Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Handmade vintage woodland wedding shoot | Budget Wedding Blog

Today I've got some lovely images to share with you courtesy of Emma-Jane Photography
This shoot has a lovely hand made feel to it with one off dresses, beautiful recycled headpieces and flowers with that garden fresh vibe. This all combines to create a set of beautifully eclectic images and plenty of inspiration...

Model: Nicky Robinson (Miss deadly red)
Makeup: Mel Kinsman
Hair: Anne Marie Lawson
Flowers: Liz Inigo Jones (Blue Sky Flowers)
Cakes: Charlotte Geen (Langs of London)
Dresses: ONEofOne by Maibritt Kokholm
Accessiories: Rosie Weisencrantz Vintage Jewellery

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Buy Our Honeymoon: The honeymoon gift list | Budget Wedding Blog

Don't you just wish you were here? Keep reading to find out how you could be...

Asking for money as a wedding present can sometimes seem a little blunt, I really didn't want to do it when I got married, I'm not sure why, maybe it's just one of those stereotypically British things... But the one thing that I think is more awkward (and utterly cheesy) than flatly asking for cash is to present that request in the form of a poem. Ugh. From experience, I learnt that if you don't tell people what you want you will get a lot of things that you don't want/ need as wedding gifts, so to avoid this a lot people go for the traditional department store gift list. But if what you really really want is money to help you have an amazing honeymoon? I've picked the brains of the guys at Buy Our Honeymoon to find out all about their honeymoon gift list services...

What do you do and what services do you offer? 
Buy Our Honeymoon is the UK’s top wedding gift list service to begin your married life with the trip of a lifetime. Our service helps you create and manage a unique wishlist of gifts for your dream honeymoon. If you don't need the traditional gifts for starting a new home, but feel that just asking for cold, hard cash takes all the fun and romance away, you’ve found the perfect wedding list. It works in a very similar way to a traditional department store gift registry, but instead of kitchen implements or fresh towels, you put together a list of experiences and activities for your honeymoon — from activities, meals and shows, to contributions towards your first night's accommodation, or a taxi ride from the airport. You're limited only by your imagination in what to include, from tiny, meaningful treats all the way to once-in-a-lifetime luxuries. And your friends and family will feel that they're giving a real present that you'll value, and which isn't simply measured by how much they've spent.

How long have you been doing what you do? How did you get into it, how did you start your business? 
We initially created Buy Our Honeymoon for our own wedding nearly ten years ago. We’d been living together for quite a while, and we simply didn’t need the traditional gifts for staring a home together. Our little flat just didn’t have room for more stuff! We realised that the thing that would mean the most to us was making our honeymoon as special as possible. The idea went down so well with our guests that we were persuaded to develop the site for other people to use. It’s now been seven years since we launched, and we’ve become the UK’s top gift list for your dream honeymoon.

What makes your business stand out from the crowd? 
Our service is for couples who are actively seeking an alternative to a traditional department store registry. Couples whose biggest wish is instead to achieve the honeymoon of their dreams — whatever that may be — with the love and support of their friends and family. As a business, we pioneered the zero-commission model for honeymoon gift lists in the UK, allowing our couples to be completely independent of us in terms of the financial transactions for their gifts. We provide complete support for both couples and their guests, helping to coordinate and manage payments — and we’re the only service that facilitates gift payments by Direct Debit. Our service is about making honeymoon contributions as real, as polite, and as memorable as physical gifts. We were the first company to introduce the concept of detailed, customisable design themes for wedding gift lists, allowing our couples to truly reflect themselves and their hopes for their big day and beyond. Many of our couples really get creative with their list — to tell the story of their honeymoon: where they’re headed, why it’s important to them, what they most hope to remember from the experience. There are no limits to what you can include!

How does your business fit into the Pretty Thrifty ethos of affordability without cutting corners on quality or compromising on your ideas? 
We’re not a travel agent — and although there are agents who’ll pay for our service as an extra part of theirs, we’re completely independent. You can book whenever you want, with whomever you want: get the best deal possible for you, and help finance it through our service. Some couples leave a gap between their wedding and honeymoon, and give themselves the opportunity to see how they’re set for funds before making a booking. On their list, they can be quite open about this — we don’t yet know whether we’ll be in Butlins or Bermuda! But whether you’re staying in a beach hut or a boutique B&B, there’ll be a first night of your honeymoon, and a last night too. Those can make wonderful, romantic gifts! Our simple one-off fee means that you’re not funding the site out of your gifts. Charges for online payment processing can’t be avoided, but we aim to minimise these as much as possible, and for both you and your guests to have the option to make alternative arrangements. Couples using our system for gift payments by Direct Debit only pay processing fees of 1% (none of which goes to us). It’s super-easy for you to set up, convenient for your guests to use, and totally secure for everyone.

Do you have any special products/ offers/ competitions or events you’d like to promote? 
Readers of Pretty Thrifty can get 20% off the cost of their honeymoon gift list! Just enter the promotional code PRETTYTHRIFTY when you start your free trial.

What’s the best thing about doing what you do? 
We have lovely feedback from couples, and incredible word-of-mouth support, for which we're so grateful. Our job is great because we run the company. If someone suggests an option they would like, or we see an area for development, we are able to make the necessary changes right away. We never keep still!

(images: from my honeymoon!)

Thursday, 24 April 2014

This old thing... | Budget Wedding Blog

It's cool to wear vintage

It's ok to wear something old (new, borrowed, blue) etc

But for some reason it's not ok to wear something you already own? Er WHY?

Not everything for your wedding needs to be bought, this includes what you wear. If the grooms already got a lovely looking suit that he loves to wear then why buy a new one? The same goes for the ushers and best man, renting or buying suits for all the fellas involved could set you back more than a grand!

The same goes for the girls, there's nothing wrong with bridesmaids wearing a frock they already own and have worn before (and they'll probably wear again) if you set a colour or a theme like pastels or jewel colours whats the harm in wearing something that's already been aired? You're not Kim Kardashian and your wedding isn't going to be covered in Hello Magazine (unless you are, and in that case I believe Hello pays). It doesn't matter that people have seen it before via facebook and the like, it just doesn't.

The biggie though, seems to be the bride. I personally think it's a good idea to wear some things that are broken in, especially shoes. Shoes that you have already worn; shoes that are comfortable; if your beautiful new spangly heels cause you agony on the day (and it will be a long day) you will regret it more than you would regret wearing you favourite dancing shoes. I'll be posting a tutorial on tarting up simple shoes with some DIY floral shoe clips very soon so watch out for that one

The same goes for accessories, got a beautiful belt, headpiece, bolero or a pretty cover-up that you love? Wear it! And if you're not going in for a classic wedding dress think about customising something you already own, could you alter or embellish something or maybe use dye or bleach? If you're on a serious shoe string budget this idea could be for you, here's a little inspiration to get the creative juices flowing...

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Garden fresh | Budget Wedding Blog

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