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Thread: Where do i start (organising MY wedding)

  1. #1

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    Question Where do i start (organising MY wedding)

    Ok we finally have a date.. 27th September 08! I have rung around for prices and stuff, no one is really helpful, asked them to email me wedding packages and i havent received them. So Now what do i do??
    I have got 3 bridesmaids, what do i get? Do i buy the dresses or do i buy them a necklace or something for a thankyou?
    Do we have to hire suits? Or do the groomsmen do that?
    Should we pay the drink tab or get everyone to pay for their own (on a tight budget i dont want to come accross too stingy)
    HELP! I have NO IDEA how to do this! Only one of my friends are married and i helped her, I want my wedding to be more formal than hers.
    Thankyou in advance!


  2. #2

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    Congrats Jen, isn't it exciting and scary once you have that date?

    Couple of questions for you:

    Why Sept 27?

    The most important thing to organise is ...

    * Celebrant
    * Ceremony venue

    So consider if you want a church ceremony, or a civil ceremony. Ask around for celebrants from any friends etc. - you need to be comfortable with him/her! Then put down a deposit on the celebrant (they will cost around $550 - $600) and find somewhere to have the ceremony. Of course, if it's in a church, it's all part & parcel!

    Next is the reception. You want formal, go through some wedding mags (borrow them off your friend, or go to the local library) and get an idea of what you want. Sketch, write notes, make a scrapbook.
    Then consider the kind of reception place that would fit your dream wedding. Is it a beach cafe? A mountain retreat? A church hall? Or a s****y restaurant? And if you can, get a day off from the kids to visit places you like (just "drop in" and then if you like the look of them, make a proper appointment).

    Then consider your budget. It's easier to have a budget and work to it than to have a sorta-idea-of-what-you-want-to-spend. Your most expensive thing should be the reception. That's broken into cost for the venue, cost per meal.

    Wedding photographers, if you want one, can book out really early. So start looking around the mags for one you like the look of in your local area.

    Finally, do a search for "wedding expos" and find one in your area. Visit there, eat cake and get ideas!

    ETA: Re the alcohol - are your families helping with $$$ at all? If so, then traditionally the bride's family pays for pretty much everything and the groom's family the alcohol. So chat to them sooner rather than later to see if they can help with $$$$. Most reception places do alcohol packages, ours is included in the per head charge.

    HTH!
    Last edited by Kazbah; January 14th, 2008 at 03:20 PM.

  3. #3

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    ok, so we want formal.....

    Yes a gift is a nice gesture for your bridesmaids, it is a nice thing to either by them all a peice of jewelry for them to wear on the day, or else a nice gift to sit on the bridal table for afterwards- some traditions say it should come from the groom, some say from the bride, some say from both- if you do the gift on the table from the groom- then a gift also for his groomsmen from you is a nice gesture too, cuff links, or a flask or something like that....

    As a Bridesmaid i have always paid for my own dress and hair and make up costs, and i made mine do the same, and the groomsmen paid for their own hire costs of suits etc too- it wasnt too bad, i think about $200 all up (each) they all looked the same and matched etc, you may decide to contribute or whatever, but thats up to you. We had one mate who cuoldnt afford to pay it all, but DH really wanted him as groomsmen so we shared the cost with him

    For the bar tab- we supplied bottles of wine on tables etc and Champagnes for toasts, and you can make the bar tab just for beer and wines and let them buy their own spirits etc to keep costs down a bit- that is entirely up to you.

    Are you going church??? I would arrange that first- which i am guessing you have done coz you have your date, decide on your reception place and make sure you can have them both on the same day!! Then go from there!!

    Once you have the where and when sorted, get right onto the guest list and invites, work out how much it will cost per head BEFORE you send out your invites, coz other wise you might end up with a few ppl on there too many IYKWIM Get a list together and sort it out into a few catagories, the DEFINATE invites, the Should invite, and the WANT to invite and the back up list!!! Then as you figure out costs, this list will gradually mesh its self together to a final list!!

    Most importantly, decide on stuff that you and DF want to happen, what sort of food you want etc and things you want to happen, the preist or celebrant will help you with the ceremony, and should incorporate anything you want, maybe some readings done by family members, or special songs etc.

    Ummm, what else? Keep hasseling the ppl you have rung about packages and stuff, that is your first step, getting the where for ceremony and reception and what time etc. Will you be doing it all yourselfs finacially or are parents helping?? Def work out your spending budget, and then see what you can afford.

    That should keep you going for now!!! LOL
    Have fun!!!!

