Weddings – How to Save Money on Your Wedding Day

With the average wedding budget running between £17,000.00 and £25,000.00 (yes it looks more if you put the 0’s in) what can you do to save money on your wedding without compromising your day.

Generally the most expensive parts of the day are:

  • The Church – usually costs around £500.00. Church decoration can cost anything up to £5,000.00 (believe me – I produced the video for the wedding)
  • The Reception – the sky is the limit but at least £35.00 a head for the meal, £20.00 a head for the drinks plus another £25.00 a head for the evening buffet. That could be at least £80.00 for every guest – £800.00 for ten, £8,000.00 for 100.
  • The dress can cost £500.00 to £2,500.00 and more.
  • Bridesmaids outfits – usually at least £100.00 each.
  • The cake could be £500.00 to £1,500.00.
  • Photography normally costs £1500.00 to £3,000.00.
  • Wedding cars again can cost from £500.00 to £1,500.00
  • Stationary and postage for invitations at least £150.00

You are already well on the way to spending £17.250.00. Could that be the deposit on a fairly nice house?

So how can you save money on what should be the greatest day of your lives?

Talk to people – many suppliers will offer you special prices for “Off Peak” weddings – usually weekdays, Sundays or from October to April.

Ask for help to save money, get help from friends and family, search out any musician friends and ask them to perform, find a well spoken, confident friend who can be your toast master or master of ceremonies. Most of us know someone who is good with makeup, hairstyling, design, crafts and so on. Ask for help, most people will be more than happy to be a real part of your special day. Have a “DIY” party for your friends to help you with invitation, flowers, table decorations, favours and so on but be sure to give them some delicious snacks and drinks as a thank you.

Music. Contact your local college and ask if they have anyone who would perform at your wedding.

Make the most of EBAY and the Wonderful World Wide Web. Check out OXFAM where you could find a new or ex catwalk dress for as little as 30% of the retail price.

Church. Talk to the vicar at your church, if you are a regular church goer explain that you are on a really tight budget but want to get married in the Church and ask for his help. Do you really need the Bells?, or even a choir – find out about using a music CD, do you need a copyright or PRS licence or has the Church already got one?

Save on Church decoration by timing your day to coincide with a religious holiday or flower festival when the church will already be decorated.

Unless you have a good reason for getting married in Church consider using a Registry Office, wedding venue, Pub, Hotel, village hall and so on. Many farmers have diversified into offering facilities ranging from a field, to a designer venue with room for your reception, marquee, converted barns and so on.

Why not do the “Legal Bit” at a registry office and have a civil celebrant to conduct a relaxed and beautiful celebration of your marriage at home if you have space or at some other venue, field, tent, barn, marquee etc.

Reception. Trim your guest list, and then trim it again. You don’t need to feel pressured to invite cousins, colleagues from work or distant relatives. If you don’t invite anyone from a particular group none of them will feel left out. Don’t let your friends bring their children or feel pressured to let single friends bring a date. Every time you add a name you could be adding £50 to £100 or even more to the cost (that’s a cool £1000.00 for 10 people).

If your wedding and reception are in a hotel ask for a substantial discount on the room rate for guests.

Talk to your caterer, be honest and don’t be afraid to ask whether a buffet would be cheaper than a sit down meal, find out which are the least expensive entrees, nibbles and canapés. Ask if you can supply your own booze, find out if just beer and wine would be cheaper than a full bar.

Most of the major supermarkets produce “party platters” with a selection of canapés, snacks and nibbles. The Dress. Shop around, check out the Internet. Look for designer dress sample sales – if your size 6, 8 or 10 you could find an absolute bargain but the sales only happen once a year. If you buy second hand be sure that the dress has been properly cleaned and is really goo quality you should save up to 80% on the new price. Oxfam has a specialist shop for wedding dresses some of which are new, ask them for details. Consider buying a beautiful suit or outfit that you can wear again. The so called traditional White Wedding Dress is a Victorian invention along with all those expensive designer Christmas, birthday, get well soon and wedding invitation cards that we needlessly spend so much on.

Bridesmaids outfits. Will they but there own? Something that they might wear again for a party etc. Do you know anyone who could make the outfits, especially for little bridesmaids, or flower girls.

Invitations. Save postage and printing costs by keeping them simple, print your own using one of the excellent DIY design packages available on line, leave out the RSVP card and ask guests to reply by phone or e-mail.

