The High Street Wedding Game Has Reached A New High with John Lewis Wedding Shop


Discovering the John Lewis wedding range

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.

Discovering the John Lewis Wedding Shop Raishma Bridal Gown

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. Discovering the John Lewis Wedding Shop Victoriana Bridal Jumpsuit

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.

Discovering the John Lewis Wedding Shop French Connection Cari Maxi Bridal Dress

 

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. Discovering the John Lewis Wedding Shop Phase Eight Yasmin Embroidered Dress, Rose Pink

 

Amazing finds in the January Sales


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 areaOr would you keep it in the bank to spend on something non-wedding relatedWhatever 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.

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3 Great Wedding Discoveries


3 New Wedding Ideas You will love

Here are 3 very different wedding ideas I have discovered recently that I think are definitely worth sharing with you.

1) A fabulous recycling idea…
Recycle your wedding dress to make a christening gown. 

Previously I discussed my reasons for donating my wedding dress to charity. One of my reasons for not keeping my gown was because I couldn’t see the logic behind keeping the dress when most people store their dress away never to be looked at again, or to be pulled out once a decade or so.

But instead of simply storing, selling or donating your dress why not turn it into something else?

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Wedding Dress = Donated


My Wedding Dress = Donated
I got married on 8th October 2016 and today my wedding dress was donated to a charity shop.

The morning after my wedding my parents helped the Husband and I clear out our bridal suite hotel room, and load the car up with all the decorations etc. As we were checking out Dad asked me what I’d like done with my wedding dress. My parents were taking the pedestal flowers with them to donate to their local church and Dad had agreed to return the hired groomsmen suits for us. As we were stood there checking out my Mum had my dress in its bag slung over her arm. I instantly said they could donate it to their favourite local charity shop.

You see, I’ve moved around a lot. In the past 7 years alone I’ve lived in 5 houses. Safely storing a wedding dress is difficult when you are moving regularly. Plus the Husband and I were planning on starting saving for a house deposit as soon as we got back from honeymoon. So hopefully the next move I make will be my last for a good number of years if we are able to (fingers crossed we will be able to) buy a home of our own. Due to this, £200 or so to get my gown dry cleaned just felt like a lot of money, especially if I were to add another £100 or so to have it put in  a proper storage box.

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Lesson Learnt from a Sample Sale


samplesaledisappintmentOn Monday my sister and I attended a Sample Sale event hosted by a Bridal Shop in Swindon. I feel for this post it is best that I do not state the name of the boutique in question. The sample sale was hosted in a pubs function area where pop up changing rooms had been erected and three dress rails took centre stage.

I found out about the sample sale as my sister advised me they were having a week sale of sample dresses within the boutique. I couldn’t make it to the boutique that week so I phoned to ask when they would next be having a sale and the assistant advised me (on the down low) that they would be selling all of their 2015 samples over two evening sales.

4P-8PM on Monday 26th and Tuesday 27th – So naturally I went on the Monday.

The feel of the room did deflate me quite a lot. The realisation of what finding your dress on a budget can mean you miss out on – the special feeling you get with booking a private appointment and twirling in front of just your chosen people in dresses you’ve hand selected.

Pushing the disappointment aside I put on my practical head and started to look through the dresses on the rails. Another wave of displeasure came over me as I couldn’t find a single dress I liked even a little bit. There was mountains of bling, satin and strapless – not what I am looking for at all! My sister encouraged me to stay for a bit longer to see what dresses came out from the changing rooms as women discarded dresses, but as gowns came out of the dressing rooms I still didn’t see a single dress that I wanted to try on, let alone buy.

THE LESSON I LEARNT

Before you attend a sample sale event make sure you visit the bridal boutique beforehand. I did not visit the boutique to see what styles they stocked before attending the sale which was a big mistake. Each Bridal Boutique stock different styles of dresses (plus they choose to stock different sample sizes) and the styles stocked will change each season. Some will stock more lace or more embellished, some will stock more with sleeves or straps while others will keep a majority of strapless gowns.

it is vital it ensure you know the type of gowns the boutique stocks and what dresses may be included in the sample sale (A few covert questions are all that are needed to figure this out).

