A Pinterest-Worthy Wedding for Under 10K
It’s thought today that the average wedding costs somewhere between £25K-£35K. That figure may seem perfectly reasonable to you or alternatively it may make you gasp in horror, but when you consider throwing a party for hundreds of people that involves couture dresses, hiring professionals and wining and dining many many mouths – you can see how the costs quickly begin to mount!
That said, a wedding – even one full of luxurious elements or tiny darling thought-out details – if carefully planned, really need not cost so much. I think of it like holidays. You can find a special – even luxurious – break on a smaller budget. It’ll just take more time to research, plan and organise. It’s about finding those deals and ways around certain costs; using a bit of imagination and flexibility. For a low-budget Pinterest-worthy wedding, what you don’t have in dollar, you make up in minutes.
Point in case? My and Matt’s wedding has now been published on Green Wedding Shoes and in Wed Magazine’s latest issue. Our budget was around half of the national average with very little (maybe 2-3%) of that being spent on the decor or details. So here’s some tips as to how we did it…
Venue is Everything
Your venue is your foundation. It’s pretty non-negotiable (unlike favours or neck-ties) you can’t throw your wedding without your venue. It has to happen somewhere. And that somewhere, will set the feel for the day. Since this is something you’re going to need to be investing in (and potentially investing a good chunk of your budget in) get somewhere you really like. Somewhere that communicates the kind of wedding you want to have. Somewhere you know you can work with – not somewhere you know will really need dressing up.
It’s worth considering if any of your friends or family have potential spaces you could use. A family farm perhaps? Or a particularly beautiful back garden? Maybe they own a local bar or exhibition space? It’s becoming increasingly popular for couples to legally marry first, then have their wedding day at an unlicensed venue. This is what Matt and I did. And it’s something we’d really recommend for the flexibility it allowed and stress it removed from our day. Also it opened up the possibility to get married anywhere. So whether it’s your favourite gallery, garden or farm – simply ask the owner – you might be surprised by their answer!
Breakdown Your Big Costs
In the run up to your big day it’s likely you’ll receive a lot of well meaning advice. “You really must do this!” “You really mustn’t do that!” The reality is that besides the legal bits there really aren’t any things you must or mustn’t do. How the day goes is up to you and it’s worth considering this when it comes to each part of your budget – especially going down less traditional routes and making savings on some of the bigger costs.
For example, your dress doesn’t have to be white or come from a bridal boutique. It could second hand or off the hanger. I purchased mine online from BHLDN whilst there was a special offer on, so the dress, it’s postage and customs fee all came to under £300. In terms of wedding rings, there’s a huge variation in what you can pay depending on style, metal and cut. Believe it or not, my engagement ring and wedding band combined cost less than £200. And whilst I know that’d make some brides frown, I’m pretty fussy when it comes to jewellery; so for me, it was way more about finding something I actually liked! Also food can be another big cost, but your cake can be a homemade pie and catering a bring and share picnic – it’s really up to you. There’s lots of ways around some of those bigger costs.
Use What You’ve Got
What do you have knocking around the house that’d make for some pretty interesting decor? Swathes of fabric or slabs of wood? Vintage chairs or antiquey tables? Wrought iron frames or wicker baskets? Tin baths or ornate mirrors? Wheelbarrows and watering cans? Old glass bottles, ceramic jars, terracotta pots or clay vessels?
For our wedding, I made the fabric signs out of a table cloth, cut-up bedsheet and leftover white tester paint pots we already had. Our seating plan was made from two wooden pallets we had left in the garage after a B&Q delivery. Also Matt really wanted his motorcycle and sidecar to feature in the day, so we sat them by the entrance to the ceremony. Placing a signpost behind (again made from spare wood in the garage and white tester pot paint), and a basket with confetti envelopes and order of services just inside on the sidecar’s seat.
Beg, Borrow, Forage & Upcycle
What can you get for free or next to nothing? Does a relative have a vintage vehicle that’d make for amazing transport? Or is there an antique veil in the family? Maybe there’s an old dresser in your parent’s garage that with a lick of paint could make for a great desserts table? Or perhaps there’s a Chesterfield at your local recycling centre just waiting to be found.
Over the course of our year of wedding planning, we collected jam jars and beer bottles – borrowing a friend’s dishwasher to get the labels off. Some of the flowers that sat in those jars were foraged from the hedgerows along our lane. Also Matt’s Mum is a dab hand at sewing so she took up my wedding dress so I didn’t have to pay for alterations! We also had friends stand in as musicians and also do me some rather dreamy gold tipped gel-nails, that lasted the course of our honeymoon too!
Dress it Down
If you’ve got a lower budget, then maybe don’t aim for the horse and carriage and castle. There’s only so much you can borrow, DIY and find for free – and butlers serving champagne receptions, aren’t generally among those. Besides if you’re home-growing and handmaking your day, then let that be a part of the day’s feel. Simple, natural and understated will still look good when you look back in years to come.
For Matt and I we saw our day as an informal and relaxed gathering of those we loved most in a particularly beautiful and sunny field. So relaxed in fact, that Matt’s groomsmen didn’t even buy suits for the day! We simply gave them a colour palette and left them to raid their own wardrobes – I personally think mismatched groomsmen work quite well!
Make From Scratch
If you have a particular flare for something then apply it to your day. Bake your cake. Grow your flowers. Sew your dress. With my interest in calligraphy (and ability to draw a little) I decided to make all our stationery and signs, including the invites, order of services, place cards, menu, welcome fabric sign and paper signs for our guestbook and cards/gifts table. Although to me they always look a little rough around the edges, I was amazed how many commented upon these details – sometimes a personal touch makes all the difference. Again, like I mentioned before, it’s all not about being perfect and polished, but having a bit more heart and soul.
Find a Startup
Often you’ll find wedding suppliers that are relatively new to the game will offer introductory rates as they get established. Although it can feel risky going with someone with less experience, if they have a good portfolio of work or a way for you to experience their service in person, I tend to find you can get a good idea of what you’ll receive.
For example, we knew Alex Garbett from the Garden Cafe in Newquay. We’d experienced how delicious her food was and seen first hand her ability to make a beaut of a cake. So when she expressed an interest in moving into events catering (since Cornish cafes tend to be a tad quieter in winter) we snapped her up for our wedding. And so many of our guests remarked upon it being the best wedding food they’d ever had. We even took bits home and freezed them, so we could still enjoy some wedding cake and cornish pasties long after our honeymoon.
Photography by Enchanted Brides