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.

Making of Bunting


This weekend my MOH and I got together for another weekend of wedding crafts. Some things that we want to get done, such as the Table Plan, Place Names and Menu’s etc can’t be done yet as the guest list is up in the air at the moment due to family issues relating to the afore-mentioned guest list. So we had to move onto the bunting.

The hardest part of the whole process was getting to grips with the sowing machine; as neither of us had handled a sowing machine since GCSE Design and Technology class.

Here are some pictures of us trying to set the sowing machine up for you to giggle at.

Now you’ve had a giggle at us, lets get down to the How To.

You will need:

  • Your chosen fabric (We had four different fabrics, green gingham check, plain cream, gold netting and brown netting)
  • Cardboard
  • Pinking scissors
  • Sowing machine etc
  • Pins
  • Bunting line

1) You need to create a triangle template out of cardboard to the desired size.

With the fabric you have chosen, layer two of the fabrics on top of each other and pin them along the top of the fabrics.


We layered them on top of each other so that it cut down on the labour time of cutting the fabric into the triangles. Don’t worry too much about holding the fabric taut when cutting around the triangles. We kept the fabric loose, so that the fabric triangles were slightly bigger than the cardboard template.

2) Once you have your triangles cut out you may want to choose a pattern for them so that you know how you are going to attach them onto your bunting line. The pattern we went for was; cream & brown, cream, green & gold, cream, green & brown, cream & gold, green etc. This gives you structure to what you are doing.

Once you have decided on your pattern you will then want to start pinning the triangles onto the bunting line.

As you pin the triangles onto the bunting line make sure you are evenly spacing the triangles on the line. We used a piece of cardboard to measure the spaces.

3) Start sowing the triangles of fabric onto the bunting line, removing the pins as you go.


I continuously sowed for the duration of three films. Free Willy, Free Willy 2 and Free Willy 3. Before I knew it I’d mounted up a fair pile of bunting.

Here is the finished product.

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!

LRT – Jewellery


To save a bit of money on your wedding ring, buy your wedding ring from the same place you bought your engagement ring. Most jewellers offer a 10% discount on your wedding ring if you tell them you bought your engagement ring from them too.


There is also the option of using your Tesco Clubcard vouchers to buy your wedding jewellery. If you exchange your club card points into vouchers for Goldsmiths, you can then use your Goldsmiths vouchers to buy your wedding jewellery. Goldsmiths aren’t the cheapest jewellers on the highstreet but if you have found your perfect ring in there then there is no harm in saving some money.

Alternatively if you already know your size then you can order your ring online. Because the online shops don’t have the overheads of running a shop, and because there is a short handling line from the gold being dug out the ground to being in your possession they are often able to offer you fantastic jewellery for a fraction of the cost of what they can in the shops.
Think: Wedding Rings Direct, The Jewellery Company and Diamond Heaven.

My Wedding Ring

The search for my wedding ring was a long hard one. I struggled to find anything that I like that was in my budget and fitted with my e-ring. That is until a couple of weeks ago when the jewellers I bought my wedding ring from brough out seom new lines! As you know from my previous LRT post I found my perfct ring but it was in white gold. Well this new line included a yellow gold version of that ring!!!! = me unbelieveably happy!

^ ^ because who doesn’t love a lol cat 🙂

I picked up my ring today and I can’t stop looking at it. Plus because I got it from the same place I got my e-ring I got a 10% discount.

My Wedding Ring

Click, Flash, Snap


The uncles have had a few drinks, downing their last one, they make their way outside where one drops his trousers and there is a flash from behind, laughing and celebrating at their idea, another joins him and drops his trousers as another flash goes off. Inside the ceremony room children are running around taking snaps, unsure of what they are actually snapping, and too busy rushing around to stand still long enough to create a steady focus. A few weeks later as the Bride and Groom go to collect the results they begin to laugh but ultimately feel disappointed at what they see in front of them.

This is often the story that is created when disposable cameras are given out at weddings on the tables for guests to use to take pictures. 20/30 years ago, giving out disposable cameras for guests to use at a wedding was a good idea. It meant that the Bride and Groom got some nice, informal pictures of their guests that they wouldn’t have been able to see otherwise. Now a days disposable cameras are nothing but a waste of money for the budget bride.

You are looking at about £2 per disposable camera and then £3.50 ish per camera to process them. To buy and process 10 cameras you’re looking at £55.

