Saturday, 19 April 2014

Garden fresh

It's a beautiful spring day! This past week I've barely blogged because I've been working away at a mid week, 2 day wedding down in Somerset which was brilliant. I'm still getting to grips with this regular blogging malarkey and hoping that come the summer I'll have worked out a regular blogging schedule for Pretty Thrifty with a more structured approach to subject matter.

Today I'm working on landscaping my garden and admiring the tulips that are now in full bloom so I thought I'd share a little spring bouquet inspiration embodying that "I totally just picked this from the garden..." vibe


Tulips & Hyacinths are in full bloom at the moment

Lily of the Valley is out in abundance in my garden {image pinned from Ruffled}

Daffodils, Lily of the Valley, Grape Hyacinths and Jasmine: gorgeous!

These are just a few of my favourite spring flowers and now we've hit spring I'll be doing a monthly guide of what flowers are out in bloom and available from your garden or as wildflowers to pick for your wedding. I'll be covering picking etiquette too as we don't want our beautiful countryside to become picked bare!

I'd love to hear from you if you grew your own flowers for your wedding or if you went down the wildflower route!

Monday, 14 April 2014

Wedding Fairs

This post might be a little controversial....
I'll start by saying that in no way is this post meant to offend or criticise anyone and is based on my general opinion of wedding fairs from my experience of attending them as a bride planning her wedding and also as an exhibitor (photographer)

I'm just not sure about wedding fairs in general. On paper they sound great, lots of suppliers all under one roof, potential special offers and deals, the chance to touch and sample and often a free glass or two of bubbly (which is usually enough to get me to go to anything)
But... I've been to a LOT of wedding fairs that have been thoroughly disappointing, I've seen some of the most sullen amateur models *flaunt* some pretty nasty looking taffeta and crystal creations accompanied by men in suits 3 sizes too big, brandishing canes and swirly waistcoats, surrounded by chair covers, organza bows, cringe inducing photography and cakes that look like they've been puked on by the sugar craft fairies. Not to mention the extensive range of unnecessary confusing extras and the presence of weight loss companies preying on the insecure betrothed.

Firstly I'd like to talk about this from the experience of a customer, a bride or groom to be...

The good bits

1. At a wedding fair you can see lots of suppliers all in one place: great! However for many local fairs there is no selection process or criteria, stall holders are usually whoever books and pays first. Most fairs limit the numbers of types of suppliers so it's fair (competition wise) and you don't get one event totally saturated with photographers or florists, but more often than not it's first come first served. Some wedding fairs invite suppliers, these are usually good ones because the venue hosing the fair wholeheartedly recommend those suppliers and their services.

2. You get to meet suppliers in person which is brilliant especially for those suppliers that will actually be at your wedding like musicians or photographers, you really really need to click with your photographer!

3.  You get to touch and taste which is fab when you are looking at stationers and cakes

4. Free entry; these events are usually free entry and you can take a gang of bridesmaids, mums, dads, best men etc along for realistic and honest opinions

5. Special offers a plenty; many suppliers will have some special little deals for wedding fairs, sometimes there will be competitions and give aways so you might even get something for free. Best of all you can have a good old haggle if you dare!

The bad bits

1. At some of the bigger fairs, the national for example there are so many suppliers it takes literally 3 days to get round them all, this can be massively overwhelming and lead to a general sense of wedding apathy

2. Fear based marketing is rife at wedding fairs, limited offers of 'only available today' can be found at almost any event like this. But ask yourself are you really truly getting a good deal? There are so so so many suppliers out there, are these ones really what you want or have you just got yourself whipped up into a panic buying frenzy. I have literally turned down cash deposits at wedding fairs, telling people to go away and sleep on it and email me in the morning. Sometimes the big wedding fairs can induce that crazed January sale mentality in people and some suppliers will take advantage of that and actively encourage it. Take a breath.... walk away....

3. On the opposite end of the spectrum are the fairs where people just go for inspiration and have no intention of booking anything they see, as a supplier this isn't much fun

There are some good fairs out there but I would encourage you to do your research otherwise the first one you go to could likely put you off for ever.  If you like vintage seek out a nice Vintage wedding fair, if you like designer get to one of the luxury ones. If you like a bargain keep your eyes peeled for details of Pretty Thrifty's first ever Affordable Wedding Fair in 2015

If the venue you're thinking of booking has a wedding fair go to it, it's a good insight into how well they run an event

From the point of view of a supplier wedding fairs can be tricky...

It is very hard as a new supplier (especially a photographer) to get into any wedding fairs, priority is almost always given to the people who exhibited last year/ last time and I can completely understand why, these events are run by businesses to make money, and to guarantee some income for the next event what better time than right after the last one to re-sign up the same suppliers (knowing full well how hard it is to get into other wedding fairs if you've never exhibited there before). This can go on for years and years and at some wedding fairs you will get very little variation in the suppliers who participate. Is this really best for the customers? Showing this limited pool again and again? It's certainly not great for new businesses...

When I was first faced with this problem as a new photographer I panicked and went for literally any fair I could get into. One year on and I doubt I will do that many more and I don't think I'll need to (not meant in a big headed way) and I've realised that good photographers get the bulk of their work through recommendation, which thankfully, is now the case with my work. (Fact is the best photographers don't really do wedding fairs because they don't need to!)

