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 (moo.com, £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.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Being a Reverse Brizezilla | Budget Wedding Blog

I think I was one...

That term "Bridezilla" upsets me greatly, it's used a LOT, and too often to describe actually very reasonable behaviour to the point where any brides-to-be worry about making so much as a squeek of disapproval for fear of being labelled one.

In any other situation you wouldn't get labelled as some sort of overly emotional, irrational and intolerant monsterous beast for having strong ideas and opinions... "hey WORKzilla calm down about those spreadsheets!"... "All right FOODzilla... you can have new potatoes instead of chips..."

See what I mean

If you want purple bridesmaids dresses and you're paying for bridesmaids dresses... get purple bridesmaid dresses and don't let anyone name call you for doing so!

Anyway, the REVERSE Bridezilla (RVB) ie me, is so scared of being labelled that she will be laid back to the point of horizontal, constantly say "hey, it's fine... do what you like", leave everything to the very last minute and never, ever, ask for help. They are scared that any amount of nay-saying will lead to the inevitable branding and that no measure of protesting will have anyone hearing otherwise.

Should you find yourself dealing with one of these impossible creatures (the RVB) be mindful of the fact that she probably does want help, but she doesn't want to ask for it, she probably does want things done a certain way but doesn't want to come over as bossy... so you might have to be a bit stealthy in wheedling out the ideas and opinions.

If you think you too are a RVB fear not! Be honest about what you'd like, don't bury your head in the sand and don't convince yourself you can just do it all yourself later, ask people to help, make it fun, have a craft party if you're making invites or decorations; play to the strengths of your friends, don't ask none-crafters to stitch 150 meters of bunting and get cross because they did it wrong.

Being organised isn't being bossy; make a spreadsheet. It will make everything easier.
Don't bark out orders; ask people if they would like to be involved (they'll probably say yes) and ask them what they would like to do; listen to their opinions but stick to your guns if you have something in mind.

People will have an opinion about your wedding, they just will. This is something you need to get over. You can't please all of the people all of the time, and with weddings, on average, hosting 80 - 100 guests from multiple generations, there are going to be plenty of people who dissaprove of something in one way or another. Don't let this concern you or you will quickly stop enjoying the planning process which is supposed to be fun after all!


Tuesday, 15 July 2014

DIY Tutorial: Bargain Birdcage Veil | Budget Wedding Blog

Today I've got a little crafty tutorial for you so get your glue guns at the ready!

I have always thought that veils are very expensive for what they are so I'm going to be making a few and sharing the tutorials with you as I go. First off it's the birdcage veil. This was really easy to make and took me about 40 minutes. The materials cost a total of about £8.

I've decorated mine with shells and a few shiny bits that I've had for a while but you could use anything; beads; buttons; old brooches or broken jewellery; shells you found on the beach; sequins; fake flowers, the options are pretty endless...

What you'll need:

50cm (ish) netting - best place to buy this is on Etsy
A hair comb, plastic or metal (you can pick these up in poundshops or chemists or online)
A needle and thread (similar colour to your netting)
A hot glue gun (a life essential)
Shells, beads and gems  (or decorative bits of your choice)

Step 1
Trim 2 of the corners of your netting so they are rounded off like this

Step 2
Take a length of thread and tie it to on of the top corners, then weave it back and forth through the netting along the top so that you can gather it up.

Step 3
You now need to attach this to the comb. Thread a needle onto the end of the thread and start loosely sewing the gathered up edge onto the top of the comb.

Step 4
Now take your piece of felt, you want to cut an oval-ish shape that will cover the whole of the comb

Step 5
This is the fun bit, set your veil aside and start gluing your decorative bits to your felt piece until it's completely covered

Step 6
Now you need to sew your decorative patch onto your comb, just a few stitches at either side will hold it on without hindering the comb from doing it's job, et voila!