May 10 2013
We are lucky at Larchfield Estate in that many of the areas have their own charm without you having to dress or decorate unless you want to. Within our price we also automatically include access to the lake for photos (no extra charge), the walled gardens, the cobbled courtyards and the main barn. We always offer exclusive use. The gardens are a great area for photos year round, but in summer can be used for anything from your ceremony (if you are getting married on site) to drinks and canapés and photos through to a treasure hunt for children… or you can bring in any games from home – for example a game of croquet or giant Jenga… the paddock area (as well as being used for car parking) has also been used for cricket, mini Olympics (the day after the wedding) to badminton and archery…
At first glance staying in Rose cottage overnight may look like an added expense, but if you are having your ceremony on site remember that it also means that you won’t need a wedding car as you can simply walk across to the ceremony! Also no requirement for taxi or wedding car after evening party and you can decide exactly what time to leave at.
The other area for big savings if you are serving alcohol is that we don’t charge corkage at Larchfield – which means you can bring in your own wine, bubbles etc. for us to put in our big fridges to chill ready for your guests. Many people nowadays wouldn’t serve champagne as a reception drink – and you can get some seriously good bubbles for under £10. I don’t mind admitting I can be quite fussy (just sometimes!) and there is a superb Spanish cava I love which is under £6 a bottle – we are always happy to share contacts like this with couples having their wedding at Larchfield – do just ask us! Keep an eye out too for supermarket offers and take advantage of them! You can literally save thousands like this. We had half price bubbles at our wedding and it tasted (to me anyway!) even better than the full price version. Likewise people would often serve, depending on season, mulled wine or Pimms through to fresh lemonade, cream teas or soup in winter… again sometimes it is good to be different.
If you would like a pay bar for all or part of the day again just let us know. We have a company that can run this for you, at no charge to you for all or part of the day – and their prices are very reasonable – currently £3.30 a pint (we have all the pump systems in house – and even a mojito machine!) and they have no problem with you bringing in your own bubbles for guests on arrival and wine for the tables.
Whilst some people may be shy to ask from personal experience it is a great idea to get friends involved for all sorts of reasons – apart from free labour (!) it includes people you are close to in your day and makes it more meaningful. We asked friends (over a picnic lunch) to help tie ribbons on our orders of service and a group of us sat around the table one afternoon to twist florists ribbon (wire down the edges) around napkins and to make the table names. My sister is a teacher and good with IT so she kindly printed out the seating plan. On the actual day we looked around there were lots of little touches by friends and family which made the day all the more special.
If you have talented friends then why not ask them if they would take part in your day – from doing a reading through to singing a song, over the years we have had couples who have friends who have helped with everything from photography to music, sourcing drinks (if you know someone in the trade worth asking them!) or making the cake, through to little decoration touches and to making the bridesmaids dresses – whilst this all helps on the monetary side people also often like to be given the option to be involved – you can always suggest this as their wedding present to you!
Working out the guest list is sometimes really hard – they often seem to creep up – which means more mouths to feed and hence a higher cost - remember that there is always the option of inviting people for after dinner, that way you don’t have to pay for their drinks and dinner – but they are still part of the day. Also as a general rule expect 10-15% of your guests not to be able to make the big day.
If you don’t have a talented friend who can help with the baking then it is always worth considering something like Marks and Spencer who do cakes by pre order. A few flowers or additions such as cake glitter can spruce up a plain white cake very easily and will be a lot cheaper than using a professional baker.
We made our own wedding cake (well my mother and I did!) and asked someone to ice it for us.
There are a number of websites where you can design your own invitations free of charge meaning you only have to pay for the printing costs. Some of our couples have used their company’s printers (with their permission!) – which can save going to a professional printers. There are also lots of online options.
It is also worth looking at sites such as Ebay and Etsy - there are lots of suppliers on both of these websites where you can buy discounted and cheaper options – from homemade cards to free printing planners.
Many of the big department stores (think House of Fraser, Aspinal etc.) also have discount sites on Ebay – good for everything from suits and bridesmaids dresses through to thank you presents and more…
Whilst at Larchfield Estate we aim to provide everything you may need for you day, from Chivali chairs and our tables through to PA systems for speeches and easels for seating plans do remember that we are also here every step of the way to help with those all important decisions and to help you save money if we can.
The most important thing to remember on the day though is to enjoy yourselves. It is your day and a very very special one – we are just here to help take any stress away and help make it what you want it to be.