Today on the blog is Clare from Emmy’s Mummy & Harry’s Too, with Clare celebrating her 9th wedding Anniversary this week I thought it would be nice for her to talk to you about how she managed to have the white fairy tale wedding of her dreams on quite a strict budget.
You can also find Clare here:
I actually can’t believe I am celebrating 9 years of marriage this week, Paul and I have also been together for 15 years this week too – see careful planning of my wedding date means he should never forget our anniversary, or at least he shouldn’t do!
When Paul proposed (finally) I knew I’d get no help what-so-ever in the wedding planning, it’s just not his thing – he hands over the money, nods and pretends to listen but I know he never does. The one thing he was sure of was that he wanted us to get married in Vegas! NEVER in a million years was that going to happen for a number of reasons; firstly his Mum was Roman Catholic and would never have allowed it, it would have to be a church for her and secondly my parents don’t fly, I’m not sure if they actually ever have, certainly not in my lifetime at least. He wanted to go alone and then have a big party on our arrival home to celebrate but that is never how I envisaged my wedding day. I wanted all our family and friends to be with us on our special day.
I know why he wanted it this way though – cost. He comes from a HUGE family; his Dad is one of 5 children, his Mum also one of 5 and each of those 5 are married with 2 or 3 children of their own. Factor in boyfriends, girlfriends, my side of the family and friends the list was very long but there was no way I would have a wedding without them all being there. I told him to leave the planning to me and I would cost up a UK wedding and we would talk it through, well that afternoon I called my local Church and booked it for the 9th March 2007.
I knew he wouldn’t mind, he didn’t want to plan a wedding and Waltham Abbey Church is such a beautiful Church, he just laughed knowing he had lost this one and had no chance of changing my mind.
When we sat down and worked out the numbers, well his Mum and I did, it actually dawned on me just how big this family was. We cut down the list into daytime and evening guests but it still meant that for the daytime there would be 320 for the wedding and the sit down meal with at least another 100 for the evening reception.
Firstly I had to find a venue which could cater for that many people, Waltham Abbey Town Hall was my first choice as it was opposite the Church, sadly our wedding party was too big, next I look at Nazing Golf Club but faced that same problem and catering was very expensive there even if I could cut down the numbers. Eventually I looked at Cheshunt Sports Club,,, not much to look at just a plain hall with a bar but I was shown photographs of other wedding parties held there and they had made it look very pretty so I knew it was possible. I booked straight away and also booked the onsite catering team, to keep the cost down I opted for a buffet style meal instead of a hot 3 course traditional type. I asked for this to be served to the individual tables instead of having our guests lining up to serve themselves as I thought it would be quieter and less chaotic. Each table would have their own sandwiches, sausage rolls, crisps, cakes and nibbles.
My dress wasn’t at all cheap at £600 but my wonderful Mum & Dad paid for it. My Bridesmaid dresses were in the Debenhams sale and all shoes and accessorises purchased on market, with my earrings and necklace costing only £3.
Other costs were kept low by accepting offers of help from those who offered it for example, I was browsing wedding cakes in Essex while making the kids dinner at work (I was a Nanny at the time and both kids were at School) and the Mum was helping me to choose, once I had decided the one I wanted she announced that as a wedding present so would like to pay for it – I actually cried as it was such a kind and thoughtful gesture.
I ordered our wedding invitations from Paul’s works printers, they added a large discount as they were regular customers.
I also saved a large amount of money by making my own wedding favors – I ordered a bulk load of sugared almonds from eBay and the favor boxes and make these up myself, printed off my own labels and tied with pink ribbon.
I think my biggest saving was the wedding photographer, I hired a friend to do this for our big day – he was actually a fashion photographer who worked locally for a family who my Nanny friend worked for, we had become firm friends and he spent the entire day with me from getting up in the morning all the way through to the evening reception, he charged me very little and even printed off all the pictures for free and added them to an album and onto a disc for free.
All in my wedding cost just under £5.5k which included 320 for a seated meal, car hire, 5 bridesmaids who each had their hair and make-up done and all had flowers, button holes for all men in the wedding party, my flowers and drinks at the reception. By the evening we had 450 guests and we managed to put some money behind the bar too.
Clare is not alone trying to keep wedding costs down as many brides try to save money and as Katie from www.orlajames.com says “While it can be incredibly stressful planning a wedding on a strict budget, it means you really get involved in the details of your wedding and when it works out you feel all that much better.
Thank you Clare for sharing your special day with us and Katie for confirming it can be better doing it yourself! My wedding was very different as we eloped!
I would love to hear about more special days so feel free to leave a comment telling me about yours.
Don’t forget you can find Clare at Emmy’s Mummy & Harry’s Too so why not head over and see what else she is writing about.
*This is a collaborative post*