Real Budget Wedding: Chris and Emma’s 2k Purple July Wedding

Real Budget Wedding 2k Crafty

Bride and Groom: Chris & Emma.
Emma works as a teacher and artist and Chris is a Graphic Designer

Ceremony Venue: Ashton Memorial, Lancaster
Reception Venue: Ribble Cruising Club, Lytham

Wedding Date: 25th July 2015

Wedding Colour Scheme and Theme: Purple with the subtle inclusion of their love for Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings.

Total Wedding Budget: £2,200

How did you decide on your budget? We knew we wanted a small wedding and didn’t want to spend a fortune, but most importantly we wanted it to be very us. We were also moving in to our new home a few months before we were due to get married so we knew that the budget had to be small.

What elements of planning were the hardest with your budget? There were so many ‘extra’ things that we would have liked to have but just couldn’t afford within the budget. Though these really didn’t matter on the day.

Chris and Emma’s fabulous wedding suppliers:
The paper flowers and table décor were created by Emma herself.
For their catering they had Hot Pot and Cheese and Potato Pie from a local vendor.
Their wedding cake was a small white cake from Tesco which they added to with home made cupcakes.
As a way to cut costs Chris and Emma forewent a DJ and instead they made a playlist full of their favourite songs and songs from their guests suggestions and played these through the sound system at the venue.

Victoria was Emma’s MUA and nail tech and Emma’s aunt did her hair for her on the wedding say as her present to them

Tell us all about your Bridal outfit? My Wedding Dress was from Debenhams in the sale and cost £60. I spent a while looking for the ‘perfect’ dress but knew that this could take a massive amount from our budget. When I saw this dress in the online sale at Debenhams two months after we got engaged and nearly 2 years before we got married I took the risk and ordered, it fitted perfectly.


What about your beautiful Bridesmaids? We had 2 Bridesmaids and one ‘Lady of Flowers’. Our two Bridesmaids wore black and white dresses from Miss Selfridge which cost £40 each and was a dress they could wear again and my friend who was the ‘Lady of Flowers’ bought her own black maxi dress to wear. Their dresses were teamed with purple pashminas from eBay at approximately £6 each. They also wore their own shoes so they were comfy.

And the Groovy Groomsmen? We had 5 Groomsmen altogether. We didn’t buy their outfits, just asked that they wore what they would like with a grey tie. This way they all looked like themselves and where comfortable in what they were wearing.

What about the bling bling? My ring was from H.Samuel and was about £60 and Chris’ ring was his Grandad’s wedding ring which we had cleaned and re-sized.

What was your Old/New/Borrowed/Blue? My old was a photo of me and my Grandad which was attached to my bouquet. My new was my shoes, my borrowed was a bracelet from my mum and my blue was my garter which one of my bridesmaids made.

Did you get your DIY on? I think the majority of our wedding was DIY. We made our own invites for the wedding, I made the bouquets, buttonholes, table decorations, along with a 3 tier wedding cake all from paper (which is where C&E Designs started).

I spent months drying out flowers for the confetti, I even made over 100 cupcakes for the evening do. We made the table plan, place names, we decorated the wedding car (my dad’s Land Rover) with bunting and flowers and we decorated the Reception Venue and the Ceremony Venue ourselves (with help from family and friends). Although this all took a massive amount of time it really helped to keep to our budget.


What was the biggest hurdle you ran into when planning your wedding? My main hurdle was how to get everything to come together at the end, particularly decorating the venue for the ceremony without me being there. My brother, his girlfriend and Chris had instructions of what to do and not knowing if it would be how I had imagined until I got there was a little stressful.

What was/were your best budget buy/s? I think my dress was the best budget buy as this really helped us keep to our budget.

What was your biggest blowout spend for the wedding? As it got nearer to the day for the wedding we decided we would spend a bit extra on things that weren’t really that important or necessary in the grand scheme of things, for example, the light up ‘LOVE’ letters which we borrowed from a friend. They were lovely but they weren’t a necessity.

Was there anything that didn’t go as planned? I arrived at the Ceremony about 40Chris and Emma's 2k purple wedding details. Real Budget Wedding Feature on minutes before I needed to be there and had to sit in the car. We’d left earlier than planned originally as the traffic was really bad but it didn’t take as long as first thought and guests were still arriving.

