Gransnet forums

Ask a gran

The Cost Of Weddings

(39 Posts)
Roseyk Tue 12-Feb-13 20:14:12

My eldest is to get married next year and the price of things is quite scarey.

I feel quite bad that I am unable to help much finacially especially as I had loads of help when I got married.

Anyone else in the same situation.

bluebell Tue 12-Feb-13 20:32:57

There might be lots you could do that helps save money if you have the time . I made the invites, place names, table decorations, cake (actually cup cakes) and really enjoyed it. I suppose a lot depends on the size of the wedding.

Grannyknot Tue 12-Feb-13 20:44:37

Hi roseyk I also have a daughter who is getting married in Spring next year, but thankfully (because otherwise I'd be fretting about the cost) the happy couple are both very practical and down to earth and would rather have most of the money that we are prepared to spend, as a contribution to them trying to get their own place.

I find it really crazy in the current financial climate that there still seems to be a fashion for spending a lot of money on weddings, I am completely confused by the "tier" system of receptions, what I mean by that is (it seems) that some guests are invited for drinks only, some for drinks plus a meal, some are invited for the party afterwards. I can't work it out. We were invited to a wedding and had to wait outside when we arrived whilst people finished their meal - we apparently were not included in that part of the celebrations! If it wasn't that it was family (and we had a gift to deliver) - we'd have left! Perhaps someone on here can explain all that to me, but it must cost a fortune.

So ... my daughter is scouting for a vintage dress all over including on e-bay, and they are talking about inviting 50 people and assuming that about 30 will attend. I'm expecting that even for a small wedding it will cost us, and I have started looking at a few bits e.g. I found a website that sells Provence lavender in pretty lilac bags as 'wedding favours', she has a friend who bakes wedding cakes etc - so we are planning to cobble together a bit of a 'DIY' style wedding ... smile.

Granny23 Tue 12-Feb-13 21:07:53

My youngest and her partner have decided to get married but no worries about the cost as it will be a DIY wedding as much as possible. There is no need to pander to the vast and expensive wedding industry. I did have a modest peek on-line at a few bridal sites and as a result have been indundated with pop-up adverts and e.mails and have been amazed at the so called 'must haves' and fol-de-rols thereon. I have seen an inordinate number of 'Mother of the Bride' outfits but they all look as if the sylph like models (all far too young to be MOTB) are wrapped in gold or bronze bandages. At 5'1" and 12 stone I will not be going down that road so there is £150+ saved already smile

susieb755 Tue 12-Feb-13 21:25:05

Granny23, my friend got married last year, as a mature lady, and picked up a stunning mother of bride outfit as a wedding dress on ebay for £12 !

glassortwo Tue 12-Feb-13 21:48:25

grannyknot when my DD got married we offered her a ladder and the cost of the wedding, but as she already had her own house she plumbed for the wedding.
We did the rounds of all the usual wedding haunts and was were disappointed by what we saw and the scant information we were given.
We arranged a meeting with the wedding co-ordinator of a huge chain of hotels, she didnt even turn up so the receptionist tried to sell us a wedding package at a huge cost and found we were one of eight weddings that day, we left feeling very disheartened.
Then we decided to look further afield and found a country hotel who allowed us to take the whole hotel for the weekend so DD and Sil were married in the parish church and we then bused everyone out to the hotel around a 30 minute drive and all the guests had a room and bused them back again, and the cost of the whole thing was a fraction of what were were going to pay for the one day at the big hotel... so it can be done cheaper, we did all the favours and made all the table plans etc.

One of the nicest wedding I have heard was another member of GN who did a retro wedding and gathered together old tea cups, everyone pulled together and made her and her partners wedding.. I cant remember her name but it sounded the most fantastic wedding.... so its not what you spend its having the people that are important all together. sunshine

shysal Tue 12-Feb-13 21:57:05

One of the best weddings I have been to was in a registry office with village hall afterwards where we had fish and chips from the local chippy. All very low key and relaxed, and the couple used their hard-earned money on renovating their house instead. Very sensible in my opinion.

nanaej Tue 12-Feb-13 22:37:14

My DD1s wedding was fabulous! An August bank holiday Saturday. Her MiL did the lovely flowers including the bouquet using cheap vases from IKEA, a BBQ meal, friend made the cake and all in a marquee, which we decorated with ivy swags, in the grounds of a local school (closed for the summer and happy for a donation to school fund!) They had a DJ in the evening and everyone had a good time. No matching bows on seats, favours or other fripperies! Biggest cost was marquee and BBQ catering but loads cheaper than hotel packages that she investigated. I still have two little bridesmaid dresses in ivory in the wardrobe upstairs.. see photos!

ninathenana Tue 12-Feb-13 22:58:31

GK I have never heard of an invite for drinks only at a wedding. The evening only invite has been around for years. We did this at our wedding 38yrs ago
It's all to do with cost per head for food and insurance and fire regs at the venue. When we booked DD wedding we were only allowed 80 for the sit down meal but could add 20 for the party in the evening.

