This week I’d like to introduce the first guide written by the lovely Emma of fromalditoharrods.com. She’ll be giving tips on how to haggle with your wedding venue.
When choosing a wedding venue, you may be put off by the cost of hiring your wedding venue. What’s more, some venues will stipulate that you must use their own exclusive caterers alongside other exclusive suppliers, or charge a hefty corkage charge if you want to supply your own alcohol. Remember that your wedding venue is a business too, and whilst they have their margins, there might be circumstances where they are happy to accept less money in order to secure a booking.
Be confident when asking for a discount. Know what to ask for. Asking for a specific thing, such as a certain percentage off your booking, free corkage or alterations to your wedding package.
- If you are prepared to get married on a weekday or outside of wedding season, the venue may be more willing to haggle – any income is better than no income.
- If you are able to, offer to pay it all upfront, or a large deposit. It means more money in their pocket right now and helps the venue to feel more secure about your booking.
- Knock off items that you don’t need – whether it be dessert, tea and coffee or some other option that you don’t need for your big day, ask what the savings would be to knock it off.
- Think about what you might be able to offer the venue. If you are a blogger with a decent social media following, they might see this as a chance to advertise. Likewise, you could offer to use your wedding photos for their advertising purposes.
- If your venue comes with exclusive suppliers then remember that the venue will be getting a commission from the suppliers. If you are having a large wedding then use this to your advantage when asking for a discount.
Some of these tips can also be applied to other areas of your wedding planning, such as the wedding dress, other outfits, catering and even your wedding rings.
This is a guest post by Emma who runs the money saving and money making blog From Aldi to Harrods
If you are on a tight wedding budget, having to also think about getting gifts for your wedding party can add another layer of stress that you don’t need!
It’s a lovely tradition and a great way to say thank you for all of their support, but you need to be practical and not go overboard on big presents that will cut into your wedding budget.
A great way to save money on this is to get presents for your wedding party that are part of their outfit, but can be kept by them afterwards as a memento of the day. Here are some ideas:
Cufflinks are always a good option – they are needed as part of the outfit and can be used again afterwards. To make these a bit different from the ordinary, why not consider getting personalised engraved cufflinks like these: www.bride2bride.co.uk/listings/2624/engraved-best-man-laser-etched-edge-cufflinks-with-box .
These super sweet personalised slates will look so pretty carried alongside a posy, but will also be a lovely item for them to hang on their bedroom door after the wedding!www.bride2bride.co.uk/listings/1855/engraved-flowergirl-slate-heart.
Something you could also consider is getting them an activity pack – this will keep them entertained and double as a fantastic keep sake for after the wedding. Check out this one for sale on Amazon.
Choosing a lovely necklace or bracelet that will compliment your bridesmaids outfit but that can also be versatile to be used again afterwards is a great idea. What girl doesn’t love some pretty jewellery! Shops like Debenhams do some great sterling silver sets that won’t break the bank. Have a look at their website to get an idea of what they offer.
Another lovely idea is to make gifts for your wedding party – I’m thinking of parents here especially who would I’m sure would love something a bit more personal. How about doing a photo book of old family photos, or selecting a couple of special ones to get framed? Sites like bank Photobox offer some great deals on photo printing.
You could also think about buying a plant rather than flowers (this is what we did for our mum’s) as you can pay such a lot for a bouquet of fresh flowers and they will only last a week or so, but a plant can be enjoyed and treasured for years to come. Have a look at sites like Gift a Plant for some inspiration.
Have you got any top tips to share for budget friendly wedding gifts?
Your wedding reception can take one of the biggest chunks of your budget so any savings here can be crucial.You might think that a traditional big hotel reception is your only choice, but there are plenty of other lower cost options to help keep your wedding spend down.
A village hall can be a fantastic cheap wedding venue choice. They are often inexpensive to hire (most village halls can be hired for a couple of hundred pounds), and normally include all your tables, chairs and other equipment too. They then leave you with the flexibility to have your own catering, drinks and decorations – you just need to have a few willing helpers to help you set up and clear away afterwards. Websites such as www.hallshire.com can help you search, or just search for village halls in your local area.
These can be a little pricier than village halls, but still offer a good value for money centrally located wedding reception venue. The buildings can often be fairly grand without the price tag of a posh hotel. Check out your local council website for details of what’s available near you. The picture featured here is from Sheffield Town Hall .