The Cake. Can someone make a cake or decorate a shop bought cake for you. M and S and several other stores produce really lovely wedding cakes which you can decorate with fresh fruit, flowers, chocolate etc. Why not hire a cake stand and buy some “designer cup cakes” – again check out the web for suppliers.

Having said all of this you should consider those things where you really need professional help –

Large flower arrangements and centrepieces (do you really need them?). Really?

Bride and Bridesmaid bouquets as photographers we see far too many fall apart on the day, usually because the flowers have just been stuck into oasis foam without wiring.

Your wedding Dress – see above.

Your wedding cake – again see above.

Catering – see above.

Photography – Obviously as I make my living from wedding photography I think that everyone should have a professional wedding photographer. I genuinely hear all sorts of horror stories about the pictures that “didn’t come out”, blurred, dodgy backgrounds, so if you want more information check out my other blogs.

Wedding Traditions From Around The World Explained

In many cases a marriage is recognized both by a church and the state. While the legal requirements for a wedding are established by the state, many couple wish to follow certain religious traditions to have their marriage recognized in their church as well. In the Catholic religion marriage is considered sacred and is one of the sacraments of the faith. The Catholic Church puts forth their own requirements for a marriage to be recognized in the eyes of the church.

The Claddagh ring has a special meaning in a traditional Irish wedding. The Claddagh ring is a traditional ring that looks like two hands holding a heart that is adorned with a crown. Tradition holds that Claddagh rings be passed down from mother to daughter. As these rings are meant to be passed down for generations, it is not considered proper to buy a Claddagh ring for yourself. Yet another tradition involving the Claddagh ring relates to how it is worn. An engaged or married woman or man would wear the ring with the tips of the crown facing towards their fingertips. In this position the ring is considered to be turned inward and symbolizes that the heart of the person wearing the ring is taken. A man or woman who is not involved in a romantic relationship would wear the ring with the tips of the crown facing towards their wrist. This outward position of the ring symbolizes that the person wearing the ring is reaching out for companionship.

Traditional Irish weddings also adhere to several unusual superstitions in an attempt to ward off bad luck. A rain or overcast day might be cause for concern at a traditional Irish wedding. This is because one of the strange superstitions is that the sun must shine directly on the bride to ensure that the couple will be blessed with good luck. Birds also factor into some of the traditional Irish superstitions. Hearing a cuckoo bird or seeing three magpies are also considered to be signs of luck for the couple.

Another Catholic wedding tradition requires that previous marriages receive an annulment before the couple can be married in the church. Even if the previous marriage was not held in the church or recognized by the church, they still require an annulment before they will perform a marriage ceremony. In this situation a divorce decree is not enough. The previously married party will have to seek an annulment that verifies that the previous marriage was not valid.

A traditional Irish wedding usually concludes with a toast that has been recited for many years. At the end of the reception the guests will gather around the couple for the final toast. The couple will begin the toast by saying, “Friends and relatives, so fond and dear, ’tis our greatest pleasure to have you here. When many years this day has passed, fondest memories will always last. So we drink a cup of Irish mead and ask God’s blessing in your hour of need.”

The guests then respond to the toast with the following answer: “On this special day, our wish to you, the goodness of the old, the best of the new. God bless you both who drink this mead, may it always fill your every need.” “Friends and relatives, so fond and dear, ’tis our greatest pleasure to have you here. When many years this day has passed, fondest memories will always last. So we drink a cup of Irish mead and ask God’s blessing in your hour of need.” The guests respond: “On this special day, our wish to you, the goodness of the old, the best of the new. God bless you both who drink this mead, may it always fill your every need.”

Of course, no traditional Irish wedding complete without the presence of bagpipes and kilts. It is customary for friends and family members to bring along their bagpipes and pipe the couple into the mass and into the reception. They may also continue to charm the guests with an assortment of bagpipe tunes suitable for dancing. Not only do friends and family members enjoy performing for the couple and the other guests but they also enjoy taking the opportunity to dress in traditional kilts for the occasion. The look and sound of the bagpipers creates the feel of a truly traditional Irish wedding.

A traditional Irish wedding is a festive occasion filled with good friends, food and music. In addition to these traditional elements the Irish people also have traditions regarding the Claddagh ring and standardized toasts that are used to wish the new couple well. Superstitions also play a role in a traditional Irish wedding. Many of the traditional superstitions relate to objects or occurrences that are thought to bring the couple good luck.

