Shortlisted in the Individual Wedding Blogger Category – UK Blog Awards 2019!


I'm in the shortlist for the Individual Wedding Blogger Category of the UK Blog Awards 2019

Today the public vote has gone live for the UK Blog Awards 2019, and much to my joy, I am one of the nominees up for the Individual Wedding Blog category!

The public vote will close on 21st December and the shortlisted finalists will be announced on 4th January 2019.

The UK Blog Awards is in their 6th year and was created to recognise and celebrate individual and business bloggers across various content categories.

Each person can vote for 1 blog in each category and as there are 27 categories, if you choose to vote for one blog per category you can make a total of 27 votes.

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I started ‘Say “I do” on a budget’ 7 years ago, when I thought it might be nice to document my small budget wedding planning. Over the last 7 years I’ve made a number of changes to the blog, as it has grown and as I’ve developed my blogging knowledge and skills. I get such a buzz out of helping people see they can have their perfect wedding day within any budget. I have had the pleasure of featuring some wonderful, creative and inspiring real frugal weddings, as well as featuring fabulous wedding suppliers who work with couples on a budget.

Why vote for me?

  • The Supplier Spotlight posts I publish help couples find suppliers who will work to their budget which can be really tricky in a market that is flooded with suppliers like the wedding biz is
  • I feature real weddings to help provide real life inspiration to those still in the planning stage on how they can create their ideal wedding day within their budget. The real weddings featured are all people who have got married within 10 years of the feature being published and who have spent a total of 10k or less on their wedding.
  • ‘Say “I do” on a budget is my much loved hobby, everything I do is for you, my readers. I’ve not monetised this blog in any way, the only thing I pay for is my domain name; I’ve occasionally considered looking into spending more money on making this blog more professional, but have decided against it, because, I am living life on a budget, and want to stay true to my message of frugality.
  • Because, you love my blog and will be really happy for me to receive recognition for the content I’m creating?

To vote for me, click any of the links in this post or click the image below, then click the red heart.

Vote for me! Badge 2 #UKBA19

Bring an Old Wedding Custom Back With Herbs


Garden Herbs for your Wedding
Recently I connected with Rachel from Veiled Productions during the #weddinghour chat on Twitter. During the chat hour I tweeted some historical information regarding where some wedding customs come from. Rachel loved the insights I had shared and asked if I would write a guest post for her blog on the origins of wedding traditions. I thought it was a great idea, and the post recently went live on her blog.
Writing the post on the origins of wedding customs for Rachel gave me an idea for a post I really wanted to write up and share with all of you here. What got my creative juices flowing for this post was the section I wrote on why Brides carry a bouquet. The section about the bouquet carrying custom is below:
In the middle ages, people stank. Harsh, but true. Really, up until the end of the 19th Century, and even into the 20th Century, people’s attitude and access to cleanliness was very different to now. Depending on the era in history the custom of carrying a bouquet changes slightly, which means the history behind this wedding day tradition isn’t as clear cut as some of the others, however there is a continuity to the theme, which is that the bridal bouquets purpose was to mask odour.
If you were to ask your parents or grandparents how often they used to wash when they were younger, it is quite likely they will tell you that they always had to wash their hands before dinner, but they only got a full body wash once a week. Go back a bit further, and people didn’t wash monthly let alone weekly! In the 15th century people took their annual bath in May. For this reason, weddings tended to happen in June. This is why late Spring to early Summer is the traditional time of year for getting married. Getting married the month after your annual bath, helped you to be smelling fresh on your wedding day. As an extra insurance to make sure the Groom thought the Bride smelt good, she would carry a posy of herbs and flowers.
Over time the use of herbs in Bridal bouquets and table centrepieces has disappeared, yet wouldn’t it be lovely to use herbs?

Ditch the Scented Candle and use Herbs Instead

I’ve read many articles about how a couple should chose a wedding scent for their day through the choice of scented candles which will be lit during the ceremony and the wedding breakfast, to help cement people’s memories of your day. The idea is that whenever they smell that scent again they will remember your day. This idea is good in theory, especially as many people choose to have candles as part of their inside decorations (venue permitting). But, what if your venue don’t allow candles? Or, what if you don’t want candles? Or, perhaps, like my husband and I, the scent you like is a popular and commonly used scent, meaning it won’t be uncommon enough to fulfil its purpose of reminding you and your guests of your wedding day whenever you smell that scent?

