Wonderful and significant events as vow renewals certainly are, they do cost money. However, they do not have to get out of control!
Assuming you have a limited budget, you might like to bear the following in mind:
Autumn and Winter tend to be the quietest times – and the most likely to be open for negotiation when asking for quotes. Avoid the Christmas/New Year period and Valentine’s Day too.
A morning ceremony and reception can work out very well for you, as brunch will cost a lot less than dinner. Moreover, people will be unlikely to want alcohol at this time of day, which should save you a lot.
If you are members of a church or synagogue, you will probably have to pay very little to use it. However, if you shop around, you may find municipal historic buildings and gardens available at a surprisingly low cost. If it’s to be a small ceremony, you could consider holding it at home (although you may have to hire equipment, which can add to your bill considerably).
How many guests?
Food and drink are the biggest costs. If inviting people from work, try spare hurt feelings by doing it by department etc. You don’t need to invite children. Why invite someone you haven’t seen in years?
Invitations and programmes
Today’s 10-year-old can design and print off invitations and programmes – and may not even want paying! You can also save money if friends or relatives can prepare something they may do as a hobby – I’m thinking of flower arrangements, a musical entertainment or a luxurious car, for example.
Food and Drink
You could choose a theme which is less expensive (such as “A Day in Italy”), as pasta and the like are popular but not dear. If you have a bar, limit what you offer for free.
It is normally cheaper to buy locally-grown flowers. It is worth telling your florist that you do expect to cut costs!
Start planning early and concentrate on the essentials. Then you can ensure you have a wonderful event.
Michael Gordon is a Wedding and Vow renewal Celebrant based in London.