Most memorable part/s of the day? Obviously just ‘being married’ but I think knowing that everyone had a really good time and enjoyed the day was amazing. We had tried really hard for it to be a relaxed, no pressure day and this paid off.

Any tips or advice you’d give to others planning on a small budget? Start planning early if you can, we started planning two years before our big day and this really took the stress off, particularly when you are doing most of it yourselves. We also spent time putting together a scrapbook right at the start of all the things we wanted (and didn’t want) and this really helped us to narrow down exactly what was important and what would be nice but that we didn’t really need.

Final Thoughts and Feelings:
Right from the start of discussing what we wanted our wedding to be like we knew we wanted a relaxed and stress free day surrounded by our family and close friends. We asked our guests to not wear formal suits, hats or fascinators and to wear clothes they felt comfortable in and this fitted with our ‘informal’ approach to the day.

We really wanted the day just to be about ‘us’ and it to really show who we are as a couple, so we included a lot of our favourite things, for example, all the paper flowers were made from Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings books, my wedding car was my dads Land Rover which we decorated and our wedding outfits, my dress and Chris’ outfit where very us. Nothing about the day felt forced, just relaxed and fun.

We were also very lucky that my best friend is a Photographer and her Wedding present to us was being our Photographer.

Chris & Emma's 2k Craft packed wedding in July 2015. Real Budget Wedding Feature on

C&E Designs was set up by myself following my wedding. I realised their was a niche market for those people who, like myself and Chris didn’t want traditional flowers. Paper Flowers offer a fantastic alternative, as well as tending to be much more cost effective, they also last as a memento of your special day.
“At C&E Designs we are bespoke paper specialists offering a range of exciting alternative paper items for your special day with Wedding Packages starting from £170. Everything is made by hand in our studio in Lancashire using your paper choice. Our items are a perfect keepsake for your day too!
From bouquets to boutonnieres to table decorations to wedding favours and paper confetti all created to fit with your wedding.”
 To find out more about Emma and her fabulous paper flowers business visit her website, like her Facebook page, or follow her on Twitter or Instagram 

The Wonders of Paper Flowers

The Wonders of paper flowers

I have a real soft spot for paper flowers. In fact I have a soft spot for anything “alternative” to flowers at weddings. There’s so many wonderfully creative and inspiring ideas for what you can use to make your bouquet, or decorations with, other than your standard blooms.

Over the years I have created a couple of alternative bouquets myself such as this bouquet made from woollen pom poms.   I also swoon over bouquets made using beads, feathers, buttons… or any other quirky and unique items.

For my own wedding in October 2016 I had an alternative bouquet made by Hazel of ‘Love to Marry‘ using feathers, gold beads, and acorns. You can see a picture of my alternative bouquet in a feature about my small budget wedding on another wedding blog here.

Although there’s an incredibly large amount of different ideas for what you can use instead of flowers in your wedding (pretty much all of which I am in massive favour of) in this blog post I will be concentrating on flowers made out of paper. 

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Autumnal Table Plan


Initially I didn’t plan on buying the tree. The plan was to put sticks/twigs into a pot filled with stones/sand to keep the twigs in place. I’m not sure why this plan didn’t happen and why we ended up buying the tree… 

But anyway, we did buy the tree, from Hobbycraft no less, although we did manage to get it imag2156for £25.00 which is probably no more than a nice pot and stones/sand to fill it would have cost us.

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My Budget Entertainment

My Budget Wedding  Entertainment  Wedding Guess Who Game

Many couples who know they are having a contingent of children at their wedding worry about how to keep the children entertained during the course of the wedding day.

My husband and I had 7 children under 6 (2 of them were under 1) and two autistic children 16 or under at our wedding and I really did not notice any of them in a negative way at any point during the day. Most children are able to sit still and quiet for 20-30 minutes, which is the average duration of a wedding ceremony, after which time they are able to walk about and play during the welcome drinks and the pictures being taken.

The wedding breakfast is then a great time for the children as they get their food and can play with their parents and the other guests, and you really will be surprised what simple and completely inexpensive things can keep children entertained during the wedding breakfast, which is when most people worry children may be the most disruptive out of boredom.

Here is what my husband and I did to help keep our child and adult guests alike entertained.

