09 Mar 2015

A question about : Great 'What I wish I’d known before my wedding' Hunt

Great 'What I wish I’d known before my wedding' Hunt

We want MoneySaving couples' pointers for a money-saving wedding. Is there something you learned you wish you'd known earlier? Whether haggling with venues, bagging second-hand frocks or just realising most expensive doesn't equal most special.

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Best answers:

  • I'm halfway through planning my wedding for August next year but I wish I'd realised at the start that with a little knowledge and confidence you can haggle the price of anything! Since realising this, I haven't paid the advertised price for anything from my dress to the photographer to the rings. Wish I'd had the sense to haggle the price of the venue and the food!
  • When haggling prices of food / drink / venue hire etc, make sure you get the exact details of the deal (including potential anual increases) in writing placed into the contract.
    Prosecco and Cava make a great MSE alternative to champagne, and can be just as tasty, if not more so.
    Try not to get carried away with themes - buying bits and pieces to fit with a theme can end up costing you quite a bit. If you need a theme, try to make a plan of what's essential, and avoid browsing for more stuff!
    When paying for clothing etc for the bridal party, don't feel you have to pay for everything. Obviously if you want them in a specific outfit, pay for that, but if you're not bothered about accessories (shoes, jewellery, make-up, hair) then let them use their own stuff.
    Free bars can be expensive, and guests are sometimes more likely to leave drinks unfinnished before getting more, drink doubles instead of singles etc. You can still offer one if you like, but limit it to a small selection of wine & beer, and anything elese the guest can pay for themselves.
  • Don't spend a fortune on favours; unless it's edible or small enough to fit in a ladies clutch bag or a jacket pocket it'll probably just get left behind by most guests as they'll leave it on the table and forget to collect it on the way out.
    Don't feel the need to have loads of expensive flowers on the tables. Think outside the box and do something interesting without them (loads of ideas online) or do your own arrangements using bunches from supermarkets/the market. Most people won't remember the small details of the day, more the overall effect so don't worry too much about the little things.
  • That I wouldn't be able to sell my wedding dress which cost a fortune to clean. There are so many great second hand wedding dresses around for next to nothing, I wish I'd looked and not insisted on new.
    Also the disposable camera idea on the tables. Although it did keep the kids entertained I've never bothered to get them developed and neither did my friend who had them at her wedding.
  • I didn't - I relied on a proficient friend to take the photos.
    His camera broke at the ceremony (though he didn't know this until afterward, & carried on taking photos). This left us with just the snaps that others had taken of our day, & no decent visual record of our day at all. Of course the friend felt incredibly awkward about it, but there was nothing anybody could do about it, the moment had already passed.
    I know it seems like the sort of thing you can save a few hundred quid on, but please don't - you don't want to regret it like I do.
  • Got married last summer. There was also a wedding on in the same function room the day before my wedding. To have the hotels 'special' drapes and lights would have cost, normally, an extra Ј1000 which I wasn't going to pay. Bearing in mind they were already up I offered Ј300 and called their bluff. The hotel refused and I said no its ok take them down. 5 mins later the hotel accepted my offer!
  • Another wish we'd not wasted money on disposable cameras - most only had a few photos on and they were expensive to process.
    We should have offered the food left on the evening buffet to people as they left - it had all been thrown out next morning, along with the cut wedding cake tier.
    We bought a few balloon bunches to decorate the cake table and the present table, but they got lost in the big room.
    Speaking as the mother of the bride, I wish I'd not bought a suit and a dress for the evening party - a dress and jacket would have done. I've not worn either since. (They were from the sales though).
    We didn't go with chair covers - nobody ran screaming from the room.
  • As a recent newlywed, I found loads of good tips for my wedding.
    Firstly, disposable cameras are so outdated and inconvenient in this technological age. You can't share the pics on Facebook! Instead, we used Trycapsule which is a free site that you can invite your guests to. As they are taking photos on their phones (as most people do), they can be automatically uploaded to your site where friends and family can view during the day. This was particularly useful for our guests who couldn't attend or who were only able to attend the evening reception. Everyone can now see the bride's preparation, the ceremony and the speeches if they weren't there! Plus, digital camera users can also upload their pics when they get back to their computers (or put their memory cards in someone's phone to upload the pictures). All our guests photos were kept all together and shared with people that I invited!
