My Little R is now 9 months old and we gave him his first solid food when he was 5 months. For the first 4 weeks the majority of the food we gave him was mashed, but when he hit 6 months we switched to baby led and haven’t looked back!
R likes to feed himself, he resents being spoon fed but tolerates it for things like Weetabix or custard. Baby led weaning has been a learning curve for the husband and I and a source of anxiety for the husband on occasions but our son is so happy and loves his meals times. In a previous post on baby led weaning back in February I detailed our early journey.
Now I’m going to share with you some of the meals I’ve served up for R and I as him and I eat the same meals, with just the occasional tweak for how R has it.
“If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else.”
–Booker T. Washington
Yes, it’s true! And therein lies the importance of giving back to the community! This art of giving back and gifting is known as “philanthropy”.
You know what? Spending time enriching your community can expand your perspective about the world! Besides, you can get a unique idea about life by serving people around you. And that’s important for your community too! It helps to eradicate various social problems and increase wellness in society!
In this context, let me tell you, Gen X peeps or millennials are giving back more to the community! Don’t believe me? A2019 Forbes report shows that millennials in our country are becoming philanthropic. In fact, they are the future of fundraising!
But always remember, don’t do anything by busting your budget! No matter what, you need to stick to your budget for leading a financially stable life! So, here we have listed some of the best possible ways to give back but without busting your budget!
If you follow me on Facebook, Insta or Twitter you may have seen in my stories and on my wall, pictures of the fiddle board I’ve made for my son.
A few weeks ago I asked my husband to make one. We sat and looked at ideas online and I drew out what I would like to have on the board, but the husband said he had too many other projects on at the moment. So I asked my Dad, he also has a lot of projects on. So I decided I would make it myself!
Fiddle boards are based on the Montessori appraoch of giving babies and children real world items to play with and are ideal for babies once they are able to confidently sit unaided. R is 7 months, has been sitting unaided for 2 months and confidently pulls himself up to kneeling, meaning he is at the ideal developmental stage for an activity board.
I wrote a blog post for The Nottingham Bank last year titled ‘How to ensure your wedding comes in on budget’ to provide some key advice to their readers on reducing the cost of a wedding. Recently they asked for ideas on how to entertain children during half term that don’t break the bank and I contributed a few suggestions. The Nottingham Bank have put some of my suggestions into a blog post titled Five half term ideas that won’t break the bank on their website.
It doesn’t go undetected for long that living frugally is a topic I’m well versed on so I thought I’d share the tips I gave The Nottingham Bank as well as giving you a few extra ideas for how you can keep your sanity and your ££.
Hit up your local library. My local library has a ‘story and rhyme’ session on Wednesday mornings. It’s a half hour session designed for babies and toddlers where songs such as ‘wind the bobbin up’ are sung and a big story book is read out. The session is totally free and open to anyone.
Go Scrumping. My childhood often involved scrumping for blackberries or Hazel nuts with my sister. She would climb the Hazel tree and shake the branches whilst I scooped up the nuts as they fell. Another fond memory of scrumping was for blackberries in the hedgerows of a farmers field, getting sniffed by heifers as I filled my bag and my belly with the berries. Exploring the countryside with Tupperware and a mission can be brilliant fun for children of all ages.
Attend new baby and toddler groups. Many baby and toddler groups are free for your first attendance. If you’re stuck in a rut attending the same group every week, look slightly further afield and scope out a different group to give your little one some variety and save yourself a couple ££.
Plus, baking at home anything from simple fairy cakes to a quiche; going old school with a game of rounders on your local playing field; setting out on a bear hunt; hosting a teddy bears picnic; creating decorations from salt dough and signing up to a bird watch to report on what birds you have spotted in your area.
How do you? What’s your children’s favourite things to do in the holidays that don’t break the bank? Let me know in the comments.
In January 2019 the husb and I completed on our first house purchase and moved in on 18th. The month prior we found out we would be expecting our first baby. 2019 was an expensive (and very exciting) year!
The house was in desperate need of a deep clean and a redecoration. It hadn’t been decorated in a long time, and everything was filthy and nicotine stained. Thankfully we had bought paint and carpets before moving in and we already had all the furniture we needed from when we were renting, so we didn’t have to wait too long to be able to start buying things in preparation for the baby arrival.
We chose to keep the gender a surprise, so throughout my pregnancy we referred to our little one as Spark.
