16 Tips for a Stress Free Wedding on a Budget

Being told that you are the most laid back, relaxed bride a vendor has ever met has to be one of the best compliments you can get and to have not just my photographer tell me this but also my wedding planner made me feel pretty awesome! The fact that I was so relaxed about things made planning my wedding on a budget actually enjoyable, rather than stressful to the point that I don't recoil away in horror at the thought of helping my friends and family plan a wedding in the future. So, how do you not freak out on the lead up to your wedding day you ask? Read on for my sixteen tips on how to have a (mostly) stress free wedding!


One: Pin, pin pin
Pinterest played a HUGE part in helping me get all of my ideas together and keep them in one place. I had boards for invitations, boards for centrepieces, boards for hairstyles - if it was wedding related, I had a board for it. Pinterest means you don't need to have lots of cut out scraps of magazines lying around needing a home which means no extra clutter and no losing the things you love - win win! I quickly noticed a theme popping out in the things that I was pinning as well, which was really helpful when it came to telling my wedding planner what I wanted (I know you are thinking if this is a budget wedding how is there a wedding planner? Just trust me and read on!).

Two: Do NOT set a rigid budget
Setting a rigid budget will put you in the mind-set where you think 'I saved £100 on that, so I can spend £100 more on this'. Instead, set an affordable maximum price you are prepared to pay for each of the things you want and do not go above it. This sounds simple enough to say, but all brides quickly learn how easy it is to start spending more than you really want to. Personally, I didn't allocate a set budget, I wrote down what I was prepared to pay and by doing some serious shopping around came in below for everything. I kept a close eye on what I spent by using a spreadsheet that I created in excel (I am a HUGE spreadsheet user). I also built a guest list manager using excel because I am apparently a crazy organisation freak - who knew?

Three: Shop around
Wedding vendors are seriously competitive, so shopping around will always get you a better price. It is so easy to fall in love with one thing in particular, but don't let the enchantment put you in a position where you are spending more than you want too. I found buying online saved me so much money. My wedding belt, necklace and earrings were all bought on Amazon and imported from China. The jewellery cost me a grand total of £6 and was stunning, so many people complimented it and couldn't believe it was so cheap. My wedding belt was £16 so a huge £134 cheaper than the belt the wedding dress store tried to sell me (and so, so, so much prettier too).



Four: Check out The Handcrafters Lounge on Facebook
The pressure is really on with weddings to make your wedding special and personal and the best way I found to get unique products was to visit The Handcrafters Lounge. You have to request to join but when you get accepted you have a virtual yellow pages of talented crafters at your fingertips who can make anything from burlap sacks for wine to a bunting cake topper (which I ended up forgetting to put on my cake). This group is honestly amazing, the crafters are so talented and easy to work with and the end result is that you get something specially made for your wedding. Perfect! The prices are reasonable and it made me feel great knowing that the money I was spending was going towards supporting a small business, with many of them being parents just like me. I can't stress enough how important it is to only use Paypal for your transactions however and never, ever pay gift as you won't receive any buyer protection which is the whole point in using Paypal rather than bank transferring!

Five: Don't be afraid to negotiate
Personally, I hate negotiating and haggling to get a price down - it makes me super anxious - so this was thankfully something that my husband did. All it took was a certain facial cue and he knew it was time to haggle - what a star! You won't always be successful with this but a common saying where I am from is 'shy bairns get nowt' - meaning if you don't ask, then you won’t get. It is always worth trying!

Six: Choosing the Venues
Choosing a venue is so hard because they are so expensive. You mention wedding and the price shoots up. Our ceremony venue was our local church because while we are not devote Christians, we are religious to some extent and the church has a lot of sentimentality in our family from christenings, weddings and what not. All in for the church it was £475 which included the cost of our certificates and because we had a church wedding we had no registrar fees to pay. After much deliberation about where to host the reception we decided on booking the function room at our local towns football club as it had just recently been renovated. The room itself was free save for a £50 deposit that was refunded once there were 50 guests in the room which was pretty easy for us considering we had more than 50 guests attending the daytime reception. Despite our reservations about 'scrimping' on the reception venue all of our guests commented on how fantastic the room looked and how beautiful the decorations were which made me feel so much better about not spending upwards of £2000 on a hotel reception.


Seven: Consider hiring a planner
So many people will think how on earth can you hire a wedding planner when you are on a tight budget? When it all came down to it though, it was actually cheaper to hire someone to do a package than it was to deal with vendors individually. All in we paid £1000 for church decoration, daytime and evening invitations (which were lasercut and to die for), place cards, centrepieces, evening entertainment, flowers for everyone, a wishing tree guest book, a vintage clock with our wedding time on, a vintage post-box for our cards and a sweet cart. The package included a cake as well, but we decided to make our own. When you put it into perspective, for invitations alone we were quoted over £350. Paying for each thing individually would have cost us a lot more than £1000. If you are local, our planner was The Balloon Fairy - I would highly recommend you check her out!