There are hundreds of pubs up and down the country that make fantastic venues for your wedding reception. They often have lovely gardens, beautiful countryside settings and great private hire function rooms which are great cheap wedding venues and the perfect setting for a lovely relaxed wedding. They’ll also be able to serve up some great pub grub for your wedding breakfast.
Local Sports Clubs
Most local sports clubs have a club house that may be available to hire and this could be particularly perfect if your local team is special to your or your fiancé. They often have cheap hire charges and again have all the same benefits as a village hall in terms of flexibity of decoration and catering. Ask around your local area or do a bit of internet research to see what’s around in your area.
Some hotels offer fantastic all inclusive wedding packages – Britannia hotels offer a wedding package which starts at £999 and includes: Bucks Fizz welcome & 3 Course Wedding breakfast for 50 guests, evening buffet for 100 guests, room hire and red carpet. See the Britannia Hotels website for more information. Other similar packages are offered by Old English Inns, andHoliday Inns.
Do you have any tips for budget-friendly wedding reception venues? Please share theme on our Facebook page!
For our wedding I thought the lighting would be really important in creating the right atmosphere and giving the look Sophie wanted.
(Our wedding reception was in a village hall). I explored lots of options including battery powered candles in jars, light strings and glowing paper lanterns. In the end we settled on the paper lanterns – inspired by photos like this one:
I looked at putting individual battery powered lights in each, but I was put off by the idea of turning on each lantern – and it was beginning to cost a lot. I then came up with a very simple solution that I thought I share.
All you have to do is purchase paper lanterns and strings of LED fairy lights (battery powered for convenience and safety). Work out what length you need – then tape bunches of individual LEDs together and hang a lantern over the bunch. Very easy. You do get exposed LEDS between lanterns – but for us this didn’t matter.
If you want to hang anything heavier than a few paper lanterns the LED string itself won’t be strong enough – in this case run some strong garden wire alongside the LED string and make sure the lanterns hang on this. This is something I’ve done in our conservatory with lanterns:
Have you been inspired to make your own lantern strings for your wedding reception?
Check out the paper laterns for sale on Bride2Bride and light strings too!
Or you could try searching Amazon.co.uk for battery LED light strings
If you have a small wedding budget, you need to look for ways to cut costs wherever you can. Cutting the costs on the wedding catering can be done without your guests feeling that they have just been to a cheap wedding!
By changing small things, you can really make a big difference in the cost of your wedding catering.
Timing of your wedding
Having a wedding smack bang in the middle of the day almost guarantees a higher food bill because you may need to serve canapes, dinner, plus a further snack in the evening. Why not consider a mid‐afternoon wedding, have a few light bites with a welcome drink (see below), a main meal at 6pm ish, and then just wedding cake and extra nibbles in the evening.
Don’t feel that you have to have an expensive champagne for both/either of these. I personally don’t like champagne that much, so it would have been wasted on me at our wedding! We opted for a lovely local blush cider for our welcome drink which was a lot cheaper than champagne. For summer weddings, something like Pimms & Lemonade could also be a cheaper alternative. We did go for champagne for toasting, but steer clear of anything too expensive as most people won’t appreciate it having (probably) consumed a fair bit of alcohol by that stage!
Alternatives to canapes
Serving canapes to guests with a welcome drink can really add on the costs. Consider lower cost alternatives such as antipasti, where you serve a selection of cold meats, cheeses, ciabatta type breads and roasted tomatoes etc (we had this at our wedding and it went down very well!)
Don’t serve a traditional three course meal
There are some lovely alternatives to three course meal, including sharing platters, hog roasts & BBQs. And by BBQ, I’m not suggesting you have a few burnt burgers and sorry for themselves sausages – BBQs can still be done in a really stylish way with marinated meats, corn on the cob, salads & freshly baked breads. For the vegetarians haloumi kebabs are also a winner! This can be a great way to save money, as not only do you avoid having to serve a starter, but you cut down on labour costs as people serve themselves rather than paying for extra waiting staff.
Have your wedding cake as dessert
Wedding cakes are a feature of most weddings, so why double up on serving two sweet things! If you want a traditional fruit cake you can keep, consider doing just one layer like this, and the others as a sponge cakes which you can serve with fresh fruit and cream. Doing it this way means that you will not only save money, but people will actually appreciate your wedding cake rather than being to stuffed to manage a piece!
