Thursday, 30 July 2015

How we...

Four year anniversary

Today is our wedding anniversary, four years ago we became Team Mozzy!  I thought on our anniversary I would write a post about how we navigated the financial minefield that is hosting a wedding.

Sam and I aren't very showy with cash, we thrift and save where we can and don't have a particularly spendy mindset.  The idea of spending thousands of pounds on a wedding, just one day in our lives after all, was out of the question and as anyone who has organised a wedding will tell you the second you use the word 'wedding' £100+ gets automatically added to your bill.

I should add that we had amazing support from family and friends throughout the lead up to our wedding, financial, creative, emotional the whole nine yards we couldn't have done it without them.  I would also add that a thrifty wedding is NOT an easy option and there were a few times we wished we'd just eloped but in the end it was totally worth it.

What we did...

  • We sent out sunflower and cornflower seeds with our invitations and asked people to grow flowers to contribute to the decorations, we also grew sunflowers on the allotment and had them all over the venue they looked great!
  • My mum was amazing, the night before the wedding she went to a whole load of supermarkets and bought up bunches and bunches of reduced cut flowers and created beautiful displays with them for each of the tables.  My aunt foraged in the hedgerows for brambles and other flowers to be included in the top table floral decoration all of it looked great.
  • Now I appreciate that I'm lucky to have a sister-in-law who can rustle up amazing dresses and not everyone does but she made my dress and the two bridesmaids dressed for under £100 (basically just the cost of the fabric).  When I see that you can spend thousands on a dress alone, that blows my mind!
  • We found a venue that was new to hosting weddings so managed to get the cost of hire for much less than the more established destinations.  It did mean we were guinea pigs for their processes and organisation but for the price of the venue hire that was definitely a sacrifice we were happy to make.
  • We took a taxi to the registry office and to the venue.  Ok, ok that's not glamorous at all but we weren't prepared to pay upwards of £500 for a sleek car for what would have been a maximum of 20 minutes in transit.  Plus we didn't care that we rocked up in a taxi, and because we didn't care no one else did either.
  • My mum and aunt were once again amazing, over several months they bought up white china from charity shops and car boot sales, it didn't matter that the styles were all different because each plate was plain white it matched enough and went with the relaxed feel of the do.  At the end of the wedding we sold most of the crockery back to the venue, (after our friends and relatives had taken what they wanted!)
  • Months in advance of the wedding we made the most of supermarket offers on booze, after Christmas and New Year we were buying up Cava and Babycham like it was going out of fashion, on one visit to the supermarket we came out with two trolleys piled high which raised a few eyebrows in the car park!
  • Our venue didn't allow foil confetti so I dried petals over the radiator for weeks and weeks!  I then went to Makro and bulk bought small white paper bags (like sweetie bags) and rubber stamped on each one 'I love you more than...' (mario kart or ginger chicken udon noodles for example)  and added them to each of the bags so each guest got a unique bag of confetti.
  • Sam brewed his own alcohol, that stuff was rocket fuel but people seemed to enjoy drinking it, my favourite was the blackberry vodka, it tasted like liquid jam!
  • My mother-in-law crafted knitted flowers that we used as napkin rings, people loved them and I saw lots of guests wearing them during the reception which was lovely.
  • We bought up vases, water jugs, cutlery and cake stands at car boots the water jugs were plain glasses the vases were coloured glass.

What we would recommend...

  • If you're looking to take a similar thrifty approach it is best to go into it without thinking everything will be matchy/matchy.  We knew we would be picking stuff up from car boots and charity shops so knew there would always be an element of unpredictability to it but that just didn't matter to us and added to the ramshackle nature of our do!
  • Gauge early on if family and friends do actually want to help out and make a list of what you want them to do, don't be vague.  I probably was vague at times which may have made things frustrating for family helping us out so if I could do things again I would have a more structured plan.
  • We asked guests to bring a bottle rather than a gift, others contributed by baking cakes to be included on our desert buffet (that went down a storm!).  Guests are super generous so try not to over buy your booze if you go down this route.  Sam and I were drinking Babycham for months after the event and took boxes and boxes of wine back to the wholesaler because our guests were so incredibly generous with the alcohol they brought with them.
  • Our families had also been bringing wine back from their trips to France, this definitely helped reduce costs!
  • If you are thinking of buying up plates and things for your do rather than hiring them make sure you know what you're going to do with them afterwards.  Whether that's selling them on, donating them to charity or giving them away to friends it is super stressful if you're left with loads of stuff after the event that you don't know what to do with.
  • It helps if you go with the flow, things won't be perfect but that's totally ok, whilst there are many ways you can save money on your wedding there are many things that you really have to just shell out for and that can be stressful as well.  Have good friends around you for support and try not to take it all too seriously!

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