
    Table names  £10
    Order of services  £50
    Thank you cards  £10
    Service  - we are big on music and religion is important  so cant/wont do a  civil wedding
    Church fees  £500
    Choir  £500
    organist/pianst  £50
    rings  £700 (actually managed to get these for £500 on holiday in dubai)
    Dress 700 (bought and paid for only  cost £295  but i have alterations to consider)
    shoes  100 (note the plural)
    hair piece  20
    Veil  50 (using my mums but would like to and she has suggested making a  few changes  to personalise it)
    underwear  30 (i have larger boobs so need a decent bra)
    hair  100
    makeup 50

    Suit  100
    Socks  20
    Cufflinks  20
    Grooming £60
    Groomsmen, best man and dads  
    Suits 500
    Socks  25
    Cufflinks  30
    Pamper  100
    Bride'smaids - totals for all 4 of them
    Dresses  200
    Shoes  50
    Jewellery 40
    Hair Piece 20
    Pamper  £100 (nails and some girly stuff on the morning)
    Flowers  - this is just for the flowers - i ahve a florist friend who has given her labour as a wedding gift
    bouquets  £100
    button holes  £25
    table decor £200
    church arrangements  £75
    Flowers for mums  £30
    Bride Car £200
    Other Cars  £100
    Guests  0
    Car at the end of the night  20 -thinking a taxi will suffice
    Reception  - we have a dry hire venue
    Venue Hire  £4,000
    Band  £700
    DanceFloor  £500
    Cake  £200
    photography  £1,200
    Tables  120
    Table Clothes  £50
    Plates  150
    Glasses  40
    Cutlery  120
    napkins  200
    Centerpieces  150
    Favours 100
    cake table  5
    Catering  equiptment  450
    Lighting £200
    Food  based on 200 people
    Camberbert Starter 93.75
    Antipasti  150
    Pie and mash  300
    Fish and chips  450
    Vege option 50
    bannoffee pie  150
    CFFC 150
    Apple  150
    Pannacotta  150
    Evening food  500
    Plates, Napkins, cutlery  50

  • sorry - damn word  limit 

    Staff  500
    Bridesmaids  20
    Best Man  10
    Person 1 20
    Person 2 20
    person 3 20


    Ps what have i forgotten?

  • MrsE2be2014MrsE2be2014 Posts: 1,458

    Wow thats a long many suits are you getting?

    We are getting groom, 2 x bestmen, father of bride, father of groom and pageboy from Moss Bros who offer groom free when hiring 4 or more and if you secure your date before end of March (i know its this weekend) they will give a further 20% so we are looking at approx £450 for 6 a couple 100 xx

  • MrsE2be2014MrsE2be2014 Posts: 1,458

    Oh and we have fake flowers honestly cant tell the difference and a hell of lot cheaper

  • I think -  thing like cars  will eventually  come off the list  - or i will see if i can get a nice black cabbie  to do it for  £50.

    and i know that  i get get the girls to pay for there own pampering but i am not geting them 'gifts per say'  so i thought all there get up would act as a gift.

    and a cake is a must! doesn't have to be fancy (my mum is going to bake and her freind is going to ice it)  but this is a big deal for me!  

  • @mrsE2be2014 -  i have a similar deal -  we have  6 suits (groom, 3 ushers, best man and my daddy) if we book have put a little extra aside for OH suit just incase he wants something fancier - i get something nice so should he.

    Re flowers -  i really  don't know if i could do it!   i am big on flowers have a fresh bunch in my house most weeks  -  luckily i like cheap flowers  (carnations and gypsy) which will offset my LOVE  for hydrangeas and peonies

  • amy-lou-22amy-lou-22 Posts: 1,259


    Well looking at your list of things you seem to be on point for most costing and I don't think you have overspent anywhere or paid over the odds.

    I would say though, that I think you are looking to pay for things you don't really have to.

