Five tips for buying a budget wedding dress from wedding dress sample

I’m delighted to welcome the gorgeous to the Budget Bride Company. Specialising in beautiful wedding dresses that are available either as part of boutique sample sales or pre-loved by brides who would like to sell their gowns on, is a fantastic one stop shop for finding the perfect wedding dress on the budget that you have available.
You can find listed in our directory in all UK regions here. I’m now going to hand you over to the site’s founder, Sarah, who is going to let us in on some tips for buying a budget wedding dress.

Champagne tastes on a lemonade budget? The average UK wedding dress costs a whopping £1,746, so it’s not surprising that savvy brides are looking for affordable options.
Wedding Dress Sample Sale  has helped hundreds of brides find their perfect designer dress without breaking the budget.Here are my 5 top tips for budget dress success.

1. Know your samples from your counterfeit
Sample, preowned and high street gowns are all better options than counterfeit.
Sample gowns are dresses that have been tried on in bridal shops. They are often in good condition and will not have been previously altered. Expect 50% or more off of retail price. You can track down sample sales at Wedding Dress Sample Sale.
Preowned dresses are dresses that have been worn once by brides on their wedding day. Be sure to check if the dress has been altered or needs a clean and factor that into your budget.
The high street offer some lovely budget options, usually relaxed column or vintage styles. BHS and Monsoon are always worth a look.
Counterfeit dresses are ‘made to measure’ dresses that come directly from a factory, often in China.
Be careful if you are looking on eBay. The dress you see in the picture may not be the one you end up with.
There are loads of horror stories out there, and very few brides get their money back. You don’t want to end up buying twice.

2. Don’t just look online
Online can point you in the right direction, but there are plenty of bargains that never get listed.
Bridal boutiques hold regular on premises sales, so if you see something in the window of your local boutique that’s a bit out of your price range, ask them when they’re having their next sample sale.
Wedding fairs are another great place to find discount gowns. Boutiques and designers will often bring their samples to shows to sell them quickly.
Some of the best UK fairs include Budget Bride Live, Chosen Wedding Fair, Vintage Wedding Fayre and the National Wedding Show.

3. Try before you buy
There is no substitute for trying on a wedding dress.
We don’t wear long dresses every day (well, apart from the odd summer maxi) so it’s hard to imagine what your dress will look like until you’re wearing it.
To make it even more confusing, bridal sizes usually come up smaller than the high street, and vary between designers so a size 14 in one designer might be a high street size 12.
Bridal boutiques are happy for you to come and try sample dresses. They may even offer a returns policy, allowing you to buy online, try the dress at home and return it if it doesn’t fit. Speak to your boutique to find out more.

4. Check for faults before you hand over the cash.
Sample and preowned dresses will come in the sizes they are listed in and once they’re gone, they’re gone!
It’s natural to want to move fast, but do take the time to check the dress over.
Sample gowns are ‘sold as seen’ so if you discover a fault once you’ve taken it home you won’t be able to return it.
I’ve sold hundreds of sample dresses and the majority are in excellent condition. Dust on the hem or small make up marks inside the bodice are to be expected, and can be easily cleaned.
If you are unlucky enough to run into fake tan, faded sequins or large tears then it’s not a bargain after all.

5. Don’t be afraid to negotiate
It never hurts to ask ‘is that your best price?’ The seller can always say no after all.
If a seller can’t take money off of the price of the dress, they may be able to throw in free delivery.
Remember to pay safely, using PayPal for online purchases and cash or debit / credit card for in person payments. Avoid cheques and bank transfers.

I hope you found this blog post helpful. We’ve got lots more advice in our free eBook ‘How to buy your Wedding Dress’ - download it today.

Thank you so much for your advice Sarah! Head to to browse through the options for you today.

Laura xx

Introducing House of Ollichon

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I’m so excited to introduce you to my lovely friend Hannah Ollichon’s amazing new online boutique – House of Ollichon who make an incredible line of beautiful alternatives to the classic wedding dress. The focus from House of Ollichon is on beautifully made bridal jumpsuits and combos including culottes and pretty feminine tops. I have been bowled over by the originality of the designs and I must say it feels like a breath of fresh air to see some beautiful alternatives if you just don’t fancy doing the whole white wedding dress thing.

All of the pieces for House of Ollichon are handmade here in the UK and the prices are very enticing – especially when you compare with the prices of a handmade wedding dress. I personally adore the ‘Lockwood’ (named after Hannah’s maiden surname) – it’s so pretty and elegant and allows you to feel feminine without having to wear a dress. The Lockwood is priced at £580.

