This week we have Kirsten of The Little Wedding Helper giving some great advice about styling your wedding venue without spending a fortune!
I often say to the couples that I work with (& often anyone else that will listen!) that it really doesn’t cost a ridiculous amount of money to make your wedding reception & celebration look amazing. I love helping couples think outside the box a little when it comes to decorating their receptions and this can often involve using beautiful items that have been loved by past generations or loved by a bride who has used them in her wedding & wants to see them pass onto another to enjoy. I guess it’s a way of recycling decoration and I love this. It’s almost like passing on the love. In these tough financial times I have really noticed couples thinking a lot more about what they are spending their budgets on, what’s important to them & wanting to create a celebration that is meaningful, personal & full of detail.
This wedding reception was held in a local village hall & a venue that I love transforming. The couple wanted a reception that all their guests felt relaxed & comfortable at. Long trestle tables were covered with white tablecloths & the runners were hired from a previous couple that I had worked with & whose mum had handmade these runners. She had also made the bunting so these were also hired.
The centrepieces were collections of vintage china & ornaments that the bride had collected over many months with some pieces being quite sentimental from grandparents & friends.
Flowers were bought from the local flower market & together created a really simple but beautiful look. I loved how a close friend made the cupcakes that doubled up as place names. This wedding didn’t cost ridiculous amounts of money but it did have massive amounts of love, detail and colour! What do you think?
Kirsten provides wedding styling services to couples in the Bristol area and beyond. For more information, visit her website www.littleweddinghelper.co.uk
In a fantastic blog for all you DIY brides, Lindsey Kitchin, of The White Horse Flower Company will be giving your her tops tips for saving money when planning your wedding flowers.
As a florist I see brides almost every day planning their wedding flowers, and it must be said, flowers really do lift any occasion by adding both colour and natural beauty. They set the scene and say so much about you and your day. In this current economic climate I see brides who simply want me to make their bouquets and are keen to roll up their sleeves and have a go at arranging their own reception flowers. Fair play to you I say! Here are my top tips to help you along the way…
Firstly, look through magazines particularly those with wedding flowers in, these will have lots of inspiration to help you formulate ideas and will help you decide which flowers you like and those you don’t. Mock up a few samples at home and ask what friends and family think or perhaps enrol on a florist’s workshop where you can learn how to make a table centre or tie a bouquet This could even be part of your hen celebrations? Lots of florists run classes and you’re sure to glean lots of tips from the professionals!
Not, for one moment, am I suggesting you’re not capable of putting together a complex floral arrangement, but if you’re organising a wedding, there are many facets to the day – flowers being just one of these. Others will also require your attention, so it’s important to bear in mind that your flowers ideally, need to be prepared the day before if possible, so simplicity and speed may be the key – particularly if you have lots tables! Consider using vases or containers which take just a few stems and actually add something to the look themselves. For example, pretty jugs, cut glass vases and little votives (in a myriad of colours) – originally designed for tea lights, these can look lovely with just a single stem, dotted about on the tables, some with flowers in and others with tea lights. Jam jars are very popular at the moment, tied with ribbon or even garden twine, they are cheap and economical and can be given away at the end of the reception as gifts. Check out car boot, jumble sales and charity shops to buy cheaply (and in bulk)!
What colours do you like? What, if any, are the colours running through your wedding wardrobe – bridesmaid’s dresses, invitation details, ribbons and trimmings? All these can tie in with your flowers. A splash of bright colour goes a long way so consider adding bolder colours into the centre pieces. A few single stems of bright coloured flowers such as jewel like anenomes, roses, tulips or dahlias clustered at various heights can look really pretty and won’t eat into your budget too much.
What time of year are you getting married? Seasonal flowers will most likely be in abundance and therefore less expensive than varieties flown in from sunnier climes. What’s locally grown and what’s in yours or your family’s gardens which could be pillaged and picked? Consider blossoms, tulips and daffodils in spring – there are literally hundreds of varieties to choose from. Then there are roses, peonies and sweet peas during summer; dahlias, sweet William, delphiniums and sedums later on in the year to name a few. If you have a year or more to plan, note down who has what growing in their gardens and see what could be realistically grown or cultivated for your wedding day, then, perhaps add to these from your local market. Consider using plenty of greenery amongst the flowers to add body and substance. Often the greenery alone can look stunning, what about using herbs, grasses or even cow parsley or perhaps trails of ivy in winter arrangements?
