Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Summer of Love feature on Festival Brides

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!

Friday, 11 July 2014

An honest guide to wedding planning: Part 2: Making stuff | Budget Wedding Blog

Jess is back on the blog today with part 2 of her guide to wedding planning (read part 1 here) today it's all about making stuff and her 2 fabulously unconventional wedding dresses...

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

Think about what will ‘show’ Table decorations will be right in front of every guest all night, so they’re worth spending time on, but there are lots of other things that your guests will see for a few fleeting moments and probably won’t remember. For example, we got married in Holy Week and so were only allowed to have decorations in church for the few hours we were in the building. Moreover, the church roof was in the process of being replaced and the building was covered in scaffolding (and the organ swathed in crime scene plastic). There was no point in trying to decorate very much, so we asked our guests to wear bright colours and borrowed some brightly-coloured bunting to just decorate the main aisle and the choir stalls (i.e. the bits everybody is actually looking at).  

Make stuff yourself Make stuff! Make all the stuff! 

This is only a good idea if you actually know what you’re doing. For example, for wedding favours I made four different kinds of marmalade (seventy-two jars and labels from the Jam Jar Shop, £60; fruit and sugar from my local grocer, £30). I love making marmalade and already own a jam pan, so this was quick and fun, and the end results both pretty and delicious. 

If I hadn’t known what I was doing, however, it would have been a sticky orange-based nightmare. My point is that there are lots of things you can really enjoy making yourselves, and that will save you lots of money – but choose carefully! 

For example, I made ties for all the men at the civil ceremony. I found an online tutorial that helped me cut the shapes accurately, and then I personalised each one with a different linings.

 With the help of Giant Bear’s mother each one only took a couple of hours. This was a simple project that anyone could do. 

If you want to make something you’ve never attempted before, that’s great and I applaud you, but do your homework (and/or get someone to help you). 

Having stuff made just for you

You wouldn’t think this would save money, but it does. For example, our jeweller made five rings as a stacking set for me (two engagement rings, three wedding rings) and a matching single ring for Giant Bear, £110 including tax and postage from the US). 

We also had handmade cufflinks made for our best man and my friend, who gave me away, (£22 per pair). If you buy something really personal that shows a lot of thought and time has gone into it, nobody cares how much you have spent. 

Making your own wedding dress 

If you’ve made a dress before, this is the golden ticket when it comes to saving money and getting *exactly* what you want. I had two dresses (one for each day!). I used the same pattern for both, using a pattern I’ve made before a couple of times

I changed small details to make them feel different, like the collar shape and the buttons. My civil ceremony dress had tiny heart-shaped buttons down the side and a pointed collar.  

I wore it with a fascinator which cost me £21, made just for me and trimmed to match my dress; Mary-Janes that I already owned (charity shop, £4); and a second-hand jacket (Ebay, £3). I did my hair and makeup myself. 

Including the thread, fabric, pattern (a vintage one, bought on Ebay for £7), petticoat (Ebay, £15) and all the accessories, the total cost of this outfit was £82. My church dress had giant buttons down the back so that the congregation had something to look at during the ceremony; I also changed the straps and made the collar round (I drew a sketch first).  

The main feature was a deep border hem, which I originally cut from a Japanese print with giraffes on it (I know. It seemed like a good idea at the time). 

This was completely hideous when I sewed it up and it took me a couple of days to figure out what to do. In the end I used a polka-dot print on the back of the dress (I sewed a bead into the centre of every single dot!) and birds and flowers on the front, also heavily beaded. The beading made the hem heavy, which helped the dress hang better and made it really lovely to wear. Once I finished the hem, I trimmed the hell out of the whole dress. 

I bought a bolero (Etsy, £20, made just for me) and some second-hand shoes (Ebay, £35), which my mother-in-law decorated with beads to match my dress.  

My usual hairdresser did my hair (£12) and I bought a pair of vintage earrings to match my wedding rings (Etsy, £16). All in, this outfit cost just over £140. 

Even if you have never made a dress before, if you have a sewing machine and a simple pattern in mind, just give it a go. Making a simple practice dress is the quickest way to find out if you’re going to be able to make something you’ll be happy to wear on your wedding day. You’ll discover your limitations as a seamstress, too. I, for example, suck at zips. I’ve made lots of dresses and skirts, and only one of them has a zip because zips hate me. I just do buttons and rouleaux loops (I also suck at blind buttonholes) and that works fine. It’s useful to know this kind of thing so that you can make sensible choices about patterns and so forth. 