Preparing frugally for baby
There is no end of sleeping places you can buy for a baby. Moses baskets, cots, space saver cots, cotbeds, next2me cribs, sleepy heads, travel cots… and a whole host of bed accessories you can splash the cash on from a multitude of cot bumpers (studies suggest to avoid cot bumpers to reduce the chance of SIDS) to canopies and nests.
Before you buy any beds/cots for baby consider where baby will be sleeping. I knew I wanted Spark in our room with us for the first 6 months, before being transferred into his own room. I also thought that for the first couple months I’d probably want him to have his daytime naps in the living room.
Therefore I decided to buy a next2me cot and a cotbed. Instead of forking out on a moses basket for the downstairs daytime naps, I decided I would just use the bassinet from the pushchair. Babies grow out of moses baskets very quickly, so much so most parents I know who bought one say that in hindsight they wouldn’t have bothered getting one.
Cots, cotbeds and next2me cots are easily bought second hand in very good condition. I bought a Chicco next2me cot secondhand off Facebook Marketplace for £80 and a secondhand Mamas&Papas cotbed for £50 off Facebook Marketplace. A cotbed is a better investment than a cot, as cots are small and only last a year or two at most, whereas a cotbed has various heights for the base of the bed and the sides can be removed to turn it into a toddler bed, meaning your cotbed will take you from newborn to about 4 years old.
With hindsight I wouldn’t buy a baby monitor at all. Unless you live in a big house, or your little on will be sleeping on a different floor of the house to you, a baby monitor may be unnecessary. I live in a two bed semi. Irrelevant of where I am in the house, or where my son is, I can hear him when he stirs/cries. Even now he is sleeping in his cotbed in his own room, I wake up to the sound of him stirring/crying. If you do choose to buy a baby monitor, definitely consider purchasing a second hand one, or alternatively, look for a dog monitor. We bought a dog/pet monitor. It does what most baby monitors do, but was quite a bit cheaper!
Nearly New Baby Sales
Scope out your local nearly new baby sales to find everything from clothes and toys, to baby monitors, carriers/slings and highchairs. Little Pickles Markets happen every month across the south of England. I went to two Little Pickles Markets whilst pregnant where I picked up a baby carrier, some newborn clothes and a play mat (for £4) among others things.
As well as everything above, the quick tips I would give are to write a list and stick to it. It is easy to get suckered in to buying a lot of stuff you do not need when browsing online and walking around the shops. Buy what you think you will definitely need in preparation for your babies arrival. Other things can be bought once baby is born. Wait for baby events, such as the Asda baby event when lots of essential items are reduced to stock up on things like wetwipes.
All your baby really needs is you and to be warm, dry and fed. Everything else is a bonus.
30th December brought my husband and I’s decision to offer solids to Russell for the first time. I knew I wanted to follow the baby led weaning method, but as R was showing weaning readiness before 6 months I started with some purees. However to test his readiness the first thing I gave him was a rusk. He handled the rusk very well so the next day I soaked the rusk in some milk and spoon fed him it.
The NHS recommends that you start weaning from 6 months. However, all babies are different, some may not be ready at 6 months and others may be ready a little before 6 months. Your baby may be ready for weaning if they can sit up with minimal support, can hold their head confidently and have the coordination to pick objects up and put them to their mouth. Even if your baby is able to do all these things it doesn’t mean they are ready. You know your baby best, and weaning should be led by your baby.
I have so far borrowed three books from the library on weaning and the one I’ve found most helpful and informative on baby led weaning is ‘Baby Led Weaning : Helping your baby to love good food’ by Gill Rapley & Tracey Murkett. I’d recommend this book as it goes through chapter by chapter everything you need to know about the baby led weaning method, meaning you will feel confident to pursue this method.
Nearly everything that R has had so far has been home prepped by myself. It’s so easy and cheap to make food for your baby, there really is no need to shell out on the expensive ready made pouches and jars in the baby isle.
After rusk, we went onto fruit and vegetables. In the first full week of weaning R had Parsnip, Sweet Potato, Banana and butternut squash. I peeled, chopped, cooked and mashed the parsnip and sweet potato and butternut squash then stored the excess in the freezer. You can use pots or ice cube trays. 1 large sweet potato made 8 portions for R! The banana I simply mushed before giving it to him. The important thing is, that even if you are spoon feeding purees, your baby should choose how much they eat. Do not try to force or encourage your baby to eat more than they want to. Your baby will show you when they have had enough by closing their mouth, turning their head away, and showing a lack of interest in food. Until 1 year old, milk is still your babies main food and nutrition source so there is no need to stress about how much they eat. I let R guide my hand with his own and even gave him a loaded spoon for him to practice feeding himself.