Lastly and by no means least, what are your talents? Are you more of an organiser than a creative sort? If so, don’t bite off more than you can chew, this will only add unnecessary stress before your big day. Who do you know who would be willing to pick flowers and arrange them for you – family or friends? Keeping the flowers simple, arranging them in simple pretty eye catching containers and not making them too large is crucial. Finally, this is your wedding day – it’s exhausting enough even if you’re not arranging the flowers, so get together with friends and family, share the workload and have some fun along the way!
Lindsey Kitchin is a freelance florist and owns The White Horse Flower Company based in Newbury, Berkshire. A florist for over 10 years, creating and arranging flowers for all occasions; she teaches and runs floral workshops but is mostly known for her beautiful wedding flowers.
The White Horse Flower Company. “Exquisite Flowers – Beautifully Arranged” www.whfco.co.uk
This week we have some fantastic budget-friendly advice from Genevieve of www.gohen.co.uk.
Great news for all of the stressed maid-of-honour’s and anxious bride-to-be’s: it is possible to plan your hen night on a purse-friendly budget! There are some simple steps you can follow so that your hen party guests have a great time and the financials are kept under wraps. Here are our five top tips!
1. Pick a date early on
This is the best way to get the ball rolling anyway, and you can choose a date around everyone’s budgets. For the best value flights and accommodation choose dates outside of the main summer weeks; often spring and autumn are better times to go away as there are less crowds and usually pleasant weather.
2. Choose a destination asap
If you pick a destination early on then you’re likely to benefit from cheaper flights, more activities to choose from and a lot less stress! As a general rule flights do tend to be cheaper when booked in advance so decide where you want to head with the girls early on. If you’re stuck for ideas then you might like to know that the top hen party destinations at the moment are London, Edinburgh, Marbella, Ibiza, Barcelona and Brighton.
3. Don’t invite too many people
You’re probably also in the process of making a wedding guest list, but be sure to bear in mind that when deciding who to invite to the pre-nuptials you should be fair but firm. It doesn’t matter that Shirley down the road invited you to her hen party in the local pub 10 years ago; don’t feel obliged to invite her to party with you in Prague. There’s a good chance that not everyone will be able to make it no matter when you decide to carry it out so there might be a chance to invite Shirley later on. Stay organised and make a note of who you’ve invited so that if the plans change you can easily let them know.
4. Keep track of your financials
Make sure you note down how much everyone owes and stay on top of this. The sooner you can get the money off of your guests the sooner you can all relax, so make sure everyone’s aware of the situation. Let people know early on the costs of the weekend so that there aren’t any surprises later on and they can commit. It might be a good idea to create a spreadsheet with the name of each guest alongside whether they’ve paid and how much they have left to pay.
5. Have a great time!
You don’t need a massive budget to enjoy yourselves – if you’re with all the girls and have a few fabulous things planned then you’re bound to have a great time! With all the stresses of wedding planning you deserve some quality time to relax, so gather all your best friends and have a wonderful hen weekend!
This is a guest post by Genevieve from hen party organisers GoHen. For hundreds of great ideas and top destinations check out www.gohen.com
Weddings aren’t just expensive for the Bride & Groom, the costs can quickly add up for the guests too! If you are worrying about spending too much money on attending weddings, read our tips on helping you to save money.
A recent study revealed that the cost of attending a wedding can be as high as £400 when you take into account going on hen/stag dos, transport, accommodation, getting a new outfit and of course buying a wedding gift.
If you have several weddings to attend in one year, finding the spare money for this can get very difficult! Here are some ways you can cut the cost of attending a wedding:
1. Plan ahead
When you receive a wedding invitation, get online as soon possible and book your travel and accommodation as you can often get deals for booking early. Remember to also take advantage of any discounts the wedding reception venue might be giving to wedding guests. If you need to book two nights away, think about booking the first night at a budget hotel such as a Travelodge or Premier Inn (where prices start from £19), and then splashing out on a luxury hotel for the night of the wedding.
