Planning a wedding on a £6k Budget – Gemma and Stephen

Gemma and Stephen are going to be getting married this year on the 15th August at Dorton house in Aylesbury. The couple have been planning their wedding on a £6k budget and today Gemma is sharing some of her tips with us for how she has created her dream day…



How did you and Stephen meet?

Stephen  and I have been together for seven years; we first met in august 2001 when we were at our annual summer camp with the Army Cadets. We lost contact and then found each on Facebook in 2007 and the rest as they say, is history 😉


Can you tell us a bit about the proposal?

Steve proposed on the 14th December 2012. It was a complete surprise as I had had a bad day with our daughter, so he had suggested that I go for a nice relaxing bath which I agreed would be a good idea! When I finally got out of the bath, I got dressed in to my pj's and went downstairs. When I went into the front room, all of the lights had been turned off apart from  the Christmas tree lights… Steve was wearing his dinner jacket and was down on one knee he said 'will you spend the rest of your life with me'! Of course I said yes 😀

Gemma and Stephen and planning a £6k wedding











What is your favourite part of planning your wedding so far?

 My favourite part so far has been choosing everything! The wedding has pretty much planned its self as we knew exactly what we both wanted, so it has been great fun pulling all of our ideas together.

The Bridesmaids Shoes


The Thank you Gift Bag


What wedding budget are you aiming to stick to?

Our wedding will cost in total around £6,000, with the biggest expense being our venue at £4,000.


Gemma and Stephen are getting married at Dorton house in Aylesbury


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

My best money saving tip is to call in favours from friends and family wherever you can. My mum and I are going to make the wedding cake and favours; my hairdresser is a close friend of ours as well which helps! But the best tip that I have is to look in the sales - we got our bridesmaid’s dresses for £15 each instead of £70.

Table Place Settings

Bridesmaids Jewellery from River Island


Are you doing much wedding DIY?

DIY is a major part of our wedding. I made our invites, table plan and place settings so they all match perfectly. We will also be doing our own venue decoration which will include bird cages and lovely sky blue chair sashes.

Bird Cage Centre Pieces - Wedding Table Decoration


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

My best piece of wedding advice would be to have the most important members of your family to the ceremony during the day and everyone else can come in the evening. Also, it's your day and don’t let anyone tell you what you should do!


Thanks for sharing your wedding plans with us Gemma! Hope that you love every minute of the remaining run up to your wedding in August and we can’t wait to hear all of the details and see the pictures of the day afterwards!


Laura xx

Real Life Nautical Themed French Wedding – Hannah and RoRo

A Nautical themed wedding in France: Hannah and RoRo

I’m so proud and happy to be sharing this wonderful Nautical Themed French Wedding with you today 😀 One of my most lovely friends, Hannah, married her dream boy on the 3rd August last Summer in Brittany, France.

This gorgeous pair decided to marry in RoRo’s home town of Quiberon which opened up an amazing opportunity for a seaside themed wedding. After searching high and low for a venue that was going to be well suited to their bohemian style, Hannah and RoRo settled on a boat for their venue! What better way to celebrate your vows that afloat in the ocean?

A Nautical themed wedding in France: Hannah and RoRo

The total spend for this amazing nautical venue was 2,000€ and included the hire of the boat along with strawberries and champagne for the guests.

Hannah kept her budget in check by hiring a French Wedding Co-ordinator who was able to negotiate the best possible rates for the London based couple. From liaising with the caterers to setting up the venue for the reception, the Wedding Co-ordinator was definitely one of Hannah’s best money saving tips to share with other brides wanting a destination wedding sans dramas!

A Nautical themed wedding in France: Hannah and RoRo

A Nautical themed wedding in France: Hannah and RoRo

A Nautical themed wedding in France: Hannah and RoRo

Hannah made the most of her budget by choosing her feminine nautical themed bridesmaids dresses from River Island. Hannah chose her own £40 shoes from Next and wore silk flowers in her hair that she had nabbed from her Mum’s bathroom! She also tucked a photo of her Grandpa into her bouquet which was such a nice way for him to be with her on the day.

A Nautical themed wedding in France: Hannah and RoRo

A Nautical themed wedding in France: Hannah and RoRo

A Nautical themed wedding in France: Hannah and RoRo

A Nautical themed wedding in France: Hannah and RoRo

To transport the guests from the harbor over the reception venue, the couple hired this horse drawn ‘carriage’ to transport their guests for 150€.

A Nautical themed wedding in France: Hannah and RoRo

A Nautical themed wedding in France: Hannah and RoRo

 At the venue after the wedding, the room was decked with seashells and starfish for favours which cost around £1 each and hundreds of fairy lights which added a magical atmosphere for the guests.

 A Nautical themed wedding in France: Hannah and RoRo

A Nautical themed wedding in France: Hannah and RoRo

Hannah had a very specific idea for how she wanted to present her table plans and came up with this great idea! The photo frames cost around 20€ and she attached these to shutter style screens at the venue.

A Nautical themed wedding in France: Hannah and RoRo

A Nautical themed wedding in France: Hannah and RoRo

Hannah and RoRo decided to celebrate with an amazing multi leveled cheese cake. Just looking at this picture makes me hungry!

