Friday, 31 October 2014

Simple Classy & Affordable Halloween Themed Wedding Ideas | Budget Wedding Blog

Planning a Halloween Wedding for next year? Here's my top 5 favourite ideas for decorations that are super stylish and simple as well as being easy on the wallet!

1. Pumpkins - but not as you know them

As well as carved pumpkins painted ones look absolutely amazing. Get yourself some varied squashes, spray paint, glue & glitter and get creative by following this tutorial from A Practical Wedding

2. Pretty Leaf Placenames

These gorgeous placenames would be super simple to make and practically free, a little more spray paint a sharpie and a steady hand is all you need

3. Toffee Apple Desert Station

This would be super easy to set up yourself and could cut down on the cost of catering quite a bit. All your guests will revert into gleeful children.... I guarentee it!

4. Fresh Apple Candles

Cheap and easy additions to your tables and I have a sneaky suspicion they'd smell gorgeous too!

5.  Super simple marshmallow spiderweb cake

I love this cake, most of the cost of your wedding cake will be in the decoration so why not have a go at doing it yourself with this easy decorating How To from The Cake Blog

Monday, 27 October 2014

The £999 wedding | Budget Wedding Blog

Did anyone catch this TV programme recently on BBC 1? Ever since I watched it I've been thinking about it. It sort of annoyed me a bit mostly because all the 'deals' shown were just for the venue and the things that they include like the food and a couple of glasses of wine.

There are tonnes of other things that aren't included so badging it as a £999 (or in some cases a Grand) wedding is pretty inaccurate. So obviously it got me thinking, is it possible to have a WHOLE wedding for £999 and if so what would it look like?

The Invitations £0

The cheapest way to do your invites is to go paperless and email them out. Using a site like Paperless Post you can create some simple custom designs to email out to your nearest & Dearest for absolutely free!

Hair & Make Up £50

When on a super tight budget this has to become a DIY job. But fear not there's an army of amazing beauty bloggers out there with some seriously simple and gorgeous tutorials to teach you to lay on the slap like a pro. Check out Zoella for some super pretty inspiration and easy tutorials and treat yourself to some lovely new make up for the occasion

The Dress £59

Go High Street for a real budget option, or vintage if that's your bag. Try charity shops and of course ebay. Or try a hire company like Girl Meets Dress, these gorgeous gown are currently available from just £59!

The Suits £150


If your fella doesn't already own a dapper suit that could be re worn I'd recommend hitting a designer outlet. It's worth spending a bit on a suit as you'll wear it again and again if it fits well and looks good. So if you get your timing right and head to the outlets in the January sales you can grab a real quality bargain. Don't shell out renting (or buying) suits for others, suggest a colour for your chaps if you like or just go for matching ties or bow ties if you want a matching look. They'll likely have a suit they can wear already, if not then it's a god excuse for them to buy one!

Bridesmaid Dresses £0

It's ok to ask your BM's to buy their own dresses BUT if they're shelling out they should get to choose, maybe pick a colour pallet and put together a Pinterest inspo board so they know the kind of look you're hoping for.

Flowers £40

DIY your flowers (you can do it!) buy a couple of buckets of flowers from your local market and pad out with some hedgerow crops such as cow parsley or a little barley from your local farmers field edge! You don't need flowers but they are rather nice, have a go at hand tying your own bouquets and some for your maids with some pretty ribbon, it's easier than you think!

The Rings £20

Buy 2nd hand and buy silver it's way cheaper than gold, go to vintage markets and decent car boot sales or even hunt on ebay

The Ceremony £200

The cheapest place to get wed is at your local registry office, registrars charge a lot more for them to come out to your venue to conduct your ceremony. Maybe consider doing the legal bit earlier or on another day and then have a friend conduct a humanist ceremony at your chosen venue, that way you could even do it outside (glorious British weather permitting of course!)

The Photography £200 

With most photographers charging around £1000, that's your budget gone in one fell swoop! There are ways to get photography cheaper, no.1 enter as many competitions as possible, no.2 if you want a top quality photographer you might be able to get just a few hours coverage, but generally not on a week day, no.3 take a risk on someone new; for a couple of hundred pounds you can hire someone that's just starting out but be sure to look through their portfolio and make sure you like their work and not just the price they are offering. I'd always advocate spending a bit more on photography and getting the best photographer you can find for the budget you have

The Transport £0

This is another luxury that may have to go out the door when you have a teeny weeny budget. Try to craft your wedding so that no transport is needed or else ask your guests to make their own way from the ceremony to the reception and track down your friend/ family member who has the coolest car and ask if you can borrow it (call it a wedding present)

The Reception Venue £0


There are some amazing venues out there that come with loads of accommodation space for all your guests; like youth hostels or big holiday cottage/apartment style places like Hargate Hall which will sleep upto 77 people through 12 apartments, hold your ceremony and reception and be yours for the whole weekend. The cost of somewhere like Hargate Hall at £5500 might seem out of your league but if you split that up between all your guests, who would be paying for somewhere to stay anyway, it works out at £71 per person and that's for 3 nights accommodation! Not bad eh?