2. Share the cost
If the rest of your family or friends are all attending the same wedding, consider sharing transport and accommodation. Off season you can often book holiday cottages for short breaks which can be a lot cheaper when split between a large group than individual hotel rooms.
You can sometimes have multiple weddings to attend in a year, but don’t feel the pressure of having to wear a different dress or suit for every event. Buy something quite simple – you can change the look of a dress with different accessories, hat, or jacket. Men may think renting a suit is cheaper, but if you have a lot of weddings to attend, buying a suit could work out cheaper, especially if you plan in advance and hit the sales.
4. Bridesmaids and groomsmen
Sometimes you may be asked to buy your own shoes for the big day. Again, planning ahead is key so that you can take advantage of any end of season sales. You can also find some amazing second hand or never worn items here on Bride2Bride – just make sure you look for something in a neutral colour so they can be worn again.
5. Offer your services
Do you have an interesting car or special skill such as floristry? If you own a vintage car or campervan, or have a talent for flower arranging or cake making, why not offer your services as a wedding gift? Not only will you feel a part of the wedding, it will save both you and the happy couple cash. If you are creative, you could also offer to make wedding decorations or favours.
6. Be smart with wedding gifts
If the Bride &: Groom have specified a gift list, make sure you don’t leave gift buying until the last minute when all the cheaper items might be have been snapped up! Alternatively you can also be creative and get a more personal wedding present. We once got up to take a photo of the sunrise on our friend’s wedding day and got it framed for them. This was a really personal gift, didn’t cost us a huge amount, but sometimes thoughtful gifts like this are priceless! You could also consider making a photo collage of any photos of the couple or perhaps make something to mark their wedding day.
Have you recently attended a wedding? What are your top tips for saving money? We’d love to hear them so please leave your comments on our Facebook page
If you have a small wedding budget, you need to look for ways to cut costs wherever you can. Cutting the costs on the wedding catering can be done without your guests feeling that they have just been to a cheap wedding!
By changing small things, you can really make a big difference in the cost of your wedding catering.
Timing of your wedding
Having a wedding smack bang in the middle of the day almost guarantees a higher food bill because you may need to serve canapes, dinner, plus a further snack in the evening. Why not consider a mid‐afternoon wedding, have a few light bites with a welcome drink (see below), a main meal at 6pm ish, and then just wedding cake and extra nibbles in the evening.
Don’t feel that you have to have an expensive champagne for both/either of these. I personally don’t like champagne that much, so it would have been wasted on me at our wedding! We opted for a lovely local blush cider for our welcome drink which was a lot cheaper than champagne. For summer weddings, something like Pimms & Lemonade could also be a cheaper alternative. We did go for champagne for toasting, but steer clear of anything too expensive as most people won’t appreciate it having (probably) consumed a fair bit of alcohol by that stage!
Alternatives to canapes
Serving canapes to guests with a welcome drink can really add on the costs. Consider lower cost alternatives such as antipasti, where you serve a selection of cold meats, cheeses, ciabatta type breads and roasted tomatoes etc (we had this at our wedding and it went down very well!)
Don’t serve a traditional three course meal
There are some lovely alternatives to three course meal, including sharing platters, hog roasts & BBQs. And by BBQ, I’m not suggesting you have a few burnt burgers and sorry for themselves sausages – BBQs can still be done in a really stylish way with marinated meats, corn on the cob, salads & freshly baked breads. For the vegetarians haloumi kebabs are also a winner! This can be a great way to save money, as not only do you avoid having to serve a starter, but you cut down on labour costs as people serve themselves rather than paying for extra waiting staff.
Have your wedding cake as dessert
Wedding cakes are a feature of most weddings, so why double up on serving two sweet things! If you want a traditional fruit cake you can keep, consider doing just one layer like this, and the others as a sponge cakes which you can serve with fresh fruit and cream. Doing it this way means that you will not only save money, but people will actually appreciate your wedding cake rather than being to stuffed to manage a piece!
Don’t lay on a full evening buffet
Rather than trying to provide a full evening buffet, why not consider cheaper alternatives such as serving bacon or sausage baps, a cheese and biscuit platter or something totally different (like John and I did) of toasted crumpets! These alternatives can help to reduce your wedding spend and provide something a bit different!