I have not been put off of attending other sample sales in the future! But I will be more careful to ensure that I know more about the boutique first.

1st Time Trying on Wedding Dresses


So, it all got a bit more real yesterday as I tried on wedding dresses for the first time. As someone who has watched too many episodes of Don’t Tell The Bride and Say Yes To The Dress to count, the expectation of what trying on dresses should be like was almost overwhelming.

Thankfully I’ve always been rather level headed and able to talk sense into myself:
This is just the first time of trying them on to figure out what shapes and styles I like on my body
I am in no way expecting to find the one as I know I can’t afford to buy one at full price anyway!
Take a breath… steady, calm…

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I almost thought I’d be going on my own but thankfully my MOH was able to make it with me which I couldn’t have been more glad for as her opinion really matters to me.

I had booked an appointment with a bridal shop in my home town called Mrs Jones Bridal with the intention of just trying on different styles of dresses so that when I go to sample sales I have a better understanding of what I do and don’t like.

Kathryn asked me what type of things I wanted in a dress before picking some dresses off of the racks and asking what I thought of them. I said that I find myself more drawn to A-Line gowns but was open to try on other shapes except mermaid, that I want lace, definitely do not want strapless and I am not keen on the dress having lots of bling/sparkle.

So Kathryn picked a few dresses for me and I tried on a total of 8 dresses. I don’t have pictures of all of them, and the pictures I do have are poor quality, so I do apologise for that but I thought it would be nice to share my experience with you.

Hana by Charlotte Balbier

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This Dress fit nicely but was just TOO simple and too shiny for me.

Lizzie by Charlotte Balbier

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I really liked the lace top half and plain bottom half of this dress and the sweetheart neckline was very flattering on me. However the skirt was too stiff for my liking and again it really was rather shiny. #

Lillie Mae by Charlotte Balbier

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This was the dress that both my MOH and I loved on the hanger. We both saw it and thought this would be the one.
Sweet heart neckline – TICK
Lace top half – TICK
Flowing skirt – TICK
This dress was stunning – although the skirt was difficult to walk in (my shoes got caught in it twice!) Kathryn assured me it was because it wasn’t the right length for me.

Sophia by Augusta Jones

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I was really surprised by how much I like this dress! Yes you heard me right! I really didn’t think I’d like something that was a bit more figure hugging. The dress hugged by hips and bum and came into the skirt at the top of my thigh. I couldn’t stop looking at myself from the side as the lace on the back looks stunning from the side.

Delphine by Caroline Parkes 

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This dress made me feel the most like a Bride. It has a hidden corset and a stiff skirt but two layers of Tulle/Organza over the top create a softer appearance which I like. I didn’t mind that it had a bandeau neckline although the main change I’d really have liked to make to the dress would be to have the back in more of a V shape like Sophia. I was really surprised by the fact I loved the fuller skirt so much. It isn’t a ball gown, but isn’t A Line – It’s somewhere in-between.

I left Mrs Jones Bridal much surer of what I do and don’t like and feel more confident about attacking sample sales. One of the best things about the whole experience was finding out that the MOH and I are completely in tune with each other. It’s good to know before hitting the sample sales that she will be the perfect person to help me find the perfect dress for me.

Choose Hire


thchoose hire not buy

In Slovakia (and right across East Europe) hiring your wedding dress is common. In fact more brides hire their wedding dress in Slovakia than buy. I think this custom should come to the UK. There are a few bridal shops that either specialise in or offer a hire service, but they are few and far between.

The cost of wedding dresses can be quite a shock to a newly engaged lady, I know it was a shock to me! The cost of high-end designer wedding dresses, can mean that a bride-to-be will lower her expectations and look at cheaper designers, look on the high street or buy a second hand dress. I am an advocate for all of these options as great ways to save money. But what do you do if you want a wedding dress from this season made by a top designer but you don’t want to spend thousands for it? Hire is the answer.

