There are some expenses, when you arrange a ceremony, that may be indispensable, but others that you only think are.
You don’t need to spend money on a wedding planner …
- If your ceremony is going to be very small and simple
- If you’re prepared to source and reserve the best suppliers yourself
- If you’re willing to deal yourself with things that may go wrong
- If you can arrange necessary co-ordination between suppliers
You don’t need to spend money on a venue …
- If you think you can hold the event in your backyard
- If you’re prepared to manage the health and safety issues involved
- If you’ve got plenty of support
- If you’re keeping the reception very simple
You don’t need to spend money on a celebrant …
- If you’re not too bothered how professional the officiant actually is
- If you don’t want your ceremony to be really special
- If you’re not worried about the words being easily heard by your guests
- If you want to be calm and relaxed during the ceremony
You don’t need to spend money on caterers …
- If you’re not feeding or watering your guests
- If you’re prepared to buy in and prepare food and drink
- If you can organise the service, such as a buffet, (and clearing-up) yourself
- If you’re not serving up special dishes (eg vegan)
You don’t need to spend money on entertainment …
- If you don’t want a reception
- If you can provide something simple that works
- If you can’t find something entertaining to suit all
You don’t need to spend money on photographers/videographers …
- If you don’t want memories for years to come
- If you’ve got a friend or relative who can do this professionally (and doesn’t mind!)
- If you don’t want to share the event with absentees via livestream or social media
The list could go on! But I hope it gives you something to start on, as you plan your big day – and, if you decide to use a civil celebrant, please have a chat with me!
Weddings can cost as much as £25,000, depending on what you have in mind.
A good wedding planner will let you know from the start what you will be getting for your money; you pay for the service, but you should get peace of mind. It’s often cheaper to do it yourself piecemeal, but then it’s rather harder to keep tabs.
Whatever you choose, it pays to keep your wits about you, and avoid rip-offs.
Because, by its nature, a wedding is usually planned over months, deposits may have to be paid up front. There’s nothing wrong with that. However, do your homework on the supplier before parting with your cash. Do you have any evidence that they are trustworthy? It’s not unknown for companies to take the money and run. Testimonials, while not foolproof, may give you a pointer. Also, how long has the company been trading? If it’s well-established, it probably won’t drop you and run.
It does pay to read anything through before you sign (but how many of us do?!) If you’re dealing with a reputable trader, you probably won’t get ripped off. However, it’s no good claiming that you were “unaware” of deadlines, cancellation penalties etc. You must feel happy about the Ts & Cs BEFORE you sign. (If you really can’t handle it, get someone with some legal knowledge to help you understand what you’re agreeing to.)
The wedding car
Nothing new here, really. You must look for a reputable company that deals with weddings as a matter of course. If you can get personal recommendations, then follow these. If not, it may pay to visit the limousine company before you make up your mind. At least, that way you’ll know they do exist and are unlikely to leave you waiting at the kerb!
There are myriad sites on the internet which cater for brides-to-be (and their retinue). Will you be getting quality? Is that discounted dress actually going to look so good on the day? Again, you need to try and be sure that the company is reliable and bona fide. It may be worth dealing with known retailers (even though that peace of mind could work out quite expensive).
Please be aware that you are taking a risk if you get your best friend to take the photos – for such a big event, you want a professional. You want a good one, so, before deciding, visit two or three and look at examples of their work and try and get testimonials for them.
Other ‘vital’ expenses
There are a host of other items that you might decide are worth paying for. Flowers, invitations, cake, decorations, entertainment, civil celebrant etc. are all quite normal. Prices for some of these can be inflated, so it is often good to shop around and compare quotes.
Sometimes, a ‘wedding’ cake will cost much more than a grand alternative that would do every bit as well. Flowers may be cheaper if they are in season at the time. Arrange a wedding in winter. Catering a morning wedding may work out considerably cheaper too. Be creative!
Naturally, to do all this research that I am suggesting is time-consuming, though necessary. Start in very good time. Your hard work will prove invaluable. Not only could you save money, but, more importantly, you could ensure a perfect day.