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

Flash Sale with Record The Knot

Just a quick mini update to let you know about a flash sale a wedding video company is having…

“See your wedding through the eyes of your guests with Record The Knot. We gather all the videos and images your guests capture on their devices and transform this amateur footage – with professional video treatment and editing techniques – into a totally unique, bespoke wedding video.

For the next two days we’re slashing €50 off our price, meaning you can get a full multiperspective wedding video for only €100 – British Pound: £87.03 (estimate based on current exchange rates).

But hurry, this offer ends Thursday 01/06/2017*”

Round-Up: Advice from the Professionals

Advice From the Professionals

I thought it was about time I did a round-up of some of the best Hints Tips and Advice from Professionals that have been featured on the blog. One of the aims of Say I Do On A Budget is to provide real advice that will actually help you plan your wedding with ease irrelevant of how big or small your budget might be.

Occasionally the help and advice that is presented with the blog posts isn’t simply from humble little me, but is actually from industry professionals who really know what they’re talking about. Some of the best advice that has been featured on the blog over the past couple years is highlighted below. If you like the sound of the snippets below then pop over to their sites or click the link to the full post to read more.

Wedding Stationary: Advice from the Professionals

Say I Do On A Budget has featured a lot of wedding stationary professionals who have kindly provided advice and tips to help you.

In September 2015 Suzanne from ‘Paper Tree Design‘ along with Rosie from ‘Little Vixen Designs‘ provided their pearls of wisdom on how to save money on your invitations in a post entitled Invites For Less.
Their professional industry experience meant they were able to provide advice such as:
“Using someone local can cave you money on postage if you decide to collect your order” – from Suzanne: Paper Tree Design
“Check the size, weight and thickness of your invitations if you’re posting them. Postage can shoot right up even if you’re slightly over the limit.”
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Photo Booth on a Budget

Photo Booth on a Budget from

For the couple planning their wedding on a smaller than average budget a professional photo booth may seem out of the equation.

Going DIY can be a fantastic way to have a photo booth at your wedding for less. One of the weddings I attended in 2014 had a budget photo booth which worked fantastically. It was an iPad set up on a stand where the guests pressed the capture button that was set on a 5 second timer so you could get in place before the picture was taken. Add in a little backdrop and some fun photo booth style props and you’ve got your own budget photo booth.

However, what if you do want something more professional?

Some photo booth hire companies do packages that could really suit your needs. You may decide you only need the photo booth for a couple of hours during the early stages of the reception. An example of a company that may be able to fit this need is ‘Giraffe Monkey‘ who are based in the north of England.

You can get 2 hours for just £200 but you can also get 4 hours for just £375 from Giraffe Monkey.

Only you will know if a photo booth is something you want to have at your wedding. If you do want a photo booth at your wedding, only you will know if your budget allows you to go professional, or if you’ll have to get creative and go DIY.

Within all of Giraffe Monkey’s packages you get all of the below:

When thinking about backdrops for a DIY photo booth you could create a board that stands in front of the ‘camera’ or you can simply set in up so a wall is the backdrop. Simply what you don’t want is the camera looking into a room as this distracts the focus away from the people who are “in the photo booth” at the time and takes away from the whole photo booth feel when you get the pictures.

Most people opting with a DIY photo booth won’t have a printer set up to print the pictures after they’re taken as if you don’t already have an instant photo printer this can add an unexpected high cost to the set up. If you’re using a smart device as the camera then you can download photo booth apps that allow your guests to upload the photos to a service such as Instagram with your own unique hashtag so you can find them all later.  A quick Google search brings up loads of ideas and ‘How To’s” for creating a DIY photo booth.

Whether you go for a professional photo booth or a DIY style one they are usually a big winner at any wedding; and a fantastic and affordable way to provide a form of entertainment for your wedding guests that everyone will benefit from.

Giraffe Monkey Discount for readers of

That’s why Brides go to Asda…


The high street can be one of the best places to get pretty much everything for your big day. Clothes shops, craft stores and department stores are the most commonly visited shops on the high street for bridesmaids dress, suits for the groomsmen, supplies to make invitations and everything in between. 

However, what if I said you could get some of the fun little clothing extras you might want for your hen party or wedding morning? 

Asda now have a small range of wedding clothing items that beat most prices I’ve seen any where else! 

The Asda wedding range is very small, so don’t think you’ll be able to get half your list of goodies from the supermarket chain, but you will be able to pick up ‘Father of the Bride’ socks for £2, a ‘ Bride to be’ dressing gown for £8 and swimming costumes for the Hen do for £10.


Bridal Reloved


Say I Do On A Budget is all about having your perfect wedding day for less. However having a smaller than average budget for your wedding day does not mean that you have to settle for less. It may mean you have to be crafty about how you spend your money, it may mean that you have to decide what wedding elements are most important to you, and it may mean spending a little longer researching the best option for you. But it does not mean you have to settle for less, or that your wedding day is any less. 

Hopefully this blog has helped you with the researching side of planning. I always aim to not only bring you hints and tips on how to reduce the cost of your big day, but to also BridalRelovedLogohighlight budget friendly suppliers of everything from stationary and decorations to dresses and suits.

When it comes to choosing your wedding dress, as a bride to be on a budget some of the options open to you are sample sale dresses, borrowing a dress from a friend or relative, risking ordering a dress from an eBay store or sourcing a second hand dress. 

The last option mentioned above is one of my favourite options. It speaks to the planet saving side of me and anything that means a bride to be can have the best for less is fine by me! 

Bridal Reloved was dreamed up by Kate Atkinson to help Bride-to-be’s searching for the dress as well as the married woman looking to recoup some of her costs. The Bridal Reloved stores sell immaculate dresses are either brand new, ex-sample or worn once and cleaned. With stores in Cambridge, Yorkshire, Coventry, Essex, Dorset, Liverpool, Kent and Shropshire with more on the horizon you are very likely to be able to make your way to one of their stores. 

BridalRelovedDressesOne of the wedding planning experiences that many budget brides feel they miss out on is the experience of buying their dress from a boutique and getting the full dress shopping, trying-on experience, but rest assured, just because you don’t have the budget to order a designer dress new, doesn’t mean you can’t have the full experience that buying your dress from a boutique offers.

At your pre-booked appointment with Bridal Reloved you will be the only customer in store, meaning the full attention of the staff is on looking after you, they’ll offer you a cup of tea and a biscuit and full styling advice.

If you’ve been struggling to come with a way to have the dress of your dreams within your budget then why not check out the Bridal Reloved links below and contact your local boutique store for an appointment.


Facebook – Each store has it’s own Facebook page where you can view their current stock in sized albums.

I love the concept of Bridal Reloved so much that I’ve added them to the IDoOnABudget Budget Suppliers page.

14 Ways I Reduced the Cost of my Wedding

I often get asked how I was able to cut my wedding costs down by so much to meet my 6.5K budget. This question is one I love answering as it really can be very simple. Often you can meet your budget without even having to remove elements your guests will notice or miss. These 14 simple changes can save you big bucks and are so easy to implement!

This isn’t a comprehensive list of things the Husband and I did to reduce costs, but these 14 things are the main ways we ensured we hit budget.  

How many can you incorporate into your wedding planning? 

What other little changes have you made to save money?

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