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Leaf Place Names


I’d always wanted to get married in Autumn, I couldn’t ever imagine myself getting married in any other month. I also knew from the start I wanted to bring the natural bounty of autumn into the decorations of the day.

The colour theme: Navy blue and Gold
Other themes: Autumn with a small nod to my husbands love of classic cars

First of all, choose which leaf you want to use, then pick them and press them.
Choose a good sized leaf as it has to be big enough to write your guests names.

In all honesty, I thought I could wait until the leaves fell naturally before collecting them, however the wedding date was 8th October, and I wanted to get the place names sorted three weeks before the wedding, as my hen was two weeks before and one week before felt like it would be cutting it too close. This, along with autumn starting a little late, meant that I had to pick the leaves from the trees. It just so happened that I stumbled upon a Hazel tree that had wonderful leaves the perfect size for place names, so picked more than I needed for just incase purposes.

Picking the leaves only three weeks before the wedding, meant I didn’t press them. This was a risky strategy, so if you can prepare further in advance I recommend you do.

What You May need:
Based on what I used

  • PVA glue
  • Sponges
  • Leaves (in my case, Hazel leaves)
  • Spare cardboard
  • Spray paint in your chosen colours
  • Sharpies

What I did step by step: 

  • Apply a thin later of PVA to every leaf on one side. Allow the PVA to dry before doing the other side. I PVA’d both sides of the leaves as I thought this would slow theimg-20160917-wa0004.jpg decomposing process and would give the spray paint a better effect. Applying the PVA with a sponge is much easier and quicker than using brushes.




  • Take your leaves outside and using cardboard as a backing spray each leaf. It is up to you if you spray both sides or just one side. I sprayed one side of each leaf. Allow a good length of time for the spray paint to dry. Using spray paint is efficient and gives a good result.
  • Using sharpie write your guests names on each leaf
  • Once the ink is dry you can then spray clear paint over them or apply another thin layer of PVA.

I had my MOH, her boyfriend and my (now) husband helping me with the process from start to finish and the whole process (due to drying time mostly) took pretty much all day. img-20160917-wa0010.jpeg



Making my Invitations (DIY)


So, my Husband and I got married on Saturday 8th October 2016.

When we were looking at invitations we genuinely became completely overwhelmed. I knew of many independent people and small businesses that made the most wonderful wedding stationary that I would have more than loved to have; however they all came in over budget. When they were able to work in our budget the Husband and I couldn’t decide on anything. It was like trying to choose a photographer all over again!

We looked at everything from independent people and small businesses to big companies such as Vista Print; I even did online edits before deleting the basket out of an inability to decide.

The solution to all this? We decided to make our own!

Off too Hobbycraft we plodded. This narrowed our choices to
A) What we could buy in Hobbycraft 
B) The limitations of our imagination and crafting ability
c) What we could buy with our budget

The budget: £100 

We purchased:
Gold ribbon, blue check ribbon, blue paper, cream paper, plain cream cards and envelopes, a tree shaped stamp, ‘evening invitation’ stamp, ‘wedding invitation’ stamp, gold ink pad, blue ink pad, craft glue, ruler and an A4 guillotine.
All came in under £75. 

It took 4 people 8 hours from start to finish. The Husband, myself and two wonderful helpers.

We had figured out before we started what we wanted to do and before our helpers arrived we made a mock up of what we wanted to achieve. We had also printed onto cream paper the wording for the inside of the invitations, slightly different wording for day and evening invites.


Once the invitation wording had been printed it was then down to assigning tasks to each person to create a production line.
B: Used the guillotine to cut the invitation wording to size and folded them (A very precise job)
K: Cut the blue paper to size using the shaped scissors for the inside and the cover of the invites
H: Glued the ribbons in place and glued the invitation wording and the blue paper inside the card. The glue was applied only in a small line down the left hand side of the margin so the ‘pages’ we left loose.
S: Glued the cream paper onto the blue paper to the front cover and stamped the trees and the ‘wedding/evening invitation’ to finish the invites


Including a fresh printer cartridge and postage we came in under £100. 

What helped us stay in budget?
Making them ourselves
Hand delivering to local guests
Reducing the weight of the invites by utilizing a wedding website for all the extra information
Not doing ‘Save The Dates’ – instead we just sent the invites out 5 months before the wedding