  4. #4

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    Thankyou for your replies,
    We just got the date sorted today, we are going to have a celebrant as i would like to get married by the beach if not at the beach at mount kembla which is also great. Will be looking at celebrants tonight when kiddies go to bed (i should be following but pfft).
    Our budget is about $4000 so far, thats what we can put in and what my grandmother can chuck in too. DF's aunt (well one of them) offered to pay for the celebrant we will see if she is still willing to do that. (if so that would be great)
    I would like to have something cheapish for the reception, considering the drinks, food, cake, etc.
    Starbright- thankyou i might get the bridesmaids and groomsmen to pay for their suits/dresses and hair, i am sure they wont really mind so much, they understand the pressures of money at these times, we will help out if possible.
    Was wondering should i hire my dress, buy preloved or new? Thinking that i will of had bubba a few months before hand.

  5. #5

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    OK, so $4000. If your aunt will pay for the celebrant, that's brilliant.

    Having a beach wedding would be great! You could have just a ****tail party and not a sit-down meal, and for that it would be substantially cheaper.
    With the dress, you can hire or go to second-hand store, there are a few around or check out your local paper.

  6. #6
    smiles4u Guest

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    Scorpiomum .... Hoping that u will give your bridesmaids & groomsmen plenty of notice that they are paying for their own outfit, etc...

    My DH brother never told him he had 2 pay 4 his own rental suit until my DH returned his suit the day after his brothers Wedding 2 find out he was expected 2 pay 4 it. We had a new mortgage & money was tight ... And we hadn't budgeted for it. Was very embarrasing for my DH !!

    Also my DH sister was a bridesmaid at the same Wedding & she found out only moments b4 the hair & make up lady turned up that she had 2 have $90 2 pay 4 it that day. She was so angry that she wasn't told beforehand & she had jst purchased a home & had not budgete for it either !!

    Also PLEASE keep in mind that if you don't give an invititation 2 all that u want 2 invite don't expect people 2 assume they are invited. I did not know if I was invited as there was NO invite & nothing was said 2 me or my DH .... & it's a bit rude 2 ask "R u invited" jst incase u r not. My DH's sister's boyfriend was in the same situation & did not know if he was invited. We needed 2 know more so we could plan ahead 2 put in for the day off work (as we were meant 2 be working that day).

  7. #7

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    Hi there & congrats on your wedding.

    I would fist book a reception venue & celebrant. Most other things can be done later but they are the things that are usually booked well in advance.

    There are several ways you can cut cost & still have an elgent & formal Wedding. I myself wish I had been a bit smarter & looked into things & save a bit more money.

    I've always known the bridesmaids to buy there dresses, unless you want something very expensive then you might help them out. I gave mine their earings & a beaded (cheap) braclet to keep as a thankyou. They paid for hair & makeup. The guys hired their own suits. As advised above, just let them know they are the plans when asking to be involved so they know what they are up for.

    Having it on the beach will cut the cost of donation for hire of church etc & having to have flowers & so on. So that's a good start.

    You can hire a dress that's really up to you. Or you could look in the sale section of some of the big bridal shops....there is always ebay & that's not such a silly suggestion, just do your research. Or if it's on the beach just a simple nice white dress from a dress shop would look nice also. Ah, if it's on the beach the boys could just have, jacket, shirt & pants...no vest would cut the cost of hire for them & your DH to be. Traditionally you put gifts on the tables for the guests, but this is not done so much anymore so dont feel you have to. If you do, making chocs is cheaper or I had loveheart lollipops at 20cents ea & got discount for buying in bulk. You can make your own invites if you are good with computers or get someone to help you. Ahhh what else??
    Knowing people with special skills can help, such as someone who can make cakes. You could go for the less traditional of cupcakes, they look great & can easily be made yourself. Or someone who can help out with hair/makeup.
    You don't have to pay for drinks if you cant, but I would prob make it know on the invites they are at the "guest expense" so they have money with them as they will prob expect otherwise. Or just put down a tab you can afford & when it's gone they buy their own...i've been to Weddings like that before. Usually the tab only includes wine, beer & soft drink. You can have ****tail, that's very popular atm & again less expense. If you have a laptob or can borrow one & have it hooked to speakers you can use Itunes for entertainment rather than hire a band or DJ. Just download a folder of songs you want played.
    Also keep an eye out for things you may want that could currently be on sale.

  8. #8

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    For our wedding we did not supply alcohol but did allow people to purchase their own booze. If you do something like that then a simple note on the invitation like "bar facilities available" would be fine.

    Bridesmaids: Mine paid for their dresses but I let them have a lot of say in the style because of this. They did their own hair and make up but I gave them the choice of getting it done professionally at their own cost. I did buy them matching necklace and earrings but didn't spend very much on that.