Do you have any top tips to reduce your wedding catering spend? Please share them via Facebook below:
For our wedding I thought the lighting would be really important in creating the right atmosphere and giving the look Sophie wanted.
(Our wedding reception was in a village hall). I explored lots of options including battery powered candles in jars, light strings and glowing paper lanterns. In the end we settled on the paper lanterns – inspired by photos like this one:
I looked at putting individual battery powered lights in each, but I was put off by the idea of turning on each lantern – and it was beginning to cost a lot. I then came up with a very simple solution that I thought I share.
All you have to do is purchase paper lanterns and strings of LED fairy lights (battery powered for convenience and safety). Work out what length you need – then tape bunches of individual LEDs together and hang a lantern over the bunch. Very easy. You do get exposed LEDS between lanterns – but for us this didn’t matter.
If you want to hang anything heavier than a few paper lanterns the LED string itself won’t be strong enough – in this case run some strong garden wire alongside the LED string and make sure the lanterns hang on this. This is something I’ve done in our conservatory with lanterns:
Have you been inspired to make your own lantern strings for your wedding reception?
Check out the paper laterns for sale on Bride2Bride and light strings too!
Or you could try searching Amazon.co.uk for battery LED light strings
Your wedding reception can take one of the biggest chunks of your budget so any savings here can be crucial.You might think that a traditional big hotel reception is your only choice, but there are plenty of other lower cost options to help keep your wedding spend down.
A village hall can be a fantastic cheap wedding venue choice. They are often inexpensive to hire (most village halls can be hired for a couple of hundred pounds), and normally include all your tables, chairs and other equipment too. They then leave you with the flexibility to have your own catering, drinks and decorations – you just need to have a few willing helpers to help you set up and clear away afterwards. Websites such as www.hallshire.com can help you search, or just search for village halls in your local area.
These can be a little pricier than village halls, but still offer a good value for money centrally located wedding reception venue. The buildings can often be fairly grand without the price tag of a posh hotel. Check out your local council website for details of what’s available near you. The picture featured here is from Sheffield Town Hall .
There are hundreds of pubs up and down the country that make fantastic venues for your wedding reception. They often have lovely gardens, beautiful countryside settings and great private hire function rooms which are great cheap wedding venues and the perfect setting for a lovely relaxed wedding. They’ll also be able to serve up some great pub grub for your wedding breakfast.
Local Sports Clubs
Most local sports clubs have a club house that may be available to hire and this could be particularly perfect if your local team is special to your or your fiancé. They often have cheap hire charges and again have all the same benefits as a village hall in terms of flexibity of decoration and catering. Ask around your local area or do a bit of internet research to see what’s around in your area.
Some hotels offer fantastic all inclusive wedding packages – Britannia hotels offer a wedding package which starts at £999 and includes: Bucks Fizz welcome & 3 Course Wedding breakfast for 50 guests, evening buffet for 100 guests, room hire and red carpet. See the Britannia Hotels website for more information. Other similar packages are offered by Old English Inns, andHoliday Inns.
Do you have any tips for budget-friendly wedding reception venues? Please share theme on our Facebook page!
If you are on a tight wedding budget, having to also think about getting gifts for your wedding party can add another layer of stress that you don’t need!
It’s a lovely tradition and a great way to say thank you for all of their support, but you need to be practical and not go overboard on big presents that will cut into your wedding budget.
A great way to save money on this is to get presents for your wedding party that are part of their outfit, but can be kept by them afterwards as a memento of the day. Here are some ideas:
Cufflinks are always a good option – they are needed as part of the outfit and can be used again afterwards. To make these a bit different from the ordinary, why not consider getting personalised engraved cufflinks like these: www.bride2bride.co.uk/listings/2624/engraved-best-man-laser-etched-edge-cufflinks-with-box .
These super sweet personalised slates will look so pretty carried alongside a posy, but will also be a lovely item for them to hang on their bedroom door after the wedding!www.bride2bride.co.uk/listings/1855/engraved-flowergirl-slate-heart.
Something you could also consider is getting them an activity pack – this will keep them entertained and double as a fantastic keep sake for after the wedding. Check out this one for sale on Amazon.
