Saturday, 19 October 2013

Let's talk money much is this whole shebang going to cost? We have already allocated/spent some of our budget, but really at the moment everything is pretty fluid.
OK...I'll admit some things we don’t even know how much they will cost yet…I never thought about how much buttonholes cost before I started planning this!
We know how much we want to spend on the expensive stuff like venue, catering and photography. We've already booked the venue for £3500 (nearly paid off) and have actually booked the photographer for £1000, less than we thought it would be. Catering is next on the list and we’re looking for around £2000-£3000.
After this we will have already spent around £7000 which seems like loads, in fact it is loads but this will be the bare bones of our wedding - venue, food and drink, registrar and photographer. We could get married with just that, the rest is just dressing really. It’s so surprising how much money you can save up if you really try and have something to aim for, I would never think we could get £7000 together in under a year until now, it makes me feel so stupid that we never got our deposit saved up for our own house – after the wedding this will be our next step and now I know we can do it I want to get it together pretty quick!
The budget for the rest is pretty fluid but we want to keep it near to the £10,000 mark for the whole thing, so we have around £3000 left (around being the operative word here this is far from accurate budgeting). We aren't stuck to that limit though, we’re really just going with what we can afford at the time so it might be more, or it might be less. I don’t want to get into debt to pay for our wedding, and while I want to have a beautiful day I also don’t want to make loads of work by having unnecessary stuff there, I'm busy enough as it is! I'm hoping to have the venue paid off by the end of the year and have the money saved up for the catering by early next year so we can pay it off in one go, this will leave us clear for all the other stuff to pay for next year. Our approach is to do this bit by bit, so paying things off as we go and then moving onto the next rather than paying for it all together on a credit card then paying it off until our 10th anniversary, remember we still don’t own our own home and have that to think about in the future.
We do also have the offer of help from family which we are so grateful for, for example Toms mum has offered us the exact amount that our photographer costs, and my Dad wants to help us out although I've not yet taken him up on that offer but we will (possibly with the catering). We are adding in help from family as additional to our budget, so this is where we can allow ourselves a bit of an overspend if needed, and where we can maybe have some nicer things that we wouldn't be able to afford on our own. To be honest we weren't counting on our families to pay for our wedding, in this day and age I don’t think you do, but its traditional for them to help out and they want to so we’ll happily let them.
The things we have left to pay for are:
Music - The ceremony and in between music we're planning to be free, so the evening music is the only thing. About £500 seems to be an average price for a DJ but to be honest we haven't enquired anywhere yet!
Invites – Less than £200 if we can. Hoping to DIY some parts and use offers/coupons for money off printing. Debating also just printing some of the parts ourselves like the accommodation information and directions to go with the invites. We don’t want anything too fussy with ribbons and bows etc, just a nice invite, maybe with a photo background. Postage is also a factor for them, we can hand deliver to our immediate family but will need to post some, and some need to go abroad.
Clothes – Dress no more than £1000 (hoping a lot less but it depends on sale prices, I have a whole year to stalk the sales!), and accessories, hair and makeup less than £500. Suit for Tom – Not sure yet depends if we buy or rent but less than £500 hopefully.
Flowers and Décor - Hoping to DIY a lot of the décor and centrepieces so the budget for that is as low as possible but around £500, the only flowers we will get from a florist will be 4 bouquets and the buttonholes so hopefully less than £200 – depends on what flowers we have, not decided yet.
Cake – Around £100 for a shop bought cake...unless we have another option - more on that soon!
There are also the additional and miscellaneous expenses, which we won’t know the amount for yet but it will probably be for things like travel, last minute disasters (replacement shoes or adjustments to dresses etc) or just stuff we add on as we go.
Those are mostly our highest estimates, some will be less, some will be more, we will have unexpected expenses, and I may look back at this and laugh at my naiveté after the cake costs £800…

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Saturday, 12 October 2013


I said in last weeks post that we had already booked the photographer. We were planning to book the photographer early next year after looking around and meeting with a few different ones, however on the August bank holiday I saw one I liked the look of on an offer on Facebook. Her style of photos were exactly what we were looking for, plus she had a bank holiday offer running of £100 deposit and 20% off, but this offer was to expire that day.
I've looked around and this price seems pretty good, most other good photographers who’s work I liked the look of were at least double that, although many did include printing. However if we get the photos printed somewhere else I'm sure the total cost will be less. I really like her style also, not too formal and very natural, she does do some of the traditional family line up shoots and bridal party etc but prefers more candid and natural shots – exactly my preference! A lot of the photos on her website are of couples smiling, laughing, playing around, not all serious and posed or ‘moody’, which is just what we want.
We just went for it and booked. It might seem like jumping the gun a bit but we liked the style of her photos, she seems very nice, and the price and what we get for that price are great so I'm not too nervous about it! Also it’s only a £100 deposit, so if we end up cancelling we've not lost a massive amount – although I doubt this will happen.
For the price (Just over £1000) we get an engagement shoot (and all the photos from that shoot – maybe for use in the invitations), the photographer all day at the wedding from getting ready in the morning to the first dance, a photo booth setup, use of a Polaroid camera and of course her editing afterwards. The price doesn't include printing, although she can offer this in various forms, but we will get all the edited photos on a memory stick and in an online album and are free to print them elsewhere if we don’t like her prices or options. Her printing options start from £400 for a wedding album, but to be honest we’ll probably look into getting them done somewhere else. I like this freedom as we have heard of people not getting their photos after the wedding and them being the property of the photographer so you can only buy prints and albums from them and don’t get the photos electronically…not what we want.
So all in all we've taken a gamble booking someone so quickly, and without really looking at others (I've browsed websites etc but not met or spoken with any other photographers) but I think it will pay off as we seem to have found the style of photographer we wanted for less than we would have paid elsewhere. So far she's is getting great feedback in the 'brides group' she has set up on Facebook. We'll see how it goes at the engagement shoot!

