Invites for Less


I’ve had a love for stationary ever since I can remember, from the days of buying nice letter paper for writing to pen-pals to finding great joy in an exceptional wedding invite. When someone hands me a business card, I instantly want to keep it if the text is raised or if the paper is textured.

This very love for all things made from paper means I don’t want to have mediocre wedding stationary just because I’m on a budget. So how can I have invites my guests will proudly display in their homes without breaking my budget?

For the answer to that question I have asked two industry professionals.

Suzanne is the mastermind behind ‘Paper Tree Design‘ with 15 years experience in retail buying and product development she created her business over 3 years ago. Rosie at ‘Little Vixen Designs‘ had 5 years of experience working with couples designing wedding stationary, before creating her ‘Little Vixen Designs’ business 4 years ago.

This experience makes Rosie and Suzanne the perfect people to provide hints and tips on how you can still have professional invites within budget.

No doubt you will have found a couple of companies you are thinking of ordering your wedding day stationary from, perhaps you’ve seen them at a wedding fayre, or you found them in some way online. If your initial chat with them about costs left you feeling they may be slightly out of your budget, don’t be put off.

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Arrange meetings with your preferred suppliers, or if this isn’t possible arrange a telephone call with them to let them know you love their designs but you have £x budget to work with. The stationers will then recommend what can be done within your set budget.
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“It is the time it takes to apply all the tiny details that add to the cost of bespoke, luxury stationary but without them you loose that feeling of quality and luxury”, therefore…

If you feel happy doing some of the assembling yourself then you can definitely make savings. This may be as simple as gluing the ribbon and diamonte decorations onto the front of the invite, or could be as complicated as gluing multiple layers of laser cut designs together that create one 3D effect design.

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Irrelevant or whom you are thinking of ordering your invites from, or how good their work appears to be, make sure that you get physical samples of your chosen design on the chosen paper type before committing to a full order. Even though you may have seen physical examples of other work of theirs, the paper and printing type you’ve chosen may be different to what you’ve been before, which may mean disappointment with the final product.

Companies such as basicinvite.com who offer a fully custom service with a vast range of beautiful designs, plus an instant online preview of the design as you customise it, can lure you into not ordering a physical sample, but it is still really important to do so you know you will be 100% happy with your order when it arrives.

Even if you have to pay for a sample, it is better to do so than to be disappointed when your full order arrives.

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It is easy to forget this as we have to calculate costs per guests for food, drink, favors and other stationary types such as place cards.

Also, a charge that some stationers include in the amount you pay is postage to YOU, but money can be saved here too…

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This is something that would never have occurred to me if it wasn’t for Suzanne.

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Consider hand delivering your invites rather than posting them. Live close to friends and family and see them regularly? Just hand them their invite next time you see them. Do your parents or siblings see other family member more regularly than you do? Perhaps ask them to pass invites on for you.

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A wedding website I have used before is ‘gettingmarried.co.uk‘ but there are a couple others including ‘theknot.com‘, both of which offer a range of templates you can customise with all of your wedding information.

I hope that you find these amazing tips contributed by Suzanne and Rosie helpful. I’m looking forward to hearing your budget wedding stationary success stories, and would love you to share you story if one of these tips helped you to come in on budget.

Shoes Shoes Shoes


Oh my, many girls favorite topic! It had to come at some point. I have never been a big shoe lover, mainly because my feet just don’t seem to fit in to most shoes and I am very anti painful shoes/shoes that hurt me.

Despite this I have begun to accumulate a list of shoes that I wish were mine. Any bride to be that has stepped foot in a bridal shop (read pretty much all of us) has looked at the uninspired and grossly overpriced collection lining the stairs or toward in the corner that make up the typical bridal shoes.

Therefore it will be no surprise to any that I recommend to buy your bridal shoes anywhere except a bridal shop. You may also be quite correctly guessing I am going to tell you to invest in a pair of shoes you will wear after your wedding day. Some of my favorite wedding pictures include beautiful, colored shoes being flashed with the lifting of the bridal gown.

Charcoal Grey (gray?) and bright yellow wedding colors ideas so neat!

You don’t even have to go for colorful shoes, how about be-jazzled/glitter shoes? What ever you do with your shoes, be that heeled, flat, colorful, glittery or nude, use your shoes as a statement about you. They don’t even have to go with the rest of the theme of the wedding. no metallic colors in your wedding? So what! Have those sparkly shoes anyway.

The good news about anything other than normal bridal shoes is you can get them from one of your favorite shops and in the SALE 😀

Where are you getting your bridal shoes from? Where did you get them from? I’d love to hear about your bargains.

10 Thing To Cut From Your Wedding


Are you wandering what things you can cut from your wedding to save money? Sometimes it feels like everything is necessary; but there are things that you can remove from your wedding that wont detract from an amazing day – and guess what? No one will even notice they aren’t there!

invisible ways to cut your wedding budget; repin and save!

