How much did your wedding cost?

Hello! FH husband and I are trying to determine a budget for everything(attire, invites, catering, ceremony & reception etc) how much did your wedding come out to? Feel free to include the breakdown of prices! Thank you everyone!

Where was your location and during what time of year was it?





  • Kitty12Kitty12 Posts: 119 New bride

    Ours came to around £18000 in total. It was in Hampshire in February, so off season. The breakdown as I can remember was:

    Venue package - £8000 (including catering, decoration, some flowers, and DJ)

    Dress - £1600 + £300 alterations 

    Photographer - £800

    Cake - £500

    Additional flowers - £350

    Bridesmaid outfits - £500

    Bridal shoes/Accessories - £250

    Groom’s suit - £250

    Invites/table setting/thank you cards, etc - £600

    Favours - £200

    Sweet cart - £250

    Bar tab - £2000

    Gifts for bridal party - £200

    Hair/Makeup - free, compliments of a generous cousin!

    That doesn’t exactly add up, I’m sure there were additional bits I’ve forgotten about, but hope that gives you a rough idea!

  • For contect we’re getting married on 3rd November this year, and our venue is in Nottingham. 

    Venue Fees - £3749 for:

    ·       Hire room for the ceremony and reception  (exlusive use of entire venue)

    ·       Guest book (although this wont be needed) 

    ·       Red carpet, which I doubt we’ll use

    ·       Wedding post box hire

    ·       Cake knife and stand hire

    ·       Pims and canapé reception for up to 50

    ·       Three-course wedding breakfast for up to 50. Paid to upgrade to choice of 3 meals.

    ·       Paid corkage for 15 bottles of table wine for wedding breakfast 

    ·       Petit fours and tea/coffee following the wedding breakfast 

    ·       Table linen, napkins, crockery, cutlery and glassware

    ·       Evening buffet (limited to six options) for up to 100 people

    ·       Evening sweets station

    ·       All of the 5 bedrooms in the hall booked for the night of the wedding 

    ·       Dj


    Registrar fees - £490


    Brides outfit - £1000-ish for:

    ·       Wedding dress (and alterations)

    ·       Wedding boots

    ·       Knitted cape for outside 

    ·cape veil

    ·jewellery (earrings, necklace and headband)



    Chair covers - £50 for 50 chair covers and navy satin sashes


    Flowers - £200 for:

    ·       Bridal bouquet

    ·       Bridesmaid bouquet

    ·       Groom +5 buttonholes

    ·       Top table flowers

    ·       4 centrepiece floral rings


    Fireworks - £1000 for a 10 minute non-stop display


    Hair and makeup - £200 for:

    ·       Brides hair and makeup + trials 

    ·       Maid of honour hair and makeup 

    ·       Mother of the Bride hair and makeup 


    Photo booth - £325 for 4 hours of magic mirror hire and guest book.


    Wedding stationary - £100 for:

    ·       Day invites and matching envelopes

    ·       Evening invites 

    ·       Place cards  (to match invites)

    ·       Welcome poster

    ·       Fingerprint guest book 


    Various decorations - £700 for:

    ·       Lots of lanterns and fairy lights, mirror plates etc.


    Photographer - £525


    Cake - £255 (3 tier, lots of edible glitter and sugar flowers)


     Groom's suit (Military attire) - £150 (not including £100 refundable deposit)


    Our total cost after everything should be around £8,800

  • Kitty12Kitty12 Posts: 119 New bride

    Ah yes! Registrar fee was the biggie I forgot on mine, thank you! 

  • Ours was around £16k for a typical church wedding/hotel reception in August in South Wales a few years ago (not including honeymoon).  This included lots of extras such as string quartet, Photo Booth, magician etc).  The single biggest expense will be your venue and catering and this will vary massively.  You can go for a village hall afternoon tea which will cost a couple of thousand (if that) or go all out and have a grand exclusive manor house which will be £20k plus.  It's great to get ideas, but really it's all relative to your vision and so our costs/expenses are kind of meaningless x

    Edited to add (I forgot to mention earlier) the venue is probably going to be your only cost that varies due to the day of the week and time of year you choose to get married.  Most other suppliers will keep the prices the same as their costs remain the same all year round.  Occasionally some suppliers will offer midweek discounts but in my experience most don't.  

