We have been thrilled to have Sustainable Wedding Planner Coordinated by Kirsty join Little Green Book as a listed supplier last week, and what better way to welcome her to our eco-community than a guest blog! Read on for Kirsty’s expert advice on budgeting for an intimate wedding.
There has of course been a huge amount of talk around intimate or micro weddings recently, which essentially means a smaller number of wedding guests. With the government guidelines of only 15 people at a wedding, in the hope of reducing the spread of Covid-19, a lot of people have been opting to go ahead with an intimate wedding. But intimate weddings aren’t just for covid – they are a popular choice for many couples who feel a smaller celebration with just their nearest and dearest better represents their relationship. Having worked as a Wedding Coordinator for the last 5 years, I have seen first hand how wedding planning can become stressful and all about putting on a show for guests – it is easy to get caught up and lose sight of the reason you are planning this wedding, because you love each other and want to get married!
I adore an intimate wedding because it can be easier to make it feel more personal and genuine. But one of the other reasons they can be a popular choice is that a smaller wedding is generally more cost effective and can be done on a lower budget. With the average UK wedding apparently costing over £25,000, you can see why a more low key affair might be wanted! So what costs will you be looking at as your plan your intimate wedding, and how can you create your budget?
Just as with larger weddings, this cost can vary massively depending on what exactly you want. You could perhaps hire a characterful village hall or a private space in your favourite restaurant, which is likely to be from a couple of hundred pounds, through to a perfectly sized area in a stunning manor house or hotel, which could even reach up to a couple of thousand. I would suggest initially to do some research, see what sort of venue you would like and work out a budget for this from there.
It goes without saying that catering for 15 people will cost less than for 100 people. I would recommend to allow about £55 per person for a formal three course meal, although of course the final cost will depend on your chosen caterer as well as the specific menu itself. For example, some items are more costly for the caterer to provide, such as particular cuts of meat, so expect to pay more for this. Depending on how you long you allocate to your reception drink period of time, you may also want to provide canapes, which you would generally expect to pay about £8 per person for, for a selection of canapes.
The cost of floral arrangements seems to be something people really do not realise until they are planning a wedding – flowers are not cheap! It is quite easy to spend at least £100 per table arrangement for the wedding breakfast, and when you have got 10 tables for 100 guests, that really adds up. Smaller numbers mean fewer tables and therefore fewer arrangements. You will likely still want to have bridal and bridesmaids bouquets, as well as button holes. To budget for around £5 per button hole and £35 per bridesmaid bouquet tends to be suitable. The cost of a bridal bouquet however can vary massively, it is all dependant on the style, number of flowers and particularly the type of flowers. You will likely be looking at around £90 to £120 for a bridal bouquet.
In my experience, the majority of intimate weddings do not have a party in the evening, as is common with large weddings. Rather than spending a large amount of money on a band or DJ for evening entertainment, you can have a more relaxed and informal evening. This tends to be one of my favourite parts of the day, because you and your guest have an opportunity to sit and chat, to genuinely catch up and enjoy each others company. All you need is some background music through a speaker, and you could even add some games in if you wanted!
There are of course then other costs which aren’t too different whether you have a small or large wedding – the registrar fee to conduct the ceremony, the photographer who will be with you all day, the dresses and/or suits, the makeup artist. At the moment a huge number of couples are having to downsize their wedding to become compliant with Covid restrictions from the government. When you are downsizing your celebration, there are some costs which may be able to reduced depending on the terms and conditions of the suppliers you had originally booked – such as the catering, decorations and floral arrangements.
As well as reducing costs at an intimate wedding, opting for a smaller celebration is also a great way of easily reducing waste and lowering the carbon footprint of your wedding day – the less guests, the less waste. Here are some simple things that you can do to reduce waste –
- Wedding favours – Do not have them! As a Wedding Coordinator I have seen so many favours simply thrown away at the end of the night. I promise you, the majority of your guests will not take them home. Save yourself the money and save them from going in the bin.
- Local flowers – Go to a florist who uses locally grown flowers, as opposed having flowers imported from across Europe. People often do not realise how large the carbon footprint of flowers can be, as many are grown in places like Hungary and then sent to the UK. Not only does this increase the environmental impact, but it also increases the price.
- Catering – Try not to over cater, which can easily be done with smaller numbers. We tend to think that people will need a huge amount of food, but that isn’t always the case. If you are providing everyone with a hearty three course meal or buffet for the wedding breakfast, you probably won’t need much in terms of evening food. Rather than another huge buffet, a lighter bite will do – don’t forget there is wedding cake to be eaten too!
There are so many benefits to having an intimate wedding and I hope you now have an idea of how to budget for this too. Remember, weddings can be small but absolutely perfectly formed.
Find Kirsty’s listing here on Little Green Book.