The House of Ollichon 'Lockwood'

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The Jeffrey

I am also blushing *a lot* as one of the lovely pieces was named after yours truly! When John and I get married, my surname will be Jeffery – and you can check out the piece with this name here. I asked Hannah why she named this particular House of Ollichon piece after me, and she said it was because all of the sparkles in the beautiful feature on the front reminded her of the crazy sparkle nail varnish I used to wear when we worked together in our early 20s! The Jeffrey is priced at £475.

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So if you’re interested in finding a gorgeous alternative to the classic wedding dress, then look no further – House of Ollichon has your back! You can browse the full collection here.
Happy Dress-Less Shopping!

Laura xx

A special July offer for newlyweds

25 off coupon summerlove July 2015

Loads of you lovelies have tied the knot this July and to celebrate, My Married Name Change are offering a 25% discount on our Premium Name Change Pack! This will only be valid until the end of July, so if you’re going to be changing your name after your wedding, use this voucher code to get 25% off our usual full priced package.

You can find out more about what is included in your bespoke married name change package here.

Your Premium Name Change Pack is just five minutes away – fill in the quick form and add in your coupon code ‘summerlove25’ at the checkout to receive your discount!

Lots of love,
Laura x

Changing your name after marriage – Introducing My Married Name Change

Picture Blog Post 1

Changing your name after marriage is an exciting step in your journey as a newlywed. It makes everything seem official and you can finally start using your new married signature! But changing your name after marriage can also be a massive time drain and you can even wonder where on earth you should start with this daunting task.

It was with this in mind that we created My Married Name Change. It’s the service specifically created for UK newlyweds who are going to be changing your name after marriage and are looking for this to be a quick and easy process. My Married Name Change makes changing your name after marriage a breeze. By filling out our straight forward, no jargon Quick Form which only takes around five minutes to fill in, you can select every Company and Organisation that you are associated with. We then email you your Personalised Name Change Pack, which contains specific and easy to follow instructions for how to let each Company and Organisation know that you are changing your name after marriage.

What your Personalised Name Change Pack includes:

Contact details for each Company and Organisation that you need to advise that you are changing your name after marriage.

Specific advice on which method of contact each Company and Organisation prefers.

Advice on whether each Company and Organisation requires you to send a copy, or an original of your wedding certificate (or none at all).

Where the preferred method of contact is fax or letter, we will include a copy populated with all of your details ready for you to print out, sign and send.

Where the preferred method of contact is email, we will include a ready to copy and paste email, ready populated with all of your details and confirmation that you are changing your name after marriage.

Your Personalised Name Change Pack has a clear checkbox layout, so that you can tick off each Company and Organisation as you go through and complete the process of changing your name after marriage.

We will even include blank templates for you to use for smaller Companies and Organisations such as Universities, Doctors and Vets so can advise them easily that you are changing your name after marriage.

We have researched hundreds of UK companies, so that you don’t have to! Our service makes changing your name after marriage a simple and straightforward process. Spending five minutes on our Quick Form can save you hours of post wedding admin and sitting on the phone trying to find out who and where you should be sending details to about changing your name after marriage.

We can’t wait to help you with changing your name after marriage! You can read more here: 

Laura xx

PS: If you’re looking for an original and helpful wedding gift idea, we also provide eGift cards that make an ideal wedding present!

Real life Budget Wedding – Stephanie and David

I’m so pleased to share Stephanie and David’s beautiful wedding with you. Stephanie planned the whole wedding on a budget and shares some of her tips with us today!

Real life budget wedding

Tell us a little bit about how you met your fiancé and how you got engaged?

We met on Twitter! David was the colleague of one of my followers, and I instantly liked his profile picture. He was really sweet and quirky.  Within 48 hours we had joined each other’s Facebooks and exchanged numbers.  He lived 300 miles away so this has been a long distance relationship until three months ago.  I was visiting him over summer when he proposed over a home cooked lunch in a sunny back garden.

What was your favourite part of planning your wedding?

A bit shallow, but choosing a ring and a dress! Every girl’s going to say that, surely?

What was your wedding Budget and how did you make the most of it?

We didn’t have a set budget, we just wanted to keep things reasonable all the way. We made big savings on the flowers - David is Welsh so we had daffodils from the village where we married, as table decorations in the church.  They were just picked by the lady who arranges the church flowers and so were very inexpensive, along with some other small blue flowers as a contrast.

