Value for Money on Weddings

Value for Money on Weddings

Although micro-weddings can sometimes be the cheapest option, the accumulation of expenses associated with a wedding can seem relentless.

Why the expense?

Some suppliers sense ‘easy pickings’ when a couple approaches them. Prices can be raised just because it’s for a wedding. These vendors may sense an opportunity to exploit excited, bemused, inexperienced people. The couple may not know what is a fair price or what to expect from a supplier. They may simply stop at the first enquiry.

These suppliers can include venues, dressmakers, caterers, florists, make-up artists, celebrants (yes, even some celebrants!), photographers, planners, entertainment arrangers, vehicle hire – anyone and everyone! But don’t be alarmed – the vast majority are honest!


Of course, suppliers with integrity will still be charging for what they do. And some do a very great deal. Bear in mind that much of what wedding suppliers provide happens behind the scenes.

For example, as a celebrant,  I don’t just turn up early on the day, deliver the ceremony and then go home. There is a massive amount of liaison and work beforehand to ensure that the ceremony is perfect on the day, and fully reflects the couple’s personalities and beliefs.

Depending on your budget and desires, a wedding may seem expensive. Your expectations matter. If you want specialists, then it’s fair that you will be paying to benefit from their unique training, experience and expertise.


There are ways to reduce costs without sacrificing quality. You can get married Monday to Thursday and/or in the morning or afternoon. That should get you cheaper rates. Avoid peak times (Bank Holidays and summer in particular). Choose flowers that will be in season. Have a cash bar. Only supply a limited amount of alcohol (a surprising amount gets wasted anyway). Be creative!

It’s certainly an important part of the buying process to shop around. The cheapest supplier may well not be the best (although the dearest doesn’t have to be, either!). You need to feel confident that the suppliers you choose will deliver what they claim. Although their testimonials are a useful guide, you probably need to go with your heart. Again, from a celebrant perspective, I would not want to be married by an officiant I didn’t feel comfortable with.

With judicious ‘homework’, you might be surprised at what good value your wedding turns out to be!

Halloween already?!

Halloween already?!

No. I know it’s not Halloween, but this is all about nightmare scenarios!

The following have happened at (or before) weddings that I was officiating at:

  • A fire
  • The groom forgot the ring
  • The bride’s car got lost
  • A staircase collapsed
  • A photographer fell over backwards
  • The Best Man arrived two hours late because of a job interview

Of course, there’s virtually no limit on what might go wrong. Usually, nothing does, and, if something does go awry, most people don’t even notice!

That won’t stop most brides and their team worrying, though.


You can use a wedding planner. You pay them to take the burden off your shoulders. And experienced ones are good at improvising solutions. It doesn’t have to cost that much, either. They offer packages, so you can hire a planner for the day only, if that’s all you want.

But what if you’re doing it yourself?

You have to prepare properly. Do your homework before booking professional suppliers (celebrants, venue, florists, DJs, photographers, make-up artists, caterers, the bridal car, and so on). Make sure you ring round the week before the wedding and confirm they do have your reservation on their books!

Good for your peace of mind, at the very least – and suppliers are human too!

If something does go wrong, don’t panic. Your team will rally round. If the problem is major, guests will show tolerance. Some may tut a bit, but most will understand. Nobody complained when our service was delayed because of a fire!

So relax and enjoy your big day, secure in the knowledge that you have prepared well and have a fine team on side. Don’t look at the dark side and assume the worst. Relax and everything will flow sweetly. You’ll have an unforgettable day – and for the right reasons!

New Year Prospects

New Year Prospects

For most of us 2020 was a dismal year. A few people prospered, and good luck to them. Most of us suffered. Very often, it was health or financial issues. Or both.

More relevant to me, as a celebrant, brides and grooms (and suppliers!) had to put up with plans continually being changed or deferred. The worst thing for many people was simply not knowing. What would the next directive say? What asumptions could anybody make? Why book, when plans could be thrown into chaos the next day?

Of course, some people either gave up altogether or modified their plans drastically.

