Tag Archives: budget wedding

A Blue Burlesque Wedding with a £900 Budget: Sally & Mark

To say that I’m excited to be sharing Sally & Mark’s wedding with you this afternoon would be an under-exaggeration of HUGE magnitude. Not only is their wedding freakin’ awesome on so many levels, but they pulled the whole thing off for £900!

Let me repeat myself to make sure you got that, because I didn’t quite believe it when I read it on Sally’s submission either – the whole wedding cost just £900!!

“We had approx 6 weeks and a budget of around £900 for our wedding,” Sally wrote. “Where we could we handmade items or got friends to help us out. We were lucky that our photographers, performers, DJ and cake makers were all friends so did us special deals. We were also able to get both our venues (the afternoon reception was held at William Steads Pub and the evening afterparty at the Tap and Spile Pub, Darlington) for free as we didn’t hire them exclusively.”

“Our inspiration came from our love of burlesque and the fact we wanted a fun day loosely based around the 50’s,” Sally continued. “Once we’d found the dress then we built from there. I had searched and searched for a perfect dress but couldn’t find one in my size. I very luckily stumbled across Pixie Pocket who hand makes dresses for amazing prices. I really wanted to add colour and we managed to find most things that matched my hair!”

The couple decorated their evening reception venue themselves, mostly using items they found in their local £1 shop! “Our sweets, table confetti, table gems and sequins all came from the £1 shop and we made the bunting ourselves from off cuts of old material.”

“It was a small intimate event (just 33 guests) but it was just what we wanted and we were able to incorporate our two children in with the day. The day was exactly what we wanted. We started at 9.30am (we had been told that the registry office was fully booked but one morning I decided to call them and BEG them to fit us in! Eventually they relented and said we could have a 9.30am wedding and they opened an hour and a half early for us!) Then we went to our local pub for bacon sandwiches and a full English breakfast. From there we came home for cocktails and popped to our local park for pictures. Our photographer was amazing! Just what we wanted nice and laid back with no pressure and added to the fun.”

“After my parent’s had taken our kids back to theirs, we had the evening upstairs at our local pub. An evening of booze and burlesque! The whole day was amazing fun. My face hurt from laughing and smiling!”

Sally & Mark have also been kind enough to provide a breakdown of what they spent for their day, as I know a lot of you are on the look out for money saving tips for your own weddings. Check out the ‘Supporting Cast’ credits list below the gallery for the amounts they spent on each item.

More loveliness in the gallery below. FYI, a few of the following images may not be safe for work…

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A Psych-Folk-Horror Themed Wedding: Ali & Dan

Ali & Dan, who won free wedding photography with Laura Babb through a feature on this little wedding blog of mine, were married in November. With Dan being Scottish, they originally thought about having their wedding in the far North of the country (the area where he’s from) but it turned out the logistics were impossible. However they luckily found their perfect venue in Folly Farm, Bristol.

“We trawled around plenty of places with the help of the internet, and even booked another venue at one point – but when we found Folly Farm we knew it was the right spot,” Ali told me. “We completely lucked out with the weather on the day, it was hard to believe it was November – but as we fell for Folly Farm’s vantage point and woodland walks on a dreich February morning, we knew it would be beautiful no matter what. We will shortly be leaving the UK to spend a few years working in Philadelphia, so the wedding also gave us a chance to say goodbye to our closest friends and family.”

Although the couple didn’t really want a theme per-say, the day ended up just being a perfect reflection of them as a couple. “We wanted to include the things that we love: great music, the handmade, plenty of colour, nature, the outdoors and each other,” Ali continued. “We were enthusiastic planners though and our non-theme gradually evolved into something we decided to call ‘Psych-Folk-Horror’. We’ve been into folk music and particularly psychedelic folk for a while, so that was always going to be part of the musical element of our day.”

“The tipping point into full-blown theme though was when Dan gifted me “The Owl Service” by Alan Garner, a Folk Horror classic from 1967. After I read it, it became the inspiration for the invitations, RSVP cards and orders of service I designed. Folk Horror as a genre is inspired by nature and we made sure there was plenty of nature and wild things in the decorations. The woods at Folly Farm provided an amazing backdrop, with owls calling in the nighttime, deer and badgers. We let things get a little weirder later in the evening by projecting an animation we made in our living room of our RSVP cards coming to life, followed by the 1960’s TV series of The Owl Service.”

“Our inspiration primarily came from wanting the wedding to feel homely – part of us and the way we live together. That doesn’t sound very Rock n Roll in itself, but we tried really hard to cut out the rubbish and keep our own identities – hopefully whilst maintaining our usual sense of humour. It was very important to us that everything had some meaning for us. We collected lichen covered twigs and driftwood from a beach near Dan’s home in Scotland, teasels from Dan’s mum, and leaves from London’s parks (we’ve both developed a discerning eye for a good leaf!). We’re scientists by day and we wanted to include this too, hence the assortment of lab glassware. There were also things that we live with every day, such as blankets, cushions, bike bits and strange mix of ornaments.”

