Can you Cut Corners with a Wedding?

Can you Cut Corners with a Wedding?

It can be dangerous to cut corners when planning weddings. However, it is not always necessary to “go the whole hog”. You can make savings.

Clearly, there are going to be differences between a society wedding and one with a dozen guests. Then there are destination weddings and back garden affairs. I won’t attempt to cover all of these here!

What I am suggesting is some short cuts that, if administered judiciously, should be safe and convenient – and save you some money!


At one extreme, you can (as indicated) hold a ceremony in your back garden. However, everything – including health and safety aspects – is down to you. You certainly won’t get the peace of mind a hotel (say) should offer you.

If booking a venue, you may be able to barter a little, especially if you’re happy to go out of season with your event. Summer is likely to be most expensive. Arranging your do earlier in the day may work out cheaper.

Wedding Planner

If you’re having a small wedding (especially if you’re using a venue with its own event planner), you may not need a wedding planner as well. Otherwise, I would suggest you at least consider using one.

Planners have contacts across the industry and may actually be able to save you money on suppliers. They take the worry out of the planning and running of the day, which can be invaluable.

You can usually choose either to book a planner for the whole process or simply book one for the day.


With a small event, you may be able to get away with organising this aspect yourself. But bear in mind that you will have to consider buying in the food and drink, setting up the seating, providing crockery and cutlery etc., heating (if appropriate) and serving the food (safely). Then you may need to cater for those with special dietary requirements (vegans, gluten-free, children, and so on).What about the clearing up?

Having the event professionally catered will not necessarily cost much more than doing it yourself, but will be a weight off your mind (and feet!).


This is down to you! Do you want a disco (but will elderly guests?!)? Do you want a DJ or MC? What about photo booths? A magician, perhaps?

Or none of them?!


If you know someone who is a good public-speaker, could they take the service? You may be able to save some money that way. True, they may not be good at putting a memorable ceremony together, but they are a possibility, though not one I recommend.

However, a professional (like myself!) will put a lot of work in to ensure that the ceremony is unique and just what you want. Then, with their demeanour, professionalism and experience, they will virtually guarantee a truly memorable ceremony. You will be able to relax, confident in their ability, and that’s worth a lot.

Musicians and Florists

Live music is usually better for atmosphere, but may well cost more that a DJ.

In-season flowers will probably cost less than more exotic ones. You may choose to go easy on more expansive (and expensive) colour themes, if you want to cut a corner.


Not something I would skimp on. Those memories are irreplaceable. What if you got a friend to take the photos, and they made a mistake and couldn’t take any? Apart from the loss of tangible memories, would the relationship with that friend endure?

So splash out for these (although there are cheaper ones who are still very good).


I haven’t talked about rings, clothes or make-up artists, for example, which are probably de rigueur, as far as requirements go.

But there are other extras that you could avoid, if on a tight budget. Lovely as it was, having a barn owl deliver the ring for blessing, did not come cheap. Was it really necessary?

Well, it depends on your viewpoint and pockets.

For more advice, feel free to contact me, but I hope that this was a useful start.

Photo: Matt Penberthy

5 Canny Ways of Saving Money on your Wedding

5 Canny Ways of Saving Money on your Wedding

“Weddings” and “saving money” are uneasy bedfellows.  They seem like paradoxes. After all, weddings often cost thousands, even tens of thousands, of pounds.

So how can “saving money” enter into the equation?

Well, there are a number of ways of cutting down on expenditure. (And I don’t mean reducing the catering to a sausage roll per guest!)

Obviously, you can control the size of the guest list, the type of venue you use and what you offer your guests.


  1. Venue – an “at-home” event may work out a lot cheaper, although organising everything yourself can be daunting. Bear in mind that, as organiser-in-chief, you may well sacrifice peace of mind, especially on the big day. Some of the considerations will include parking, neighbours, catering, entertainment, speaker system, toilets, serving food and drink, health & safety (beware of trailing wires etc.).

Unlike with a hired venue, you should not need to book a year or so in advance. Moreover, a home ceremony may win hands down in terms of atmosphere.

If you do hire a venue, choose a time and date that is less popular. That way, you have some bargaining power. So, apart from days like Christmas and Valentine’s Day, winter is likely to be a cheaper time, and afternoons tend to be cheaper than evenings. Your venue will be delighted to accommodate you then!

2. Registrars – unless you choose a full religious ceremony, you will need to book the registrars. Otherwise, you will not be legally married.

