Sunday, 6 September 2015

How to save money on your wedding without compromising on style

I've said before I always envisaged myself getting hitched on the beach or in jeans in Vegas or something, just me and my husband. I always thought that the cost of weddings was ridiculous and was money that could be much better spent elsewhere - plus being the centre of attention isn't really either of our sort of thing. I blame Pinterest for the fact I ended up having an actual wedding day!

We were both determined that we would keep to a reasonable budget (a quarter of the average UK wedding), even though just that in itself seems like a ridiculous amount of money to spend on a day, and we managed to stick to it by making a few compromises without making the day look 'budget'. This meant we could spend more on the honeymoon - we spent more on the honeymoon than the wedding - and not start married life with a ton of debt. Sorry this is a LONG post!

I knew that a big hotel type of wedding probably wouldn't be for me in terms of style or numbers. I wanted something smaller and more intimate, in a barn type of setting but most that I could find in the area were way outside of our price range or not in the prettiest setting . Some of the prices were astounding but remember you can always haggle (try for extras thrown in rather than money off if you're not getting anywhere) and winter weddings/weddings in the week and even later weddings can work out cheaper.

We got married at Leicester Warren Hall in Knutsford, a venue which I could find very little about online, but fell in love with in person. It's in a lovely setting, barn-style and has a little ceremony room on site which is very Church-esque and kind of unusual. I'm planning a review on this shortly to help others who might be thinking of getting married there - I'll update with a link when this is live

I didn't want a big wedding but in total we had about 40 day guests and 80 evening guests - we could easily have had more even though neither of us has huge families but we prioritised spending the day with our nearest and dearest. For the venue we had, it was the right sort of amount I think.

Invitations and wedding stationery printing
All of this was done online using PaperShaker - absolute godsend!

Most of my decorations came from Ebay, online or from cheaper retailers. I had sequin tablecloths which I ordered from China (from here) for the same price as it would have cost to hire them, photobooth props from Ebay, candlestick holders from Matalan and photoframes from Poundland ha! I didn't do wedding favours either as they only end up in the bottom of someone's hadbag or kitchen drawer in my opinion, unless you give food, I got some little custom hearts printed from Ebay with our names and wedding date which a lot of people ended up taking home. I was really pleased about this as I'd thought about giving them as favours but didn't think anyone would want them!

Image from Ebay

I had real peony bouquets and buttonholes but my budget just wouldn't stretch to table arrangements etc - and I made the decision only to spend for the wedding on items where I could recoup the spend to some extent - so I made the decision to go for fake peonies in my wedding colours (from Ebay). You can find a centrepiece tutorial here.

Bridal party
I had two bridesmaids, Matt had a best man - no little flowergirls or ushers or extended, convoluted bridal parties. One of my friends had seven bridesmaids because she just couldn't choose and the thought of what she must have spent on our hair, dresses and jewellery alone makes me wince. Her wedding was fab though!

Living Social
My cake was from Vanilla Nova after buying a Living Social deal - the cake was absolutely amazing, we saved money but we didn't have to compromise on buying a bog standard cake from the high street that I've read some disappointed reviews about. We had strawberry, vanilla, lemon and chocolate orange tiers and actually managed to take some home. I had a few people text us after the wedding specifically to say how nice the cake was! Topper is a custom design from

Wedding Car
No wedding car for me - a few hundred pounds for a 20 minute journey (I got married and had the reception etc in the same place) was just not feasible so my bridesmaid's boyfriend drove us all up in his fancy car. It worked out better practically in the end anyway. And only the photographer saw us arrive as everyone was already inside.

My dress was from a wedding warehouse place (this one in Stockport). I spent about half what most people I know paid for their wedding dress and I was really really happy with the one I found, it was exactly what I wanted.   Ok so it's not as glamorous or pampering as getting fawned over in a traditional bridal shop and if they don't have your size that's it but that's where the money's saved. It needed no alterations but I couldn't wear heels with it (boo) so I just wore some Primark flip flops for comfort as you couldn't see them, so classy.

Calling in favours
Matt's a teacher so we had his colleague, who teaches photography, doing our wedding photos and we were so happy with the end results! He normally does arty stuff rather than weddings but he's now is thinking of branching out to do a bit more commercial photography. He even put together a selfie station for our guests which has produced some hilarious photos! Another person who really helped us out was a family friend who sewed my crystal belt to my dress.

I don't feel sentimental about anything I bought for my wedding - I'm a bit anti clutter so at the end of the day it's just stuff that had a purpose and now it doesn't.  I've Ebayed all my decorations and I plan on selling my dress as soon as it's back from the dry cleaners which loads of people are totally aghast at.  I'll keep a couple of bits in my memory box like an invitation, the tablecloth samples, Matt's speech etc. but realistically I won't wear my dress again and there's not much call for a sequin tablecloth in my daily life...

The only spend I'd change
The only thing that I felt like was a bit of a waste of money was the big fancy hotel we stayed in on our wedding night - we got there well after midnight and checked out at about 10:30am, most of which was spent asleep so it's not like we appreciated the room/made full use of all the swanky facilities etc. Matt didn't even get up for breakfast he was so hungover  tired. We could have stayed somewhere nice for half what we spent and had the same experience easily. But if you want a really fancy hotel...then go for it!

In the end...
I loved our wedding day, what we had was perfect for us, all of our guests really enjoyed it and I don't feel like that by making these little tweaks we lost anything in the process or that it felt bland/cheap, our friends and family all had a great time (as did we!). Plus our wedding and honeymoon has now been totally paid for in full, phew, so no debt hanging over us while we move into the next stage of life as Mr and Mrs.

My best advice to brides is to remember it's your wedding day, don't get too caught up in the hype or what other people think you should do.  You'll find a lot of people have a lot of opinions on what's right/what's an absolute wedding MUST, just let it wash over you and have the wedding you want. Oh, and it's ok to have a couple of meltdowns along the way, honest.


  1. We had an amazing event here this past weekend. We had a friend create some custom drink options that the bartenders served throughout the night and the designer easily collaborated with the space at New York wedding venues to address her needs.

  2. These guys make the assumption with every order that the person receiving the Flower Bouquets is the most important person in your life. You can't ask for more.


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