Corruption or Eviction

Come first week of January 2011, when the Ashes will reach its concluding stages and the present World No.1 test team; India will battle it out against the Proteas in the African backyard, far away in the distant lands of Doha, Qatar, three men on the interrogation end of a long black table will be bombarding three other men on the other end with questions of all shapes and sizes and in the form of demons. The ones facing the chin music will be the tainted trio of Salman Butt, Mohammad Ameer and Mohammad Asif, who, as a matter of fact, haven’t yet been proven guilty. As they gear up for which, I suppose, we all expect to be the final verdict on the spot fixing scandal, but followed by a deep and long question mark.

As the three experienced legal figures of Michael Beloff, an English barrister and the head of the ICC Code of Conduct Commission, Justice Albie Sachs, retired South African judge, and Sharad Rao, an Indian origin leading Kenyan barrister put forward factual, legal and contractual questions towards the trio, all of us; waiting in anticipation for the outcome, shall question ourselves whether the fans and preachers of the gentleman’s game have their questions answered or not……….

The answers certainly won’t satisfy the questions raised in the puzzled minds of the millions, who on fine Sunday morning saw a nobody named Mazhar Majeed with bundles of notes in pounds stacked on the table in front of him, a bottle of beer by the side, and carelessly letting himself loose in a ‘recorded’ live broadcast for over millions to see, from across the globe. The revelations not only proved to be too costly for him and the players he managed, but also proved to be another disgraceful stain on the pride of the sport and tore apart the entire cricketing administration of a country, already tattered and shattered.

Sporting heroes construct their sporting careers, their entire lives on just one primary element, reputation…….the reputation of being a fighter, the reputation of being a champion, the reputation of being a man of honor, pride and above all, dignity. So, why after years and years of hard work and perseverance, they let it all slip in a jiffy? How powerful is that one force which can be more driving than the spirit of the game and what makes it so? How big the money is involved that it prompts them to sell off their careers? These for us, the blind believers of sports stars, are the basic questions, which need to be answered, not only in cricket, but in one and all domains of the religion called SPORT.

Match fixing or spot fixing, as in this scenario, are not new to sports, as we all know. And cricket is not the only field where punters keep their watch dogs on alert. Football, tennis, hockey and any other sport to have been played at the international level have had their share of shameful tragedy.

In case of the Pakistanis in this recent incident, the most obvious reason behind their utter illogical, more than unethical, decision seems to be their comparatively poor financial family backgrounds from where they have suddenly emerged (especially in case of Mohammad Ameer, the youngest and brightest talent in Pakistan Cricket) into this cash-rich world where there seem to be ever-rising opportunities of increasing the number of digits on your bank balance in more of a no holds barred scenario. They can be, possibly, spared a thought as the world looks upon them as residents of a country which is in the condition of a ‘ransacked village’, for now. But again, assessing a sportsman’s ‘un-wise’ decision to end his career and yet when he thinks otherwise, can only draw speculations and never definitions.

And for many of us, who may feel that the green haven is the only motivating factor for such deeds of self-destruction, ponder over your stats again. What could have made John Higgins, the former world snooker champion, and a champion of champions for that matter, strike his honor down the hole by the corner?? In April this year, Higgins had fallen victim to the spy operations of the same medium as in the case of the Pakistan cricket team, News of the World, when he was filmed on tape having conversations prior to matches with some alleged bookie. Apparently, at that point of time, Higgins was among the better paid sportsmen around the globe and hailed from what is called “corruption-free” West, from Scotland. Although, finally he could somehow manage to save his career from meeting a dead end, he was slapped on the face with a six month ban and a mere fine of £75,000, which many sports critics termed as a meek decision on the part of the officials.

And what priorities, do you think, could have prompted the captain of the South African Cricket’s surging voyage to crash his personal cruise into the iceberg of corruption, yes, I am talking about Late Hansie Cronje. No, the moolah behind the curtains cannot be the only seducing force that leads to the demise of such tall statures.

Living and dead legends from almost all genres of sport have once or more crossed the LOC. Michael Jordan, Mike Tyson, Diego Maradona, Marion Jones, and George Best- intentionally or unintentionally fell prey to one of these: drugs, match fixing, violence against the opposite sex, alcohol, gambling, white-collar offences and the list goes on.

Professor Sandy Gordon, a popular sports psychologist of Western Australia, had tried to find an answer to these questions. He developed a theory; a set of questionnaires called the Hogan Development Survey [HDS], used to study a person’s behavioral traits and changes during stress. The HDS shows traits in a man which we refer to as “the dark side of a personality”, which bears heavy influence on our decision making process when under pressure. The process shows traits which are generally tolerated, also indulged, but when tempted with an opportunity, can derail. Personality traits scale a range which includes types as diverse (yet closely knitted) as “colorful”, “bold”, “mischievous”. Mischievous and bold characters are most evident in the entertainment industry and when the entertainers have their performances jeered in the sporting arena, they are often called “characters” in our cricket terminology.

