My Wedding Breakfast


How we reduced the cost of catering our wedding by opting for cheaper options for drinks and choosing 2 courses instead of 3

I’ve shared many details about my wedding, I’ve shared with you some of the decorations and entertainment we created, how the husband and I made our invitations, I gave you 14 ways how we reduced costs, I’ve divulged a breakdown of the wedding day and I let you in our own very own personal vows!

But in none of these posts have I ever gone into detail about our catering, what food and drink we chose for our wedding breakfast, how we went about making the decisions we did and what our reasons were for those decisions. In this post I will finally share these details with you.

It’s probably quite evident from everything else I’ve shared in the past 2-3 years on this blog that the Husband and I wanted our wedding planning to go as smoothly as possible, and we really didn’t want to be spending all our spare time planning the wedding. We also didn’t want to cause ourselves any more stress or grief than was necessary, so if there was a way we could cut out any potential stress we would.

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A Daydream Idea for a new Budget Wedding Service


A few mornings ago whilst going about my normal getting ready routine I had a proper detailed day dream that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about.

direct budget wedding planning service idea

During my years writing this blog, I have met countless couples that feel completely lost in the maze of wedding planning. As soon as you’re engaged you start getting questions thrown at you – when is your date, what venue have you chosen, what colour scheme are you having…. and often you don’t know the answers to any of these questions.

What does a newly engaged person normally do? Go out and purchase some wonderful wedding magazines to peruse for inspiration. Wedding magazines are great, I personally love flicking through the glossy pages, but they’re not exactly well known for having products and services aimed at the small budget wedding.

Sadly, I’ve also spoken to couples who have ended up feel pushed by well meaning but over assertive relatives into having a certain venue, or into booking services and suppliers that they wouldn’t really have wanted to have if they’d been left to their own devices. And we’ve all heard of a couple who have ended up inviting people to their wedding they don’t even know because their parent/grandparent/aunt told them they have to.

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My Super Budget Bridal Accessories


As promised here is my post on my Bridal Accessories I had for my wedding on 8th October 2016. 

I  don’t tend to wear a lot of jewellery day to day. Occasionally I’ll put earrings in and every now and then I’ll wear a necklace, however generally the only piece of jewellery I’d wear before getting married was my engagement ring (now it’s engagement ring and wedding ring).

For months before the wedding I was pinning bridal accessories such as the below. I had my mind set on a leafy gold hair piece of some kind and pearl earrings.

accessoriesblogWhat I’d imagined for my Bridal accessories

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Home Bake – Wedding Cake


My favourite You Tube ‘How To’ for making your own  wedding cake at home. Over these two videos Chef Alan Tetreault, owner of Global Sugar Art shows you have to create your own three tiered wedding cake.

I would say only people who enjoy baking and who bake regularly should even contemplate making their own cake, so do approach this with caution. If you are determined to go down the DIY route for your cake but aren’t great at baking, you could either ask a friend/family member to bake it and you decorate it.

 

All White Wedding on a Budget


Going all white can seem scary, but as long as you use a mix of different textures and fabrics your wedding will look expensively elegant for a very small amount without any stresses that come with a mixed colour theme. In this post I would like to show you some ways you can achieve an all white wedding without it costing the earth.

Decorations

Fairy lights can be bought from pretty much anywhere, but bare in mind that you will need to select battery operated fairy lights for use throughout your venue. The three orbs and the rose garland are from NotOnThehighstreet.com for £26 and £22 respectively. The hanging birdcage is £12 from Matalans home range, which would look lovely holding either real tea light candles or LED tea lights if your venue has restrictions on naked flames.

NOTH set-of-three-fairy-light-orbs NOTH white-rose-fairy-light-garland Matalan vintage-wire-hanging-birdcage

Wedding Stationary

The number of places where you can get wedding invitations from is endless, from high street card shops or print shops to a never ending list of websites. BHS sell a range of wedding stationary that can be personalised, such as their Damask wedding invitation design which starts at £2.08 each.

basicinvitebasicinvite.com allows you to design your own invites for as little as 59p each. As you change the design of your invite, using the extensive array of colour options, you can see instant previews and a sample can be ordered before you commit to your purchase. For simple designs upgrading to their shimmer paper would finish your invites off with a truly professional feel for just pence.

Hobby Craft sell all manner of ready made wedding decorations as well as all the supplies you could need to create yourhobby craft place cards own wedding stationary and décor such as these butterfly place cards. Hobby Craft do tend to come up more expensive than other suppliers, so make sure you check around to get the best price. I’m a big fan of looking on eBay or wedding forums for the same products at lowers prices.