  • RoseyGoldRoseyGold Posts: 164 New bride

    I've only just started planning but so far....

    Venue including food, and drinks package £9.4k (100 adults, 30 children plus additional 40 adults in the evening)

    Photographer £1300 (And that was with a £200 discount)

    Photo booth £550 (we splashed out on this a bit because I loved the backdrop!!)

    We have budgeted 

    £2000 for my entire outfit

    £500 for 2 adult and one mini bridesmaid 

    £1000 for groom and his men, they're wearing kilts it's a nightmare 

    £1000 for transport and this is hurting me a lot as FMIL wants everyone to be in a posh car...... 🤔

    Flower £500

    Decorations £300 (although our namecard holders will cost £200 they're stormtroopers and I'm hoping to sell them after)

    Favours £2 each....fudge chunks

    Cake £300 doing a desert table and making my own cake

    DJ my current nightmare..... original budget £800 but this looks very unrealistic as I really want the starlight dancefloor.

    I wanted to spend £15k it'll be closer to 20k

  • MrsCToBeeMrsCToBee Posts: 2,760 New bride

    Our budget is between £8500-9000.

    Venue - £5000 inc ceremony, 3 course wedding breakfast for 70, evening BBQ for 110ish, DJ

    Dress £500 (in sample sale) plus £250ish for alterations

    Photographer £395 for 4 hours coverage

    2 adult BMs and 3 flower girls - their outfits are roughly £20 each.

    Cake/doughnut tower £150.

    Then the rest is registrar, hair and make up, rings, decorations, ties and pocket hankies, transport, hotel rooms etc. 


  • Mila-rose3Mila-rose3 Posts: 264 New bride

    I think we are up to about 30k with the honeymoon.

    Getting married on the 3rd of November in Wales

    Venue was a massive expense for us, we had to pay 5000 before anything for exclusive use. 9000 then for the package (which is pretty standard i think across the board)

    I also had a big wobble with my photographer so had to pay her off to then pay another lol first photographer was 900 and second was 1200 

    Honeymoon is costing 8000 too which kind of bumps it up.

    I think the best advice I can give is don't visit a wedding fayre 🤣🤣 you seem to always get carried away and end up booking stuff at 'special prices' a few days you are wondering why the hell you need ice cream in November .... or maybe that's just me 🤣🤣

  • stacey147stacey147 Posts: 108 New bride

    Im getting married in 4.5 weeks time so September in the Midlands...

    Venue £2495

    Dj £300

    Chair covers £200

    Tea/coffee £123.90

    Dress £800 + £300 alterations 

    Shoes £50 (plus £35 for glitter converse to change to on the evening) 

    Flowers £510

    Photography £120 (2 local uni students doing photography)

    Cake £150 (3 tiers different flavours)

    Artificial flowers for cake and seating plan £35

    Stationary DIY materials approx £100

    Mens suits Hire x 5 including shoes £700

    Hair & makeup £90

    Wedding ring £310

    Earrings £35

    Bouncy castle £230

    Favours £70

    Balloons £20 + £30 helium

    Bike prop £70

    Hen do £200

    Thank you gifts £140

    Honeymoon £1000 


    £6,500 ish plus £1000 honeymoon

  • Venue will likely be the main expense and will be a guide as to how much the total wedding costs. Ours is in winter/out of season and costing about £40k (then another £12k on honeymoon) but our venue takes almost half of this as we have it exclusively for 3 days & are having a pre wedding dinner for 50 guests the night before. There are areas you can save & splurge on depending on what is important to you, for example our invites were £700 but our photographer is £650 (although his prev work is AMAZING). As a guide, our key 'big' expenses for us otherwise include videographer £1200, flowers for £1200, dress £3000, cake is £700, my shoes were £400, wedding rings £1500 and a firework display for £1500. As I said there are cheaper and more expensive versions of everything and it really just depends on what you feel is important and can afford to splurge - prioritise those and go for cheaper options on the more 'trivial' parts of the day. If you're confident at DIYing things make sure you give yourself plenty of time so you're not rushed or stressing and check costs as DIY isnt always hugely cheaper than buying things in. 