Different people from different backgrounds act differently when facing same or similar situations. None can explain this notion better than Yasir Hameed, Zulqarnain Haider and Herschelle Gibbs, three men, whose careers are more or less over, thanks to their off-field antics and peculiar revelations (each in its own way). If Herschelle Gibbs showcased utter signs of a douchebag with his war of words against Mickey Arthur and put all the speculations behind the revival of his somewhat-over cricketing career to the death bed, his somewhat meeker counterparts from Pakistan reached even higher pedestals of stupidity on particular occasions (as to single them out from the rest). Yasir Hameed was caught on tape, in a matter of days after three of his team mates were suspended on grounds match fixing; venting out, without any inhibitions, about how deep the roots of corruption in the sport has spread in and especially among his national team mates. And the instance of Zulqarnain Haider, the replacement keeper for Pakistan in the absence of Kamran Akmal, plagued by poor form and conduct, can be termed as one of the most peculiar cases of the ‘code of conduct’ on the part of cricketers. Haider, as we all know by now, had deserted his team in the middle of an ongoing tour, only to be found (sneaking away into God knows which forbidden land) in London’s Heathrow Airport. He cited the reason behind his sudden disappearance as the approach of bookies who tried to lure him out of his wits. Not only has his action inflicted shame upon PCB (Pakistan Cricket Board) and his nation, but on the entire cricketing universe. As for latest updates, Haider is close to signing a contract with Lashings, an English county side.

If we turn the pages of the glorifying history of sports and take a closer look, it has always been evident that the best are also the worst; best on-field and worst off it. In one of the most recent chapters, Tiger Woods described what life felt like in the world of elite sport: “I thought I could get away with whatever I wanted to, deserve to enjoy all the temptations around me. I thought I was entitled. Thanks to money and fame, I didn’t have to go far to find them.” These were his answers to the questions “Why?”, “Whatever for?” and “What were you thinking?” And this corrupt world of elite sports stretches beyond our paltry imaginations. Sport Review had reported few months back that only very few major sports were still free from corruption. Financial Services firm Merrill Lynch has projected that the online gambling industry is going to be worth $100 billion by 2015.

Temptations offer themselves in different forms and packages, but they don’t feed on you, rather the parasite that resides in you; “the powerful lure”. But lure for what? Just money? Just for the greed of it? May be the answer is a vague no. Ace tennis player Nikolay Davydenko, in 2007, was alleged to have thrown away a comparatively easy match (which could have been a cake walk for him) against 87th seed Martin Vassallo-Arguello following a meeting with a few bookies. Davydenko, later stated that it’s not all about the money, but the powerful ring surrounding it. But this particular sport has been able to maintain its dignity pretty well, thanks to the proactive nature of the tennis authorities.

Following its footsteps, one of the world’s largest football associations; UEFA, has launched probe against 40 matches of last year’s UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League. And these are tough times for FIFA when two of its members have been proved guilty of being bribed for supporting USA’s bid to host the FIFA World Cup in 2022. It proves that the buck doesn’t stop with the players only, but the law is broken by the ones who protect and look after it themselves.

Many psychologists and doctors and legends and you-know-who’s from all spheres will now or later, shall always have a say on the mindsets of sportsmen, whenever they breach the popular bookish term (confined in books) “code of conduct”. Some may do it for the lust, the greed, some for the lure of power, or some just for being larger than life. But the end consequences of such incidents, gaining in frequency of occurrence, hits hardest the fans, i.e. you and me.

Gone with the wind are days when sports, for fans like me, was an epitome of the definition of discipline, honor, pride, passion, integrity and above all, the purest form of being clean. In today’s date when the world, in a way, anticipates Dooms Day by 2012 or any time sooner or later, I can foresee my religion being abandoned by demi-gods and preached by money-mongers.

In days of such atrocity, I have a vision; a nightmare. With a 60,000 capacity crowd cheering him at the pitch of their voices as he runs up from his stride to knock the man out, he won’t be sure, he won’t be able to confront the fear standing between him and the wickets, stare him on his face, because he won’t be able to look within himself and say, yes, I deserve to be here.

We hate to see this, but yes, it is time for the red card to come out of the pocket!! It is time for a new dawn.