Bride and Groom: Katherine Holt & Adam Strickland
Katherine is a Wedding Stationer at Giftast and Adam works as a Maintenance Assistant and are currently living in Leeds, West Yorkshire
Ceremony Venue: Leeds Town Hall
Reception Venue: The Midnight Bell
Wedding date: 3rd March 2017
Number of guests: 40
Wedding Colour Scheme and Theme: Royal Blue & Burgundy, and Shabby-Chic garden for the reception.
Photographer: Pure Aperture
Total Wedding Budget: £3,500
How did you decide on your budget for your wedding?
We’d just moved house so finances were a bit tight. Neither of us wanted a big wedding and we also wanted to go on honeymoon later that year, so it was a matter of basically splitting what we had!
What help (if any) did you get towards financing your wedding?
None – we paid for it all between the two of us. We tried to spend a little bit each month to stretch it across pay cheques too, so we ended up not having to dig into our savings for everything.
What elements of planning did you find the hardest with your £3,500 budget?
The thing we struggled with most was the reception – a buffet dinner for 40 people including a few bottles of Prossecco and a bar tab quickly adds up!
It was also difficult to find a photographer within our budget – we knew the photos were important and wanted them done properly, but there were so many out there for over £1000. We had a morning wedding and left the reception at 3pm to go on our minimoon – a lot of photographers charged for a full day including evening but we only wanted half of that! When we found Nic on Bark, he was absolutely brilliant and completely understood what we needed.
Katherine and Adam’s fabulous wedding suppliers:
Cake: That Old Chestnut– a local vegan bakery.
Photography: Nic from Pure Aperture Photography was their photographer and Katherine and Adam went for the Bronze package. You can see details of the packages offered by Pure Aperture here.
Flowers: The Brides Bouquet
Tell us all about your Bridal Outfit?
Being vegan, it was very important to me to have a dress without any silk – luckily, since we were on a budget this wasn’t too difficult! I found my dress on ASOS.com – I had an email alert saying they were in stock and bought it within five minutes! It was a massive relief when it actually fit me, although under the arms needed a vent fitting so I could lift my arms up – I can do a bit of sewing so I attempted this myself to save money. It was the most stressful sewing I’ve ever done, and I was so relieved when it was over and my dress wasn’t ruined!
I wanted to wear comfortable shoes, and again, no silk, so I wore a pair of my old favourite heels which just happened to be royal blue. We wanted burgundy roses, so royal blue and burgundy then became the colour scheme of the wedding.
My crystal head-piece was an eBay buy for about £15.
What about your beautiful Bridesmaid?
I had the one bridesmaid, and she wore a lovely dress which she bought herself. I didn’t have the budget to dress her, but she had free reign to wear pretty much anything she wanted, and it didn’t have to be new or fit the colour scheme if she didn’t want. She’s got great taste and I knew she wouldn’t let me down.
And the Groovy Groomsmen?
We only had the one groomsman too, the Best Man, who wore his own grey suit. Oddly my husband’s suit turned out to be one of the most expensive single purchases for the wedding, even though it was a standard grey three-piece from Next.
What about the bling bling?
We bought our rings online from Orla James. We sort of forgot about rings until a few weeks before the wedding, but we found Orla James through a Google search for a free ring sizer. Together we spent about £280 on our rings. Mine was a very slim, plain gold band and was about £90. I went for a cheaper one because I do a lot with my hands and knew it would get knocked about and scuffed a lot. Adam went for a more expensive one in a harder metal with a hammered finish. Since he works with machines and thought it would likely get knocked, the idea was that it wouldn’t show damage as much – and over six months on it looks like new! Orla James also offered free engraving inside the rings. We both went for the date of the wedding in roman numerals, and the other’s initials.
Katherine’s something old was a ring her late mother-in-law left to her. Her something new was her head band, the something borrowed was a diamond baguette bracelet lent by a work colleague and Katherine’s something blue was her already owned royal blue shoes.
Did you and Adam get your DIY on?
I made as much of our wedding décor as I could to try and save as much as possible:-
- Invitations – I did these very last minute (that’s why you shouldn’t move house and plan a wedding at the same time!) and was never happy with the design. That’s one of the reasons I started making wedding stationery – I knew I could do better and have since made my perfect one, just a little late!
- Table Centre-pieces – We bought a mixture of herbs in small pots and I trimmed little metal buckets from Ikea with ribbon for them to sit in. The idea was that guests could take them away with them after. This went with our wedding favours, which were little packets of seeds (from eBay).
- Place Cards – Again to tie in with the shabby-chic garden theme, I made labels which I stuck to copper plant markers. We didn’t have a table plan so the idea was guests could seat themselves, then mark their places in the table centres.
- Welcome Poster – the venue had a board with a board-back which they said we could use so long as we didn’t write directly on it. I had the poster printed on solopress.com and it cost us £16.99.
I wanted everything to look very simple, and the reception venue was quite old-fashioned and quirky, with mis-matched old wooden chairs and gorgeous, worn oak tables. I wanted everything to complement this rather than fight against it, I don’t think anything modern would have worked so well in such an old space.
What was the biggest hurdle you ran into when planning your wedding?
Mainly finding the line between what we wanted and what was expected. One big thing we decided was to leave the wedding early. We made this clear on the invitations so it wasn’t a nasty surprise to people and they knew exactly how much of their time we would be taking up. We wanted a very small and intimate wedding, and to spend as much of the day with one another as possible.
We also had to say no to some +1s. We made the rule that if neither of us knew someone enough to happily spend half an hour alone with them, they weren’t invited. This definitely kept the budget down, and all our guests were really understanding.
What was/were your best budget buy/s?
Probably my dress! I think it was around £180, and I absolutely love it. Amazingly, it was almost exactly what I was looking for and (other than the underarms) fit like a dream. I did spend £14.99 on a petticoat to poof the skirt out a bit, and because under some lights you could see though the lace.
Other than that, my boss was kind enough to chauffeur me to the wedding in his Tesla – that would have definitely blown my budget to hire, and he was a brilliant chauffeur!
What was your biggest blowout spend for the wedding?
Definitely the reception. That came to about £1000 altogether.
Was there anything that didn’t go as planned?
Only the ceremony itself! They read the wrong vows and the music didn’t work, and then I couldn’t get the ring on Adam’s finger! But it was a laid-back day so it wasn’t a big deal, and most of it was quite funny.
Describe your husband and your most memorable part/s of the day?
It was such a blur! Probably the moment we couldn’t get the ring on Adam’s finger. The registrar had carried on with the ceremony without realising, but we just couldn’t stop laughing.
What tips or advice would you give to others planning their wedding on a small budget?
Probably to make use of what you already have. I love my blue shoes and I’ve worn them to other people’s weddings since. It’s really nice to be able to put them on and remember when I wore them on my own wedding day, and to keep getting joy out of them.
Another is to prioritise exactly what’s important to you. We made a conscious decision that it was worth finding a good photographer, and spending money on that aspect because that was what’s going to last throughout the years.
Final Thoughts and Feelings from Katherine she’d like to share:
From when we got engaged, we knew we wanted a very small wedding. We considered a lot of different options, but the most important thing was that we spent as much of the day together as possible. A 4 hour car ride to wales in the evening definitely made that happen!
Another aspect which massively effected the budget was leaving early – while we had the room hired for the whole day so guests were welcome to stay if they wished, we only provided one meal which definitely kept costs down.