Planning My Wedding

Since very recently getting engaged, I have to admit to myself and others that I’m scared. Very scared, actually. Not scared of solidifying the relationship with my partner, but simply the cost of getting married.

I’ve never been one to spend money frivolously, and it seems that organising a wedding requires you to do just that. Looking at wedding budget lists is horrifying – here is a 2013 UK wedding budget list. For example, a suggested average spend of £300 on wedding stationery is something I find to be extraordinary, and pointless too.

So I have put it upon myself to create a ‘DIY’ wedding – something which is growing in popularity during this recession as couples have a decreasing pot of money to dip into. The concept of organising everything myself is also scary, but something I’m glad to have control over. With my fiance’s help, I’ll be making as much as I can by myself, sourcing products from suppliers to save money and getting as much help as I can from wedding guests.

I have therefore gone through the 2013 budget list and added my own notes and advice on creating a brilliant wedding on a strict budget.

Wedding Aspect Average UK Cost My Estimated Cost Notes
The Service £510 £119 This cost is greatly inflated, especially for a non-religious wedding. The real costs are £35 each to give notice to register office. Then £45 (or more, depending) to register the marriage, plus £4 for the certificate.
Insurance £118 £60 With a much smaller budget, £60 should suffice for insurance, but it all depends on how easily your wedding can be reorganised if something goes wrong. Going through the insurance questions should help you decide.
Reception Decor £500 £250 Decor is easy enough to do yourself with some help, and sourcing materials and table decor from wholesalers will certainly keep those costs down.
Venue inc Food & Drinks £4,600 £1,500 By choosing a small venue on a weekday in an Autumn/Winter month, this will bring the price right down.
Cake £290 £60 If you have baking and artistic skills, you can combine talents to create your own, obviously practice as much as you can beforehand though.
Entertainment £560 £0 If you have any family who are musicians, or have any talents, it can be pretty easy to create a whole schedule, and it’s much more fun and interesting for guests too, bringing everyone together.
Photography £1080 £100 The chances are that at least a couple of people going to your wedding have an interest for photography. Why not use that, and pay them a small amount for their troubles.
Videography £875 £0 Never understood wedding videos – this changes the whole momentum of how you remember the day. This really is an unnecessary cost.
Flowers £660 £50 By choosing flowers that flower in the chosen month of the wedding, you can grow and arrange them yourself.
Car Hire £290 £0 I’m happy to arrive in any car as long as it’s clean. For a short drive from A to B, hiring a car is too big an expense for a budget wedding.
Stationery £300 £50 With some pratice it really isn’t difficult to make your own invitations and other stationery.
Honeymoon £3,225 £600 A week in the New Forest or Cornwall would be perfect for us!
Wedding Rings £640 £300 £150 each for a nice ring is plenty.
Dress £1,300 £800 My intended spend on a dress is £800 tops.
Beauty £200 £30 With enough research and practise, doing hair and make-up yourself gives you the chance to get exactly the look you’re after.
Grooms Outfit £200 £150 We can probably take the cost down to £150
Attendants outfits & gifts £515 £300 I don’t mind paying for bridesmaid/best man outfits, but I can make favours and gifts myself
Stag & Hen Nights £314 £0 Always found this pointless, an easy aspect to eleminate
TOTAL £16,177 £4,369

I know many of these estimates may actually be way off in either direction, but I would assume everything will average out at about £4,500. One of the most exciting things for me is growing my own flowers to use in the decoration and bouquet. Once we’ve decided on a date, I can’t wait to start choosing the flowers, then buy the seeds and start growing them. Some arrangements can be artificial, and I can buy any parts I need from wholesale suppliers like Inspirations Wholesale. Floral foam is something I’ll need to build the arrangements, and I can purchase artificial foliage to further boost the impact of the venue.

It’s all a huge learning curve, but something I’m looking forward, especially with a fiance who is more than happy to help me in my DIY venture.


Article by Caroline Dalzell