Choosing a lovely necklace or bracelet that will compliment your bridesmaids outfit but that can also be versatile to be used again afterwards is a great idea. What girl doesn’t love some pretty jewellery! Shops like Debenhams do some great sterling silver sets that won’t break the bank. Have a look at their website to get an idea of what they offer.
Another lovely idea is to make gifts for your wedding party – I’m thinking of parents here especially who would I’m sure would love something a bit more personal. How about doing a photo book of old family photos, or selecting a couple of special ones to get framed? Sites like bank Photobox offer some great deals on photo printing.
You could also think about buying a plant rather than flowers (this is what we did for our mum’s) as you can pay such a lot for a bouquet of fresh flowers and they will only last a week or so, but a plant can be enjoyed and treasured for years to come. Have a look at sites like Gift a Plant for some inspiration.
Have you got any top tips to share for budget friendly wedding gifts?
This week I’d like to introduce the first guide written by the lovely Emma of fromalditoharrods.com. She’ll be giving tips on how to haggle with your wedding venue.
When choosing a wedding venue, you may be put off by the cost of hiring your wedding venue. What’s more, some venues will stipulate that you must use their own exclusive caterers alongside other exclusive suppliers, or charge a hefty corkage charge if you want to supply your own alcohol. Remember that your wedding venue is a business too, and whilst they have their margins, there might be circumstances where they are happy to accept less money in order to secure a booking.
Be confident when asking for a discount. Know what to ask for. Asking for a specific thing, such as a certain percentage off your booking, free corkage or alterations to your wedding package.
- If you are prepared to get married on a weekday or outside of wedding season, the venue may be more willing to haggle – any income is better than no income.
- If you are able to, offer to pay it all upfront, or a large deposit. It means more money in their pocket right now and helps the venue to feel more secure about your booking.
- Knock off items that you don’t need – whether it be dessert, tea and coffee or some other option that you don’t need for your big day, ask what the savings would be to knock it off.
- Think about what you might be able to offer the venue. If you are a blogger with a decent social media following, they might see this as a chance to advertise. Likewise, you could offer to use your wedding photos for their advertising purposes.
- If your venue comes with exclusive suppliers then remember that the venue will be getting a commission from the suppliers. If you are having a large wedding then use this to your advantage when asking for a discount.
Some of these tips can also be applied to other areas of your wedding planning, such as the wedding dress, other outfits, catering and even your wedding rings.
This is a guest post by Emma who runs the money saving and money making blog From Aldi to Harrods
This week we’ve got another fab guide from Emma of fromalditoharrods.com where she’ll be giving tips on how to do your own wedding flowers.
With smaller bouquets starting at around £30-£40, not to mention the bride’s bouquet, floral decorations and buttonholes, wedding flowers can be a big expense. You can reduce the cost of your wedding flowers by DIYing them. Whilst it may seem like a scary project, DIYing your flowers is easy, but it is time consuming.
First of all, you will need to know what you want. Choosing flowers that are in season (or pick silk flowers) will help you to keep your costs down. Scour the internet and wedding magazines for inspiration and keep your eyes peeled for suitable vases – we managed to get 1l glass milk bottles for just 50p each. Once you have decided on a design, you will be able to get started.
Things you’ll need:
- Flowers – either real or silk
- Floral tape
- Oasis/flower foam
- Boxes to transport your flowers – you can get boxes for free from supermarkets.
If you want to order your flowers online but at wholesale prices, try Triangle Nursery.
Once you have all your supplies, you will need to:
- Choose a design and do a test before the big day. This gives you an idea of how long the bouquets and arrangements take to create, as well as whether you need to purchase any more supplies.
- Rope in a few family members and friends to help you to create the arrangements. Make them the day before the wedding – it will be too much stress to make them on your wedding day. You won’t be able to do your buttonholes the day before though.
- If you can refrigerate your flowers then great, but if not, you can store them in a cool, shaded area and make sure to water them.
Remember that your own wedding bouquets and arrangements isn’t cheap, it is just cheaper than getting them from a florist. If you don’t feel confident enough to make your bouquets then you could stick to making your floral arrangements and getting a professional to make your bouquets and buttonholes.
This is a guest post by Emma who runs the money saving and money making blog From Aldi to Harrods
Have you been inspired to have a go at doing your own wedding flowers? Why not browse all vases and jars currently for sale on Bride2Bride by clicking this link!