Real Budget Wedding: James & Lucy’s Blue & Yellow September Wedding

Real Budget Wedding

Bride and Groom: Lucy & James Price
Lucy is a photographer and James is the manager of a coffee shop. They met through a mutual friend and had been together 18 months before James popped the question.
Wedding Date(s!): 22nd September 2016 & 24th September 2016
Wedding Venue: The legal bits were conducted at St Georges Hall and their wedding day was at The Racquet Club. Both venues are in Liverpool.
Number of guests: at The Racquet Club on 24th September Lucy and James has 60 day guests and an additional 35 in the evening.
Colour Scheme: Blue & Yellow

Photographer: Heather Rachel Photography

I’m a wedding photographer so photography was (obviously) important to me. Just like everyone else I wanted beautiful photographs to capture my day and look back at, but I also understand the importance of someone giving a photographer, who may have not shot weddings in the past but wants to, that first break. So my photographer wasn’t someone who had years experience in weddings. I’ve known Heather for years and knew she could take beautiful photos so I trusted her completely and the photographs are beautiful. Heather had also assisted me at weddings I photographed so I knew she understood the style I liked.

MUA: Lucy didn’t hire a professional make-up artist. Instead her sister did her hair and makeup for her. 

Total Wedding Budget = £5,500 (roughly)

How did you decide on your budget?
We didn’t really make a plan for the budget when we started planning the wedding (which we probably should have) We just knew we wanted it to be affordable, we didn’t want to take out loans or anything like that to pay for it. We got engaged in the October (2015) and about a week later booked the wedding for the following September so we didn’t have years to save for it, so everything had to be within our means, Real Life Budget Weddingbut that was what we wanted. Neither of us wanted a big flashy day as that didn’t really fit our personalities.

Phew! So even though Lucy and James made the mistake many couples make when in the early stages of planning of not working out and setting a budget, it would seem their grounded approach kept them on the straight and narrow. For advice on how to work out your wedding budget click here.

So what about these two wedding dates?
Well Lucy & James technically had two weddings.
“James had always said that he wanted someone we knew to marry us, which isn’t exactly legal (in the UK). So on the 22nd Sept we went to our local registrar office with my mum and James’ parents as witnesses to get the legal stuff done. We didn’t tell friends/family until our ‘real’ wedding on the 24th.”
Instead of a registrar, James announced to the guests that they’d done the legal bits a couple of days before but that they wanted their friends and loved ones to be there to see their vows. Lucy found example ceremonies online and used them to write their own personal ceremony which their parents conducted for them.
“We saved a lot of money on registrar fees doing it this way, but we chose to do it like this so we could have a truly personal wedding.”

What elements of planning were the hardest with you budget?
We didn’t really find the budget hindered us in any way. The venue was the biggest expense; although we were able to reduce the costs a bit by opting for a 2 course buffet style wedding breakfast which was just £21 per head! During the reception we served cheese and biscuits and a sweetie buffet we had put together ourselves.
We took everything else as it came. If we couldn’t afford it, that was fine, we just didn’t have it.

Tell us all about your Bridal outfit:
Lucy bridal outfitMy dress wasn’t a typical wedding dress. I absolutely love wedding dresses, I think they are beautiful but there was never one that I could see myself wearing. I’m quite individual with my style so typical dresses weren’t quite right. After a few outfit changes, I wore a gorgeous white detailed skirt from Coast (which I picked up in a sale for £30). I love it and I’m dying to wear it again! My top was a simple cami from Debenhams and my belt was from Etsy (around £90). I love leopard print so that’s what my shoes were (they’d been a birthday present which I saved and didn’t wear till the big day).  My head piece was bespoke from Rocks For Frocks and was a present off my mum. So in total my “dress” was less than £150.

Something Blue/Borrowed/New & Old? 
I had antique and family heirloom brooches in my bouquet which were my something old. I wore a bracelet borrowed from my sister that she had worn on her wedding. My mum gave me a necklace the morning of the wedding which was my something new. And my something blue was a bit of everything really – there were blue flowers in my bouquet, the groom was in blue and so were the bridesmaids.

Now how about the Groovy Groom?
James suit was from Debenhams and we got it during a sale.