Expensive wedding day entertainment can also be cut to provide extra room in your budget. Instead of hiring magicians, musicians, or children’s entertainers how about providing much cheaper entertainment? Provide board games, colouring books and/or a dressing up box for children to entertain themselves with during the day. For the adults you can provide entertainment through stationary ideas such as:
Table number.. love this idea! I want to do that!!! --- we did something like this for my little sis every year on her birthday she opens a birthday card that guest made at her baby shower. I think she'll do this till her 18th bday...

or even cards games and board games for adults who don’t dance:
Have board games at wedding for people who don't dance. Love it.

If you are having a summer wedding, how about raiding your friends summer games boxes and having an outdoor space where people can do the limbo, sack races or even swing ball? This way you can provide entertainment for people during the arrival drinks when people are milling around before the wedding breakfast as this can often be awkward for people when you want them easily accessible for the wedding photos but don’t want them to get bored.

What entertainment are you having at your wedding? Are you going down the budget route or have you found room in your budget to hire entertainment?

*All pictures are taken from and linked to my Pinterest or linked to the original source.

Hello Again – I’ve missed this


Hello All my fellow bloggers, readers and wedding planners!

I am back! Oh boy, have I missed this. After calling off my engagement back in May 2012 I didn’t think I would come back to this blog for a very long time – if ever; but lucky lil me is engaged again!

I met my fiance through work and he helped me to discover me again; and it became so obvious why my previous relationship didn’t work out. We moved in together (with family) in January 2013, and then moved in to our own place in March 2014. I was simply enjoying being in the new relationship, when we went on holiday in October 2014 and he proposed.

Now, my fiance is not the romantic type, he really isn’t. He doesn’t buy me flowers, or tell me how special how I am, or whatever else the Mr Darcy’s of this world do, but he is solid, dependable, he protects me and he shows me how much he loves me through small every day gestures. Our first valentines went by without him buying me anything, not even a card, but he did take me out for dinner the weekend after.

I’ve put the little description of my fiance’s romantic downfalls so that you can picture how romantic the proposal was…for him…and for us.

The Proposal.

The first full day of our holiday in Cyprus, we had dinner in our hotel and then he suggested going for a walk along the beach. The sun had set, and there was a slight breeze moving out across the beach. We found the route from the hotels restaurant down to the beach and took our shoes off so we could paddle our feet in the surprisingly warm water licking its way up the beach. After a little while of walking hand in hand he disappeared away from me, but I was still running in to the water and then running away as the tide chased my feet when he called over to me. He was knelt on one knee in the sand scratching his leg. As the dutiful girlfriend I stepped towards him to check his leg for any offending reason for the itch. As I informed him I couldn’t see anything to cause an itch he produced from behind his leg a box. His words were short and sweet, a simple “I love you, will you marry me?” and he opened the box to reveal a ring I couldn’t have chose better myself.

My #engagement ring #round cut #half carat

After accepting, and crying a little, we walked back along the beach hand in hand to the restaurant bar where we ordered…ha! not champagne! no! just a bottle of nice wine and told some people we had already met that we were engaged!

The ring however was four sizes too big (learnt how big it was upon arriving back form holiday and going to the jewelers to get it re-sized), so sadly I couldn’t wear the ring until a week after we came back from our holiday.

Wedding Plans

Originally the plan was to have a short engagement and to get married October 2015 (1 year after getting engaged), however, after doing our wedding spreadsheet we decided we needed long to save; therefore the date is set for Saturday 8th October 2016.

The wedding costs spreadsheet will be in my next post.

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Generational divide – wedding cost


From my own experience and from talking with friends, it seems that sometimes there is a generational divide when it comes to the perception of how much a wedding is worth.

When I was planning my wedding (which, unfortunately did not go ahead when five months before my wedding date, I realised I did not love my fiance any more and broke off the engagement and the relationship), my parents were forever saying how a wedding needn’t be expensive. They couldn’t understand why anyone would want to spend thousands of pounds on a wedding.

I was planning my big day for 6k all in, which, I often felt wasn’t enough. All the wedding magazines I bought, the wedding forums I frequented and the big day blogs I read told me that you needed at least 10k, but that most couples sent 20k on their celebration. Thinking about trying to pay for everything on a small budget whilst avoiding my guests thinking that the decorations were tacky or sparse and underwhelming was daunting.

No doubt we’ve all heard one of our relatives telling us how they got hitched on a shoe string, and how they loved their day and all the guests had an excellent time. My own parents got married at the tender ages of 19 and 21 in 1984, spending about 1k on everything. 30 years later they are still happily married and have wonderful memories of their day.

£1,000 In 1984 is equivalent to £2,725.30 today. However, can we really imagine spending just £2,725.30 on your wedding day?

How they did it in brief:
My Dad and his Best Man wore their RAF best uniforms – FREE
My Great Grandmother and my Grandmother bought my Mum’s wedding dress and veil for her – FREE (downside was they went shopping and bought it without her. She didn’t choose it at all!)
They used a local taxi driver as the wedding car (the taxi was unmarked and put a wedding ribbon on)
A colleague of my dads did the photography (he was more used to taking pictures of planes! But he did a wonderful job) – FREE
They bought a high street Flower Girl dress in blue and the adult Bridesmaid wore her own dress
The ceremony was done at the village church
The reception was in the village hall
My mum won their honeymoon in Paris through work – FREE

I understand completely where people such as my dear parents are coming from when they moan about how much money couples spend on their weddings. It does seem to have become a competition; who can have the best entertainment, who can have the nicest wedding favours etc, and a certain snobbery seems to have developed, notably among many a snobbery against DJs and a move towards live bands or musicians.

