A Thrifty Wedding at the Eden Project


 

Thrifty Eden Project

Two school friends of mine got married in 2016 and had some beautiful, quirky and inexpensive details as part of their wedding. I went to school with both of them, they were in the same year as me and they were both in my extended friendship group.

Logan and Steph (not their real names) started their relationship years after leaving school, Logan had joined the army and Steph was working in journalism. I don’t remember the two of them ever being in a relationship whilst we were at school, and thinking about it now, it seems odd that they weren’t. The two of them together are fantastic, and they are so well suited as a couple.

In 2016 they got married at the Eden Project in Cornwall (England). I don’t have any details as to what the cost to hire out a section of the Eden project for their wedding was, or as to what the catering cost was, but I do know they had frugality in mind when planning. So here are some of my favourite inexpensive details from their beautiful wedding.

The Bridal Look

The Blush Bride wore a princess style strapless gown which she teamed with a skull necklace, dangly skull earing black nail polish and a dark eye look. Her look was finished with a white flower in her hair, and a purple and white paper flower bouquet.

Groom Attire

You can’t get much more inexpensive than not paying for your outfit at all, and as Logan is in the army, he did what many a forces person does, and wore his best uniform as his Groom outfit. His Best Man and his Ushers were his brother and his school friends, none of whom are in the army, so they were all wearing dark suits, white shirts and purple silk ties that looked royal blue in some lights.   Quirky & Thifty Wedding ideas

The Table Centrepieces

One of the best ways to save costs on your wedding is to make things that can dual purpose. And that is exactly what Steph and Logan did with their centrepieces. They couldn’t have been simpler either. They made their table centres using decorative buckets, polystyrene spheres (although you could also use floristry foam) and Chubba Chubb lollies. The buckets they used were purple with candy style skulls on them. The lollies doubled up as the wedding favours for their guests. What could be cheaper and more quirky and fun than that?

The “cake”

Cake is in quote marks above because it wasn’t actually a cake. Instead of a wedding cake, this imaginative couple had four tiers of rice crispie cakes! Each tier was a big square of rice crispie cake with a thick purple ribbon wrapped round.

Getting married at The Eden Project means decorations are pretty much completely unnecessary because the venue is so beautiful as it is, however they did have light string strung around which made the venue even more beautiful one the evening drew in.

Other ways they reduced their costs was by feeding their guests once, with a two course hot buffet and having a DJ rather than a band in the evening.

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My last minute Honeymoon


Last Minute Honeymoon

In the evening, after most of our guest had left, and some were left chatting and enjoying their last drink together, my new husband and I said goodbye to the stragglers and snuck off to our hotel room. It was the first time I had seen the room we would be spending our first night as Husband and Wife in. The room we had at Donnington Valley Hotel & Spa was not overly fancy but was nice enough, with a sitting area, the bed and a spacious bathroom complete with His and Hers sinks. It was the best hotel room I had ever stayed in in the UK.

Once I had taken my wedding dress off and we were both comfortable, we took time to open the cards and gifts from our guests whilst sat on the bed. I made a note of what we had got and from whom to make the thank you cards we would send more personal. Many guests had chosen to gift us cash to use to book a honeymoon with. We were very happy to find out we had been given enough for an abroad honeymoon, rather than just a weekend at Bognor Regis.

On the Sunday, after checking out of our hotel, we to Thomas Cook (our chosen holiday booking company) and due to a mix of our small budget and the crazily last minute booking, our choices were very limited. We were hoping to go to Rhodes, but the price had gone up, meaning it was out of our budget. FYI – last minutes does not = cheaper anymore! We looked at the prices of some holidays the week before our wedding to get an idea of where we might be able to go, and then when we were sat in Thomas Cook on the Sunday the exact same holidays (same flights, same hotels) were a couple hundred quid per person more! We ended up booking a holiday to Fuerteventura for week. We were flying the very next day!

Got Married on Saturday > Booked Honeymoon on Sunday > Fly on Monday

Off home we went to pack our suit cases, last minute low cos honeymoonand after a frantic and rather panicked look for our passports we headed off to stay in a hotel with parking for the night. I had never stayed in a hotel the night before going on holiday, but I would definitely do it again. For less than £90 we got our stay for the night (room only, no food included) and parking of our car for the week. Upon checking in we got upgraded to a suite room. sadly, unlike the movies would have you believe, this was our one and only upgrade for our honeymoon.