Don’t lay on a full evening buffet
Rather than trying to provide a full evening buffet, why not consider cheaper alternatives such as serving bacon or sausage baps, a cheese and biscuit platter or something totally different (like John and I did) of toasted crumpets! These alternatives can help to reduce your wedding spend and provide something a bit different!
Do you have any top tips to reduce your wedding catering spend? Please share them via Facebook below:
10 top tips for getting value for money from Wedding insurance
Wedding insurance is something that most couples overlook. After all, when planning the biggest day of your lives you don’t want to think about the worst. Wedding insurance should be your first purchase when planning a wedding as you never know what the future holds. It is there to cover the unexpected, such as a vendor going out of business or illness. It helps to put your mind at ease about your big day. We have put together 10 top tips to help you get value for money from your wedding insurance. Wedding insurance isn’t mandatory, but it covers you if your wedding needs to be cancelled, rearranged or if a vendor lets you down.
Buy at the right time
Most wedding insurance providers will allow you to purchase your policy up to two years before the big day. You can buy your wedding insurance as late as the day before the wedding, as long as you have no knowledge of something that might cause you to make a claim.
There are plenty of wedding insurance providers, so be sure to shop around to get the best price for your level of cover – we’ve put together a comparison chart to help you compare wedding insurance and find the best value wedding policy. There are wedding insurance comparison websites that will show you a variety of wedding insurance policies to suit your needs.
Using a cashback website such as Quidco, Topcashback or Fat Cheese can see you earning a small percentage of your wedding insurance back as cashback. This is completely free of charge and signing up to a cashback website takes a few moments. Don’t forget to use them for other wedding purchases you make – you can use the cashback you earn as an extra treat on your honeymoon.
Be careful not to undercover
The level of wedding insurance you require is based on the total cost of your wedding. To ensure that you are fully covered, don’t get an insurance policy that falls below your wedding cost. Being undercovered means you won’t be fully covered for every eventuality.
Similar to undercovering, make sure you don’t spend more money by opting for an insurance policy that covers significantly more than your wedding will cost. This will cost you more money and won’t be of any use.
Check the excess
Most wedding insurance policies come with a small excess to pay in the event of a claim. This is usually around £25, so bear that in mind when you are comparing policies and their prices. Some policies have no excess, but they may cost significantly more than the policies with a low excess.
Free gift card
In order to appeal to more couples, some wedding insurance providers will include a free gift card when you purchase your insurance through them. Debenhams, for example, offer a free £10 gift card to spend when you purchase your wedding insurance with them. The gift card can be used for a special treat, or to help out with your wedding costs – including makeup, bridal shoes and more.
Check what is covered
When choosing a policy, make sure that it fits your needs. As a standard, your wedding insurance policy should cover:
- Losing the wedding rings
- Retaking photographs
- Retaking video
- Damage to the flowers or cake
- Non-receipt of the flowers or cake
- Wedding cars
- Essential documents
- Damage to the wedding attire including the wedding dress, bridesmaids’ or groomsmen’s clothing.
- Cancelling or rearranging the wedding due to supplier failure or due to illness, accident or bereavement within the wedding party.
Check that the policy you are considering purchasing covers all of this as a standard.
Know what isn’t covered
Each policy will vary, but as a general rule there are some things that won’t be covered by the wedding insurance policy. They include either the bride or groom getting cold feet, theft, any damage to the wedding clothing and if you need to cancel or postpone the wedding because you can’t afford to go ahead with the wedding.
Get additional cover
You can choose to get additional cover on your wedding insurance policy. Although this will cost a little bit extra, you can upgrade to cover public liability (if someone gets hurt at your wedding and chooses to make a legal case against you, adding this to your insurance will assist with those costs), marquee cover and even cover for ceremonial swords.
We all like to think that our wedding day will go off without a hitch, but wedding insurance is that security measure that gives you peace of mind. It reassures you that you won’t lose out financially should something go wrong.
This guide from Emma of fromalditoharrods.com helps you with advice to make sure you’re a smart shopper to help you save money when choosing wedding insurance.
Weddings aren’t just expensive for the Bride & Groom, the costs can quickly add up for the guests too! If you are worrying about spending too much money on attending weddings, read our tips on helping you to save money.