  • kitty-kitty- Posts: 121 New bride

    Our wedding is under 10,000.

    venue- 3000


    hog roast and afternoon tea- 1250


    dress and alterations-1000(parents paid)

    bridesmaid dresses- 280

    groomsmen attire-280




    cake- free

    invitations- £50 we did these ourselves 

    seating plan- 9.50- did this ourselves 



    hair and makeup-310

  • GinAndBlingGinAndBling Posts: 1,295 New bride

    Ours will be £18,500 approx, not including the honeymoon which is £6k. 

    That is for 90 day guests and 140 evening, in a country house in Leicestershire. Main expenses are venue hire (£5k) and food (£4k) 

    Our planning thread: We're completely winging it.
    Our report: A fun, classic May day in navy and blush
    My weightloss thread: Diet denial! 
  • I think the important thing to remember is that you can have a wedding that is as low-cost or expensive as you’d like/need it to be. 

    People plan weddings that are under £5k and some people go all out and have a £40k extraganza. 

    For me and my fiancé, we just couldn’t justify spending so much on one day when we’re also looking at buying our first home and starting a family. 


  • Ours will be about 10k! The key is to invite less people (65 day) and ask for favours from people wherever possible!


    Dress - gift from Mum

    Church ceremony/choir/bells - £1k

    Venue/Food/Drink - £5k

    Flowers - Friend doing them

    Cake - Mother in law making

    DJ - £500

    Photographer - £1100

    Hair makeup for bride squad - £750

    Gifts - not getting them any sorry :)

    Wedding favours - Friend making them

    Bridesmaid dresses - £300

    Groomsmen suits - They are buying their own

    Honeymoon - TBC but probably £2k max

  • Kitty12Kitty12 Posts: 119 New bride
    Nottinghamshirebride wrote (see post):

    I think the important thing to remember is that you can have a wedding that is as low-cost or expensive as you’d like/need it to be. 

    People plan weddings that are under £5k and some people go all out and have a £40k extraganza. 


    This is so true. One of the best weddings I’ve been to was my friend’s, which cost a little over £5k. By contrast, last year we went to one which cost over £45k, and really didn’t enjoy it. Whatever you spend, just make sure it’s what you want to do. If your guests are comfortable and well fed, they’ll be happy!



  • Kitty12 wrote (see post):
    This is so true. One of the best weddings I’ve been to was my friend’s, which cost a little over £5k. By contrast, last year we went to one which cost over £45k, and really didn’t enjoy it. Whatever you spend, just make sure it’s what you want to do. If your guests are comfortable and well fed, they’ll be happy!



    I will have spent around £8.8K at the end of ours (excluding honeymoon) and honestly I don’t think I’d change a thing! I don’t feel like I’ve compromised and we just couldn’t justify spending so much money on one day, especially when we’re looking at buying our first home and starting a family. 

    I do thinks it’s easier to get swept up in wedding fever and spend more and more, but just remember to get things you want and not because someone else has said it’s the right thing to do!

  • MrsCToBeeMrsCToBee Posts: 2,760 New bride
    Nottinghamshirebride wrote (see post):
    Kitty12 wrote (see post):
    This is so true. One of the best weddings I’ve been to was my friend’s, which cost a little over £5k. By contrast, last year we went to one which cost over £45k, and really didn’t enjoy it. Whatever you spend, just make sure it’s what you want to do. If your guests are comfortable and well fed, they’ll be happy!



    I will have spent around £8.8K at the end of ours (excluding honeymoon) and honestly I don’t think I’d change a thing! I don’t feel like I’ve compromised and we just couldn’t justify spending so much money on one day, especially when we’re looking at buying our first home and starting a family. 