After a couple weeks giving R purees I decided he was ready to start real solids as per the baby led method. I was very prepared to buy a second hand high chair as there always seems to be high chairs for sale on Facebook Marketplace, but a friend offered to buy the highchair as R’s Christmas present which was lovely. With baby led weaning you don’t need any weaning spoons or bowels etc as you can just place the food directly on the high chair tray. My parents did buy a bamboo weaning set for R as a Christmas gift, so we have used the bowel and spoon when giving R sloppy foods as R hasn’t mastered the skill of dipping yet to feed himself sloppy foods.
Baby Led Weaning is great for weaning on a budget as with some adaptions you can feed your baby what you’re eating.
Here is everything R has had so far with a brief description of how I served it.
Last month The Nottingham Building Society published my guest contribution on their website following them contacting me asking if I would write a piece for them on how to save money whilst planning a wedding.
In the guest post I gave 7 tips on how to easily reduce the cost of your wedding without your big day feeling cheap. For regular readers of Say I Do On A Budget, some of the tips are familiar, but I threw in a couple of tips I’ve not mentioned before, or not for awhile anyway!
Those of you who know my writing style will notice that the ‘voice’ in this post for The Nottingham is not my usual ‘voice’. The reason for this, is because they condensed my contribution to fit their strict small word count. Despite their editing I do feel that my message is still there, and is a message that those who know my blog will recognise, and therefore I am overall, happy with the outcome and pleased that my message is being shared with a wider audience.
Over the years I have done many guest posts for other sites and blogs and always very much enjoy the experience and the chance to reach more people. Although, I have politely turned down some opportunities because the host site didn’t seem to fit with what I’m trying to do with this blog. Two of my favourite guest contributions are:
I am sat here incredibly excited, not only because of the new discovery I have made this morning that I will share with you in this post, but also because I am 19 weeks pregnant and my wonderful husband is currently changing the flooring in our bathroom. Whilst I’m on this side note of sharing about myself, if you would like to hear more about my thrifty home decoration and my thrifty planning for the arrival of baby number 1 please let me know.
So today I have discovered the John Lewis Wedding Range and I am in complete awe of what they have available. I’ve looked at a lot of high street stores wedding ranges and John Lewis’ is by far the best range for variety of style I’ve ever come across. Below are a few of my top picks of my favourites from their current range. All of the images below belong to John Lewis and are hyperlinked to the product on their website.
The Raishma is one of the more conventional wedding gown options and is right on point for the current fashion in wedding dresses with the long semi sheer sleeves and neckline. This gown has a small slit opening in the back at the top of the concealed zip fastening.
I have a real soft spot for a jump suit and can see this looking amazing on a Bride who knows she does not want a dress for a special day. This is a powerful yet still feminine look that will have a lot of jaws dropping, especially with the details of the frill cap sleeves, mid depth v back and the embellished detachable belt. I can imagine this jumpsuit teamed with a fabulous birdcage style veil.
Could you get a better bo-ho-chic gown for the day you commit yourself to your significant other than this maxi from French Connection? I think you’d struggle especially for this mightily frugal price! The delicate lace at the centre of the deep V neckline and the balloon has me swooning.
Out of all of these, this gown is not technically in the wedding range on the John Lewis site, but if you ask me, it really should be, because every about it is screaming 2019 wedding trend. Wedding dresses with colour started to prove very popular last year and featured heavily in bridal magazines, and the trend doesn’t seem to be going anywhere this year. From the Rose Pink colouring to the intricate embroidery this dress is a frugal show stopper and would suit the fashion conscious bride-to-be very well. To add a bit of extra wow-factor team this gown with a chapel or cathedral length veil.
Bride and Groom: Vicky and Mike
Mike is a Site Supervisor and Vicky is a Hairdresser by day and a creator of beautiful hair accessories by evening. Vicky and Mike live in the Stockport area of Manchester.