A recent study revealed that the cost of attending a wedding can be as high as £400 when you take into account going on hen/stag dos, transport, accommodation, getting a new outfit and of course buying a wedding gift.
If you have several weddings to attend in one year, finding the spare money for this can get very difficult! Here are some ways you can cut the cost of attending a wedding:
1. Plan ahead
When you receive a wedding invitation, get online as soon possible and book your travel and accommodation as you can often get deals for booking early. Remember to also take advantage of any discounts the wedding reception venue might be giving to wedding guests. If you need to book two nights away, think about booking the first night at a budget hotel such as a Travelodge or Premier Inn (where prices start from £19), and then splashing out on a luxury hotel for the night of the wedding.
2. Share the cost
If the rest of your family or friends are all attending the same wedding, consider sharing transport and accommodation. Off season you can often book holiday cottages for short breaks which can be a lot cheaper when split between a large group than individual hotel rooms.
You can sometimes have multiple weddings to attend in a year, but don’t feel the pressure of having to wear a different dress or suit for every event. Buy something quite simple – you can change the look of a dress with different accessories, hat, or jacket. Men may think renting a suit is cheaper, but if you have a lot of weddings to attend, buying a suit could work out cheaper, especially if you plan in advance and hit the sales.
4. Bridesmaids and groomsmen
Sometimes you may be asked to buy your own shoes for the big day. Again, planning ahead is key so that you can take advantage of any end of season sales. You can also find some amazing second hand or never worn items here on Bride2Bride – just make sure you look for something in a neutral colour so they can be worn again.
5. Offer your services
Do you have an interesting car or special skill such as floristry? If you own a vintage car or campervan, or have a talent for flower arranging or cake making, why not offer your services as a wedding gift? Not only will you feel a part of the wedding, it will save both you and the happy couple cash. If you are creative, you could also offer to make wedding decorations or favours.
6. Be smart with wedding gifts
If the Bride &: Groom have specified a gift list, make sure you don’t leave gift buying until the last minute when all the cheaper items might be have been snapped up! Alternatively you can also be creative and get a more personal wedding present. We once got up to take a photo of the sunrise on our friend’s wedding day and got it framed for them. This was a really personal gift, didn’t cost us a huge amount, but sometimes thoughtful gifts like this are priceless! You could also consider making a photo collage of any photos of the couple or perhaps make something to mark their wedding day.
Have you recently attended a wedding? What are your top tips for saving money? We’d love to hear them so please leave your comments on our Facebook page
Wedding favours are an extremely old tradition, and has evolved from a simple sugared almond into, well – almost anything! Read how to keep the cost of wedding favours down with a few simple ideas.
The tradition of giving wedding favours is a very old one. It’s believed that the first wedding favour, common amongst European aristocrats, was known as a bonbonniere. A bonbonniere is a small trinket box generally which generally contained sugar cubes, which symbolised wealth and royalty – remember at this time, sugar was very expensive and was treasured only among the wealthy.
Today, wedding favours are a way for the bride and groom to thank their guests for sharing in their big day. They were also considered as a symbol of good luck, and so by giving wedding favours to their guests, the couple would be sharing their luck and happiness with them. You don’t have to go overboard with wedding favours, have a look at these simple yet effective ideas for wedding favours that won’t break the bank.
Keep it Traditional!
Why not keep with tradition and offer sugared almonds in a pretty bag to match your theme. Sugared almonds can be cheaply sourced from places like Amazon, and take a look at these cheap favour bags for sale on Bride2Bride.
If you don’t fancy sugared almonds, how about jelly bean love hearts or splash out on some Just Married rock. Favour Fairy offers a variety of options, including these complete favours for 50p each:
Personalised wedding favours
If you want to add a personal touch to your wedding favours, have a look at these really pretty personalised chocolate fish and chip cones – so pretty!
Make your own
You could try adding a personal touch to your wedding favours by making your own tasty treat. Have a look at this simple recipe for homemade truffles or how about some tasty fudge.
Decorations as favours
Why not combine table decorations with wedding favours? These little mini buckets would look fab with a led tea light, and could also been given as as a favour after the wedding.
Have you got any great wedding favour ideas?
This week we have some fantastic budget-friendly advice from Genevieve of www.gohen.co.uk.