However, I also understand why many couples wish to save a large budget for their wedding day. In the 1980’s and earlier it was frowned upon to live together without being married, more so frowned upon to have children outside of wedlock. For most people the norm was to get married, move in together and then have children.

In today’s society, it is no longer frowned up on live together or have children outside of wedlock. Many people are single parents, many are living together without being married, and even more who live together and have children minus the vows. Marriage is now a CHOICE, not a convention to be abided by.

Therefore when women grow up, surrounded by divorces, by friends who decided not to marry, when they meet their future husband and mutually decide to show their commitment to each other by joining into matrimony they want to do it ‘properly’, even if it means saving a lot of money, and perhaps, making sacrifices to ensure they can have the day they have spent years planning.

The average age of people getting married has also gone up since the 80’s. In the 80’s the average age for men and women to first get married was 24 for men and 22 for women. In 2010 the average age of people getting married for the first time was 28 for men and 26 for women.

The average ages for couples first getting married rising and the increase in women earning higher wages is a very good reason as to why, when couples do get married they decide to spend extra on making sure they are able to have everything they have planned to have.

I’d love to hear from other brides-to-be or wives in relation to if you feel there is generational differences when it comes to opinions on how much a wedding should cost.

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.

Hilhairdious Hair


DIY Hair

No bride wants hilarious or hideous hair (or I as have termed it Hilhairdious hair) on her wedding day.

When first contemplating how you would like your hair, it can be tempting to look at some lovely hair ideas, up do, down do, half up, half down, side bun, classic curls. But you’ve got to think who is going to do your hair, and how much are they going to charge for it?

Some brides decide to do their own hair. If you are thinking of going down this route make sure you practice. The more you practice, the less stressed out you will be when it comes to the big day, which will be important, as you may feel stressed out on the morning of your wedding enough, without adding to it by not knowing what you are doing with your hair, or being unsure of what you’re doing.

TIP: Check out You Tube for video tutorials on how you can achieve certain looks.
To get you started with a few ideas check these out:
Double Pony Tail Updo
Half up half down
Beautiful Bridal Curls with short hair

Trial a few different things, until you find something you can do and like, and take pictures of it so that you can look at those pictures on your first practice of it. It may help as well, to write down what products you used and print off and keep any inspiration pictures so that the next time you come to practice it you know better what you need to use and do to achieve that look again. I recommend to do this as when you are trialing a few different hair styles it can be easy to forget what you did and how it looked.

The next thing is to purely practice doing your favoured hair style until you can do it without thinking. This way you will be able to do it with ease on your wedding day.

Getting the Professionals in

It is common to start off with the intention of doing it yourself but then find that you don’t think you can achieve the look you want to on your own. What then? Well you can consider getting a friend who will be at your wedding (a BM or maybe your mum) to help you to achieve the look, or you may decide to try to find an affordable hair dresser.

If you have a regular hairdresser, ask them if they do wedding hair. Your regular hairdresser is used to working with your hair, and will know what they would be able to do with your hair and what would suit you. Not all hair dressers will do wedding hair, or will be able to commute to your venue, if you are wanting to have your hair done at your venue, so make sure you ask.

Once you’ve found a hair dresser make sure that you have trials to make sure that the hairdresser knows the look you are going for and so that you can find something that you like on YOU.  Looking for inspiration on the net is a good place to start, but your favourite hair idea on the net may not look good when done on you. A hair trial will also give your stylist an idea of how long it takes to do your hair so that you are able to book a time on the wedding morning for your hair to be done.

Semi-Professionals

If you can’t find a hairdresser in your price bracket, why not pop down to your local college and have a hair styling trial with a student?

Students in their second or third year will have quite a lot of experience of styling hair, both their own and other peoples, and will be very willing to impress. Take your inspiration pictures to them and see what they can create. If you like what they do, ask them if they would like some paid work experience to do your bridal hair. By going for a student you are more likely for them to be happy to come to you, either in your home as you get ready, or to the venue if you are getting ready at your venue, and will be more likely to be able to have them for longer during the morning/day.

Due to the saving of opting for a student you could even ask them if they would do your BMs hair too!

Big Day Make-up

By looking at local colleges for students, I would also recommend getting a student make-up artist to do your make-up on the day. Do have a trial of your make-up though, as no one wants to feel like Cookie the Clown…even if it would keep the children entertained.

You may think you want really natural, barely there make-up for your day. If so get your MUA to do your makeup and then take pictures of you. You may change your mind on the type of makeup you want when you look back at the pictures of your trial. Professional photography can be harsh on the skin, so you may find you need  more on than you would normally wear day to day.

Make sure though, that you have some of the make-up that your MUA has used on you so that you can top it up when you want to as the day goes on.

Hair and make-up for you and your lovely BMs including trials all for a bargain price! Job Done!