Thrifty East London Pub Wedding: Ruth & Steve

Maureen Du Preez

April 19, 2013

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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.”

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“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.

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“We wanted an informal, low-key kind of affair for the wedding, where people could enjoy themselves and celebrate with us,” Ruth continued. “Essentially, it was a big party – and people definitely let their hair down and had fun! Steve and I play in a band together, so the event was naturally going to have a bit of a Rock n Roll vibe. Music is a huge part of our lives, so I appointed myself as the DJ and programmed a wedding playlist featuring a heap of classic tunes that kept everyone dancing. Everything from The Ronettes, Buddy Holly and Roy Orbison to T.Rex, Talking Heads and David Bowie. My mum was very proud.”

“We loved that our wedding felt unique and personal. It was a combined effort with family and friends that helped bring it all together. Without their help, I’m not sure we would have pulled it off half as well. We moved to London two years ago from Australia, and didn’t know a soul in the city. We are so lucky that, in such a short period of time, we have met the most wonderful people who wanted to contribute to our special day. We didn’t have a lot of money and the event was organised very quickly, but the personal contributions, such as the bouquet, photographs, wedding cake, decorations and hair and make up, really helped us. Even our wedding rings were family heirlooms inherited from Steve’s grandma and great aunt!”

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The couple were very lucky to have a professional wedding photographer as a friend. Maureen Du Preez shot their wedding free of charge as a wedding gift. “We chose a few rather unusual locations for some of the portraits, including Urban Outfitters and Nandos (the photo with the glowing heart!). Our friend and photographer Maureen was very spontaneous and spotted some great places as we were making our way to the reception. We also took some shots by the Love Lock Fence on Shoreditch High Street and added our own engraved padlock to the fence to commemorate our wedding day. Maureen and I are both lovers of analogue photography as well, so we got a few packs of instant film and a Polaroid camera to capture the day. It was something a little bit different, almost a relic of the past, and people loved holding a physical picture in their hands – it was a topic of conversation all night!”

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  1. WOW! This wedding had me at ‘Enchantment Under the Sea Dance’ it’s awesome in every way! Emma & Pete look sooo in love…it’s just beautiful. Such AMAZING photos and video-the raucous photobooth shots/footage are especially fab! {Lovely, heart felt write up too}

  2. bee bee

    amazing couple, amazing day, amazing pictures, amazing blog – just AMAZING!!!! every time I look at the pictures or read the blog it makes me cry – so many fab memories of the day 🙂 xxxx

  3. Ashley

    What an amazing story! Everyone looks so truly excited and photo booth picts are killer!

  4. Oh my… Steve… Joanna… how awesome can you get?

    I love every single image, every single smile, the dress, the emotion, the awesome… Just epic.

    Truly, madly, beautiful.

  5. That video made me cry and I haven’t even met Emma. This is what a wedding is about really, you don’t have to know them as a couple or as individuals to see it’s perfectly perfect for them.

  6. claire

    absolutely gorgeous and an inspiration for brides-to-be stressed about trying too hard…the video had me in tears, and the whole day just looked so perfect for you both. huge congratulations, and thanks for sharing kat x

  7. It was pretty embarrassing when I saw the photos on my lunchbreak and wept a bit at work, but I’ve just had the chance to watch the video and let out a big guffawing sob.

    THAT’S how you do a wedding. x

  8. This is so exciting! Good for them! I agree – this is what a wedding is about: being in love and celebrating your love with family and friends, they definitely ‘rocked’ their wedding!

  9. Lulu

    I have just broke down reading this to my partner!!! Truly beautiful! i love everything about it! They really did do it their way! And that girl with the Union Jack flag is amazing!!!

  10. Just gorgeous – fantastic photos and looks like a fab day & night was had by all! (All except the two ladies with their fingers in their ears!!) Huge congratulations to Emma & Pete!

  11. superb photography, love the photo booth, its something I will be offering from now on in.
    Well done Kat for keeping the secret bet you were busting to tell someone haha xxx

  12. holy(beeeep)shit! this wedding leaves me speechless, this is hard to do. 😉 my mouth is hanging agape, a little drool running off my chin. just simply epic.

  13. Jayne Sacco

    Truely awesome post, wedding and photography! Can’t wait to meet them all at the Rock n Rock party.

  14. i’m crying. CRYING. that video? amazing!!!! i couldn’t be any happier for these two…and i don’t even know them! 😉

  15. Awww, so sorry it’s taken me so long to get round to commenting, but this is just so brilliant, I love absolutely everything about it, and I’m so proud to say I was there!!!!

    So much love to you both Emma and Pete 🙂

    Annabel xXx

  16. Just been sat here for 10 minutes trying to put into words how amazing it is… not only to be married to Pete but to also have this much love literally thrown at the pair of us… thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone that has commented, tweeted or sent an email… we have been blown away. We had the BEST day and we still have balloons floating around our house, our flowers in vases and my wedding dress hanging up on the outside of the wardrobe… I’m not quite ready to put it all away just yet…. 🙂

  17. Allison - Magic Photography

    Congratulations to Emma & Pete – what an amazing wedding day! Love everything about it 🙂


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