Why are Weddings so Costly?

Why are Weddings so Costly?

You don’t need me to tell you that weddings are costly. There are potentially a lot of suppliers to engage and they do not tend to come cheaply!

Some suppliers are probably guilty of hoicking their prices up as soon as they scent an engaged couple.

Mind you, mainly due to competition, some charge very reasonable rates. And others undervalue themselves. Not just anyone can do their work! They have been trained, possess specialist knowledge, particular skills and ability. All that needs to be reckoned with too.

Furthermore, what is a necessity to one couple might be a luxury to another, so there will be different viewpoints about how much is reasonable to spend. Of course, the scale and complexity of the ceremony need to be factored in too.

Then there’s the need for the couple to do their ‘due diligence’, shop around and check they’re not being shafted. But they have to take care to compare like with like.


You’re likely to want to hire a photographer, a florist and maybe a celebrant. Then there’s the catering, venue hire, dress/suit outlay, MUA expense, maybe a wedding planner – to name but half a dozen potential expenses.

Even that is not as simple as it sounds.

Do you want a single photographer or a couple, to capture different angles and facets? What about a videographer, or both? Can you get a friend to do the photography? (I’d say no, unless they are professionals themselves. You don’t want a foul-up at such a unique occasion.)

A wedding planner can be a long-term booking, or you can get one for the day only.

A decent celebrant needs to be able to ask the right questions (to get inside the couple’s heads and establish their vision). They also need to listen well (not just imposing their own choices, although advice can often be invaluable). They must be good writers when putting together the ceremony and, not least, be able to present well.

I hold a Diploma in Wedding Celebrancy and have over 10 years’ experience in conducting ceremonies. I belong to an ethical professional association. I have a suitable personality – calm, friendly, but professional. How many celebrants boast all these assets?

I therefore feel justified in charging for my services (although I am only mid-range).

The same must go for other suppliers. They may use other skills, but they are professionals in their field. Many are experts and can guarantee doing an excellent job.

When you’re seeking out suppliers, ensure you find out their Ts & Cs (I know it’s boring!). That way, there can be no nasty surprises, and you’ll know exactly what you’re getting.

And what you’re not!

So, decide your budget, speak to suppliers and choose your team for the event. Hopefully, you can afford the team you want (if not, maybe you can juggle your outlay).

That way, you should get maximum peace of mind and a wonderfully successful occasion!

Cheap Weddings?

Cheap Weddings?

Cheap Weddings are not common.

I think you already knew that, didn’t you?

But they don’t have to be that expensive. There are ways of cutting corners without skimping on quality.

Obviously, not everyone’s budget or wishes are the same. I’m therefore going to concentrate on just a few common areas (venue, florist, dressmaker, photographer, celebrant) and suggest where savings might be made.

Incidentally, I’m not knocking any of my professional colleagues. I know in my own line the work, training, skill and experience that lie behind an immaculate ceremony. The same professionalism is part of every decent wedding supplier. That doesn’t mean that you can’t save money by doing it yourself. However, you may save less than you think, and it certainly doesn’t save on stress!


I discuss in other blogs how to choose your venue. It is really important that you go with one that you love (and which ticks all the boxes with its Ts & Cs). You may need to book a year or more in advance to secure it.

You are more likely to hire that dream venue – and pay less – if you choose a date that is out of season. Special days (like New Year’s Day or Valentine’s Day) are likely to be in high demand and therefore cost more.

Moreover, if you have your wedding in the morning and cater for lunch, you may well see reductions in the fees charged both by the venue and by the caterer.

Finally, if you don’t require exclusivity (ie booking the whole venue), things can work out a fair bit cheaper. It may be logistically relatively simple to use the same room for ceremony and reception – or just two rooms.


It’s tempting to choose flowers whose colours fit in with your theme. If they are not in season, they have to be brought in, and this can add quite a bit to the expense. Moreover, local flowers can be marvellous without costing the earth.


It almost goes without saying that the bride wants to buy a splendid dress. Where there’s demand, prices tend to be raised. So this is a major expense.

If you can tolerate the thought, investigate hiring dresses or even buying a second-hand one.

There are potentially a lot of savings to be made here.


There is no simple one-size-fits-all here. You may need to take advice as to how many photographers to hire and for how long. But, again, prices may be reduced if you marry out of season.

i advise that you do book a photographer (at least). Of course, a friend can probably do it, but will they do such a (professional) job? Will the quality of their apparatus be as good? What if they make a (potentially disastrous) mistake?

Do your research, but don’t cut corners on the photographer(s).