Number of Guests: 80 day guests, and a total of 130 guests for the reception
Wedding Colour Scheme: Orange, Green and Gold
Total Wedding Budget: £8,000
Vicky and Mike’s fabulous wedding suppliers: Photographer: Mike Petch of M Photography, he is a brilliant and fairly priced photographer. Mike was with us all day until the first dance. DJ: The DJ came with the venue. Dave was brilliant and he took photos of the evening reception. Cake: Was made by Vicky’s Grandma. Mike and Vicky gave her some flowers as a thank you for making the cake. Hairdresser and MUA: A friend and colleague of Vicky’s did Vicky’s hair and make-up for her as a wedding gift. Flowers: Vicky made all of the flower arrangements herself using faux flowers purchased from Country Baskets. Vicky hand-made 5 bouquets, 8 button holes, 8 table centrepieces and 2 candelabras. The total cost of all the faux flowers was £250.
Not all Brides want a big, expensive long weekend party for their Hen Do. There are lots of different reasons why a Bride may opt for a 1 night celebration or a low cost weekend party with their favourite ladies. Some Brides may know that their friends aren’t able to splash out on a long weekend far away from home. Some Brides have young children or other responsibilities that mean they can’t be away from home for a long time which mean they want a at home hen or a low cost local hen celebration. I opted for a low cost Hen weekend myself when my hens and I went to Brighton for 1 night and stayed in a hostel! It is for this reason I thought the US based oracle for Bridesmaids and the expert of Hen parties, Theresa of Bridesmaids Confession would be the perfect person to share some tips on how to plan a wonderful, low cost celebration for the Bride in your life!
“It’s a day your best friend has been waiting for, the one where he pops the question. After the shock of the proposal fades, she’s asked you to stand by her side and you’ll gleefully say yes. Once you step into the role of Bridesmaid you’ll have a full checklist of responsibilities. The one you can have the most fun with is planning the hen party. These types of things can cost a fortune, but they don’t have to. Here are 3 easy ways to save when planning a hen party.
There is one big reason that I love January. The January sales!
If you work the sales right, you can pick up everything from a wedding dress to stationary pieces at very discounted prices. Plus, with the advent of the internet, sales shopping is so much easier than it used to be! You don’t even need to traipse around the shops to pick out some amazing bargains to help you come in under budget.
If you are able to pick up pieces for your wedding day under budget what would you do with the money saved?
Put the money towards another part of your wedding day so you can splash out a little more in that area? Or would you keep it in the bank to spend on something non-wedding related? Whatever you may choose to do with the money saved from sale shopping, we can all agree there isn’t much that will give you a better feeling than finding a beautiful gem at a cost lower than you’d budgeted.
I thought I would search the internet to find some of the best bargains on the web to share with you. *please bear in mind that my finds are right to the time of publishing this post
Images are not linked to websites as in my experiences those types of links change quickly and therefore aren’t reliable. Hopefully the information in the images below will enable you to find the items on the company’s website easily.
As 2018 draws to an end I thought it would be nice to look back over the posts I’ve published during 2018 and create a round-up of my 5 favourite posts from the past year. Tomorrow is New Years Eve when we will be ringing in the new year, a time when we all get a fresh start, a chance to make changes if we so wish.
I don’t talk about my personal life much on this blog, but if you follow me on Twitter, you will see me talk much more about my life, and if you do follow me on Twitter you will know 2018 has been a year of saving hard for my husband and I. We have been saving to buy our own home together. We have made a lot of sacrifices in a bid to build up a deposit, and the saving has been made even harder by the fact we both made big career changes in 2018 too!
I am incredibly happy to be able to report that in November we had an offer accepted on a house and are planning to complete and get the keys before the end of January! Meaning I already know 2019 will bring a big change for us, a very positive and exciting, if not slightly terrifying change. We’ll be #realadults then? I’d you’d like me to a blog post to document our moving in please let me know in the comments.
So, without much further ado, let’s move on to my 5 favourite Say “I Do” On A Budget posts from 2018. In no particular order…
This post was a collaboration between Russell and I. I had wanted to showcase some of the origami Russell creates for a little while such as his origami fortune cookies and his origami lily fairy lights, then when he said he would kindly share some tips on how to get the most out of selling on Etsy, I thought it would work really well to combine the showcase of my favourite creations of his with his tips. Check out this post to read his 9 fabulous tips on how to improve your selling success on Etsy such as how to avoid a foreign currency fee from your bank.