They even made their own ‘leaf bunting’ which, although looks simple, did take a lot of collecting, drying out and stringing of leaves to make happen! “We love the handmade and hand crafted, especially when those things are made by people we know.”

“We had a number of friends and family stay at the farm on Friday night before the wedding, who pulled out all the stops to help us with the decorations; tying leaf bunting, arranging teasels in conical flasks and piling up leaves and twigs late into the night. Dan’s Grandma is a weaver in the highlands; although she sadly could not make the journey south for the ceremony she made our cake and we used a number of her woven rugs for the ceremony.”

“I’ve always had a habit of ‘making’ and in recent years that’s predominantly been knitted things. The first bit of the wedding I made was my gloves, before I had any clear idea of what my dress would be like. The wool was an inspired gift from Dan, which I’d been saving for something special. I then moved onto shawls for my bridesmaids and a jumper for my page boy who is very fortunately fond of owls. I ended up designing Dan’s socks because I couldn’t find a pattern I liked, and I was really pleased with how they turned out. All these things were knitted in Alice Starmore’s yarn, whose colours are inspired by the Scottish landscape – specifically places where Dan grew up and we’ve both shared some of our happiest times together. We couldn’t get all our guests up to the remote Highlands, but we did manage to carry them with us during the day.”

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An Origami Wedding: Ceri & Terry

Ceri & Terry didn’t really plan to have a theme for their November wedding, however once they started with the origami they found it hard to stop! Ceri told me all about their beautiful wedding, “When we first started planning the wedding, we were determined to do our best to be relaxed about the whole thing. We decided that, if we could find the right venue then even if everything else went wrong, we’d be ok – we could turn up in jeans and order pizza, if necessary, as long as we could get all our loved ones in the right place. After a couple of months of looking, we found it: Great Wilbraham Hall Barn. It was perfect – big enough for our guests, fairly isolated, licensed for weddings (we wanted everything in the same place), ideal for the winter months with lots of warmth and character, and within 30 minutes drive of Terry’s grandparents.”

“A few weeks after we had booked, we got the call – the barn had burnt down. Ah. So, onto plan B. We saw the marquee which was put up in place of the barn, and liked it – it was light and airy, and still had all the things about the location that we had loved initially. The only problem was that, whereas the barn was full of its own character, the marquee would definitely need decorating. We spent a lot of time going for walks and kicking ideas about, until I remembered the Senbazuru – an ancient Japanese legend promises that anyone who folds a thousand origami cranes will be granted a wish. It is a traditional wedding gift, or something done together by the prospective husband and wife to prepare them for married life together – it does take a lot of time and patience. I love origami, but Terry had to learn – which he did, and the next few months were spent folding cranes together in the evenings. We also went on to fold tiny cranes for all the place cards, and decided to carry the theme through, picking origami animals to be our table names and I even folded my own origami bouquet.”

The couple spent months collecting different types of paper for all the origami – from comic book patterns (Terry is a big fan) to headed paper from their work! “It was really exciting getting the paper for the cranes,” Ceri continued. “Every time we got a new batch in we’d sit and fold one of every colour just to see what they looked like!”

“The thing which we found most difficult about planning a wedding was the assumption from other people that things would always be done a certain way,” the bride concluded. “We wanted to start from scratch and do things because they felt right, rather than just because they were traditional. Our two best friends are guys, so no bridesmaids, but two best men. Because the marquee wasn’t licensed for weddings, we were legally married in a very small, very quick ceremony in the billiard room, and then had a public ceremony in front of all our guests, so we personally adapted both ceremonies to make them right. Neither of us were particularly interested in wedding flowers – so we didn’t have them, using flower-pots filled with Love Hearts to stand our origami animals up in in the centre of each table.”

“Also, music is really important to both of us, so we chose the songs that make us think of each other for background music throughout the reception, and picked a complete set-list for the DJ so we were sure that every song was one that we would want to dance to! Looking back on the day, it feels like every bit of it was very much ‘us’ – we didn’t have a wedding, we had our wedding. That’s what made us Rock n Roll.”

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Post It Notes – 2nd December 2011: How to Save Money on Your Wedding Dress

For this week’s wedding note I thought I’d blog some money saving ideas relating to the wedding dress. Although, yes, your wedding dress may well be the most expensive dress you’ll ever own, I’m well aware that the average price of somewhere between £1000 – £2000, is going to be out of a lot of bride’s budgets.