Roseyk Tue 12-Feb-13 22:59:19

Thank you for all the good ideas and advise, I actually do have a friend that makes cakes, and I think I will suggest The Marquee, and I am sure there are lots of DIY things that I can do that will help.

I love the chippy wedding that does sound romantic. I have actually said that instead of spending loads of money on The Wedding to think of putting a deposit on a house, but I do understand that this is their special day.

Thank you for making me feel better about it all x x

nanaej Tue 12-Feb-13 23:07:08

Friends son had an Ice Cream van come to serve 99s for the dessert! Paid for but fun!

Granny23 Tue 12-Feb-13 23:32:49

At our own wedding, almost 40 years ago, our wedding cars were supplied by a friend of my father's who had a garage and a Vandeplas Princess Rolls of his own for the bride and groom - still waiting for his bill to arrive. Our cake was made by my Aunt's friend - the Co-op baker - I think my aunt paid for the ingredients. My dress and bridesmaids dresses were made new for us by a theatrical costume maker for a small fee and returned to her afterwards to be used again. The photo album was also a present from the part time press photographer on condition that he could sell some of the photos to the Press and the band played as a swop - DH's band played at one of their 'dos' in return. Mother's cousin's husband (a printer) gave us the orders of service and so it went on. My Dad and Mum did pay for the reception and DH hired the suits and bought the flowers. He only ordered two buttonholes and the rest were made up on the morning with heather and roses from next door's garden.

Years afterwards people were still describing it as 'the best wedding ever'.

Granny23 Tue 12-Feb-13 23:34:10

That should be 47 years ago - Now I can't even count!!!

Deedaa Tue 12-Feb-13 23:39:33

My daughter got married 16 years ago giving us 4 weeks notice as she'd decided she could spare a weekend from University! She bought a beautiful cream dress from Monsoon for £90 and carried a bouquet of red roses. They had a church blessing and then we all walked through the streets (Sunny day luckily) to the reception. The night club where they worked in the holidays gave us a room for nothing and decorated it with jars of daffodils. My son & I did a buffet for 50 people and I made the cake. We had all the doors open and there was a real mediterranean feel to it all. Everyone had a great time and the cost was absolutely minimal.

glammanana Wed 13-Feb-13 05:19:29

My DS2 gets married in September and I am trawling e-bay looking at Mother of the Groom idea's I am looking for something vintage and fashionable but not to OTT,they have chosen to get married at a very old Hotel in Liverpool having the ceremony and reception there,so we will stay the night before and the night of the wedding everything will be relaxed then so no pressure,I have bought DGDs bridesmaid dress off e-bay and DGS5 has his suit and blingy waistcoat all chosen,it is working out very reasonable as to costs and they are very negotiable with regard to extra's allowing us to supply some of our own,getting excited now smile

vampirequeen Wed 13-Feb-13 06:42:53

We got married 18 months ago as a sign of our committment to each other. Admittedly it wasn't the first time for either of us but we had very little money so we cut out all the unnecessary and didn't get pulled the spend, spend, spend industry.

Dress £15 (bought in a sale)
Bridesmaid dress £10 (ebay)
page boy (a gift)
ring £0 (we decided to use my engagement ring as it's comfortable to wear all the time and a bit different from the norm)
cake £25 (Marks and Spencers)
table decorations £15
Civil ceremony £120 (beautiful Georgian building)
Reception £250 (private area of country pub/restaurant ... guests chose from the standard 2 for 1 menu)
Total £435

OK so we did it on the cheap but it was the most meaningful and enjoyable day. Far more than my first and much more expensive wedding.

suzied Wed 13-Feb-13 06:45:58

My daughter married last summer to her long term partner. I made the dress, bridesmaids dresses and my outfit. Ceremony on a beach in Scotland (grooms family live the). Reception in village hall with ceileidhg band (sorry spelt wrong!) who were friends as was the piper on the beach. flowers were masses of wildflowers from the beach on tables in hall in painted jam jars. Village hall decorated with bunting made by us. Friends did all the photos. The only professional input was the catering which was a lovely buffet put on by the local pub. So although more work it was more special for being a mostly DIY effort.

