Friday, March 28, 2008

For richer, for poorer

Its a sad thing but one of the main worries for people getting married these days is, "How are we going to afford it?"

The average cost of a wedding is now £18,490, as it says here in The Times. I don't grudge anyone spending this kind of money if they have it. In fact I am definately in the Elton John school of wealth distribution and reckon, if you have it, why not spend it?

But I don't think that you have to spend a fortune to have a great wedding, in fact, it is often the case that the less you spend the more special your ceremony is. All you need is a rich imagination - in fact I think this is a good approach even if you can afford to splash out.

So whether you are rolling in cash or counting the pennies here are some low cost tips for making your big day extra special!

The Venue
In a humanist ceremony you can get married anywhere so why not choose a beach or a woodland which are both completely free! Or if you aren't having a big wedding you could use your own home. This means you can decorate it the way you want, have the ceremony at whatever time you want and stay up partying as long as you are able. Some of the loveliest ceremonies I have done were in people's back gardens, sometimes under a gazeebo if the rain was threatning. Often venues like village halls and community centres are very cheap. . Usually you can bring in your own drinks for venues like these too.

Wedding Stationery
Do you really need to have properly printed wedding invitations, orders of ceremony and place names? If you aren't a whiz on photoshop the chances are you will have a friend who is. Many couples I marry already have children, so if you do, why not get them to 'design' something? Ok, they may look like something Jackson Pollock came up with on a bad day, but everyone will think it is a cute idea.


I once offered to organise the cake for a friend's wedding and she wanted a traditional fruit cake. Some bakeries wanted to charge £200 for just one layer. In the end we bought one from ASDA for £30. it was really small but I tiered it and made some icing flowers for the top of it and it looked really pretty. As often happens with fruit cakes at weddings, nobody ate any. Last year I made a cake for a couple of friends. it was a Chocolate, Stem Ginger and Grand Marnier, three layered monster and cost £40 all in. Here's the baby:

Robert, the groom had a notion for golden oak leaf flowers to be on the cake. At the end of the day it had all been gobbled up, oak leaves and all.

The Frock
I have heard through the wedding dress rail that many brides are buying a good quality or designer gown instead of a wedding dress, which can work out a whole lot cheaper. I've also married a few brides who have had the graciousness to tell me that their dress was from E-bay and they looked just as gorgeous as every other bride. In the top photo of this post you will see my beautiful bridesmaid in a lovely golden dress. It was made by me and my mother and cost £40 in fabric.

There are many other ways to save money and keep things special. If you aren't the sort of person who listens to string quartet or harp music at home, it may be a more personal option for you to have CD music at your wedding and play tunes you really love. You could go to the flower market and do your own arrangements. I think the key is to ask people you know for help. many of your friends will wonder what they are going to give you for your wedding present and may end up buying something you neither want nor need, so asking them to help out with the preperations will save you money and make them feel helpful.