    The stationary is something I saved a good amount of money on. I paid for an online personalised version of my invite from an Etsy seller and got, main invite, RSVP, Save the Date and did my own information booklet to go with it. I printed it all off at work too (nobody batted an eyelid) and it came to around £130 including postage.

    I would say no to a choir unless you REALLY want one. I know bells are a nice touch and are cheaper- £50?

    Bridesmaids and ushers can buy their own shoes, grooming products. I would use the cuff links, jewellery etc as the gifts rather than buying extra presents.

    Don’t have favours unless you can afford to

    I think the food sounds like a lot. Have you over catered? Do you need all those options? Can you get friends and family to bake cakes, desserts etc? I am doing this and people are really happy to help.

    I hope that helps and it's good that you have been so thorough with your spreadsheet image 

  • Amy lou-  that is helpful - thanks  - i have added the bridesmaids twice so that is £20 savedimage

    the other gifts are forthe people who have been amazing and good enough to do stuff for free like my friend who is catering the whole thing for us

    all the food comes to about £7.50 per head which is £1500 in total  - is that too much??

    it sounded cheap when i compared it to my other quotes -  even when you add in all the hire stuff and staff hire  it comes  to  about  £3000 which is £15 per head.  For three course ??

    I am happy and open to sugggestions -  maybe i should ditch the starter?




  • ps i love the bells idea though! and might just have a family friend sing rather than a full blown choir  -  bingo  £400 saved!  


  • PV 2013PV 2013 Posts: 244

    Hi waiting bride - we are also london based and getting married in a church but there are no fees. They require a donation and suggest it to be above £100, but maybe it differs, usually churhces dont charge that much compared to civil ceremonies.
    I will make some suggestions to lower your budget but please dont take offence, this is completely from an outsiders perspective and  I have done some of what you are doing so im not attacking just helping cut the costs.

    Here we go image

    What do you mean when you say dance floor? Surely the venue floor is decent enough for £4000 to just push back tables?

    Shoes pleural? Do you need more than 1 pair of shoes? Or have you looked at last seasons shoes - no one will know.

    Bridesmaids dresses vs gifts: are they allowed to keep their dresses and are they dresses which they could/ would wear in the future? We are not giving gifts because spent over £100 on each dress which are suitable to keep and wear not just to weddings.

    £25 for socks???? Do you really need to provide the groomsmen and dads socks? Pampering for the men? What does this mean? If its hair cuts you should only be paying for groom and not the rest.

    £500 choir - not essential, this is a luxury. I am having one so not judging but it is a luxury and if we needed to cut something for £500 the choir would be it.

    Things you may have underbudgetd:

    Order of services £50 - decent paper is expensive and to make 200 order of services for church wedding is about 3/ 4 sheets per order of service plus backing card/ ribbon/ staples to decorate.

    Favours for 200 most likely wont happen on £100 thats 50p per favour - depending what you had in mind but might be tricky.

    Thank you cards to 200 guests for £10? even if home made the paper will cost you more than that.

    Sorry if i sound mean, but its hard when it comes to budget talk but if its raised you need honest opinions image

  • amy-lou-22amy-lou-22 Posts: 1,259

    I'm not having a starter but we are having canapes earlier and then a hog roast for the main.

    You could have your wedding cake as dessert and skip one or two of the dessert options. The £3k for food sounds a lot to me but we are keeping it very low key when it comes to food. As long as we feed people and it tastes good. Is your friend doing you a good deal? If your paying her £3k then maybe skip on the present?



  • PV - thanks - that is really helpful esp with the underbuget stuff.

    What do you mean when you say dance floor? - yeah i am thinking i am am gonna have to skip this image  - i come from a dance background so wanted to have a disco dance floor (think Saturday night fever) as a little treat and also to inject a bit of me into the the evening make it different to other weddings i have been to.

