While I wait for better photos of my outfit to be available to show you (without the groom by my side as he doesn't want his face all over the internet - and I can't blame him), I thought I'd share my recent experience in organising a wedding on a budget in a limited time.
The first thing to keep in mind is that a wedding is basically a big party for your friends and family, so instead of the bride hat, put on your party planning hat, it will save you some stress. I suppose I was always particularly laid-back about the whole thing so it made things easier to begin with.
♥ If you are in the UK, the first step is to go to the registry office to publish the bans and set a date for the wedding. This initial appointment will cost you around £30 each.
♥ Once the date is set, you need to decide whether you want to have the ceremony at the town hall or in an approved venue. We wanted something very simple, so we opted for a Town Hall wedding (£300 for a room containing up to 50 people). They still give you a choice of ceremonies, so you can be as romantic or as legal as you want. On the day, you can bring a cd with your own music etc.
These are the two wedding costs you can't escape. After that, it is all up to you.
♥ After the first appointment at the town hall to set the date, we sent out a first save the date by email to our friends and internet savvy members of the family. A simple phone call to the others is enough at this stage.
♥ I made the invitations myself using good old photoshop and had them printed on moo postcards. The result was cute enough and conveyed the idea that we didn't want a "wedding wedding". The total cost of invites + envelopes + stamps was around £60 (and we have some left).
♥ For the venue, we were lucky enough to have a really beautiful little pub almost next door to the town hall (well 15 mn walk away). Since it is not a busy pub at the weekend, the owner left it to us for free for a few hours in the afternoon. All we had to do was to set up a bar tab for drinks. The amount is up to you, but plan around £10-12 per person.
The key to get a venue for less is to never EVER utter the word "wedding".
♥ The food is an important part of any wedding. The best way to escape the cost of a full lunch or dinner is to have an afternoon reception with only canapés and cakes. Waitrose offers a catering service which is tasty and much cheaper than a traditional catering company. For cakes, however, we opted for a local online bakery called Bittersweets. Arianna bakes the most delicious cupcakes and they made everyone very happy!
(I told you the food was tasty)
Photo July Stars
♥ Hair & Make-up: the day before the wedding, I went to Daniel Hersheson's blow-dry bar in Topshop and got my hair done for £22. I did my make-up myself. I will show you how very soon!
♥ Last but not least, the bride and groom outfits... The groom didn't wear a suit. He wore nice chinos and a shirt. Which means he looked like himself and didn't spend millions on his outfit. As for me, I opted for a Luella dress. It was £270 reduced from £700, which is a lot, but still much cheaper than any entry level wedding dress. I didn't want to wear a wedding dress anyway!
Designer dresses are generally a good option as a "regular" one will set you back between £400 and £700, but you will be able to wear it over and over again.
My shoes were the Michelle in gold by Jeffrey Campbell (£80) and again, I will be able to wear them on other occasions.
Weddings are not a cheap affair, especially considering the ceremony itself is pricey, but there is no reason to spend all your money on it! I think my main advice is to stay calm, and always keep in mind that what matters is who you marry, not where, how and what you wear. You can have the perfect wedding in your head, but something can happen that may ruin your day (a volcano for example) so it is primordial to be super chilled about everything and to keep your eyes on the prize: your future husband!
I have to say mine is pretty cool.