Disposable Camera

Aside from the cost there is the point of how useless they are when most people, if not all have either a digital camera or camera phone, that has a zoom, better pixel-ation and different modes they can use depending on the photo conditions, inside, outside, dark etc. Your guests will be able to take much better pictures with their digital cameras than they ever will be able to with disposable point and snaps. Plus they will give you copies for free, emailing them to you and often putting the pictures on Facebook.

Not to mention that the majority of people who use disposable cameras at weddings are children, who run around snapping people, with their fingers over the lens or moving the camera so that it is too fuzzy to make out who is in the picture, or drunk men who take pictures of themselves mooning.

My sister in-law and brother in-law felt pressured into having disposable cameras at their wedding, which they say to this day was a waste of time and money as loads of guests had their own digital cameras that they were using. They never even got them developed.

Therefore I am campaigning for any bride, not just the budget bride to step away from the disposable cameras, and to for once, trust your guests to be able to take some pictures and give them to you after the wedding.

Did you have disposable cameras on the tables at your wedding? Do you regret or are you really glad you decided to provide them? Please comment with your thoughts as I’d love to hear from you.

Budget Decorations


Balloons

Balloons are often a staple decoration at weddings, particularly at the reception. If you do decide to go for balloons, an added bonus, is that children love them, so they keep the children happy. The downside to this however, is that your balloon display is pretty much guaranteed to be dismantled.

Balloons to decorate the cake table

Wedding Reception Balloons

Balloons, are thought to be very old hat, and have gone out of fashion when it comes to weddings, however, you can re-vamp the balloons use at weddings, by using one of my favourite balloons – the round balloon, they look modern and unique.

Round balloons

You can also put marbles in your balloons to have them hang downwards without moving around too much. This looks great when hanging from trees.

Hanging balloons, put a marble inside before you blow it up.

Candles
Candles are another staple within wedding decoration, on tables and ledges, tea lights, pillar candles, candle sticks, candles in jars, they twinkle and give a whimsically romantic, relaxed atmosphere to the wedding, especially combined with low lighting.

Candle lit barn wedding

Tea lights can be picked up cheaply, and a fantastic, cheap way to display them on your table is in baby food jars. So if you know a couple with a child at weaning age, ask them to wash out and keep their baby food jars as they are often the perfect size for a tea light candle. Decorating your baby food jars is as easy as pie with some tissue paper.

Baby food jar candles

Another way to make simple tea light look lovely is to use flame retardant paper bags to put tea lights in. The paper bag be customised by cutting shapes, designs, patterns or even the initials of the couple out for the light to shine through. and are available from a range of places including Etsy.

Wedding Candle Luminaries

Personalised Candle Bags

Bunting

My personal favourite!

Wedding Bunting

courtsey of lovemydress blog

I think bunting is a fantastic way to decorate your outdoor wedding, your wedding breakfast room or reception room. In the wedding breakfast room your could decorate your top table with a string of bunting instead of an organsa garland.

Bunting to decorate top table

Bunting can be kept after your wedding to decorate a room in your house, the most popular room in the house to decorate with your wedding bunting, is the future babies room, if you wait to have a baby until you’re married, or the children’s room if you already have children before you become a Mrs/Mr.

Pom Poms

You can carry the theme of pom poms through your wedding from your bouquet to your decorations. One of the most common ways to do this is with paper pom poms. Pom poms can be hung from the ceiling with string or used as table decorations.

Paper pom pom decorations

Table decoration pom pom

Isle decoarations

Or even as isle runners on chairs down the isle of the hotel, or used to decorate the end of pews at the church,

Pom poms, however they are made or used are a delightful and fun modern way to decorate your venue.

Other fun ways to use Pom Poms in your wedding: 

pom-pom wedding confettiPom pom toppers on cupcakes

My Think High Street


It wasn’t an option for me, I knew that I would be looking to the high street for many things for my wedding. The first thing I bought on the high street was my bridesmaid dresses. I saw them in the sale, reduced by 50% to £50 and knew that I had to have them. I sent the link to my Maid of Honor (here after known as MOH) who also liked the dress. My MOH was a complete star with the bridesmaids dresses, and if it wasn’t for her there is no way I would have been able to get them at that price. She phoned round the stores hunting down the right sizes as there wasn’t many of them left by the time I saw them on the website. We did have some issues with getting them, but thanks to my MOH we got them and they looked great! The shop where I got them from? Debenhams!