Having a person you like and trust up there conducting the ceremony with you at such an important occasion is essential. You shouldn’t cut corners with your celebrant either. Prices will vary, but you’re paying for the time and expertise they can give, the work they put in and their ability to deliver on the day.

Some celebrants may offer discounts (eg for a booking resulting from a wedding fayre or a special offer), but your choice should depend on how much you want to work with the particular celebrant.

This can make all the difference.


I hope this gets you thinking about how you may save money. You may be pleasantly surprised!

I’d be happy to chat with you about any subject raised in this blog.

When a Wedding Costs Less Than You Think!

When a Wedding Costs Less Than You Think!

It would be stating the absolutely obvious to claim that weddings are expensive! No arguments there, surely!

What is less obvious is spotting where you can save some money.

For example, areas where you may not need to spend so much could include your venue, the florist, the dressmaker, the photographer or the celebrant. We’ll look at each of these in a moment.

Obviously, every ceremony is different and no two couples are likely to have the same needs and dreams. So my comments will be more appropriate to some of you than to others! However, I may just be able to set you thinking.

In my work, I understand the importance of friendly, professional service. I am not suggesting that you avoid professional suppliers (unless that is your choice). For example, you can save money if you do not hire a professional caterer. You can arrange it all yourself, but it is likely to be a huge headache for you, and I wouldn’t advise it.


Venues normally need to be booked at least a year in advance. I speak in other blogs about how you might go about choosing a suitable one, but here’s how you may be able to cut some costs.

Don’t go for a day that is likely to have high demand (Valentine’s Day, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, high Summer). Similarly, if you don’t have your wedding in the evening, you may have some bargaining power with the venue. And you may be able to hold the ceremony and reception in one room or hall (with some time allowed in between for setting up).


Go for flowers that are in season and local. That can save you a surprising amount.


Having your own dress may be very important, but it is possible to buy – or hire – some wonderful used dresses for nothing like the price of a new one.


A dangerous one, this. A friend might be able to do this job. But will their enjoyment of your wedding be compromised? What if their results disappoint? Might your friendship be sacrificed consequently?

A professional photographer is likely to have functioning equipment and know what to do and how to do it. (That’s partly what you’re paying for!)


I price my services based on my expertise, and the amount of time and work I anticipate I will need to put in. Like many suppliers, I have a certain amount of flexibility. For example, I usually offer a reduction, if someone books me at a Wedding Fayre. In the case of a ceremony that I particularly want to do or a couple I particularly want to work with, I may offer a one-off price.

I do need to live and try to charge a fair price – but it doesn’t hurt to ask!

I hope this gives you a few practical ideas for saving money (there are many others I could have included) and that your wedding will cost you less than you thought!

How do I choose a Wedding Supplier?

Whether or not you are planning a micro-wedding or still hoping for a bigger one, you are likely to be looking for a supplier or two. Simple examples would be a photographer, florist or a civil celebrant.

How do you know they’ll be any good, and what do you need to ask them, so you can judge?

Ideally, you’ll have positive first-hand experience. Or else the suppliers come with a recommendation from someone you trust who has used them. We had our reception in the same place as an aunt and uncle’s golden wedding celebration, so we knew the venue could offer just what we were looking for.

What do you do, if none of your acquaintances can recommend anyone? Maybe your FaceBook contacts can help. If not, I’d advise you to Google your supplier(s) and have a look at their website.

The main thing you are looking for is whether they can offer the particular service you desire. In these trying times, you may also want to see their cancellation policy too.

If you like what you see, check out testimonials. Are customers happy with what you are after and does the supplier provide it the way you want it?

If it still looks good, make contact, preferably face-to-face or on zoom or Skype. Have questions ready. Availability is the first question, of course. “How much?” is important, but less so than whether the supplier will listen to, and can share, your vision.

Ask for (and then read!) the Ts & Cs.

If all tallies, then don’t forget this one: do you actually trust, like and want to work with this supplier? I usually tell my brides and grooms only to go with me, if they feel happy at the thought of being married by me.

So, go with your heart, once your head is satisfied!

To discuss this further, please contact me for a chat.

Controlling Your wedding Costs (i)

Controlling Your wedding Costs (i)

As a civil celebrant, I come across some wonderful professionals, and I’m extremely fortunate to have enlisted the help of Event Planners, Mish & Katy of KP Events, who have written a marvellous article about controlling your wedding costs. Something that affects us all! There’s so much useful information here that I’m dividing the piece up. That means you’ll have to come back next week!



Here’s some advice on where and where not to compromise.