This is where garden herbs could stroll in as your perfect saviour. If you’ve ever run your hand through fresh herbs you will know that just by moving the leaves with your fingers they give off their wonderful herby scent, and that scent lingers on your hand afterwards.

Make a nod to past wedding customs by using herbs in your wedding.png

Like flowers, herbs have meanings attached to them, so when selecting the herbs you would like to use in your floral arrangements you may wish to take some consideration to the meanings they hold.

Rosemary — Remembrance and Fidelity
Sage — Wisdom
Thyme — Courage
Dill — Lust
Lavender — Virtue and Devotion

White tulips and baby’s-breath (Gypsophila) compliment a herb arrangement beautifully and are a double bonus for those on a small budget as these are low cost flowers. Carrying herbs in flower could be a wonderful way of paying a nod to the ancient tradition, whilst having a beautiful bouquet that also smells nice. Have you ever seen chive in flower? I have and the big circular purple flowers that grow on chives are beautiful. Thai Basil has a licorice scent and has reddish-purple flower spikes in the late summer. Dill flowers lots of tiny delicate yellow flowers. I love the idea of including mint in table decorations because of what a lovely fresh scent it has, but to make the scent a bit more memorable I’d choose chocolate mint herb plants.

Sarah Brunton had herbs in her floral arrangements when she got married on 4th August this year …

“In all the bouquets, buttonholes and centre pieces we had herbs added. It started whilst I was looking through Pinterest for inspiration and found some buttonholes with lavender and rosemary in. I’m not overly fond on strong floral scents and I thought this would be a wonderful way of getting some fresh scents into the flowers. The florist I used was amazing at suggesting some herbs we used. In the end we had; lavender, rosemary, mint, thyme and oregano in the bouquets and centrepieces, with rosemary, lavender and cornflowers in the buttonholes. I love using herbs in cooking and I try and keep a few bee friendly plants in our garden, so having so many bee friendly flowers on the day was a lovely nod. I even had a little bee hitchhiker for the main photos. The bouquets scent kept fresh all day and I would really recommend using herbs as greenery. I also think (although have no experience) this would be great for a DIY bride. They look so effective.” Sarah Brunton
Sarah used lavender, rosemary, thyme and oregano in her herby floral arrangements
Alice of A Little Picture photography captured Sarah's herby buttonholes for her August 2018 wedding
Sarah’s Bridesmaid and photographer captured some beautiful images of her herb filled floral arrangements. The photographer Sarah had at her wedding was the wonderful Yorkshire based Alice of ‘A Little Picture‘ who kindly gave permission for her beautiful buttonhole image above to be used in this blog post.

The picture used for the header image was taken by Berkshire based photographer Lisa of ‘Lisa Lucas Photography‘ who so sweetly allowed me to use the picture for this post.

Both Lisa and Alice are fantastic photographers so please do go and check out their sites.

Hopefully this post has got your creative juices flowing and made you contemplate this unique wedding trend that I think will be catching on soon and be coming back into popularity. So, what are you waiting for, bring this wonderful historical wedding custom back to life on your wedding day!

Potential Changes to Marriage Law in England and Wales to lower the cost of getting married!


Potential Changes to Marriage Law in England and Wales to lower the cost of getting married!

For awhile now England and Wales have been behind many other countries with its laws on where a couple can legally get married.

As it stands, in England, for a wedding to be legally recognised, a couple must get married in a registered venue. This makes prices higher as it limits a couples options for where they can tie the knot. You could get married in a celebrant led wedding wherever you want, but if you want your union to be legally recognised you’d have to have a legal ceremony in a registry office.

This week, it has been announced that the chancellor will be reviewing wedding venues in England and Wales. The review will be looking to lift restrictions on al fresco locations, such as gardens, beaches and temporary structures, which would bring England and Wales in line with Scotland, where couples have for a long time had more choice in where they tie the knot. Hopefully, having more choice in venues and therefore increased competition will lower the average cost of a venue.

According to the Bridebook National Wedding Survey, as of July 2018 the average cost of a wedding in the UK was over £30,000 which to me, is just absolutely crazy! That is a handsome deposit on a house! Of that £30k, over £6k is spent on the venue (on average), so anything that could bring the cost down is very good in my opinion.

