Real Budget Wedding: Matt & Monika’s

Matt & Monika's Real Budget Wedding Feature. Matt & Monika got married in Slovakia in August 2015 for just 12k all in.

Bride and Groom: Monika & Matthew Holmes live in Berkshire
and both work as Account Managers

Wedding Venue: Chateau Mignon Castle, Slovakia
Wedding date: 22.08.2015
Number of Guests: 90 (60 day guests plus an additional 30 evening guests)

Wedding colour Scheme: Pink, Cream & Gold
Videographer: Radko Janis  
Photographer: Lubko Durica

Total wedding budget: £12, 000

Matt and Monika met at work. After Matt joined Kosnic their romance blossomed over their computer screens. Matt proposed to Monika in front of all her family during a holiday to Slovakia. Their engagement lasted 1 year as they married nearly exactly 1 year after getting engaged. 

How’d you decide on your budget? We didn’t set one. We just did it bit by bit. Didn’t think about money. We didn’t go too mad of course, but when we liked something we just went for it!

What elements of planning were the hardest with you budget? Having a weddingMatt and Monika's Pink Gold and Cream wedding details abroad as well as having another celebration in England, for those we couldn’t invite. I must also admit, planning your wedding over the email and with only limited time to be able to fly to Slovakia to sort out church, legal matters and payments was a challenge. My youngest sister and family helped a lot and I think it wouldn’t be all possible without their help and involvement.

Why did you both decide to get married in Slovakia? I’m Catholic and was christened in the church in my town. Slovakia overall is a very religious country and so is my family. It was always my dream and also the wish of my Gran and Mum to get married in our old lovely church. Also, we carry out lots of traditions in Slovakia which I always wanted to experience myself. Plus Matt decided that we would get married in Slovakia so that he would get a real feel of what it is like to marry a foreigner hahaa 😁

Tell us about your Bridal gown. I hired the dress in my home town. I knew that was the one when I saw it. It was about 300 euro.
In Slovakia, Brides hiring their wedding dresses is the norm.

How many Bridesmaids did you have? I didn’t have any Bridemaids.

And the Groovy Groomsmen? Matt decided to forgo any Ushers, but he did have a Best Man.

 Please tell us all about your custom made wedding rings: Our white gold wedding rings were made from scratch in Slovakia. We chose everything about the design of them.  We also have each other’s names and the date of our wedding with little hearts engraved inside of them. We paid 550 euro for both. Unfortunately we didn’t get a picture of just our wedding rings to be able to show the design we created with the jeweller.

What was your Old/New/Borrowed/Blue? I know this might sound silly but I didn’t have anything. I only had my ‘blue’ garter, one that I bought and one from my friend, however I left both at home and forgot to wear it on the big day. Too stressed I think.

Did you get your DIY on? We made our own invitations. One lot in Slovak language and the other in English. We got all the bits and pieces to make them from ‘The Mulberry Bush’.

Matt & Monika's pink gold and cream wedding

What were the biggest hurdles you ran into during planning? It was a bit of everything. Like I mentioned, having to plan the whole wedding from England which meant we weren’t able to see the florist, DJ, decorators, venue management, cameraman, photographer and so on which was not ideal. We flew to Slovakia one week before the actual wedding to meet with as many people as we could to sort out important bits that we couldn’t do over email or phone.

What was your best budget buy? My wedding dress was a very good price, but the prices for dresses in Slovakia are much cheaper than in England. Other than that, not sure as we might have spent more than we anticipated.

What was your biggest blowout spend for the wedding? Definitely the venue and covering all the travel costs for English guests to get them from the airport to the hotel and back.

Was there anything that didn’t go as planned? me dropping the wedding cake I got from my father as a present was very emotional.  Can you believe it? Just the day before our big Day! Disaster!

Your most memorable moments of the day?
Matt: when I saw Monika for the first time in her wedding dress
Monika: when we said yes to each other in front of God and our beloved friends and family. Also, my husband did a speech in Slovak language. I was so touched and impressed (so was my whole family)

Please tell us about your personal touches that made your day yours: We played games…
They played a Mr & Mrs game using their shoes. Here Monika explains how they played the game… The Bride and Groom hold one of their shoes and one of their partner’s shoes. They both have to answer the given question by raising one of the shoes depending on which partner the question applies to most. For example, one of the questions was: ‘’who wears the trousers in your relationship?’’ and we both raised both shoes then we got asked “If you got lost in the forest who would find the way out?’’ we both raised Matt’s shoe as we both knew it would definitely not be me and so on… This game was to show how well we know each other and how compatible we are.
They also played some dancing games… led by our DJ. People had to do whatever he said in the rhythm of the music (ducking, jumping, going backwards) it was really funny. Especially seeing some who already had a bit to drink.

Also, at midnight, as per Slovakian tradition I changed into my second dress which means I’m no longer Miss but Mrs, married woman. Another Slovakian tradition we observed was where the dancers (wearing traditional Slovakian dresses) surround both Bride and Groom whilst singing traditional songs, take my veil away. I can then give it to a single girl (meaning with boyfriend) and she should get married within a Year. That’s just saying, however I gave it to Matt’s sister and she just got married! (although I knew she would anyway).Matt & Monika's Slovakian wedding

Here is the the traditional Slovakian wear many years ago!

You can however see on the pictures I added what they wore at our wedding. Notice on our pictures that girls wearing a cap means they are married, others are still Miss

Is there anything else you’d like to add? Being part of your real budget wedding feature has really reminded us our Big day and all of the little details of it once again and we’ve both truly enjoyed it.