Our honeymoon was not the location or hotel we would have chosen had we not been booking last minute, but we had a lovely week (after my husb stopped moaning about the location and hotel), we found some great restaurants, and spent many a relaxed day on the beach and even managed to get in a couple of excursions without breaking the bank.

Unfortunately I can’t remember the exact cost of our honeymoon, but I know the flights and the all inclusive accommodation cost us less than 2,000 for the both of us.

I know that, even though we were waiting to see what money we were gifted from our guests, we didn’t have to book a last minute honeymoon. But to me, and in he conventional sense of the word (see definition below), a honeymoon is supposed to be taken right after you get married, not months later.

Definition of a honey as taken from oxforddictionaries.com is a period in time following a couple getting married, or a holiday spent together by a newly married couple.

Katherine & Adam’s 3.5k Blue and Burgundy March wedding in Leeds


Katherine and Adam's 3.5k wedding Katherine and Adam's Real Small Budget Wedding Details. Katherine and Adam got married in Leeds for less than 4k. Feature on sayidoonabudget.com

Bride and Groom: Katherine Holt & Adam Strickland
Katherine is a Wedding Stationer at Giftast and Adam works as a Maintenance Assistant and are currently living in Leeds, West Yorkshire

Ceremony Venue: Leeds Town Hall
Reception Venue: The Midnight Bell 

Wedding date: 3rd March 2017
Number of guests: 40
Wedding Colour Scheme and Theme: Royal Blue & Burgundy, and Shabby-Chic garden for the reception.
Photographer: Pure Aperture

Total Wedding Budget: £3,500

How did you decide on your budget for your wedding?
We’d just moved house so finances were a bit tight. Neither of us wanted a big wedding and we also wanted to go on honeymoon later that year, so it was a matter of basically splitting what we had!

What help (if any) did you get towards financing your wedding?
None – we paid for it all between the two of us. We tried to spend a little bit each month to stretch it across pay cheques too, so we ended up not having to dig into our savings for everything.

What elements of planning did you find the hardest with your £3,500 budget?
The thing we struggled with most was the reception – a buffet dinner for 40 people including a few bottles of Prossecco and a bar tab quickly adds up!
It was also difficult to find a photographer within our budget – we knew the photos were important and wanted them done properly, but there were so many out there for over £1000. We had a morning wedding and left the reception at 3pm to go on our minimoon – a lot of photographers charged for a full day including evening but we only wanted half of that! When we found Nic on Bark, he was absolutely brilliant and completely understood what we needed.

Katherine and Adam’s fabulous wedding suppliers: 
Cake: That Old Chestnut– a local vegan bakery.
Photography: Nic from Pure Aperture Photography was their photographer and Katherine and Adam went for the Bronze package. You can see details of the packages offered by Pure Aperture here.
Flowers: The Brides Bouquet

Adam and Katherine Wedding March 3rd 2017-85

 

Tell us all about your Bridal Outfit?
Being vegan, it was very important to me to have a dress without any silk – luckily, since we were on a budget this wasn’t too difficult! I found my dress on ASOS.com – I had an email alert saying they were in stock and bought it within five minutes! It was a massive relief when it actually fit me, although under the arms needed a vent fitting so I could lift my arms up – I can do a bit of sewing so I attempted this myself to save money. It was the most stressful sewing I’ve ever done, and I was so relieved when it was over and my dress wasn’t ruined!
I wanted to wear comfortable shoes, and again, no silk, so I wore a pair of my old favourite heels which just happened to be royal blue. We wanted burgundy roses, so royal blue and burgundy then became the colour scheme of the wedding.
My crystal head-piece was an eBay buy for about £15.

Katherine and Adam's Real Small Budget Wedding Details. Katherine and Adam got married in Leeds for less than 4k. Feature on sayidoonabudget.com

What about your beautiful Bridesmaid?
I had the one bridesmaid, and she wore a lovely dress which she bought herself. I didn’t have the budget to dress her, but she had free reign to wear pretty much anything she wanted, and it didn’t have to be new or fit the colour scheme if she didn’t want. She’s got great taste and I knew she wouldn’t let me down.