    Groomsmen: Explored the option of hiring suits and discovered that for what we wanted it would be more cost effective to buy them. Found suits for about $100 and the guys paid for their own. I think we did buy the ties though.

    Flowers I did on the cheap because we had a simple outdoor wedding so all I got was flowers for me and my bridesmaids, the florist provided a "throw away" posie for free.

    We were luck with our reception venue, we had a ****tail reception (I think it was about $17.50/head including soft drinks). We didn't have to pay for waiting staff, cake cutting, corkage etc because my sister had her reception in the same venue 3 months later so they were happy to give a discount! (lucky, they could have charged us heaps more than normal because our wedding was on a public holiday).

    Photos we didn't pay for because we had a family member do them and I know how to edit photos so I did and am still doing that.

    Cake was made by a friend of the family who is a professional cake maker so she only charged us the cost of the ingredients (total cost was $80 instead of $400!)

    Cars - we had a bit of a disaster the day before our wedding, the car we had arranged to hire that DH really wanted, blew up. The company was good though and gave a partial refund and supplied a different car. We then asked my next door neighbour and family friend to be a driver and use his car (a brand new statesman) and he was really happy to do that. Our wedding was at 5pm so while I was getting ready I was watching out the window as the guy gave his car a detailed clean (started at 8am!) The car was absolutely sparkling inside and out!

    My advice to you is find out what your friends and family are capable of doing and take advantage of their skills, ask them if they will do such and such instead of giving you a wedding present, it's a real money saver and it helps to make the wedding more special because you are involving people you know.

  9. #9

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    Congratulations on setting the date for your wedding

    I'm at the "finishing touches" stage of planning my wedding which is in 2 months exactly (March 14th) and I think the best advise I can give you is to work out what is most important to you, and work on those things first. For me, the most important things were, my photographer (I had known which photographer I wanted for about 6 years because he did my best friends wedding and was brilliant), the dress, and the venue. Once I had those things found and deposits down I could relax and work out where I could save money on the rest of the wedding.

    I have purposely chosen the bridemaid dress to be something that the girls can wear again (romantic but modern) so they are happy to pay for the dresses, and the shoes they are picking out and buying themselves. I am going to pay for their hair and makeup though.

    The guys suits are being hired, but we are going to pay for that because it's not something that they can keep like the girls dresses.

    Oh, and make the most of the cake hunting. Cake samples are delicious!!!

  10. #10
    DoubleK Guest

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    Congrats on the wedding Jen!

    im not married myself, but i have a best friend who is getting married in march (the 14th, same day as you Krystie_B!) and she is keeping me updated on all her arrangements! i often think to myself how i would do things different from her, her wedding will be quite formal, where as mine would be a lot more laid back & casual.

    a couple of the things she has organised and i would do a more $$$ saving way (money is no object to this particular wedding mind you - some ppl are lucky!)

    the invitations - $700 for about 100 invitations... wow! i would make my own!

    hiring or buying a second hand dress is a great option... and even then you could re-sell again! as long as your happy with the dress and its in good condition!!

    an informal reception is great! and the no-meal option is fine! i would be just as happy to attend a wedding with no sit down meal, and pay for my own drinks!

    i hope you enjoy your day!!

  11. #11

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    I made my invitations myself, cost me about $50 all up for 45 invites (plus postage).
    One tip I have is to include self-addressed envelopes already stamped - that way there's no excuse for people to not RSVP (oh, I forgot a stamp. Oh, I forgot your address... etc).

    I did 2 parts to the invites - the first was the formal invitation, and the second part was a single strip of paper with a map to the venue, information about accomodation in the area, our wedding registry information and then a "cut here" section for the RSVP. I did it all on the computer and I got 3 strips out of one 12x12" scrapbook paper. For the invites, I got 6 invites out of each piece of card and 3 invites out of each a4 piece of vellum. Just 1 night of playing around to get it looking good, then another night printing out everything, and Mum & Dad assembling the invites for me.


  12. #12

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    Congrats on choosing a date! how exciting.

    The first thing we did was to choose a date and then book a venue. We ended up just hiring a hall for the day and getting a caterer to do the food. Worked out to be about $35 per head for a buffet style meal, a full dinner with 3 courses. It was more expensive (about $4 per head) if we wanted to have table service as they'd have needed more staff for us, so we chose buffet instead. We looked into function centres in the area and they all wanted about $70 per head.

