22 Apr Wedding planning on a budget – part II
If you haven’t yet read the first part on our wedding planning series, you can catch up here. In it we look at photography, videography, bridesmaids and venues.
Today we’re going to be looking at all the tasty elements: food, drink and cake! But first…
1. The guest list
This is where the arguments can start. With your other half, one of the first things you need to decide is whether you’re having a big wedding, medium wedding, small wedding or elopement! Obviously the fewer the guests, the easier it’s going to be to keep costs down. However this is much easier said than done.
The main thing is not to feel obliged to invite anyone. You don’t have to have them just because you work with them, they’re some kind of relative or you used to be friends 15 years ago. If you could imagine your wedding without them and you don’t feel sad then you probably don’t need them on your guest list.
The next one that easily adds an extra 30+ guests is plus ones. Personally I feel that if you don’t know their name, they shouldn’t be at your wedding. If it’s the partner of a good friend who for whatever reason you haven’t yet met but you know they’re important to your friend, then absolutely. If it’s just allowing your friend to bring along anyone, then I’m sure they’ll survive on their own.
The last way to keep down numbers is a child ban. Bit more controversial. However if you’re getting married at a time in your life where you can just say ‘sorry, no children’ and not annoy half your guest list then it’s worth doing.
Food can be a huge chunk of your budget. It’s definitely advisable to go for tastings with caterers and be honest about your budget and then see what they can offer. Buffet-style meals will reduce costs because there isn’t the need for waiting staff – and this doesn’t have to compromise the style of food you have either.
If you’re looking to really keep the costs down you could opt for an afternoon tea rather than a full meal. Rather than having your caterers create dessert, why not ask some of your guests to bring different puddings? They can all be put on a table and everyone can help themselves to whatever takes their fancy – delicious!
Another alternative is to consider having your wedding later on in the afternoon. That way your guests will sort out their own lunch beforehand so you’ll only have to provide one meal for them.
If you have gone for one of the more alternative venues that I mentioned last time eg a field, you’ll probably find you have no licence. This is really easily overcome – you can apply for a temporary one online – and then offers you much more freedom. For the evening bar you can then buy the alcohol in bulk and have a cash bar with still really reasonable prices. I’d recommend buying the alcohol from suppliers who let you return it if you don’t use it (as long as it’s unopened). That way you can buy more and not worry about being left with a massive surplus.
If you’re having your reception at a more traditional venue ask if you can provide your own alcohol and whether they charge corkage.
I think these days most guests would expect to have to pay for drinks in the evening so don’t feel pressurised to provide a lot of free alcohol.
A wedding cake is the centre piece to any reception. That said it does not need to cost you hundreds and hundreds of pounds. If cake’s not really your thing then definitely opt for a cheese version – they are amazing!
Marks & Spencer sell wedding cakes. You would assume that they’re much cheaper than a wedding cake made by a professional. However, in my opinion, they’re still really expensive. It is just a cake after all. If you’re not going all out, professional, bespoke, totally incredible then ‘off the shelf’ is not the way to go either.
It is likely that you will know someone who can bake a half-decent sponge. It is quite a lot of pressure putting the responsibility of your wedding cake onto someone else. Especially if they’ve never baked for any kind of event before. However, if they’re confident they can do it, then shake hands on it before they can change their mind. Not only will they save you a fortune, but what an amazing gift to be giving you and a great way to get them involved in your day.
5. Keep it local
Most companies will charge for delivery, so by choosing suppliers that are local to your venue you’ll be keeping these costs down. Also suppliers are more likely to be more flexible – whether it’s with timings, quantity or price when the wedding is a local one.
Hopefully this helps – and above all remember to enjoy the planning process. If you have any great wedding planning tips, let me know!