And the Groovy Groomsmen?
We only had the one groomsman too, the Best Man, who wore his own grey suit. Oddly my husband’s suit turned out to be one of the most expensive single purchases for the wedding, even though it was a standard grey three-piece from Next.

What about the bling bling? 
We bought our rings online from Orla James. We sort of forgot about rings until a few weeks before the wedding, but we found Orla James through a Google search for a free ring sizer. Together we spent about £280 on our rings. Mine was a very slim, plain gold band and was about £90. I went for a cheaper one because I do a lot with my hands and knew it would get knocked about and scuffed a lot. Adam went for a more expensive one in a harder metal with a hammered finish. Since he works with machines and thought it would likely get knocked, the idea was that it wouldn’t show damage as much – and over six months on it looks like new! Orla James also offered free engraving inside the rings. We both went for the date of the wedding in roman numerals, and the other’s initials.

Katherine’s something old was a ring her late mother-in-law left to her. Her something new was her head band, the something borrowed was a diamond baguette bracelet lent by a work colleague and Katherine’s something blue was her already owned royal blue shoes. 

Did you and Adam get your DIY on?
I made as much of our wedding décor as I could to try and save as much as possible:-

  • Invitations – I did these very last minute (that’s why you shouldn’t move house and plan a wedding at the same time!) and was never happy with the design. That’s one of the reasons I started making wedding stationery – I knew I could do better and have since made my perfect one, just a little late!
  • Table Centre-pieces – We bought a mixture of herbs in small pots and I trimmed little metal buckets from Ikea with ribbon for them to sit in. The idea was that guests could take them away with them after. This went with our wedding favours, which were little packets of seeds (from eBay).
  • Place Cards – Again to tie in with the shabby-chic garden theme, I made labels which I stuck to copper plant markers. We didn’t have a table plan so the idea was guests could seat themselves, then mark their places in the table centres.
  • Welcome Poster – the venue had a board with a board-back which they said we could use so long as we didn’t write directly on it. I had the poster printed on solopress.com and it cost us £16.99.

I wanted everything to look very simple, and the reception venue was quite old-fashioned and quirky, with mis-matched old wooden chairs and gorgeous, worn oak tables. I wanted everything to complement this rather than fight against it, I don’t think anything modern would have worked so well in such an old space.

What was the biggest hurdle you ran into when planning your wedding?
Mainly finding the line between what we wanted and what was expected. One big thing we decided was to leave the wedding early. We made this clear on the invitations so it wasn’t a nasty surprise to people and they knew exactly how much of their time we would be taking up. We wanted a very small and intimate wedding, and to spend as much of the day with one another as possible.

We also had to say no to some +1s. We made the rule that if neither of us knew someone enough to happily spend half an hour alone with them, they weren’t invited. This definitely kept the budget down, and all our guests were really understanding.

What was/were your best budget buy/s?
Probably my dress! I think it was around £180, and I absolutely love it. Amazingly, it was almost exactly what I was looking for and (other than the underarms) fit like a dream. I did spend £14.99 on a petticoat to poof the skirt out a bit, and because under some lights you could see though the lace.
Other than that, my boss was kind enough to chauffeur me to the wedding in his Tesla – that would have definitely blown my budget to hire, and he was a brilliant chauffeur!

What was your biggest blowout spend for the wedding?
Definitely the reception. That came to about £1000 altogether.

Was there anything that didn’t go as planned?
Only the ceremony itself! They read the wrong vows and the music didn’t work, and then I couldn’t get the ring on Adam’s finger! But it was a laid-back day so it wasn’t a big deal, and most of it was quite funny.

Describe your husband and your most memorable part/s of the day?Katherine of giftast.com small budget wedding Katherine and Adam's Real Small Budget Wedding Details. Katherine and Adam got married in Leeds for less than 4k. Feature on sayidoonabudget.com
It was such a blur! Probably the moment we couldn’t get the ring on Adam’s finger. The registrar had carried on with the ceremony without realising, but we just couldn’t stop laughing.

What tips or advice would you give to others planning their wedding on a small budget?
Probably to make use of what you already have. I love my blue shoes and I’ve worn them to other people’s weddings since. It’s really nice to be able to put them on and remember when I wore them on my own wedding day, and to keep getting joy out of them.

