Nicole and James set £5000 as the budget for their September wedding, and remarkably they actually spent less than that! Having the day at a village hall, hiring a fish n chip van for catering, and asking guests to bring along dessert, was how they saved the majority of their money. They also didn’t spent a lot on fancy outfits.
“We’ve been to a LOT of weddings, so we had strong feelings about what we didn’t want for ours” Nicole began. “Probably our first decisions were what we wouldn’t have – speeches (boring and cringe), a seating plan (we like relaxed, informal affairs) or chair covers (yuk!) By knowing they were off the table, our more unusual wedding was the only way to go really. I think because we’d been together for so long (we met when we were 17!) we didn’t feel as much pressure to follow traditions that we didn’t see the point of.”
“We didn’t have a theme, just stuff we liked that we hoped would look OK when it was all in the same room!” she said. “It ended up a bit of a mix of Batman, dinosaurs, festivals, rock music, cake, dancing and games. Somehow it all came together and looked good! We took inspiration from lots of places including Rock n Roll Bride but we never got bogged down in what would ‘go’.”
Helen and Mike had a homemade wedding in Slough, Berkshire. With just £3000 to spend they knew they had to do a lot of things themselves, and they relished that fact!
“We described our wedding as rickety, homemade, chaotic and lovely!”, said the bride. “We just wanted a day that reflected us. We don’t enjoy fine dining or formal event and we have been to so many weddings where you walk into the venue and see no sign of personality of the bride and groom. We wanted people to walk into our venue and think ‘This is so Helen and Mike’.”
“I feel like we saved money on every aspect of our wedding. Everyone who knows us is aware that we love our charity shops and jumble sales and enjoy being thrifty, so all the little details of the wedding came from second-hand shops or were homemade. Our biggest expense was feeding our 150 guests but instead of traditional caterers we had a fish n chip van and an ice cream van. I bought a pop corn maker and had boxes of popping corn so people could make their own pop corn during the drinks reception. These were all cheaper options and way more fun!”
Philip and Stacy pulled off their awesome steampunk inspired wedding for just £5000! “Our venue, Papplewick Pumping Station was the perfect backdrop for a steampunk wedding”, the bride said. “The theme inspired the groomsmen’s styling. The bridal party were more traditional, but with an alternative twist, much to the surprise of my family who assumed I would wear a gothic or neon pink dress!”
“We both wanted the celebration of our marriage to be fun and memorable”, she continued. “The reception was akin to a children’s party with candy floss, lucky bags, games and toys. We gave guests raffle tickets at the ceremony, and during the speeches we drew it. The prizes were various toys and games we had collected in the previous year.”
“To keep costs to a manageable level, the majority of our accessories, such as the groomsmen’s buttonholes, were DIY. My Auntie and I had a crafty week before the wedding where we made the order of services booklets and customised all the bridal party accessories. We even bought a cheap bunch of roses to make a few buttonholes and for some guests which was the only expense on fresh flowers. My own bouquet consisted of skull buttons and feathers!”
Anna and James were married in Anna’s parents’ garden. After the ceremony they hosted their village fête inspired reception at Elham Village Hall.
“Above all we wanted a celebratory feel, and for everyone to have a fun and relaxed day”, began the bride. “We wanted a combination of natural, relaxed, homely, village fête style, and also some really heartfelt bits with personal vows and our love story during the ceremony.”
“There were quite a few musical performance elements throughout the day. For example, dancing entrances by the groom and groomsmaids (to the track Whatta Man), and the bridespeople (to the track I’m Every Woman). We also also sang during our vows to our favourite duet, Islands in the Stream. We also put on a surprise choreographed dance to Gett Off by Prince to kick off the dancing later! Plus we had a walking New Orleans-style jazz band to take us from the garden to the village hall. Lots of people from the village came out to watch, which was really lovely.”
A blustery beachy location, a groom with the most amazing mohawk ever and a bouquet made of seashells are just a few of the elements that I adore about Kelly and Louis’ wedding at Swell Cafe in Whitby.
“When people asked what our theme was we’d always reply with the same thing: ‘Fuck the theme!'” Kelly laughed. “We basically brought in bits and pieces from all the stuff we love like. We made our own seashell and sailor jerry themed bunting, complete with song lyrics from our fave punk bands. We also used about a million seashells to make things such as the ring holder and the decorations in the ceremony room. My incredible seashell bouquet was designed by me and very kindly made (for free!) by my Mum’s friend Sam Robey, who is a florist.”
“Other DIY décor items included Lego cake toppers, and lots of Wes Anderson’s Life Aquatic inspired pieces thrown in. We made our own photo booth props and I designed a wedding poster and made some framed prints. The main DIY task was making the fishing nets which decorated our ceremony venue. We added paper clips to the backs of hundreds of shells and added a few plastic lobsters and crabs on the nets for good measure. The DIY decorations made the whole day come alive for us, immersing our guests in our geeky little world. We also always wanted things to feel very punk which you can see in our hair, my dress, and the fact that we both wore Dr. Martens.”
Maya and Jamie met at University but only got together five years after graduation after reconnecting over Facebook! They moved in together six months later, had a baby and got engaged! Their wedding was held at Donington Park Farmhouse Hotel and their theme was ‘1940s England meets 1950s America’.
“The inspiration came from our home and our lifestyle and the things that we love on a day to day basis”, explain Maya. “We both love these eras and they influence our day to day lives. The whole day was just ‘us’. We wanted to create a relaxed and enjoyable day from the start with minimal formalities. From day one the whole wedding was centred around having a good time, and doing what felt natural to us. We did not want to conform to expectations from other more traditional views of what a wedding should be.”
“We wanted the wedding to be true to us as a couple and to reflect our tastes and interests. There was no dress code on the day and the main aim was to feel comfortable and for everyone to get to know us as a couple a bit better.”