Aiming for their August wedding to feel like ‘the best night out in a pub EVER!’ Ali and Jed’s colour scheme was inspired by her custom dress by The Couture Company and her jewellery from Rosalyn’s Emporium. “The oxytocin symbols were a nod to Jed’s love of science,” Ali told us, “and the buses were to represent my late father.”
Their reception was a good old fashioned knees up at The Prince Albert in Camden. “COVID meant we had to rearrange three times and also consider how we would manage with a much smaller version of the guest list,” Ali continued. “In the end we choose to hold out for a date when we could have the original numbers. In the end we were engaged for three years before getting married so I ended up with a lot of time to make DIY stuff.”
Inspired by their love of Halloween, Harry Potter and autumn weather, Ellie and Luke spent around £10,000 on their October wedding. They handmade a lot of the elements themselves, from gifts for the bridesmaids to the groomsmen’s ties as well as props and decorations.
Held at De Vere Horsley Estate in Surrey, the day was styled by The Fairy Godmother of Weddings – aka, Ellie’s mum, who also took care of all the florals for their day. They tasked celebrant Jenny Knight with crafting a truly personal ceremony, and catering was provided by the venue, which was their biggest expense.
Having already had to rearrange their day twice, Alice and Ben settled on Friday 13th for their wedding, figuring they couldn’t be brought any more bad luck! Good humour was a running theme throughout their day, as well as their shared loved of music – “we wanted it to feel like we were bringing our friends and family to our favourite gig,” the bride told us. They filled their evening reception with glitter, glow sticks, a live band and a silent disco.
There was lots of musical touches throughout; their guitar guestbook, favourite albums as table names and cassette tapes for place settings all helped inspire the theme. The day was filled with thoughtful nods, too – Alice had a friend recreate her parents 80s wedding cake (down to moulding their own silver horseshoes when they couldn’t find exact replicas) and used photos from their parents’ and grandparents weddings as decor. “We wanted little touches that felt thoughtful and worthwhile, like the 5 almonds that signify good health, wealth, happiness, children and a long life, which is a Maltese tradition as I am half Maltese, along with the sticks of Brighton rock to signify where we met!”
Growing up in a small, conservative bible-belt town, Erica was always looked at as ‘a bit odd’. “I’ve always loved things spooky,” she told us. “Ever since I was a girl. my tastes gravitated away from the ‘norm’. This wedding was announcing my pride in being different.” Erica met Kenny online over a decade ago, and he has supported her in her difference and choices 100% ever since.
With a budget of $3,000, the couple pulled out all the stops to bring Erica’s spooky dreams to life. They covered their ceremony area in spider webs, spiders, bats, rats and fake bones. String lights and electric candles lined the aisle, and they made pool noodles to make three-tier candles, while a friend carved pumpkins. Erica knew she wanted to use items that they could take home so they could reuse them and they wouldn’t go to waste.
Tom and Geneva have a metaphor for their relationship: ‘a collision of galaxies’. “We swirled around each other our whole lives,” the bride told us. “He played at the venue I stage managed and we had all the same friends, yet we don’t recall meeting until the time was right years later. Once our gravitational forces took over, we were inseparable; we started dating while I was working SXSW festival, which was crazy because I worked hours like 9am-2am that week, but I still wanted to see him after!”
They played up the star theme as much as they could for their July wedding day; from Geneva’s veil to her earrings, the stationery and the signage down to the ray guns for their grand exit photos. She knew she didn’t want a white wedding, either, so used blue a lot instead.
Shannon and Emma were supposed to be married in Hawaii, but when COVID scuppered their plans not once but twice, they decided to change tact and organised a backyard DIY wedding instead. Armed with lots of inspiration from Instagram and Pinterest, they organised the whole thing over about 6 months, and spent just £3,500.
“Covid really scuppered our original plans but we managed to pull of a beautiful, unique wedding with our closest loved ones anyway,” the brides told us. “It made us realise that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a beautiful wedding.”
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.”