A Nautical themed wedding in France: Hannah and RoRo

Hannah and RoRo used an old fishing boat for an impromptu photo booth which the wedding party clearly loved!

A Nautical themed wedding in France: Hannah and RoRo

Congratulations to you both, you lovely pair and thank you so much for sharing your gorgeous Nautical Themed French Wedding with us 😀

Big French Love,

Laura xxx

All photos courtesy of Raymond Lin Photography

A creative and colourful DIY Budget Wedding for £5,000 – Ivanya and Peter

Real life Budget Wedding - Ivanya and Peter

Ivanya and Peter were married September last year in a tiny medieval church near Folkestone. With a tight budget of £5000, Ivanya really went to town with her creativity, ensuring that her and Peter could throw a DIY Budget Wedding to be proud of!

Ivanya, tell us how you and Peter met?
We initially met through my best friend Charlotte and his best friend Ashley, who happen to be brother and sister. The first time was on a New Year’s Eve get together; I walked in and thought ‘he’s handsome’, but unfortunately he didn’t say very much! Then, later the next year I went to Charlotte’s Blessing, and there was Peter again. We had a group photo, all huddled in together and there were Peter and I on the end - with him standing about a foot away from me! Turns out he was shy around me  So it took a drunken encounter in a dodgy nightclub, before we actually properly spoke for the first time and the rest is history!

What was your total wedding budget?
£5,000 and we didn’t go over! We did get some help from our relatives however – my sister in law made our cupcakes and my Mum bought my dress, so we were very lucky in that respect.

Tell us about the day…
The service and atmosphere was stunning and we were so lucky that as the vicar announced us as married and we turned round to face the congregation, a stream of sunlight flooded through the windows and lit us up! It really set the tone for a gorgeous wedding day.
DIY Budget Wedding - Ivanya and Peter

The church was decorated by some local ladies, who charged a reasonable price and after the Ceremony, we were able to take some of these flowers to the reception hall, to add some extra decoration.
I had bought fairy lights and beaded silver coasters chargers etc to decorate the hall in the Christmas sales. All alcohol for the tables and toasts I bought when Sainsbury's had offers on wine and half price Brut. It cost under£200 for 75 people! As it was my first order online, I also received a discount. I took advantage of lots of company’s offers for first time online ordering which helped and I got my bunting and paper pom poms and cup cake holders on offer from Lakelands.

Village Hall Budget Wedding

DIY Budget Wedding table styling

We really wanted this DIY budget wedding to be fun, comfortable and unofficial for families! We had a village hall for our wedding reception venue with a local band called Liquid Jacket playing and a Spotify playlist for DJ afterwards!

Budget DIY Wedding

Budget Wedding Ivanya and Peter

Budget Wedding Entertainment

We know that you’re a creative kind of girl – what did you do to make this DIY Budget Wedding a success?

I made myself a brooch bouquet with lots of sentimental pieces incorporated within it, which I used as a decoration on our table at reception , as didn't look right with my last minute dress!

Budget Wedding Button Bouquet

I scoured charity shops and antique markets and collected lots of glassware and ceramic pieces to use as reception decoration and to create a sweet table for favours. I sewed all of the favour bags for the sweets, with an initial on each.

Budget wedding table decorations DIY
 I had some of my bridesmaids round one evening and we decorated picture frames with famous quotes about love as our table numbers. My bridesmaid made the most fabulous table plan out of a canvas, string, luggage labels and flowers . We also decorated jam jars for flowers on tables.
Budget Wedding Table Plan

I designed my own invite cards. There ended up being quite a lot of cutting out and assembling involved and two of my bridesmaids helped with this - it really did take a lot of man (lady!) hours to do these - more than I thought.

Budget Wedding DIY Decoration Ideas

Tell us about the Dress!
I managed to get my dress last minute, after two unsuccessful attempts to make my own. I ended up with a designer dress worth over £1100 for £600! I can certainly recommend not leaving it too late to create your own wedding dress! Make sure your dress (if you are mad enough to make your own!) is made well in advance. I kept putting it off! I did a lot of research into dress shapes for my body shape, but when I made it and put it on, it just wasn’t as flattering as I had hoped.
Budget DIY Wedding

What would be your top tips to share with other brides wanting a DIY Budget Wedding?
I got all my bridesmaid dresses and shoes in sales and opted for dressy dresses instead of official bridesmaid dresses, which saved a bundle. They ended up about £30 each. Ditto for the children’s outfits - I got Amelie’s dress after Christmas in Monsoon sale. I also bought my jewellery in the after sales as lots of sparkly things are reduced at this time, so forward thinking is really helpful on the accessories front. I managed to get the sweets for the favours from a cash and carry, which saved a bit and making the sweet pouches was also a great money saver.