You can find dressmaking inspiration and tutorials online from places like Julia Bobbin and most modern patterns such as Colette and Sewaholic come with detailed instructions. Village Haberdashery has a great selection or there is always Ebay if you’re feeling more adventurous. Cut out the pattern (a size too big if you’re anxious) and make it up in a fabric you like. Don’t choose a cheap fabric (even if you make the dress perfectly, it will look like crap) and make sure to line your dress (it will hang better and last longer), even if the pattern doesn’t tell you to (it should). 

The first time you put it on, it will look appalling – they always do! Put it on inside out and get a friend to help you pin the necessary darts and other alterations. Pretty soon you’ll have something that fits you better than anything else you’ve ever worn, that cost a tenth of what you could have spent, and that *you* made, by yourself, for yourself. 
Good enough for your wedding day, I’d say.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

In the news...

Today my own wedding has been featured in The Daily Mail of all places, with a lovely article about how we planned a big 3 day wedding on a small budget. I'm so happy that I've managed to get a bit of national press for my little corner the internet and I hope this brings many more readers and fills them with thrifty budget friendly inspiration for their wedding! x


Tuesday, 8 July 2014

The Package vs DIY: Part 1 | Budget Wedding Blog

When planning my own wedding I wondered, which is cheaper a DIY do or a package deal at a venue? In this 4 part series, I'll be investigating this very subject

Part 1:The Budget Package Hotel Wedding


There are numerous hotel chains out there that offer very low cost package weddings, Holiday Inns, Britannia Hotels, Mercure, Marriott; all the big ones have wedding deals, the cheapest of which seems to be Britannia Hotels, offering weddings from £999.

But what do you get for this?
Well whats listed is: Bucks Fizz welcome & 3 course meal for 50 guests, evening buffet & reception for 100 guests, room hire, red carpet.

I'm going to take this package as my example for the purpose of working out the details, because every hotel offers a different package but this (as far as I can find) seems to be the cheapest.

Doing the maths that price works out at about £15 per head for the daytime guests and about £5 per head for those coming to the evening reception only. That seems like really good value, it's really important to remember that not only are you getting the room hire, you're also getting the plates, the glasses, the cutlery, the table cloths and more importantly the staff to cook and serve your food, and perhaps even more importantly than that, the lack of hassle that comes

What you're not getting however is very much personal choice, high bar prices and overpriced table wine. Quite often the food is not exactly Michelin starred either, its usually a pate or soup starter, roast dinner and a choice of 2 deserts.

Here's a quick comparison, all costs are estimates based on my experience of how these things are broken down.

So you can see that it's really the convenience and the staff that you're paying for when you book a hotel venue. they will set it all up for you, they will cook and serve your dinner, and more importantly they will clean up after you, so that you don't have to do it tomorrow with the mother of all hangovers.  so if it's a hassle free convenient do you're after you're best bet is on a good budget hotel deal.

If you're after more of a personal touch you can cut these costs right down but I promise you it will be a LOT more work, rope everyone in, because there is a tonne of stuff to do...

Friday, 4 July 2014

An honest guide to wedding planning: Part 1: Priorities | Budget Wedding Blog

A few weeks ago I blogged the images from this wedding. Jess and Phil got married at Hestercombe Gardens in Somerset, Jess made her own dress as well as many many other aspects of the two day celebration that I had the privilege to photograph back in April. In this 3 part blog post Jess is sharing her experience of planning their wedding on a tight budget in less than 4 months. I should also say that her nickname for her husband is Giant Bear, before you get confused...

"Giant Bear and I got engaged at Christmas and were married in April. We organised a two-day wedding, hen party, stag do and honeymoon in less than four months, for just under £6k (£3k if you take off all the money we managed to raise or were given!). And it was so much fun! Here’s how we did it: i. prioritising; ii. making stuff; iii. letting people help.

In this post, I’m going to talk about priorities. 

Decide what matters *to you* If you’re paying for your own wedding, decide what matters to you, and spend money and time on that. There are certain things you can’t and shouldn’t do in church (e.g. I know of a girl who had to walk down the aisle to ‘Mr. Boombastic when the best man pressed the wrong button on the sound system, and then had to endure being told off by the vicar afterwards), but otherwise, you do you
If you want the whole thing to be themed around the films of Sydney Poitier, or your bridesmaids to carry albino bunnies instead of flowers, good for you. We made a bunch of non-traditional decisions, the biggest of which was to spread the whole thing over two days. Day One was our civil ceremony (tiny, intimate), followed by the stag do (yes, the stag do was after the civil ceremony. Nobody cared). 