    Shoes pleural? Do you need more than 1 pair of shoes? YES! lol - i am a shoaholic - i have managed to get my avatar shoes and a pair of  full sparkle ones and a pair of flats for £100.  i know i could have gone cheaper but i think this is one of my guilty pleasures - and i did save crap loads on my dream dress (i am doing that bridal justiaction thing aren't i)

    Bridesmaids dresses vs gifts: are they allowed to keep their dresses and are they dresses which they could/ would wear in the future? yes -i have now taken that off

    £25 for socks???? Do you really need to provide the groomsmen and dads socks? this was partly because i wanted to get those funky wedding socks that match the bridesmaids dresses and partly because i am a control freak and  want them all to wear exactly the same -  but  yes - plain black socks for  £2  would do!   image

     Pampering for the men? What does this mean? If its hair cuts you should only be paying for groom and not the rest -no not haircuts but OH wanted to have a little boys barber time the day before the wedding  - the barber was going to do full close shave for all 7 of them (including fil2b)  for that amount .

    £500 choir - not essential, this is a luxury. I am having one so not judging but it is a luxury and if we needed to cut something for £500 the choir would be it.Agreed!

    Things you may have underbudgetd:

    Order of services £50 - decent paper is expensive and to make 200 order of services for church wedding is about 3/ 4 sheets per order of service plus backing card/ ribbon/ staples to decorate. I'll revist this  although it is 200 people i was hoping only to print 100 (peopl can share)

    Favours for 200 most likely wont happen on £100 thats 50p per favour - depending what you had in mind but might be tricky. homemade biccies so these shouldn't cost more than £50 but had factored in mistake money

    Thank you cards to 200 guests for £10? even if home made the paper will cost you more than that. only 93  families/couples  and a6 size that is 4 to a sheet so that is 23 sheets - shouldn't cost more than £8

    Amy lou  - i am not paying my friend anything -  we are buying the food  and providing the staff (from the College)  and he is cooking it all. Me and my mum did a walk around and costed everything up (at supermarket and Makro and Cosco prices) so he might be able to get bulk deals but if not - that is a shite load of tesco clubcard points we can use for the honeymoon image whoop!

    Thanks ladies - i think the realisation is  good!   thanks.

    We are not on a budget - if we need the money we have it (from parents) - to an extent! but it is more a pride thing i think and also doing that age old thing of "think what i could do with all of that money"

  • For the amount of guests you are having and everything you are having for that money, I'd say you have done pretty well! Many people have spent £16,000 on their weddings and dont have half the stuff you have! Plus your list is very detailed! Alot of people say their budget is x amount but in their breakdown you can see  there are alot of things they havent accounted for and actually with all the smaller things it has cost them alot more!. I'd say, if you can afford this, then have the wedding you want - and for the superscrimper inside you - I think youve done very well to get all the things youve listed!


  • I agree with all the comments above - I think for 200 day guests plus an exta 100 for the evening you have done very well - thats a heck of a lot of people to feed!.  I think £15 a head is extremely good value - My only question would be if you need to provide a choice with meal?  And if you don't would that bring cost down?    I'm just thinking thats the only way I can see to possible save out of your careful budgeting - as then you would be able to bulk buy more as well, so just pie and mash and a veggie pie with same mash for main? and one dessert?  Just a thought!  Can I also say thanks, I have seen a lot of posts on here where people refuse to talk money - I'm not sure why (maybe someone could enlighten me!).  I personally would like to check I'm not overspending on certain aspects etc and gauge what other people are paying, talking as someone who is also paying more than she expected!!  So thanks for being honest and making me feel like I'm not the only one who has said all her life "I'd never spend that amount on one day" .....and am!!!!!

  • I cant understand it either.  i dont think any bride no matter if your budget was £1k or £100k would want to pay over the odds or be taken for a mug.  So it is good to share these things!

    It's good to know what you should be paying for things and also what the W word adds on top - it allows you to negociate better.  

    What happens to the rational voice inside all of us when we get enaged does it go on holiday or  does another much louder and less budget concious voice  just take over. image would i normally spend £100 on biccies or £200 on cake or £40 on a floral arrangement-  would i F**K-  but because it is my wedding i am prepared to becuase i want it to be nice.