The Food £235

The food is generally what you're paying for when you book one of these super low budget venues (that and the staff) and in fact the food at some such places can be hugely over priced. My first top tip would be to have your ceremony later on so that you only have to feed people once. Skip the starters and go straight in for the mains, make it a self service affair and save money on hiring waiters. Go for something super simple like chilli or curry and rice and if you have friends and family with culinary talents get them involved they may be up for the challenge!
Instead of desert, why not have a cake competition, mention it in your invites and get your guests to drop off the entries before the ceremony, you'll have more cake than you know what to do with and you could even award the best entry the accolade of being your official wedding cake buy cutting it after your first dance

The Drinks £0


BYOB is the savior of the budget wedding if you ask me, it's not often done at weddings and I really don't know why that is, at any other social occasion or celebration it would be perfectly acceptable. Pop a note in with your invites and people might be pleasantly surprised, no lofty bar prices like in some of the swish hotels and they get to drink exactly what they want. WIN

The Music £45

This is where your ipod wedding playlist will come into it's own, you're going to need a bit of amplification though so it's worth renting a PA system and make sure you have a designated "DJ" to take care of the tunes and hit play at just the right moment for your first dance!

TOTAL: £999

So there you have it, many corners would need to be cut, some serious bargain hunting, wheeling and dealing and drawing on the skills of your friends and family wherever possible, but it IS possible! I'd absolutely love to hear from anyone who managed to organise their wedding for under a grand, so drop me an email if you'd like to share

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Post Wedding Photo Shoot | Budget Wedding Blog

A little while ago me and the other half met up with one of my all time favourite photographers for a little post wedding photoshoot. We had a fab Photographer on our wedding day but mainly due to the rain, we didn't get the change to get those big wall worthy portraits. Also I didn't want to leave the party that I spent so long planning (and paying for) because it was the BEST party I'd ever been to!

So we booked Rosie Hardy for a few hours on our first wedding anniversary, we drove out to the Peak District and spent time on simply creating some beautiful images with no time constraints one you might feel on ones wedding day, plus it gave me another chance to air my home made wedding dress!

A post wedding photoshoot is a brilliant idea for anyone who didn't have a photographer at their wedding due to costs, or like me couldn't be torn away from the party... The cost is a fraction of the price you will pay for a photographer for a wedding, though that's not to say this can in any way replace the awesome visual record a great photographer can create on your wedding day.
Our post wedding photoshoot cost £200 and was absolutely worth every penny, for the experience and also the amazing finished product...

Saturday, 13 September 2014

10 ways to get the best value for money for your wedding | Budget Wedding Blog

Well I've had a little break from blogging over the past couple of weeks while my other job as a photographer was insanely busy but I'm back to it today, I've missed you!

I've been asked to write an insightful money saving post for Hello Magazines new wedding community and I've decided to focus on value for money rather than cheapest possible, so here's my top 10 tips for squeezing the absolute most out of your budget...

1) The Venue: choose one that includes accommodation and split the cost

There are some fab venues out there that do a whole weekend package including accommodation for all your guests, this could be anything from camping to holiday cottages to exclusive use of a Highland Castle! Guests expect to have to pay for accommodation (and are happy to) and often these sorts of venues do an 'all in' package. One such venue is Knockerdown Farm in Derbyshire which has a whole site deal for £10,000 which gives you the ceremony venue, reception venue and sleeps 90 people in lots of lovely holiday cottages, plus a pool and a spa, it's like having your own private village for your wedding!
If you split that straight down the line then your guests are looking at paying £111 each for 3 nights accommodation which is pretty darn good, and as a happy little by product you get an AMAZING wedding venue for absolutely FREE!