    Secondly, my Mam made invitations, place cards and favour bags using things from a cheap art and supply shop. You don't have to be super creative, and it can be a good hen party activity for the morning to get everyone involved in making their place cards!
    Next, the sweet table. A company we saw at a wedding fair was going to charge us Ј300 for a sweet cart, jars, sweets, scoops and bags. After a quick look on Ebay and a trip to Costco and Makro, we did our own sweet table for Ј50! Don't be sucked into the idea that you have to pay companies to make your day special. There are lots of ways to do things yourself, and family members are always keen to get involved...("hey mother....fancy making a goodie bag for the kids?!").
  • I think the most important rule is that the longer you have to plan a wedding the more you end up spending!
    For my wedding I'm glad I didn't:
  • hire a car (friend's Fiesta with pink tape was a lovely and thoughtful surprise)
  • spend money on seat covers as it's a waste of money (and the chairs themselves were nice)
  • pay full price for my wedding dress (sample sales can be good if you're an average size)
  • invite the people we were 'expected' to invite (it was our day and our money so we invited the people we wanted to share our day with)
  • have a free bar (neither of us drink really, so we weren't going to spend our money on getting everyone drunk)
  • have a disco (it was our day, we don't like discos but we weren't going to conform to the 'typical' wedding formula)
  • We got married on Easter Monday. I wouldn't advise picking this day to get married on from a flower perspective as flower shops won't have fresh flowers. We went to Vauxhall flower market on the Saturday, but they were left overs from Thursday. Making the bouquet and pin holes were fun, but making 20 pins holes was tough going, you'd need an army to make more.
    My advise would be to have the wedding you want, and not the wedding everyone expects you to have (but to do this you need to pay for it yourselves). And never start married life off in debt, paying off a wedding - being married matters more than getting married.

  • Hi All,
    I am wondering if somebody could point me in the right direction: I need to get a wedding dress: in ivory colour and short (to be more specific ) and not sure where to find one that is on budget.
    I also wanted to do get some friends involved into making invitations but the stationery seems expensive as it is. Any ideas for cheap but nice stationery?
    My big day is end of August this year!
  • I think I'd echo the consider a secondhand or website dress. I was astounded at the choice available. I found my dress on ebay (I was only looking -honest but saw my perfect for me dress and put in a low bid and won-My shoes will probably cost more than the dress did. (Photo of the dress on the Tiny Vegas Wedding thread) another site worth a look is http://www.kissdresses.com/wedding-dresses.html. They have short ones like http://www.kissdresses.com/wedding-d...ress-5759.html too.
    Check ebay for cheap craft supplies .....and remember anything with "wedding" in the title comes at a premium- often you can find the exact same product without the wedding tag for less.
  • Had to answer this thread! Hubby proposed last new year after 13 years together..we were pregnant with our first baby(12 weeks gone)...wanted wedding before he came along and preferably before I started showing...friend did the invitations over a weekend -cost =Ј20 for 100 invites
    Dress bought from monsoon...found it in the shop then went home and found discount codes on the net to bring it down 40% Ј165
    100 guests for an evening do rather than breakfast buffet...wedding was at 4pm- disco and first toast included -Ј1200
    Tables decorated by stones we found on our favourite beach- I painted our names and date of our wedding on in our wedding colour - cost = 99p ( tester pot of paint)
    Cummerbunds and bow ties bought of eBay (men wore their dinner suits) - Ј70 for five sets...
    Bridesmaid got her dress in sale from monsoon, flower girls got their dresses of eBay...all for about Ј80
    Car was supposed to be a friends merc but my workmates all chipped in and a gorgeous Bentley arrived
    Hubby surprised me with a piper when we came out of the registrars...
    Photos done by a friends daughter who is into photography and video done by another friend
    A fantastic wedding at a fraction of the cost and one that many of our guests said they would never forget!