Bridesmaids and Groomsmen whiteBM

Both of the Bridesmaid dresses pictured on my previous post, ‘It’ll be All White on the Day’ are from ASOS. Both are a steal at less than half the price of BM dresses from bridal shops; the one shoulder dress is currently at £75.00 and the lace bardot neckline dress is currently £67.00. Light grey or soft sand coloured suits can be picked up from your favourite mens clothing shop along with crisp white shirts and a white tie with an embroidered pattern. Finding white bridesmaids dresses and pale suits for the groomsmen will be easiest in Spring so plan your shopping trip carefully. Remember even though you are styling your wedding day with an all white theme, that doesn’t mean you can’t add a touch of sparkle or splash of metallic with the BM shoes and accessories.

White Wedding Cake

High street food shops such as M&S and Waitrose do premium wedding cakes perfect for an all white wedding theme at cM&S wedding cakecompetitive prices, such as this three tier from M&S for just £249.

A cheaper option would be to pick up three plain iced cakes from your chosen supermarket, position on top of each other or use pillars to separate each layer before decorating.

If you do decide to commission someone to make your cake for you, ensure you get a few different quotes and check their reviews. Wedding fairs and wedding twitter chats are both great ways to find bakers.

If in doubt follow my golden rules:

Shop on the high street
Don’t forget about eBay and Amazon
Join wedding forums and facebook groups for the chance to buy from other brides/newly-weds
up-scale cheaper products by customising them yourself.

Cheaper Weddings = Better Marriages


It has long been my observation that those who put a lot of focus on the wedding day are more likely to have a short marriage.

Usually the 12-24 months from engagement to the wedding day is a very exciting time. There are magazines to be read, suppliers to be booked and copious amounts of shopping to me done; not to mention lots of little details to be decided upon. Wedding planning creates a whirlwind of exhilaration that is hard to sustain once the dress has been dry cleaned and the thank you cards have been delivered.

I urge couples to bear in mind that married life will be exactly the same as your pre-engagement life was plus extra bling. Similar to post-natal depression I have seen many a woman show signs of post-wedding depression. Usually post-wedding depression kicks in about 3 months after the wedding. 3 months into martial life the dress has been dry cleaned, the photographer has come back with your pictures, thank you cards have been sent and no one wants to talk about the wedding with you oie_oie_trim_imageanymore. Your friends are no longer on permanent stand-by to avert any wedding related crisis and it all feels lackluster and flat. It is perfectly normal and OK to put great effort and time into planning your wedding day, but remember that life will not instantly change when your marital status does.

For many couples in the midst of planning an expensive celebration date nights falls to the way-side as every weekend is taken up with browsing, shopping and tasting, meaning a couple can feel distanced from each other as planning progresses. The engagement stage is one of the most-important times in a couples life to carry-on dating each other. If the cost allocated to the wedding far exceeds an affordable saving level then finances wont be the only thing to suffer. Stress will get the better of you at some stage during the planning; and it is at this time when you really need to be connected with your partner and remember why you fell in love with them in the first place. It is my advice to budget your wedding planning schedule so that you still have the ability to “date” each other once a month.

So is this observation of mine true? Can the cost of a wedding have an impact on the longevity of a marriage?

In September 2014 a study on the correlation between wedding expenses and marriage duration was completed by two Economics professors at Emory University. The study was done on more than 3,000 people (an admittedly small study group) asking them about their first marriage. Some of the results of the study are in bullet below:

  • Men who spent between $2,000 and $4,000 on an engagement ring were 1.3 times more likely to divorce than those who spent between $500 and $2,000 (USD)
  • Those who spent more than $20,000 on their wedding day were 3.5 time more likely to divorce than those who spent between $5,000 and $10,000
  • Those who spent less on their wedding were 82-93% less likely to experience wedding-debt related stress post wedding.

Given the fact the study size was small, and the write up is short with few definite conclusions the validity of the study is questionable at best. It would be good for a study to be done on a much larger group, spread across more than one developed country. The best platforms to complete these surveys are the ones who wouldn’t want to do so because the results could be negative towards their business model.

With the above aside, the study does show a correlation between lower wedding expenditure and longevity of marriage.

So you’ve never had a better reason to cut that wedding budget down and knock off those unnecessary wedding expenses off the list. Worried about what your friends and family will think of your parred back nuptials? Just tell them it is all for the good of your resulting marriage.

Cheaper Weddings = Better Marriages

1st Things 1st


1stthings1stThe search for a venue was a long and difficult one. I was aware that the average cost of a wedding at the time was over 20k, and I knew I didn’t even have half of that to play with for my own wedding, so I needed to make sure I could afford the venue.

