I recently wrote a post about Having a baby on a budget and promised the sequel (or prequel really) about having my wedding on a tight budget. So here you are, lucky people.
I was always under the impression that a beautiful wedding without a generous budget was not possible. Do-able maybe, for those who wished to elope or go home for fish and chips after the legal bit, but certainly not anything very wedding-y.
That was, however, until I persuaded my now-husband (obviously) to marry me. And then remembered that I am a huge stingey-pants when it comes to spending money. Yes, even on a wedding!
So what was a girl to do? I didn’t want a really crappy affair, but I didn’t want to put down the equivalent of a small house deposit to fund it. In fact, the most I really wanted to spend was about £1000. So, ladies and gentlemen – that’s what I did.
How did I have my dream wedding on a tight budget?
I got my invitations from Card Factory. Yes, I said Card Factory.
Since the wedding was small (around 50 friends and family in total), I figured fancy invites would be a waste. Might as well let the guests know upfront what to expect… The design was pretty, they were all hand-written and they came with an instruction not to bring us gifts as we weren’t supplying a free bar. No-one really listened to this, but we’d have been perfectly happy without wedding gifts. Although we were very grateful.
Ceremony: We married in Brighton Town Hall in the beautiful Regency room. We lived in Brighton at the time, so it made sense. Plus, the price was around £300, which suited our budget perfectly. They allowed us to personalise the ceremony (I secretly planned for the Jurassic Park theme tune to play as we signed the register haha!) which was perfect.
Reception: After we were married, we all walked round the corner to the taxi rank and caught taxis to The Good Companions pub. We had rented out the function room upstairs and a full on hot buffet of mini-platters was served. There were no seating plans, speeches or lame DJs – we literally just had a party, which was very chilled. We did have a very drunken first dance, but that’s pretty much where the organised wedding-stuff started and ended. This again cost us around £400 – thanks pub!
As I was having a simple wedding on a tight budget, I wanted a simple dress.
Fluffy and fancy would look a bit out of place in a pub after-all. I couldn’t believe my luck when I was browsing the BHS wedding website on Black Friday and found the perfect dress for only £42. It was simple, elegant and fit straight away (which never happens when I buy online). It was clearly meant to be!
My husband wore a suit from Topman which cost more than my dress. But not that much more. We were so proud of ourselves.
Hair and make-up
My sisters did it for free – little gems.
Decorations and favours
We made our own decorations and favours for the reception – which was almost as fun as the wedding itself.
I am literally the crappest craft-maker ever. The bunting, tablecloths and other random stuff we created looked like a 5 year old had done it. But that’s what I enjoyed most about it – I passed it off as quirky. I ordered a load of sweets online and tied them up as favours. I’m pretty sure drunk me ended up eating most of them, but ah well.
(Oh and my grandmother bought us wedding cupcakes from Marks and Spencer as the main cake. Genius.)
Since we were in a pub, we thought the best idea was to hook the speakers up to my iPhone.
I added a load of party songs to Spotify and then played them on shuffle. However, most of the guests also wanted their own requests and so they could go and change the playlist if they wanted. I enjoyed this freedom – even if it meant my friends had me slut-dropping to Lady Marmalade in front of my bemused family.
This is controversial. I didn’t have a photographer.
A lot of people may disagree, but I found the day a lot less stressful without a photographer. I don’t like the hours of staged pictures. All our friends and family took photos and then we collated them afterwards. OK, we probably don’t have as many posed pictures as most people, but the photos we do have perfectly sum up the fun we had. This obviously saved us a fortune.
Why was it my dream wedding?
With such a casual wedding on a tight budget, I didn’t get the Bridezilla feeling on the run-up to the big day.
In fact, I was completely chilled out about the whole thing. The pressure was off, and I spent the day enjoying time with all of our friends and family rather than worrying about something going wrong. Of course, not everyone wants such a laid-back, party-style day, but for me, it was a dream.
Is there anything that you did that made your wedding perfect? Or do you have any other money-saving ideas that you used for your wedding? Let me know in the comments below!