Finding Suppliers

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The hunt for wedding suppliers can be a complex, confusing and overwhelming mine field. Yes, you could just book in with the first you meet at a wedding fair, or with the photographer that was used at the last wedding you attended as a guest. But what if that isn’t what you want to do, or what if those photographers just don’t fall within your budget/ aren’t available on your date / you just didn’t really like them?

Thankfully, there is a way to get the photographers to come to you. You will still need to research them to make sure they are right for you, but it can make your search easier and less stressful, as you will know quickly if they are available on your date, are happy to work at your venue and if they are within your budget. 

Find A Wedding Photographer

Request quotes from photographers in your area by filling in the little quote application form on or you can browse the listings of photographers in your area. I didn’t submit a quote as I don’t currently have a genuine requirement for a photographer, but the quote request form is very quick and easy to fill in with just 7 fields. After submitting the quote request you will have photographers respond straight to your email inbox. Within 2 minutes of looking through the listings for photographers in my area I found a listing for a father and daughter photography team who advertise themselves as affordable with a price range of £500-£800.

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Epic Elopment

I am delighted to bring you an interview with Carly, the wonderful lady who runs helping you fulfill your dream of eloping.

carlyepicelopeI met Carly during a twitter chat hour, and as some of you may know, I’ve always been a fan of the idea of eloping. When my husband and I started early stages of wedding planning I showed him my own personal favourite location to elope to – Gretna Green – but he was dead set against the idea much to my disappointment.

Over the years I’ve known many couples who have chosen to elope, friends of mine have gotten married in Cyprus, Gretna Green and Las Vegas, and another friend is planning her own elopement to Venice.

If you’re toying with the idea of eloping, or struggling to get your plans off the ground read on for Carly’s experience, hints and tips…

Once you’d made the decision to elope, how did you find the planning? 

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My Planning So Far


Back in November last year I started to look at venues with my Maid of Honour. In the month since getting engaged I had narrowed down the venues I wanted to look at to just 3 purely from internet research, emails and telephone calls.YourDayYourWay

When you’re looking at venues you don’t have to traipse around multiple places to figure out if you like them and if the costs will fit into your budget. Sometimes it can be obvious if a venue is going to be out of your budget or if the setting won’t suit your couple style!

I emailed and phoned a few venues to see if they would discuss pricing with me; the ones that wouldn’t were instantly crossed off the list. Once I’d figured out I liked the venue enough to view it I arranged appointments on weekday evenings.

The first venue my MOH and I looked at was Pitt Hall Barn and was rather quickly scrubbed from the list due to the cost of hiring the barn being a couple of grand by itself! The other disadvantages were no accommodation or any accommodation near by. Accommodation is very iportant to my H2B and I due to our family being spread far and wide.

The second venue we went to see was Donnington Valley Hotel & Spa which really impressed the both of
us. The wedding co-coordinator at Donnington was unbelievably helpful and so personable I knew I’d feel happy discussing my plans with her as time went on. With a semi-rural location and plenty of affordable rooms for family and friends it really was a winner.

The third and final venue we viewed was Elcott Park Hotel. For about 10 years I have regularly driven past the sign for Elcott Park Hotel dreaming of getting married there. The key selling points for Elcott Park is the rural location and the neutral decor throughout meaning any colour theme you choose would work well in every room.

After discussing numbers however, Elcott Park came up a few thousand pound more expensive than Donnington Valley and the overall feel I got from the venue and the staff at Donnington was more welcoming. So Donnington Valley was my number 1 choice.

 Now to see if the H2B agrees with me. EEK!

Funnily, my work Christmas party a few months beforehand was at Donning Valley Hotel & Spa, so he had seen the venue before, but I wanted him to view it again with sober eyes. There was a wedding fair on the day I took the H2B, which was actually beneficial as it helped us see how the ceremony and receptions rooms could be laid out and we had a brilliant sit down chat with the wedding coordinator who helped us to realise our vision and budget.
The H2B said yes, so we provisionally booked in our date and agreed to pay the deposit in two payments.

April 2015 – 50% of deposit paid
August 2015 – 50% of deposit paid
No more payments until April 2016

Wedding Date = Saturday 8th October 2016


I’ve got to be honest, finding a photographer scared the hell out of me. Even now that we’ve found and booked our photographer I’m still scared. We all know only too well that the photos are the only lasting thing from your wedding that you will have, which makes the search so daunting. Each photographer has their own style and so many styles are wonderful! Narrowing down a search is just so dam hard!