Budget DIY Wedding

I work in a hairdresser’s, so was very fortunate that they did my hair for me. My friend, who is also a Beauty Therapist did my make up too. As she didn’t have any prior bridal experience, I bought my own make up and we had fun with a few trials before the wedding. I made really good use of the different make up counters and in the end had 4 different make up trials, just by going in and saying I wanted to buy some make up for my wedding. I picked up loads of great tips from the makeup artists, which I wrote down afterwards, in case I forgot, and made a note of which piece of makeup I liked best. I then mixed and matched with the brands I had tried, to get the best items from each company.

Budget DIY Wedding Ideas

Bride on a £5k Budget - Ivanya

What was your favourit moment of the day?
The church ceremony was absolutely magical. The atmosphere and light in the church was beautiful. The ceremony was funny (thanks to the wonderful vicar) and poignant. All the right people were there and we felt truly blessed we’d made it! That was the favourite part for us both, closely followed by the dancing 🙂

Our Wedding Photographer Andy, set up an impromptu photo booth and we got some really fun photos from this later on in the evening, when the vino had been flowing!

£5k Budget Wedding - Ivanya and Peter

Thanks so much for sharing your lovely DIY Budget Wedding Day with us - top tips too! Congratulations to you both :D

Laura xo

All images courtesy of Andy Childs Photography

Budget Wedding Inspiration – Kelly and Andy

Real life Budget Wedding Kelly and Andy
Kelly and Andy had a budget wedding at the gorgeous Coombe Abbey Hotel this year. Check out this love story – over to you Kelly!
I met Andy via an online dating website Plenty Of Fish in April 2011 and needless to say he had me hooked from the start! In February 2012 he took me to Paris on a surprise trip for Valentines. We went on a 5* river cruise on the evening and he proposed, it was so romantic and a complete shock to me as I had no idea what he was up to!
I loved the entire process of planning our wedding; from choosing my dress to visiting our venue time and time again to go through all of the plans.
We had a very tight wedding budget to stick to. To have our dream venue we opted for a Winter Wedding as to get married at Coombe Abbey in Summer would have been well over our budget. We had some help from a friend made us a beautiful wedding cake. I bought my flowers, bridesmaid dresses, flower girl dress, accessories, favours and gift boxes all from Ebay which was a massicve help on our budget. My wedding dress was also an end of line dress, so I managed to have a designer dress at half price!
Real life budget wedding  Kelly and Andy


We did loads of DIY and even made our own retro candy sweetie table rather than hiring one. We made horse shoes for each table made from shoes off my own horses. My husband designed posters for the road side and hotel board and we also designed our wedding invites ourselves.
We enjoyed our budget wedding so much, especially all the excitement of twelve months of planning finally being put in place on the morning of the wedding. I personally enjoyed every second of the day and feeling like a princess in my beautiful dress and saying ‘I DO’! Our first dance was also a memorable moment as we did a traditional slow dance with an MC Hammer twist which our guests loved!
I adore horses and have some of my own, so we decided to run a bit of a horse theme throughout our wedding day. Our wedding cake was made in a horse shoe and my cupcakes where all topped with a horse shoe. Also, as our name is Bond, we had the Bond theme music played after the ceremony when we walked out the room, it certainly made everyone chuckle!
My best piece of advice to other Brides planning a Budget Wedding would be to search around for the best price possible. Don't be too proud to buy second hand because usually the items have only been used once before, so are as new yet half the price of new. My favourite tip? Enjoy yourself!
Kelly and Andy Real life Budget Wedding
Thanks for sharing your day with us Kelly and BIG congratulations to you and Andy 🙂  

Laura xo

All images in this post courtesy of MJB Photography

Vintage Styled Wedding on a Budget – Meghan and Benjamin


Vintage Style Budget Wedding

 Image Courtesy of Pacific Curd Photography

Meghan and Benjamin met in 2009 and have been madly in love from the word go! One beachside proposal, two beautiful babies and four years later, they had a gorgeous vintage themed wedding on a budget, full of handmade details. Over to you, Meghan!


Vintage Style Budget Wedding

 Image Courtesy of Pacific Curd Photography

Benjamin and I met back in 2009. Ben has always been so romantic and spoiled me rotten on birthdays and special occasions, trips to London and romantic walks and gestures! In 2010 I fell pregnant with our gorgeous yet cheeky little monkey Alfie who was born in March 2011. We had a whirlwind of moving house and settling down as a new family.

Ben then proposed on a weekend away in May 2012 with his family while the sun set at the beach & we lit a lantern and tried to let it float away but failed miserably When I turned around he was down on one knee and asked me to marry him! All of our family and friends were so excited for us and we booked the wedding for 1 year exactly on the meaningful date of 18th May 2013 which was Bens grandparents wedding anniversary. 

Six weeks later we had another little surprise, I was eight weeks pregnant and due on the 13th January 2013, little Mia decided to make an appearance eight days early on the 5th Jan. Despite the fact everyone thought we were absolutely mad planning a wedding and having another baby in less than a year, we still went ahead with the plans! We were crazy, yes but also crazily in love!


Vintage Style Budget Wedding

Vintage Style Budget Wedding

 Images Courtesy of Pacific Curd Photography

My favourite part of planning the wedding was searching for all of the ideas, creating the mood boards, thinking of unique ideas to make our day that bit more special. Creating the theme and turning it all into reality on the big day! I love being unique and making the little details stand out to people to make it unforgettable.