I was thrilled to be able to feature a dear friend of mine when she decided to set up a business designing and hard-crafting hair accessories with Brides, Bridesmaids and Flower Girls in mind. Kelly started Sparkle Vines after hand-making the hair accessories she and her Bridesmaids wore to her own wedding in June of this year. You can order from her Etsy shop or by DM’ing her through her Facebook page, and an choose from her pre-made range or can put in a special order for a custom piece.
A couple months ago I created a guest post for Rachel’s blog site, ‘Veiled Productions’ on the topic of wedding traditions and where they come from. After creating the post for her on the origins of wedding traditions and customs I was inspired to create a post on how to bring the custom of carrying herbs in wedding bouquets back. I did quite a bit of research on the topic in the hope of inspiring others to consider using herbs in their floral arrangements. Within this post you will find a piece from a lady called Sarah who used bee friendly herbs in her floral arrangements which gave a nod to the fact she grows herbs in her garden and loves using them in her cooking.
Polly May (of Polly May Blogs) and I decided to arrange a blog swap with each other and this is her post for Say “I Do” On A Budget. Using her experience as a weddings and events planner for a hotel Polly May talks you through how you can break down a £10,000 budget to allocate for each part of your wedding. Many couples find budgeting one of the hardest parts of the early stages of wedding planning, so this post from Polly may should hopefully be very helpful for many who are trying to work out how to get started. If you read this post and then read some of my real budget wedding features you will get a brilliant idea of how you can make your dream low cost wedding a reality.
I’ve mentioned a few times in various posts about how difficult the husband and I found hunting for suppliers. An engaged friend of mine who is currently planning her August 2019 wedding also confided in me that she was struggling to find wedding photographers let alone, find one she and her Fiance wanted to book. This gave me the inspiration for a post on the websites you can use to aid your search for wedding suppliers, from photographers to florists.
Wedding Date: 23rd August 2018 Number of Guests:100 Wedding Colour Scheme and Theme: We had a colourful Festival theme. Lots of the guests camped on the farm and we had a circus skills workshop and a fire show as well as lots of flags and a campfire area. We had afternoon tea with a vintage tea set (rather than a sit down meal) and then served a giant paella later in the evening.
Total Wedding Budget: £6,500
Tim and Kate’s fabulous wedding suppliers: Photographer: Tanya Hazell Photography MUA / Hairdresser: Jodie (a friend of a friend!) Cake: My sister runs a cake business (Lucy Loves Cakes in Bristol) and made our wedding cake as a present Flowers: My Mum did the flowers! Having family supply the cake and the flowers for us really helped us reduce costs, as flowers and cake were going to add up to quite a bit if they hadn’t done them as gifts to us. Fudge table: we had a fantastic fudge table from Talbot Handmade
How did you decide on your budget? Kate and I had been together for 17 years, engaged for 16 years and have four children. We felt like this was about celebrating our lives and futures, rather than starting a new life, so choose a budget which we felt was comfortable for our financial situation.
What elements of planning were the hardest with your £6,500 budget? Initially the venue costs were the reason we kept putting things off, but when we found Radford Mill Farm we knew it was a perfect fit, and fantastic value. We saw the farm in March and two days later we booked it for August! Everything else we just started from the budget and looked at our options.
In what ways were you really able to crunch the budget? I’m very good at planning, and finding good hacks (hence my blog!), I think we also choose our suppliers wisely. We found local people, none of whom had glossy websites or sales pitches, but all of whom were friendly, passionate and recommended by others. We got good value, and good service, from everyone and it all had a very local, sustainable and friendly feel – there was nothing commercial about it whatsoever.
Tell us about the Bridal outfit… The dress was from ‘Light in the Box’. Kate wore a veil and an earring and necklace set. She tried on something very similar in a wedding store, then bought online for much less. She was a bit worried about buying online, but was very pleased with it when it arrived.
What about the beautiful Bridesmaids? We had both our daughters as our Bridesmaids. They both wore dresses from Monsoon.
And What did the Groom and Groomsmen wear?
I bought a decent suit in the TM Lewin sale for about £200, which I really liked. I wasn’t comfortable with buying something I’d only use once, so I choose something I could wear as a 2 or 3 piece and that I knew I would use again.A
We all love a bit of bling, what’s the story behind yours? My wedding ring is a gold band which belonged to my Grandfather who passed away a few months before the wedding. Kate chose hers after lots of research!
How did you get your DIY on? We decorated the marquee ourselves with bunting and festoon lights we bought. We made the invitations (which were like festival tickets) and we hand painted wooden signs for the site and made a giant wooden ‘LOVE’ sign. Kate also made a photo tree with our favourite pictures on.
