When I was planning my wedding, every checklist I found was about a hundred items long. They can be very helpful for planning – but are bloody overwhelming as you start out. Below are the big bits (both on importance and budget).
Venue: This should be the first item on your list – as you’ll need it to confirm the date. It’s also normally the biggest expense. If you’re on a budget, look at local village halls – these can be as little as a few hundred quid for the day.
Registrar: This may be covered by the venue, but might not be. Get in touch with your local council, and factor in approx £500 to the budget.
Band/singer: A good band can make the day – as it’s the bit where everyone lets their hair down and has fun. Bands normally starting from about £1,000. A little tip – wedding singers tend to be cheaper as you’re not paying as many people! These can start from a few hundred pounds. If you’ve got a music school nearby and you’re on a budget, it’s worth getting in touch/putting a few flyers up.
Invites/stationary: If you’re on a tight budget, there are plenty of wedding invite templates. Also, most office printers will print on card – and can normally do a good job. However, if you’re looking for something more premium, try Etsy – there’s plenty of bespoke designers/illustrators/calligraphers that will take care of printing too.
Videographer: A videographer is another great way of capturing the day. Most people’s main regret is not capturing the speeches – and a videographer will do a great job of that. However, they’re a bit more pricy than a photographer as the editing takes longer. If the speeches is all you want to capture – get half a dozen of your attendees to capture them on their smart phones (you should get one or two decent versions!).
Food: Another large expense is food – budget £100 a head for food and booze if you’re using a professional wedding caterer. However, this is probably the area it’s easiest to get creative with if you’re on a tight budget – when I got married I used my local pie maker. A proper old school, working class pie shop. The catering came in at £200 (nope, not per head – that was all in for 90 people).
Alcohol: If you’re hiring a ‘dry venue’ – you can stock the booze yourself. A trip to Calais is properly worth it (he writes, just before Brexit). Not – corkage can be bloody expensive. A friend of mine got all his wine from Italy where his mother lives. He paid about £4 a bottle and it was brilliant. He then paid another £12 a bottle for corkage. Less brilliant.
Staff: If you’re doing a bit of a DIY wedding, look into staff (Google temp staffing agencies in your area). If you want to pay the staff £8 per hour, you’re probably going to end up handing £11-12 per hour over to the staffing agency.
On the day wedding planner: Again, these are really helpful if you’re doing a DIY wedding, and cost £700-£1000. They’re your on the day project manager – and will liaise with all the folks above to make sure you don’t end up feeling like an events coordinator on your big day.
Note – all prices above are approx, and based on 2017 prices.