  • MrsE2be2014MrsE2be2014 Posts: 1,458
    Here here LauraExctiedBride!! I don't know why people are soo closed up about it if I find a bargain I want to share and vice versa xx
  • PV 2013PV 2013 Posts: 244

    OMG i would've loved to just post my budget up and have had it analysed and told where i can save but like you say i dont know why there is such a taboo about it all. Plus bit late now wedding is in 4 weeks lol

  • amy-lou-22amy-lou-22 Posts: 1,259

    I'd have liked to have done it at the start of the planning process but now I'd be too scared of people telling me I paid too much for something!

  • MrsB2B:)MrsB2B:) Posts: 244
    I think that's sounds about right to be honest ours us about 6k and we have half the amount as you to day and night we are paying ??15 a head for meal and only ??300 venue fee as we are having it on a Sunday! We are from the midlands though prices will be abit different but for the amount of ppl an London I think that would be right!
  • image not just me then.  At least I know now if I do want to ask people if something sounds right not everyone will shoot me down in flames image!! So it looks like your coming in on point, and yes like MrsB2B said it is in London!! Were paying 5500 but thats for 50 day (3 courses) and 100 evening (buffet) with exclusive use - sure that will be completely extortionate to some people and perhaps too budget for others!!!  As long as your happy enough with it go for it - I don't think any of us knew quite how much 'wedding' based things cost so don't beat yourself up it's not the budget you would have imagined.

  • you ladies are amazing - positive criticism - right going to re do the list - and i will let you know what i come up with

  • Thirdthing2Thirdthing2 Posts: 1,288

    It is entirely up to you how much you spend, and what you spend most on - some people's 'must-have' is another couple's 'waste of money'!

    When we first found our perfect venue and got totally caught up in the lovliness of it all, we  realised that it was going to cost about £16k.  It is second time around for us, and we have 6 children between us, 4 of whom who will be going through university in the next 1 - 3 years, we aren't wealthy by any stretch of the imagination, and so it was basically just unrealistic to think we could save that much, and justify that much.

    So we have got a short wedding day, a Friday - which hasn't actually saved us anything I don't think! - an afternoon tea in a cafe in the park for our reception, just 35 guests, Vistaprint stationery, supermarket cake, ebay for BM dresses, ebay for my shoes, ebay for my jewellry, ebay for confetti, jumble sales and charity shops for our 'vintage' china, ebay for our table linen, i-tunes for our music and so on.  Then we are having an evening party after a church blessing, with a cheap disco, friends bringing cakes for the desserts and we have been buying half price wine and the supermarkets for a year, just gradually, and a pizza van for the catering.

    There will be 70 people at the blessing and 100 at the party, but we are still going to 'come in' at just over 5k.

    Of course we would have loved nicer stationery - I loved some of the Ivy Ellen designs and it was really hard to go with Vistaprint! - and I wanted a VW campervan as a wedding car (but the cafe is next door to the register office, so an expensive vehicle would have been silly!) and I saw some fantastic jewellry and accessories, but to be honest I have had a lot of fun researching on ebay, trawling charity shops etc.

    And we won't be in debt and that will make the day so much more enjoyable!

    But I wouldn't feel bad about spending more if I had the cash, or if we were having contributions - it's your wedding day and you should have what you feel is important!image

  • Thirdthing2

  • Thirdthing2 kisses for you !! 

    I think it is easy to get swept up in it all and start buying things you don't need or that are too expensive.  It is good to be reassured that you are not spending over the odds even if the whole lot does add up to more than you had ever dreamed. 

    I've never had lots of money - my mum had to work very hard to give us a 'normal' childhood with parties and holidays and school trips - we were on free schools meals etc -  I have worked since i was 15, worked through uni and have had mortgage since i was 21. I can afford it - there is something deep inside i can't shake.  My other half who has had the total opposite upbringing gets annoyed with me often because i am obsessed with the budget. 

    Now i know we are not not overspending (which was my main concern) how do i chill out and just spend the money on the most important day for us as a couple?

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