Wednesday, 24 February 2016

My Vintage Wedding: The Budget

Today's post is all about how we approached the budget to our wedding, following on from my posts about our outfits, and all of the wedding details.  When you read in magazines or on blogs how much someone spent on their wedding, that figure is pretty meaningless unless you know what the money actually bought.  You need to know how many people attended, how much food and drink they were supplied with, whether it was held in a Chateau or on board a private yacht, or in their parents' back garden.

My Vintage Wedding

I did get a little annoyed at reading things like "I did my wedding for £1,000!" and then finding out they invited only 10 people and made them all buy their own meals.  There's nothing wrong with that - you can do whatever you like - but it's just that headlines like that can be a bit misleading unless you read all of the small print and can lead to unrealistic expectations.  When you say 'wedding', people immediately conjure up images of horse-drawn carriages, fairytale dresses and a party on a Gatsby-scale.  A generation or two ago it would have been getting hitched in your Sunday best and heading to the local pub for a bit of cake and a few drinks.

So, just to clarify.  We didn't have horse-drawn carriages, wear couture, have a Michelin star chef do our food or get married in a mansion with 2,000 gardenias floating in the pool.  We did have a jolly good time though, and all for at least 75% less than the average wedding these days.  Read on to find where we splurged and where we saved...

Oh wow these can be expensive!  We saved.  I quite like the smart printed ones, and am not a fan of the sort of rustic hand-made one (which also seem to take forever to put together - I am not that patient).  I designed the invitations myself - I had to learn very quickly to learn how to use the art software that they had on the computers in work.  A week's worth of lunch hours spent downloading fonts, adjusting text and getting nice decorative bits, and we were ready to send them off to the printers.  We got double-sided postcards printed from Vistaprint (£50) and I bought envelopes off Ebay (£5).
for website

The Venues
We saved.  Getting married in City Hall, that amazing impressive building, is the cheapest option for those wanting a non-religious wedding in Cardiff.  Cheaper than any hotel or other 'registered' premise.  An incredible Edwardian building, with a gorgeous ceremony room.  Yours for just £269 for the St Davids room on a Saturday, including the notices of marriage.  It's about £100 cheaper to get married in a church, but we're not religious and churches do expect a sizeable donation if you're to get married in one, so be sure to factor that in.

My Vintage Wedding

As for the reception venue, All Saints Church Hall in Penarth is a little shabby around the edges, with no proper kitchen facilities etc., so that cost us £270 for one night's hire.  You might find more up-to-date halls charge more.  We wanted to hire a hall or similar, as we weren't happy with the prescriptive nature of a lot of hotel venues, where you are obliged to use specific suppliers, or get charged lots of additional extras - silly things like "You want to have a mic for the speeches?  An extra £90 please."  No thank you.


The Food
We splurged, spending half of the total budget on food and drinks for our guests.  It was really important to us to offer our guests a good sit-down meal, with some top-notch food.  It's costly for people to attend weddings, in terms of travel, outfits and such, and we wanted to make sure that our guests were very well fed.  We looked at cheaper options such as hog roasts, bring-a-dish (a Health and Safety nightmare waiting to happen...), buffets and more, but we weren't enthusiastic about any of them.  We only approached two catering companies - one big and one small - and were sorely disappointed with the big one, which was quoting us £10 per head more than the small company