Sticking to the Wedding Budget…

Posted on: March 10, 2012

I read over some old posts this morning. It was lovely to re-live some of the wedding planning adventures I’ve had so far. Goodness me, I moaned about the bridesmaid dresses a lot! So glad they’ve been found now and I have a colour!

So, I posted about the venue issues we had here and we were faced with a decision whether to change the venue with just 6 months to go. I had a number of Twitter conversations and my thanks go out to all of those in Twitterland who helped me by making suggestions, referring me to venues and just listening and saying lovely, calming things to me. I really, really appreciate your advice.

We started to look around at different venues online. There are so many beautiful venues out there – even more than I’d found when we started looking for venues two years ago! I almost think it would be worth new brides-to-be joining Twitter for a few months before beginning their planning as all of the information and contacts you need can be found on there!!

So, what I have always known but I didn’t fully appreciate was just how expensive venues can be. To an extent, the expense is justified. It’s a crucial part of the day – testament to this is the fact that once it was booked, we hardly had to think about anything in relation to the day and how it will run. You know where people are going, where they’ll park, where they’ll stay, eat and drink. You have a wedding planner to help organise suppliers (although this isn’t always obvious), guests, timings for cake cutting, speeches – all the extra bits that you don’t want to have think about on the day but that you want to run seamlessly. But, for all this, you pay a hire charge most of the time and also a per-head charge that is likely to be more than you would ever pay for yourself to go for a meal. Still, this is a special day, hopefully a one-off and so you justify it.

I felt cheated with the issues we had because we are paying a hire charge and then a more than substantial price per head for the meal, bubbles for first drink and toasts and also wine for the table together with various extras that we get on the day. We had squared all of this in our budget and, whilst it was the biggest shock of all to add up the total cost for 150 guests, we’ve saved and it’s all good. When all of this with the venue happened, I started to look around and places wanted five thousand pounds and upwards for a hire charge. I know it’s for exclusivity and there are lovely benefits with it etc etc etc but finding an extra five thousand pounds when the price per-head is still high and you still have many thousands to find on top of that is just too much. Too much for some pockets though I guess. I mean, some people arrange their wedding with a budget of just five thousand!

Some weddings are totally worth it. They’re what dreams are made of but you have to consider how much you are willing and able to spend on just one day. At least, that’s what we looked at. Now, our wedding isn’t going to be cheap by any stretch of the imagination. When we look at the total spend for our wedding, we cannot believe that we have been able to pull together such a lot of money – with sacrifice sure – but we managed it. Still, though, it’s infuriating that it’s not enough when you start looking around at other venues. We’re ok with this. We have decided that we are not going to spend even more on the wedding than we’re spending as what we already have planned is just perfect for us. We have plenty that we would like to spend that money on in our marriage and we don’t want to get into debt.

What I found most shocking is that by not finding an extra £5,000 for a venue, I began to feel like I had been a bit cheap and I had almost ‘got what I deserved’ with the venue. You know, pay peanuts and get monkeys? But that’s not the case. The venue is beautiful, the reputation for the food is amazing, so far (apart from the obvious major glitch) the service has been lovely. The rooms are great, the grounds are great. We are paying more per head than we would ever pay for ourselves and that’s great because it’s our wedding day and we want to show the people we love a great time.

So we’ve decided to stay with our original venue. The most important thing is that we get married to each other and in front of friends and family we love. We don’t have the time or the energy to look elsewhere or to consider getting an empty venue and decorating/bringing in caterers ourselves. Most of all we have decided that any further money to be spent will be spent on starting our lives together as a married couple and not just to hire a venue for the day.

We will try to fill the new 30 rooms with our guests so that the exclusivity aspect is sorted. We made our own mistake by not seeing the potential for the contract with the venue to go wrong. Silly really, when I’m a lawyer. But when you’re newly engaged and excitedly falling in love with venues when planning your big day, you can’t always see the possibilities. I mean, I asked about going into administration/cancellation policies/insurance if the place burnt down but I didn’t ask about plans for extension! Tut!

The venue is important. It is. There’s no arguing with that. But if you have a budget, stick with it and don’t let anyone make you feel like you’re not doing or spending enough on your wedding. It’s easy to get carried away. Try not to. If whatever you are doing is right for you and your betrothed, stick with it and ignore outside pressures. At the end of the day, it’s about the two of you and as long as you get married, that’s all that counts. Everything else is just decoration.



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