The Hidden Gem

The rise of the humble Village Hall as a wedding venue.

Many might recoil in horror at the thought of holding their wedding reception at their local village hall but it genuinely can be a great cost effective option. In our decidedly tight economic climate in recent years, it’s no wonder that The Village Hall is making itself known as a more popular than you might think, wedding venue.

Depending where you live and what your village hall looks like, they can be a quaint, decidedly British way to host a ‘WI-esque’ almost vintage style wedding.

Most Village Halls have kitchen facilities which means caterers would not need to bring their own equipment with them.

The stumbling block would be to check if they have a license to serve alcohol on the premise or make sure you book in enough time that you may be able to apply for a temporary license.

For those on a budget the humble village hall can provide a great opportunity to dress a blank space for considerably less money than traditional wedding venues.

So if you’re on a tight budget- check out your local village halls now.


Caterpillar Cake- Great Value or Great Rip Off?

You may have seen the media coverage lately, but, incase you haven’t, M&S has introduced a new friend for popular cake favourite ‘Colin the Caterpillar’.

Great idea I hear you say. And actually, I agree. It’s a great idea and actually brilliant to introduce a quirky, yet fun wedding cake for those on a budget. You can’t help but smile when somebody in your office has a classic birthday caterpillar cake and i’m quite sure the same sentiment will be held for couples who have Colin and his bride Connie adorning their cake table at their wedding.

The Daily Mirror has rather explicitly let their feelings known on the topic.

Love it or loathe it, It does feel a bit pricey when you consider the Giant Colin The Caterpillar birthday cake from M&S comes in at £35 while Tesco’s regular birthday cake ‘Curly The Caterpillar’ comes in at only £5. That’s a mark up of £15 presumably because it’s a wedding cake. Now that’s something that seems to be a common theme in the wedding industry. Weddings do tend to inflate ordinary prices to eye watering levels.

What are your thoughts on Colin and Connie? Great Value or Great Rip Off?


Where shall I get married?

Now this is a question only you can answer. What you can research, however, is what type of venue you want.

Do you want a traditional type venue or are you looking for something a little more out of the box?

When it comes to building your own wedding, a great way to keep costs down is if you can hire a marquee that can be built on a piece of land of your choice. This can be land you have managed to hire, it could be extra land at the back of a nice pub or it could be your Great Aunt Maud’s farming land (if she’ll let you host a fabulous wedding there). If you do have access to land it can be a great way to reduce costs and build a wedding from scratch that you’ll love.

Marquees are typically very versatile and can often be dressed up or down to suit your theme accordingly. They come in very different sizes so it’s suitably easy to determine an appropriately sized marquee to fit your wedding party. Do remember though, if you are likely to hire caterers, you would also need to hire extra marquee space and potentially a generator and kitchen equipment to make sure cooking ‘on the ground’ is a viable option. Make sure when hiring caterers you determine what equipment they have so that you know if you need to invest in any extras, to enable them to cater for your needs (Particularly if you are in the middle of a farmers field).

Barns are often another great way to hire out a blank canvas style venue that you can dress to suit your needs. Of course you would need to establish if there are any hidden costs involved on top of the venue hire fee. Corkage is often a cost that can come as a shock and tends to mean that the price of alcohol for example is set fairly high. Corkage is an extra charge that is added onto alcohol you provide yourself for your wedding day. If you choose to go with in house alcohol options corkage usually doesn’t apply.

Preferred caterers are another one to look out for. You might have decided your friend Pete will do your food because he owns his own catering business. Then you discover your venue has a preferred caterer and won’t deal with anybody else. It’s just worth checking with potential venues to see what their terms are before you commit.


Keeping in Budget.

Always easier said than done! Especially if you’re me and have regular ‘accidents’ falling into Zara and leaving with most of their Winter collection.

But no really, budgets are obviously super important. I would recommend that you work out your budget at the very beginning before you’ve decided on that stunning pricey dress, or the giant candelabra table decoration you just must have. Sounds fairly obvious, but you need to know what you can afford and therefore, what is in or out of reach for you and your other half.

I would recommend, once you have established your overall absolute maximum budget. Create a tab next to this column on your spreadsheet titled ‘hoping to spend’. What many bride grooms don’t think to do is haggle. Okay so none of us want to look cheap or embarrass ourselves, but you don’t have to. When dealing with any of your wedding suppliers, let them know what you have in mind to spend and even if they are more expensive. Ask them if there is something they can do to help you bring things in under budget. Often suppliers deal with a variety of clients who do have differing budgets and will talk you through options available to you.

For example, if it’s the caterer you are speaking to, it could be that you have a hog roast in the evening instead of a buffet style food arrangement. This is an option that’s both popular and super fashionable but actually could save you a whole heap of cash.