    I do thinks it’s easier to get swept up in wedding fever and spend more and more, but just remember to get things you want and not because someone else has said it’s the right thing to do!

    Totally agree, we haven't compromised at all for under £9k. IMO unless people have huge budgets they usually do one of two things - have a huge grand venue and skimp elsewhere, or go for a less grand venue and have everything else they want. We chose the latter, as a small simple venue decorated brilliantly and good quality food will always look better than a huge venue with obviously sparse decorations and cheap food. Plus we'd both feel bloody silly wafting around a stately home (no criticism implied to those who do, it's just not us).

    We've been to £40k weddings in huge exclusive use stately homes with enclosed deerparks, where the flowers have been crap and the food even worse, with an extortionate bar and an awful atmosphere - I actually found the MOB crying in the toilets as she was so bitterly disappointed with the food and service they had paid a fortune for :(

    Some things we aren't doing purely because we don't want to, rather than for money saving, though it has helped the budget - OH and our dads all despise hired suits, so they are all wearing their own. We have no interest in cars, so we are probably just getting a taxi.

    Just decide what your priorities are and budget accordingly - you don't HAVE to do/have anything if you aren't bothered about it.

  • Mine is looking like it's going to come in at £23k for the wedding and £8k for the honeymoon. My wedding is in Central London on Halloween weekend (Oct 27th). We're expecting around 90 all day guests.

    Of that £23k, £15k is being spent on venue, which includes all food (canapés, wedding breakfast, evening food), alcohol (3 x reception drinks per person, 3/4 bottle of premium wine per person at the wedding breakfast and shots for everyone to toast the dancefloor open), decorations, venue flowers, and the wedding planner and her team for on the day management and to decorate and take everything down afterwards.

    We 100% could have had a much cheaper wedding, and would have had a much cheaper wedding if our parents hadn't offered to help (before parental help was on the cards our wedding budget was £12k). But we chose a really unique venue in one of the most expensive places to get married in the country. We could not have done this on our original budget. We would have either had to have had a pub/bar wedding reception if we were to stay in London, or we would have had it in Northumberland (where I'm originally from) as you can get waaay more for your money in the North East.

    As everyone else has said, your wedding can be as cheap or as expensive as you want it to be, it's entirely up to you.

  • Zara29Zara29 Posts: 105

    It all depends on personal taste and guest list size! Ours is relatively small, 65 people for the day and no further evening guests.

    We're up to £22,000 for the wedding day (barn wedding on a Sunday in November, Hampshire).

    That doesn't include honeymoon, that's an additional £8,000.

  • Ozzy2bOzzy2b Posts: 143

    We get married on a Saturday in November in the Midlands. It's a smallish wedding (55 day guests plus another 20 for the evening). So far the costs are:

    Registry Office £815 - Giving Notice, Deposit and Registrar Booking

    Wedding Rings £1200

    Venues (one for ceremony, one for wedding breakfast and reception) - £7000 including all food and open bars until toasts

    Photographer £1150 including pre wedding shoot

    Hotels £500

    Attire and Hair £1800 - includes suit and accessories for groom, my dress, shoes x 2, underwear and jewellery, dresses and hair for bride and 2 bridesmaids

    Other £1500 - this includes invites, additional printing, decor

    Flowers £0 - paper flowers being made by my sister

    Cake - still to sort, probably a combination of home made vegan and fruit cakes, possibly a cheese tower

    No travel costs as we can walk between venues

    We prioritised good food, being able to keep the bars open as long as reasonably possible (we'll switch to a cash bar after toasts but have budgeted for a couple of drinks for each evening guest), photographer, a really good suit for the groom and a bit of splurge on the wedding rings - for me I wanted to spend more on the ring I'll wear for the rest of my life than on a dress I'll wear for one day! That said, it's still the most expensive piece of clothing I've ever worn

  • MrsGtoBMrsGtoB Posts: 712 New bride

    I think we are up to 22k 😩 10k of that is the honeymoon though

    venue £4.5k 62 day plus another 60 evening. Includes reception cocktail, canapés, 3 course dinner with coffee, buffet, wine with meal, prosecco toast, white carpet, aisle candles, centrepieces and top Table arrangement, cake knife and stand. We have chosen our own bespoke menu too. 

