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Overwhelmed! help help help....

So, We haven't actually sat down and even begun to plan 'officially' yet.... But, I know our budget will be tiny (around £2,000 - £3,000!)

This might not be quite so scary, if we could limit the guest list, fix a date 'out of season'... BUT... my H2B has a huuuge family, and I can't take holidays outside of school term dates ( ). 

We have agreed that only friends and immediate family will be invited to the ceremony and breakfast - this means approx 50 day guests... and around 70 extra evening guests! 

I'd call myself an 'unbridesy bride' ... but i still want a perfect day. We've talked about the idea of a registry office for the ceremony, but need to think about reception ideas... I don't like the idea of a harsh room or hotel venue, but a barn venue will be way out of our budget (i predict!) ...

.... are there any 'pretty' village halls or alternative venues in or around surrey, that won't mean we have to start married life in heaps of debt?!

In terms of food, we were thinking perhaps an Afternoon Tea style breakfast, and an evening hog roast buffet? - I need to get more information in terms of quotes etc, but i cant imagine it'll be more expensive than the traditional sit down meal? 

I'm happy to put in the work in terms of table centres and stationary, which should save a bit of money.... and I'm happy to consider alternative decorations for a venue other than flowers. In terms of bouquets, I love Gypsophila - which apparently is a more affordable flower, so a small bouquet for bridesmaids, and for myself (The only non-negotiable) a Sunflower, which is very sentimental for me. My Dad wants to pay for my Wedding dress, so long as not the price of a small car! 

Neither of us really know anyone who would have the creative/professional skills to be able to call in favours unfortunately... so it really is down to what we can afford!

ANY help gratefully received! 


  • RosieC18RosieC18 Posts: 158

    If you can do school holidays I would definitely look at a week day, it'll save you a fortune!

  • LucykinsLucykins Posts: 701

    Hello, welcome to wedding planning :)

    Sounds like you've got a good plan with having it in a registry office followed by a reception somewhere like a village hall. On a small budget your options might be a bit limited, but with the right people there and some personal touches I'm sure you'll have a wonderful day!

    I think you might be best having a late afternoon ceremony and then go straight into a reception, so you only need to feed everyone once. An afternoon tea and a hog roast for that many people would take a pretty big chunk from your budget. You could do the afternoon tea yourself but you'll still need plates, cups etc and people to help serve it. 

    I'd look for village halls or restaurants that you could hire for a few hours. As you say, barns are likely to be out of budget, unless you can find a farmer willing to help perhaps.

  • FutureMRS TFutureMRS T Posts: 108

    You could also try and ask realatives if they have a big garden space/big house you could use to host guests for free? I read in one of my wedding magazine budget wedding ideas. One which I remember was rallying friends and family for example one does the cake, people make a buffet and bring their own food etc. This can be friends and families gifts to u and I'm sure they will be thrilled to be involved. As for favours all guests want is nicenfood and drinks! Your wedding cake could be the favour? 

    If you can get a free venue then please get a good photographer as I hear most people regret not having a good photographer. You want to treasure your special day.

    Ooo and Pinterest will be your new best friend for DIY as well as IKEA :)

  • Ambam19Ambam19 Posts: 589 New bride

    Hiya, first of all breathe! It is doable but will just take research and time.

    try here for halls -

    i saw someone offering photography service for £100 earlier this evening for their portfolio? Failing that - contact local college to see if they have any photography students 

    Definitely agree week day should help.

    hog roast I think you're looking around £750mark, poss more. If u have your wedding later in the day you won't need as much food for the guests. For my first wedding we made the buffet ourselves and enlisted the help of some neighbours to keep it replenished. 

    Transport - see if a friend would mind taking u in theirs if they have a nice one?

    dj - if the hall u hire has speakers already you can make your own playlist and use iPod 

    Lots of high street shops are doing bridal wear now so this could be for you or your bridesmaids? 

  • Katherine66Katherine66 Posts: 1,234

    hog roasts- tend to cater for 120 for normal size pig which you could serve up warm first then have cold later.  Mine is costing £1200 but this includes hire of plates and cuttlery puddings  and 3 non traditional salads.  Two chefs serving .  


    Yes try and speak to a local farmer it wont be free im sure he will want money but may have a barn or cow shed available .  


    Doing outdoors may cost you more than you think though so it maybe worth enquiring at a hotel to see if they can help.  


    We are marrying in church but reception on the farm where we live,  costs are on £13,000 now and the hotel package we saw recently was all in at £8000.   Im glad im doing it my way though i get everything i want.

    My first wedding was village hall do and we did a sit down buffet which friends catered for us and a disco.  



  • Spice3Spice3 Posts: 122

    If you use a village hall, u will have to bring your own alcohol/drinks. I would strongly consider reducing your guestlist due to the size of your budget. 120 people in total is a lot and really reducing your guestlist is the best way to save money and work within a budget of your size.


    It depends on you. I don't like things like asking guests to BYOB to a wedding because I think the host should cater for the type of party they can afford and allow guests to enjoy the day, but some people don't mind. With that many guests you will probably be relying on them to cover the costs of some of the wedding, like getting them to bring some food.


    I would definitely get rid of the evening guests if I was you and potentially reduce the number of day guests.

  • Laura349Laura349 Posts: 1,001 New bride

    Welcome to wedding planning! 

