Weddings – Money Saving tips for your Big Day

I probably don’t need to tell you that weddings cost a fortune – believe me, I know! I got married in September last year (Have a nosey here!), and we saved and paid for everything within a year with a bit of help from family along the way.

There are a hundred and one things to pay for, and it all soon adds up. Before you know it, you’ve spent at least £10,000 on one day. ONE DAY! (And to be honest that’s probably being sensible, too). In the year of planning and executing the wedding, my husband and I found ways to save and things to compromise on that kept things within sensible realms of spending, but without necessarily going without.

Forget the Favours

What’s the point in wedding favours anyway? We spend time worrying about it, and then I thought, if I went to a wedding and thought it had cost the lovely couple a fortune just to give me some novelty chocolates I’d scoff down in seconds, I’d feel terrible! Wedding guests are privileged even to be there in the first place, you don’t need to shell out gifts! Which brings me on to…

Trim the Guest List
Composing a guest list can be a tricky thing. By having less people you’ll save money on food and drink, but you might not wish to leave people out. There are many guides out there to help you but my advice would be this – invite who you want to be there. If money is an issue, keep the ceremony & Wedding breakfast small, and invite your wider friend groups to the evening party. If you can’t trim the guest list down, don’t worry, because you could…

Get Creative With the Cake
Forget about the traditional iced 4 tier monstrosity. Simple and rustic Chic is in! Maybe even think about making it yourself (but remember that taking on too much before the big day could end in tears!) or getting one of the chefs in the family to do it. It’ll make a big difference to your budget, and family love to help in whatever way they can when it comes to your special day. My cake was made for me by an Aunt on my husband’s side of the family, and it was delicious! 

triple tier minty goodness!
Fruit cake, chocolate and lemon and poppyseed. Yum!

Make Some of the Decor

There are loads of things you can make to add to the decor yourself, like the bunting. Don’t go out and buy it when you could make it for next to nothing. It’ll take more time, but you’ll have more of a budget to play with! We created a photo wall using string, pegs, and some cute postcards that cost 80p each from Paperchase! Visit your local outlet places as well – we picked up boxes of tealight holders, bunting and luggage labels for our seating tags for outlet prices. We had reams and reams of fairy lights, too!!

photo wall

This also applies when it comes to invitations – my husband designed ours and we got the printed through a contact I had at work for free! If you’re not creative, there are lots of great small companies you can approach to make paper themes wedding invites!

Table flowers can also be covered off with relative inexpensive by saving jam jars for a year and using wild flowers!

Wildflower bouquet
my table centres

Marry Out of Peak Season
Marrying during peak season is nice, but it isn’t essential. Marrying out of peak season, on an unusual day will save you a load of money. Just make sure you let all of your guests know well in advance so they can get the time off work – remember – it’s your day!

Rent Your Outfits
Why buy your wedding outfits when they’re probably only going to sit there forever after never to be used again? This is especially true of ushers and bridesmaids. Rent them instead! You’ll save a fortune on dresses, suits, and shoes. 

I turned to Etsy for some of my bridal accessories, and i didn’t need to compromise on anything – I bought some beautiful things and well within reasonable price!

Ask for Favours Rather Than Gifts

Instead of asking for gifts from your family, ask for favours instead. We never had a wedding list, but close family wanted to know what we wanted as a wedding gift. My mother paid for my dress and my Dad chucked in for the catering! . Usually couples put a poem on their invites, requesting financial help versus gifts – people do understand that picking our your own things is much better and less stressful!

Make your own Playlist
Why get a DJ when you can make your own playlist? You can include songs you know you’ll like, and songs that will get everybody up and dancing. You can even include songs especially for other couples that have attended, or ask for suggestions on your RSVP cards! I spent hours crafting playlists – one for the dinner, one for the first dance, and then a couple of playlists for the evening party! It was fun, personal and I got so many comments from my guests on my epic song choices!

fairy Lights

In short, your mantra should be, “It’s our day”. I can’t stress that enough to people who are planning. Family are important, sure, but your wedding day is a reflection of you and your partner’s personalities, and compromise on your choices should be minimised! If you’re soon to be married, congratulations.

Happily married

My Wedding: Who made it special

For those of you who are new to my blog you may not know that I got married in October of this year. It was such a special and amazing day, and I’m such a lucky woman to have met and fell in love with a man who is also my best friend.

Anyway, mushiness aside, I’ve been meaning to write a post to recommend all of the amazing people who provided services to us to make our day so special.

Let’s start with the most important piece of the day – my dress!

The Dress

I had a bit of a debacle with my dress – this dress was actually not the original one I set my heart on. The first was a totally unstructured lace dress (very 20’s) that fit me like a glove off the hanger yet the new dress that was ordered, apparently the same size, arrived from the supplier and I was convinced it was not the same dress at all – 4 inches too short, ill-fitting… I was distraught! that was until I fell instantly in love with a dress on the mannequin that was definitely not there when I ordered the first! The dress is Alfred Angelo, purchased from Beryl Cottons, in Warrington, Cheshire.



Shoes were Debut from Debenhams.


The Flowers

I chose pastel hydrangeas for my flowers, and white versions for my bridesmaids. The bouquets were creations of Northern Flower based in Manchester’s trendy Northern Quarter. Massive kudos to Rowan and her team who put up with my indecisiveness throughout the whole process! Rowan also created the table flowers for me.




For my hair I asked my childhood hairdresser to come along and sort out the collective wigs of myself, my mum and my bridesmaids. Kate from Bobbits in Warrington rose valiantly to the task, especially with me. I changed my mind ON THE DAY. So the fact that she got my style bob on, is a testament to how she can understand requirements!