I registered on Trusted Local and continued to search for photographers during Twitter wedding chat hours. Once I had received a few responses through Trusted Local and had favourited a few people found during Twitter wedding chats the H2B and I sat down one Saturday and looked through each one. Without any input from me as to whom I liked best the H2B chose the same photographer that would have been my first choice. A phone call later and we had booked Natalie Moore!

One of things that scared me most about wedding planning had been ticked off the list! oh my goodness I could have fallen over with relief once the deposit was paid.

Alternative Bouquet

I always had the vision that there won’t be any flowers anywhere on my big day. Alternatives to flowers are so much more ME. Back in 2012 I made a bouquet, two wrist corsages and 5 button holes using woolen pompoms. My vision was to bring Autumn into the non-floral pieces (hehe, see what I did there? ;-P ) with the use of pine cones or acorns. I really wasn’t sure how to search for someone to create the pieces for me so was pleasantly surprised when Hazel Walshaw contacted me following a Twitter chat hour. Discussing my ideas with Hazel for the Bridal bouquet, Bridesmaids wrist corsages and the 5 button holes was so easy (Pinterest definitely helped give vision to my ideas!). Hazel is such an expert in the wedding industry I am overjoyed to have her making my alternative accessories.


I’m going to be looking at dresses very soon and can not wait to report back to you on how my first shopping trips go.

Bridal Garters

Planning your wedding day on a budget does not mean you always buy the cheapest option. Creating your big day for less is about carefully selecting where to save and where to spend. Most of the things you will decide to spend on will be big, but sometimes high quality small items give your day that extra special feeling.

There are some suppliers that provide exactly this – high quality small items that could be the difference between simply feeling good & feeling better than you’ve ever felt before on the day you say “I Do”.

I would like to start sharing these suppliers with you starting off with…

Truly I Do – bespoke handmade garters
I’d never given much thought to garters in the past. I’ve especially not given much thought to what separates a standard garter from a truly personal one. I have bought garters for friends, and I have to admit they have always been purchased from eBay or Amazon.

I’d never stopped to think that the garter may not fit. Why are garters ‘one size fits all’ and how can this really be possible? legs differ in size greatly. No bride wants to be tripping over her own garter half way down the aisle or to lift her dress for a garter picture only for it to seem as though it is cutting off her circulation.

When you place your order with ‘Truly I Doyou can provide your thigh measurement or your dress size for Charlie to create your bespoke, hand-sewn garter that will fit you beautifully.

You can choose to have one of Charlies designs, make some changes to one of her designs or discuss a completely custom idea for her to create. Here are a couple of my favourites from her standard range which are both under £20.00…

s471994090516984409_p94_i1_w160 TrulyIDoDB

All garters from ‘Truly I Do’ can be customised. Choose the colour you would like the garter to be, and the colour of any ribbons then for a small fee you can add personalised touches such as charms and trinkets.

Here are some stunning custom garters created by Charlie..

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As a budget bride it is likely your dress will be from a high street shop, from a sample sale or will be a pre-loved dress. Hopefully irrelevant of where your dress comes from you will love your chosen dress and feel every inch the perfect bride in it. I will likely be wearing a sample sale dress on my wedding, which means that it won’t have been created to my measurements even though i’ll choose one that fits. Wearing one of Charlies garters would give me that special feeling that I have something truly bespoke and made just for me.

 I will definitely be wearing one of Charlies creations on my wedding day; and I can’t wait to buy a garter from Truly I Do as a gift for the next person in my friendship group who gets engaged.

Invites for Less

I’ve had a love for stationary ever since I can remember, from the days of buying nice letter paper for writing to pen-pals to finding great joy in an exceptional wedding invite. When someone hands me a business card, I instantly want to keep it if the text is raised or if the paper is textured.

This very love for all things made from paper means I don’t want to have mediocre wedding stationary just because I’m on a budget. So how can I have invites my guests will proudly display in their homes without breaking my budget?

For the answer to that question I have asked two industry professionals.

