It’s hard to believe that Simon and I have been married for 11 years this year, I still remember our day like it was yesterday. Not only was I excited to be marrying my best friend but I always had a huge sense of pride as I walked down the aisle and looked around at how beautiful everything looked. We didn’t hire in Wedding Planners you see, we did the majority of our wedding ourselves with the help of family and friends. Making your wedding look a million dollars is easier than you think, you just have to plan well and shop around.
The first place to start is your guest list, that way you will know how many people you are catering for. Remember that whilst you want everyone to see you on your big day, don’t feel pressured into inviting every person and their dog. Invite the people who really mean something to you both or set yourself a limit of guests and stick to it. You can always invite more to the evening party when costs will be more reasonable.
One of the fun parts about getting married is having a hen/stag party with your friends and family. We decided to hold our hen and stag parties on the same night, we started at opposite ends of a town and worked our way through the bars until we all met up in a club at the end which was great fun. We played a number of hen party games along the way and since I was to become Mrs Green, it was decided that I was only allowed to drink ‘green drinks’ all night – yes, you can imagine the headache the following day!
Weekdays are cheaper
It’s a well known fact that getting married mid-week is far cheaper than on a weekend, in some cases saving you 50%. The only downside to this is that some of your guests might not be able to make it due to work/travel commitments.
People rarely pay the prices they are initially quoted so always be prepared to haggle. Once you have done it a couple of times it becomes much easier and you’ll find it quite a fun process. By getting quotes from different suppliers you will have more strength to haggle on the price as they will be keen to secure your business.
Once upon a time it was considered the ‘done thing’ to send our pre-paid envelopes with your invites so that your guests could send their RSVPs without any cost to them (but a great cost to you). Simply pop a designated email address on the bottom of the invite (you can get a free email address easily online with sites like Gmail and Yahoo).
We married in a beautiful old stone coachouse hotel with a large courtyard and garden to the rear. The ceremony, Reception and evening party were all held in the same room but were made to look very different for each part of the day. In between times we spilled out into the Courtyard and gardens for canapes, drinks and mingling with our guests. This meant we reduced our transport costs and once everyone was there they could relax and enjoy the day without having to move between the ceremony and reception.
Flowers and Favours
We found a local florist wholesaler who had some amazingly talented staff who did flower arranging for about half of the price of the local florists so do your homework. This is also a time you can look to your friends, more and more people take classes for fun and have hidden talents. Perhaps you have a friend who could do your flowers for you and the pay-off is you get mates rates or perhaps you can return a favour doing something special for them. Speaking of favours, my Mother-in-Law kindly made all of our wedding favours by hand . We stuck to the traditional sugared almonds in voile but there are some great resources for wedding favour ideas under £1 online. Another handy tip is if you put the guest name on the favours you won’t have to buy place cards too.
I didn’t go with the traditional tiara on my wedding day, for one thing I didn’t want to waste money on something which would sit in a box for the rest of my life gathering dust and for another, I wanted something more personal so I bought feathers, diamante stems, ribbon and hair combs and created hair pieces for myself and my bridesmaid. It cost me less than £20 for all four and they looked perfect on the day.
If you have seen something at a friend’s wedding or at a friend’s house then don’t be afraid to ask if you can borrow it. It is a wedding tradition to have ‘something borrowed’ anyway. At the time when we got married I was working for a motor dealership and dotted around the dealership were artificial topiary trees. I asked if I could borrow the topiary trees, clean them up and put cream roses in them to line the aisle and dot around the Reception. They look amazing and so many people commented on how pretty they looked throughout the day.
I think the important thing to remember is that it is your day (as in you and your partner) so it doesn’t matter if you don’t follow protocol or tradition, the day is about celebrating your relationship and what is important to you so do what makes you happy. If you don’t want a big cake, don’t have a big cake, if you don’t want full morning suits, don’t have them. The day passes by so quickly so just stop to take the time to enjoy it, take a breather once in a while and just bathe in the atmosphere. Enjoy the stolen glances from your partner, revel in the relaxed laughter of family and friends and lock it all into your memory.