The very first thing any bride should do is work out what budget you have. One of the ways to do this is to work out how much you think you can sensibly save every month, and when your ideal date to get married would be. For example, if you think between you, you can save £100 a month, and your ideal wedding date is in 2 years time, then 100 x 48 (months) is £4800.

With this figure in mind you may then decide to up how much you save each month, push the wedding back/forward, or if you haven’t already done so approach your parents to see if they would like to contribute towards your wedding. Some brides feel comfortable doing this, and others don’t, some parents offer to contribute towards the wedding as soon as you tell them you are engaged. However, few say at this point HOW MUCH they will contribute, maybe because they don’t know themselves. The conversation can be difficult, but it is important for budgeting reasons if you are going to ask them, to ask them if they plan to give you a certain amount, or if they want to pay for certain things such as the venue, or flowers and transportation for example.

A wedding can be done on a budget of £4800, I know brides who have done it. With a budget like this in mind it is important to think about what is important to you. For some brides the most important thing is to have all your family and friends at their wedding, for others it is to have a lovely dress and an intimate relaxed day. Figuring out what is important to you, will help you greatly with your budget, as it will enable you to work out what you can live without on your wedding day and what you can’t.

With your budget in mind you can then start to look at venues. The venue for your wedding will be the setting for your day; it is what provides the background and the feel to your day, so it has to suit you. If you want a laid back day, you will want a less formal venue and if you are having a small number of guests you will want a venue that size wont drown your guests. So this is one of the biggest wedding decisions you will make. Don’t feel pressured to stick to a ‘traditional’ wedding venue, if Don’t Tell The Bride has taught us anything, the venue should reflect you as a couple, so if that means you want the reception in a night club or a museum then do it!

One of the easiest ways to save money is to choose your venue wisely. Start off looking on the internet to find venues in your area that you like. If they don’t have prices on their website (and many don’t) then contact them to arrange a viewing. Take your fiancé, a friend or your mum along with you as it can be very overwhelming and it is easy to jump to a decision that isn’t best for you due to how emotionally charged the whole wedding planning can be. Looking around different venues will give you a good indication of what you like and what you don’t like. Make sure that the questions you ask include:

  • Availability of the venue on the dates you have in mind
  • If you would get exclusive use of the venue or not (for some people having exclusive use is very important, but not so much for others). If you wont have exclusive use of the venue on your wedding day, ask who will be using the venue, what facilities would be used, and if they would be able to go freely into the areas you are in.
  • If they have accommodation for you and your guests. A venue may seem nice but it can be a nightmare if it doesn’t have rooms for you to stay in the night before or after the wedding.
  • Ask if you will have access the day before the wedding so you can set the venu up with decorations etc. If you do not have access the day before the wedding, you will have to think about who is going to set up the decorations (table centrepieces, bunting, sweetie buffet). Some venues will set your table decorations up for you.
  • And finally how much. They will most likely ask you how many guests you would be having to the day and evening among other things, so go with a rough idea of numbers in mind. My venue were amazing and drew up a cost sheet for me, of the room hire, how much food and drink would cost etc, so ask if they can do a similar thing for you.

Make sure you take a note pad and pen, for writing down key information about the venue, as it can be really hard to remember all the details once you’ve seen a few different venues, and the notes you make when visiting each venue will really help you when making your decision about which one is the right one for you. When I first visited my wedding venue with my Chief Bridesmaid I made notes such as: Plenty of rooms for guests to stay in, good disability access, want the L-shaped room. When I then went over the pros and cons of the venues I had viewed my notes really helped to keep clarity.

Lastly – HAGGLE!
(read my haggling tips here)

Don’t be afraid to ask them for a reduction in the price, see if you can work out a deal with them. Tell them what your budget for your venue is (usually, roughly half of your overall budget) and ask them what they could give you for that. A booking is better than no booking, so venues are often happy to work something out with you within reason.

Going for cheaper menu options for the wedding breakfast can massively reduce the cost, soup and chicken are often the cheaper options, and venues will sometimes give you a discount if you have a certain number of guests booking rooms at the hotel for the night of the wedding.

The months from September/October to April/May are cheaper months, and in recent years September, October and April have been fabulous weather wise! So definitely think about going for one of these months instead of the traditional summer months which can be much more expensive. Another way to save a lot of money is to have your wedding on a week day, Monday –Thursday weddings can massively reduce the overall cost. So a Thursday in October = cha ching!

I hope you find this helpful, and I’d love to hear from you about how you chose your venue and whats tips you’d give on what you do first on the road to planning your wedding.