Many wedding laws in England and Wales that are still in place now, date back to 1837!

I’ll be following the developments of this closely, as it could bring long over due and much needed changes that will make positive steps forwards for all of us who wish to get married but don’t want to spend a house deposit doing so. Let’s watch this space.

potential changes to UK marriage law may lower the cost of getting married

Supplier Spotlight: An Interview with Kelly of Sparkle Vines


Sparkle Vines Supplier Spotlight blog

The lady I’m featuring today is someone I’ve known for years. I’ve known Kelly for years ever since we met working our first jobs in a supermarket. I’ve found in life, it’s rare to have a friendship survive the challenges Kelly’s and I’s has; and it gives me so much joy to interview Kelly about the wonderful business she set up earlier this year in this supplier spotlight feature.

The Interviewer: Hazel of SayIDoOnABudget
The Supplier:
Kelly Mills
Kelly is a Commercial Coordinator for Neptune by day and a creator of beautiful hair accessories by night
The Business: Sparkle Vines (est August 2018)
Location: Wiltshire, UK

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Hey Kelly, please can you tell everyone the story of how Sparkle Vines came to be?

I’m based in a small town in Wiltshire, called Calne. My day job is as a Commercial Projects Coordinator for Neptune, at their head office in Swindon. In basic terms I coordinate kitchens into building developments. Its very hands on with each day different to the last. I have always been creative, very hands on and enjoy making different things. I know how to croquet, how to sew and now I know how to make hair accessories!
Sparkle Vines started with my own wedding. Since before getting engaged when I looked through bridal magazines or scrolled through Pinterest, hopeful and dreaming of my big day, wondering if my man would ever pop the question, I always had a love for beaded hair vines and knew I wanted to make my own for my future wedding.
Kelly’s fiance whisked her away for a surprise weekend trip to Venice for the August bank holiday in 2016, and whilst they were there he popped the question!
After I got engaged I did a lot of research for

Supplier Spotlight_ An Interview with Kelly of Sparkle Vines on her beautiful hair accessories business