Eight: DIY the things you can
There is a huge sense of fulfillment in doing things yourself, although with your wedding you don't want to stress yourself out. Don't take on more than you can manage as the stress that will cause just isn't going to be worth the money you save. For our wedding we decided to save money and make the cake ourselves. I love baking cakes and my sister in law happens to be ridiculously talented in the kitchen which meant that we had two sets of pretty able hands and two people to share the stress. While I really enjoy cake decorating, having someone to take the lead on it was a weight off my shoulders and saved me a whole load of stress. It was so much fun to do and we even managed to squeeze in a wine night making sugar paste roses (we drank more wine than we made roses). The place card holders and cake stand were both also DIY jobs, with us re-purposing lots of the wood that we had left after cutting down three trees from our garden. The end result was gorgeous and gave the overall aesthetic a really rustic, vintage feel and best of all didn't cost us anything. I put together the cutest little boxes for my bridesmaids to give them when I asked them if they would be my bridesmaid which were super cheap and full of lovely, meaningful little things. I also custom made their bridesmaids gifts which we gave them during the speeches at the reception. If anyone is interested, I can do a post about how I put them together - just drop me a comment! 

Nine: Who you know really does matter
How many times have we all heard the saying 'it's not what you know, it's who you know'? While what you know is super helpful when it comes to the DIY aspects of your day, who you know can play a huge part in keeping prices down. For example; my sister in law's husband is super talented when it comes to working with wood, so after asking super nicely he not only cut our trees down in the summer but he also cut and sanded our place card holders and carved our cake stand. The photographer that we booked was actually my sister in laws photographer at her wedding in 2013. We got chatting to them on the day as they were kind enough to give us a lift from the ceremony to the wedding and we got on so well chatting away in the car. It ended up where they took our wedding booking despite them only taking mainly commercial work at this point and offering us an amazing deal which I will detail in the next tip...




Ten: Get the right photography package
Knowing our photographer meant we paid £550 for a £750 package which is a fab saving. The package included photography from getting ready in the morning up until our first dance and also included a guest book frame, four (large) prints of our choice and all of our photos on CD's with print license. If you've looked at photography yet ladies then you know that is an amazing deal. They even gifted us a framed print of a photograph of us reenacting a photo of Jason's parents on their wedding day which they brought to the reception - it was a ridiculously thoughtful gift for us and my in laws were so surprised and absolutely loved it when we gave it to them (there were a few happy tears).

Eleven: Make your own wedding album
You will notice our wedding package included our photos on a disk rather than an actual album. Traditionally newlyweds usually buy a wedding package which includes an (expensive) album which gets tucked away on top of a wardrobe somewhere. These days it ends up being more expense than it is worth, especially when there are so many fantastic deals available for photo books online. We ended up getting ours from Mixbook and spent a whole night putting it together customising every pages layout and decoration, which was a really sentimental moment for us and so much fun to go through all the photos and pick out our favourite ones. To make the experience even better, a quick google found us a discount code which meant that we got the book for £20 - an absolute bargain when you compare that with the price of albums from photographers and consider the fact that it was fully customised to our liking.

Twelve: Getting 'The' Dress for the right price
I bet you are thinking how can she have left the dress until this far down, but weddings are about so much more than the dress, and the dress is the part that generally sends brides spiralling out of budget. I will be honest, the first dress I fell in love with was £3000 and despite knowing I couldn't afford this I still went and tried it on, and of course I fell in love with it. £3000 for a budget bride just isn't going to happen though, so the dream was short lived and I decided I needed to get real about finding my dress. Enter the outlets. There are bridal outlets popping up all over the UK and a quick google will find one not far from you. There are rails and rails of dresses to try starting at £300 which is super affordable! I ended up falling in love with one that was £850... down from £1600 so was a huge saving and I felt amazing in it. My alterations were done by my friend’s mam meaning that the grand total cost for my dress was £900 which was definitely better than the £3000 I so desperately wanted to spend in the first place. It is so easy to let the dress take you over budget but keep shopping and insist that the sales assistants stick to your budget because falling in love with a dress you haven't budgeted for is awful - trust me!