Bridesmaids dresses: 
I had two Bridesmaids (my sisters) and one ‘Bridesman’ (my best friend). We were pretty easy going with their outfits. They paid for their own outfits, we just asked them to wear blue. They had free reign over the shade of blue/style of dress/suit.  It was just coincidence that they all ended up in the same shade of blue.

Groomsmen garments: 
We had two Best Men and my uncle who gave me away. Like the Bridesmaids/Bridesman we let them wear whatever suit they wanted.

Lucy and Groom isle

Lucy wedding party

Lucy and James bought their rings during a sale at H Samuel which was the same place Lucy’s engagement ring has been purchased from. Thanks to the sale at the jewellers both of their wedding rings came to no more than £150.

DIY and handmade details:
Loads!!! I’m a pretty crafty and creative person so there were a lot of DIYs planned right from the start. I designed simple invitations and printed them myself. I made ties and 

Real Budget Wedding Details

pocket squares for the best men, my uncle, Bridesman and Father of the Groom. I made all the bouquets using silk flowers and brooches.
We made mini donuts for the evening sweet buffet. I made the table plan and place names, which were mini balloons on lollipop sticks with sticky labels I’d written each persons name on attached to the stick.
I love sewing so I embroidered and framed a thank you note for mine and James’ mum. We also DIY’d the guest book. We wanted something a little different and we both love donuts so I drew a giant donut and everyone left their fingerprints in coloured ink to look like sprinkles.
We even had help with the DIY touches as our wedding cake was made by one of our friends mother. 

So with your £5.5k budget, what were the biggest hurdles you faced during planning?
Definitely the guest list. When you’re budget is smaller you have to think even more carefully about who and how many people you’re inviting. I didn’t particularly want a big wedding anyway but I wanted to make sure that the people who were important to us where there. If we weren’t close to someone (even if they were family) we decided not to invite them. As I’m sure you can imagine not everyone was happy about this, but it was the only way to make sure the people who we wanted to celebrate with could be there.

Lucy said her best budget buy was her skirt which was just £30 from Coast, and their biggest ‘blow out’ was the cost of the venue and the food. For most couples the largest single expense will be the venue and catering; so Lucy saying this was their ‘blow out’ shows how reserved they were in the others elements of their big day.

Things that didn’t go as planned on the day:
James is a musician and so are a lot of our friends, so originally we wanted our musical friends to take turns to be the evening entertainment. When it actually came round to the evening, everyone was enjoying themselves so we decided not to bother, we stuck a playlist on and everyone had a ball.

Walking down the aisle [was my most memorable moment]. I can still remember my legs shaking as I was walking. James had written and recorded a piece of music for me to walk down the aisle to and I wasn’t allowed to hear it before the big day, so it was a pretty emotional moment when I heard it.

Lucy isle walk

So now you’ve had your own fabulous small budget wedding what tips or advice would you give to others planning on a small budget?
Don’t worry about what other people think a wedding should be like. If you want to/have the ability to spend a fortune then go for it, if you don’t then don’t worry. I think that’s the beauty with weddings these days, every wedding is different and they can be exactly how you want it, however small or big or flashy. Its up to you. And don’t feel pressured to share your wedding budget with others, it’s no one else’s business what you decide to spend.

Thank you to Lucy for sharing her wonderful budget wedding with us

lucy is a wedding photographer and her business is called Lucy Hannah Photography. Lucy has a very relaxed and unobtrusive style where she likes to stay hidden and capture the day as it happens. To find out more about Lucy and her business visit her website here or like her Facebook page or follow her on Twitter.

Are you planning a small budget wedding? Or are you a newly wed who got married for 10k or less? If you would like your wedding featured on the blog please send me an email to

5 thoughts on “Real Budget Wedding: James & Lucy’s Blue & Yellow September Wedding

  1. We did our wedding on a budget as well. I was still in college and working. We got some help, but mostly paid for wedding and honeymoon ourselves. It is a relief to not going into debt for it.

  2. It sounds like this was a truly special wedding. My husband and I also had someone close to us marry us– and I actually was the officiant for a couple as well– and it truly makes the ceremony even more special than it already is.

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