Quite a few people commented on how calm I was prior to the big day. And I unusually was. Maybe because it takes a lot to ruffle my feathers, and maybe because most things were under control. Maybe because I didn’t care what people thought!
We are lucky to live in an age where people are increasingly less bothered about doing the ‘right thing’ such as sit-down dinners and having gift-lists. We had a big buffet, and asked for donations (i.e money) towards our honeymoon Lovebox and made it a 40s/50s fancy dress wedding. Everyone complied happily. There may be some who thought it unconventional or ‘improper’ but who cares? They had a great time!
Some wedding pointers:
Just ply ’em with lots of food, drink and good music. Very important!
Always have a backup plan unless you are certain it’ll be ok. The ‘it’ could be music, outfits etc
Avoid ‘wedding-type’ gimmicks and go for what is functional, practical and good value.
Lovely’s hometown up north is cheap and friendly – and after visiting a few venues we chose the Mount. Almost merely because our initial contact was warm, helpful and professional – unlike other nearby ‘wedding-y’ establishments – and I was pleased to learn they were quite flexible. While the venue was not grand, it certainly did the job beautifully. Somehow the semi-40s theme goes with it!
And make sure the accommodation is convenient for your guests and yourself. The wedding venue was easily accessible by bus from the train station and very near the motorway. More importantly, the hotel was just behind the venue on the same compound so it’s just a stumble away. The venue is a restaurant/pub so we don’t have to venture far for cheap and good food!
If possible, get someone else to do the catering for you. Yes, it is very cheap to self-cater but the headache involved might offset the costs. Also remember you may have to set-up, wash up and clear up too. Not fun. So pay a bit more for the privilege of walking in beautiful and walking out happy without any worries. We had a delicious buffet of r0ast carvery, veg lasagne, quiches, salad + bits and pieces for £9.99 a head. With a buffet, people can choose how much they want to eat.
Keep the numbers down. There are several factors that can help cut down on wedding guest numbers:
- Location – do they have to travel?
- Do you know them? Have you spoken to them in the past year/month/week?
- Have it on a weekday. If they love you enough they’ll take the day off. Friday is best really – they’ll have the weekend to recuperate!
- Invite in groups. Avoid inviting lone guests and/or wet blankets. Groups can entertain each other and take care of themselves. Nothing’s more a mood-killer than a forced conversation.
Do over-invite as you’ll find people will start dropping out … but also be prepared for those who invite themselves – because you are so wonderful – or wish to bring partners! Accept them graciously.
Go with the flow. Do NOT get hung up on details. Buffet lasting longer than planned, the registrar couldn’t play your CD – So what? What’s most important is that you get legally married and that your guests have a good time.
Also, there will be differences between yourself and your loved ones, as well as your dreams and your wallet. Unless it’s something you violently need, let it go and make do. Avoid bust-ups about silly things. Your family are there to help you – I hope! – so welcome their ideas and input.
Nobody notices things that are not there. You don’t really need flowers other than bouquets. My sister got creative with hand-picked leaves. People don’t care how much you’ve spent – what they care about is that they are well-fed and entertained.
So that’s how to have a stress-free wedding like mine!
On to things…
Dress: Corset from Vollers at an online sale. It’s very high quality and grips me fabulously. However I would definitely recommend buying in person instead, and at a vintage shop – there are bargains to be had. Ordered skirt made-to-measure from Vietnamese tailor at Charring Cross, who also added the frills to the top of the corset so I would stay decent! Similar outfit from Fairy Goth Mother at Spitalfields is about £500. My grand total – £200.
Groom went to Escapades fancy dress shop and hired a 1940s army suit for £40.
Shoes and accessories: Saw a pair of nice ivory shoes from H&M, the type you can wear again and not the bridal kind. Massive rose for my hair, from ebay. Total £30. Groom decides to use his existing shoes.
Cake: Lovely’s godmother is a cake maker, so sadly can’t attend but is giving us a cake as wedding present.
Flowers: Found a home-based florist called Sugarberry. I really like her and she seems to know what she’s talking about. My teardrop shaped bridal bouquet, bridesmaid’s bouquet, 2 gift bouquets, groom’s buttonhole = £85. Fab!
Rose silk corsages and buttonholes = £16.40 on ebay. Sis bought some fresh ones instead as she couldn’t stand the thought of fake flowers, so we had more buttonholes to go round!
Table decor for 6 tables: Faux rose petals from ebay, brass candleholders from vintage shop, lace from charity sale = about £30
Favours: Keepin’ it local… bright and cheerful Uncle Joe’s Mint Balls. Asda, 69p each.
Car: From a gentleman retiring from hiring out wedding cars – we were his last customers. It was a beautiful retro car. £180.
Photographer: We hired an experienced pro for only an hour as there would be plenty of digital cameras among us to document the day. £200 may sound steep for just an hour, but we’re getting good quality and experience for a lot less than the average wedding photography package.
Entertainment: Karaoke + DJ host – for £325, this was a great buy. We supplied all the music plus which playlist to play when – all pre-arranged on a laptop – so all he had to do was press play. This ensures that you like/approve of every song played. We kicked off the day with swing and big-band stuff as per the 40s/50s theme. Then we progressed gradually to calypso, funk, disco, indie, post-punk, rock, electro, rnb, hip hop and the Macarena. The DJ host upped the ante as an MC and had a good collection of songs for karaoke which provided terrific fun. Everyone was very impressed at the high standard of singers that night! I did set the bar high… hehe.
So how much was it?
Plus other bits and pieces, our wedding was well under £3,000. Glowing reviews from guests. Result.
There are loads of ways you can cut costs – in hindsight I could have cut even more – so don’t despair if you have a small budget; get creative!