Green Bridesmaid dress

For me, I wanted the bridesmaids dresses to be something my bridesmaids could wear again and most important were comfortable wearing. The dress had also really good reviews online and seemed perfect for the autumnal wedding we were planning. when the dresses arrived my MOH tried hers on and she loved hers. The one we got for my BM was too big, but have kept it, as the dress hasn’t gone back in the sale down to £50 again yet. When it does I will get the smaller size she needs and sell the bigger one.

I got my day wedding invites for FREE 😀 from a couple who had got married and had loads of invites left over, so just had to buy my evening invites, which came from a high street discount card shop.

Poundland offers a small range of wedding paraphernalia, such as banners, invites and cake/favour boxes and confetti. In Poundland one day I spotted some Favour boxes that seemed nice so picked them up. £1 for ten – BARGAIN!

Favour Boxes

So, just think, everywhere is worth a look, as you never know what you are going to find. The above boxes will need minimal assembly to take them from flat packed into the box form they will take. We will be putting the dress boxes on the table for the women, and the suit boxes for the men. Pounland no longer stock these, however they do currently stock favour boxes with a simpler design that could be pimped with ribbon to fit your theme.

Poundland Favour Boxes

What happens next?


What happens after booking the venue depends on how close to your date you have booked.

If you have booked 15-12 months before your wedding then you need to find and book a photographer, caterer (if applicable), florist, transportation (if applicable) and entertainment.

Irrelevant of when you book your venue in relation to your wedding date, the other thing you will need to do as soon as possible if you’re having a civil ceremony, is to book your registrar. Different registry offices have different rules on how long in advance you can book your registrar and give notice. Some will allow you to provisionally book your registrar 24-18 months before, however, others only allow you to book, provisionally or other a maximum of 12 months before. Once you get to the 12 months before or less stage you will be able to book your registrar and give notice of your marriage.

If you have booked your venue with longer to go than this, then really what you do next is up to you. You can start looking for your wedding dress and your BM’s dresses, and possible ways to decorate your venue.

When looking for photographers, you may feel that it is impossible to find a photographer at a low price. Money can be saved on all of the above areas! One of the biggest ways to save is if you are lucky enough to know talented and generous people who will either be your florist, entertainer, caterer, photographer etc for free/at a reduced price. If you are not lucky enough to know people who can do this for you, then you need to look around for a bargain. Student photographers, or photographers that have just qualified are cheaper than experienced photographers. Opting for seasonal flowers and hand tied bouquets will also reduce your expenditure.

Having your wedding at a later time, means that you may only have to feed your guests once, as opposed to twice, which will help in reducing catering costs, as well as, opting for cheaper menu options, not having canapes after the ceremony, choosing sparkling wine instead of champagne for the toast, not having a buffet in the evening, or having bacon sandwiches instead of a buffet in the evening.

As you plan you will find for yourselves the areas you feel you can save on and those that you really don’t want to. You may decide that you have never been that fussed on the idea of having a bouquet anyway and go give up having flowers at all, or only have a bouquet and button holes and no venue decoration flowers or vice versa.

First things first


1st Things 1st for the newly engaged

The search for a venue was a long and difficult one. I was aware that the average cost of a wedding at the time was 20k, and I knew I didn’t even have half of that to play with for my own wedding. The biggest part of any wedding is the venue, and it is often the most expensive part too! With my small budget in mind I knew I needed to make sure I could afford the venue.

The very first thing any Bride2B 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 you can save £200 a month, and your ideal wedding date is in 2 years time, then £200 x 48 (months) is £4,800.

With this figure in mind you may then decide to up how much you save each month, push the wedding back/ or bring it 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. This maybe because they don’t know themselves or because they don’t think you need to know until you’re closer to the wedding date. 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 £4,800, I know couples who have done it. With a budget like this in mind it is important to think about what is important to you. For some newly engaged couples the most important thing is to have all their family and friends at their wedding, for others it is to have a lovely dress and an intimate relaxed day. Figuring out what it 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 won’t drown your guests. So this is one of the biggest decisions you will make in the planning.

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 or simple contact them to ask them about their prices.

When you go to view potential venues take your fiancé, a friend or your mum along with you as it can be very overwhelming. 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 during venue viewings 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 won’t 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.
  • Does the venue 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 venue 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) and when.
  • 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 spread sheet with costs on 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.

Lastly: HAGGLE!

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 (remember, 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 to your budget within reason.

Going for cheaper menu options for the wedding breakfast can massively reduce the cost, soup and chicken are often the cheaper options, or think about having 2 courses instead of 3 . 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, so make sure to ask about this too.

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 = ching ching!

I hope these hints and tips on how to get started with your wedding planning has helped.