Thirteen: Bridesmaids
This is such an important part of your wedding because your bridesmaids are there the whole way with you. I was able to leave planning my hen party to my bridesmaids and they did a fantastic job and I actually ended up with two hen nights! One in Newcastle with all my close friends and family and another in Leeds with just my bridesmaids where we went go karting (so much fun by the way). The most important thing to save on stress when it comes to your bridesmaids is to let them get on with what they are doing. Those who want to be involved will be, and those who don't will generally go with the flow of what is happening. You can't control people and you can't make them want to be involved when being a bridesmaid is more responsibility than they realised. Be upfront with them if you are concerned because at the end of the day you should be able to speak to your girls if you are worried about anything at all - including their involvement. Regardless, trust your gut and go with those friends that you can truly rely on rather than those you feel obligated to ask because when it comes down to it, it really will make a difference to not just your experience but the other bridesmaids experiences as well.

Fourteen: The Table Plan
Who hasn’t heard about the nightmare every bride experiences when it comes to the table plan? The guests attending your wedding will change so many times that trying to print out a plan is going to be a waste of your time and a waste of paper. My solution for this was simple, fun and cheap to do! I used a thin piece of MDF that I already had which I could slot down the side of the sofa out of the way when I didn’t need it. I then printed circles out for tables with the seats around them then blue tacked them to the board in the layout of the room. Using blue tack meant I could easily move them around the board which made it super easy to add or remove tables where necessary. I then used cute little arrow post-it notes which I colour coordinated for each guest – men were blue, women were pink and children were yellow. Using post-its meant that all of the changes and rearranging were easy to make, keeping me organised and stress free without spending a penny. I wish I had taken pictures of it to show you all!

Fifteen: Special Extras
This is not so much about keeping in budget, but about remembering that this day is special and only going to happen once so it is worth finding wiggle room to afford special little extras that will make your day. We decided to go the extra mile when it came to music for the church and hired musicians to play – but even this was done on a budget ladies! I hunted for a violinist but the costs were £300 and upwards for someone to come. Lots of searching took me to a website where you can pay musicians for lessons where I used the contact details to get in touch with them about playing at our wedding. The result was we found a violin and guitar duo for £160 who were absolutely fantastic. They played the traditional wedding march for my walk down the aisle and John Legends ‘All of Me’ while we signed the register (they played for an hour before I arrived at the church to the guests as well). I’m so pleased that we spent the extra money on music that we really wanted as its definitely a part of the day that I will never forget! If any of your Northerners would like to check him out to maybe book, you can contact the guitarist, Chris, here. Always try to allow for some wiggle room in the budget for a few special little extras, as you don’t have to spend big to get them!



Sixteen: Let it go
When it comes to the night before the wedding it is time to take off your honorary wedding planner badge and pick up a glass of wine. Sit back and chill out with your girls and get excited for your big day because everything that you can do, you’ve done now. I made a rule for myself that come 5pm I was not doing anything more and bang on five I was pulling out of ASDA with wine in the boot and my girls in the car. We had a fab night in together, a home cooked meal and lots of girly chat which helped me to relax. The chilled mood carried on into the morning to the point that I was helping my girls do their makeup and telling them not to panic when there were tiny hiccups like spills on their dress. Little problems aren’t worth worrying about on your big day so if something starts going wrong, take a deep breath and let someone else deal with it!

That ended up being much longer than I planned! I went from ten to sixteen pretty fast but decided to just go with it, I hope it was helpful for you lovely ladies! Do you have any top tips for staying stress free on a budget? I'd love to read them!

Much love,

6 comments

  1. Ok, firstly, how amazing do you look?!
    And secondly, I can't believe how budget you managed to do it, it doesn't at all look that way and you still had an amazing day!
    Definitely be checking back at this post once it's my turn! x

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    1. Aww thank you so much! One of my fantastic bridesmaids did my hair and I did my own makeup.

      I am a seriously thrifty lady! It actually makes it so much more fun to do because so much of the day is down to what you have done yourself. I was so happy with everything and it is SO nice to have other people say how lovely it looked as well!!

      I hope you do, I'll be keeping an eye out for your announcement. I will be putting up more wedding posts over the next month of so and adding a menu tab so they will be lovely and easy to find!

      Samantha xo | Blended To Perfection

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  2. I absolutely loved reading this, brought back so many lovely memories of the run up to the wedding and the actual big day. Smiled throughout reading. Fantastic blog post cany wait to read more.
    Big love sis in law 😉

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    1. I love that you are reading them all! I love you Mrs! You were an amazing bridesmaid ;)

      Samantha xo | Blended To Perfection

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  3. I loved this post!! So helpful and useful! You looked absolutely stunning and your dress looks so much more expensive! Now I just need to get the Mr to propose!!

    Amy
    www.amyrosedaniels.wordpress.com

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    1. Aww thank you, lovely! I am pleased you found it helpful! Absolutely makes my day to know how much the people reading my posts are enjoying them!

      Show him this post as a gentle little nudge ;)

      Samantha xo | Blended To Perfection

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