Saving money? I do!
By Jon Wright
As the BBC continues its RAW Money campaign to offer advice on better managing your finances, Jon Wright takes a leap into the world of weddings to find out if it really is possible to tie the knot without breaking the bank.
Cockney Rebel Robbie Gladwell and his wife Jules tied the knot in Suffolk last Summer and were determined to keep the cost as reasonable as possible.
As a groom-to-be myself this coming summer, I met them at Robbie's guitar workshop near Sudbury to find out how they managed it.
"I think we realised it could become a financial disaster pretty early on," said Robbie.
"It becomes a bit of a monster that hangs over you, so you need to tame that monster.
"We started by looking in every direction about how we could cut the cost, where we could do things for free or at least get heavy discounts."
Jules and Robbie
Going through their receipts I roughly calculated they'd stayed under the £4000 mark. Very impressive, and luckily something Robbie's new wife was just as enthusiastic about.
"I think it's better to have the approach that this is going to be a fabulous day, have your budget and enjoy trying to find a venue that suits," said Jules.
They explored having a marquee in a friend's garden, but after costing out all the things that needed to be hired, looked instead for what was already on their doorstep.
"Most of us would think back to the 70's and 80's and think of grotty village halls, but actually there are some really, really nice places around, so you don't have to spend a huge amount on the venue."
And for the dress? "£150 ex-sample dress," explained Jules.
"I then had it made to fit me and it was beautiful, so you don't have to spend a huge amount of money."
The other main saving was getting their friends and family to help out, which made a huge difference.
"One friend made all these fantastic little chocolate pots, 160 of them, I don't think she'll ever make another one again.
Robbie on stage at the wedding with Sally & James
"Another friend made 15 pavlovas with fresh fruit and cream which she delivered safely to the hall, so the desserts were our wedding presents.
"Obviously we had a pretty good wedding band as Steve Harley came and played as did some other really good friends (including BBC Suffolk Hazellettes James Hazell and Sally Goodwin), so we had a proper knees up," added Robbie.
"People loved to get involved and once they realised we were on a mission, people wanted to join in."
Robbie and Jules were pleased with the way they planned their big day, and Robbie would like to give one golden piece of advice.
"Say yes to everything. If you start getting stuck in too early saying 'oh I don't think that'll work', you end up having arguments about issues which might not even exist on the day."
"It was the best day of my life. Absolutely wonderful."
Find out more about RAW Money and the RAW Money Club by listening to James Hazell's show, week day mornings 0900-1200.
last updated: 16/02/2009 at 09:12