Weddings don't have to take a year to organise. These days people seem to be booking weddings so far as three years in advance but I believe a great way of cutting the costs is to book your wedding as soon as possible! Why wait to marry the love of your life?
My husband and I gave ourselves three months from the day we booked our ceremony to buy the dress, book the photographer, hair stylist, design the invites, make the cake and everything else that goes into making a wedding. We promised ourselves that the money we saved in those three months would be the only money we spent, which worked really well for us as it really helped to reign in my often extravagant ideas and remember what the most important thing was, our commitment and love for each other.
Friends and family were a huge help in keeping costs down as they helped design and make our invitations and thank you cards, our wedding cake; wedding photographs and provided the bridal car. I also made the decision to have a friend make my bouquet, button holes and hair flowers from fake flowers as this was not only cheaper but I have been able to keep them and they still look as good as they did on the day!
My dress was a fabulous 1950s prom dress with matching bolero that I found on 'everyone’s favorite auction site' for under £150. A top tip if you are or if you happen to know a competent seamstress is to look for vintage gowns that are a particularly small size, as these are often priced much lower as there is less of a market but with a little imagination and skill most styles can be altered to fit.
I am lucky enough to live in the beautiful city of Wells in Somerset where the fabulous Alexandra King’s boutique is. I was able to take my dress to her and she used her super star skills to alter it just how I wanted it. My dress was a 22" waist, which I am not, however it did come with matching arm spats, I didn't much care for them so Alexandra used their fabric to add in to the corset of my dress. The skirt was very full and gathered so only needed to be let out. My petticoat and garter was also made bespoke by the wonderful Alexandra King who stocks super gorgeous vintage wedding dresses and specialises in unique vintage inspired bridal gowns and occasion wear.
Alexandra also sells online at www.alexandra-king.com Her stock is ever changing but my absolute favorites currently are the 1950s blush pink wiggle dress and the super glamorous bespoke Fortuna gown in Ivory lace, they make me want to renew our vows!
As important as the dress is the underwear so I splashed out on a gorgeous peach corset from What Katie Did which was super comfortable to wear all day and really worked to define my waist and give me that extra boast of confidence.
For my partner and I it was very important that our guests felt as relaxed as possible so the dress code was casual - no ties necessary!
There were no strict timings and people could come and go as they pleased as the wedding reception took place in the bar of an art deco theatre on the beach and then on to our beach huts for cake and toasts. We provided a BBQ at the theatre for all the guests, which was manned, by my husband, his best man and our close friends. Centerpieces for the tables in the theatre were pineapples that were sprayed gold the morning of the wedding with food colouring by my maid of honor. We really wanted the day to be spent predominantly on the beach, not only because we love nothing more then a day at the beach but because it would require very little decorating!
We have a four year old and so we wanted to ensure children were well taken care of and entertained. We provided bouncy hoppers for them and also large ones for the adults, which was very amusing as the adults raced the children up and down the promenade. When thinking about decorations and ways to entertain we tried to use as many things as we could find already in our home to save on spending, this was a great way to ensure our wedding was centered around us and not necessarily themed although looking through the photographs it very organically seemed to become a 1950s/Hawaiian themed occasion!
Choosing the right photographer is so important and to us it was one of the biggest costs but well worth it as Boy Called Ben captured the feel of the day perfectly. I would say if you were working on a budget put aside as much of it as possible for a really brilliant photographer. We chose only to have one group photograph and just let him snap away as the day unfolded, that resulted in such natural pictures that looking through them is like watching a film of our special day, no awkward smiles and no moments missed.
I thought that planning a budget wedding would be the hardest thing and I was worried that I would regret not waiting longer and saving more but we had the best day ever and looking back we wouldn’t have changed a thing, even the things that went wrong (I badly hurt my foot half way through the planning and ended up hopping down the aisle in a plaster cast) just added to our enjoyment and we are just so so happy to be Mr. and Mrs. Williams!