2) The Food: canapes as starters & a cake competition for desert

Everyone likes a 3 course dinner but paying for a whole wedding party to enjoy one can be a very expensive endeavor! If you're thinking of also having canapes, which guests are often gagging for right after the ceremony, why not let these be your starters and just up the quantities a little. Another excellent way to trim your catering costs is to ditch the desert for a pudding competition, incorporate the idea into your invites and encourage lots of you culinary gifted friends and family to bring their entries down and drop them off before the ceremony. This can save you upto £5 per head which is a LOT of money!

3) The Dress: sell it afterwards

It's beautiful, it fits like a glove, it cost you a fortune. You will never wear it again. Ok so you might, but I doubt it, maybe for a post wedding photo shoot but for what other occasion would you honestly wear it again? Sell it! And fast, don't hang about, especially if you've bought a new designer dress, generally the new seasons gowns will be released by designers in January and some of the current years designs may well come to the end of the line. There are some great sites out there for selling your gown as well as good old ebay, and if you get it up there quickly you may well make back around 2 thirds of the price you paid

4) The Marquee buy one and sell on again afterwards

Seriously, this is an option that you might not have considered but it really is a genuine possibility. If you have a bit of capital it's well worth doing as marquees hold their value. If you want a marquee wedding then check out Curlew the best place to pick up 2nd hand marquees. You can get hold of a tent big enough for your average wedding reception for a few thousand pounds and it will sell on again at the same price or slightly less, so if you're planning a reception on land you own or in a private garden this could be a great way for you to get hold of a marquee for next to nothing!

5) The Suits: buy don't rent

Unlike a wedding dress a good suit will be worn again and again so it's always worth the groom investing in a nice piece of tailoring. Rented suits never fit in the same way and there really isn't any need for all your men to match. If you a fan of the matchy matchy look then ties are a LOT cheaper than multiple morning suits!

6)The Flowers: Grow your own

So you might not have a garden or be a very green fingered type but odds are one of your friends or relatives will be. With enough warning and planting time it's possible to grow your own wedding flowers. Alternatively have living plants as centerpieces that could be replanted afterwards or at the right time of year, June/July, you could even pick wildflowers. If you're not confident about your arranging skills book yourself on a floristry workshop, they're super popular at the moment and lots of florists are offering them, plus they're lots of fun!

7) The Photographer

Lots of photographers offer a kind of ceremony only package as well as a full day coverage option. This tends to be quite a bit cheaper and you'll usually get then to cover your ceremony plus some lovely portraits and a few mingly shots as all your friends and relatives congratulate you. Many only offer this at non peak times ie not on Saturdays as they can easily fill those dates with full bookings and from a business point of view that wouldn't be a very good idea. If you are getting wed during the week talk to photographers and see if they can offer a shorter amount of coverage for a cheaper price, even if it's not advertised on their website it's always worth asking if your budget is tight.

8) The Booze: BYOB

For any other social occasion this is totally acceptable but for some reason it's rarely done at weddings. If you've got a venue that will allow it; most hotel types definitely won't or anywhere with a working bar, but relaxed venues like village halls youth hostels and holiday cottage venues often will. Slap a BYOB on your invite and your guests will be pleasantly surprised and generally pleased, no overpriced pints and they get to choose exactly what they want to drink. WIN!

9) Favors: Don't bother

How many times have you actually remembered to take home that bag of sweets/ tiny pot of jam/ mini spoon/ cute little badge... favours can really add up and people won't notice or care if there aren't any. If you want to make a nice gesture choose some charity favours, make a donation and leave a little note at everyone's places.

10) Invites: DIY

You are capable of this, I promise, you don't need to spend a fortune for a fancy invitation, check out my top tips for awesome cheap and cheerful wedding invitations here

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Summer of Love feature on Festival Brides | Budget Wedding Blog

Today we're featured over on Festival Brides one of my absolute favourite wedding blogs.

A few weeks ago I got together with some fab suppliers from Sheffield to shoot some beautiful Hippie Bride on a budget images. Get on over to Festival Brides now to see the full feature...

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Summer v's Winter Weddings | Budget Wedding Blog

One of the best bits of advice for saving money when booking your wedding is to go for a winter date rather than a summer one. Especially if you want to book a hotel type venue, going for a winter date could save you plenty of cash particularly if you pick a weekday rather than a Saturday.

However there are a few things that you should have a think about before you hand over you deposits and decide on a winter date...

