Wedding - The Mustachian way

Dear all,

We will be celebrating our wedding this year and I would like to ask you for your tips and tricks to optimize the expenses related to the different expense posts.

I don’t want to have the most frugal wedding possible, but I do want the money that is allocated to be invested in a smart way. With that in mind, I thought the location as well as food/drink were the posts to not skimp on. We would like to organize the wedding ourselves and not use the services of a wedding planner.

Do you have any tips/feedback on what to look out for, or any good ideas to share (for example for sending out announcements, thank you cards, etc)?

I didn’t find any topic about this, so I took the liberty to create one with the idea of sharing tips & tricks as well as possible good plans.

I have no experience but I’ve hear some stories. If your location is set in stone, you probably want to have dinner/lunch near, so you can’t go abroad, correct? One thing you should probably do is to check if the restaurant will allow you to take care of the drinks. I’ve heard several people organizing their reception in a place where you can bring your own wine. I don’t know if restaurants do this for picky drinkers or to allow people to save a bit, but some of my friends did exactly that. The usual bottle of wine cost 3-5x more in a restaurant than in a shop. If you also are an expert you can even go hunting for your perfect wine in Italy/France and buy it there. I know for sure a shop in Italy that allow you to buy big quantities of wine and import it slowly.

Congratulations for making the move.

If you want to save up, you should organise the city mall ceremony, the cocktail drinks and reception in the same day and place. I have done it in 2 days and 3 venues and it adds costs a lot :worried:

However, we did arrange the table ornements for 18 tables, 180 persons. I had a florist doing the decoration of the main entrance, the arch for the vow and a main decoration above our tables. We bought the flowers wholesale and have her girlfriends helping to dress the table decoration. We also collecting the flower pot for each tables.

You could also prepare your invitee gifts by packing it yourselves with your wife.

A little saving is also to send electronic invitations rather than to print and send them by mail post.

Sometimes saying no could save you some money. I was ok to give an higher budget to the photographer but say no to the cameraman my wife wanted to record the journey.

My wife bought her dress but renting it could be a big saver.

We did not cut on food and even had the cake ordered and delivered by a pastry chef.
We ordered all drinks through the cater in extra quantity as we could return all none open bottles without extra costs.

Enjoy this preparation !
We spend the double of our projected budget but definitely worth it.

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We had my aunt doing the wedding-pictures with her good hooby camera.
If that is also good enough for you guys, you can save a ton of money.

One point about the wedding planner:
While the preparation can certainly be done without a planner, have someone like your groomsman that’s responsable for the whole wedding ceremony (like telling guests when to move etc.) on the day itself. You and your futur wife will be too busy to handle all that. :slightly_smiling_face:

Enjoy the day!

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Good feedback from @Luk_nuts .
If you are an organised person, you do not need a wedding planner especially if your wife has good tastes, has been to multiple wedding or knows what she want.

However on the D day, I regret to have not delegate enough. I have picked a DJ that did not want to drive the evening and I had to run the schedule.

My groomsmen were not functional after midnight…

A colleague of mine married in a very small ceremony at a beach in Hawaii - and stayed there for their honeymoon.

While this will obviously increase more in travel costs for the guests attending. But it should definitely make you get away with inviting much less people. I haven’t done the math - but depending your numbers, it may very well beat having to wine and dine a couple of dozen at home.

And if you tell them it has been a lifelong dream of yours or something to get married at your location, people will likely not hold a grudge against you or consider you cheap.

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Congratulations on the upcoming event!!!

Some personal experience:
Save:

  • number of guests: biggest cost. Think carefully whom you care to have. You can also have some people at aperitif and less at lunch /dinner, this is common in France
  • final confirmation of guests: we had 2-3 people not showing up at last minute - cost incurred for us
  • invite cards: there are some companies that can organize from online - easier and cheaper. Else, as others suggested online invitation even better. Or hybrid: for friends online and for older and family by post
  • flowers: cost a ton. Avoid flower’s arches. Avoid as much as you can. None care, none will remember. You can save by having some different thing on tables rather than expensive floors. Or mustachian way, if you have a weeding coordinator you could ask if flowers can be reutlised from the event and placed on the tablea
  • suit: just buy a good one that can be reused at work. Perhaps get third piece and a nice wedding shirt that you won’t use again but at least you will reuse the suit
  • table marriage: get it online
  • wedding gift: these are common in some countries. Waste of money in my view
  • drinks: we bought champagne from France separately and provided to the catering company