Suzanne is the mastermind behind ‘Paper Tree Design‘ with 15 years experience in retail buying and product development she created her business over 3 years ago. Rosie at ‘Little Vixen Designs‘ had 5 years of experience working with couples designing wedding stationary, before creating her ‘Little Vixen Designs’ business 4 years ago.

This experience makes Rosie and Suzanne the perfect people to provide hints and tips on how you can still have professional invites within budget.

No doubt you will have found a couple of companies you are thinking of ordering your wedding day stationary from, perhaps you’ve seen them at a wedding fayre, or you found them in some way online. If your initial chat with them about costs left you feeling they may be slightly out of your budget, don’t be put off.


Arrange meetings with your preferred suppliers, or if this isn’t possible arrange a telephone call with them to let them know you love their designs but you have £x budget to work with. The stationers will then recommend what can be done within your set budget.

“It is the time it takes to apply all the tiny details that add to the cost of bespoke, luxury stationary but without them you loose that feeling of quality and luxury”, therefore…

If you feel happy doing some of the assembling yourself then you can definitely make savings. This may be as simple as gluing the ribbon and diamonte decorations onto the front of the invite, or could be as complicated as gluing multiple layers of laser cut designs together that create one 3D effect design.



Irrelevant or whom you are thinking of ordering your invites from, or how good their work appears to be, make sure that you get physical samples of your chosen design on the chosen paper type before committing to a full order. Even though you may have seen physical examples of other work of theirs, the paper and printing type you’ve chosen may be different to what you’ve been before, which may mean disappointment with the final product.

Companies such as who offer a fully custom service with a vast range of beautiful designs, plus an instant online preview of the design as you customise it, can lure you into not ordering a physical sample, but it is still really important to do so you know you will be 100% happy with your order when it arrives.

Even if you have to pay for a sample, it is better to do so than to be disappointed when your full order arrives.


It is easy to forget this as we have to calculate costs per guests for food, drink, favors and other stationary types such as place cards.

Also, a charge that some stationers include in the amount you pay is postage to YOU, but money can be saved here too…


This is something that would never have occurred to me if it wasn’t for Suzanne.


Consider hand delivering your invites rather than posting them. Live close to friends and family and see them regularly? Just hand them their invite next time you see them. Do your parents or siblings see other family member more regularly than you do? Perhaps ask them to pass invites on for you.


A wedding website I have used before is ‘‘ but there are a couple others including ‘‘, both of which offer a range of templates you can customise with all of your wedding information.

I hope that you find these amazing tips contributed by Suzanne and Rosie helpful. I’m looking forward to hearing your budget wedding stationary success stories, and would love you to share you story if one of these tips helped you to come in on budget.

Photographer Comparison

Finding a wedding photographer can feel like a minefield! From deciding on what style of photography you want, to trying to traverse the maze of photographers in your area, the style of photography they offer, not to mention trying to compare their different packages and the costs for each.

Wouldn’t it be lovely if you could input what you want and the photographers come to you?

Well, believe it or not, this is possible! The website ‘Trusted Local‘ provides a service where you can request quotes from local photographers to your area, and all you have to do is fill in a few details about what you require.

I’ve just filled in my details, and am now waiting to receive quotes. I’ll let you know how I get on.

1st Things 1st

1stthings1stThe search for a venue was a long and difficult one. I was aware that the average cost of a wedding at the time was over 20k, and I knew I didn’t even have half of that to play with for my own wedding, so I needed to make sure I could afford the venue.

The very first thing any bride should do is work out what budget you have. One of the ways to do this is to work out how much you think you can sensibly save every month, and when your ideal date to get married would be. For example, if you think between you, you can save £100 a month, and your ideal wedding date is in 2 years time, then 100 x 48 (months) is £4800.

With this figure in mind you may then decide to up how much you save each month, push the wedding back/forward, or if you haven’t already done so approach your parents to see if they would like to contribute towards your wedding. Some brides feel comfortable doing this, and others don’t, some parents offer to contribute towards the wedding as soon as you tell them you are engaged. However, few say at this point HOW MUCH they will contribute, maybe because they don’t know themselves. The conversation can be difficult, but it is important for budgeting reasons if you are going to ask them, to ask them if they plan to give you a certain amount, or if they want to pay for certain things such as the venue, or flowers and transportation for example.