1. Lighting

Give your photographer a chance! If you're planning a Winter Wedding then go for an earlier ceremony time while there is still some natural light, especially if you're getting wed in a church. Even in the summer months these places are dark! Think about the lighting for your reception, creating a lovely low light can be wonderfully atmospheric at the time but a lot of photographers would struggle with it. There are a few things you can do; fairy lights are fab and work wonderfully in photographs; try asking a member of staff to turn up the venue lighting at key times, like during the speeches, book a photographer who is comfortable working in low light, ask to see examples of weddings in similar conditions, it doesn't have to be another winter wedding, just a venue with low lighting.

2. Temperature

You may plan your winter wedding with the secret hope that you'll get a dusting of snow or a crisp frosty morning or you may be hoping to get your guests outside for some photographs in the open air but in reality you may find this hard to do on the day. People hate being cold and are always VERY reluctant to leave a cosy venue to stand in the cold air outside. Have a good scout around your venue for indoor locations that you can use for any group photos that you would like to take, think about how many people you need to get in there, stairways are great for this especially the grand and sweeping kind! When planning your winter wedding keep in mind you most elderly or vulnerable guest and that will help you to make sure that everyone will be happy and comfortable on the day.

3. Accessibility

Again if you're hoping for that dusting of snow be aware of what the effect could be if that dusting turned into 6 inches or more. How remote is your venue? Do the gritters get up there or is it out in the wild and windy moors somewhere? Bearing that in mind, this is Britain and our weather is crazy and unpredictable, just look at this wedding in August for example!

4. Seasonality

This is important to think about in terms of food and also flowers you will find that things in season are cheaper and more readily available, also think about things that you can collect yourself to use for decorations such as pine cones. If you have your heart set on peonies though you may well be disappointed...

5. Decorations

Many, if not most venues will have Christmas decorations up from November time until early January. Great if you wasn't a Christmassy themed wedding but not so great if you want more controll over how the venue looks for your wedding. Ask the staff if they have any photographs of the venue at Christmas time so that you can see how it is styled and don't be afraid to ask (nicely) if that singing Santa or life sized fibreoptic snowman could be discreetly banished for the day...

Images courtesy of Ellie Grace Photography

Friday, 8 August 2014

Top 5 Cheap Wedding Invitations | Budget Wedding Blog

If you're planning your wedding for next year it's time to get those save the dates out and for some of you super organised types you'll be planning on sending your invites out already. People are always asking me about cheap ideas for their wedding invitations so I've come up with my current top 5 cheap wedding invitation ideas, some are quite traditional and some... well, some are really, really not.

1. Stop Motion Magic

This is an oldie but a goodie! I love this sweet little stop motion video, all you would need to recreate something similar, is a camera, a cheap scrap book, some felt tips and some super basic software like Windows Movie Maker which probably came with your laptop. Add in your favourite song, stick it online and share the link. Practically free and as sweet strawberries dipped in sugar!

2. Photo Card Fabulous

Online Print companies have lots of customiseable and very affordable options such as these sweet and very simple cards from TRUPRINT

3. DIY (ish)

Lots of lovely stationery companies do a bit of a DIY option where you can have your invite designed professionally and then print and embellish them yourselves. Check out the "We'll take it from here" service at Best Day Ever

4. Stamptastic

If you want a bit more of a DIY feel and to literally get your hands dirty then why not get yourself a custom stamp made like these ones by Doodle Stamp on Etsy. For around £15 you can have a beautiful stamp made with all your details, then just get yourself an ink pad and some pretty paper and you're away!

5. Super cool wedding Zine

I love a Zine, I'm a big fan of that low-fi photocopied feel, though it's not for everyone but if you're having a budget city wedding this could be a really cool and quirky idea for an invite, plus you can probably run them off on works photocopier in your lunch break! To make an ace wedding Zine like the one above check out this tutorial

If you've made your own wedding invitations and you'd like to share a tutorial on how to make them get in touch

Monday, 4 August 2014

An honest guide to wedding planning: Part 3: Letting People Help | Budget Wedding Blog

It's time for the final installment of wedding planning advice from Jess. If you missed them before here's part 1 and part 2. Get yourself a brew and get stuck into Jess invaluable, honest and eloquent advice...

Giant Bear and I organised a two-day wedding, hen party, stag do and honeymoon in less than four months, for just under £6k. Here’s how we did it: i. prioritising; ii. making stuff; iii. letting people help. In this post, I’m going to talk about letting people help.