Another is to prioritise exactly what’s important to you. We made a conscious decision that it was worth finding a good photographer, and spending money on that aspect because that was what’s going to last throughout the years.

Final Thoughts and Feelings from Katherine she’d like to share:
From when we got engaged, we knew we wanted a very small wedding. We considered a lot of different options, but the most important thing was that we spent as much of the day together as possible. A 4 hour car ride to wales in the evening definitely made that happen!

Another aspect which massively effected the budget was leaving early – while we had the room hired for the whole day so guests were welcome to stay if they wished, we only provided one meal which definitely kept costs down.

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To see more of the stationary Katherine creates at Giftast:
Visit her website 
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Browse her Etsy shop

or Follow her on Insta  

My Wedding Breakfast


How we reduced the cost of catering our wedding by opting for cheaper options for drinks and choosing 2 courses instead of 3

I’ve shared many details about my wedding, I’ve shared with you some of the decorations and entertainment we created, how the husband and I made our invitations, I gave you 14 ways how we reduced costs, I’ve divulged a breakdown of the wedding day and I let you in our own very own personal vows!

But in none of these posts have I ever gone into detail about our catering, what food and drink we chose for our wedding breakfast, how we went about making the decisions we did and what our reasons were for those decisions. In this post I will finally share these details with you.

It’s probably quite evident from everything else I’ve shared in the past 2-3 years on this blog that the Husband and I wanted our wedding planning to go as smoothly as possible, and we really didn’t want to be spending all our spare time planning the wedding. We also didn’t want to cause ourselves any more stress or grief than was necessary, so if there was a way we could cut out any potential stress we would.

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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

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Real Budget Wedding: Matt & Monika’s


Matt & Monika's Real Budget Wedding Feature. Matt & Monika got married in Slovakia in August 2015 for just 12k all in.

Bride and Groom: Monika & Matthew Holmes live in Berkshire
and both work as Account Managers

Wedding Venue: Chateau Mignon Castle, Slovakia
Wedding date: 22.08.2015
Number of Guests: 90 (60 day guests plus an additional 30 evening guests)

Wedding colour Scheme: Pink, Cream & Gold
Videographer: Radko Janis  
Photographer: Lubko Durica

Total wedding budget: £12, 000

Matt and Monika met at work. After Matt joined Kosnic their romance blossomed over their computer screens. Matt proposed to Monika in front of all her family during a holiday to Slovakia. Their engagement lasted 1 year as they married nearly exactly 1 year after getting engaged. 

How’d you decide on your budget? We didn’t set one. We just did it bit by bit. Didn’t think about money. We didn’t go too mad of course, but when we liked something we just went for it!

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Real Budget Wedding: Katherine & Richard’s dusty pink July wedding


Real Budget Wedding Essex Title

Bride and Groom: Katherine & Richard
Katherine runs a wedding planning business and Richard is a Claims Assessor. They both live in Suffolk.
Wedding Date: 7th July 2013

You wouldn’t believe from reading about their wedding in this feature and from looking at their wonderful pictures that Katherine and Richard planned the whole wedding from start to finish in just 3 months! But they did. They got engaged in the April and were married in the July. 

Wedding Venue: Leez Priory
Colour Scheme: Dusty Pink

Photographer: Photography was done by a friend who lived in Sweden. My brother also took some photos and was in charge of videography too but unfortunately the batteries ran out during the speeches! 

MUA: One of my Bridesmaids did my make up for me after a visit to a beauty counter for a tutorial!  We bought some of the recommended items and had a great fun few hours getting made up.  She did a great job on the day too!

Total Wedding Budget = £7,000 (roughly)

 

How did you decide on your 7k wedding budget?

It was the total amount we had in our savings and the money we had gifted to us from our parents.

What elements of planning were the hardest with your budget?

Catering was one of the hardest elements due to the numbers, and ensuring that all dietary requirements were catered for. We ended up going for a vegan option and one other for the mains.

RegisterMy fab dad!

 

 

 

 

 

The extra cost was for the evening buffet so it was just a numbers game.  I catered for exactly the number who were invited and said they were coming & was just a bit peed off when some of them didn’t turn up!  There was more than enough food but I think the extras who didn’t come ended up costing an unnecessary £200.  So I would say cater for a few less as there could always be a few people who won’t make it.

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