Sunday, 20 January 2013

My ideas on how to have a fabulous wedding, without spending afortune...

Inspired by reading a post over at A Rush of Love in which Harriet talks about her wedding based anxiety, I started thinking about our little wedding. It was such a lovely day, I'd love to do it all again someday (to the same man, obviously). I thought I'd share it with you.

We didn't have a massive wedding, we kept it low key and concentrated on the things that were most important to us. That Baby was already with us and, to us, it seemed poor taste to spend her university fund (ha!) on a single day of merriment.

So, we sat down and talked about our ideal day, decided which aspects were most important to us and which we didn't give two hoots about. Then we set about creating it together, as a family.

One of the first things that I thought about, like any girl, was my dress. From the moment my darling proposed (up a mountain, by a lake *sigh*) I knew that there was only one bridal gown in the world for me. My Mum and I ventured up to London, not to a swish bridal boutique as you might expect, no siree! We got the tube to Camden Town, North London and headed towards Kentish Town. Hidden away under the railway arches, we found a motorcycle repair shop. We warily poked our heads inside, before we'd uttered a word a helpful chap preempted our question with the instruction "Upstairs!" They must have been used to quizzical looking ladies showing up on their doorstep. We ascended a rickety staircase up to a room bursting at the seams with the most beautiful dresses. We had arrived at my favourite shop in the world; Vivien of Holloway. There they specialise in producing excellent vintage reproduction dresses, in every fabric you could possibly imagine. I knew exactly what I wanted and chose my ivory duchess satin dress and a pink fluffy petticoat. I also bought a bridesmaid dress for my best friend in the world, knowing that with dresses this fabulous she'd look stunning in it, and she did! Everything was folded carefully, popped into a leopard print carrier bag and off we went. And we'd spent under £200, now that can't be bad, and to this day I couldn't be happier with the choices I made.

My Dad and I walking to the church

 On our big day we kept it simple, we married in our little village, in our local church. We walked to the ceremony, no stretch limousines for us, ugh! One of my fondest memories is of my Dad and I walking down the High Street together, he had to sit down for a rest at the bus stop (bad back) and I had to make small talk with a bemused old dear out shopping.

Walking to the reception with our guests.

We walked from the ceremony to our reception venue together with our guests. We walked alongside the river and past the cricket hut as a lovely big group and chatted as the sun shone on us. We had our wedding breakfast in the local village hall. Instead of being bleak and tired as you'd imagine, we'd had a specialist company put a marquee up inside. From the outside it looked ordinary, but as soon as you stepped through the doors you were transported into a beautiful wedding bubble. The gasps from our guests when they went indoors made me so proud, they just weren't expecting it! I think the poor things were preparing themselves for Formica tabletops and utility china.

Our wedding reception, a cleverly disguised village hall...

We wanted to have plenty of flowers but to save some pennies we'd organised a crack team of specially briefed guests who, directly after the service, removed all the pink rose garlands from the end of the church pews and swiftly nipped to our venue with them, transforming them into the table centrepieces. Why pay twice? They were rewarded with a plentiful supply of Pimms.

Swiftly rehoused from the church pews - the table decorations!
As we both have a mortal fear of dancing we'd already decided that the focus of our celebrations would be on dining together and enjoying the company of our dearest friends and family, rather than a disco. We bucked the current trend of having a two layered reception, main and evening, and married at 4pm so it was too late in the day to do both. This also meant we swerved the thorny issue of risking insult by only inviting some guests to the evening segment and not the whole day. Our guest list was fixed, you were invited to all or nothing. We concentrated our catering budget on providing an exceptional meal for everyone, rather than one meal, and a later buffet that would be largely uneaten.

The wedding cake was pretty unimportant to us, but my Mum feels like it isn't a wedding without one. I couldn't bear the thought of spending £600 on a cake, so we bought three M&S white iced ones and shamelessly stole ideas from a wedding magazine. We ended up with the most amazing, and admittedly slightly bonkers dolly mixture cake, for a fraction of the price. I loved that cake a hundred times more than any expensive version, because there was no guilt attached to it and because my Mum and Created it ourselves.

Our fabulous dolly mixture cake
I firmly believe that you can have an amazing, memorable wedding day without spending an absolute bomb, if you're thoughtful and make wise decisions. Our choices, although not right for everyone, were just perfect for us.

So, tell me your wedding tales! What was important to you? Any tips for Harriet?


  1. Wow kate!! Your wedding looked amazing! I love that you walked to the church. And your cake & dress were just gorgeous! It looked beautiful xx

    1. Thank you! You're very kind. Rock n Roll Bride is another excellent source of wedding ideas. I love looking at other people's wedding snaps. Look forward to seeing yours in the future :) xx

  2. you look amazing...the whole day looks amazing. Love looking at peoples wedding's mine if you fancy a nosey! xx

    1. Oooooh do I ever! Headed your way right now :)

      And thank you by the way :) :)

  3. I love, love, love small weddings, & yours looked gorgeous! We went in for a civil ceremony with a big barbecue picnic at our house afterwards with our family & friends in attendance-- small, personal & very us!

    1. Ahhhhh, thank you!

      Sounds like you had my kinda wedding! I often feel a bit lost in a big wedding :) xx

  4. Your wedding looks lovely! I collected old tea cups and saucers and mismatched them and turned them into candles with new wicks and melted down candles from the pound shop! I loved them! We blew the budjet on a real rock band! x

    1. Thank you! Love the idea of candle making in tea cups, that sounds awesome. How did you melt them down? :)


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