We had always had a tight budget but when little Mia made an appearance the budget had to get even smaller! I made the most of this by being as creative as possible and picking up bargains along the way.


Vintage Style Budget Wedding

Vintage Style Budget Wedding

Vintage Style Budget Wedding

Images Courtesy of Pacific Curd Photography

When planning your own wedding you need to stick to the original budget you've always had, and try to get bargains along the way. The more you do for your own wedding the more personal it becomes; try doing the invitations yourself and add personal touches linking to your big day. Find all of your family members and friends that can chip in and help, or if they have any hidden talents then get them involved!

One of my favourite budget wedding suppliers were SouthWest Marquees, they turned a small village hall into a modern looking marquee. It was beautiful and well worth the money although it was one of the biggest parts of our budget. Also, we had a friend who knew of a cake maker and she charged us a fraction of what we had been quoted and she couldn't have done a better job if she tried, it was fab!

Apart from the main items such as caterer, the inside of the marquee and the cars, we did everything else ourselves. From the setting, the centrepieces, the stationary, the favours and the decorations right down to the wishing tree and sweet buffet.


Vintage Style Budget Wedding

Vintage Style Budget Wedding

Images Courtesy of Pacific Curd Photography

My favourite part of the day (apart from becoming Mrs Keates of course!) was seeing everyone's faces at the venue and the lovely comments we got from all of the personalised items we had.

Our theme was Vintage for our wedding day, I decided on this as it was a very popular theme at the time, and I believe it still is! There are thousands of ideas for weddings with this theme and I loved picking and choosing my favourites and tweaking the ideas to make them even more personal.

My tips for the brides to be planning their own wedding, especially on a tight budget is don't stress! It's your big day; don't let panic over money ruin the whole planning process. Each item you choose should be magical and personal to you as a couple, that's what makes the day more unique and unforgettable.


Vintage Style Budget Wedding

Vintage Style Budget Wedding

Vintage Style Budget Wedding

Images Courtesy of Pacific Curd Photography

I enjoyed the experience of planning my own wedding and I went away wanting to do more! I put myself through an event and wedding planner course and with lots of hard work I qualified within just 3 months. I then started up my own business called Vintage Rose  and I've been going to wedding fairs, joining wedding guilds and meeting lots of lovely new people. I get such a buzz when I meet clients for the first time, finding out what they want, getting to know who they are and turning their big day into their dreams come true! I'm also organising my own wedding fair in Frome at a popular venue where I have lots of lovely local suppliers coming along for the day! I am loving my new job, but most of all I love helping all of the brides to enjoy their wedding days as much as I did mine!


Vintage Style Budget Wedding

Image Courtesy of Pacific Curd Photography

What a lovely wedding and romantic story 🙂  Congratulations Meghan and Benjamin!

Laura xx

Supplier Spotlight with Host Event Management Wedding Planning


At The Budget Bride Company, we are always on the lookout for fantastic suppliers who can help our Brides to Be achieve their wedding dreams and plans, even when they are working to a tighter budget.


Host Event Management and Wedding Planning  are a fantastic company headed up by the lovely Olivia Mills. We are so pleased to welcome Host on board, with their positive ethos of saving you money, time and stress with their wedding planning packages. We had a catch-up with Olivia to find out more...



What is your favourite thing about being a wedding planner?

I just absolutely love being able to make people’s dreams come true! It sounds very cliché but essentially that is what I love.  The thank you’s post wedding is the reason I do what I do.  This industry gives you so much satisfaction. 


How did you get into the wedding planning business?

Coming from a large family and always attending some sort of celebration!  I loved the excitement and love that surrounds milestone events and I have always enjoyed helping out.  I remember thinking seriously about my career whilst I was at sixth form.  I was a head student and in charge of planning the leavers ball and everyone used to joke about how organised I was and how I should get some sort of degree in planning! So I searched the Universities and couldn’t believe that there was a whole subject dedicated to Event Management! Once offered a place, I studied the subject for four years at the University of Gloucestershire and undertook an industrial placement at a venue close to my home.  Since graduating I have worked at highly recommended event caterers working for the likes of SS Great Britain and at sporting events such as The One Day International in 2009.  I have worked for conference and wedding venues in the events department and the NEC in Birmingham. 

An achievement close to my heart was setting up Old Down Manor, a beautiful period property located near Bristol.  The venue took 2 years to renovate and is now one of the area’s most prestigious wedding and fine events venues.  I marketed the venue, staffed it, sold it and am so very proud of what we have all achieved there.  To this day I still work very closely with the venue but having my own business was always a long standing ambition, and so, Host Event Management was born!


What are your top tips for maxing a tight wedding budget?

1/ Be realistic – Set a budget that you can actually afford and stick to it. 

2/ Enlist the help of family and friends – Is your Auntie fabulous of baking? Is there a friend who is keen on photography?  Don’t be afraid to ask around.  Using someone you know for certain elements of your day makes everything so much more personal, plus your loved ones will be thrilled to offer their help as their wedding present to you!

