The cost of weddings

The other weekend Dave and I attended the wedding of his best friend, Geoff, and his now wife, Lix, which took place in a lush green meadow in the beautiful hills close to Ripon, Yorkshire.

To most, it wasn’t a typical wedding setting; no church, no hotel function room disco. Instead, it was the perfect expression of the couple’s far-from-conventional identities; natural boho-chic combined with festival vibes.

The ceremony took place by a gently flowing stream, beneath an arch of intertwined sticks and flowers of all colours. The wedding breakfast and reception were held in a marquee just a few metres away and the surrounding field turned into a cosy campsite for the night.The decor consisted of twig centrepieces decorated with photos of the couple from the last 8 years of their relationship.

It was a truly beautiful wedding. Many aspects, such as the outdoor ceremony, are similar to what I have always imagined my wedding to be like if Dave is to be so lucky.

The wedding will have by no means been cheap but the personal touches and handmade decor will have kept the costs down.

The average wedding in the UK costs a whopping £23,550. I can’t comprehend this amount of money being spent on one day. Some couples take out loans to pay for their one day then spend the next several years paying it back.

I understand that venue hire costs are ridiculously expensive, but for me I think the force of pier pressure, tradition and culture leads many to feel that the bride’s dress, the flowers and other typical wedding features are unquestionable. I’ve always felt the lack of need or desire to have these things if I were to have a wedding. I’m not particularly traditional or sentimental and by nature I question the whats the whos and the whys about the way anything is typically done. Until I started to follow Rock and Roll Bride I thought I was in the minority to not feel the desire to have a ‘big’ wedding. Reading about other couples having unconventional, low-key and low cost weddings reassured me that it’s ok to not want what every one else wants.

For many women, the dress is the one item that isn’t comprisable. After all, you only get to wear it once. Of course it’s important that the woman feels happy in her dress but many don’t feel the need to be comfortable. I’d certainly want to be comfortable. Some people spend thousands on their wedding dress yet change into something more comfortable later in the evening. I understand why but find I would find it difficult to justify taking off the dress, I had spent so much money on, too prematurely. As a penny-pincher I love that a recent report by found that 63% of couples would consider a second hand dress or hire a dress for their big day. It’s a much higher figure than I thought. Second hand doesn’t always mean second best.

My sister married on a low budget last year and had the most beautiful wedding. She kept costs down by holding the evening reception at her and her husband’s home. It was a garden party-style event with a buffet and a do-it-yourslef cocktail table. Her most impressive saving was her second hand Phase Eight dress with a retail price of £750 which she managed to get for £350 from eBay. She then had the dress altered to make it truly unique. For just £75 a dress maker removed some of the heavy lace on the chest and back of the dress for a more delicate look to match my sister’s slender figure. The fact that my sister sold her wedding dress for just £30 less than it cost her is remarkable. Some find lavish spending impressive, but I’m quite the opposite. I thrive on thriftiness.

Whether you are a spender or a penny-pincher, I believe that being happy on your big day is important. You only marry once (well, maybe more times for some) so make it the best day you possibly can.  The priceless things such as good company, good food and lots of fun would be my priorities. But saving a few pennies would certainly make that little bit happier.

By Jenni Tulip

I'm a bright-haired, hill walking, magpie whispering, skull collecting, tree hugging, money saving, bird watching, happy campervanning, ferret fanatic, woodland dweller sharing my stories and passion for the outdoors to inspire you to immerse yourself in nature.