The Transport

I fell completely in love with a huge double decker bus at a wedding fair – I just had to have it! It’s a great little Liverpool-based company, whose staff are very passionate about their business. Follow them on Twitter or check out their website!


Wedding big red bus photo

Vintage Crockery

I was adamant that I wanted everyone to be served tea alongside their dessert – we didn’t have a set dessert (more on that in a moment) but had a village fete style help-yourself table! You’d be surprised how hard this was to get – this type of business is abundant in the South, but up North? Thank goodness for the lovely Debbie at hirevintageteasetsHer beautiful crockery was such a talking point and really made a wonderful feature of the day.

The Catering

Our fantastic caterer was the wizard Mike Harrison, creator of Chef to go. I knew Mike through work, and contacted him to discuss potentially catering our wedding pretty much as soon as we got engaged and began the planning process. He sold it to us within minutes. He’s an artist in the kitchen – he really knows what he is doing, and believe me he had to get creative when he was 1 oven down in a catering tent!

He created canapes for us, amazing sharing platters, provided artisan pies and mouthwatering desserts. Not only that, but he brought all the beautiful tableware, and his own staff.

The Venue

We held our ceremony at the striking Arts Centre within the beautiful grounds of Bolton School. We could have had the great hall, however with only 60 guests to fill a space for 300, I felt we would rather rattle around in there quite a bit! The sparse Nordic feel of the Arts Centre appealed to us, and as we were in and out inside of an hour it didn’t matter necessarily!

The school itself is rather Hogwarts-like… if that is your sort of thing!

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The venue for the Wedding Breakfast and party was a private venue which we had to kit out ourselves totally – and I mean TOTALLY. We constructed the stage, the dance floor, ordered in tables, chairs, bought miles of fairy lights and bunting… All of that effort was worth it, as I can safely say nobody’s wedding will ever look like mine!

Here it was before we got stuck in…

and here is is after hours of toil from my amazing husband and family, and the wonderful suppliers who made the day so special.


The Music

If you’ve ever been to  wedding fair I’d be very surprised if there wasn’t a string quartet there. We chose Endymion String Quartet to perform at the ceremony and afterwards at the gin reception, and they were wonderful. We had a very geeky repertoire, with lots of movie themes, Disney… you name it! I only wish I wasn’t as busy greeting people so that I could have stopped to listen more intently! They were happy to learn and arrange new songs that were not already in their repertoire, too.

For our evening entertainment, the Parallel Oreos – Bolton’s answer to the 1975 – kicked off the party in style. These boys are adorable, right? And boy can they rock!

So many people made my big day very special. I’ve been meaning to do this post for ages (I married late September) but it has taken time to show the wedding photos to all of my family and friends. Finally I should thank Emma from Emma Boileau Photography– she was wonderful – chatty, friendly, and putting all my guests at ease. Without her I couldn’t have captured the day! I believe she is currently meandering in Thailand, the lucky thing!

Thank you for reading, and you can find all my inspiration on my pinterest board, the Vintage Bride or My Wedding.


Jessica and Matthew’s Barn Wedding// Manchester Wedding Photographer

My wedding – as blogged by the wonderful Emma

Emma Boileau Photography

Here’s a beautiful barn wedding to feast your eyes on this Monday afternoon. Jessica and Matthew were married at the rather impressive Bolton School for Boys. A huge celebration followed afterwards in a beautiful barn set in the grounds of Jessica’s boss’s house….what a lovely boss hey?

Gin cocktails flowed, some seriously good food was eaten (seafood and pies, what a cracking combination), and then everyone made their way onto the dance floor for an impressive display of dance moves. Oh, and I almost forgot the incredibly talented Jessica getting up with the wedding band to sing – she rocked that stage with her amazing voice. A perfect recipe for a brilliant wedding day.


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All things Bridal: I’m on a countdown!

Hello everyone, me again!

For those of you that don’t know, I am getting married – and it’s only 23 days left to go till the big day!! I’m getting really excited now! Needless to say, the wedding has been the main recipient of the bulk of my disposable income, so my bargain hunting and sharing has gone a little quiet of late.

However, who says I haven’t found some good deals for the wedding?! NOT ME! 

Something Blue:

I was told that the cheap and nasty garters were traditional. Ok, but wow I didn’t realise how nasty and how cheap we were talking, so today I took to Etsy to find a solution – This stunning yet simple lace garter with a navy ribbon. Made to order depending on your measurement, this lovely item came in just under £10 including shipping. No compromise on cost for a stunning item. My dress is definitely towards cream rather than ivory, so this rich lace will look stunning. The males of the party are wearing navy ties, the same colour as the ribbon!

il_570xN.628392750_8oy0Something New:

I was really keen on this stunning bridal hair vine pictured here, but the cost almost made me choke – I couldn’t afford to spend over £200 on a headdress!



So again I turned to trust Etsy, and browsed for a good while until I found something beautiful yet affordable – I pushed the budget a teeny bit to get this one for £55, but it will definitely be worth it on the day.



Something Borrowed:

I am being loaned some cure pearl drop earrings by my aunt, and I think  my grandmother’s 2 carat sapphire ring might make an appearance as well, if I flutter my eyelashes at my mother! 

Something Old:

I guess the above could count, but really if you think about it, diamonds take millions of years to form under intense pressure and at extreme temperatures. I’m definitely a science loving-geek, so I will be able to argue that one! My ring was from Jenny Jones in Manchester, and is custom made in vintage-style.



Everything else:


If you’re feeling nosy, you can check me out on pinterest and nosy at all my wedding pin boards, but I’ve included a small gallery below of images that have inspired my wedding. Hope you enjoyed this post, and I will be looking to post images of the day after I’ve returned from honeymoon in USA!

Shops featured on Etsy : venusshop, Bewitchinglace

Crockery Hire: Sitting Pretty Vintage Tea Set Hire