    My top tip....it is one day and one we all wAnt to be special but it can be special without spending a fortune and getting into debt for
  • I'm not quite married yet but I have learnt some valuable lessons so far.
    The price of things, if it's so so cheap that it's too good to be true it usually is. I learnt the hard way and got ripped off.
    There are scammers out there so always pay by paypal (if online) or credit card.
    There are always bargains to be had. I bought my dress in a sample sale.
    my veil in a closing down sale, my shoes from elegant steps sale. I just love sales.
    Don't take on too much stuff like, making your own invitations, place cards, centerpieces etc etc if you feel like you can do it, do it.
    Steph xx
  • Don't let other people talk you into things - make sure it is a wedding that you and your husband want.
    Try and do something individual to make your wedding about you and not just a generic wedding
    Don't let photograhers/Hotel etc rush you on the day - remember you are paying them and it is your day.
    Make sure there is some alone time with your new husband/wife - for us it was the car journey to the reception.
  • For invitation we just have a plain sheet of red card with a sheet of ivory paper stuck on the front with the text printed on. Small butterfly punched in the corner so the red shows through and a silver butterfly (same punch used to punch out shiny card) stuck on the other bottom corner. Very simple, cheap and easy to make (took 4 of us 3 hours). Look very classy too!
  • Just had to reply to this. Put in my PENNY'S worth (see what I did there?)
    It is amazing what skills your friend's and family have when you ask and are more than happy to help out for your special day.
    wedding dress - OK I'm reasonable with a sewing machine and made my own. I based it on a favourite dress which fits me well and added sleeves. I trimmed the dress with tiny roses from the fabric from the bride's maid dress which I also made and did the same with her dress, trimming it roses made with fabric from my dress.
    Shoes - we asked the bridesmaid to just wear some white ones and left it to her mum / my sister-in-law. That way they fit her too. Less dramas / tantrums on the wedding day.
    My underskirt I borrowed from my cousin who had recently got married.
    other wedding party guests - I asked groom, best man, father's of both sides and page boys to wear a blue tie and mother's of both sides to wear an outfit which was also blue. That way they paid for it and wore something they were comfortable wearing.
    Car - we hired locally & asked them to trim with same colour as bridesmaid dress. It was a vintage jag which was the youngest page boy's favourite cars and the only way I could persuade him to be a page boy so ensured no wedding day dramas from him.
    Order of service - I was at college at the time and I asked the printer there to print one I'd knocked up on the computer. I had added some horse shoes, flowers art etc around the edge to give more of a wedding look. You don't have to be arty though and could use clip art for free and cut and paste on. I supplied the paper bought from an art shop.
    Art work for the front was done by the father of one of the guests who was reasonable with a drawing churches.
    Invites - also done on the computer in fancy font and printed on the same paper as the order of service. I spent a fun evening mounting a putting them together. Could be done in advance even by a few weeks once you have number finalised. Same was done for the table names.
    Photos - Asked an good friend who is a pro photographer to take the official photos, made it very personal and all felt comfortable as we knew him.
    Video - was done as a favour and a wedding gift by another capable friend.
    Flowers - we paid for bouquet and button holes but wished we hadn't as the florist didn't follow the brief. Could have done the same as the table flowers where we visited a local market 2 days before the wedding. It gave a lovely activity to do as guests arrived the day before the wedding at the bride's house. However it was wise that there was someone who was reasonably competent who took charge and saw that they had an overall look. Little baskets and oasis were bought again cheaply in advance from a local shop, haggling down as I told them it was for my wedding.
    Champagne bought on a booze run to France with some of the wedding party. Great fun and adds to the wedding celebrations, as we did this 6 months in advance.
    Wedding venue - at a local National Trust place. They were newly open and we were the first wedding party to book. We took our own wine and paid corkage charge of 50p. Cheaper than paying their premium wine. The bar was supplied by the venue and guests bought their own drinks.