Invest

  • good photographer: pics are forever
  • food and location: did on lake como. People always tell me how amazing location was and how good food was
  • 2-3 course Menu. People enjoy most aperitif. Dinner should be short as people get bored to stay sat long time. Shorter and lower number of courses for dinner also cost you less
  • music: live music is always a plus
  • inexpensive gadget: build your own photo booth: get a Polaroid and buy online some cheap glasses, hats and wigs
  • babysitter: it’s nice for people that are bringing kids
  • wedding day coordinator: you are there to enjoy and not to escort and push people, having a wedding coordinator on the day is small but rewarding investment (e.g. escorting people, giving rice’s cones to throw rice after ceremony, etc, - idea from wedding planner
  • wedding planner was great to organize but also to provide connections for music, boat ride and many other things at accessible prices

Other things I have seen at weddings that depend on people’s taste:

  • magician and mentalist
  • boat trip organized for all guests

Just few things that came to mind. If you have more specific questions, pls ask.

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A bit of a side-question:
What are usually the going rates for a good one in CH?

My number one tip that saved us a lot of money, think hard about who you really want to attend the wedding.

We were “only” 25 people incl. the photographer and us. Only the closest family and our very best friends and their partners were invited. I don’t get how people invite some aunt and their whole family that they see max. once every year at the mandatory christmas dinner. They are not part of my everyday life, so why should they be part of my wedding.
To each his own, and our approach may certainly sound selfish, but in the end of the day, it was our wedding.

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Starts at about 1k/day.

A colleague of mine attended a wedding of some friends. The couple asked all the guests to not offer them usual gifts like cutlery or toaster (The Office reference :wink: ) but only some Rento scratching money coupon.
With 70+ guests multiplied by 10+ coupons, guess what? They won, 10’000.- per month for 20 years…

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we paid 2’700.- for a very good, popular photographer (6.5 hrs, no album). I don’t think that’s to uncommon, 1k seems very cheap to me. Don’t cheap out on the photos, that’s the one thing you’ll keep from the wedding (apart from the rings and your partner :sweat_smile:)

We spent CHF ~54 per Apéro guest, and CHF ~200 per Dinner guest (including location fees), these are the most expensive positions. We decided to limit the numbers of guests (80 apéro, 40 dinner) but went for nice locations.

Surprisingly expensive to me were a DJ for 1’600.- and flower decoration for 1’200.-

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For those already married: what is your experience with gifts? At the weddings I was, there was always a online wishbook (eg a new table for 1200 divided in 12 parts à 100 CHF) where you gift money and not the item itself.

When choosing the amount to offer the couple I always try to estimate how much my consumption might cost. Usually we end up offering 130-180CHF per Person (when invited for dinner).

Does this work out in reality?

I always have seen it in a different way.
The donation are more to organise the honeymoon.

I nice idea for marriage donation in a wedding I attended was to display example of donation like a hotel suite by the beach, a boat ride, diving lessons, massage session…

I usually gave between 250chf for us but it depends how close I am.

We did something similar with our marriage. The tour operator did split the tour in small pieces and our guests could choose if they wanted to gift us an overnight at a certain location, a dinner, a day trip and so on

I’ve heard a similar story but on my story they won twice.

2x winning ticket out of 3millions. Even with 700 Ticket you need a lot of luck.

I second this. Of course it is personal choice but a good photographer will probably be more expensive. We did pay ca. 2.5k 16 years ago. It was from Italy but I think in this field prices are not that far.

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We just straight up asked for money to help pay for the honeymoon trip (with some description of what we are going to do, etc.). I just wrote down our IBAN on the wedding website asking the guests to send a wire. Some also just gave us a card/envelope with cash in it.

Most couples who are close friends gifted around 200-300 CHF, apéro guests usually 100.- per couple.

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Can someone elaborate how much you spent on wedding rings?

We spent CHF 1’800 (1’000 her ring, 800 my ring).

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