A wedding can be done on a budget of £4800, I know brides who have done it. With a budget like this in mind it is important to think about what is important to you. For some brides the most important thing is to have all your family and friends at their wedding, for others it is to have a lovely dress and an intimate relaxed day. Figuring out what is important to you, will help you greatly with your budget, as it will enable you to work out what you can live without on your wedding day and what you can’t.

With your budget in mind you can then start to look at venues. The venue for your wedding will be the setting for your day; it is what provides the background and the feel to your day, so it has to suit you. If you want a laid back day, you will want a less formal venue and if you are having a small number of guests you will want a venue that size wont drown your guests. So this is one of the biggest wedding decisions you will make. Don’t feel pressured to stick to a ‘traditional’ wedding venue, if Don’t Tell The Bride has taught us anything, the venue should reflect you as a couple, so if that means you want the reception in a night club or a museum then do it!

One of the easiest ways to save money is to choose your venue wisely. Start off looking on the internet to find venues in your area that you like. If they don’t have prices on their website (and many don’t) then contact them to arrange a viewing. Take your fiancé, a friend or your mum along with you as it can be very overwhelming and it is easy to jump to a decision that isn’t best for you due to how emotionally charged the whole wedding planning can be. Looking around different venues will give you a good indication of what you like and what you don’t like. Make sure that the questions you ask include:

  • Availability of the venue on the dates you have in mind
  • If you would get exclusive use of the venue or not (for some people having exclusive use is very important, but not so much for others). If you wont have exclusive use of the venue on your wedding day, ask who will be using the venue, what facilities would be used, and if they would be able to go freely into the areas you are in.
  • If they have accommodation for you and your guests. A venue may seem nice but it can be a nightmare if it doesn’t have rooms for you to stay in the night before or after the wedding.
  • Ask if you will have access the day before the wedding so you can set the venu up with decorations etc. If you do not have access the day before the wedding, you will have to think about who is going to set up the decorations (table centrepieces, bunting, sweetie buffet). Some venues will set your table decorations up for you.
  • And finally how much. They will most likely ask you how many guests you would be having to the day and evening among other things, so go with a rough idea of numbers in mind. My venue were amazing and drew up a cost sheet for me, of the room hire, how much food and drink would cost etc, so ask if they can do a similar thing for you.

Make sure you take a note pad and pen, for writing down key information about the venue, as it can be really hard to remember all the details once you’ve seen a few different venues, and the notes you make when visiting each venue will really help you when making your decision about which one is the right one for you. When I first visited my wedding venue with my Chief Bridesmaid I made notes such as: Plenty of rooms for guests to stay in, good disability access, want the L-shaped room. When I then went over the pros and cons of the venues I had viewed my notes really helped to keep clarity.

Lastly – HAGGLE!
(read my haggling tips here)

Don’t be afraid to ask them for a reduction in the price, see if you can work out a deal with them. Tell them what your budget for your venue is (usually, roughly half of your overall budget) and ask them what they could give you for that. A booking is better than no booking, so venues are often happy to work something out with you within reason.

Going for cheaper menu options for the wedding breakfast can massively reduce the cost, soup and chicken are often the cheaper options, and venues will sometimes give you a discount if you have a certain number of guests booking rooms at the hotel for the night of the wedding.

The months from September/October to April/May are cheaper months, and in recent years September, October and April have been fabulous weather wise! So definitely think about going for one of these months instead of the traditional summer months which can be much more expensive. Another way to save a lot of money is to have your wedding on a week day, Monday –Thursday weddings can massively reduce the overall cost. So a Thursday in October = cha ching!

I hope you find this helpful, and I’d love to hear from you about how you chose your venue and whats tips you’d give on what you do first on the road to planning your wedding.

Hen Party – Oxford

Hello All!

So the hen party I have been blogging about was on Saturday!!!!  After all the planning I got quite nervous on Saturday morning thinking about everything that could possibly go wrong. The plan for the day had been sent to all the girls, I had researched where to park, printed off a map to show how to get from one venue to the next, and I had the confirmations of booking printed off too. One of my fears was that I’d forget the hen party bags, but alas I put them in my car hours before I was due to leave.

Unfortunately all the planning in the world couldn’t prepare me for one of the girls dropping out at 2PM when she was supposed to be at my house at 3:40PM. So from 7 down to 6 we went.