I also had a knitted bouquet made by my mother who is a keen knitter.  It is a total one off and will last forever!

For the catering, we had a buffet, lemon tarts and chocolate brownies and 'mocktails', all handmade by an organic community cafe which is in the chapel, so everything was made from scratch.  They asked for a fee per head, and in total came to under £100.

I used an online boutique for my dress, simply send your measurements away and they make and send your dress.  I ordered it Xmas day and had it arrive from overseas on the 6th Jan.  Groom used Primark and looked handsome as anything, plus an online boutique for his tie and cufflinks.


What is your best money saving tip for other brides on a budget?

Do NOT be duped into parting with money because ‘your wedding HAS to have X, Y and Z.’ Says who? Have your essentials and don’t be swayed into getting ‘extras.’ We were quoted £400 for a vintage car to and from the church and we laughed at them.  Companies see you coming, and they get pound signs in their eyes.  Your wedding can be beautiful, unique and personal without it costing the earth.  You are just as married in a small registry office as in a large country house hotel.  I don’t know how those places sleep at night!  Also, don’t invite anyone you don’t genuinely want there.

Who were your favourite budget wedding suppliers?

That would have to be Clervaux Café in Darlington, and for the dress.

Did you do much DIY?

My mother knitted my bouquet so there’s not another one like it in the world.  Also my witness’s sister made some cake toppers - ‘Amazing Cakes by Amanda’, which you can find on Facebook.

What did you enjoy most on your wedding day?

Spending time with our two witnesses, the organic home cooked food, and of course being husband and wife!

Did you have a theme for your wedding day and if so, how did you decide on it?

David’s Welsh, so we had a daffodil theme.  The men wore yellow- gold ties, I had knitted daffodils in the bouquet and the church had fresh daffodils on all the tables.  Perfect for Easter.

What would be your best piece of advice for all of our other Budget Bride Company readers?

Stick to what you want, not what society tells you you ought to have.  Don’t compare yourselves to others.


Thank you so much for sharing your wedding with us Stephanie! And big congratulations to you and David 🙂


Laura xx

Create your own beautiful wedding bouquet with personally picked flowers

Wedding Bouquet

Have you ever thought about creating your own wedding bouquet from fresh flowers that you have picked yourself? I was really interested to read about Blooming Green, based near Maidstone in Kent, who offer a great way to create your own wedding bouquet.

Wedding Bouquet


Blooming Green grow organic seasonal flowers that you can pick at their special pick-your-own sessions. For £10 you can fill a container with fresh flowers and foliage to take home and arrange.

If you want to learn how to make a hand-tied bouquet, a buttonhole or a table arrangement, then you can learn the tricks of the trade at one of Blooming Green's Friday afternoon workshops.

Buttonhole workshops: May 8 & Sept 18 (2-4pm) £30 (Flowers and materials included)

Vase workshop – May 22 & Aug 14 (2-4pm) £35 (Flowers and materials included)

Hand-tied bouquet – June 5 & Sept 25 (2-4pm) £40 (Flowers and materials included)

 The Blooming Green plot is open every Friday from 12-4pm from July 3 – October, as well as Saturday mornings on July 11, Aug 8 and September 12.


Wedding Bouquet

To see the full list of dates, pricing and to book your place on a course visit their website here:

Happy flower arranging!

Laura xx

Budget Bride Company Interview on BBC Radio

I was delighted to be asked for an interview yesterday on BBC Radio with Mark Forrest. Mark was doing a spotlight on budget weddings and I was invited to give my ideas on how to have a big day for less and my thoughts on second hand wedding dresses, amongst other things!

You can listen to the interview and my advice on BBC iPlayer here:  – just skip to 01:42:03 on the time bar at the bottom 🙂


Budget Wedding Interview BBC Radio

Laura xx

Twelve smart questions to ask your wedding venue

Wedding Venue

When you’re researching and visiting suitable venues for your wedding, it’s really important to ask the right questions to ensure that you will be getting the best deal and overall option for your wedding venue. It can be easy to be swayed by how gorgeous the wedding venue looks, or a delicious sounding array of menu options for your wedding breakfast but it is super important to remember that this is likely to be the biggest spend of your wedding and not to get carried away! I know, much easier said than done!

I have put together twelve questions below for you to ask your wedding venue when you are going for your show-round. Hopefully these questions will help you to make the best decision when it comes to choosing your wedding venue.

1. Will the price change if we changed the date – off season / mid-week?

Some venues will be able to seriously reduce your wedding venue hire fee if you book your wedding for the Winter or a mid-week date.