What was the biggest hurdle you ran into during planning? We set ourselves a relatively tight timescale. For awhile we were worried we weren’t going to be able to find a live band we liked who would be available, but we managed to sort that once we put enough energy into searching. We had to align availability for the Guildhall and the reception venue, and get a temporary event notice ourselves, but it was all do-able with a bit of planning.
What was your blow out spend for the wedding? I’m not sure we really had one! We spent a few hundred pounds on a bus to ferry people between the ceremony and reception, as we thought that was important. We also really prioritised entertainment, we spent £650 on a live band and my parents booked the fire show and circus skills as a present for us! At the last minute we also added a few unplanned extras like festival wristbands – these were so popular!!
Was there anything that didn’t go as planned? Not really. I camped on site with family the night before the wedding and it absolutely poured down – we were waiting to wake up to a very soggy marquee (and I was really worried because Kate had put so much effort into decorating it the night before). But the sun came out, and everything important was dry! It didn’t rain again until the morning after the wedding.
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 get swept along by wedding sales and marketing. We just focused on the bits which were important to us and set a budget we stuck to. It’s so easy to get drawn in by advertising for ‘must haves’, but just treat your wedding as unique and decide your own must haves. Also, remember that very glossy websites, brochures and sales pitches cost businesses money – which means they’ll likely need to charge more!
Thank you to Tim for sharing his wonderful budget wedding with us!
Tim is a UK travel hack blogger over at Take Me To The Points and you may be very interested to know that Tim and Kate’s honeymoon was almost entirely paid for by points earned on the wedding spend! You can see how he did that in his post ‘Earning Hotel Points: How I Travel Hacked My Honeymoon!’
If you like the sounds of Tim’s wonderful budget wedding and you think you’d like to read more of his travel hacks then you can check out his blog and follow him on Twitter.
On 26th November I published on Say “I do” on a Budget, a guest post from Polly May. In her guest post, Polly May gave advice on how you could allocate a £10,000 budget for your wedding and then gave tips on what to think about when planning each section. Her post was absolutely brilliant, and a lot of you have been giving it a lot of love already. If you’ve not read it already, then definitely go and give it a read here.
In return I wrote a guest post for her, which she published on 29th November over on her blog. The blog post I wrote for her was all about how to minimise stress when you are in the midst of wedding planning and how you may be able to avoid getting the post-wedding-blues. I’m really pleased with how the post has come out over on her blog. If you are currently in the throws of planning, or if your wedding is fast approaching, the no nonsense advice I’ve given may be just what you need to read right now. Check out the post here.
Polly May is relatively new to the world of wedding blogging, but not new to the world of weddings, as she is an events and wedding planner. We’ve clicked really well, and have really enjoyed working together on these posts, so much so that I don’t think these posts will be the last time we feature on each others blogs!
Polly May started her blog, ‘Polly May Blogs‘ after her fiance popped the question on 12th December 2017. Through her blog, Polly May shares with her readers her planning journey, whilst sharing her tips & tricks to help others plan their perfect day… “without unleashing the inner Bridezilla!“
A wonderful Yorkshire based, 20 something Bride-to-be, who loves colour, performing arts and her career as a events and wedding planner, I know you’re going to love her!
As Polly May is an events and wedding planner by profession I thought she was definitely qualified to create a guest post for Say “I do” on a Budget on how you can plan your wedding for £10,000. In the blow post, Polly gives you an indication of how to allocate the £10,000 budget and provides some advice on what to consider to help you achieve your wedding for £10,000.
Wedding budgets come in all shapes and sizes; whatever yours looks like there are loads of tips and tricks to use to make sure you don’t spend a penny more than planned. Here’s a few ideas to help make sure you stay on track to an affordable but perfect wedding day.
Venue – £2,400
Now, a lot of couples get caught in the idea that hiring a ‘room only’ venue is the best way to save money, but this isn’t always the case. Don’t get me wrong it could be the best option for you however, make sure you get the total costings of everything. Be sure to take all aspects into consideration like catering, drinks, furniture, table linen, cutlery and perhaps even a portable toilet if you have hired an outside space! Alternatively, why not look at hotels or other specialised wedding venues that offer affordable packages that suit all price points. Think about having a mid-week wedding because (trust me) from personal experience, this can save thousands!
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.