Real Life Budget Wedding for £2,500: Lucie and Carl
Lucie and Carl had a real life budget wedding, with a strict limit of £2,500 for their celebrations. And they certainly carried it out in style! Lucie tells us a bit more about how she managed to have the day (and diamonds!) she wanted, on the wedding budget she had available…
It began with the ring. I simply adore diamonds and I wanted a nice ring, but knew we couldn't afford what I wanted. I discovered enhanced diamonds on eBay, and mentioned them to Carl. He researched them too (unbeknown to me!), and when he proposed I got a ring slightly larger than 1 carat, which is stunning, and in the classic knife edge Tiffany style. Carl had bought the ring at Christmas; that's another tip about eBay, if you buy during the holidays you can usually snap up a bargain! I used this ethos for the rest of the wedding budgeting. My ring cost £840, but even though it's been enhanced, it's still a diamond and it's valued at £5,500. I love it because it was such a budget find but looks so lovely!
As my engagement ring was a classic Tiffany design, I wanted a classic Tiffany wedding band, and so we went to London to buy a very simple ring that would make the engagement ring "pop". I did love the band in Tiffany's, but it was around £800 which was way over my wedding budget, so having looked at all the jewellery shops for months to try and find a simple slender wedding band, I finally found one in Argos for £24.99. It looks as pretty as the Tiffany one, but an absolute bargain. I constantly get women complementing my rings and I always smile to myself - if only they knew!
I'm very artistic, so I decided that I would do everything I could for the day myself. I designed the wedding invitations with an Alice in Wonderland theme and jazzed up the envelopes with glitter to make each one individual.
I decided to create my own flowers for the wedding day and worked with faux flowers so I could work on them a little at a time, saving money and time. I bought fake flowers from eBay and I went on YouTube to find out how to make a bouquet, and similar flowers for the Flower Girls, the centre pieces, and all the button holes. My Mum had passed away the year before our wedding, and I wanted something of her on the day so within my bouquet I added some faux diamonds to bling it up, and some pearls my Mum had given me as a Christmas decoration. I looked on Pinterest for examples of modern bling bouquets and used them as an example of what I wanted. All in all I spent around £80 on the flowers.
I made the cake myself, and as some of my guests didn't like wedding cake, I also made some cupcakes. I don't have a lot of experience baking cakes, but again I relied on Pinterest for what I wanted, and I borrowed a cake decorating magazine from a friend that had a step-by-step guide of how to make flowers out of icing. I had so many compliments for my shabby chic cake, and it really cost a fraction of the cost of a usual cake. I spent around £60 on the cake and cupcakes in total.
I bought my dress from TKMaxx for £59.99. I wanted a glamorous dress, and it was a replica of Pippa Middleton's Bridesmaid dress, only it was in satin. I have spent more on a dress for work, but my reasoning is I'd wear a dress for work again and again but I'd wear my wedding dress for a few hours so I couldn't bring myself to spend a lot on that. I bought brand new shoes that cost me £3.50 – another great eBay find!
I wanted a very glamorous feather shawl and I spent a lot of time bidding on some on eBay that were around £85 but at the back of my mind I wasn't happy at spending that much, so I kept my eye out, and low and behold I managed to get one for £13.50. Again it was like new, so I was delighted.
I did all my make-up myself, so that didn't cost a thing, but I did have an up-do done at Toni and Guy and that was around £35. Everyone that came to the wedding thought I looked very glamorous and to think that my entire Bridal look cost around £87, I was very happy at all the compliments!
We only had 30 guests at our wedding, which I know is much smaller than most people, but I only wanted people that really mattered and I wanted it to be very intimate. We really couldn't decide at all where to have the Reception, so last Valentine's Night we went out to our local restaurant and I realised that I loved it there, so we asked the Manager if he would open it especially for us. They actually do wedding receptions in the larger part of the restaurant, but it would have been a standard few grand. I was adamant that I wanted a very intimate atmosphere so he agreed to open up his restaurant just for us. We had a free bar, and the entire day cost around £850.
At the Reception I also got a Wishing Tree. Again I bought this on eBay, but it was a reject, so I had to paint it. It cost around £14. I then bought some luggage labels, and I aged them, and added glitter, and left out a pen so the guests could write down their wishes for us. These cost around £1.75.
We did have a professional photographer, but we saved on his price by having photos only at the venue, so we got a real life budget wedding package of video and 400 photos for £500.
My husband bought a lovely suit, but he was going to anyway, so I wouldn't count that in the price of the wedding because he continues to wear it today. So, all in all, including the rings, the wedding, the Reception all came in at £2,500 which I am so proud of as we had such a wonderful day.
It sounds like a cliche but it really was one of the happiest day of my life. I guess I waited a lot longer than most brides as I'll be 50 in a four years. It was truly worth the wait!
Thanks so much for sharing your real life budget wedding day with us Lucie! Congratulations to both of you and well done on achieving such a lovely day on a £2,500 budget 😀
You can catch up with all of our other gorgeous real life budget weddings here and if you would like to have your own wedding featured on, just drop us a line - we would love to hear from you!
Photographs by Martin Banks