Couple slammed for making guests pay for wedding

Guest Drinking Champagne at Wedding Reception

Once upon a time, it was the bride's parents who paid for a wedding; more recently, it's tended to be the happy couple themselves.

But according to one user of Mumsnet, there's a new way of financing the nuptials - collecting the cash surreptitiously from all the guests.

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Crummyfunnymummy took to the site to complain that she and her husband were invited to a wedding that ended up costing them £700. The three-day event was held at a large house, where the guests were to stay.

"I've just found out that hiring the venue cost her and her fiancé nothing! Because, she told another friend of ours, that they recouped the full cost of hiring the house through the money they collected from friends and family for the rooms!!!!," she says.

"In other words, the venue cost x amount and they just divided x by the number of bedrooms (about 15 in total) and charged all the couples who stayed 1/15th of the venue hire!!!!!"

Guests were asked to bring three different themed outfits - as well as their own wine. And adding insult to injury, the bride emailed guests after the event asking for another £10 per head, as minor damage meant the venue was hanging on to the £600 deposit.

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Other Mumsnet users agree that the couple was being grasping. But one said she'd come across the same thing.

"Friends of ours just told us that their 3 day wedding is in a castle next year, and they're planning to do what your friend did," writes Magicstar1.

"I explained how it's wrong and greedy, and people won't be happy. I hope they listen and think again."

And we recently reported on the US bride who sent a $75 bill to guests who had to pull out of the wedding when their childcare fell through. In that case, though, the no-shows had at least partly brought the problem on themselves.

Guest fails to show up to wedding: so bride sends a bill

So who should pay for a wedding?

In a recent YouGov survey, three quarters of people said they believed that the tradition of the bride's family paying should be dropped.

In fact, according to wedding website Hitched.co.uk, almost half of engaged couples get help from their parents, with just over a third saying they funded it all themselves. Only six percent said the bride's parents picked up the entire tab.

And many couples are asking guests to contribute to a honeymoon, rather than bring a traditional gift.

"With guests footing the bulk of the honeymoon bill, couples are free to spend the majority of the budget on the big day itself," says Hitched.co.uk editor Caroline Bradley.

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£20,983 wedding: where the money goes
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£20,983 wedding: where the money goes

This is the biggest expense, and accounts for 16% of everything couples spend on the wedding. There are endless dramatic places to splash the cash, and if you want to get married in a castle, on a beach, or in a major historic property, it’s all perfectly possible - for a price.

However, there will be those who wonder why the wedding can’t take place in a church or a smart registry office - and the reception in a village hall. These places certainly exist, and could cut the venue hire cost down to a couple of hundred pounds.

It’s not hard to see why couples fancy blowing a fortune on an incredible holiday, but it begs the question of whether it’s such a practical idea.

There’s no earthly reason why two such enormous costs have to be bunched together like this. Surely a wiser approach would be to get married, and then start saving for a great holiday. You don't have to be on a white beach in the sun for it to be romantic or memorable.

This is a huge sum for feeding a few people, and is often the result of the fact that when you are booking a venue, you will be tied into using their caterer.

It’s one reason why a fantastic way to cut costs is to find a venue that lets you do it yourself. That way you can choose between setting out a cold buffet in the morning on a shoestring, or hiring in a cut-price catering option, like a gourmet burger or pizza van.

This includes the cost of an engagement ring and two wedding rings. There will be couples who argue that this is something that you’ll wear every day for the rest of your life, so is worth investing in.

There will be others who highlight that by shopping around you can get the lot (including the obligatory diamond) for less than £400, and anything else is pure vanity.

This includes a heart-stopping £1,098 for the bride’s dress. Just to be clear, that’s a grand for a dress you wear once.

There are hundreds of second hand dresses on sale on sites like preloved if you’re after the big meringue, or you could get one made from scratch for a couple of hundred pounds. Then if you sell it on again afterwards, your dress could cost you less than 20% of this insane figure.

If you’re stuck buying the overpriced booze offered by a posh venue, you’ll easily bust the budget, and if you bring your own to a venue like this they’ll sting you for corkage instead.

A much better idea is to find somewhere that lets you bring your own - and after the first few drinks, ask a local pub to run a bar for you.

The argument in favour of spending a fortune on photos is that this is one aspect of the day that really will last, and if you skimp on the photographer, you won't have a beautiful album to linger over for decades to come.

That said, you'll probably have one hour of looking at your best during your wedding - from when you walk down the aisle, to the moment you have finished taking the obligatory formal photos. There’s nothing stopping you bringing in a professional for that hour, and then setting up a Facebook page for your friends to post all the photos they take throughout the rest of the day and night.

The live band feels vital for some couples, but ask yourself, when was the last time you were blown away by the live band at a wedding?

A far cheaper option is to make your own disco. It’s easy enough to hire some speakers and lights, switch it all on, plug an MP3 player in, and get your favourite music all night for next to nothing.

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