    Dress £2200 

    suits £600

    photographer £1500

    videographer £550

    cars £500

    string trio £500

    band £1050

    venue dressing £2000

    invites £100

    Sorry can’t remember everything else xx


  • Our budget started at £10k, but once we started thinking about what we wanted it went to an eye watering 30k. This was just for 13 people, we had a weekend wedding in Tuscany and paid for everything including flights for our guests.

    We then had a church blessing which cost 5k 6 weeks later for 30 people.

    Both were equally lovely days and we got so many compliments about our blessing as we had a 3 course pub meal followed by a garden party.

  • Our wedding is October 6th so not long away

    and it’s only cost us £1500 

    20 day guests and a extra 20 for the evening. Nothing big and fancy, just the people we are closest to (not even the whole family is invited) 

    we didn’t see the point in spending loads when we could do it cheaper and keep it more personal. It’s true you can get married no matter what the budget is.

    we are  spending our day with the people that matter and it is only a hand full. If we had more people involved in our life’s then it would have been a bigger wedding.

    plus I hate being centre of attention 😂 simple and plain. And hoping with h2b in his army ones he will shine the light off me for a bit 😂😂

    To keep costs down I’ve actually done all invites myself, the venue for evening is free as we’ve had a buffet from them (two infact) and we both agreed a sit down meal wasn’t our thing. 

    Plus we move into our first family house (after living in a rented flat) two weeks before so also saved for that. 

    i wouldn't compare your budget to any one else’s, everyone has different tastes and also different needs. Enjoy your day no matter what is spent and remember it’s your day not anyone else’s. ❤️

  • rlnxrlnx Posts: 46 New bride

    Our wedding isn't until 20th March 2020, we've spent a bit more than we wanted to but we will have had 3 years to save for everything (we've almost saved enough for the venue) and i'm determined that we won't start married life with wedding debts!!! 

    Venue (including exclusive hire, canapes, 3 course meal, drinks and evening reception food. We're having around 60 in the day with an additional 40-50 in the evening) £10,500

    Wedding dress budgeted to less than £1000 MIL has very kindly bought my shoes! 

    2 Photographers for all day coverage £1300

    Wedding cake - No more than £300 

    Registrar fees £490

    Transport for my fiance - hopefully borrowing friends car

    DJ -£750 

    Flowers - £730

    Bridesmaids/groomsmen/hair/makeup hopefully no more than £700! 

    Honeymoon - Not budgeted yet but hopefully going to America for 2 weeks! 

  • Candice9Candice9 Posts: 230

    We started off with an 18k budget but that looks like it's likely going to be closer to 21k excluding honeymoon (another 3rd November bride here!). The breakdown roughly is:

    Venue (65 day guests and 105 evening guests, inc. venue hire, prosecco and canape reception, 3 course wedding breakfast with wine and prosecco for the toast and hot sandwiches/wedges and salad in the evening: £7500

    Photographer: £2000

    Rings: £1675

    Groom and  5 groomsmen: £1500

    Bride and  5 bridemaids: £2000

    Hair and makeup: £440 (that's for my hair and makeup and all bridesmaids hair)

    Stationary: £650

    Band and DJ: £1645

    Cake: £270

    Decorations and flowers: £2200

    Favours: £100

    Misc bits and bobs (sparklers/toffee apples/canvas and paints for guest book): £250

    Fees etc: £500 

    EEEEEEE that's a lot of money!




