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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Groom Got Groovy Shoes


Even a couple planning on a budget of half the national average will have certain things they don’t want to scrimp on. The ‘will not scrimp on’ list doesn’t mean it is the ‘blow out’ list, it just means it’s where you don’t want to cut any corners. These are the areas you allocate your budget to first as they’re the areas most important to you (for how to create your overall budget and how to allocate it to different expenses check out this post from the archives). For many budget couples I’ve spoken to, their top priorities are; wedding dress, photographer, the number of guests or the food. These are areas they are keen to allocate large parts of their budget to, at the risk of having to scrimp on other areas such as the transport to get to and from the venue/s for example. The scrimp/splurge list is unique to every couple.

For most couples the wedding dress will be on the splurge list somewhere, with often the Grooms entire outfit sitting on the scrimp list.

In this post I want to put the focus back on to the Groom by bringing to you in this post a totally unique, quality, hand-made men’s shoe designer.

The Hand Dyed Shoe Co.

9 times out of 10 the Groom and the groomsman’s suits are hired, with one of the only elements of the outfit kept by the Groom after the wedding being his shoes (and possibly his accessories such as his watch, cufflinks etc).

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Photo Booth on a Budget


Photo Booth on a Budget from sayidoonabudget.com

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:
GiraffemonkeyAI

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 sayidoonabudget.com

Once Upon a Time in New York City


Since bringing you the interview with Carly from Epic Elopement many of you have contacted me asking for more posts on eloping and advice on planning a destination wedding.

Some of the hardest parts of trying to plan a wedding outside of the country you live in is figuring out what everything will cost and trying to find reliable suppliers. In this post Claire from Wed in Central Park, provides a basic breakdown of the costs involved in a British couple getting married in Central Park on a budget…

Wed in Central Park Header

I have been planning weddings for couples who want to get married in New York’s Central Park for almost five years.  One of my primary goals since founding this business is to offer a great service with talented, reliable and enthusiastic people for a good value price.  I checked what my main competitors were charging to plan a wedding in Central Park and I was certain that I could do it for a lower price, without cutting any corners in the quality of wedding that we deliver. 

Some of the clients I work with are aiming for a big, lavish wedding with a huge group of family and friends from far away, with an expensive gown and a big reception somewhere exclusive and characteristically ‘New York City’.  I can help to provide that, and I am very happy to do so.  I am naturally a frugal person, though, so I cannot help but get excited when I meet a couple who are looking to have a great day on a budget, and are willing to be creative and work a little harder to do so.  I love that you can get married in New York City and have a unique and breath-taking wedding without breaking the bank, and I want to share this idea with as many people as I can.  What follows is a basic breakdown of the costs involved in a British couple getting married in Central Park on a budget.

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Epic Elopment


I am delighted to bring you an interview with Carly, the wonderful lady who runs epicelopement.co.uk helping you fulfill your dream of eloping.

carlyepicelopeI met Carly during a twitter chat hour, and as some of you may know, I’ve always been a fan of the idea of eloping. When my husband and I started early stages of wedding planning I showed him my own personal favourite location to elope to – Gretna Green – but he was dead set against the idea much to my disappointment.

Over the years I’ve known many couples who have chosen to elope, friends of mine have gotten married in Cyprus, Gretna Green and Las Vegas, and another friend is planning her own elopement to Venice.

If you’re toying with the idea of eloping, or struggling to get your plans off the ground read on for Carly’s experience, hints and tips…

Once you’d made the decision to elope, how did you find the planning? 

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Find me Guest Blogging For…


You can now find me guest blogging for Pink Wedding Venues with brand new posts not seen on IDoOnABudget. I am really proud to be working with pinkweddingvenues.co.uk who help same-sex couples find the perfect wedding or civil partnership venue.

The mission of Pink Wedding Venues is to ensure pinkvenuethat all LGBT couples have the most positive and comprehensive resource
for choosing their wedding venue or civil partnership venue by featuring every UK venue who welcomes the LGBT community.

As a strong believer in marriage and as an LGBT ally I couldn’t be happier to be guest blogging for pinkweddingvenues.co.uk.

My first blog contribution was published on 16th September with my next post due to be published within the next couple of weeks.

[…] It is a very exciting time for the LGBT community right now. Same sex marriage became legal in England and Wales in March 2014 (same-sex marriage in Scotland took effect from December 2014) then we all celebrated as the US passed their same-sex marriage equality law in June 2015. Why am I telling you what you already know?

The reason I find all this very exciting is because it means the decisions you make now could be traditions that are followed by future couples. The wedding traditions same-sex couples follow were set out for them 100’s of years ago, such as the Bride being walked down the aisle by her father. You may decide to walk down the aisle together, or to walk down the aisle one after the other, or to throw the isle out of the equation all together. Imagine the choice you make now is written in LGBT wedding planning books in a couple hundred years. What could be more thrilling than that?With this in mind, there are a lot of decisions for the same-sex couple to make when planning their wedding day which the heterosexual couple may not have to make. Which traditions, if any, do you follow, and which do you do differently? For me, the ceremony IS the wedding, the rest is just the “fluff”; enjoyable, beautiful fluff! Because the ceremony is when you become married, and therefore the most important part of the whole day, I am completely obsessed with ways to create a more memorable and personal ceremony. The ultimate way to do this (IMO) is with a Time Capsule […]

To read the rest of my first blog contribution for Pink Wedding Venues click here.