I’m not saying you can do this with everything, you can’t. But it’s worth seeing if you can get a good deal and if that’s not possible, see what other options can be explored to lower that all important budget.  In the past i’ve tried to order a magnificent wedding cake that wouldn’t be out of place in Choccywoccydoodah. However, despite not having enough money in the budget to allow me to purchase the desired cake, the baker kindly agreed to make the same cake 10% smaller to match my budget. Before this i wouldn’t have necessarily thought to do this but it worked, we had an amazing cake and you could hardly tell it was a slightly smaller version.

Definitely worth budgeting and remember to explore all of the options before you accept a cost. X

No Idea is too big.

One of the things I have often heard from others wishing to plan an alternative wedding is the worry that their idea is too big, or ‘out there’. The question ‘how would you even do that?’ comes up regularly. Well, I can say from experience, no idea is too big. Yes if you want a wedding while wing-walking on a moving aeroplane, there probably isn’t a wedding planner you have on speed-dial to achieve this.

However, if you RESEARCH, the world is absolutely your oyster. I would normally approach this by finding out where you can wing walk in your country of choice. Who specialises in this? there may be a few different companies. Give them a call, ask them if it’s been done before and see if they would work with you to make it achievable. Often, even if it is a random request, if you put in the research and call to find out everything you can, those in the know will help you to make it achievable. Even if you are contacting the wrong people, they will usually put you in touch with those who can help you.

Let them know your wedding budget, it could be that they can help you to come up with a way you can bring your wedding in for the right amount of money. If you don’t ask you don’t get. This is just an example, you can truly create any wedding you fancy as long as you research and find out all your can about it before hand.

Okay, if you wanted a wing walking wedding, this wouldn’t be a legal wedding in the UK but more than ever couples are opting for non legal ceremonies in order to achieve exciting weddings. Different countries have different rules regarding marriage, for example, you can get married anywhere outdoors in Scotland as long as it’s a safe place. Always do your research to find out what the rules are in your wedding country of choice but remember anything is possible.

Alternative VS Traditional.

Which heading do you fall under? We’ve all been to beautiful weddings, wether it be a stunning five star hotel with a beautiful array of chair covers and table decorations to boot or a quaint registry office with a handful of guests. The size of the wedding doesn’t determine quality. But what if something about conventional weddings just doesn’t strike a chord with you?

Are you quite a quirky individual who sees themselves as breaking the mould? or do you like a hint of tradition mixed with a hint of something a bit more unusual? There is no right or wrong way to create a wedding and everybody is different.

In my time working on TV weddings, i have been involved in hollywood themed weddings, survivalist weddings in remote locations, beach weddings, a wedding at a site of historical importance, a wedding on a skate ramp and in an underground cave. That’s just a hint of some of the weird and wonderful wedding themes i have been lucky enough to be involved in.

Personally, I love unusual weddings, i’m not a fan of picking a ‘package’ out of a wedding catalogue and i’m far more interested in building my own so i can have a bespoke wedding. Some may think building their own bespoke wedding sounds like an extra cost they can do without but what many future brides might not know is that to build your own unconventional wedding, you can bring it in UNDER budget. In fact you can often lower the cost so that it significantly reduces the cost to beneath that of package weddings.

Keep reading on for ways on reducing your wedding costs X

‘I don’t know what I want’

Do you know what? Nor do I.

You might think after working on countless TV weddings that i would have been inspired to know EXACTLY what i want. Afraid Not. I’m going on a bit of a journey along with you to discover what kind of wedding i want. I know i don’t want it to be completely traditional. but that’s all i know.

I don’t know about you but i think there’s a bit of a myth, particularly for ladies, that we grow up longingly watching princess films and know from the age of three how we want our fairy tail wedding to be. In reality, that’s not strictly true. Not every girl grows up dreaming of their wedding day having had it all mentally planned out for a long time, and that’s okay.

Don’t let the pressure get to you, just take your time to work out what you want for yourselves. After all, it’s your day nobody else’s so enjoy creating it.

Equally, perhaps some of you will have grown up knowing exactly what you want. feel free to comment below on the types of weddings you’re all thinking of creating.



Getting Started

When it comes to planning a wedding, one of the hardest things is to make a start. What do i want? Where do i begin? are all common questions at the very beginning and truth be told it’s daunting looking down at your wedding planner and seeing a blank page. But it’s okay to feel like this.

The best thing to do is to make a start in any way because ideas breed ideas.

Perhaps start a spider diagram or even just list things that make you happy as a couple and as individuals and then perhaps those ideas will start to pop out at you as things that define you.

Or if you happen to have a train journey to work, or an hour free at lunch, jot down some inspiration as you go, so that you can have something to work with when you start your key research.

For extra inspiration, check out The Vixlovesweddings Pinterest page with lots of wedding inspired pins to get those thoughts flowing.