Saturday, 5 October 2013

What Next?

OK so we have the venue booked, what now?
Well we have to pay for it first which we will hopefully do by the end of this year, but I thought I’d get our rough plan after this in writing. We actually booked the photographer already, we were planning to look around a bit and book one early next year but we found one sooner than we thought we would.
This will probably change over the course of the year but this is the rough order we’re planning to do everything in:
Early 2014
Firstly we will sort catering – Start of 2014 we want to be going around the 4 caterers tasting food (looking forward to that!) and hopefully choosing one and getting a menu put together. We’ll look at adding a drinks package as well with the venue.
Spring 2014
Then we get onto the official ins and outs of the day, like paying the registrar and declaring our ‘intention to marry’ with our local council. In England you book the registrar in the area you are getting married to actually do the ceremony and you sign the register of that area, but you must also inform your local registrar where you live of your wedding date and the registrar who will be marrying you so they can record it there, you cannot do this longer than one year before your wedding date so we’ll do that spring next year.
Music and entertainment. We want music in the evening (undecided still on band or DJ but leaning toward DJ) and something for the ceremony, the venue also has an iPod system so between the ceremony and meal and also after hours (the amplified music has to stop at midnight) we can have background music, so we’ll need to get going on some playlists and get someone booked. We also like the idea of some entertainment in the day like games (We loved the duck race idea back here) so will be trying to come up with something and looking into options with the venue.
Summer 2014
We will get our invites printed and sent out around this point as I want to get the invites out with plenty of notice as we have to allocate the bedrooms ourselves before the venue will start taking payments from our guests for their rooms, so we need plenty of time to sort that out! We also won't be bothering with save the date cards or anything so we'll just get the invites out early. 
I’ll start shopping around for my dress, and dependent on the state of my bridesmaids (there are possible baby plans) we will start looking for dresses for them and the flower girls. I might choose the dresses so we can start planning flowers, accessories etc but have them on standby so we can get them nearer the time dependent on everyone’s size! We will start looking for suits for Tom and his best men (he has 2) and the ushers. I'm not overly keen on the rented morning suits, mostly because everyone around here gets them from the same place and they’re really old fashioned with cravats and cummerbunds etc so we might look into a nice tuxedo or suit but will shop around and see what Tom likes. We said he wants a cape, top hat and cane last time we discussed it so you can see how serious he is about it. This could all run on into autumn as there isn't any rush to get all this done in summer, I’d just like to make a start on it.
We will be getting to less than a year before the wedding so once we have the colour scheme and the dresses we'll look for the cake (more tasting – yay!). 
Autumn 2014
I’ll want to start looking at flowers, decorations, table settings and favours (He’s currently really into all the planning but I think Tom may lose interest once we start talking flowers and napkins so I’ll draft in the bridesmaids and mothers to help) and will hopefully be getting some RSVP’s from the invites so can start allocating the rooms out (I might give this to Tom to do if he’s not helping with the rest).
Winter 2014/15
In winter next year and over into 2015 we should be working on the extras and finishing touches, I want to have a dress either bought and having alterations or on order and be shopping for shoes, underwear, accessories, makeup etc. We will buy Toms ring (My Nanny left me her wedding ring when she died, so I won’t need to buy one), and book any hairdressers or beauticians. We should probably start looking at the order of the day and the details like the first dance song (seriously the hardest part to decide?!), who will do readings (so we can ask them and give them time to practice), the layout of the tables for the meal and the chairs for the ceremony, any extras we want to add like photo montages, canapés or activities for the guests.
Hopefully at this point our wedding party will also be working away on the hen and stag do’s :)
Once we get into the start of 2015 we’ll be on the home stretch, we can then start on the seating chart, last minute logistics for people coming from further away and last dress and suit fittings for everyone. We’ll also have meetings with the venue, photographer, hairdressers, caterers etc to get everything finalised with them. We’ll also be doing any DIY stuff like centrepieces and decorations in the run up to the day. Luckily the venue has large tables and we only have 60 planned for the meal so we won’t need loads of table decorations.
I'm sure there are millions more things to add to this list, but that’s the kind of general idea of how we’ll progress. Really the gist is that we want to get the big and expensive stuff booked and paid for first before we start on all the little things. I want to try and DIY as much of the decoration as possible, like the centrepieces and table settings, because I enjoy that kind of thing and to save a bit of money, so the longer we have for this the better. We are hoping to have a beautiful day but not planning to go to over the top on having loads of extras and make more work for ourselves. Although there is still so much to do, and looking at this list I'm actually starting to appreciate having it booked in 2015 even though it wasn't our first choice!
We’re trying to keep the budget as low as possible, we've already allocated a huge chunk of it (more than half) for the venue and catering which is why we want to get that booked first so we can pay it off before we start on the rest. I’ll do a post on our budget at some point. We do have the offer of help from family, which we are immensely grateful for and will add to our initial budget. We are trying to allocate the money that we have from other people to specific things as it makes it easier to work out the budget. I really want to have as much paid off at the time of booking as possible as I'm such a credit phobic, so through autumn and winter this year we will be paying off the venue and saving up the catering money and hopefully can start next year with a good chunk of it paid. After this we will just keep saving throughout next year and be able to pay things off as we go.
Phew it's a lot to do but looking forward to getting my teeth into it, the hardest part at the moment is keeping myself reigned in as I keep trying to get ahead of myself and have been looking online for dresses already!