We have both been married before and consciously set out this time around to spend just as much as we needed to to have a really good day, but not to get into any debt to do it or ‘waste’ money on details hardly anyone would notice or buy into the ‘must have’ mentality. We avoided paying the ‘W tax’ wherever we could, and used recycled or sustainably produced and ethically sourced products wherever possible.
Ceremony venue (& decorations – we had to use the ‘approved supplier’)
Food (But it was amazing, covered every possible dietary requirement, and the leftovers were taken to a local soup kitchen at the end of the night)
Grooms’ suit, shirt & shoes (but we kind of saved too because its all stuff he’ll get good use out of!)
Hotel for night before and wedding night
Engagement ring – we didn’t bother with one at all originally but at Christmas got sick of people either asking to see ‘the ring’ or just giving my bare hand funny looks so we just got me a cute amethyst solitaire from Pandora.
Invites – we designed our own and had them printed quite cheaply
Music – we are both musicians, so we asked a group of friends to play at the ceremony. The only cost was my time and some printing as I arranged the music and made books for each of them, and a few beers as they gave up an evening to rehearse for us.
Dresses & Shoes – my dress was actually a bridesmaid dress which I adapted, as I didn’t want white/ivory anyway. Shoes were on sale. Bridesmaids dresses we found on sale after christmas, bought one to fit the older girl and a second to cut down for my flower girl.
Best Man etc. outfits – we just asked the men to wear suits (Best man actually liked my husband’s so much he went and bought himself the same one), and bought them ties from an outlet store.
Reception venue – we found a lovely place with the right relaxed vibe very close to our ceremony, no hire fee just a minimum spend which the food & welcome drinks covered 2/3 of anyway.
Reception Decorations – we went very minimal as the place is very quirky. I made table runners, birdcage centrepieces and bunting to make things look a bit more ‘weddingy’ and tie our colour theme in with the room.
Hair & makeup – sister did hair, neice/bridesmaid did makeup
Jewellery – my Mother-In-Law made my hair ornament and we bought me an artisan made silver & glass necklace and earring set which was stunning but embarrassingly cheap!
Flowers – I went with very realistic looking silk, mainly because of various peoples’ allergies, because real might not have stood up to our outdoor ceremony if the weather was bad, and they make great keepsakes; and as a bonus it was less than a third of the cost of the equivalent real ones.
Saving by omission – we didn’t have an engagement party or specific hen/stag parties, there were no ‘getting ready’ outfits and no wedding favours.
No transport – we walked!
Entertainment – we didn’t have any! We wanted our wedding to have a relaxed vibe so we just made a couple of different playlists – one of chilled and swing music, one more upbeat (and louder!). The only thing we spent any money on here was a box of tactile games and clouring books etc for the kids, all of which either went home with them or we have kept for young house guests.
Our Photographer was also a big save – we’re very lucky to have a good friend who is just starting out as a wedding photographer so we paid peanuts. If we didn’t know him though, we would have spent what we needed to on a good pro.