As I write about certain areas of the wedding planning process and how money can be saved, I will also write about my own experiences and how I came to make certain decisions.
My budget amounted to 6k, which to be honest, at first felt like enough, until I started to look at how much a venue would cost, and then it started to feel smaller than it had to begin with. My family has a history of small weddings, and to be honest, my parents thought that the 6k budget was huge and a ridiculous amount of money to spend on a wedding. The difference is in the past 27 years since my parents married the cost of a wedding has gone through the roof. It seems that no matter what, if you want a cake made, or want to hire a venue the price doubles as soon as the word wedding is mentioned.
The first thing I did in the whole wedding planning if I am honest was buy my dress. I hadn’t meant to buy it so early in the planning, but I started to look around different bridal shops, and was looking on line, and then one day my mum and I popped into a bridal shop and found a dress that looked perfect, tried it on and loved it, so went back the next day to try it on again with my dad and sister there to see it too and bought it. We thought it was a better bargain than it was due to a misleading price tag. However, this then gave the first expense of £700 – a little over the 10% that should usually be budgeted for the wedding dress.
In September of 2010 I started looking at wedding venues. (I got engaged in April 2008 at the tender age of 18, and booked the venue in November 2010). I decided I would look for venues in Berkshire and Wiltshire. Some of the venues I looked at online include:
I loved the idea of having the wedding in a barn as we’re both really out-doorsy and thought it would give the perfect romantic yet relaxed vibe that I longed for. I started to email the venues I’d looked at online to ask them about prices and availability for the months that we had in mind. Some venues never got back to me, and other got back to me with rather vague responses. The venue that came back with the best response was The Ivy Hotel in Wroughton. Their website looked lovely and Wroughton was a perfect location for us, only half an hour’s drive from where we were living.
I arranged three viewings, The Ivy Hotel, Templars barn and Old Luxters Barn. The first viewing was The Ivy Hotel, and after having that viewing I was in love, not only with the venue, but the location, the price and the wedding planner who was so open and honest in answering all of our questions, that I then cancelled the viewings of the barns as I felt I didn’t need to see any more venues than that one.
The other reason I cancelled the viewings of the barns was that in my research I found out that barns can work out rather expensive. You have to hire in the furniture (tables, chairs, cutlery etc) in many cases, along with a caterer, entertainment, decorations…everything. So even though the hire of the barn worked out nicely, all the extras would have come above our budget.
So The Ivy Hotel was chosen and we put down our deposit, which was the second expense to add to our expenses for the wedding.