Emilie & Antony spent just £3000 on their wedding. They were married on a Friday and were really lucky to have a friend who worked at Lains Barn in Oxfordshire, who was able to get them a really cheap deal on the rental and food costs. “Lains Barn is perfectly charming and was perfect for our shabby chic wedding!” wrote Emilie. “We chose to have a hog roast. It was served with buns and apple sauce. My grandmother didn’t seem a big fan of the way it was served, but not everyone agreed – one of my friends said ‘Burgers at a wedding – genius!’ with a big smile on his face and a couple of burgers on his plate!”
This wasn’t where the money saving stopped though. Emilie found her dress for just £30 on eBay and Antony’s suit was from TK Maxx. They also didn’t have any bridesmaids or groomsmen, the bride’s mother did the flowers and they kept the reception décor minimal. “The venue already came partly decorated”, she continued. “The main barn had long flowing fabric hangings which I thought looked perfect as they were, so I just added the flower arrangements to decorate the tables. The second barn, where the bar is, already had fairy lights and greenery decorating the animal troughs. I hung lots of silver stars along the wood beams to add some shabby chic whimsy to the room. I made them myself using the inside cardboard from toilet rolls, cutting each roll into 5 roundels. I flattened each roundel to make it a little pointed, and then hot-glued them in the middle to make stars! All that was left to do after that was spray-painting them silver.”
There was no doubt in my mind that I had to share this wedding with you. My heart skipped a beat as I clapped eyes on the beautiful Sarah and her stunning movie starlet-esque red wedding dress from The Couture Company and I flicked through Toast of Leeds‘ photographs holding my breath. What an utterly beeeeeeeautiful wedding.
“Our venue was Buckland Hall in the Brecon Beacons National Park, a country house in the Welsh mountains, that we could personalise and make our own for a long weekend”, Sarah began. “We had free reign of the house and grounds, which we decorated with family photos and personal belongings that we’ve collected during our time together. Sixty of our guests stayed on the night of our wedding and close family the night before. The ceremony was held in a room with views of rolling park land, the River Usk and snow capped mountains beyond.”
“We held a drinks reception immediately after the ceremony with vegan canapés, cherrytree Cola and cocktails we’d designed ourselves: Pimms #6 (made with fresh strawberry puree) and passionfruit mojitos (with organic fair-trade rum and sweetbird syrup). This was followed by a three-course sit down’vegan meal, with starter created by Steven (wild mushroom empanadas with fennel cream sauce).”
Sometime late last Summer I strolled into my favourite wedding boutique to visit my friends, Laura & Emma, who own it. Whenever I’m in central London I always pop into Fur Coat No Knickers to see their latest pretty vintage wedding dresses, to drink some Cava and to catch up on all the latest gossip. But this fateful day in August was different. I was greeted at the door with squeals from Laura, “I’m engaged! Tom Proposed last week!” she shrieked. More Cava was popped and we started to discuss all things wedding – but this time not other people’s – hers!
Working in with wedding industry, Laura had quite a good idea about what she did – and did not – want for their March wedding. She knew Emma Case was the girl to shoot it and that obviously she’d be wearing a dress from Fur Coat No Knickers. She also knew they wanted something casual, low-key, fun and stress-free.
“To Have Emma Case to snap our big day was amazing”, Laura began. “She and husband Pete are so cool and so chilled and they capture everything. They are like two little meerkats popping up and down throughout the day and they are such a laugh. We love our photos so so much. The photo shoot bit of the day was awesome fun and they made us play lots of games to keep us relaxed. I loved this part of the day because Tom & I got to spend some time together. Emma & Pete made us feel so comfortable and it was so fun. I can’t recommend them enough. They totally rocked our day.”
Dan & Charlotte had a two-day wedding celebration in Wales. They started off planning just the Saturday wedding by the beach with a pagan blessing, as this was what Charlotte really wanted. However they soon realised that legally, and for family reasons, they would need to have another ceremony with a registrar present, in a venue sanctioned for wedding ceremonies. “I did view having to have both ceremonies as a bit of a compromise”, Charlotte explained, “But rather than just doing the legal bit in a quick service on our own in a registry office or something, we set about finding somewhere just as beautiful for that part and made it into it’s own distinctive day. We also really wanted our wedding to last a bit longer than the usual one day which is why we split it into two. I would advise anyone planning their wedding to think about spinning things out a bit! It’s all over so quickly on the day and we really treasured the extra time we gave themselves over the weekend to spend quality time with everyone that came to celebrate with us.”
The first ceremony, on the Friday, was held right by Pistyll Rhaeadr, the highest waterfall in Wales. Afterwards they had a small reception at The Plough Inn - local pub in the Welsh village of Llanrhaeadr Ym Mochnant (!) They kept it informal with a roaring fire, a simple buffet, and a cosy, intimate and very laid back atmosphere. “We run our own business and dare to do things differently on a daily basis”, explained the bride. “Our shop was recently voted the ’7th Most Unusual Shop in the UK’ by the Guardian, so I suppose it was it was inevitable that our wedding would be a bit different! In terms of inspiration we both love nature and being out in the countryside, and I felt really strongly about being married as ‘outside’ as possible. We started visiting this waterfall a couple of years ago, so as soon as we realised we could get married at there it made complete sense. It’s a really special place, a lush green Welsh valley with the mighty fall like a hidden gem. There’s a calmness there, a natural spiritual feeling.”
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.
Emma & Trevor’s farmhouse wedding took place in February. Their venue, Donington Park Farmhouse, an amazing space in Derbyshire, really set the theme of the day. The couple wanted the décor they chose to suit the surroundings, and so the wedding evolved into a rustic inspired theme. They had natural elements such as stone and exposed brick, key vintage pieces on the tables and wildflowers.
“Because the venue was a farmhouse, we had lots of exposed brick and natural materials, so our theme evolved into a kind of rustic, vintage style with the antique inkwells and bottles, old doilies and dried wheat and lavender”, Emma explained. “I hate the concept of a ‘vintage wedding’ (having been to a few wedding fairs along those lines that just felt really contrived) but in this case it really suited the place. I can honestly say we weren’t looking for total co-ordination, and we went with our gut instinct on what we liked. Because the venue was so amazing we actually had very little décor in the end.”