Mamie Wed 13-Feb-13 08:07:33

When my DD got married we had different celebrations. Only close family went to the register office and then back to their town for an excellent lunch for twelve. We then walked back to their house (enjoyed walking across the town in wedding outfits) for cake made by OH and champagne. In the evening they went up to London for a party for their friends in a pub, followed by a night in a posh hotel. DD's dress was bought in a sale and mine was from a second-hand shop. Total cost was well under £1000.
My son had a register office wedding in Spain, followed by a looooong Spanish lunch and an evening party in the hotel bar. Bought my dress from a different second-hand shop, but still got what had originally been a very expensive outfit for not very much.
Both days were lovely, happy family events without stress.

Ariadne Wed 13-Feb-13 08:49:13

47 years ago, with DD already born (oh, the disgrace then!) our wedding was very, very low key. Just a church ceremony, then cake (made by my mother) and sherry for about twelve people. In laws wouldn't come. It was very loving and friendly. And, all these years on, it really doesn't bother me that we didn't have a big wedding. We have the marriage, and for that, at this very moment, I am eternally thankful. (Good heavens, tears in my eyes..)

AlieOxon Wed 13-Feb-13 09:11:14

Ariadne, I was in a similar situation in 1964...ah well, water under bridge.

The thing I remember about my reception was that my dad spent £24 on booze and that it covered the table....!
My mum didn't get in to see the wedding in the registry office (Dundee City Square), was very cross about this, and then she got stuck in the lift!

Mamie Wed 13-Feb-13 09:35:38

We had a quiet wedding too, which was made even quieter by the fact that my father died ten days before. I can honestly say that it has never made the slightest difference to our marriage which is still going strong 44 years later. I just don't get this stuff about big weddings, in fact it seems to me in many cases to be an obscene waste of money. I know a few people who spent thousands on a big wedding, only for it to end within a year.

FlicketyB Wed 13-Feb-13 10:18:55

When I look back over all the weddings I have attended and look at the ones I have really enjoyed, and which have over 40 years had a 100% survival rate these have all been the ones done on a shoe string or deliberately and consciously low key.

DS & DDiL are about to celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary and after a church wedding the reception was held in the village hall, family and friends got together in the morning to decorate the hall, friends and family did the catering and photography and the master of ceremonies was the local performance poet in fully hippy mode (him, not them). We all gathered the next day to clear up.

As the wedding was a long distance from our home we rented a large house for the weekend where we had a changing selection of friends and family staying every night and where the day after the wedding, after we had cleared the village hall, we all gathered for a final party and ate up all the food remaining from the reception.

ginny Wed 13-Feb-13 10:23:13

Some of the most enjoyable weddings I've been to have been the smaller ,very personal ones. You don't have to spend £1000's. It's the marriage that counts , not the type of wedding you have.

Movedalot Wed 13-Feb-13 10:53:38

DS3 is getting married next year so we are thinking about this all right now. As her family don't live in the UK I will be helping them with the arrangements. This is how we are going about it:

First a list of what is important to them: Photos, as they will last a lifetime, church where they feel comfortable. It will be near our home rather than their's so no loyalty involved although there will be by the time they get married. Traditional venue where they will have the place to themselves and no one not associated with the wedding will be around. Enough accommodation for her and her family the night before the wedding and for our family as well on the night of the wedding. Her dress probably be designed by a colleague and made by other colleagues. Flowers, modest and buttonholes only for very close family. Table decorations, I may just buy bowls and float flowers in them or something similar. Limited number of invitees.

Things necessary but of less importance: Invitations, no one remembers them. Food, no need to be the most expensive. Drinks, limited to beer wine and soft drinks and sparkling wine instead of champagne. Cake, we don't have anyone who can do this but don't need anything OTT.

Things not necessary: Favours, what is the point? Fireworks, why? Cars probably not necessary if venue is very close to church but then only for bride and father to the church and bride and groom after ceremony. Everyone else can use their own.

Yes, they want the full works and have been saving for it. It is their wedding and should be as they want it.

DS1's wedding was more modest as that was the way they wanted it. It was a civil wedding at the reception venue. Family men just wore their own suits but all had the same ties. They only invited about 30 people as that seemed to be the natural cut off point. Their cake was from M&S and was about half the price it would have been if from a baker. It was all lovely.

DS2's wedding was probably somewhere between the other two and they made all the plans themselves so it was a surprise for everyone. The Registrar gave them the pen used to sign the register to keep which we thought was a lovely idea and we will buy one for DS3's wedding for them to keep too.

I would also appreciate any ideas which we might use for the wedding next year.

numberplease Wed 13-Feb-13 15:09:53

For 3 of our childrens weddings, we only hired the one car, to take the bride to the church, then bride and groom to the reception, and it was hired from a local undertaker! OK, it was black, but it was mega comfortable and very roomy for the wedding dress, and, complete with chauffeur in uniform, was much cheaper than hiring a "wedding car". Worth considering?