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Can you believe that the latest figures* suggest that the average UK wedding costs a whopping £27,161? (*source). That is more than triple the cost of our wedding and almost triple our house deposit!
When we got engaged at the end of 2015, I knew I didn’t want to spend a fortune getting married – our priority was getting enough money together for a house deposit. However, I didn’t want to be too cheap about it either, so we just decided to prioritise where we spent our money and what was important to us and to not get sucked into to traditions we didn’t care about and spend money on things just because it’s the done thing to do.
From the moment we booked our wedding, it was clear that there wasn’t going to be much that was traditional about it – much to my own surprise. I’d always thought I’d want a country house wedding in a beautiful scenic location with all the trimmings, but when it came down to it, I realised I didn’t actually care about any of that. We wanted our wedding to be about us, to reflect our personalities and not be a regular run of the mill big white wedding. We decided to do things differently.
As a result, there were many aspects of traditional wedding planning that we just didn’t want to waste our time with. As you can imagine, there were lots of raised eyebrows when we told people our plans (particularly from our wedding photographer – we were obviously not like her usual clientele haha) but on the day, everything ran smoothly and we all had a brilliant time, which is what it’s all about!
Because we decided to do things our way, there were things on all the wedding checklists that we just did away with, and in doing so saved ourselves a huge amount of money.
1. The Cake
The average wedding cake costs around £300. We decided we didn’t want one, and had Oreo cookies and Milk instead. I think the bill for the biscuits came in at £12, I bought a cheap acrylic cake stand from ebay and we stacked the Oreos the day before the wedding. A couple of edible flowers and hey presto, you’ve got yourself a ‘cake’! My mother in law also bought us the oreo shaped cake you see in the right of the picture – I think people really couldn’t bear the thought of there actually being no cake! 😂 I’m not sure how much she paid for it, but it’s not something you’d market as a wedding cake, so can’t imagine it cost £300. All in all, the cake table including all the props, came in under £60… and I even managed to sell on the milk jars for the same price I paid for them, so if we take that into consideration it cost even less!
Average Cost: £300We Paid: £60
2. Flower Arrangements
According to Hitched.co.uk, for £250 you can get a bridal bouquet, two bridesmaid bouquets, 5 buttonholes and 2 corsages. We had 3 bridesmaids and 8 groomsmen, so to kit the whole wedding party out would’ve cost us more than that.
Add in table arrangements and room decorations and you’re looking upwards of £1000 (though some quotes I was getting was considerably more). So we decided not to have any at all. It seemed like a massive waste of money to us for very little benefit.
Instead I had artificial bouquets and buttonholes made by a lovely lady on Facebook for £70. We bought 4 rose trees from Homebargains for £15 each (again which I resold and got £40 back on) which we added some poundland battery operated lights to and wrapped pearl string from my craft stash around the trunk, these stood either end of the aisle. And then we made our own floral decorations and centrepieces using artificial flowers I was given for free by work.
Average Cost: £1000
We Paid: £140
3. Wedding Stationery
According to this article stationery can cost anything from £250 to an eye watering £1000 – and that’s for invitations alone, without even considering menu cards, name cards, room signage, the table plan and whatever else you have on the day.
We sent 60 day invites and a further 50 evening invites. Had 64 place settings on the day, some table signage and a table plan. Menu cards were included in the cost of our wedding package with the venue but we certainly weren’t going to waste hundreds of pounds on paper that was going to be thrown away the next day.
If you hadn’t noticed from the pictures already, we had a horse racing themed wedding on an actual racecourse and had a specific idea in mind of what we wanted the invitations to look like. You know the little tickets you’re given to wear to get into a race meeting? Those. So for such bespoke designs, we were looking at the top end of the costs.
Instead, hubby created the design on microsoft word would you believe… and my boss allowed me to print them out in work. I paid £4 for a pack of card and already had ribbon. The ink cost us nothing, nor did the design. We guillotined the prints and me and my mother in law spent hours putting them together, but it was worth it. I don’t think I would’ve been happier with professionally made ones!
The name cards were made using the left over invitation card and simply edged with a fancy hole punch (£7 ebay) and I hand lettered them. (quite badly haha – you win some, you lose some)
The instagram frames were just simple print outs framed with our unique hashtag and the table plan was my absolute favourite, a stroke of genius if you will. I spent hours trawling the internet to find real racehorse names using our wedding guests names. The guests had a lot of fun finding their alter ego when they entered the room and I had a good laugh putting the names together.
Once we’d decided on the table layout and who sat where, hubby once again did the design work and we had it blown up and printed for £15, we then mounted it to an A1 board and stuck it to a mirror (which is now on our dining room wall – waste not want not)
Average Cost: £1000
We Spent: £30