inspiration on what I’d like my own hair vine to look like, and I decided to hand make hair combs for my Bridesmaids too! I started with crafting hair combs for my two Bridesmaids using white, grey and pink fresh water pearls. I also used clear cracked quartz to give them a bit of a sparkle. Using just precious gemstones would have been expensive, so to save costs I padded the design out with white and grey beads with silver plated leaves to give them the finishing touch. I was really happy with how they turned out, and this gave me the confidence I needed to tackle my own hair piece using the same style and materials. I designed 2 just in case I preferred one to the other on my hair trial.
You got married in Venice on 9th June 2018 and created a lot of your own stationary for the big day; what were your favourite DIY crafts from your wedding?
I loved all the DIY’s I made for my wedding. I made everything from our save the dates & invitations to the place name cards and table plan. If I didn’t get married abroad I would have made a lot more, but I was restricted to what I could get into a suitcase! As it happens I had 4 massive suitcases to try and get to Venice, so I had to restrict myself with what I could make. The craft I found the hardest to make was the order of service.
Why was the order of service the hardest DIY?
It’s easy to get tied up with all the small details of a wedding and that’s exactly what happened with my order of service. I think if you ask any Bride-to-be there will always be that one detail that she obsesses’ over to get right. For one of my friends it was the cake toppers for her wedding cake, for me it was my order of service. I designed and printed them myself. It was a booklet consisting of 4 double sided A4 pieces of card folded to make an 8-page booklet. I wanted each page to be slightly smaller than the outer page to make it easy for guests to turn. I also had embroidered (by my fabulous Sister) handkerchiefs which sat inside the front page held on by tabs. It took my 2 Bridesmaids and I a whole bank holiday weekend to complete 34 order of services. I was so proud of them. It took a lot of time but they probably cost me less then a £1 each.
That was an amazing saving to make! What were the other ways you reduced the cost of your wedding?
Aside from making what I could myself, I had a very close family friend do my photography for me. Trying to find a photographer in Italy would have been very tricky, so aside from saving me a lot of money Richard saved me a lot of time and stress by taking care of this detail. Richard Chappell is the husband of Shirley Chappell who is Callum’s God Mother and they are both close family friends of Callum’s parents. We were both over the moon with our wedding photographs and can’t thank them both enough for everything they did for us on our day.
Sparkle Vines hair accessories collage
What advice would you give to other couples who are considering getting married abroad?
My main advice is to do your research. Research and contact several different venues and book appointments to visit them. It might seem counter productive with saving costs by having to go and visit them but by getting the right venue you will save more in the long run. It is so much easier to negotiate deals in person, plus being in person means you can form a relationship with the people who will be responsible for your special day.
Sometimes just researching online isn’t enough and you may feel completely different when you are there. One venue might be slightly more expensive but will include a lot more such as your cake, drinks and table wear. So many Brides/Grooms don’t realize that with most venues your tableware is not included. By doing your research and going to see them you will find details like this out. My husband and I knew our venue was the one as soon as we entered through the front doors.
It’s been lovely to find out a little about your wedding and how Sparkle Vines came to be. How can someone get their hands on your lovely hair pieces?
I sell my ready made hair pieces through my Etsy shop and I can create custom pieces on request. Everything is made to order, whether it be a design showing on my Etsy shop, or a fully custom design. The best way to contact me for a custom order is via the Sparkle Vines Facebook page, or to email me to sparklevines@hotmail.com.
If someone wants to order a custom piece I would like to know a bit about the Bride-to-be, has she seen anything on Pinterest or the internet that she likes? Where is her wedding venue? When is the wedding date? has she brought her dress? I would like to see a picture of the dress too so I can tailor the hair piece to the style of the gown. What is her colour theme, and does she want this included within the hair piece? What is her budget?
I can tailor a hair accessory to any budget. Like my own, I used a mixture of precious gemstones and beads to keep the cost of creating it affordable. If someone was on a tight budget I would use maybe one type of gemstone and use more beads. I conduct some research based on the information the Bride gives me to send some inspiration images back. This will help me get to know what she does or doesn’t like so I can tailor the hair piece to her.
Once a design has been agreed I send the Bride a full quotation which will include the cost, description, any notes I need to make and full payment details including deposits etc.
As standard I aim to send the hair piece out within 30 days of receiving the deposit. If the Bride is on a tighter deadline then I would need to know this information too.

Beautiful hair pieces from Kelly of Sparkle Vines in Wiltshire

You have so many amazing hair pieces on your Etsy shop, my favourite of which is pictured above, but which is your favourite?

Oh, no, I really can’t pick just one favourite, but if I had to choose, then I could pick three pieces that are my personal favourites from everything I’ve made so far.

The navy blue and white hair slides which are £25 each made to order made from white pearl, blue quartz and beads.
The sparkly beaded, gold and white flower accessory which is £20 and made from all beads
and the beautiful purple hair pin – £15 and is made from purple quartz and beads

You’re really new to the wedding biz; what has been your new biz win so far?

The whole experience has been amazing, and I have formed some close relationships with people who are like minded and have the same interests. However, my biggest win has to be the first order, I made a stunning gold-plated head-band with white fresh water pearls, clear crackled quartz and beads for the Bride and navy blue and white hair slides for her Bridesmaids. They can be replicated for another Bride as advertised on my Etsy shop.
That’s next for Sparkle Vines?
I have an order for 2 gemstone/ beaded hair slides which I will be making in the next couple of weeks. I’m doing my first Christmas fair on the 1st December at Calne’s light switch on. I would also like to do some wedding fairs next year so if anyone knows of any good ones in and around the Wiltshire area then please let me know.

So, what are you waiting for, go show my girl some love:
Like Sparkle Vines’ Facebook page
Follow Sparkle Vines on Twitter
Follow Sparkle Vines On Instagram
Go to the Sparkle Vines board on Pinterest
and go check out the Etsy shop

How we haven’t celebrated our 2nd Wedding Anniversary


Kinda not celebrating our 2nd wedding anniversary

2 years ago today I went from a Miss to a Mrs when I married the man I love more than biscuits. I love looking back at pictures from our wedding day, but even more than that I really enjoy looking at pictures of the things we have done together since we promised our lives to each other.