Day Two was our blessing in church (people, music, afternoon tea) and reception. The extra day cost us £375 in venue hire, but it was the best decision we made. 

One friend wrote afterwards that it couldn’t have been anyone else’s wedding and that was the nicest thing anyone could have said about it. We didn’t have a theme: just lots of things we love. For example, we met singing in the choir, so we included lots of lovely music and went to the two-hour rehearsal on the day (we took a packed lunch and I did my hair and makeup in about ten minutes, using a borrowed mirror!). Choir: important. Hair and makeup: not so much.  

We also love cake and cheese. We’d seen the fashionable towers o’ cheese, but didn’t want to miss out on cake (cake-based hen party and afternoon tea-and-cake notwithstanding. MORE CAKE). I called a local cheese shop and ordered £100-worth of local cheeses, and we took string and greaseproof paper to the reception so that our guests could take some home with them (we also took some on our honeymoon!). 

Our traditional three-tier wedding cake was made and decorated by Giant Bear’s mother (free, gorgeous, and gave her something useful to do). 

Each layer was a different flavour (carrot, ginger and lemon drizzle) and we served this with the cheeseboard as pudding (i.e. dessert for sixty people for less than £2 per head). Giant Bear also loves trains, so rather than traumatising the inhabitants of some unfortunate European capital with his drunken antics, his stag do was a trip on the West Somerset steam railway (£15 per head) and then dinner at our house. We also built circular tracks on the tables at the reception for tiny model trains (they went round and round – we covered the battery boxes with leftover invitations!).  

My point is this: your guests remember the quirky stuff. They won’t remember the £400 tiara the sales lady thinks you look great in and that you’ll never wear again. 

Decide what is not important to you, and spend exactly no time or money on that 
Can’t see the point of bridesmaids? Me neither. I didn’t have any and nobody cared. Don’t want the stress of organising a complicated holiday at the same time as your wedding? Good for you. We had three days in Cornwall (Lowendra £35 pp/ night) and then a week on a narrowboat (it belongs to Giant Bear’s parents, so free!).  

This required virtually no organisation, and we didn’t waste a single moment hanging about in an airport or worrying we hadn’t packed the passports. Also, that there is no rule that says you *must* take your honeymoon immediately after your wedding. If you want to put it off while you save up/lie down in a darkened room with a cool flannel over your face, fine. 

Invest in your memories 
Getting a really good photographer who will capture the day (not just document the fact that yes, you were definitely in a room with those people) is well worth investing in, because you’ll be showing these pictures to people for decades! 

I also recommend the following: 

i. Wear clothes you can wear again. I’ll talk more about my (two!) wedding dresses in another post. They are both simple, knee-length silhouettes and I didn’t wear white, so I can wear them again whenever I like. *I* know I’m wearing my wedding dress, and Giant Bear knows, and it’s a lovely little secret to share, sitting in restaurant somewhere when nobody else knows. I wore my church dress to dinner on our honeymoon, and it was ace. Similarly, Giant Bear wore a tweed three-piece suit for our wedding, which he loves and can wear again (sale at Victor Valentine £299). He wore shoes he already owned and my mother-in-law and I made ties for all the men (Giant Bear regularly wears his to work). In other words, it doesn’t matter how much you spend on an individual item of clothing, but how much wear you are going to get out of it. If you can wear things again, it’s worth spending money and time on them; if you can’t, make sure you can sell or donate them afterwards, rather than giving houseroom to (say) a morning suit and a top hat for the next forty years.

ii. Make a wedding album of music from the day. Giant Bear made ours in advance and played it in the car on the way to our reception. It brings the day back so vividly, and it was simple and fun to do. Our album starts with the song I walked down the aisle to ; the song we walked out to ; all the music we sang in church (we also made an audio recording of the entire service, readings and all); and then all the songs that remind us of each other, and that now remind us of our wedding day, too."

So there you have it folks, do what's right for you, don't let tradition, convention or opinionated relatives take charge of your wedding, you're in charge, you do what you want to do...

Jess will be back in part 2 next week, all about making stuff!