Here’s a short video (about 7min long) showing highlights of our big day.
I admit I may be biased because I have the pleasure of working with Monika (and I used to work with Matt too), but I strongly recommend you to watch their wedding highlights video. The video really shows off their beautiful wedding details such as Monika’s accessories and their floral arrangements, but also towards the end of the video you can see the fun dancing games they played with their guests during the reception. 


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3 Great Wedding Discoveries

3 New Wedding Ideas You will love

Here are 3 very different wedding ideas I have discovered recently that I think are definitely worth sharing with you.

1) A fabulous recycling idea…
Recycle your wedding dress to make a christening gown. 

Previously I discussed my reasons for donating my wedding dress to charity. One of my reasons for not keeping my gown was because I couldn’t see the logic behind keeping the dress when most people store their dress away never to be looked at again, or to be pulled out once a decade or so.

But instead of simply storing, selling or donating your dress why not turn it into something else?

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A Daydream Idea for a new Budget Wedding Service

A few mornings ago whilst going about my normal getting ready routine I had a proper detailed day dream that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about.

direct budget wedding planning service idea

During my years writing this blog, I have met countless couples that feel completely lost in the maze of wedding planning. As soon as you’re engaged you start getting questions thrown at you – when is your date, what venue have you chosen, what colour scheme are you having…. and often you don’t know the answers to any of these questions.

What does a newly engaged person normally do? Go out and purchase some wonderful wedding magazines to peruse for inspiration. Wedding magazines are great, I personally love flicking through the glossy pages, but they’re not exactly well known for having products and services aimed at the small budget wedding.

Sadly, I’ve also spoken to couples who have ended up feel pushed by well meaning but over assertive relatives into having a certain venue, or into booking services and suppliers that they wouldn’t really have wanted to have if they’d been left to their own devices. And we’ve all heard of a couple who have ended up inviting people to their wedding they don’t even know because their parent/grandparent/aunt told them they have to.

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Real Budget Wedding: Katherine & Richard’s dusty pink July wedding

Real Budget Wedding Essex Title

Bride and Groom: Katherine & Richard
Katherine runs a wedding planning business and Richard is a Claims Assessor. They both live in Suffolk.
Wedding Date: 7th July 2013

You wouldn’t believe from reading about their wedding in this feature and from looking at their wonderful pictures that Katherine and Richard planned the whole wedding from start to finish in just 3 months! But they did. They got engaged in the April and were married in the July. 

Wedding Venue: Leez Priory
Colour Scheme: Dusty Pink

Photographer: Photography was done by a friend who lived in Sweden. My brother also took some photos and was in charge of videography too but unfortunately the batteries ran out during the speeches! 

MUA: One of my Bridesmaids did my make up for me after a visit to a beauty counter for a tutorial!  We bought some of the recommended items and had a great fun few hours getting made up.  She did a great job on the day too!

Total Wedding Budget = £7,000 (roughly)


How did you decide on your 7k wedding budget?

It was the total amount we had in our savings and the money we had gifted to us from our parents.

What elements of planning were the hardest with your budget?

Catering was one of the hardest elements due to the numbers, and ensuring that all dietary requirements were catered for. We ended up going for a vegan option and one other for the mains.

RegisterMy fab dad!






The extra cost was for the evening buffet so it was just a numbers game.  I catered for exactly the number who were invited and said they were coming & was just a bit peed off when some of them didn’t turn up!  There was more than enough food but I think the extras who didn’t come ended up costing an unnecessary £200.  So I would say cater for a few less as there could always be a few people who won’t make it.

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The Wonders of Paper Flowers

The Wonders of paper flowers

I have a real soft spot for paper flowers. In fact I have a soft spot for anything “alternative” to flowers at weddings. There’s so many wonderfully creative and inspiring ideas for what you can use to make your bouquet, or decorations with, other than your standard blooms.

Over the years I have created a couple of alternative bouquets myself such as this bouquet made from woollen pom poms.   I also swoon over bouquets made using beads, feathers, buttons… or any other quirky and unique items.

For my own wedding in October 2016 I had an alternative bouquet made by Hazel of ‘Love to Marry‘ using feathers, gold beads, and acorns. You can see a picture of my alternative bouquet in a feature about my small budget wedding on another wedding blog here.

Although there’s an incredibly large amount of different ideas for what you can use instead of flowers in your wedding (pretty much all of which I am in massive favour of) in this blog post I will be concentrating on flowers made out of paper. 

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Real Budget Wedding: Ira and James’ Icehotel Wedding

Real Budget Wedding Sweden Title

Bride and Groom: Ira Blake & James Humphries are both lighting designers and advisors based in Salisbury, England.
Wedding Venue: Icehotel, Jukkasjärvi, Sweden
Wedding Ceremony venue: Ice Church

Ira and James decided to get married in Sweden because their both ‘Scandiphiles’ and they fell in love with the place when Ira took James there for an early 40th birthday present whilst he was working in Stockholm.

Wedding date:  31 December 2013
Wedding colour Scheme: Not white!

Number of Guests: 6

Their guests consisted of, Ira’s sister and brother-in-law, Ira’s brother and sister-in-law and Ira’s best friend and her husband.

Photographer: James and Ira’s guests acted as their photographers, taking all the pictures they have of their day

Total wedding budget: 10K

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