For our first anniversary we bought each other paper gifts and 1st anniversary cards. We took a trip into town where we ate blue ice cream and had dinner at an Italian restaurant. Last year we felt we had properly celebrated our anniversary. We took pictures of ourselves with the gifts we gave each other and took pictures of ourselves eating our anniversary meal.

So, that was last year, what’s been happening since?

In the past 12 months, I paid for him to have a drifting experience for his birthday in January, we went Zip-lining in Wales with some friends for my birthday, we have both made big career changes and have taken tips to Devon and Cornwall. What we have not done, is bought a house, which is something this time last year we thought we would definitely have done by now. We may still be living with family, and saving hard, but we are really close now! We have made quite a lot of sacrifices in our bid to get ourselves on the property ladder, including not buying anything that isn’t a necessity or something that is could make use of / need.

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The Joy of House Sitting and Getting Impatient with Saving


The Joys of House Sitting and the Frustrations of saving for your own home

The husband and I are house sitting for his sister and her husband at the moment. We arrived at their house on Wednesday evening just as they were leaving, and we are here until a week tomorrow. This is the second time we have house sat this month, although last time it was for some friends of ours. Last time, it was again, for 10 days, spanning the end of August, and the start of September.

When we house sat for our friends, we were also cat sitting their cat, Marmite, so it made sense. This time, it is more of a pity situation. Yes the sister-in-law gets the security and comfort knowing people are looking after her house, and by having us here, the chances of being burgled etc are reduced, but if the husband and I weren’t living with my sister, this opportunity would unlikely have been presented to us.

Back in June I did an update post June I did an update post on what had happened since I got married in October 2016, and in that post I explained that we moved in with my sister and her boyfriend to increase our saving ability. We are now so close to having a deposit saved, and we’re hoping we will be able to look at houses and put offers in etc in November! Which is really close now, but by then we would have been living with my

The Joys of House Sitting when your in the pains of saving for your own home

sister and her boyfriend nearly 18 months. And will be a good 20 months at least since moving in that we will be moving out and into a home of our own.

The experience of living in my sisters home hasn’t been too bad to be fair. It definitely could have been a lot worse! But, her and her boyfriend are very different people to the husband and I, and well, damn it, when you are 29 (me) and 33 (the hubby) you want to be in a home of your own, where your own rules reign supreme.

And (yes, I did it, I started a new paragraph with ‘and’) that is why house sitting for people is so wonderful. We get our own space, admittedly, in someone else’s home, but we get space to ourselves to just be us without worry of others.

So, 3 months on from my post in June, I’m still feeling very much behind the curve in life. We’re trying to enjoy the stage of life we are currently at, and are trying not to compare ourselves to others, but my God, are we bloomin’ ready for our next chapter to start now!

Are you where you want to be in life?
Are you feeling behind the curve, and like life just isn’t going the way you hoped it would?  

Seeing as I am now on my second time of house sitting in short succession I thought I would provide some tips on how to be a good house sitter that might be useful for you if you are going to be house sitting soon.

Tips on how to be a good house sitter from a 20 something who is nearly pro at house sitting for people

Tiny Weddings Fair – a wedding fair for small weddings and elopements


Tiny Weddings Wedding Fair

on the 30th September the first ever ‘Tiny Weddings Fair’ will be taking place at Wycombe Swan Theatre in High Wycombe. It’s getting close now, but it is still over two weeks away, meaning you’ve still got plenty of time to prepare for your visit to The Tiny Weddings Fair.

The fair will focus on the needs of couples who are planning a small wedding or elopement, either at home or abroad, and has been spear-headed by three women who are, in my opinion, true experts in the fields of tiny weddings, elopements and destination weddings. Carly of Epic Elopement, who has been featured on SayIDoOnABudget a number of times. In January 2017, I featured an interview with Carly, then in February 2017 I wrote a blog post for Carly’s blog around the subject on budgeting for your elopement. Claire of Wed in Central Park, featured on this blog in April 2017 in an interview where she gave you advice on how you can get married in New York on a small budget.

There will a great range of exhibitors that have been specially chosen because of their amazing credentials at working with couples who are eloping or planning a tiny or destination wedding. Some of these vendors who are exhibiting will also be giving talks full of really helpful advice to get you through the difficulties that come with planning a tiny wedding.

You can buy your ticket in advance for £4 (+ £0.78 of fees) through eventbrite, or you can purchase on the day for £8.

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