Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Heirloom Wedding Dresses | Budget Wedding Blog

(Images: Tim Waters Photography)
There is something so lovely about the concept of wearing an heirloom dress for you wedding. And what better way to cut your budget than by wearing a dress that's already in your family.

If you're lucky enough to share the very same figure as your relative you can save a small fortune but even with some serious alterations you're still looking at a wonderfully budget friendly option!

But this isn't all about saving money...

I was given an engagement ring that belonged to my husbands Mum, and before that it was his Grandmothers engagement ring... and his Great Grandmothers. Some girls might look at it and think it's old fashioned, some might think that he was being a bit tight not buying one, but to me it means so much more knowing the history that's attached to it. I hope I won't be the last lady to wear it proudly on my ring finger too.

The same goes for dresses, I've never seen my mums dress as she didn't keep it and there are very few photographs of my parents wedding day, but it was a gorgeous floaty hippie 70's number that she wore with a huge floppy hat! My dress was pretty similar in style and if her's had been available to me I might have worn that (though she was so very tiny that it may not have fit!).

I adore the idea of wearing a dress with history for your wedding. The dress in these images by American photographer Tim Waters was worn first by Shannon's Grandmother, then her Mother, then her Aunt. All these ladies are still happily married and I like to think the start they had wearing this dress was a bit of a lucky charm.

Seeing these beautiful images has made me consider that maybe someone someday might like to wear the dress that I got married in. Be it my (as yet completely imaginary) daughter, niece or even a friend. It's made me realise that I need to take care of it so that it's an option in 20 odd years time. So what I'm saying really is take care of your dress if you're keeping it. Don't stick it in a suitcase in the attic (the moths will likely find a way in) research the best way to preserve it and store it depending on what fabric it's made from.

Clean it after your wedding as soon as you can (it took me a year to get around to doing mine!) stains set... Don't leave your dress exposed to sunlight, it can weaken fabric over time and it may well start to yellow. Get yourself some acid free tissue paper and an archive box (buy online) and pack it up the way that a museum would, treat it with care. Store it somewhere dry, ventilated and clean, the bottom of your wardrobe is fine. Don't put it in the basement as damp may make it moldy!

If you wore an heirloom dress to get married in I'd love to see photos especially if there are old photos of the original outing!

Saturday, 21 March 2015

A guide to printing you wedding stationery with | Budget Wedding Blog

Today I've got a bit of a geeky one for you! If you're anything like me you love printed paper products and beautiful wedding stationery always gets me pretty excited! If you're designing your own invites then this post should be super helpful...

However I'm at a total loss when it comes to ordering print on line, all those weights, finishes and colours... I don't know about you but they get me pretty confused. I mean how are you supposed to know what a piece of 300gsm card will feel and look like if you can't see it or touch it!?

Well we've teamed up with the Wedding Collection at to give you a super simple guide to understanding all that technical jargon so that you can order your printed stationery with confidence. Plus they have given us an awesome prize of £100 worth of Wedding Stationery printing plus 2 runner up prizes of £25 and trust me with you can get a lot done for £100, in fact that £100 could buy you 100 printed invites, belly bands and save the dates which would mean your invites would be totally SORTED! (find out how to enter at the bottom of this post)

Ok so on to the technical stuff...


First lets translate some of those terms for the totally clueless...

Stock - when you see people talking about paper stock or card stock its just a fancy way of talking about the different types of paper

gsm - or grams per square meter, the higher the gsm the thicker the paper, when you get to 300gsm and higher it's more paper than card but we'll talk more about that in a bit!

Lamination- not the same as what you do down at the office with the laminator! It's a bit more sophisticated but still the same basic principal, your print is covered with a film to protect it, this will mean it's a bit safer around water, good for the menus you might want printing for your tables or placenames too!

Paper Types

Silk - Silk coated paper has a low surface sheen and luxurious feel. It offers excellent ink to paper contrast, and printed colours appear bright and defined. The overall look is more low-key than gloss coated paper. (Silk is a better choice for readability)
Ideal for: Everything! This paper is a great all-rounder.

Gloss - Gloss coated paper has a high surface shine and very smooth finish. Printed colour 'pops up' and appears extra vibrant, bringing images to life and making it a favourite choice for promotional items. (Gloss paper is used in magazines)
Ideal for: Photo printing especially but this paper probably isn't the greatest for your invites unless you're going for a magazine feel!