3/Don’t be too frugal.  Your wedding is meant to be the best day of your life and you only intend to do it once, right? Think about what really matters to you both.  Suppliers such as videographers or planners such as myself can be seen as a costly extra - this couldn’t be futher from the truth! How wonderful to have moving images of your day that you can cherish forever and watch time and time again (and show the children and grandchildren!).  Wedding planners also save you money - they have lots of supplier friends that give exclusive discounts to planners.  And I give these discounts directly to my clients, discounts that they may not have received otherwise!



What inspires you in your work?

People’s creativity.  I work with so many talented weddings professionals who truly inspire me.  I work with suppliers with the most fantastic worth ethic and humour that it makes it a pleasure to go to work!


What are your wedding style predictions for the rest of 2013 and heading into 2014? 

I am not one for trends (as I believe the wedding should be guided by the couples interests and not by glossy magazines), but I would say colour and lots of it! Rainbow effects, ombre and bright bold colours mixed in with both contemporary and classic styling.  Also monochrome - the classic black and white look for classy and elegant affairs.  Not forgetting the 1920’s vibe after the release of the remake of “The Great Gatsby”.


Olivia, it’s great to have you with us and thanks for sharing your tips! You can find lots more information about Host Management Wedding Planning here.


Laura xx

Real Life Budget Bride – Harry Potter Themed Wedding

Photo Credit:


Today, I’m very pleased to introduce you to the lovely Jasmine Potter – a real life bride to be on a budget who is going to share her story (and top tips!) with us! Jasmine is going to be marrying her Beau on the 16th August in a Harry Potter themed wedding.



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

Well, we first met when we worked together in a record shop in Hampshire. We were really good friends for a few years and then we started dating. I knew we were getting engaged as we’d talked about it for almost a year before it happened and had chosen the ring in January of last year. He proposed at Legoland in the form of a story inside my birthday card and when I’d finished reading it he was down on one knee with a Lego ring box he had designed and put together himself with the ring inside!



What has been your favourite part of planning your wedding so far?

I think my favourite part has been delivering the invites. As we are going to be having a very small wedding and all the invites were wax sealed, we wanted to hand deliver them. Everyone loved the invites and the theme that we had decided on, so it was really special to see their reactions.


Did you have quite a tight budget to stick to and how did you make the most of it?

Our original budget was £1,000 but we had to stretch it to £2,000 as my dress was a lot more expensive than we had been planning! I just couldn’t put my faith and judgement into a mail order wedding dress knowing that I couldn’t try it on first and wouldn’t be able to easily send it back. Other wedding items also ended up costing a bit more than I had expected too. We haven’t spent the full £2,000 but it was nice to have a bit more to play with.


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

I have so many! I would say to every bride, this is the most important day of your life but it doesn’t have to cost the earth like lots of weddings do these days. Spending a lot of money won’t necessarily give you the effect that you want, however putting lots of time and thought into planning can give you the wedding you’ve dreamed of. Be prepared to spend at least 6 months of hard research to find the cheapest deals! Don’t go for the first person you see and don’t be worried about asking for a discount - suppliers are always willing to give even a few pounds off because they want your business. Also ebay! Never be afraid of buying things off Ebay, I bought our ties off there for £1.99 there and they look just like the house ties from the Harry Potter films! And finally check out registry offices.  I know lots of people want a big hotel or gardens and shudder at the thought of a registry office, but there are so many beautiful places you can hold a personalised ceremony for around £200. Having a registry office ceremony does not have to mean compromising your vision.


Who have been your favourite budget wedding suppliers that you have used so far?

By far my favourite supplier so far is our wedding photographer! Carl and Dan of 1 Thousand Smiles photography are amazing and I managed to find them on gumtree with a fabulous offer of the entire days’ wedding photography for £280.   Whilst their normal package prices aren’t quite that cheap (Six hours for £595 with both photographers is their standard package) they are always running offers and discounts to take advantage of. Carl and Dan are really easy to chat to so it’s worth speaking to them whatever your budget might be. They always give you copyright on your photos too, so no need to buy any additional photographs if you don’t want to.


Have you done much DIY?

We have done some DIY. We are constructing all of my Harry Potter Lego sets as decorations, we’re making a fingerprint castle (instead of a fingerprint tree) and are making our own order of the day booklets. We’re also doing our own sweet table but that’s just a case of putting some sweets into some cauldrons really. Oh and I knitted our ring cushion as it’s the shape of a golden snitch! These are very expensive to buy as anything Harry Potter tends to come with a hefty price tag!


What are you looking forward to the most on your wedding day?

Firstly and foremost, it will be getting married to my fabulous fiancé! So that aside I am looking forward to all of the guests enjoying what we have created. We’re doing all of the decorating, having lots of Harry Potter themed decorations and even a wand toss in place of a flower one! I just can’t wait to see our guests enjoying our Harry Potter themed wedding day.



Tell us more about why you have chosen to have a themed wedding?