I lost two weddings to cancellations. In one case, it would have been in a fabulous Lisbon venue. That was postponed, but the venue had to change. It became the superb Palacio de Queluz, Sintra (google that, and just see what it looks like!)

Then the bride and groom found their businesses were struggling. No other choice, but to cancel the wedding. (They may still get married – at a register office, but that’s not quite the same …)

I belong to several Facebook groups where most brides are currently in distress and crying out for guidance.

As I write, there is much talk of another national lockdown – maybe, till after Easter. So do couples move the wedding till the summer, say? Can they book a decent venue at such short notice? Should they assume that they can’t invite more than 15? What sort of COVID precautions should be taken?

I have no more of a crystal ball than anyone else. But my advice is not to delay. At least, go and get married at the Register Office. Then wait.

Wait till we’re out of this and can make sensible decisions. Then organise a wedding service at a venue of your choosing. Book your civil celebrant, photographer and caterer. Even though you will already be legally married – enjoy the whole day with your friends and family as if it were the big day itself.

Then everyone can enjoy and relish the atmosphere of such a special occasion.

Give me a call, and we can start making plans!

Happy Days?

Happy Days?

Ordinarily, a year ending and the prospect of a new one fills me with optimism. You too?

There are bank holidays to look forward to, and it should be a time for exchanging presents and over-indulging (food, drink and TV). Maybe even family reunions (not necessarily welcome, though!)! Happy days.

Things will clearly be different about this year’s festivities. For one thing, you probably won’t want to look back and reflect about the past twelve months.

If I may indulge myself, my retrospect is mixed.

I succumbed to a virus in March that laid me low for three weeks. Could have been worse, but not amusing.

I have had to refund a couple for one cancelled wedding; another looks highly likely to go the same way, and, apart from two ongoing enquiries, I don’t have any new weddings in the pipeline (although I have a few carried over into 2021).

Definitely not a lot to rejoice about.

However, I am not despondent (although grateful for my pension!). On the positive side (at least, for me!), I have conducted nearly 50 funerals this year (most in April and May, of course), so I have been able to shine a light for people at their lowest ebb. Helping people in that way has been very consoling and satisfying. (Furthermore, I have had legitimate reason to go out during lockdown and a purpose in my life.)

I’m using the extra time to redo my website (this will happen in January) and am going to take an Instagram course (that will be a challenge for the teacher, let alone the student!).

So there are brighter moments among the gloom, and I am mindful of my health and fitness – as well as the love and support of my family. Things could be worse!

So I am wishing you at least as much happiness, health and prosperity as I am experiencing. Thank you for reading my blog(s) and please continue when I return in January.

Have as happy a Christmas as is possible and a really good New Year!

Why a Wedding Planner?

Why a Wedding Planner?

There seems to be an upturn of interest in weddings now, as the year wends its weary way to a welcome close.

Naturally, a lot of people are looking at micro-weddings. However, there may still be a need for other suppliers.


If couples want a personalised ceremony, a civil celebrant can still do a brilliant job.

I’d be delighted to explain how, if you contact me.


I have recently been talking to a number of wedding planners. Most are facing the predictable problems of postponements and even cancellations.

People are ready to use the professional services of a wedding planner, if their wedding is likely to be big or compex, but does it make sense to do so for a smaller-scale event?


If you engage a supplier like a wedding planner, of course it will set you back. However, not to the extent that you might expect.


A planner often offers packages. You don’t necessarily have to engage them for months ahead of the big day. Some can offer the wedding day only, if that suits. Ask them what they offer.

Moreover, if you use the full service, the chances are that you can ultimately save money. That is because they will have a wide network of recommended venues and suppliers, and can negotiate the best prices. So you should be able to access the highest-calibre options available.

Planners can use their experience to deal with issues, so they make your wedding (and the run-up) stress-free. That’s worth a lot!

Finally, but not insignificantly, planners can save you time. You may have a hectic work – and/or social – schedule, and the planner can serve as a sort of PA, which can be extremely valuable.

So don’t avoid the wedding planner because it seems a waste of money. You may gain a lot more than you bargained for, by using one.

Find out more at

To discuss this – or how a civil celebrant can help you – have a chat with Michael.