Uncoated - Our uncoated paper has a soft finish and tactile quality. Because it's more absorbent than coated paper, printed inks appear flatter. Uncoated is back as the more modern choice, also the best choice for stationery or postcards as it's easy to write on.
Ideal for: Everything! This would be my top choice for wedding stationery!

Trucard - A specialist greeting card material that is glossy coated and scratchproof on the outside, and uncoated on the inside so it's easy to write on. We use heavy 300gsm card for high-quality greeting cards that last. No lamination needed.
Ideal for: Thank you cards, greeting cards, postcards & note cards.

Recycled - Our recycled paper is an environmentally friendly choice. It is off-white and uncoated, with a course texture and earthy, flecked depths. It gives finished print a flatter, modern feel because it is more absorbent than coated papers.
Ideal for: The eco couple, if you're having an eco wedding this is the paper for you, find out more about's recycled paper here recycled paper is generally a little more expensive to you but costs the earth so much less...

Magnetic - Magnetic is a sleek, flexible, magnetic printing material made up of coated paper and a magnetic layer. This has a finish similar to our silk paper, with a low surface shine and a readable finish, perfect for sticking to the fridge!
Ideal for: Save the dates, personalised gifts and favours.

Kraft - Kraft paper is a smooth, earthy brown and brings a vintage edge to print. It has a natural, textured appearance, much like our recycled paper. Kraft paper suits bold, dark coloured designs and retro themes and has an uncoated finish.
Ideal for: Greeting cards, postcards, invitations and note cards.This is the paper for you if you're going for the rustic look or if you want your text printing in white, which looks awesome against the brown paper.

Paper Weight

This is probably the most confusing part of ordering print online, I find it super hard to visualise and imagine the feel of  different weights of paper! In terms of value for money too it's hard to work out weather it's worth the extra pennies to go for the heavier stock, but it generally is. The best weight for your invites is going to be on the heavier side 300gsm or higher, unless you're doing a zine type invite you want a stiff card (similar to a post card) that won't get trashed in the post. The diagram above explains it quite simply on the left 120gsm is good for business stationery, headed paper, envelopes etc... on the far right 350gsm you're looking at thick business card quality so this would be perfect for your placenames especially if you want folded ones that will stand up.

So now you know the secrets of ordering great print, who wants to WIN their stationery printing to the value of £100!?!

To be in with a chance of winning the £100 first prize or one of two £25 runner up prizes you need to go to our facebook page find the below image and follow these simple steps...

1) like the pretty Thrifty facebook page if you haven't already
2) Like the above photo on our page
3) Comment on the photo telling us why you should win the prize
4) Share the image on your profile page using the share function

The lucky winners will be announced on our facebook page on the 1st April, entries close at midnight on the 31st March, winners will be chosen at random by Pretty Thrifty, no cash alternative is available

Good Luck!!!

ps. you can also a 10% discount at (new customers only) by using the discount code PRETTYTHRIFTY 

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

DIY Brooch Bouquet | Budget Wedding Blog

Hey Thrifties! If you're anything like me you've probably got a box full of vintage brooches that you never wear and plenty of bits of broken jewellery that need a new lease of life.

Well the lovely photographer Cherrie Coutts is here today to share her DIY brooch bouquet tutorial with you. She crafted this for her own wedding after she couldn't find one that she loved ready made. Over to you Cherrie...

"In the year leading up to my Wedding, I couldn't decide which flowers I wanted to have in my bouquet, I'm just not a flower girl and can be very indecisive. We were having two weddings because I am from Australia and my Husband is Swedish, so we knew that asking people to fly to the other end of the planet for a wedding was too big of an ask. So, while I was back home in Australia booking our Aussie venue and tying up loose ends, I stumbled upon a tiny little brooch bouquet in a bridal store and thought it was fab!

I decided that I'd like to have one of those instead of real flowers for a few purposes.
1. We were having two weddings, so I could use it at both.
2. Most of the women in my family would not be able to attend.
3. I wanted one.

So I hopped online and started searching. There are numerous places you can buy brooch bouquets, like Etsy, Amazon and Ebay, but they can be quite expensive and usually quite tiny in size. I decided that I could do it better and bigger. Over the course of about 6 months or so, maybe longer, all the women in my family, as well as the women in my Husband's family, and all of my close female friends all contributed a brooch.

Some of them are antiques handed down through my family, some are brand new and some are old. I sourced brooches from almost everywhere including jewellery stores in malls, flea markets, antique stores, Esty, Amazon and even yard sales. All in all, there are over 200 brooches in my bouquet and it weighs 2 kilograms. So, my intention of taking it with me to our Australian wedding was foiled when I realised I'd have to hand carry it on 2 long haul flights... it probably wouldn't have made it through check in. So I left it at home. But you don't have to make a bouquet as big as this one, it can be much smaller and it all depends on how many brooches you have, and how much patience you have putting it together.