    For our flowers, we just went to a wholesale florist and got them pretty cheaply and made up our own bouquets. Its was heaps cheaper than getting the florist to make the bouquets up for us. I think we saved about $50 per bouquet. We got the flowers the day before and made up the bouquets the morning of the wedding. We used pretty ribbons bought from a $2 shop to tie the ribbons up. We got married at 3:30pm so plenty of time to do stuff in the morning.

    We made our own invitations. We went to a stationary shop and bought some pretty papers and then made up some invitations in Word and printed them at work (naughty, but I dont think anyone noticed). I think they ended up being about $2.50 each aand we only invited about 70 people most of whom were couples, so it ended up being about 40 invitations in total.

    We found a great celebrant and he charged us $320 for the day.

    I saw some nice dresses in a formal dress shop. They werent actual wedding dresses, but were still very pretty and much less expensive than a full wedding gown. I ended up getting an actul wedding dress though as I was very picky. I've also seen some lovely dresses that would be suitable for a bride, in dress shops, for as little as $60.

    We got a simple cake made for us. I cant remeber how much it cost - maybe $100?

    For our car, we hired a convertible from one of those car hire places (europcar, i think). We ended up getting a discount as they stuffed up and sent the car to the wrong depot and we had to wait an extra 2 hours for it. Anyway, my step-dad drove the car for us. It was cheaper than hiring a car + driver.

  13. #13

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    Wow what wonderful ideas! I will be running them past DF today! I love the invitation idea, will be doing that SIL is great with computers (and we live together!!) I quickly ran the coctail party past him and he said "i need food at the wedding" (being Phillipino hmmm no surprise there lol). Will be getting onto the reception venues today, DF is actually starting to help LOL.

  14. #14
    Enchanted Guest

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    Congrats on your wedding

    We got away with spending very little on our wedding. However, we did have a friend who made my wedding dress as our wedding present! BUT... my SIL only paid $500 for hers as she went to a clearance Bridal store where they just get rid of the old stock. There was nothing wrong with it at all. We cut our guests back to a bare minimum (not sure if that is something you can do/want to do?!?) and we also had our wedding on a Friday night which is MUCH cheaper than a Saturday. I found a florist that works from home... her prices were great as she doesn't have all the overheads like a normal business and we did the same with the photographer. As someone else said above... see what your family and willng to do or if they have a friend who likes to takes photos as a hobby etc. We only provided beer and wine at our wedding and if people wanted spirits they paid. In regard to music you can go to a local uni and see if there are any music students who would like to play (they don't charge anywhere near as much as more experienced bands.

    Ummm... that is all I can think of for now but good luck with everything! You will have an amazing day!

  15. #15

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    Ok we have chosen a venue. If only they will ring me back
    I have hair and makeup price- $100 (for both done)
    Bridesmaids happy to buy their dresses and pay for hair and makeup.
    Celebrent is being paid for by DF's Aunt!! (woohoo)
    Looking for a cheaper limo. Been priced at $400 but friends know a driver Hehe
    Photographer we may get for $200. (another friend)
    I have chosen the flowers i would like for my bouquet, just have to choose style..
    Are they the main things?? Please let me know what i have forgotten.

  16. #16

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    Congratulations on setting a wedding date! Isn't it wonderful how much advice you can get from BB! Seriously!

    I was married just over a month ago and I have a few pointers to keep the cost down, and I'm sorry if I repeat other things people have written here, I haven't read every post. Just keen to share my 'expert' advice! :P

    DH and I paid for our wedding completely on our own, and we needed to be careful about cost, as we were also going through IVF and we're moving overseas shortly.

    Try and get as many people you and DF know involved in helping you. It is a wonderful feeling to have friends and family involved in getting things organised, and it's their opportunity to offer a special gift for your wedding. Even people your friends and family know can help by being prepared to offer you a discount for a referral etc.

    Prior to that, DH and I decided on the things that were really important to us and that we were prepared to spend money on. This was having live music during the ceremony and the photography, particularly. We wanted to have beautiful photos. The other was choosing a venue that really suited us and reflected who we were. We saved money on our perfect venue by having the ceremony and the reception at the place, and by having the wedding on a Sunday, when prices for venues are cheaper than Friday or Saturday. Even consider a mid-week wedding, especially if you know you don't want to be raving until the dawn, or your guests either!

    As an example, these were the things that I myself, my friends and family did with organisation for our wedding:

    ~ My best friend's mother made our wedding cake. She is not a professional cake maker, but she does it as a hobby. The cake was the most exquisite thing ever, and it was her gift to us for the wedding. Do you know anyone who makes cakes?

