Bride and Groom: Tim and Kate
Tim is a Head of Early Education and a blogger and Kate works as a School Lunchtime Assistant.
Ceremony Venue: Bath Guildhall
Reception Venue: Radford Mill Farm
Wedding Date: 23rd August 2018
Number of Guests: 100
Wedding Colour Scheme and Theme: We had a colourful Festival theme. Lots of the guests camped on the farm and we had a circus skills workshop and a fire show as well as lots of flags and a campfire area. We had afternoon tea with a vintage tea set (rather than a sit down meal) and then served a giant paella later in the evening.
Total Wedding Budget: £6,500
Tim and Kate’s fabulous wedding suppliers:
Photographer: Tanya Hazell Photography
MUA / Hairdresser: Jodie (a friend of a friend!)
Cake: My sister runs a cake business (Lucy Loves Cakes in Bristol) and made our wedding cake as a present
Flowers: My Mum did the flowers!
Having family supply the cake and the flowers for us really helped us reduce costs, as flowers and cake were going to add up to quite a bit if they hadn’t done them as gifts to us.
Fudge table: we had a fantastic fudge table from Talbot Handmade
How did you decide on your budget?
Kate and I had been together for 17 years, engaged for 16 years and have four children. We felt like this was about celebrating our lives and futures, rather than starting a new life, so choose a budget which we felt was comfortable for our financial situation.
What elements of planning were the hardest with your £6,500 budget?
Initially the venue costs were the reason we kept putting things off, but when we found Radford Mill Farm we knew it was a perfect fit, and fantastic value. We saw the farm in March and two days later we booked it for August! Everything else we just started from the budget and looked at our options.
In what ways were you really able to crunch the budget?
I’m very good at planning, and finding good hacks (hence my blog!), I think we also choose our suppliers wisely. We found local people, none of whom had glossy websites or sales pitches, but all of whom were friendly, passionate and recommended by others. We got good value, and good service, from everyone and it all had a very local, sustainable and friendly feel – there was nothing commercial about it whatsoever.
Tell us about the Bridal outfit…
The dress was from ‘Light in the Box’. Kate wore a veil and an earring and necklace set. She tried on something very similar in a wedding store, then bought online for much less. She was a bit worried about buying online, but was very pleased with it when it arrived.
What about the beautiful Bridesmaids?
We had both our daughters as our Bridesmaids. They both wore dresses from Monsoon.
And What did the Groom and Groomsmen wear?
I bought a decent suit in the TM Lewin sale for about £200, which I really liked. I wasn’t comfortable with buying something I’d only use once, so I choose something I could wear as a 2 or 3 piece and that I knew I would use again.A
We all love a bit of bling, what’s the story behind yours?
My wedding ring is a gold band which belonged to my Grandfather who passed away a few months before the wedding. Kate chose hers after lots of research!
How did you get your DIY on?
We decorated the marquee ourselves with bunting and festoon lights we bought. We made the invitations (which were like festival tickets) and we hand painted wooden signs for the site and made a giant wooden ‘LOVE’ sign. Kate also made a photo tree with our favourite pictures on.
What was the biggest hurdle you ran into during planning?
We set ourselves a relatively tight timescale. For awhile we were worried we weren’t going to be able to find a live band we liked who would be available, but we managed to sort that once we put enough energy into searching. We had to align availability for the Guildhall and the reception venue, and get a temporary event notice ourselves, but it was all do-able with a bit of planning.
What was your blow out spend for the wedding?
I’m not sure we really had one! We spent a few hundred pounds on a bus to ferry people between the ceremony and reception, as we thought that was important. We also really prioritised entertainment, we spent £650 on a live band and my parents booked the fire show and circus skills as a present for us! At the last minute we also added a few unplanned extras like festival wristbands – these were so popular!!
Was there anything that didn’t go as planned?
Not really. I camped on site with family the night before the wedding and it absolutely poured down – we were waiting to wake up to a very soggy marquee (and I was really worried because Kate had put so much effort into decorating it the night before). But the sun came out, and everything important was dry! It didn’t rain again until the morning after the wedding.
So now you’ve had your own fabulous small budget wedding what tips or advice would you give to others planning on a small budget?
Don’t get swept along by wedding sales and marketing. We just focused on the bits which were important to us and set a budget we stuck to. It’s so easy to get drawn in by advertising for ‘must haves’, but just treat your wedding as unique and decide your own must haves. Also, remember that very glossy websites, brochures and sales pitches cost businesses money – which means they’ll likely need to charge more!
Thank you to Tim for sharing his wonderful budget wedding with us!
Tim is a UK travel hack blogger over at Take Me To The Points and you may be very interested to know that Tim and Kate’s honeymoon was almost entirely paid for by points earned on the wedding spend! You can see how he did that in his post ‘Earning Hotel Points: How I Travel Hacked My Honeymoon!’
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
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.
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?
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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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!