Hi Skint pals,
Hope you’re all doing great. Things are extra-busy here chez Skint, as plans hot up for a short summer camping break soon. How come we have to work five times as hard in the run-up to a holiday, just to get a few days off? Still, busy or not, Mr Skint and I had to take a bit of time to celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary recently. Fifteen years together, ten of them hitched – how did that even happen?
So, step in Granny Skint, like a caped crusader, allowing us the first child-free night away in a couple of years. Twenty four hours in beautiful Edinburgh, on a sunny day, with no-one to please but ourselves . . .
And, as fate would have it, right after I got back I got an email from the folks at John Lewis, asking if I’d consider partnering them in writing about their wedding insurance. I was intrigued and decided to say ‘I do’ . . . See, ten years ago when I was getting hitched wedding insurance never crossed my mind, but maybe it should have.
We got married six months after deciding to tie the knot, so the whole thing was done fast and on a budget, with a huge dollop of DIY, as befits any self-respecting Skint girl (and boy). We hired a local hall, found a Humanist celebrant who would marry us there and hired in everything ourselves, from the chairs and tablecloths, to the caterer, the bar etc. We were short on written contracts, heavy on verbal agreements and goodwill, the way so many budget weddings operate, really – yet it might all have gone so wrong . . .
I bought my dress from a department store sale for £130. Alone. I couldn’t be doing with that traditional troop of ten sisters, bridesmaids, mums and friends all coming along to disagree and fight and cry over dress choices. We gave out lottery tickets as wedding favours, and got a friend to take our photos. The whole thing was done with a very close eye on cost. The cake was made by a friend’s mum; our cars were silver taxis; we roped in friends to decorate the hall that morning.
So, when I found out about wedding insurance it got me thinking how crazy we were not to have any in place – and how lucky we were ultimately not to need it. See, the Skint wedding day was not without drama. Several things so very nearly went wrong that, in hindsight, some protection would have been a smart move. Here, for your amusement, are just some of the near misses that occurred on our big day:
Our Wedding Day Close Shaves
- The celebrant didn’t show. The appointed time came and went; Mr Skint was inside pacing the floor; my car had to circle the halls; still no sign of the celebrant. It got so close to the wire that Mr Skint was considering pulling in the best man to marry us, when the right guy finally arrived, half an hour late and slightly – ahem – refreshed. He proceeded to tell a story during the ceremony about just having been fitted for new false teeth. Honest. Surreal doesn’t even cover it. Somehow, it worked.
- The food. Remember the Generation Game, where the professional makes something wonderful, then the contestants have their turn and it all goes pear-shaped? That’s how big the difference was between our pre-wedding tastings with the caterer and the actual food on the day. Wanting to keep things personal, we had chosen a small caterer, who vowed to do a really good job. The tastings were excellent, but on the day they simply couldn’t cope with the numbers. Cue cold soup, and chocolate mousse that wouldn’t hold its shape, collapsing in a puddle in the middle of the plate. This was the worst thing about the wedding day for me, as we’d spent most of our budget on food and drink. And, if I’d had wedding insurance in place, it’s the one I might have tried to recoup some money on.
- The caterer forgot to apply for a late licence. One of the main reasons we’d hired the hall was that it allowed us to party till 2am – we didn’t want to be Cinderellas on our wedding day. Around 10pm, just as things were staring to hot up on the dance floor – (My First, My Last, My Everything, if I recall) – the caterer told us we’d have to close by 12. I had a small, rather unbridely, meltdown. Somehow – I still don’t know how – it all got sorted in the end. To this day I do not know whether our last two hours of dancing were legal or not. We just did it.
Things That Worked
- The music. We hired a pianist to play during the ceremony and drinks. I wanted one of my favourite songs, If I Were A Bell (0:20:29 on this tribute clip), to be played at the ceremony and our pianist totally nailed it. People sang along. One of my highlights of the whole day.
- The guests. Your wedding’s surely one of the only big gatherings you’ll attend when everyone in the entire room is 100% behind you. Is it a cliche to say the room was full of love? Friends and family had travelled from across the world to be there and, even if the chocolate mousse fell flat, it couldn’t spoil the best part of the day, which was looking around and seeing people chatting, getting to know each other, and cutting embarrassing moves on the dancefloor. Nothing like a wedding to get everybody losing their cool.
- Mr Skint. Yep, it’s true . . .
A couple of years ago I came across this account of organising a DIY wedding from a US blog that I like, Young House Love, and it’s always stuck in my mind as an inspiration for how to organise a big event on a budget. So charming.
So, what are your stories of getting hitched, Skint pals? Any near misses? Any Big Day Disasters? Or are you happy to give the whole wedding day shenanigans a body swerve?
Photo credit: bigdayplunge