Adorable couples with budget-friendly weddings make my heart soar! Sarah and Matthew were married in London in June. They spent just £2000 and had their reception at home.
“Matthew and I met on OkCupid”, Sarah told me. “I’d started online dating when I moved to the UK from Canada in 2013; it was a great way to meet new people and see different parts of the city. However, I also found it could be extremely boring when you don’t click with someone and spend the evening pulling teeth trying to make conversation. Once I’d settled into London life a bit more and found myself busy with work and new friends, I decided to throw in the towel, but I’d already set up a date with Matthew. We clicked right away! We broke all of the first date taboos by chatting about everything from politics and religion to feminism and pop punk. We’d been dating for 8 months when we got engaged and 4 months after that, we got married. I used to think people were daft when they’d say ‘When it’s right, you’ll just know,’ but for us, that was completely true.”
Their ceremony was held at Wandsworth Town Hall. “We had a town hall ceremony followed by a garden reception at our home later in the afternoon. Things wrapped up in the evening so we could head to a hotel for our mini-moon, so it was much shorter than many weddings. Everyone commented on how laid back and fun it felt. I think a big part of that was only incorporating traditions that felt meaningful for us. For example, we exchanged rings, but there was only one speech, no bridal party, and no feeding each other cake! We focused on the things that were important to us: good company, good food, good drinks, and good music. Everyone mingled in our back garden; it was very relaxed.”
“We didn’t have a particular theme for our wedding, we just focused on making it feel like us. That meant lots of bright colours and personal touches. Matthew is obsessed with board games and so we bought a few simple ones (Connect Four; Hungry, Hungry Hippos; and Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots) and set them out as functional table décor. They were an instant hit! Some very competitive games broke out, which was funny to watch.”
Sarah’s dress came from Chi Chi London and was a bargain at less than £100! Her headpiece was custom made by Crown and Glory. “We saved a lot of money by keeping our wedding very small – we only had 20 guests”, she explained. “Having a town hall ceremony and hosting the reception at home saved us so much money on venue hire costs. Plus it meant that we could buy all of our own booze without paying a corkage fee. For entertainment, we just put together a playlist on Spotify so we didn’t spend anything on entertainment.”
“Our single biggest expense was the food – which was around £450. We even managed to keep this cost down by serving canapés rather than having a sit down meal, which worked well for the timeline of our day. We had originally planned to make our own wedding cake but decided to splash out on a beautiful creation from Lily Vanilli. It was lemon sponge with white chocolate butter cream frosting and decorated with edible flowers and berries from her garden. Everything she bakes is so beautiful and it made the day feel even more special.”
“People are going to have opinions about how you choose to celebrate your marriage and you might even be surprised how many beliefs you have about what a wedding ‘should’ be”, Sarah concluded. “Give yourself permission to do it your own way and stick with your vision. Not everyone can conceptualise different ways to do things but when they experience how special it is and how happy it makes you, they’ll love it too.”