Vintage

Photography Credit: Annamarie Stepney Photography (full wedding here)

Vintage wedding dresses are hugely popular right now but this does mean that a lot of vintage shops have hiked up their prices. But if you do your research, you can still get vintage gowns for a song. Try non-wedding specific shops like Beyond Retro where prices are likely to be lower. Vintage wedding-specific dress shops like For Coat No Knickers in London will even alter your own dress if you find a bargain elsewhere.

Vintage Reproduction

Photography Credit: Martyn & Clare Wheatley (Sinister Pictures) (full wedding here)

Vintage reproduction dresses are also a great way to get the vintage ‘look’ without the price tag. A frustrating thing about searching for genuine vintage dresses is that often the sizes are very small. Places like Vivien of Holloway, Honeypie BoutiqueDolly Couture and Peppermint Pretty, make gorgeous vintage-inspired gowns that are both affordable and can be made in any size.

Charity Shops

Photography Credit: Emma Case Photography (full wedding here)

Why not check out your local charity shop? Barnardos and Oxfam even have specialty wedding dress branches where you may well pick up an utter bargain!

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A Simple DIY Wedding: Tara & Oleg

Tara & Oleg were married at Wentworth Falls School of Arts, NSW, Australia. The bride wore a beautiful 1950’s debutante gown made of white taffeta with black flocked trim which she found on eBay!

“They met at Acting College in Sydney and have been together for the last 6 years,” their wedding photographer Jemima Richards told me. “The easiest way to describe these two as madly in love. Their wedding was a really beautiful reflection of that. The entire wedding had a distinct DIY theme, but with all of their personality in every single element. Oleg is from Croatia, so his family members made the special journey over, with his two sisters travelling from opposite ends of the planet just to be there. As a wedding gift, Tara also flew in Oleg’s very best friend from London as a surprise!”

“The ceremony was simple and in the small and intimate events hall at the School of Arts,” she continued. “Tara had handmade 150 large paper pom-poms to decorate both the reception and ceremony with as opposed to flowers. She even disclosed that she spent a back breaking 5 hours the night before the wedding ‘poofing’ and hanging every single one.”

“Each guest was presented with a personalised program for the wedding which included a personal and individual message from the bride and groom in the back. The couple read their own vows (or in the case of Oleg, spoke straight from the heart) and their celebrant even recited the Dr Seuss poem ‘Oh! the places you’ll go’ (which was super relevant and very sweet). The ceremony was brief, but very sincere and heartfelt.”

“The couple opted not to have any formal portraits taken of themselves with their best man and maid of honour, and instead went straight into the reception which was held in the adjoining theatre of the School of Arts. The lack of formal photos was made up for by the addition of a photobooth, which the couple described as ‘a way to give a gift to each guest’.Tara and Oleg wanted their reception to be all about their guests, while still having the same amount of personality as the ceremony.”

“Guests were treated to a self serve lolly bar with suggestions written on playing cards by the wedding party, lots of dancing, and their gorgeous Cowboys and Indians themed wedding cupcakes. The entire night was a party to celebrate their getting hitched and there was not a single moment where there was a lack of love in the air or someone being bored.”

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A Homemade Back Garden Wedding: Philip & Katie-Jane

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Philip & Katie-Jane had a handmade wedding in the bride’s parent’s back garden. They hired a tipi and decorated the whole garden with the things they love – creating a really magical looking space. They even converted the shed into ‘The Poppy Red Shed’ (Poppy Red is a bar in Birmingham which the bride and groom first met) which they stocked with local ales, spirits and liquours.

“With the bride being in fashion (Senior footwear designer for KG for Kurt Geiger) it was always going to be different kind of wedding,” the couple told me. “We wanted to make sure there was less formality and more personality. Using personal inspiration and the bride’s vision we focused on what the guests would experience and how that would make us feel. The sun came out as soon as the wedding couple stepped into the garden and the day just got better and better.”

There were so many DIY elements of this wedding, as the couple continued to explain, “All the invites were handmade, handkerchiefs stamped with the details wrapped in a doilie posted with a portrait stamp of the bride and groom. We also made the teacup chandelier hovering over the top table. The cake table was brought together by several guests bringing their own cakes to share although the main wedding cake nearly got eaten before it had even been cut!”

“The bride made all the ‘winecup’ favours herself, a wineglass stem with a teacup on top. The women guests (and some men) were in awe and the race was on to ensure they all got to take one home. The pewter tankards were a massive success, again collected from car boots, family and friends. It took the men about 10 minutes to get them and that was it for the rest of the night. We had a flipcam passed round the tables and it was one of the happiest hours ever after the wedding watching all the guests enjoying the food, drink and each other.”

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Katie-Jane wore two dresses – the first by Vera Wang and the second, a vintage gown from Hope & Harlequin in Brighton. She also wore Miu Miu shoes and vintage jewellery.

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