Great news for all of the stressed maid-of-honour’s and anxious bride-to-be’s: it is possible to plan your hen night on a purse-friendly budget! There are some simple steps you can follow so that your hen party guests have a great time and the financials are kept under wraps. Here are our five top tips!
1. Pick a date early on
This is the best way to get the ball rolling anyway, and you can choose a date around everyone’s budgets. For the best value flights and accommodation choose dates outside of the main summer weeks; often spring and autumn are better times to go away as there are less crowds and usually pleasant weather.
2. Choose a destination asap
If you pick a destination early on then you’re likely to benefit from cheaper flights, more activities to choose from and a lot less stress! As a general rule flights do tend to be cheaper when booked in advance so decide where you want to head with the girls early on. If you’re stuck for ideas then you might like to know that the top hen party destinations at the moment are London, Edinburgh, Marbella, Ibiza, Barcelona and Brighton.
3. Don’t invite too many people
You’re probably also in the process of making a wedding guest list, but be sure to bear in mind that when deciding who to invite to the pre-nuptials you should be fair but firm. It doesn’t matter that Shirley down the road invited you to her hen party in the local pub 10 years ago; don’t feel obliged to invite her to party with you in Prague. There’s a good chance that not everyone will be able to make it no matter when you decide to carry it out so there might be a chance to invite Shirley later on. Stay organised and make a note of who you’ve invited so that if the plans change you can easily let them know.
4. Keep track of your financials
Make sure you note down how much everyone owes and stay on top of this. The sooner you can get the money off of your guests the sooner you can all relax, so make sure everyone’s aware of the situation. Let people know early on the costs of the weekend so that there aren’t any surprises later on and they can commit. It might be a good idea to create a spreadsheet with the name of each guest alongside whether they’ve paid and how much they have left to pay.
5. Have a great time!
You don’t need a massive budget to enjoy yourselves – if you’re with all the girls and have a few fabulous things planned then you’re bound to have a great time! With all the stresses of wedding planning you deserve some quality time to relax, so gather all your best friends and have a wonderful hen weekend!
This is a guest post by Genevieve from hen party organisers GoHen. For hundreds of great ideas and top destinations check out www.gohen.com
This week’s guide from Emma of fromalditoharrods.com gives advice to help you make your own sweet buffet and save you hundreds off your wedding budget.
Sweet buffets are becoming more popular at weddings, and there are many sweet cart companies to choose from. Whilst looking for a sweet cart, I was really unhappy to find that most of them arrive at your wedding plastered with at least the company’s website. Considering that sweet cart hire is approximately £250 (and that is before you add any sweets!), it is a great idea to DIY.
The first point is that it saves you money. In most instances, your venue will have a table that you can convert into your sweet buffet. The items for displaying your sweets in, such as jars, vases and bowls will be a lot cheaper than the hire of a sweet cart. You are also able to completely customise your sweet buffet, adding your own unique touches to tie in with your wedding theme.
Where to locate your items
For your sweet buffet, you will need:
- A selection of jars. IKEA have large 1.8l jars with lids for just 85p.
- A selection of plates and bowls.
- Scoops and/or tongs.
- Table cloth (if not supplied by your venue).
- Bags or pots to put the sweets in. You can use ice cream sundae pots, cardboard cups or paper bags.
- A selection of sweets.
Where to get sweets from
You can get your sweets from almost anywhere. I have already started buying some Double Dips from Home Bargains – 3 for 39p. Poundland is a great place to get a selection of sweets. You could also add a bag of sweets that are on offer each time you do your grocery shopping. That way you won’t miss £1 here and there.
Alternatively, you can bulk order your sweets online. Amazon have a great selection – Giant Strawberries are just £5.50 for 120 (roughly 1.5kg) and a tub of 600 piece tub of Haribo mini jellies (roughly 1.3kg) is £5.50.
When picking your sweets, try to include some that are wrapped. This means that anything left over from your wedding can be taken home with you and eaten at a later date.
DIYing your sweet buffet could save you between £150-£200. For ideas about how to decorate your sweet buffet, there are thousands of ideas on Pinterest. If you are able to check out supermarkets just after Valentine’s Day, you might find a great selection of homewares that you could use towards your sweet buffet.
This is a guest post by Emma who runs the money saving and money making blog From Aldi to Harrods
Have you been inspired to have a go at doing your own wedding flowers? Why not take a look at all the wedding sweets and accessories currently for sale on Bride2Bride!