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

Save your Money!

Save your Money!

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!

How to Avoid Wedding Rip-Offs

How to Avoid Wedding Rip-Offs

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!

Wedding dresses

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).


The photographer

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.