Upon arriving in Oxford and entering Lava & Ignite I handed out the hen party bags and gave the Hen her veil. The sweets wpid-imag0992.jpgwere gobbled up, diamontes were stuck on faces, foot cushions inserted into heels, and willy straws taken with great gusto. Some of the girls struggled with their sashes so I helped them fasten their sashes in the right place before we bounced over to the bar to begin our cocktail making master class.

If you are planning a hen party I would definitely consider buying hen party bags. Some of the items really came in handy, such as the foot cushions and the girls really loved finding all the different items that wpid-imag0991.jpghad been put in their bags.

The cocktail class at Lava & Ignite was well planned by the club and thoroughly interactive. The tools we had to create our cocktails with were three plastic jam jars, a spoon and a shot glass. We each made three cocktails that included jam. Yes jam! Odd I know, but strangely the jam in the cocktails was really good. The thought behind this was that they wanted us to learn how to make cocktails we could easily make at home. Three generous cocktails and liberal portions of prosecco later we were all feeling a little giddy and definitely ready for a burger before laughing our socks off.


Coming out in to the daylight after being inside a dark windowless club was a rather disorientating experience.

The outside of the Glee Club is quite nice, plenty of clean looking decking and large wooden benches and tables and most importantly, clearly visible for slightly tipsy hens. The Glee Club in Oxford is second to none as far as local comedy clubs go. The staff were incredibly friendly throughout our evening and I couldn’t recommend the venue enough!


Planning the hen was so enjoyable. I would love to plan a hen again in the future. Even if I don’t get to plan another hen party at least I’ve got my hen party next year to look forward to!

Cocktail Making Masterclass

The Hen party is now even more awesome! We have booked and paid the deposit for a Cocktail Masterclass at a club called ‘Lava & Ignite’ in Oxford. Included in the £25 per head we get a 90 minute long cocktail masterclass, club entry with queue jump and a VIP table. We are splitting the cost of the B2B between us which makes the costs £29.20 each.

The masterclass is booked for 5:30PM so that we can get to the Glee Comedy Club for 7:30PM which means will be probably be eating either before the masterclass or at the Glee Club.

Now just to decide whether to get the park and ride or drive into Oxford and find parking near the activity venues.

Hen Do Planning

Two months ago I published a post saying how my colleague and friend had asked me to plan her Hen Do for her. At the time I had only just started thinking of ideas so what I have ended up booking is slightly different to my initial thinking.

The Hen party details are: 
Date: 4th July 2015
Location: Oxford, Oxfordshire, UK
Number of Hens: 6 plus the B2B
Activity: Meal at a restaurant (yet to be booked), followed by comedy night at Oxford Glee Club followed by hitting a club
Travel Plans: Myself and another lady are designated drivers.
Costs: £18 per person for the Glee Club Comedy Tickets
£10 per person for extras
Extras?: Personalised sashes and personalised Hen Party Bags

The cost for the B2B is being spread across us 6 hens

The comedy tickets at the Glee Club in Oxford have been booked, the personalised sashes have arrived and the party bags are due to be delivered in about 3-4 days (about 7 days from ordering to expected delivery).

We decided to go for sashes instead of t-shirts so that each person can wear whatever they like whether they choose to wear a dress or jeans.

I ordered the personalised sashes from as they enable you to choose the colour of the sash, the colour and style of the font and the wording on the front and back. For the price, the quality and speed of delivery is amazing. I decided to go for pale pink with gold writing. The pictures I took below really don’t do them justice.


The sashes come with Velcro circles you stick in the desired place to secure the two ends. We decided to give each other Little Miss Names for quirky un-offensive nick names everyone would be happy to wear. The sash I’m wearing in the picture is ‘Little Miss Giggles’, the only person who has a Little Miss name that is not a real Little Miss is the B2B who has ‘ Little Miss Princess’.

Initially Hen Party bags were a bit of a mystery to me. I’ve only ever been on one hen do, which was planned with very short notice and hadn’t really heard of hen party bags before. One of the other hens suggested getting them, so I did some research and found a company on eBay called ‘Vintage*dotty’.


