Can you organise a wedding without spending a fortune?
Dress, venue, flowers, suits, favours, bridesmaids‘ dresses, present for the best man... You start writing that list for your impending wedding and you feel a knot in your throat. Your mind starts adding up costs, and any initial excitement you may have had about your wedding day is quickly replaced by worry. Can I afford this? You stare at your list (or spreadsheet if you're a bit more of a tech person...!) not really knowing what to do next.
If this is how your wedding planning has started, don’t feel down – plenty of brides-to-be have gone through this before you! Some people get a loan and others worry endlessly about how to finance their big day. Many brides will tell you the familiar tale: costs that kept on ‘cropping up’ at every turn, lists of things you should have thought about but didn’t.
A wedding doesn't need to cost the earth in order to be a good one!
You’ve got the pile of wedding magazines, seen the unforgettable dress, dreamed about a fabulous organic menu and even picked out your favourite colour scheme. After the initial dreaming stage, it’s time to do some planning and start making the big decisions. I always tell brides that the first and most important thing to do, before anything else, is to establish the number of guests, then pick a venue and think about food. The venue will determine the feel and theme you want to give to your wedding, and the food will compliment whatever choice you have made.
The more people you invite, the more the wedding is going to cost. Many brides tell me how the politics around family and friends can make writing the invitees’ list a pretty challenging job. The number of guests will also obviously determine the type of venue you can hire. Arm yourself with patience and a large dollop of diplomacy before you start making that list. Talk at length with your husband-to-be and family, and be realistic about what you can afford. A small, intimate wedding has the potential to be more romantic and enjoyable than a large one, and you’ll have the time to dedicate yourself to your guests. If you’re on a tight budget, limit numbers to a maximum of around 40 and be pragmatic about the list of not-very-close friends and family. Do they really need to be there? You get the gist.
This is your next step, as when you start researching potential locations for your special day, you'll need to have completed your invitees’ list in order to make the task of looking for a venue a little simpler. Many brides get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of choice that’s out there. Be clear about the kind of venue you like and, if you’re researching on the internet, use key words to narrow down your search. Be bold and selective, and concentrate your time and energy on the venue that fits your ideas and theme and, of course, those that are within your budget. Many venues offer a number of packages, and many offer discounts for out-of-season weddings. A winter or autumn wedding can be just as lovely as one held in the middle of summer, and at a fraction of the cost. Be open to possibilities that could help you save money.
This is another crucially important piece of the wedding jigsaw, and one that you need to get right. When booking a venue make sure their food is as interesting as the venue itself. You and your guests will want a wedding breakfast that is tasty and enjoyable; but it need not be a majestic, fit-for-a-queen banquet. Something simple, tasty, and prepared with locally sourced ingredients, as well as care and attention, will go down just as well.
If you can, open a quick spreadsheet and start listing potential venues, their pro and cons, the price per guest and the type of food on offer in the venues you have selected. A visual map of your choices may help you to make decisions more accurately and help you to do the maths quickly, without missing important items or entries. Be realistic about what you can have and stay on track with your spending.
Elisabetta and Veronica
The Madama team x