After being asked by so many people how I made it, I thought I would do a "How to" blog post. It's not really that complicated, you just need the right tools, the patience of a saint (and a LOT of swear words) and enough time.

So let's start with a quick list of the things you'll need to complete a brooch bouquet.

What you'll need
Garden gloves (To protect your hands... TRUST me. You'll need them)
Wire cutters/Thin nose pliers (For bending and cutting wire)
Florist's wire (For the stems. Preferably white, but can be silver)
Florist's Pins (To help hold the binding on the stem together, but optional)
Thin jewellery wire (For binding the brooch to the stem)
Florist's tape (Preferably white)
Fake flowers (For filler. Can be any colour, but keep in mind it will show through the brooches so choose wisely. The best ones are hydrangeas as they are small bunches that have many petals on a stem. Roses don't work too well because they take up too much surface space, unless you want the roses to be visible.)
Super glue or Textile Glue (To use for binding together your silk/satin)
Hot glue gun (Sometimes the brooch can break off from the clasp so you'll need this to reattach them) Silk or Satin to cover the stems
A long stemmed vase to hold your bouquet in between working with it
A CRAPLOAD of Brooches (It's important to get the kind of brooches that have a clasp on the back like a badge. If you get the ones that just have one pin hole you won't be able to attach it to a stem.)

And yes, that's a Hunger Games pin on the right. Talk nerdy to me....

So, once you have all of that below, you can start to create your bouquet.

The first step is to find some brooches that you like, love, or that have meaning to you in some way. I chose to ask all my female family and friends to contribute something as a way of having the people close to me at my wedding who could not attend. I have everything from flowers, dragonflies, a Golden Retriever brooch (because I have a Golden), an anchor (because my Husband is an avid sailor), a honeybee from my Maid of Honour (because bouquets need bees), a crocodile from my Bridesmaid (because we're from Australia), and a Gold Teddy bear (an antique from my Grandmother) to a camera (because I'm a photographer). The long floral design you see on the right in the picture below is an antique from the 1920's which I wore in my hair for the wedding.

The brooch below came from my best friend back in Australia.

I found the brooches below at an antique store in Nynäshamn

Animal brooches feature prominently in my bouquet because of my love for animals.

The hardest part of creating a brooch bouquet is turning brooches into "flowers" with stems. To do this you'll need to wear those garden gloves I mentioned. After making 10 of these "flowers" you'll feel like you've played a guitar with metal strings for 5 days straight and your fingers will hurt. So wear the gloves. For the purpose of showing how I created the "flowers" I haven't worn gloves, but you can see the indents in my fingers, and this was from one flower. After 20 of them you'll have cuts if you don't wear gloves. So, the first step is to make your stem from the Florist's Wire. Take your Needle Nose Pliers and then gently wrap the wire around the pliers a few times. You'll end up with a little funnel.

Next, take your brooch (this is why it's important to use the clasp style brooches and not the pin style) and use the Jewellery wire, which is much thinner than Florist's wire and start wrapping it around the base of the clasp. Once you attached it to the closed end of the clasp, keep the clasp open.

Insert the needle of your clasp and the other end of the Jewellery wire into the hole of the stem you have just created with the Florist's wire.

Start wrapping your Jewellery wire around both the clasp and the stem, making sure to keep it tight.

Finish off by wrapping the rest of your Jewellery wire around the stem to secure it and keep it tight. Some brooches are heavier and will need more wire to secure them, but in either case, make sure you wrap tightly, otherwise your "flower head", which is your brooch, will move around. You want to avoid this.

In some cases you'll need heavier wire to make a flower because the brooch will sag. Below you can see an example of a heavier brooch needing a reinforced stem. You'll definitely want gloves in that case.

Once you've got your "flower", the next step is to cover up the metal that will sometimes show through to the top. To do this you'll need to use white Florist's tape. It's quite sticky on both sides so you'll be able to wrap it around and onto itself and not use any glue.

You now have a finished "flower" ready to be put towards your bouquet. Repeat this a couple of hundred times!

Once you've created all the "flowers" you wanted make sure that none of them are loose on the top and that they don't swivel about. It's not overly important to use the Florist's tape to cover the metal, but I found it to be prettier if I did.