Do it quickly 

Having a short engagement helps you focus. There wasn’t time to agonise– we just went with our first instincts and moved onto the next thing. For example, we didn’t do ‘save the date’ cards – we picked dates and sent out the invitations (Etsy, £60) as quickly as we could. We made RSVP cards (, £30), with tick-boxes on the back and an image of engagement rings on the front (our house was built in Queen Victoria’s jubilee year and we have a commemorative book full of glorious Victorian adverts). I tied the invitations up with fancy yarn (Darn Good Yarn , $20) to make our budget invitations look cheerful and bright. Each invitation (card, envelope, postcard, yarn and stamp) cost less than £1.50. We also invited (by email) more distant friends who live or work close to church to just come to the church service, which we held at 1.15pm so they could nip out in their lunch hour. This was a very easy (and completely free!) way to include lots of people we couldn’t afford to invite to the reception, or who couldn’t get the afternoon off. 

Get married out of season and/or on a weekday 

Everyone loves a summer garden party wedding with croquet and Pimms and sunburn, but it costs so much money; and you still have absolutely no guarantee of good weather. Our reception was on a Wednesday in April and hiring the venue cost us £725. A Saturday in July would have cost us over four times as much. Nobody minded traveling during the week because they had nearly four months’ notice to arrange time off, and we had glorious weather for both wedding and honeymoon.  

not bad for April eh?

Don’t worry about gifts 

Personal Opinion Alert: I think it’s vulgar to ask for wedding presents. We made it *very* clear on the invitations that nobody was expected to buy us anything. Several guests said how much they appreciated being told not to worry about gifts, and that they felt we genuinely wanted their good wishes, rather than their money. We *did* have a list of gifts (because some people will still want to buy you something, so you might as well help them buy something you actually need), but they were all under £35 and mostly fun, cheap things like comedy ice-cube trays and film posters. Inspired by our homemade wedding, some people made gifts, including cakes, chocolates and flapjacks for afternoon tea. Giant Bear’s godfather drove us to the civil ceremony in his classic car; another friend wrote a poem about our relationship, which he insisted on reading aloud at the reception (sounds awful but wasn’t); another wrote a piece of music for the choir to sing at the church ceremony. I have a lot of Chinese friends, and in that culture everyone gives money to newly-weds, so we wanted to make it easy for people to give us money *if they so chose*. Our invitation read as follows: ‘if you simply prefer to send us some filthy lucre, you can be modern via PayPal , or old- fashioned via cheque. Any money will be put towards our honeymoon.’ We were given £1,000 towards our photography as a wedding gift from my amazing parents-in-law; other people sent us various sums of money, large and small. This added up to just under £750, so even though we had made it clear nobody needed to give us anything, almost a third of our budget came from gifts we hadn’t asked for. We spent the majority on our honeymoon, and took lots of photographs, which we posted on Facebook or sent via email, to make the monetary gifts meaningful and show we appreciated them (e.g. ‘Here we are eating a lovely lunch in Marazion. This meal was sponsored by . Thanks, !’). 

lunch sponsored by auntie Ethel..

Help everyone feel involved and useful 

My hen party was an evening tea-party in a local cafĂ©, at which we made all the flowers for the tables at the reception (I needed to come up with something suitable for my twenty- something friends and Giant Bear’s octogenarian grandmother).  

We had a blast: there was a chocolate fountain, every kind of cake, scone and fruit salad known to man, mocktails, tea and hot chocolate. Everyone paid for themselves (Crafty Teacup , £15 per head) and we spent the evening making flowers out of scraps of wedding dress fabric and vintage knitting needles. We made nearly a hundred flowers, which cost us virtually nothing (knitting needles, charity shops, total £8; fabric, dressmaking scraps) and looked amazing in old ginger beer bottles (Ebay, £4 each). 

I’m in the process of dismantling the flowers to make a quilt. My bouquet lives in a vase looking spiffy, and I even bought some short children’s knitting needles (Ebay, £2) to make buttonholes. Several friends who couldn’t be at the wedding could make the hen party, and really appreciated being included. Everyone felt that they had contributed and at the reception I noticed several ladies checking to see if the flowers on their table included ones they had made. Similarly, the stag party at our house included communal cake-making at 11pm (an unexpected response to my ultimatum of ‘help me with the simnel cake or go home’), which we then served at afternoon tea after church. 

Finally, don’t be snobbish about sourcing 

I was very proud that our wedding was homemade and second-hand. Nobody knows (or cares) that your ring is Cartier and your dress is Vera Wang unless you tell them; equally, nobody knows that your confetti came from a wedding that got cancelled unless you tell them. The confetti was made entirely from dried flowers and herbs, organic, grown locally, and in gorgeous little organza bags. I bought everything they had for £13. Bish bash bosh.