Think how many weddings you’ve been too where the groom and grooms-men are wearing hired suits. If you’re planning your own wedding or have recently got married it is most likely that your groom will be wearing/did wear a hired suit. If a hired suit is good enough for the groom why not a hired gown for the bride?

One of the massive benefits of hiring your dress is that you can wear a designer you may not have been able to afford to have if you were buying the dress. Many bridal shops have to make difficult decisions about what stock to carry; often choosing not to carry high-end designer dresses due to fear they will sit on the shelves for a long time before being bought. A bridal dress hire shop is more likely to carry a high-end designer gown because they can hire it out a number of times at £500 much more easily than a conventional bridal shop could sell at £3,000.

By renting a dress you will not only gain budget savings and have the dress of your dreams but you will also save on the stress of caring for the dress and the worry of storing it.

Bridal shops with a Hire service across the UK
Cardiff: To Have & To Hire Ltd
London (Tottenham): Vonlee Bridal Hire
Surrey: From Me To You Hire
UK wide: Chic-By-Choice

If you know of any other bridal shops that offer a hire service please do let me know, either by commenting or my emailing me at idoonabudget@yahoo.com so I can add them on to this list.

Monika hired her wedding dress in this Real Budget Wedding Feature published on 19th September 2017

Choose Hire

9 days until I attend a Wedding!


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In 9 days time I am attending a wedding! The wedding is the H2Bs Aunts second wedding. The venue is a hotel near by which is very popular for weddings within the local area. My aunt got married at the hotel 12 year ago, although I don’t remember much about the venue except my parents complaining about how expensive the drinks at the bar were.

I’m very excited about attending as I am a sucker for a good wedding. As most girls do I’ve bought myself a new dress from Phase Eight. It can be hard to choose the right outfit, and everyone has a different style, but I follow a few simple rules to make choosing an outfit a lot easier:

  • Do not wear a white dress
  • Do not wear a black dress (unless the colour theme has black in it or unless you are attending the evening only)
  • If you know the colour the bridesmaids are wearing, do not wear the same colour (as block colour)
  • Ensure your outfit is not too revealing

Following my rules I found my Phase Eight dress. I do not know the colour theme of the wedding as the invites gave no indication, but as the dress is patterned I don’t have to worry. I will be teaming the dress with grey sandals and a grey/sparkly clutch.

 In 2010 I attended my first wedding as an adult where I wore a knee length red dress then last year I attended three weddings – what a great year that was! 😀 The first wedding was a church ceremony in May, the H2B and I strangely enough attended the ceremony only. The other two weddings were both in August, but as one was the H2Bs family and the other a school friend of mine I decided to wear the same dress to both of the weddings in August. For the May wedding I wore a knee length pattered cream, black and orange dress and for the two in August I wore a plain navy blue knee length dress. I teamed the navy dress with a cream shrug, pink shoes and a pink clutch.
wedding guest dressI got a lot of compliments on the above dress – even from the Vicar of all people! I may go safe when it comes to the dresses I choose for attending as a guest, but the dresses are always well received from other people and I’ve never had to worry about an embarrassing wardrobe malfunction being caught by the photographer.

After the wedding – in 9 days!!!! – I will post all about it. Watch this space for the wedding review.

Chanticleer Brides


My dream is to find a way to save up enough for a Chanticleer gown. If I couldn’t I pray I will be able to get one in a sample sale/end of line sale I would be one of the happiest Brides-2-B around!

If you are a Bride-2-B and use twitter you should check out #BrideHour which is every Thursday or #WeddingHour every Wednesday as I have met some wonderful suppliers while participating in these Twitter event. Chanticleer Brides is one of my favourite finds. My heart now belongs to one dress in-particular – ‘Sweet Briar’, however there are others I love nearly as much.