The personalisation service they offer is second to none. For only £2.95 per bag you choose the colour of the bag, the design and information on the label, the colour of the tissue paper inside the bags and you choose 8 items out of a large list to fill the bags with.
The 8 bag fillers I decided upon are: Willy Sucking Straw; Mini Survival Kit; Scavenger Hunt Game Sheet; Strip of 10 Diamanté Face Jewels; Love Heart Sweets; Red Juicy Lip Sweets; Neon Pink Bracelet and Stiletto Fashion Foot Cushions.

I will put a sash in the bags when they arrive and write each hens name on the bag in preparation for handing them out at the meal. All the hens know about the sashes and know I have ordered party bags but I have kept the details of the bags a secret so that the other girls have a surprise on the night. All details except for the date are being kept secret from the B2B.

Supplier Details
Hen Party Bags: eBay – Vintage*dotty; facebook –; website –
Hen Party
Comedy Club: Oxford Glee Club
Veil for the B2B: eBay – morechoice2014

Hen Party Honor

Today my friend and colleague asked me if I would plan her Hen Do! I’ve never planned a Hen Do before and have only ever attended one in the past. I take being asked to plan someones Hen Do as a great honor that they trust me to plan their Hen Do successfully as well as an honor all round, and I will be taking this honor very seriously.

My friend is Slovakian but has been living and working in the UK for a number of years. Although her fiancé is British they are getting married in Slovakia which has meant regular trips to Slovakia during the wedding planning. Only the Groom-2-Bs close friends and family are attending the wedding in Slovakia. Which means the Hen Party is our only chance to be a part of the wedding.

A number of the ladies that will be invited to attend the Hen Party are mothers to young children so the Bride-2-B asked me to plan it as a day/evening thing (as opposed to a weekend Hen) and to keep it local. The wedding is in August and I am planning the Hen for early July which means I only have a few weeks to plan before I have to start booking! *scared*

At the moment we are thinking of going for a meal followed by an activity, such as a cocktail making class or a comedy night, then out on the town for drinkies afterwards. As I’ve only started planning today I don’t have many of the details decided upon yet, but I definitely think we will get Hen Party t-shirts from ‘Hen Party Superstore’.


I am a regular attendee of the #weddinhour on Twitter every Wednesday and this evening a fellow #weddinghour attendee has provided me with a great website that will help me in planning the Hen Party. With how nervous I feel I will definitely be glued to ‘The Hen Planner‘, as there is no question on planning a hen party that this website doesn’t answer. The picture above is taken from The Hen Planner Blog where there is no shortage of ultra-original ideas your Hens will LOVE!

Have you ever planned a Hen party before? What did you do, and how long did you have to plan it? What advice can you give me?

Wedding Fayres – not convinced?

When I got engaged for the first time I avoided wedding fayres like a cat avoids water, with a misguided thought that wedding fayres would only make me wish I had a bigger budget or break by budget by tempting me in to products and services I couldn’t afford.

Ideas I found when I attended my first wedding fayre

The truth of the matter is there are all sorts of suppliers at wedding fayres providing services and products to suit a range of budgets, plus you can get some fantastic ideas like I did when I attended my first wedding fayre.

There is a company called ‘KK Events‘ who specialise in wedding fayres – check out her blog for even more proof about how useful and inspiring wedding fayres can be

To quote Matilda and Molly (found via KK Events blog):

“Now, there is no easy way to say this….the excitement will drain you a little and you will start to think “why?” “what!” “how?!”. Planning your wedding can be daunting. Pinterest is GREAT for weddings, however it can also leave you mightily confused and asking “what on earth do we want our wedding to look like”.
When you get to this stage it is time to sit back and remember why you are doing this. You are getting married because you are in love. You are getting married to tell the world that you are in love. You are getting married because of you and your partner.
So, now we have got you back down to earth and in a happy loved up and smiley inside place, you are can start to think about your wedding and what you want it to say about you and your future husband or wife.”

When trying to work out where to start in the whole wedding planning dream/nightmare attending a local wedding fayre and speaking to the guest suppliers can really help to settle your mind and provide some clarity amongst all the bewildering options available.

Sending all you wonderful B2Bs the best of luck!

My What Happens Next

In January 2011 I finally got around to contacting the local registry office to provisionally book the registra.

