So many styled shoots look incredible, but often there’s hundreds of pounds worth of flowers/expensive props/ designer everything involved which makes it unreachable for many couples. So when Maddie from Sonnet Weddings and Events got in touch with this gorgeous ‘80s prom-themed shoot completely with decor that only cost around £30, we jumped at the chance to showcase that you don’t need a lot of money to decorate a wedding.
“I have had an idea percolating for a while to create a huge papier mache arch,” she told us, “which started with trying to brainstorm super cost-effective ways to make large-scale decorations. As the crazy pink arch started to take shape and each individual piece was designed and created, the kitschy ‘pink pink pink’ theme came together and all the other vendors ran with it!”
Figuring out your wedding budget and paying for the day can feel like an insurmountable task. Whether you have £1000 or £100,000 to spend, your wedding will be one of the most exciting (and very likely) expensive days of your life. We spoke to five couples about what they spent and precisely how they did it.
UNDER £5000: Bridey and Jon
Jobs: Bridey is a Lash technician and Jon is an engineer.
They received a generous wedding gift of £2000 from Bridey’s grandad which helped them out a lot. They booked their venue, The Old Rectory in Sheffield, at the last minute and got a great deal. For food they served a huge buffet. The cake was made by a friend, the bridesmaids wore dresses from Missguided and the groomsmen wore their own suits. All the decorations were homemade, they did their own hair and makeup, made their own invitations and drove to the wedding in a friend’s campervan.
“Our biggest splash out was on the honeymoon at £2000, and we saved money on the fact my dad is a genius and can make anything I ask him. That gravestone was definitely such a feature for our wedding and looked so expensive and amazing, we still have it in our living room now in the fireplace. Also, having the ceremony at the registry office and the fact we booked our reception venue last minute meant we and got a good deal.”
I have a question – could Terriann and Brittany BE any cuter?! “We met 12 years ago,” they told us, “when we were young, wild and free on Birmingham’s gay scene. We went on one date but our lives took us on very different paths. Little did we know that we would meet again and oh what a meet it would be! It was love at first sight, we both never knew what love was until we found each other again. We had a lockdown date that turned into being locked down together indefinitely.”
They decided they wanted an intimate elopement so that the whole day was for them and no-one else. They wanted something cool and wild, where their love was the star of the show. “We were inspired by the line ‘Wild women do and they don’t regret it,’ from the Pretty Woman Soundtrack by Robby Cool, The Angel Singers. We didn’t have a plan for the day, letting love and excitement lead the way. From heart shaped glasses, posing in the streets, stopping traffic so our boots could do the walking to smoke grenades in the back streets of Shoreditch, surrounded by graffiti and sunshine.”
With how much grief and sadness the COVID pandemic caused, it’s lovely to hear the light points shining out from it – Kristin and Dewan actually met because of international borders shutting down. had been working as a university professor in Kabul, Afghanistan, and she was meant to be traveling to a conference in the US via London on 12 March 2020. Instead, international borders started shutting down and she stayed in London. Two days later, she was told that she couldn’t return to Afghanistan as her university compound was going into quarantine. She stayed in England and met Dewan, who is a Londoner, a couple of weeks later. They had both been in successful rock bands in their early twenties, so they bonded over their similar life experiences.
“The reality of planning our wedding was that most of what we did was determined by the practicalities of the pandemic,” Kristin told us. “Being an American working in Belgium during a time when most borders and registry offies and consular services were shut made for tricky international marriage planning. We had to find a place where we could get married, legally, to start with. It was impossible in England due to COVID, but possible in Scotland.” Due to their families being overseas, they figured if it was just the two of them they may as well elope to somewhere spectacularly beautiful, and settled on the Scottish highlands. And then they could think about what they actually wanted the wedding to be like.
When Emily Zamora of Simply Wandering Photo got in touch with this styled shoot submission, we loved it not only for the gorgeous, fun pops of colour, but also for the unique styling concept! Emily told us; “The incredibly talented Abbey Rose Event Design with the concept of styling a wedding after a song.”
“Growing up in a household of musicians, music has always been a large part of Abbey’s life, so turning to music to inspire her was an obvious step. The song she chose was Rollercoaster by Bleachers. She wanted to incorporate the fun upbeat melody by adding in pops of colour and fun/vibrant elements throughout the day. And what better place to host such a celebration than at an actual working amusement park with rollercoasters.” We’re sure lots of you will resonate with Abbey’s love of music – is there a particular song that could inspire your day?
The time between your wedding day and getting your photos back can seem like forever. You may be dreaming of gushing over each one, getting your favourites framed and sending out thank you cards with your happy ‘just married’ faces on the front. So, what happens if you get your pictures back and you’re less than thrilled? Or, worse still, what if you hate the way you look in them? Recently married, Steph Hale, is here to share her experience of hating yet eventually learning to love her wedding photographs.
When we got our wedding photographs back, I cried. They were not happy tears either. Upon opening the package, I discovered the photo DVD had a picture frame built in to the leather holder and our photographer had selected a photo to put in it. In that picture I looked like a horse. I hated that picture and once I put the DVD into the machine and the images rolled by one by one, I couldn’t think about anything other than picking holes in almost every single one I was in.
Now don’t get me wrong, we hired incredible photographers who captured the day beautifully, but my own appearance, or at least my feelings and my perception of my appearance, made me dislike the photos. Intensely. I sobbed and sobbed as disappointment washed over me, and I hated myself for spending so much money on something I now didn’t like.
And then, for the first time in my life, I did something sensible. I put the disc away and for a while forgot about them. A couple of months later, I looked again, and to my surprise, my feelings had begun to change. OK, I still looked bad in some of them, but that one wasn’t as bad as I first thought – I looked passably human! And so, this continued, I found the images more tolerable every time I looked through them after a break of time. When we reached the 10 month point post-wedding, I discovered that I actually adored my pictures, and now, as we approach five years that love has only grown!