1st Things 1st


1stthings1stThe search for a venue was a long and difficult one. I was aware that the average cost of a wedding at the time was over 20k, and I knew I didn’t even have half of that to play with for my own wedding, so I needed to make sure I could afford the venue.

The very first thing any bride should do is work out what budget you have. One of the ways to do this is to work out how much you think you can sensibly save every month, and when your ideal date to get married would be. For example, if you think between you, you can save £100 a month, and your ideal wedding date is in 2 years time, then 100 x 48 (months) is £4800.

With this figure in mind you may then decide to up how much you save each month, push the wedding back/forward, or if you haven’t already done so approach your parents to see if they would like to contribute towards your wedding. Some brides feel comfortable doing this, and others don’t, some parents offer to contribute towards the wedding as soon as you tell them you are engaged. However, few say at this point HOW MUCH they will contribute, maybe because they don’t know themselves. The conversation can be difficult, but it is important for budgeting reasons if you are going to ask them, to ask them if they plan to give you a certain amount, or if they want to pay for certain things such as the venue, or flowers and transportation for example.

A wedding can be done on a budget of £4800, I know brides who have done it. With a budget like this in mind it is important to think about what is important to you. For some brides the most important thing is to have all your family and friends at their wedding, for others it is to have a lovely dress and an intimate relaxed day. Figuring out what is important to you, will help you greatly with your budget, as it will enable you to work out what you can live without on your wedding day and what you can’t.

With your budget in mind you can then start to look at venues. The venue for your wedding will be the setting for your day; it is what provides the background and the feel to your day, so it has to suit you. If you want a laid back day, you will want a less formal venue and if you are having a small number of guests you will want a venue that size wont drown your guests. So this is one of the biggest wedding decisions you will make. Don’t feel pressured to stick to a ‘traditional’ wedding venue, if Don’t Tell The Bride has taught us anything, the venue should reflect you as a couple, so if that means you want the reception in a night club or a museum then do it!

One of the easiest ways to save money is to choose your venue wisely. Start off looking on the internet to find venues in your area that you like. If they don’t have prices on their website (and many don’t) then contact them to arrange a viewing. Take your fiancé, a friend or your mum along with you as it can be very overwhelming and it is easy to jump to a decision that isn’t best for you due to how emotionally charged the whole wedding planning can be. Looking around different venues will give you a good indication of what you like and what you don’t like. Make sure that the questions you ask include:

  • Availability of the venue on the dates you have in mind
  • If you would get exclusive use of the venue or not (for some people having exclusive use is very important, but not so much for others). If you wont have exclusive use of the venue on your wedding day, ask who will be using the venue, what facilities would be used, and if they would be able to go freely into the areas you are in.
  • If they have accommodation for you and your guests. A venue may seem nice but it can be a nightmare if it doesn’t have rooms for you to stay in the night before or after the wedding.
  • Ask if you will have access the day before the wedding so you can set the venu up with decorations etc. If you do not have access the day before the wedding, you will have to think about who is going to set up the decorations (table centrepieces, bunting, sweetie buffet). Some venues will set your table decorations up for you.
  • And finally how much. They will most likely ask you how many guests you would be having to the day and evening among other things, so go with a rough idea of numbers in mind. My venue were amazing and drew up a cost sheet for me, of the room hire, how much food and drink would cost etc, so ask if they can do a similar thing for you.

Make sure you take a note pad and pen, for writing down key information about the venue, as it can be really hard to remember all the details once you’ve seen a few different venues, and the notes you make when visiting each venue will really help you when making your decision about which one is the right one for you. When I first visited my wedding venue with my Chief Bridesmaid I made notes such as: Plenty of rooms for guests to stay in, good disability access, want the L-shaped room. When I then went over the pros and cons of the venues I had viewed my notes really helped to keep clarity.

Lastly – HAGGLE!
(read my haggling tips here)

Don’t be afraid to ask them for a reduction in the price, see if you can work out a deal with them. Tell them what your budget for your venue is (usually, roughly half of your overall budget) and ask them what they could give you for that. A booking is better than no booking, so venues are often happy to work something out with you within reason.

Going for cheaper menu options for the wedding breakfast can massively reduce the cost, soup and chicken are often the cheaper options, and venues will sometimes give you a discount if you have a certain number of guests booking rooms at the hotel for the night of the wedding.

The months from September/October to April/May are cheaper months, and in recent years September, October and April have been fabulous weather wise! So definitely think about going for one of these months instead of the traditional summer months which can be much more expensive. Another way to save a lot of money is to have your wedding on a week day, Monday –Thursday weddings can massively reduce the overall cost. So a Thursday in October = cha ching!

I hope you find this helpful, and I’d love to hear from you about how you chose your venue and whats tips you’d give on what you do first on the road to planning your wedding.