The next step is to gather your fake flowers and bunch them into the shape you want. The best way to start putting it together is to hold the whole bunch in your hand and start inserting your brooch flowers into the top of your bunch. The more brooch flowers you have, the more you'll cover the fake flowers. Some designs I have seen are like the example below where you choose to show the fake flowers underneath. I decided that I wanted the whole bouquet's surface to be brooches.

You can play around with where you place your brooch flowers and come up with a slight design. For example, if there's a brooch you absolutely love, try to place it on the very top or at the front of your bunch.

By this point, you should have a pretty good bunch coming along and you'll need to stop on occasion to rest, eat, sleep.... so this is where having the long stemmed vase comes in handy. You are still holding your bunch with your hand by this stage, so to secure it, just use a piece of ribbon to tie and hold your bunch together while you take breaks. Then use the vase to hold it upright while you're not working on it. It not only helps to keep the shape of your bouquet, but it looks pretty, too.


When you think you have all the brooches you want in place, you'll need to bind the stems of your bouquet. To do this you'll need your satin or silk to wrap around the stems and the textile and sometimes super glue to hold it together. This is probably the least difficult part of the whole process as it simply involves wrapping your textile around your stems. It's a good idea to war your gloves at this stage so you don't get sweaty and get fingerprints all over your silk/satin.

Before you finish completely wrapping the stems, decide what length you'd like them. Florist's wire is pretty long and once you've put your whole bouquet together they will all be at different lengths. This is where your wire cutters will come in handy as you'll need to clip them all to the same length.

Once you've decided on the length you can then get a little bit more elaborate with your binding. I went onto YouTube and watched an instructional video on how to wrap bouquet stems. I chose a criss cross design and then secured it with Florist's Pins. Then at the base of the bouquet bunch I fixed an antique pin from my Mother-In-Law, which became the front piece of the entire bouquet. You can choose to leave the ends of the stems showing or you can cover them. I chose to cover them because it was difficult to cut the wire to the exact same length and they just looked too metallic for me.

Here you can see the underside of the bouquet where I have also used a little bit of soft mesh to help hold up the underside of the "flowers". If you can image a real flower bouquet, Florists will regularly use leaves to help give structure to the entire bouquet. So the material works in the same way those leaves do and you'll need to use either your Super Glue or your Textile Glue to help hold it in place. I also used some pins inside and underneath the final layer to help affix the material to the stems.

Below you can see the final product. I actually now use the long stemmed vase to display the bouquet, still. It took me so long to make it, about a year in total and I ended up with bloody fingers at times but I just love it. I love knowing that no one else has my bouquet and that I made it with the help of all the women in my life. It also served as my "Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue" as well as helping my biceps get a work out on my wedding day! I wish you luck if you choose to do something similar. You will not regret it and if you have any questions don't hesitate to drop a line in the comments section here in this blog post or simply shoot me and email. I'd be happy to help. :-) Happy Bouqueting!"

Thanks for sharing Cherrie! I just love that so many women contributed to this which is now an amazing heirloom and keepsake.
 I'd love to see any brooch bouquets that you've crafted for your weddings? If you have a cool craft and affordable DIY tutorial from your wedding I'd love to feature it! Get in touch via email

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Beautiful Budget Wedding Attire from BHS | Budget Wedding Blog

The 2015 wedding collection from BHS is looking rather lovely. Some gorgeous dresses at seriously reasonable prices landed in my inbox the other day and I'm so pleased to be able to share them with you thrifters today!

I'll be honest, when I saw the email in my inbox I wasn't totally hopeful I had the opinion that BHS was a bit of a tired brand nearing the end of it's natural life but I have to say that I am really honestly pleasantly surprised. The dresses in the collection are simple but stylish, look excellent quality and would be easily changed up with the right accessories.

Everything in this collection is under £200 which is a pretty awesome price to begin with but if you're feeling extra thrifty you can get 10% off with an NUS card or NHS discount so if one of your wedding party is an NHS employee or a student you could be in for a real bargain and snap up a totally gorgeous dress like this one for just £162

Or how about one of these beauties...

Left to right: Sienna £180, Florence £150, Abigail £200 and Ava £180

There's plenty in the collection for the rest of your bridal party too, with bridesmaids and flower girl dresses from just £32. These are my favourites...

Alice £150 could be worn by a bride or bridesmaids
Rosie bridesmaid dress £95
Daisy (also available full length) £95

Plus they haven't forgotten the boys, this 2 piece navy suit comes in at just £129 which is insanely cheap and looks great!