Sweet Briar http://www.chanticleerbrides.co.uk/

I think I’ll be popping to my local stockist later on this year to try this dream gown on.

Say Yes To The Dress


TV shows such as ‘Say Yes To The Dress’ have made wonder: What is the best number of people to take with you when trying on dresses?

Many Brides-2-B on the show take huge entourages with them when they try on wedding dresses. Although I can see the sentimental reason for having, both your mother and the mother in-law-2-be, sisters, grand mothers, bridesmaids etc with you, it is also worth baring in mind that everyone has their own idea about what the perfect wedding dress may be, and their ideas could well differ greatly from your own.

I always feel sorry for brides when they come out in the type of dress they have their heart set on only to have their entourage dismiss the dress or say that they don’t like it. I feel even more for the Bride when she then dismisses a dress, that had she be on her own she would have chosen as ‘The Dress’ because her family and friends don’t like it.

Of course women decide to have these people with them because they’re the brides nearest and dearest and their opinion is important. From watching more episodes than I care to admit, my advice to any Bride-2-B, would be to advise your entourage what you are looking for, or what type of style you wish to achieve from your dress, so that they may be more considerate of YOUR opinion of the dress you have on before voicing their own opinion.

Lastly I would say that if your guests do voice opinions on the dress/es you are trying on that differ vastly from yours, remember this is your dress, your wedding day and ultimately you should choose a dress YOU love, because all that matters is you love it! When you look back at your wedding photos over the years to come you should be able to smile knowing that the dress you wore on your wedding day was the dress of your dreams.

What do you think?
How many people did you take with you or how many people are you thinking of taking?
Do you regret the number of people you took with you when trying on dresses?

The Budget Dress


For the budget bride, the dress can be a real worry. We still want the perfect dress but don’t want to have to pay through the roof or break our wedding budget for it.

One great way to pick up your perfect dress at a discount rate, is to go 2nd hand. Charity shops like Oxfam have shops designated for wedding dresses and other wedding day items such as veils and shoes that have been donated by brides who decide not to keep them.

Brides also sell their wedding dresses on wedding forums such as www.youandyourwedding.co.uk, and the dresses are regularly this seasons as they often sell only a couple of months after the wedding day.

There are a ton of dress makers on eBay, who also do very good wedding dresses that can be made to be very similar to that designer dress you’ve been lusting after but can’t afford. When looking at dress makers on eBay, be very careful and choose wisely. Make sure to check out their reviews fully before choosing which one to go for, as the reviews will tell you a lot about the quality of fabric used, the overall turnout of the dress and the speed of turn around from ordering to being delivered. Also, check out this Facebook page that warns you which eBay wedding dress sellers to steer clear of.

Bridal shops also have sales, selling off last seasons stock and end of lines. This isn’t the place to be looking for the best deals as such, but at least you’ll know the dress is yours and not been worn by any other bride on her wedding day. Many of the dresses may be ex-demo dresses, so will have been tried on by other bride-to-be’s so make sure you check the stitching on the dress to make sure it is till good. Any pulled stitching or hanging detailing and make sure the bridal shop fix it for you FOC.

Don’t forget the highstreet! There are loads of highstreet shops that sell wedding dresses too. Lovely styles at really good prices. Check out my previous posts for where to shop.

However you obtain your dress for your big day I also advise any bride to try on a range of styles before settling on which one to go for. The reason for this is because often you’ll think you know what you are looking for and what style of dress you’d like, but you never really know until you try them on, and you might be quite surprised at what looks amazing on you when you get in the shops and start having a play.

Cable Wedding Dress


So this year Hubby 2 B and I went to the Gadget Show Live at the NEC in Birmingham. He kept begging me for years to buy him tickets to go see it. So this Christmas I finally did just that; and it was as awsome as it promised to be.

