Tales of an Exhausted Bride-To-Be

When we got engaged in November, we didn’t really get chance to celebrate it with the people we love. There simply wasn’t time. I left England two weeks after we got engaged and had a schedule full of seeing people to say goodbye. My leaving meal with both my family and Jack’s became an engagement and leaving meal in one and then I was gone, Jack following the month later.

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Because of this, wedding planning became an exciting prospect. It meant that we could do this part properly, that we could have the time with the people we loved and really get to celebrate this next part of our lives. We both couldn’t wait to start wedding planning…

… and then we started it.

First of all, living in Australia and trying to plan a wedding either back home, here in Australia or in a country that allows us to ‘meet in the middle’ is hard. We can never see the venues properly, are going off of photos and feel like we can never make it so everyone is happy. The juggling act of transatlantic wedding planning is one issue, but this post is really about how ludicrous the whole idea of weddings and the costs involved are.

First we looked at Iceland, where we became engaged, but weather and time off work for people was an issue. Then we looked at New York, an amazing city for a wedding but costly for guests to get to. Then we looked in France because it’s close to England but we found the venues were not overly responsive to our queries so didn’t really feel comfortable planning our wedding with them. Then we looked in Australia because we love it here but it’s so far for people to come to and flights are so expensive. Then we looked in England.

Oh, England, England that is three times as expensive as anywhere else in the world!

We know what we want for our wedding. It is going to be small, intimate, cosy. Our tastes are a little unusual, so we want somewhere quirky, maybe a little gothic (FYI as soon as you use the word ‘quirky’ in a wedding wish list, the price of everything doubles). There will be maximum 40 guests there, which apparently defines it as a ‘micro wedding’ – a term I didn’t even know existed until recently – yet try finding a venue in the UK that hosts micro weddings. Guest numbers must start from 50 or 60, wedding brochures have told us. Even if we have less people there, we still have to pay as if there are 50 or 60 guests. That works out as an extra one thousand pounds, minimum.

Some venues we looked at we had to pay for everyone’s drinks, which worked out and an extra one hundred pounds per person. That’s on top of the one hundred pounds for food, and then twenty two pounds for canapés.

We found a wedding venue that was gorgeous and had a winter offer for a wedding with everything like the venue, food, drinks and dressing of the venue included for just under three thousand pounds. We asked about the same time next year and the price was eight thousand and included only the venue and food. The exact same venue, exact same time of year… a five thousand pound difference and things missing from the package.

So we stopped looking at ‘traditional’ wedding venues and started thinking about maybe turning our wedding into a little break away with the people we loved, renting a house somewhere, getting married in the gardens and just having time to see the people we miss. We found a venue we loved. With 12 bedrooms, guests could stay there. We could have drinks in ice buckets to grab and call caterers in for the food. It sounded perfect. To rent the place as a holiday for three nights is two and a half thousand pounds. To have a wedding there for two nights starts from ten and a half thousand pounds. The difference is infuriating. The whole process of looking at weddings is infuriating.

For something that is meant to be the happiest day of your lives, I can’t help but feel raging that companies are exploiting that fact and taking people for a ride. I understand that there has to be certain insurance and that things are not cheap, but it should not be that expensive. The only reason things cost this much is greed and the knowledge that because weddings mean so much to people, they are willing to pay a little extra – but I refuse to break the bank for a wedding, I refuse to stop Jack and I enjoying our time in Australia or seeing new places to make sure we can include an extortionate drinks package and tablecloths at an already overpriced venue. The average UK wedding now costs over thirty thousand pounds… think what you could do for that money!

I just want a day in a nice dress to marry the man I love surrounded by the people we both love in a nice place, that’s all. I don’t want lobster or three types of champagne or butler service. I don’t want to pay one hundred pound for a main course of chicken and a dessert I could buy from Morrisons. I want a wedding, not a money parade… is that too much to ask for?

Are we doing this wrong? Are we looking in the wrong places? Or is England really the most hellishly overpriced place for a wedding?

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