So we’re all agreed … low key, nothing fancy, just an intimate celebration with close family …

Until … “Darling, you know my Mum’s rellies in LA – that weird family with 6 kids … we can’t not invite them. I know they’re not close, but they are 1st cousins after all …” or …
“You know, it’s going to have to be proper über-kosher. I know we’re not into all that, but we just can’t make assumptions about all our guests.” or …

“I know it was stupid but I promised your niece she could have a frilly pink bridesmaid’s dress with ruby sequins … I just can’t let her down. I know, I know – it means we have to get all five of them matching dresses …”

Familiar? Of course it is – that’s just the way it always pans out!

But is there a way to prevent it? Is it actually possible to stop the whole thing from spiralling totally out of control and ending up with a bill of stratospheric proportions?

The answer is yes … to an extent. After many years in the business we might not be able to solve the extended overseas family issue but we’re confident we know where to compromise and where not – in order to ensure your event is everything and more without having to spend everything and more!

Here are 10 elements of your wedding spend in which savings can undoubtedly be made … Food, music (band or DJ) and photography are what we call The Untouchables. Great food and real musical entertainment are absolutely key to the day’s success, and fabulous images are what will provide the memories for years to come. There is no middle-ground here – you simply have to get these three aspects right, so cutting corners can prove disastrous. Despite that, even here you’ll find some room for manoeuvre.

Food is (and should be) your biggest spend and you should be as generous as you possibly can with this element of your budget. Get it right and your guests are more than half-way to having a great time; get it wrong and you’ll be hard pushed to salvage the situation. There are, however, many ways of holding back the reins without skimping on quality and quantity.

If you don’t have to have supervised, but the majority of your guests are kosher, then a caterer using kosher ingredients is a cheaper and perfectly acceptable option. By eliminating kosher meat altogether and sticking to fish and vegetarian options, you can bring the menu cost down further, while a good caterer will still be able to produce an exciting and creative menu within those parameters. If you only have a handful of strict kosher guests, and a non-kosher majority, then you could just buy in supervised kosher meals for them, while opening up more options for the majority of guests. That would almost certainly prove cheaper than the fully kosher-catered option for the entire party.

The buffet vs sit-down comparison is always worth a visit, though a buffet may not always work out cheaper. Although the staffing costs are considerably less than silver service, the preparation is usually more labour intensive.

Do investigate the options however as there will usually be a price differential as well as a more fundamental difference in relation to the style and atmosphere of your event.

Music (band or DJ)
Unlike most other events that have “sideshow” entertainment, wedding entertainment is usually fully focussed on the music. As a consequence it needs to be good. Lacklustre function bands and DJs who manage to clear the dance floor are big no-nos. While live music always has the potential to really enhance the atmosphere of an event, it isn’t a cheap option. A top tried and tested band will often come with a top tried and tested price tag. You generally get what you pay for, but there are ways of cutting your cloth to suit.

A very effective compromise is what’s called the Live DJ – a set up in which you have a DJ accompanied by 2 or 3 instrumentalists – sax and percussion usually work well. Another option is to find a couple of great singers who can sing to track. That way you’re paying fees to 2 or 3 musicians rather than a full band which could amount of 8 or 9 people plus significant production costs.

If you get the food and music right, you’ve ostensibly got an event. If you get the photographer right, you’ve got memories. If you get the partner right, you’ve got a marriage! While we can’t help you with the choice of partner, we can help with the rest. And a good photographer – who understands what you as a couple are all about – is critical. There’s a thing with wedding photos – you can’t re-take them if they’re bad !

Do your research on photographers as the price range can be enormous and don’t be tempted to buy into packages of services and products that you don’t necessarily need or want. Some will charge a lot in return for a beautiful gilt-edged coffee table book along with a DVD slideshow of your images set to schmaltzy music. If that’s what you want (perhaps as a gift for your future in-laws) then great, but if it’s not what you’re into, don’t get sucked in.

We work with several photographers, some of whom do provide the full ‘platinum service’, while others simply produce great reportage style imagery that they pass onto their clients simply edited but essentially raw, so you can do whatever you want in terms of printing. Nowadays there are plenty of internet-based photo printing companies that can produce quality prints at hugely competitive rates. The proviso of course is that the original images are professional high resolution files – so by all means take over the printing but don’t leave the actual photography to a friend even if he or she did win the Amateur Photographer of the Month competition back in May. As already mentioned, you need to be careful when tinkering with the above trio of “untouchables”. However, with the remaining elements of your budget there are plenty of ways of keeping things in check without begrudgingly having to accept an unwanted compromise option.

There will be more next time, as promised, but if you can’t wait,  please conatct Mish or Kati on 020 8883 7411 www.kpevents.co.uk | www.facebook.com/kpeventslondon