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.