I found out that because we live in Berkshire but are getting married in Wiltshire, we would have to do the legal stuff and pay the legal fees with our regsitry office closest to us in Berkshire, and would have to book and pay for a registra from the registry office closest to our venue in Wiltshire.

So I provisionally booked the registra in Wiltshire and had to wait to do anything with the Berkshire registry office until a year to go. We booked the venue 2 years before the date so didn’t feel in too much of a rush to start booking anything else.

photography was an area that I was determined to save money on. Looking at how much photographers charged made me feel sick, and yet so many of them didn’t even give prints, just a DVD with your pictures on. I tried contacting colleges in the area to see if we could get a student photographer to no fruition. After contacting various photographers, I found our photographer by chance on a wedding forum. He was fantastic, great to communicate with and the pictures on his website were perfect for the style of photography we wanted.

One thing to bare in mind when choosing your photographer is the style of photos that you prefer. We wanted traditional photo’s; the family shots, the cutting of the cake, signing the register, a few of us as Mr and Mrs and then a few candid shots of everyone mingling and having a good time. I wasn’t interested in the shots that seem popular with the pricier photographers of the wedding party running through a field, or jumping up and down etc. If there was anything I didn’t want to be doing on my wedding day was running or jumping.

The photographer (zndr photogrpahy) offered us a great price and so we paid our deposit with him.

From my experience of looking for photographers one of the things that I would make sure you ask them is if they require to be fed during the day and evening (depending on how long you are having them for) and if they require you to pay for them to have a room at the venue the night of the wedding. Too many a time have I read on wedding forums about brides who thought they had found a great photographer who closer to the wedding then informed the bride and groom that they required to be fed during the wedding breakfast, for drinks throughout the day to be bought for them and/or to have a room provided for them the night of the wedding. If you do not ask before putting down the deposit with them this can come as a very unexpected and un-welcomed expense.

We decided that it wasn’t our duty to entertain our guests as if they wouldn’t enjoy the day without entertain so forwent the clowns, bouncey castles, singers etc that can be bought in to entertain yourselves and your guests at the wedding, not only because they cost money we didn’t have, but this was a big factor in our decision. The only entertainment we have booked is the hotel recommended DJ to play in the evening.

Make sure to draw up a contract with everyone you employ for your wedding, photographer, caterer, entertainers etc, to stipulate, how much you need to pay them and when, how long they will be working for and what they will be providing, and cancellation terms, for what happens if you or they cancel to protect yourselves and them.

What happens next?

What happens after booking the venue depends on how close to your date you have booked.

If you have booked 15-12 months before your wedding then you need to find and book a photographer, caterer (if applicable), florist, transportation (if applicable) and entertainment.

Irrelevant of when you book your venue in relation to your wedding date, the other thing you will need to do as soon as possible if you’re having a civil ceremony, is to book your registrar. Different registry offices have different rules on how long in advance you can book your registrar and give notice. Some will allow you to provisionally book your registrar 24-18 months before, however, others only allow you to book, provisionally or other a maximum of 12 months before. Once you get to the 12 months before or less stage you will be able to book your registrar and give notice of your marriage.

If you have booked your venue with longer to go than this, then really what you do next is up to you. You can start looking for your wedding dress and your BM’s dresses, and possible ways to decorate your venue.

When looking for photographers, you may feel that it is impossible to find a photographer at a low price. Money can be saved on all of the above areas! One of the biggest ways to save is if you are lucky enough to know talented and generous people who will either be your florist, entertainer, caterer, photographer etc for free/at a reduced price. If you are not lucky enough to know people who can do this for you, then you need to look around for a bargain. Student photographers, or photographers that have just qualified are cheaper than experienced photographers. Opting for seasonal flowers and hand tied bouquets will also reduce your expenditure.

Having your wedding at a later time, means that you may only have to feed your guests once, as opposed to twice, which will help in reducing catering costs, as well as, opting for cheaper menu options, not having canapes after the ceremony, choosing sparkling wine instead of champagne for the toast, not having a buffet in the evening, or having bacon sandwiches instead of a buffet in the evening.

As you plan you will find for yourselves the areas you feel you can save on and those that you really don’t want to. You may decide that you have never been that fussed on the idea of having a bouquet anyway and go give up having flowers at all, or only have a bouquet and button holes and no venue decoration flowers or vice versa.