I always get really excited to feature a super-budget wedding because I love to show you that, with a bit of clever engineering, a beautiful wedding doesn’t have to cost £20,000. Ruth & Steve spent just £700 on their day and it was perfect. They also planned the entire thing in just two months – sheesh, why can’t we all be such overachievers?!
This thrifty couple were very clever with how they spent the money that they did have to spend. Firstly the opted for an East London pub for the reception venue. Without extortionate rental rates, The Water Poet in Spitalfields was just the ticket. “The wedding took about two months to organise”, the bride began. “We booked the reception first, as I thought that would be the trickiest part of the operation. Then we booked our ceremony at Islington Town Hall and gave our Notice of Intent to Marry about four weeks before the ceremony.”
“Choosing a reception venue was probably the most challenging part of the wedding! I wasn’t too particular, but knew that I didn’t have the budget to hire a private venue. I started searching around for pubs with free room hire – most places could only reserve a couple tables at most. As the ceremony took place on a Friday, I knew most pubs would be rammed, which would have been too much for our parents to handle! We decided on holding the reception at The Water Poet in Spitalfields. It wasn’t too far from Islington Town Hall and they had a private room where we could set up the food, cake and decorations. My hens and I handmade all the paper flowers on the tables from a fab tutorial that I found on Rock n Roll Bride! The best thing about the room was its own sound-system – we plugged in our iPhone with our wedding playlist and just let it run all night!”
Ruth wore a dress from Topshop, and her shoes, also Topshop were an eBay bargain at just £10. Her headpiece was, amazingly, from Primark and her jewellery was a gift from Steve’s sister. The cake and flowers were both DIY efforts from helpful friends and family, the venue provided a buffet spread and they forgoed a DJ for a Spotify playlist.
A simple and low-key wedding at home was just the ticket for Katie & Michael, who were married in October last year. The day was held at Katie’s parent’s house and the entire thing was planned by the couple themselves.
Katie put her own wedding outfit together from an American Eagle cream crochet top, a matching crochet skirt and vintage cowboy boots. Each piece only cost $25 each and were sown together to create a dress by Michael’s mother.
In fact pretty much the whole wedding was a DIY effort. The wedding party picked their own outfits, Katie’s grandmother made the cake and the couple designed their own stationery. They picked seasonal wildflowers for decoration and the bride’s bouquet and they scoured thrift stores and borrowed from friends for the rest of the décor items. “We begged friends for any and all mason jars”, Katie laughed. “Using some rusty wire from my grandfather we turned them into centerpieces with a beautiful rustic feel and wrapped vintage lace around them that I found at a thrift store. We also wrapped about 10 trees in white lights which made the whole backyard glow. Another thing we searched for were nice vintage wood frames. We took a ton of family pictures, some of Mike and I when we were little, some of us as we were awkward teenagers and others of us with our parents or siblings or nephews. Then we added a bunch of together that had been taken throughout the last couple of years. We hung them from twine and had them throughout the dinner tent on the walls and they looked great!”
When it came to planning their wedding, Nicole & Tom knew they didn’t want a big fuss. In fact a private elopement at home was just the ticket. They did everything themselves from the decor to the food for their small number of guests and the music. They set up a video camera for the ceremony to be livestreamed to their friends & family that couldn’t attend.
“The main inspiration for our wedding was my dad”, Nicole wrote. “We actually weren’t planning on getting married until 2013 but when my dad got sick, we decided not to wait and planned it all in three weeks. We had it in my parent’s backyard so he didn’t have to travel anywhere and it made for a nice backyard venue. Because he was so sick, we didn’t want to bombard him with all of our family and friends flying in so we came up with the idea to stream the wedding live on the internet for everyone to watch. We had our guests take pictures of themselves watching our wedding and they did fun things like dress up and drink champagne and such. It turned out fantastic and my dad was actually able to walk me down the pathway.”
Bryce & Josie were hitched in October at As You Like It restaurant and bar in Newcastle. They budgeted £5000 for the wedding but ended up over-spending a little with the whole day coming in for a still very impressive £8000.
Wearing a vintage dress from eBay and a Topshop mini lace dress in the evening, Josie carried a vintage feather bouquet that had belonged to her mother. Her bridesmaid wore dresses from Hobbs and carried homemade crepe paper bouquet. Her groom was decked out in an Oliver Spencer suit.
“We met in 2005 in a bar in London, my last night out in Kew before moving to Islington”, began Josie. “A few weeks later Bryce followed my lead and moved down the road to Highbury. What can I say, his persistence paid off, 7 years, 3 cities and 2 kiddies down the road we got married!”
“This wasn’t the original wedding we planned,” she continued. “At first it was going to be a country village, marquee in the garden affair in May 2011. But various life events cropped up and meant that that was no longer to be. Never mind, who’d want a smooth running wedding plan anyway..!? Where are the stories to tell in that?! So we began to construct a plan for the North East.”
Not wanting to do things by halves, Clare & Aslam had three weddings. The firs two were Muslim celebrations, and this one was their western wedding. Having three whole weddings to plan, the couple kept this event low key and budget friendly. They DIYed a lot and spent just £5000 on the day. “We tried to do everything second hand or hand made as I hate waste and am a big environmentalist”, Clare explained. The wedding was held at Hyde Barn in the Cotswolds.
“Although my husband and I live and breathe south and east London now, I grew up climbing trees and then later on, going to big raves and technivals in the beautiful countryside here”, Claire continued. “So it is as much my hometown as it could be. Aslam and I are basically big kids so when we had our pro pics taken we ran into the garden and climbed trees and messed around, the venue was perfect for this. The venue actually hadn’t even been built when we booked it! But for that reason we saved a lot of money. Risky, but worth it. Because they were a new venue they pretty much let us do what we wanted. And seeing as I wanted to throw a childlike homespun DIY shoe-gaze/punk/rock festival style kid’s party with bubbles and story books, masks and games as well as accommodate a naughty french bulldog – a blank canvas like this was ideal.”
Ciaran & Ellen’s wedding was a far removed from a traditional wedding as possible. The bride didn’t wear a white dress, she wore a tweed suit; they didn’t have bridesmaids or groomsmen, they had their dogs; they didn’t have a fancy vintage car, the went for a hike. The ceremony was held at The Woolpack Inn in Cumbria in February and was followed by a low key and intimate meal for their few attendees. A few months later they had a larger gathering in their own back garden for the rest of their friends and family.
“Just keep it really, really simple!” Ellen began. “We’d stayed at The Woolpack before and nearly all the other people we used were recommended by friends so we knew we could trust them. For example, I showed Chrissie at Hat Therapy my Liberty Freedom outfit and my favourite hat and let her work her magic on the design. It was great because the design was completely different to what I might have chosen. Chrissie interpreted the tweed brilliantly and the hat exceeded my expectations.”