I know many people see themed weddings as cheesy or tacky but I have found having a theme has saved me a ton of money. Instead of having to buy all of the wedding stuff for decorations, I found that I could be more inventive and use plastic cauldrons for sweets, lego as decorations and even invites were cheaper because I could make them on vista print rather than a bespoke wedding invite company. I also found that entertaining guests is much easier because you can make the room an adventure… I won’t go into it too much in case the guests see this, but every person is involved in the adventure and it has cost me about £20 for decorations and interactional bits. I definitely think themed weddings are the way forward for budget brides, it means that you can have a theme personal to you and your other half and also makes the day even more memorable.


What advice would give to other brides to be regarding your wedding guest list?

As most brides know, no matter how you scrimp and save, the number of the guests eat up most of the budget ( literally!). I've found on so many help pages people worrying because of family opinions on who should and shouldn’t be invited. We are having an intimate gathering of just close friends and family and if you make that clear from the start, your family will understand. We can't all spend £10,000 on catering and a massive venue, so if you just want your nearest and dearest then just invite them. It also means that you can have a less formal meal, like a buffet or a hog roast which cuts the cost in half for serving staff and even the amount of tables, as you can have a few long tables rather than lots of little tables dotted around which will save on table linen and table plans! Remember it's your day, so have it how you want and with who you want.


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

In times of austerity as we live in today, remember that whilst spending £20,000 on a wedding will buy you a lot, that £20,000 could have been the deposit on a house, spent on an unforgettable honeymoon or just to be put aside for the future. If you can have the wedding that I have planned on a £2,000 budget, spending a further £5,000 could make something even more spectacular. You just have to be prepared to do the leg work and to go for dresses in the sale or deal with sellers on eBay, And finally sign up to vista print! If you get their newsletter they are always doing discounts on invites, postcards and lawn signs etc. I have bought banners, posters and almost the entirety of our invites from them.


Thank you so much for sharing your budget wedding tips with us Jasmine – it sounds like you have achieved so much on your budget. We can’t wait to hear all about how the big day went! We hope you enjoy every minute of it 🙂


Laura xx

A joy filled wedding with a vintage twist – Congratulations Tamara and Lawrence!

When  one of my BFF’s, Tamara, handed me a plump envelope with mine and John’s name on the front, my tummy did a little flip! Having first worked with Tamara (who is a talented Marketing Manager) and very quickly becoming firm friends, I was absolutely delighted to find out that John and I would be able to share hers and Lawrence’s special day.

Working in Marketing meant that Tamara had a very trained eye for what would look good and she pulled out all of the stops in making her wedding budget work as hard as it could for her.




So Tamara, you and Lawrence have been together for almost 9 years now - how did he pop the question?

After nine years, I had began to wonder if he would ever ask me to be his wife! We met in 2004 when I was a ‘penniless student’ and he had just graduated from Birmingham University. By the time September 2011 came around and Lawrence got down on one knee, it really did feel like the perfect time in our lives to be getting married.

He had apparently been planning for over a year, saving his pennies for an engagement ring and he took me to a beautiful spot in the Lake District looking over Lake Windermere. I wondered why he was so adamant to take this long walk in the pouring rain, but he still got down on one knee (in a big puddle)!

I was so stunned, I didn’t speak (and anyone who knows me knows that is highly unusual) and Lawrence eventually had to ask ‘is that a yes then?!’.

We celebrated with a bottle of a bottle of champagne, taking in the views and met a lovely couple who took our photo. He had even booked us into a gorgeous five star hotel to go back to once I had said ‘Yes’!


What was the main aim for the wedding day  (apart from saying ‘I Do’!)?

Obviously my main objective was to become Mrs Holland, Lawrence and I were always meant to be! But for the day itself, I really wanted to make sure our guests had the most epic time and would reflect on the day as not only being so wonderful for us, but that they had the best time ever.




Having been a guest at several weddings, I would always look back and pick out all the best bits that I loved and I wanted our whole day to feel like that for our guests too.

Weddings are rightly about the bride and groom, but if your guests aren’t happy, then  you don’t have a wedding. I am a massive believer that your guests can really make a wedding and our friends and family proved us right on the day.

Lawrence would say his original objective was to keep things on a shoe-string budget. Typical husband to be!




What did you enjoy most about planning your wedding?

My friends know I LOVE planning, organising and general list making, so a wedding was my dream to plan. Having organised a few events in my time working in Marketing, it was great to finally have something personal to us for me to plan.

If I had to pick one thing, I would honestly say that friends and family really made planning the wedding so much fun. I was lucky enough to have seven bridesmaids and a very organised mother! It really bought us closer together in such a positive way. They did so, so much for me and were always there when I needed them for random chats about the positives and negatives. I will always value those times.




One of my favourite times was sat with my family with random production lines of making save the date cards, my button bouquet and lots and lots of paper pinwheels . It was such a personal touch that I can keep forever and it was great to get everyone involved in the big day, even my one year old nephew got involved!

What was your best budget find?

Despite the fact that our venue and food costs were more expensive than we originally anticipated (but totally worth it!) we managed to reign in the budget with everything else for the big day.