If I have a tip for anyone else who is with a geeky guy and wants to go to TGSL book early! The Super Theatre books out early, and when I got to booking the tickets in November the only time that had space left for the Super Theatre was 4.30. We got to the NEC at 9.30 in the morning. The time from then until 13.30 flew by. But at 13.30 we’d been around all the stalls twice and our legs were killing us but we had to wait until 4.30 for the Super Theatre. Which was a pain on our enthusiasm and on our feet.

The Super Theatre was worth the wait though! It was awsome, and I would do it all again!

However, while at the GSL I saw something that I think geeky brides2B would have loved as much as I did when I saw it.

Drum roll please…

It was the first wedding related thing in ages that had actually put a smile on the Hubby 2Bs face.

It isn’t actually a wedding dress obviously but made to look like one from a distance, then you get closer and it is all wires and cables.

What do you think? Pretty Geeky huh?

An Evening Dress Perhaps?


Even a budget bride can have an evening dress (AKA Going Away Dress). That’s right I said you can have an evening dress! All you have to do is find a dress within your budget.

An evening dress can be a lovely thing to have. Some wedding dresses aren’t exactly easy to dance in. Even if your dress can be bustled, you may not like the look of it bustled, or you may love dancing and even when bustled still feel too restricted in your big wedding dress. What ever your reason for wanting an evening dress, I’d like to see if I can help you realise your dream.

Out of the obvious choices (Debenhams, Littlewoods, Moonsoon, BHS) BHS is the website that I have found to have the best range of short dresses at the best prices. The other sites did have small collections of short dresses but they were £100+.

All the ones I have found on the BHS website are under £100 even when not at sale price. The prices I have shown next to the name of the dress are the full price.

Eleanor Ivory Satin Bridal Dress £90

Cecily Ivory Bridal Dress £90

If you have a slightly higher budget for your wedding dress and can look up to the £300 region then I have always loved phase eight!

You don’t have to go for a knee length dress for the evening, but it can be nice to do so, if you have worn a full length bridal gown during the day. In fact you don’t even have to go for a cream/white dress if you don’t want to. Many brides opt for a coloured dress, either the same colour as their wedding theme or blue is a popular choice as the brides something blue.
Will you be having an evening dress?

Think High Street…Updated


The high street is the best friend of any budget bride for outfits and accessories. You can clothe yourself, your bridesmaids and your groomsmen all from the high street.

“You needn’t start your married life in debt from your dress – there are some stunning gowns available on the high street that fit a treat.” Cosmopolitan.co.uk

BHS, Debenhams (and any local department stores), Littlewoods, M&S, Phase Eight, Monsoon etc. BHS’s wedding dress range is one of the biggest and best ranges you will find on the high street.

UPDATE:
TKMAXX now has a wedding boutique! The range includes wedding dresses, wedding shoes, BM dresses, MOB dresses and flower girl dresses. If you’re having a slightly inconvential, relaxed or wedding abroad then TKMAXX really is the place to look for budget wedding idems.

The high street has more to offer for your wedding day then you first think. Beautiful wedding dresses, lovely bridesmaids dresses, shoes to die for, veils (traditional and birdcage), tiaras and hair slides etc, mens suits, waistcoats and cravats, you name it, the high street has it! Sometimes it may not be your local shop that has it, but their website will, and the great thing is often the prices are so much cheaper than the bridal store equivalent, especially in the sale!

Discount shops on the high street can also be great, think Poundland, 99p Store etc for your invites, balloons to decorate, banners, cake/favour boxes. They will be simpler than the more expensive alternative, however they can still look lovely and provide simple chic to your decorations and extras.

Waitrose and M&S do scrummy wedding cakes at a fraction of the cost that a specialised wedding cake maker could. With the range of styles and colours on offer you are bound to find a cake that will suit you. The other way to get yourself a high street cake but to have it more personalised, it to but the plain round cakes that are on offer (these can be bought not only from Waitrose and M&S but Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Asda as well), if you look around you will be able to find fruit and sponge varieties, and if you hire a cake stand you can can 1,2 or 3 tiers and buy ribbons, flowers and other decorations to personalise your cake to fit into the theme of your special day.