    I have the same budget as you, and I'm finding that DIYing things is the most cost affective. I'm making my own bouquet, centre pieces, invites / save the dates and shoes! I've bought all the things I need cheap off eBay! 

    As for a dress, try a high street shop or a boutique that has a sale on - I was lucky enough to get my dress in the sale at £100 instead of £1300! 

    As for a venue, i'll echo the advice that people have given me - think of 'outside the box' type venues, as anywhere which advertise wedding will be putting the cost up a lot!

    Village halls, School halls, Community centres and a theatre? Our local theatre hosts weddings and they're not badly priced!  

    Hope it helps! 

    And don't forget to breathe! 

  • Lauren147Lauren147 Posts: 185

    DIY is the way to go! I made all of our save the dates, invites, order of service and thank you cards for £50. 

    Also not legally getting married on the day will save you a load on money. We got married that day before in the small room (8 guests) of the registry office and it cost us £50 if we were to do it on our day with all the guest it would have been £450. 

    Bear in mind with your sunflower being your only non-negotiable, I would look when they are in season for your time of year unless you are happy with fake ones??  

  • SammykateSammykate Posts: 4,014 New bride

    It sounds like you have some good ideas, but just make sure you factor in everything when looking at hiring village halls etc.

    I looked at the village hall local to my parents which costs a princely £100 to hire for a day, but by the time I added in hire of tables, chairs, table cloths, staff, decor, food, drinks, cleaning it afterwards etc- it was going to exceed the £5.5k our hotel venue cost and be a lot more work. Venues that are 'dry hire'- eg they include nothing but the room- can be very expensive by the time you are done. You also need to look at things like the bathroom and kitchen facilities and see if they would be suitable for your numbers as hiring extras can be very expensive.

    A hog roast for your numbers could eat up half of your budget so you may need to reconsider having both an afternoon tea and a hog roast and just go for one.

    I know it's not the most inspiring, but some hotel chains do cheap wedding packages- Old English Inns do and Holiday Inn used to do a £1k wedding package too.

  • MrsPB2019MrsPB2019 Posts: 832 New bride

    I'm in Sussex and am going through the same. We really wanted a Barn and then realised most were priced 4-5k so that quickly went out the window. We've now going the village hall route and have viewed one for £750 for fri to sun hire and includes tables, chairs, crockery, has outdoor space and will even let people camp there.

    I am worried about catering, I need to start getting quotes from places. 

    Also if you know anyone who has or is getting married recently they may have leftovers you can have. We found out on Sunday decorations from a friends wedding in April are going to another friend in the group for her wedding June next year and then will most likely be coming our way. Every little small bit helps.

  • Rach371Rach371 Posts: 1,130 New bride

    It's so stressful!! We're doing dry hire and it's not cheap!

    has OP thought gumtree? My friend had her wedding as a package from there for £3,500 at a local hotel and it included pretty much everything except her flowers. i would have struggled to tell the difference between her wedding and ones i've been to that cost 5 times as much.

    Hog roast is not your way forward - we toyed with the idea for an evening meal but didn't get a quote below £850.

    Do an afternoon tea that you can cater for the majority of yourself. Just remember, if you go for a barn/field you will have to hire toilets and most likely a generator too. It's not cheap this wedding malarky. 

  • wed172Bwed172B Posts: 1,258

    I think you really need to sit down and plan out your costs, for example feeding 120 people in the evening will cost £800-£1000 for a hog roast or similar. feeding 50 people afternoon tea will probably be a similar cost. That's 2 thirds of your top budget! I would perhaps agree with others to just feed everyone once and maybe have a later ceremony time.

    It costs £70 just to give notice plus maybe £300 pounds for the registry office (varies by each office i believe) - start with the essential spends like this and maybe look at a template wedding budget as this will help you to see everything you might need to consider and not just the obvious.

  • SAKSAK Posts: 9

    What about a good pub? I'm not a big drinker but mid week in local pub (as long as it can hold you all) could do the trick.

    We are having our reception in a very nice restaurant, which will already look lovely, had same issue when looking for non hotel venues re cost - they were too expensive when you factored in food, tables, chairs etc 

    Also, we are only using electronic invites (because we no longer live in the UK, and very expensive to post from where we are). There are lots of free templates available online which you can even print yourself onto standard paper...

    Might be cheaper than a make it yourself job. You still get to design the text etc.


    Good luck!


  • MissSMissS Posts: 267 New bride

    My friend got married in a hall type venue- had the wedding outside because it was sunny but on invite asked guests to bring a dish that would serve 4 people. E.G- Please bring a lasagne big enough to feed four people. It was their wedding present and once everyone had brought something they had tons of food! They did supply all of the alcohol and a lot of guests brought some too. They're friends and family and know that they're struggling for money. I personally wouldn't mind one bit if I was asked to bring food to feed the wedding party. I think its quite fun!!  

  • Lucy266Lucy266 Posts: 176

    Think about what you do and don't need? It doesn't need to be the traditional all day, all evening wedding.  I agree get married late in the day and feed everyone once. You can save money if you forgo the evening disco, or use a playlist - but test it!! You don't need a formal bridal party, professional makeup or hair IMO. 

  • Leatherhead Register Office is a lovely old mansion house and a great place to get married.  I've shot hundreds of weddings there.  I do ceremony only package for £300

    Chessington World of Adventures do a great package for something different.


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