I have so many examples of where we made our budget work for us, including our stationary designed by our wonderful friend Lucy, of Lucy Hills Design who is a super talented graphic designer, favours made by my parents who run a company that make chocolate lollipops called Oh Lolly Lollipop and a cake produced by our friend who runs Capells Cakes. I also found many bits and piece found in vintage shops, charity shops and good old Ebay!

But the best budget find came when I had a vision for vintage lemonade bottles with cute stripey staws. I knew the cost of purchasing bottles would be expensive and I happened to be at a local garden centre when I noticed they sold bottles of vintage lemonade and ginger beer in their café. I sent an email to the manager and asked whether I may be able to take away some of their bottles if they happened to throw them away (and would have happily given him some money) and he called me straight away to say I could have them for free! In the same store they were throwing away some vintage wooden crates which I pinched for display on the day and served cloudy lemonade from glass drinks dispensers which our guests could serve into their bottles. It looked brilliant!



How did you maximise your budget to make sure you had what you wanted?

I think my main tip would be to be realistic about what you can and cannot have on a budget.  I would argue that if you have something that is your dream then you should always try and have it. You may want a £1k wedding dress, but it just means you have to rein it in when it comes to the areas that aren’t as important to you. 

Luckily Lawrence loves a good spread sheet and happily got organised right from the very beginning by comparing venue costs and prices for other expensive parts of the day.

You generally know the things you have to have, so make sure they are planned out first.

And make sure you ask around - everyone seems to know someone who makes cakes, is a photographer or has other great skills that you can bring into your day and often on a budget.


What is your favourite moment of the day?

It is so difficult to pick my favourite part of the day. It was just brilliant from start to finish. Some highlights include a great moment my brilliant photographer – Sharon Cooper captured - she decided I should get into my dress but make my dad come into the room to put on my jewellery for me. She made him come into the room with his eyes shut and I was surrounded by my bridesmaids and mum, we all burst into tears as his first words were ‘wow’. She captured the moment beautifully in the photos and it will be a moment I will always treasure.

Another was the speeches. Not only was I treated to a brilliant speech from my husband, best man and dad but I also had a ‘best girl’. She treated us and our wedding party to the most amazing speech I have ever heard, with so much thought and love put into a hilarious and touching rhyme about our friendship.

Wow - you had seven bridesmaids. Was it difficult to find dresses within budget that suited them all and made them feel great?

Lots of people ask me about having such a big bridal party. I absolutely loved having some of my ‘best girls’ as such a big part of our day. It was an interesting shopping trip when we started looking on the high street to find dresses to fit all of the different shapes, sizes and ages.

It was also difficult as I didn’t really have a colour theme in my mind and had the age old problem of knowing in my head my ‘vision’ but not being able to locate it.

I then managed to find a local dress maker called Grace Face who makes beautiful handmade clothes, who managed to create my 1950s style dress vision from some fabric I found online and even created matching petticoats to go underneath. The girls looked INCREDIBLE and it was fabulous to have something unique and the girls felt like a million dollars.

It was also so much cheaper than anything we could have got from a bridal shop or the high street and Emma at GraceFace was brilliant, especially when we had to make a dress for my heavily pregnant sister.


What is your single biggest tip that you would pass onto other brides to be?

My biggest tip would be to take time to breathe, reflect and do what you and you partner really want to do. Everyone will have an opinion - it’s unavoidable. But you have to really do what your head, heart and budget tells you. 

There will be brilliant times, and times when you wonder why you bothered, but honestly it all pays off in the end!

I felt so relaxed and excited on our big day and I do think that was because I had been so organised. I knew I had every box ticked and had faith in the suppliers we used, so I really enjoyed the whole day from start to finish.


Any regrets?

I honestly have no regrets about our day - it was PERFECT to us and our guests had a great day too, which is all I could have hoped for.

Having said that, if the opportunity had arised for me to eat and drink more, I certainly would have! We had an amazing sweetie buffet which our guests adored, but I didn’t get a look in and nor did I get a piece of the wedding cake! So make sure one of your wedding party or the venue do that for you!



Wow Tamara, thank you SO much for sharing your day and all of your amazing tips with us! Every amazing sparkly wish from The Budget Bride Company for an incredible married life together 🙂

Laura xx

All Photography by Sharon Cooper




Budget Hen Do Ideas

Hen Do’s can be a fantastic source of excitement in the run up to your wedding day. A time to get together with your very best friends and celebrate one of the most important events of your life. Whether you decide to hand over the planning of the hen do to your bridesmaids / best friend or run the whole thing yourself, your hen do should be an expression of who you are and a celebration of the end of your single life and imminent start of a newly married life together with your partner.


As a party girl through and through, I absolutely adore receiving hen do invitations. All the better if there is a theme or some way to completely throw myself into the day, evening or weekend.  But I understand that every girl about to be married has very, very different ideas of what fun is and what makes a good hen do. There was a time (not very long ago!) when hen do’s were getting more and more extravagant. What started as a few drinks with friends in a cosy local pub soon became a weekend city break away, then a mini break to Ibiza and then a weeks holiday in Vegas! It became the norm for hen do’s to be all out extravaganzas – an excuse for a no holds barred party wherever it might be and however much it might cost.