  • KrabbyKrabby Posts: 49

    I recon it’s going to come to about £16k 

    venue: £2,300

    registrar: £495

    notice to marry: £70

    flowers: £800

    chair here: £600

    food (including evening buffet) £6,000

    drinks: £2,500

    my outfit: £300

    his outfit: £150

    additional outfits: £250

    assistance (nannies, bar help and clear up) £600 

    make up: £400

    hair: £300 

    decor and table decor: £600

    games and entertainment: £300 

    rings: £400 

    120 day, additional 30 at night, Saturday in September, no honeymoon 😭


  • MrsJ2017MrsJ2017 Posts: 3,017

    I listed all the costs in my report so I’ll pasts it over. Neither of is wanted to spend a fortune on one day, maybe if we were filthy rich, but were not so no point pretending!

    We have 3 kids as well, and honestly, it’s so hard to spend money without feeling guilty, as though we’re depriving them. So silly because they have everything they need and more, I guess it’s just a fun side effect of parenting! I just couldn’t have spent more than we did, and even a relatively low budget wedding felt disgustingly expensive and pretentious.

  • MrsJ2017MrsJ2017 Posts: 3,017

    Stationary - £97
    I made all my own stationary which kept the costs down.

    26 Day invitations - £40

    30 Evening Invitations - £20

    Table Plan - £7

    Place Cards - £15

    Fingerprint guest canvas inc ink pad - £15

    Bridal Outfit - £1127

    Dress - £700 (my mum paid £300 of this)

    Cloak £101

    Underwear - £37

    Shoes - £10

    Shoe Clips - £30

    Hair Comb - £200

    Earrings - £30

    Bracelet - £12

    Bouquet Charm - £7

    Garter - free, a gift off my mum

    Bridesmaids - £381

    Dresses - £165

    Wraps - £80

    Hairbands - £21

    MOH Hair Comb - £15

    Bracelets - £40

    Dressing gowns - £60

    Flower Girls - £212
    Dresses - £60

    Cardigans - £56

    Shoes - £50

    Bouquet Charms - £16

    Charm Bracelets - £30

    Beauty - £335
    Hair - £160 (for all of us)

    Makeup - £60 (Tip only)

    Foundation and Lipstick for me £50

    Nails - £25

    Eyelashes - £30

    Eyebrows - £10

    Men - £541
    Our mens suits were cheaper than expected due to Ps brother not bothering to attend, and the suit shop messing up the order and knocking some money off the total.

    Suits for 8 adult and 2 boys - £300

    Mens Shoes - £140

    Boys Shoes - £58

    Cufflinks - £25

    Socks - £18

    Flowers - £513.10
    Brides Bouquet - £100

    Bridesmaids Bouquets - £200

    Groom buttonhole - £9.95

    7 buttonholes - £41.70

    2 boys buttonholes - £7

    5 fresh corsages - £60

    1 artificial corsage - £17.50

    Top table display - £60

    Mistletoe - £10

    Transport - £1100
    Carriage - £725

    Car - free

    Bus - £375 (gift from Best Man so actually free!)

    Photographer & Videographer - £1995

    This was a package from the one supplier, we had 2 togs, 1 videographer, and well get 4 DVDs and a wedding album.

    Venues - £4640
    Church - £510

    Hotel - £4130 (inc DJ food and drink)

    Other Food - £447
    Wedding Cake - £350

    Extra cakes and cookies for buffet - £20

    Sweets - £50

    Jars, bags and scoops - £27

    Magician - £300

    Decorations - £545.95

    I decided to DIY my decorations after receiving a quote of £700 for centrepieces and chair bows from a venue dresser.

    Trees - £80

    Cloche vases - £48

    Mirror Plates - £8.95

    Table Name Holders - £16

    Favours - £40 (inc the chocolates)

    Chair bows - £37 for 100

    Glass Baubles - £42

    Snowflakes - £4

    Acrylic droplets - £24

    Sequin Table Runners - £56

    Various Tealight Holders - £40

    Tall Hurricane Vases - £20

    DIY Floral letters - £30

    Scatter Crystals - £8

    Confetti - £30

    Postbox - £20 (inc spray paint)

    Welcome banner - £42

    Grand Total - £12,234.05

  • We are getting married just us two in Barbados, but will have two separate family gatherings in HK and UK - currently tracking at £14k 