    Disco !!! - we don't like them. It was our wedding so we had a barn dance instead. I booked the band and caller after visiting them first to see what they were like ( 9 months earlier). The barn dance was great as it got all involved and mixing, young and old, and people could chat if they didn't want to join in every dance. Let's face it weddings are one of the few occasions families get together.
    Friends and family were happy to decorate the venue the day before. We used ribbons and balloons with minimal expense.
    Cake - my mum made this. Her friend who teaches cake decoration at adult college deorated it for us. We did pay her, and it was spectacular but it was personal and meant something to us.
    We had a personal wedding, helped out by friends and family. Organising was easy and I found people were more tan happy to help. It made it very special as many of the guests were involved in the preparations or on the day events. It was our wedding for us but our friends liked it too as they were our friends and we had lots in common, that is why they were our friends. 23 years on I would change very little. (the bouquet flowers- now there is a fashion to have 'bunch' of flowers tied with a ribbon which is what I wanted funnily enough but the florist didn't see it that way. Must have been ahead of my time).
    Make the wedding your day. Get friends and family involved. We found people had amazing skills which they were happy to share to make our day special.
  • Got married on Easter weekend and we managed to do everything for about Ј3500. We did a lot of things ourselves or with help from friends and family:
    - Invites were designed by my now brother-in-law (luckily he is good at that sort of thing) then we printed them out online and posted ourself. Make sure you're aware of postage prices. We knew that the postage prices were going up so we bought a whole load of stamps before the rise, saved ourself Ј20+
    - Best man had just bought a suit for another wedding which was exactly the same as I was thinking of wearing for our wedding so bought one to match and didn't have to buy his
    - Don't automatically think you have to buy a wedding dress. My wife bought a dress from Vivian of Holloway and it was very funky and looked amazing yet cost a fraction of the cost of a wedding dress. She is going to die the dress now and can wear it in the future. Bridesmaids dresses were also from the same shop in a different colour and matched.
    - The bridesmaids shawls were bought from eBay and then sold on again afterwards. Just make sure they know beforehand.
    - Do you need to have the ceremony and reception in the same place? We got married in a registry office (we're not religious) and that's a lot cheaper than paying the registrar to come to you. We had our reception and evening party at a university bar and the price was very good plus because it was Easter none of the students were around the campus. Don't think that this is necessarily the cheap way out, it was cheaper but the staff were fantastic and the building itself was lovely.
    - My wife and her sister made our own decorations to go around the room and cross-stitched patterns to go on the tables.
    - As it was Easter weekend we gave away Easter Eggs as the favours. As has been suggested edible or small things is the best idea. Another wedding we went to recently gave lottery tickets to all guests as favours, quite cheap and a nice little extra.
    - We had a friend do our photos. Again we were lucky because he had a good camera and was a photographer as a hobby. However, we also left blank CDs inside cases on the tables with a photo menu of particular (fun) photos for people to take during the day and asked them to put all the photos they took through the day on there too.
    - My wife made our own wedding cake. You can save a huge amount by doing this. Fortunately she is good at baking and had made a few wedding cakes before but there are plenty of books and websites with great advice and even buying some of the equipment that you need (which you can re-use or re-sell).
    - Getting flowers done for you is also expensive. We bought all our flowers at a flower market and a friend made all the arrangements for us. The arrangements on the table went into Kilner jars which we bought from Asda and the bouquets and button holes were done by our friend. Again there are lots of tips on doing this online or in books.
    - We also made our own thank you cards for everybody. This probably cost about the same as buying multi-packs from a supermarket but was a lot more individual.
    - Do you need a DJ? We hired equipment and got a friend to do be the actual DJ for us. Once again saved money and was more personal.
    By biggest hint would be don't think bigger or more expensive is better. We attended a wedding that cost Ј15,000+ and it was a lovely day but it is still just one day and I wouldn't say that it was significantly better than our wedding that cost a fifth of the price. Don't overspend either. It is not worth getting into debt (unless it is small and manageable) just for one day. It will be the most wonderful day anyway and you want to remember it fondly and not feel like it is a burden. Don't be afraid to ask other people for help either. We got a lot done by friends and family and not only did it help us out but it made the whole day a lot more personal to us.