But when you're just starting out it's a great place to meet potential customers on mass but do ask yourself this question before you shell out for a stall; are the type of customers you want to attract going to be coming to this event? Look at the marketing, look at the associated website, look at the venue, if the answer is no it's likely it will be a waste of time and money for you. Keep trying, the right event will be out there!

Friday, 11 April 2014

DIY: Photobooth!

Are you fan of a photobooth?
Photobooths have become VERY popular over the past year or so and it's a bit of a trend that seems to be continuing, and why not, they're a lot of fun! But they can be a bit pricey, the cheaper end of the market being around £300.

If you have a camera of your own you can easily set up a photobooth area which (after a few glasses of fizz or pints of ale) will seem to your guests like the best idea EVER!

Here's what you need...

1. A camera; any compact camera will do really, set it to auto and pop it on a tripod - you can pick them up on ebay for less than a tenner- leave the camera set up by the photobooth. (Don't have a camera/ don't want to leave yours out & vulnerable?- a set camera isn't exactly essential as people will use the props and set up and take snaps on their own cameras or phone) 

2. A backdrop; nothing fancy, there may already be a nice little corner of your venue that you can use with some jazzy wallpaper or a nice clean crisp white wall. If not a few meters of pretty fabric and the means to hang it (a portable clothes rail works well or a washing line if outside) will do the job.

3. A suitcase/ box full of props; no need to spend a fortune down the fancy dress shop, raid charity or vintage shops for dodgy ties, scarves and shades, and see what your friends and relatives have stashed from past fancy dress parties.

4. If there is something to hang them from and your venue don't mind, hanging frames look totally awesome, by some cheap fancy looking ones 2nd hand or get yourself the biggest piece of foamboard you can find and make a Polaroid boarder like this...

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Real Wedding: James & Jo

This morning I'd like to share with you the country village wedding of James & Jo. They married in the village that I grew up in, in the same church as me! They had a Village Hall reception which is a great way to cut costs down, usually you can bring in your own catering and often your own booze which massively reduce the cost of feeding a hundred people!
Top money saving marks for:
* Hiring a Village Hall for the reception (on average a village hall with be just 10% of the cost of a hotel or traditional venue)
* Getting mum to make the cake (an what a cake it is!)
* Finding awesome bridesmaids dresses from Hellbunny who have a range of very affordable 50's vintage style frocks
* Thrifty entertainment: welly wanging, boules & a good old game of football
* Picnic style dinner; why spend loads on expensive catering when home made salads, pork pies and quiches are sooo very appropriate for a summers day!
* Home made desert table
* Quirky handmade place names and decorations with a very cute table pan
* supermarket flowers to decorate tables

Terrington Wedding
Terrington Wedding
Terrington Wedding
Terrington Wedding
Terrington Wedding
Terrington Wedding
Terrington Wedding
Terrington Wedding
Terrington Wedding
Terrington Wedding
Terrington Wedding
welly wanging
Terrington Wedding
Terrington Wedding
Terrington Wedding

Brides Dress: Blushes, Sheffield
Bridesmaid Dresses: Hellbunny
Hair & Make Up: Nicola Hood
Reception Venue: Terrington Village Hall

Monday, 7 April 2014

Etsy Dresses

If you've never heard of Etsy then I've got a right treat for you today!
Etsy is a brilliant online community full of  gorgeous handmade vintage and crafty creations. It's been around for a fair old while now and generally people use it to buy smaller handmade creations like bags, knitted and crochet goods and beautiful prints, but there is a serious crafty fashion side to Etsy and more importantly a whole section dedicated to Weddings.

So today I thought I'd share with you some of the amazing dresses that you can buy from Etsy, usually from new up and coming designers, for a fraction of the price of the big labels but just as beautiful and all handmade...

Folded Roses make some gorgeous gowns at an absolute snip {this one's just £216.64} crafted in their studio in France Sally who creates these lovely frocks takes a lot of inspiration from flowers and all the dresses include floral motifs or appliques.

Big fan of period dramas? Love a bit of Jane Austin? then check out some of the designs crafted by Ranunculus Market {for just £197.52}

Nostalgia is another lovely Etsy boutique  {based in the USA} with very affordable prices. This lovely fluffy Tulle number is just £244.58

Having a super cool laid back bohemian festival wedding? Check out Aida Coronados handmade Mexican style dresses

Finally this perfect little 50's dress from Australian based boutique Silver Sixpence who also do a nice little line in textile bouquets! This little beauty is just £270

So get yourself over to Etsy if you're still searching for your frock, get yourself a brew as you're likely to be there for some time!

{There are, of course, dangers when buying from sites such as Etsy so please read through the feedback on a sellers page before purchasing anything and get your measurements right! Also be sure to watch out for Chinese knock-offs on sites like Etsy and Ebay, copies of designers like Jenny Packham pop up all over the place, and if it seems too good to be true it probably is!
Don't get me wrong some of these Chinese companies can do a great deal but don't expect the same level of quality and customer service and there is a pretty big chance that dresses can go missing or get stuck at customs.}