    Barbados (wedding & honeymoon)

    Flights £1818

    Accommodation for 14 nights £2100

    Wedding planner & videography £1223

    Photography £1064

    Wedding dress £450

    Wedding shoes £300

    Groom's outfit £150

    Wedding rings £800

    Hair accessories £10

    Food £960

    Entertainment (cruise, diving, etc,.) £700

    Transport £50


    Family lunch £420

    Transport £100


    Flights £1500

    My outfits £145

    Dinner for 40 people £2000

  • Slightly different take, elopement in the USA, party / reception in Sheffield

    USA Ceremony

    Officiant + witness: $525
    Photography: $2,500
    License: $85


    Wedding Dress £1,400
    Converse: £40
    Grooms outfit: £120 
    Vans: £65

    Sheffield party

    Photography for a couple of hours: £200
    Poutine Street Food, serving 150: £750
    Waffles, serving 150: £420
    Venue (including flowers, projector, welcome drink, cake cutting, on the night support, games room) £1,200

    Wedding Rings

    Mine: £450
    Grooms: £350
    Both bespoke.

    Return for two: £1,200
    Car Hire for 3 weeks: £750 for mustang
    Fuel cost: £262 
    Accommodation: £2,500

    How we budgeted:

    Firstly, I will say we decided WHAT we were happy to spend and what we could afford is very different to everyone else. I wouldn't be happy with a high amount on a single day, that was clear from prior to getting engaged. For me, I wanted to have something more than just a day, so we did an entire road trip. 
    The day doesn't need to be a grand thing - the important thing is the marriage, that's got to be the focus. You can do it cheap and still have the best time!

  • I agree with the other ladies that noted that one of the best ways to save (and still have a beautiful day) is to control the guest list. Re-phrasing what someone else stated, you can invite a bunch of people on a spread-thin budget and have an okay-ish day or you can limit your list and have an amazing day. An amazing day being that everyone was well fed, warm enough/cool enough, enough room for all guests/ comfortable seating, the 'tog was excellent, the venue performed as contracted, etc.  I, too, have been to large weddings where the hotel smells dank, the food is rubbery chicken, the loos are "miles" away, the tent leaked, the decor would have been better off skipped, the DJ was a loud-mouthed lad straight out of the 80s, and the cake was dry and pieces were small. If you're going to have the "pretentious party," which is essentially what a wedding reception is, better off to have the best of vendors/services/amenities and treat yourself and your guests well.  I also think cutting out non-essentials saves money for better quality essentials. No one needs another favour, but everyone wants good food.

    My previous wedding was around £25,000, no honeymoon. Over £12,500 was the venue rental and their onsite catering. Flowers were around £2600, cake was around £850, fees were around £400, mens attire about £600, my attire £900, paper products £1500, 'tog was £1000 (HUGE mistake, spend as much as you can afford on this one!), misc decor (candles, linens) £500, post for STDs/Invites/Thankyous £100.  We had 103 guests.

    We had really nice canapes like shrimp and bruchetta. For the meal, our guests were served fillet and pheasant as part of a multi-course meal. Each table had huge floral arrangements and beautiful linens - we let the guests take the flowers home at the end of the night. We also did not do day/evening guests, so we only fed everyone once.  (We actually had the caterers have the pizza ovens on stand-by, but no one was hungry.)

    Things we didn't do/ saved money on: no BMs (major expense), no favours, no cars (used out own), no gifts (to each other, family), no "novelties" (photobooth, magician, chocolate fountain), no DJ/band (used iPod and the venue's sound system) no videographer, no kitchy signage, no flipflops, no postbox for cards (the venue kindly set up a table for the cards/gifts).  We had the meal in the mid/late afternoon after substantial canapes so no need to feed everyone twice. The giant cake doubled as dessert. 

    I think most guests would always pick the fillet over a packet of seeds that says Let Love Grow. Point being, you can have an amazing wedding if you allocate your funds in a way to maximise your guests' experience, and knowing how many guests you can afford to pamper is the key.

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