Times have changed. Unless you are very fortunate, Hen Do’s including long haul flights really just aren’t a realistic option. So, it’s definitely time to really think about what you want from a hen do and how you can achieve what you want on budget.


Here are some low budget hen do ideas to get your planning off to a budget friendly start!


1. Keep it Simple…

We absolutely love the idea of the old fashioned hen do. Keep it as simple as you possibly can – invite your very best friends round to yours, get ready at home together with some wine and then head out to your local pub or a couple of bars. Girly giggles, minimum spend and easy to get home afterwards – what’s not to like?! Just make sure your other half is out of bounds from your chosen pub for the evening!


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2. Party Nights…

Book a party evening at your house or one of your bridesmaids. From Body Shop at Home  to Partylite and Ann Summers using your own home as a base for a party night is a great cost effective idea. Usually as the host, you will also get some kind of bonus dependant on what your fellow hens buy from the Party Night Company which makes it extra rewarding for you. The representative will bring along the products for you and your hens to trial and you just then need to add a little bit of food and get your hens to bring along a bottle each and you’ve got a fun night sorted without having to leave your front door!


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3. Get away the cheap way…

This is a great one if you have tonnes of friends. Instead of forking out for expensive hotels or B&Bs, why not hire out a country house or apartment that is able to sleep lots of people. What is an unachievable cost for one can be a really reasonable amount when there is a crowd of you. Have a look at websites such as Bath Hen Weekend,   Hen Party Venues and The Big Domain for ideas.

Options for entertainment when you arrive are endless – have a themed fancy dress dinner, go for long walks in the country or organise treasure hunts in the garden! Fun guaranteed.


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4. Book a class

Lots of local councils now run leisure courses for adult learning. From Indian head massage to one off trampolining courses, there can be an incredible array of fun activities that you could book you and your hens on to for around £40 per person. Learn how to cook a French three course dinner or take a creative writing one day course – you can learn a new skill and sort out your hen do in one go. Enquire with your local council to find out what courses they run. Northampton offer an excellent selection that you can have a look at here.


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5. Run your own wine tasting or cocktail making evening

Arrange with your hens who will bring along which bottles, and then you can get in the necessary accompaniments. For a wine tasting evening, buy in some olives, cheese and biscuits and grapes and get your wine glasses ready. For a fun cocktail evening, buy in a selection of fruit and some fun straws and mini sparklers. You can find endless recipes on line for all of the cocktails under the sun, however, it might be best to choose 4 or 5 recipes that you like the sound of and then create all of the different variations you like dependant on the bottle of spirits that have been brought along.


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Have a great time whatever you choose to do! How will you be celebrating your hen do?

Laura xx

Top Five Wedding Reception Money Saving Tips

When you've organised, paid for, and participated in your wedding ceremony, you will want your reception to run as smoothly (and as cheaply!) as possible. To assist you with your planning, some of these tips (provided by Gregory Pennington) could help…


Choose an inexpensive wedding venue

Venues that are tailored specifically towards weddings can be expensive, and will typically charge you per head for your reception. Many venues also insist on providing the catering, sometimes tying you in with their preferred catering company.

It may therefore be cheaper to choose an alternative type of venue to hold your reception. You could look into local pubs, village halls or even (if the weather allows) holding your reception outdoors in a marquee! This will mean that you are in charge of the suppliers that you use and this can give you more control over where you are spending your wedding reception budget.



The food

Not everyone expects a three-course sit-down meal when they are guests at a wedding reception. It's likely that a tasteful buffet, with a wide variety of foods and some more filling options will be a great cost saving solution.

Your guests will be able to serve themselves (which cuts down on the cost of having waiting staff) and they will be able to take as much or as little food as they like. It doesn't have to all be cold dishes either; you could ask your family and friends to chip in to make a large pots of curry, chile or pasta dishes to share on the buffet table.


Skip the free bar

Having a free bar is a wonderful and very generous gesture, but most of your guests will come fully prepared to pay for their drinks. If having a free bar is really important to you, consider limiting it to a certain timespan - or a certain number of beverages per guest.




If you are going to be having a lot of guests at your reception, it is quite likely that at least one of them will know of a good wedding band or DJ. Why not make the most of this and find out if you can set up a discounted rate for the entertainment? Or even better, perhaps one of your close friends is a talented entertainer and would be able to provide their services as their wedding gift to you! It is always worth asking…



Limit your guest list

It’s easy to get carried away when drawing up your guest list for your evening reception. This is the time to be super strict with yourself and really only invite the people that you want to be there. It’s too easy to end up inviting your Mum’s best friend’s hairdresser, or perhaps some acquaintances who you went to school with but wouldn’t really class as friends... It’s your party, so only invite the people who you want to celebrate with!

If you have any relatives or friends who would have to go well out of their way to make it to your reception, consider setting up a Skype account. That way you can say hello and they'll get to see you on your wedding day - without actually having to be there!



With a bit of creativity and some organised forward planning, you will be able to throw a great wedding reception for your friends and family. Let us know what you will be doing to make your wedding budget stretch further at your reception!