I was recently lucky enough to get married to the love of my life. We share a great deal in common including our desire to spend our money thoughtfully. When it came to planning our wedding, these principles were are the forefront of our planning for the big day.
Neither of us were keen to have a big expensive wedding which seems quite unusual in the current times. It has become the norm for people to splash a lot of money on a grand wedding.
Other people’s weddings
Like myself, no doubt you’ve been invited to countless weddings over the years. One year in my early thirties I attended eight weddings in one year. It was not only attending the wedding but also the stag (or hen) night/weekend that ramped up the cost for the guests. From a cost point of view for the couple, they would often have a large number of attendees, at a large and expensive venue. There was a tendency for friends to hire out stately homes or large city centre venues. One couple hired a Michelin starred restaurant in London and provided dinner for 100 people. Another couple hired a hotel and had several hundred people attending (he is a Punjabi Sikh). In most cases it was my understanding that the costs were bourne by the couple. Some had contributions from parents, but I was unaware of any wedding that was bank-rolled solely by the parents.
The problem with following a traditional wedding format is that after a while all the weddings seemed similar. Could I genuinely recall the carefully planned details of any of these weddings? I realised that I could not. Especially the year where I attended eight. I only could recall one wedding which was in London and meant that I could leave and return to my own bed (rather than having to get a hotel).
When contemplating how to do our wedding, these thoughts were in my mind. I therefore wanted my wedding to be memorable for the guests that attended.
We also are in the age of the pandemic so it did not seem sensible to arrange an enormous event that could easily be cancelled at short notice. It led us to develop some principles around which to plan our wedding.
Our wedding principles
We came up with a few ideas that we wanted to adhere to:
- Genuine – keep things genuine to reflect who we are. I don’t own a stately home so why on earth should I have a wedding there?
- Support businesses local to us. They struggled through the pandemic and we got to know them really well as we were stuck in one place. We live here in London so having a wedding locally reflects who we are.
- Simple – keep it simple. Why get so stressed about what is meant to be a happy day?
What we planned
The first thing I want to say is that we were not doing this because we couldn’t afford to pay for a big wedding. Between us, we probably have access to £120k of funds so there was no need to borrow money or use credit cards to pay for this wedding. We decided that we would prefer to have an intimate and small ceremony. This decision was reached through logic and reason.
Firstly, we were arranging the wedding at relatively short notice as it so happened that Mrs Wealthster’s Australian family would be in Europe in June. As we wanted them to be present it made sense to do the wedding whilst they were here, thus saving time and money for them too. We decided to go for it at the end of March and the wedding was mid-June. Not bad!
Secondly, as we didn’t want a big wedding, we would have a reduced guest list. How does one decide whom to invite? With a reduced list you risk people feeling miffed that they were not invited. What if you forgot someone? Politically, it was tricky. Some friends of ours who started arranging a small wedding saw the size grow exponentially once the parents got involved. We decided the best solution was to limit the wedding to parents and siblings (and their partners) and a best man (and partner). Although people may have been surprised that we were having the wedding no one could rationally get miffed by this arrangement. In the end there were a few “WTF… congratulations!” messages on the day from people who didn’t know, but really it’s not my problem if they get miffed. The vast majority of friends were supportive and happy for us.
Thirdly, once the numbers had been decided, which was twelve, it made organising things very easy. Rather than hiring a huge room at the registry office, we could hire a small room. We could have it on a Monday as everyone would be here and not at work giving us the place to ourselves. The dinner could be at a local restaurant with a simple booking. No caterers needed.
The details of the day
The other great thing is that Mrs Wealthster decided that for her wedding dress she did not want to spend a lot of money on a dress she would only wear once. She trawled Vinted and found a beautiful dress for £10. I bought a decent new suit which I can also wear for work.
We got a beautiful bouquet from the local florist. Mrs Wealthster got her hair done at the local hair dresser and she hired a make-up artist for the big day. We also hired a professional photographer who knew the venue and was fabulous at directing us around.
Our venue was Marylebone Town Hall because Mrs Wealthster is a huge fan of the Beatles and several of the band members were married there.
We chose the local French restaurant because we love French food and we saw it struggle through the pandemic. It really is excellent too so it meant a lot for us to support local businesses.
Here is a break down of the costs.
- Marriage venue -including registrar – £670
- Dress – £10
- Bride’s shoes – £8
- Flowers – £125
- Hair – £100
- Makeup – £250
- Suit, tie etc- £400
- Taxis – £60
- Meal – £800
- Photographer – £485
Total cost – £2898
I think you will agree that this was a very modest cost for a wedding in London.
What about celebrating with friends I hear you cry? Well this is a good point and its something that we considered. We are planning a wedding celebration at a later date at our local pub. It has a venue which is free to hire with a minimum spend. We are planning to provide some food for this but it would not be a sit down meal. Just a good old fashioned knees up. Cost are unknown at this point and as time has gone on, our motivation for bothering to do this has waned. We had a small gathering of close friends the weekend before the wedding which was a lovely event. Watch this space.
We are also considering having a low key event in Australia as Mrs Wealthster’s friends and family over there would like to celebrate too.
I can’t say it’s been all plain sailing with friends in this regard. I get the feeling that some have felt ‘robbed’ that we didn’t do a ‘proper’ wedding. Maybe they were looking for an excuse to come and meet up with everyone and have a good party. My response is that’s just too bad. There is nothing stopping them arranging a catch up themselves.
In conclusion, the way we have done our wedding is unusual. However, I do think it was more in line with how weddings were normally done in the 1960s and 1970s. Just a simple affair with no heirs and graces. I have to say I enjoyed it so much. The small group of people we invited had a blast and 98% of our friends were supportive. I think we have proven you don’t need to spend a huge amount on a wedding as it the normal assumption. I’d also like to say that I am in no way saying people should not have a large wedding. They are fun, but I’d be very happy to see more weddings done in this way (even if it meant not getting an invitation!!).