Real Budget Wedding: Ira and James’ Icehotel Wedding

Real Budget Wedding Sweden Title

Bride and Groom: Ira Blake & James Humphries are both lighting designers and advisors based in Salisbury, England.
Wedding Venue: Icehotel, Jukkasjärvi, Sweden
Wedding Ceremony venue: Ice Church

Ira and James decided to get married in Sweden because their both ‘Scandiphiles’ and they fell in love with the place when Ira took James there for an early 40th birthday present whilst he was working in Stockholm.

Wedding date:  31 December 2013
Wedding colour Scheme: Not white!

Number of Guests: 6

Their guests consisted of, Ira’s sister and brother-in-law, Ira’s brother and sister-in-law and Ira’s best friend and her husband.

Photographer: James and Ira’s guests acted as their photographers, taking all the pictures they have of their day

Total wedding budget: 10K

How’d you decide on your budget?

We agreed on what elements were the most important to each of us together and stripped back everything else to keep it simple and about us rather than than about all the trappings.

Ira Feature Sisters Ira Anja

What elements of planning were the hardest with your budget?

The incidentals were the hardest as we were away for 3 days.  Also, whether we would be warm enough as the temperature can reach glacial levels i.e. as low as -40 degrees. Also the airline baggage allowance as pretty hard as we had lots of winter clothing!

We used a travel agency, Discover The World, who are an Icehotel approved specialist to help us plan travel etc. And the Icehotel has their own wedding coordinator, Eva Lundquist was on site all day and looked after all the arrangements which made things a lot easier. We flew out on December 29th 2013 and flew back on 1st January 2014.

Tell us all about your incredibly unique Bridal outfit.

My dress was my extravagance. I had it custom designed and made by a wonderful maker, Lindsay Fiddler of Angels Carrying Savage Weapons (ACSW). It was a full steel boned corset adapted into a jacket made of Harris Tweed and a silk riding-habit-style skirt. The tweed was a necessity for the climate (between -5 and -7ºC indoors) and the jacket also had a (removable) thermal layer stitched in.

Ira Feature newlyweds icechurch

Bridesmaids outfits?  

My sister was my Maid of Honour, and she wore a Desigual coat I found in the sale.  She provided her own accessories.
Which were a bit different to your usual Bridesmaids accessories. 

Groomsmen attire?

We didn’t have any Groomsmen

Where did you get your wedding rings from and how much did you manage to get them for?

My wedding ring was from Goldsmiths in Salisbury and James found his ring online.  Combined we paid about £600 for both.

Ira Feature James Vicar

Your something old, new, borrowed and blue ?

My Old & Blue were my thermal long johns! My New was my dress & earrings, with my something Borrowed being my sister’s lipstick.

What was the biggest hurdle you ran into when planning your wedding?

Doing everything by email.  A couple of things slipped – like getting the certificate of impediment sorted – but everyone was lovely and went out of their way to help us… sometimes at very short notice. The Registrar at Salisbury was terrific, in fact we’ve met her several times since through business events as Julie is now half of independent celebrants, Bespoke Ceremonies.

What were your best budget buys?

The feather bouquets my MoH and I had were about £25 each from Etsy. Also my snow boots were just £15 in the sale and my sister’s coat was also on sale.

Ira Feature Siblings and spouses

What was your biggest blowout spend for the wedding?

My dress as it had to be different – white was not an option and I wanted something I could wear again as separate pieces or together.
I suppose when you’re getting married in a hotel made of ice you wouldn’t exactly stand out wearing white! 

Was there anything that didn’t go as planned?

Oh yes! James’ parents bought us a horseback safari to see the Aurora Borealis and weReal Life Budget Wedding Sweden went the evening before the wedding. Conditions meant the mounting block was icy and I slipped, flying through the air and smashing my wrist into bits.  We went to the local A&E who said I needed an op to fix it.  It could be done in Kiruna meaning I would need to be airlifted to another hospital hundreds of miles away.  I refused to go so the fab medics gave me morphine and traction to straighten it and bound it in a soft cast with instructions to get the op done as soon as I got home. I had to slit the arm seam of my dress to get it over the cast, couldn’t do my makeup and hair and had to wear my casual boots.  I carried my bouquet in my right (broken) hand and it hardly made an appearance in any photos.  My new husband had to chop up my food at dinner and our wedding night in an ice-suite was a bit of a challenge!

What were your most memorable moments of the day?

Walking to the Icechurch in the dark at 2pm and it starting to snow as we left. The intimate, personal ceremony with just us, our 6 guests and our lovely Swedish vicar in what was really a snow & ice cave with lights that twinkled like a million diamonds.

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?

  1. Keep it simple, and about you not the big day.
  2. Something will go wrong – but no one will notice if you keep smiling and shrug it off.
  3. Paying for your own wedding means no-one else can tell you what to do. Doing away with a few ‘nice to haves’ is a price well worth paying for that freedom.

Ira Feature Wedding suite

Interesting Icehotel fact:  They only use LED lights and candles to minimise environmental impact. The ice melts back into the river as pure as when it is cut.

As lighting designers, we found ourselves inspired by the lighting and the design elements used within the Icehotel, so much so we have replicated some of the design ideas into our own bedroom with a bed made of glass which is backlit with LEDs.

You can find out more about James and Ira’s Lighting business:
By checking out their website

Or by liking them on Facebook 

Or you could follow them 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

Round-Up: Discounts Available for SayIDoOnABudget Readers

Discounts for Readers

I think now is a good time to do a round-up of the discounts featured suppliers have provided especially for readers of the SayIDoOnABudget blog. Over the past few months many awesome suppliers that have been featured have provided discounts off of their products and services especially for you that are still available for you to use!

5% off of a photo booth with Giraffe Monkey

The photo booths available through Giraffe Moneys are incredibly small budget friendly to begin with yet they were kind enough to extend a 5% discount off of any of their packages for all SayIDoOnABudget readers. For further details and the code you have to use at check out see the original blog post

25% off your Alexem Boutique order 

This discount from Alexem Boutique can be used when making a purchase via the website or the Etsy shop. Alexem Boutique are a stationary company with a twist, you can order everything from your save the dates to your place cards, where you work with Alexe on the design that you’re then sent to print yourself or upload to a service such as Vista Print. For the special order code and the T&C’s see the full original post from January 2017

Free Delivery on your order from The Hand Dyed Shoe Co.

Simon founded and set up The Hand Dyed Shoe Co. to create incredible, custom, hand crafted mens’ shoes. All of you Say I Do On A Budget readers have been kindly given free delivery on your orders with The Hand Dyed Shoe Co. when using the code detailed in the full original post published in May 2017

Discounts Available for SayIDoOnABudget Readers

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.”

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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.”
Continue reading

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.