Engagements and wedding plans have been something of a feature on a lot of the blogs I love of late and a few weeks ago I got talking to some lovely ladies about the cost of weddings over on twitter. Considering it is only one day they are pretty damn expensive and you can easily land yourself in a lot debt planning your big day. Worry not, you can get married on a budget. We here at A Thrifty Mrs believe a wedding is one day and a marriage is forever, going forward into your marriage saddled with debt because of one day seems very alien to us.
Mr Thrifty and I planned two weddings. The first a large wedding in a city centre but because we had a devastating loss we decided it was inappropriate to celebrate in such a manner. We scaled back and had a small wedding in a tiny place with very close friends and family only. So we've had experience of planning both sides of the wedding spectrum. Both styles of wedding can be achieved without bankrupting yourself, really, I promise - they can!
|Use what you already have to decorate your venue. China, tablecloths, teapots as vases.|
High street dresses as bridesmaids dresses
At the best wedding I've been to the bridesmaids wore black high street dresses (actually from the sale) teamed them with shoes from New Look (the same shoes in different pastel colours). The total for three dresses and three pairs of shoes was under £100.
We made our invitations (plus place cards, order or service, directions leaflets and thank you cards) ourselves. We messed about with old photos and vintage images and used Vistaprint to print out super cheap but great looking invitations. Do you have a video camera? Could you make a funny video or photo montage and burn it to DVD to send out? Use your imagination.
Bunting - Ask friends and family to donate old clothes or scraps of fabric and sew bunting to decorate your venue.
Make it classic - Table confetti, bows on chairs, anything too fussy will date, fast.
Candles - Consider decorating your table with candles rather than expensive floral displays. We bought large multi-wick candles from Ikea, placed them on large thrifted plates and strung pearls around them. They came to around £10 per table rather than the £55 per table a florist quoted for a floral display.
Pearls - They look fantastic and really twinkly. After Christmas you can pick up huge chains of pearl garland from shops for next to nothing. No one but you need know that they're Christmas decorations.
Jam jars - Save up jam jars and fill them either with tea lights or tiny posies of seasonal flowers. Group them in clusters or in a long line down a long village hall style table.
I love tulips and wanted something VERY simple. Infact Mr Thrifty made my bouquet for me and had it delivered to the hotel by his mother. He bought two bunches of pink tulips from Marks and Spencer, removed extra leaves, secured with an elastic band and wrapped beautifully around the elastic band with thick pink ribbon. Bridesmaids each carried a single pink tulip. Total cost including ribbon - £9.
tealights as decorations
Mr Thrifty wore a vintage lounge suit that he picked up for £20 in a vintage shop. It was new to him and he could get plenty of wear out of it for future events. Much cheaper than hiring a mundane suit.
The bride arrives last, no one really sees her arrive. Do you really need to spend the best part of £1000 on a car to drive you to your venue?
Can you make your wedding dress? Can you buy a second hand or vintage wedding dress and customise? Can you wear your mother or grandmother's dress?
Did you know it is good luck to wear an old veil? The more brides that have worn the veil the more luck. So if you believe in that kind of thing ask around your old married friends and family to see if you can borrow a veil for the day.
Our cake was a basic (but delicious) white cake from Waitrose (I don't know if they still do them but they certainly still do other wedding cakes and I know M&S do the plain cakes too). They do celebration cakes that you can decorate yourself. We stacked three on top of each other at an angle and decorated with pearls. We also had small cookies in the shape of a bow for people to take away at the end of the night.
Most people (especially) men will leave them on the table. No seriously, they will.
If you want to do something do it on the cheap. We gave our guests thrifted teacups (which added to the decoration) that contained a tiny envelope (made by us from wrapping paper) with hot chocolate in it and home made heart shaped marshmallows. We tied a parcel tag to the handle and wrote 'please take me home' and 95% were. Total cost - £65
|Take inspiration from your home|
We made our own in the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham. There are numerous places you can do this and they cost a fraction of the price of those that you'd find in an expensive jeweller or high street store.
What is it worth spending money on?
This obviously depends from person to person but mine are -
The food - People have come a long way and probably spent a lot of money to celebrate your day. Give them good quality food. It doesn't have to be fancy but it does have to tasty and great quality. People will judge your day on the food.
Photographer - Our photographer was rubbish as he came as part of a package deal with the venue. I really regret not having a good photographer.(I don't look at ours but then, I wouldn't look at them if they were good either.)
Shoes - You'll be on your feet all day and way into the night. Make sure they're comfortable.
Make up artist - I was far too wobbly to do my own make up with out botching it.
But most importantly, remember the day is about making an amazing commitment to someone you love. It isn't really about the dress, the venue, the weather, the favours, the cars. I've been married for four years and whilst I still love my dress, my shoes, the venue etc. the things I remember are saying those words to a man I love, is crying when he said them back to me and laughing like a drain at the speeches. It was a blimmin' great day but it wasn't the best day of my life, I have a long and happy marriage ahead of me as great as it now (fetch a sick bucket) the best is yet to come.
My number one tip?
Unless it is absolutely necessary do NOT mention the word 'wedding' when booking anything.
Image: ekkionline / flickr cc
P.S. Do you have any frugal wedding tips?