Reducing Wedding Costs

Reducing Wedding Costs

It’s not always necessary to spend an arm and a leg on a wedding. Some short cuts may be possible. But pros and cons need to be weighed up carefully.

Wedding Planners

A wedding planner is a pretty essential team-player for an elaborate or large affair. However, you can sometimes manage without one, especially if the ceremony is going to be straight-forward. There will still be a lot of work and responsibility on your shoulders – you may have to source the best suppliers and co-ordinate everything on the day yourself. You may be leaving yourself open to worry and anxiety in the lead-up to, and on, the big day. So think it through first.

The Venue

Again, if the ceremony is going to be very simple, and if you have the space, you can consider holding your wedding in your home or back garden. Of course, hiring a venue means you are paying for convenience and simplicity. Otherwise, you’ve got to be very aware of health and safety when setting up, and will need a lot of support before, and on, the day.

Officiant

You can avoid using the services of a professional, and get somebody else to prepare and read the ceremony. As a celebrant, I may be biased, and don’t recommend this! A celebrant will put together a wonderful ceremony based on your wishes and beliefs. They will also deliver it professionally and beautifully, as they are experienced public speakers. Their presence will also afford you calm and peace of mind, which are so valuable at a stressful time.

Extras

Do you really need that owl bringing the rings to the bridegroom? Bear in mind, if you’re trying to save money, what is dispensable and take into consideration what is essential to you.

Catering

If it’s a very small do, you can get away with buying in, laying out, serving, and washing up/disposing of the food and drink, not to mention the crockery, serviettes and cutlery yourself. You’ll have to make sure that special requests (eg vegetarians, gluten-free, children’s food) are looked after. Are you sure the saving here is worthwhile?

Entertainment

You can certainly save money by skipping the entertainment altogether, or by keeping it amateur. If you go for a reception, then be aware that not everybody will like what you offer. (The grannies and grandpas may not like a disco, for example.)

Photographers/Videographers

I think it’s a false economy to do without a professional photographer and/or videographer. You’re going to want tangible memories of your big day, and they need to be of high quality. You may know someone who’s a dab hand at photography and will do it for you. It does mean that they will not be able to enjoy the day properly and – even worse – if they stuff up, then your friendship may risk being sacrificed.

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!

Does Your Wedding Have to be Stressful?

Does Your Wedding Have to be Stressful?

Your wedding ought to be the biggest day of your life. It won’t come to pass without stress. That’s natural.

You may be arranging a really big do. There are so many things to organise both for the ceremony and the reception.

It’s important that everything runs smoothly. You’d love your guests to enjoy and look back at the occasion favourably. You’d like to look your best throughout. You want the day to go smoothly and memorably. You should be able to relax and enjoy the whole event.

That’s quite a lot of expectations. Of course, to fulfil that puts stress on you.

A bit of stress is not a bad thing, though. Adrenaline will help you function well.

Major stress is another thing, and will spoil your enjoyment (and possibly that of others too).

So how do you minimise stress?

Attitude and preparation are both key.

Attitude

Of course, absolutely anything can go wrong. I have seen a number of unexpected mishaps in my time (though not as many as one might expect!). If you so choose, you can focus on these and worry yourself stupid.

However, you can take a positive attitude and focus on the things that might go well! The right mind-set will take the pressure off those helping you create the event. It will also make life that bit more enjoyable for you (and for those around you).

Accept that things do go wrong. These problems may be minor (and often go unnoticed) and will be easily forgiven. And, especially if you work with professionals, your team may be able to resolve them quickly and painlessly.

Moreover, it often works out that the more you obsess over imagined issues, the more they materialise in reality.

Preparation

If you do everything yourself (or with the help of some relatives/friends), then something may well get overlooked or done inefficiently. More than that, if you are the sole responsible person, then you’re bound to be worrying about slip-ups and the like.

If you surround yourself with professionals, they will know what needs doing (to prevent issues) and can take action, if something does go amiss.

Moreover, the earlier (within reason!) you get your act together, the better. Your suppliers will have time to source what they need and can do a better job.

Although a do-it-yourself event is cheaper and potentially satisfying, there is one vital element you will necessarily be missing: peace of mind. That should not be under-estimated. It can make the difference between enjoyment and complete frustration. Hopefully, you’ll only be doing this once!

Peace of mind will be much more of a given, if you entrust the organisation to professionals.

For a professional take on your ceremony, please have a chat with me.

Expectations

Expectations

There’s no ignoring it. We’ve had Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Christmas is looming and a new year is beckoning.

It’s been difficult to plan weddings or celebratory events, never knowing when the next lockdown might be imposed. In fact, it’s turned out to have been plain sailing since July, but who was to know?

So, can we look forward to the future with any confidence? Dare we be positive about 2022?