One convenient trick (to kill two birds with one stone) is to have the registrars come to your venue. (Although the legislation may change soon, note that the venue currently needs to have four solid walls and a roof to be ‘kosher’ for weddings.)

The registrars will charge around £500 (depending on the region) for attending.

Try this canny money-saving idea: go to the Register Office yourselves (by appointment) with two witnesses before the wedding. This can be hours or even days ahead. You will only have to pay around £100 for the same ceremony you would get at the venue. You will then be legally married and free of that particular worry! So you can go to the venue of your dreams and have the ceremony of your dreams! (A Civil Celebrant can help you with a tailor-made ceremony.)

3. Booze – you can lay on some Prosecco for toasts, which can work out a lot cheaper than champagne, but just as satisfying. if you organise an afternoon reception, people tend to drink less alcohol then, so you may be able to save some money. A couple of bottles of wine per table (plus water and/or juice) should be adequate for the meal. You can operate a cash bar (make this clear to guests on the invitation!) for those who want to continue drinking.

4. Food – there is no need to serve a vast, showy repast. Three courses of decent, well-prepared staple food should do the trick. (Of course, don’t forget to cater for vegetarians and, possibly, children.) And people tend to expect rather lighter meals, if it’s earlier in the day.

5. Catering – you’ll have to decide whether you serve a buffet or have waiter-service. With a buffet, the food still needs to arrive and be replenished, although guests can serve themselves. Then there’s the clearing away and washing up etc. Silver service will cost much more, normally, but can be a lot more convenient.

With all these things, you will need to do some pricing up and comparison. However, thanks to these suggestions, you can take some real strides towards saving money on your wedding.

If I can help you further, please phone or e-mail me.

Cutting wedding costs

Cutting wedding costs

I’m sure I don’t need to point out that weddings these days can be extremely expensive! We can easily be talking £20,000 +. Cutting wedding costs sounds a wonderful idea, but how practical is it?

Of course, much depends on what your budget is. In addition to the sheer quantity of suppliers you may want to hire, be aware that some put their prices up as soon as they know it’s a wedding!

Are there any short cuts you can take (apart from, say, looking for a second-hand wedding dress on e-Bay?!)?

It’s not easy to be draconian. And you don’t want to spoil your wedding either for yourselves or for your guests.

Incidentally, cutting down on the guest list is a good way to cut costs!

Maybe you decide not to bother with a limo, but you do want to be sure of punctual and comfortable rides on the day.

Bargaining with suppliers is sometimes a possibility. If you don’t feel comfortable doing that, here are some other suggestions.

Time of day

Even if you’re choosing the Dorchester or equivalent for your reception, you might be able to get a better deal, if you hold your ceremony at lunchtime, rather than in the evening.


Another good way of saving money (not just with the venue) is to marry out of season. Suppliers want work year round, and they can be faced with yawning gaps between October and May. Therefore, they may look sympathetically at (or even spontaneously offer) a reduced rate. If you’re a good haggler, you may even manage to improve on these!

Note that reductions should not be expected at certain festivals, especially Christmas and Valentine’s Day.

Using flowers that are in season is another way to cut costs.

And consider weekdays (although that may have issues for employed guests). That’s normally cheaper.



There are ways of reducing this major cost. Although it would have to be well-organised, a buffet will be cheaper than a silver-service meal. Fewer staff are likely to be involved, so costs should be less.

You may well offer canapés and drinks. Prosecco is increasingly accepted in place of champagne, and this normally works out considerably cheaper.

You should provide a generous amount of wine and soft drinks to accompany the meal. Once that is over, I would suggest operating a cash bar. (It’s worth preparing guests for this when the invitation is sent out!)

Cup cakes, rather than a wedding cake, can be another acceptable way to save money.


Whether or not you have a theme, this is an important area. If you are holding a small affair, you may feel able to DIY. Be absolutely sure that you know what you’re doing, and get prepared well in advance!

Otherwise, discuss costs with your supplier at the outset, and ensure you are in control.


Of course, the scale and cost of this aspect will be down to you. It is worth getting referrals from people you know before you book anybody, and do ensure you understand their Ts & Cs.

Planners and Celebrants

If you decide to use a planner, it will obviously cost you more – but consider the peace of mind she will give you! Similarly, don’t cut corners with your celebrant. Ensure you see testimonials and speak to your supplier beforehand so that you have confidence in them on the day. You do want to feel at ease with the person who will marry you!

Your wedding is – or should be! – the most important day of your life. You want to get it right. Yes, you pay for what you get, but, as you can see, there are some ways to cut a few corners successfully, without compromising on quality.