2. Do you have a corkage option where we can bring our own booze?

Some wedding venues will allow to you to bring in your own alcohol for a small fee per bottle. This can work out a lot cheaper than the wedding venue supplying all of your alcohol.


3. Can we have access to the venue the day before for decorating?

Are you going to be decorating your wedding venue yourself? Find out if the venue will allow you a few hours the day before to get things set up.


4. What are your charges for additional guests?

Make sure you aren’t stung by high excess number charges.


5. What time do we need to be clear of the venue by on the wedding day?

If it’s important to you that you can party until the small hours, cover off the question before you sign your contract.


6. Do you have any set budget package options?

Sometimes it can work out cheaper to utilize a package offer for your wedding.


7. Do you have any preferential rate agreements with local hotels where our guests will be able to stay?

Your family and friends will thank you if you have been thoughtful enough to wangle them a discount!


8. Do you have a room that the Bridal party can use as a private area on the day of the wedding?

Having a room where you and your bridesmaids can go and take a breather on the day will be a wonderful thing!


9. Do you have any preferred suppliers (photographers, cake makers etc) who we may be able to get preferential rates with?

If you’re starting from scratch, it can be wonderful to have a recommendation for a trusted supplier from your wedding venue.


10. Are we able to bring in our own caterers?

Not all venues will allow external caterers in, but if yours does, this can be a big money saver and give you more flexibility on the type of food you will be serving your guests.


11. Can we throw confetti?

We all love a good confetti shot – but clear it with your venue first! Some wedding venues will only allow natural biodegradable petals for throwing – others none will be allowed at all.


12. Will we be the sole wedding party on the day?

This is a BIG one! If you don’t want to be running into another lady wearing a wedding dress on your big day, check with your venue that you are the only wedding taking place on your chosen date.


Have you booked your venue yet? What questions did you ask to make sure you were making the right choice? Let us know over on the Facebook page!

Laura x


Photography in this post courtesy of Danielle Mobbs

Cute roles for kids at weddings

Roles for kids at weddings

Last week, I asked you guys whether you were planning on having any flower girls or page boys at your wedding, and it got me thinking of how many lovely ways there are to incorporate children into your wedding day plans. Now I have a little one myself, I am keen to involve her as much as possible in our wedding day. Have a look at my suggestions below for cute roles for kids at weddings – have you got any other ideas for how to involve children in your wedding day?

Cute roles for kids at weddings

Page Boys / Ring Bearer

This is an obvious one, but a goody. Who doesn’t melt at the sight of a tiny little boy helping out the Bride with her train, or bringing the rings up the aisle?

Flower Girl

It’s such a wonderful start to the wedding procession, to have one or two of the little ladies in your life heading down the aisle scattering petals ready for the entrance of the Bride. The role isn’t too responsible and if your little Flower Girl gets stage fright and wants to run back to their Mum and Dad, sometimes that can be all the cuter, right?!


Although you might want to go for older Bridesmaids (your best friends / sisters etc), having a younger Bridesmaid involved can be a really nice idea. They won’t be so nervous, as they will be walking down the aisle in company, plus having younger bridesmaids looks super cute in the photos 😉

Toast Master

My lovely friend Tamara opted for a young nephew to act as Toast Master at her wedding (see the cute lil pic at the top of this post? That’s him 🙂 ). It worked SO well! You can see the full wedding story here.

Handing out gifts at the wedding breakfast

This is a lovely role and is also super useful. You and your new Husband or Wife get to sit put and one of your favourite little ones can do the running around with gifts for the Mummy’s of the Bride and Groom, Bridesmaids and Best Man!

Gift attendant / guest book attendant

After the wedding is over and you’re back from your honeymoon, you will want to read through your guest book (or guest signing picture) and see all of the well wishes. Make sure that all of your guests add their note by assigning one of the kiddies in your party to be in charge. Either have them look after the book near the gift table, or get them to wander around the wedding breakfast asking your guests to sign it.


Readings at the ceremony are not strictly limited to older family members or friends. It will make a lovely memorable moment for a young child to read something short and sweet at your ceremony.

Give away the Bride

Personally, I love this idea. If you aren’t going to be given away by your Dad and are looking for an alternative, why not have your own little one or another child in your family give you away? Might make a good choice for a slightly older child, so that they understand the importance of the role 😉

How are you going to be involving children at your wedding? Have you got any other great ideas for roles for kids at weddings? Let us know over on the Facebook page!

Laura x