Obviously, my guess is as good as yours. I suspect that, although there may be renewed restrictions in the coming few months, Spring and Summer may shine a green light for unrestricted ceremonies. But don’t hold me to account, if I’m wrong!

With alll the uncertainty, should we put plans on the back burner?

Definitely not, in my opinion. We can’t – and mustn’t – go on indefinitely with life on hold. We’re social animals and need to escape isolation.

So don’t put off planning for happy, life-cycle events. As humans, we do have to mark such occasions. Don’t ignore big birthdays, weddings, vow renewals, anniversaries ending -5 or -0, namings, or other such events.

It doesn’t have to be a traditional, large-scale ceremony. You may opt for a micro-event. You may well check terms and conditions and cancellation clauses more carefully than usual with your suppliers. But still go for it.

Of course, it is still a gamble. So it may be wise to arrange something that can be adapted at fairly short notice. That probably entails liaising with your venue (if you’re booking one at all) and/or suppliers, and checking how flexible they are.

Take precautions, by all means, but you certainly don’t want to regret missing out due to fear.

If you are thinking of organising something a bit special, then please have a chat with me.

Planning Your Wedding

Planning Your Wedding

Planning a wedding is an exciting activity but comes with challenges. You want to get these right.

Of course, no two couples will do exactly the same as any other. One thing you’re likely to need to do is to set a budget (and agree who will be on the decision-making team).

Questions to Consider

Are you going to plan the event yourself, do some of it (perhaps in tandem with someone else) or take professional help?

What do you want to include on the day? This can range from what drinks to offer (straight after the ceremony) to hiring a band.

What sort of ceremony will you choose? Church, registrar or celebrant?

How many guests will you invite (and who might they be?)?

What date do you want? Unless you have a specific landmark date in mind, be flexible. Some days are more popular (and expensive) than others.

Actions

You need to get cracking with bookings, as some suppliers get booked up well in advance.

Priorities normally are:

  1. The Church or Register Office
  2. The wedding venue
  3. Caterers (if you’re having any)
  4. Wedding Planner (ditto)

Next you may consider:

  1. A civil celebrant
  2. Clothes supplier
  3. Photographer/videographer
  4. Florist
  5. Entertainment
  6. Transport to/from the venue
  7. Make-up artist
  8. Hairdresser

With all suppliers, do your homework, where possible. Check for recommendations, use websites and make in-person visits, if you can. You must be confident that they can do what you require.

You may be able to do all this in a matter of weeks, but, realistically, you should start planning at least a year before your big day.

Hopefully, this can suffice for starters. If you want more advice, just contact me.

A great guide (OK, I am the author!) is “Your Wedding Guide”, available on Amazon. It takes you right through this process in much more detail – and  costs (currently) less than a fiver!

Main photo: Matt Penberthy

Wedding-Day Nerves

Wedding-Day Nerves

There’s nothing wrong with wedding-day nerves. Totally natural, if you ask me.

After all, your wedding should be the biggest day of your life. Together with your loved one, you’ll be centre-stage.

Adrenalin can often enhance performance, although, to be fair, your role is not actually demanding. Your celebrant will guide you through the ceremony, and your Best Man (or equivalent) or Toastmaster can facilitate the celebrations. Mainly, you have to do what you’re told and enjoy yourself!

However, you need to control your jitters so they don’t ruin your day.

Perhaps I can alleviate things for you.

Root Cause

You may well suffer most because you’re uncertain about how things may pan out. There’s always that “what if …?” question lurking.

Solutions

The most important solution is to ensure you are confident about your suppliers. Of course, nobody can guarantee that nothing will ever go wrong, but you minimise those risks by choosing reliable suppliers. These will be professionals, and will also have experience of dealing with the odd challenge.

However, professional they may seem, it won’t do any harm to reconfirm everything with them a few days before the event. Good for your peace of mind.

On the eve, be prepared. Make sure you have ready whatever is needed – rings, vows, goblet, repair kit, etc.

Allow plenty of time to arrive. You don’t want to get stuck, fuming in a traffic jam.

At the event, relax! Even if things may go wrong, you have two advantages. Firstly, you should be surrounded by professionals, so they can sort out the issue. Secondly, people understand that hitches happen despite the best planning. They’re on your side and will be tolerant and forgiving.

If you have a phobia about the whole thing, it might be wise to employ another professional to help you deal with it. I can recommend Isobel at intherighthands.co.uk

If all else fails, don’t get tanked up on alcohol (certainly, not till after the ceremony!). And if you need to step out and take a few deep breaths, this may calm you down sufficiently.

But if you’re looking for an empathetic professional civil celebrant who can put you at your ease before and during your big day, please have a chat with me!

Photo: Aiony Haust