    ~ I made our invites, placecards and ceremony booklets. I used materials I bought from Officeworks, which I researched as one of the cheaper places to by non-bulk invite supplies. It was a lot of fun (although time consuming), especially if you do like creative things like that. I even designed a small flower theme for all the stationary (gum leaves and gum flower) which then influenced the design of everything and even the colour theme of the wedding. It's a good place to start. Even more, I had a good friend who is very handy with Adobe Creative Suite and photoshop and helped me with the layout of everything. If you're not so keen on the creative stuff, perhaps you can find a creative friend who loves that kind of thing.

    ~ Our florist was a friend of the owner of our venue, and as she did it as a hobby also, we saved a great deal of money, but had beautiful flowers.

    ~ I researched my dress by deciding on a style from a mix of different magazine pictures. I then went a researched material costs so I could make a decision about how much on material I could afford to pay, per metre. From there I asked for a referral from the fabric shop of a private dress maker, and spoke to a few before deciding on someone who I felt comfortable with and could design my dress from a picture. I purchased my own material and she made the dress for a good cost, and it saved me a substantial amount of money compared to buying from a shop or a shop dress maker. An now I have my very own, self designed wedding dress as a keepsake!

    ~ I had a friend who is a beautician to give me some pointers and did my makeup myself on the day. If you are clear and confident about how you want to look, then there is actually less stress involved in doing your own makeup instead of letting someone do something that you might not like.

    ~ I had another friend who was a hairdresser in her previous career and she did my hair for nothing on the day.

    ~ DH wore his only black suit - we just spruced him up with a tie made from left over fabric from the dress, a new shirt and shoes and a kerchief as well as a buttonhole on the day. I worried it might be a bit informal, but he looked so good, and even our best man wore his own suit, and a hired tie and kerchief. You can't go wrong with the men wearing plain black suits with nice accessories. It does work beautifully, as is just as formal as hired suits.

    ~ Our bridesmaid (DH's sister) paid for everything herself, and we bought her a lovely present to say thank you. You could do exactly the same for multiple bridesmaids.

    ~ We researched a number of celebrants, but ended up going with someone who I knew who was a celebrant from working with her and it was wonderful to have her involved and became good friends with her. As being a celebrant was not her full-time occupation, she was also a very reasonable price.

    ~ We skipped on hiring cars - really didn't think it was necessary - and I had planned on being at the venue early and just simply hiding out until it was time for my entry at the ceremony. It worked out beautifully, and saved money not to have to worry about a car that people see you in for 10 seconds. We had friends and family chauffeur us around for the day!

    ~ This one may be a little harder, but I decided to save money on the music at the reception as we hired a string quartet for the ceremony. I was going to pick my favourite CDs and put a play list together, and I would have been happy to do that. I ran out of time to do the playlist, so just had a bunch of CDs I was going to let someone deal with on the day, but in the end I was lucky, my muso friends decided to get things together and play live music on the night as a surprise! (I am a professional musician, so there were plenty of muso friends at the wedding!) But, I would have certainly have just been happy with the CDs and music that DH and I love, even for dancing!

    ~ We asked guests to contribute to our honeymoon instead of a gift registry, as this allowed to have a lovely honeymoon even though we were paying from the wedding directly before that.


    Our wedding wasn't big - we had 70 guests, but asking as many people as we could "do you know of someone...?" helped us save a great deal of money, even though it took time and effort. The effort was soooo worth it as we felt we had a really personalised our wedding and made the best we could with our budget. I know I've blah-ed here and told a lot of my personal story (sorry! ), but I hope it helps you to know that there is always a way to have the perfect wedding and save a lot of money.

    I hope you have a wonderful time preparing for the big day!


    Miss C

  17. #17

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    Oh, music - we have a great busker in our shopping centre, so I asked him how much he'd charge for an evening - incredibly cheap!!! So if you have any local, great buskers, use them!

  18. #18

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    Im just going to hook up my SIL's lappy to speakers, that is acceptable and we can program what songs we want and just hit "random".
    WE are ending up with 4 bridesmaids/grooms as noses got put out of joint, BUT i found a "cheap" reception where i dont need a car to drive me too as i can get ready there and 'hide out in the bridal escape' room..... Have the ceremony then go for pics around there and then go in for the reception. So i have saved $800 there.
    Bridesmaids are buying their own dresses and paying for their hair and makeup, i am buying them a nice necklace for the wedding and for them to keep.
    Thinking of hiring/getting a preloved gown, Paying for it way before the wedding, (even though i am going to be pregnant i can get it fixed up by a friend if need be)
    My sister can do my wedding cake (yep i forgot she did that in melbourne doh!) so that will just be the cost of the materials...
    My sisters partner is a family friend of a celebrant AND a photographer, so we may get that LOADS cheaper...
    I think its pulling together really well!!

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