The 5K Wedding: The UK Edition
Hello lovebirds! For those of you that have been following the mini series I’ve been sharing about holding a fabulous wedding on a small budget, here is another installment for you!
As I’m sure that you all know, this month my new book The DIY Wedding Manual, £18.99, Haynes went on sale – it’s been getting quite a lot of media attention in terms of the concept of holding a day-to-remember wedding on a small budget.
I will be guest posting on a couple of blogs talking about weddings and all things DIY and budget over the next few weeks – fret not, I’ll shall keep you posted when these go live. In the meantime, here is a bit of an insight into our wedding and how we worked our budget in The 5K Wedding: The UK Edition.
All costs in £
Wedding Photography: Kerrie Mitchell
We got engaged in October 2011 and we’re married in September 2012. From the get go, knew that we wanted to have a brilliant day, but that we didn’t want to spend £20k to do so. Now, you may have already read the bride’s stories in the £5k Wedding Series US Edition and Canadian Edition…and right now, I’m going to confess that these ladies did a far better job than I did. My wedding didn’t come in under budget like these savvy brides, in fact my wedding came in at slightly over the set budget.
While I’m in a confessing mood, I couldn’t help but think while I was writing this that I could, you know, just leave a couple of things off – I mean, if I didn’t tell you about the Thank You gifts we bought the wedding party or the vintage tea set that we snapped up, the designer wedding shoes, then our wedding would have come in at the set £5k right down to the penny. But, where would be the value in that, right? Yes, so this wedding is slightly over the budget, but I wanted to share this very honest breakdown so demonstrate how I worked as best I could with these figures. There are number of these elements associated with weddings that are listed below where I have managed to include for £0 – these are often elements that would usually be listed with costs upwards of £100, taking a creative approach to keeping things manageable. One of the things that really helped to keep the costs down was taking advantage of a very (un)healthy crafty stash! As I had a wild medley of fabrics, ribbons, trims, papers, wools and felts right there at my disposal I decided that I would make use of them. Like many crafters, I have been known to buy a single metre of fabric just because I like the print – this has resulted in a hole bundle of fabrics in a crazy wealth of prints, as nothing instantly matched to create a typical ‘wedding colour theme’ we quickly abandoned this tradition of having a couple of set shades for the day and decided to go all out with a bold and brilliant rainbow of colours shades and prints. Using my craft stash was a definite cash saver, for those that don’t have this crafty hording condition that I have, I would estimate that the cost of the stash that I used might amount to around £200. But, this philosophy of using stuff that you already have is a great way to save money in general. I mean, if you collect quirky vases why not dust them down and use them as part of your wedding decor? It’s personal, unique, you already love it because you own it and you wont be spending money on something generic to add into your celebrations.
So, without any further ado, here’s the nuts and bolts of our DIY wedding, honest cost, slight over spending and all…
The Budget Breakdown
Wedding ceremony location: The Maltings, Great Dumnow £700 for up to 70 guests for the ceremony and reception- we selected a heritage building, not only did this have the gorgeous look and feel that we wanted in a wedding venue, but the fees charged are used to preserve and maintain the site for future generations.
Registrar fees: £350
Reception venue/Food & Drink: £1650 Catering is one of the biggest expenses – we opted for canapes served in the venue’s courtyard after the ceremony and followed with a tea party for the main sit down lunch and offered hot bowls of mac’n’cheese and chicken stew for a late supper – as we had a large number of children attending the wedding, these were charged at a discounted rate, allowing our money to go a little further.
Bar Drinks: £250 We bulk bought a selection of wine, bubbles and soft drinks to be served through the event taking full advantage of stocking up a wholesaler.
Vintage Tea Set £120.00 We managed to win an auction for a mix and match set of vintage crockery, tea cups and saucers, side plates, cake stands, tea pots…the works – this meant that the buffet style lunch (which was the cheapest catered option) would be all that more fancy set out as a tea party…we initially planned to re-sell this set after the wedding, but somehow I don’t think I can part with it!
Dress: £182 This might have been the biggest score of the whole wedding. I had fallen in love with a designer dress sold in an American wedding boutique, unfortunately this had an extremely high price tag, so I set about looking for a high street alternative that was more fitting to my budget. Whilst searching for an alternative I kept an eye on preowned dresses for sale on US wedding sites and here’s where the stars aligned for me. A bride-to-be bought the dress only to find that she liked another one better and has happy to sell at rock bottom prices in the run up to her own wedding day. The dress had never been worn, not yet altered and she was happy to sell internationally. £50 of the cost of the dress was to cover the international shipping, customs and Escrow (a third party payment protection service) and as the dress was very simple in style, the alterations were charged at £12 to make adjustments to the hem line – priced as though it were a standard dress, not a wedding dress.
Veil: £15 – I made my veil and a matching hair accessory for the evening reception using a couple of hair combs, a small piece of Russian veiling and a couple of vintage-style swallow brooches from Etsy.
Wedding jewellery: £0 The jewellery I wore was a combination of a bracelet and earring set that I had been gifted for my birthday and saved for the occasion and some precious vintage pieces – a pearl necklace from my Mum, a pearl ring that had belonged to my Gran and a couple of small silver love note rings that my lovely husband had given to me, one on my 30th birthday and the other when the popped the question!
Wedding Shoes: £55 Like most brides I wanted some really special designer shoes for my wedding day and after spending a lot of time watching auctions, I was able to snap up the Vivienne Westwood Melissa Anglomania in pearl with a red heart- genuine, unworn and fully boxed!
The Groom & Best Man’s get up: £400 – £160 for each suit with shirts and ties bought from a high street store and £80 – taking advantage of the best man’s discount card at the local skate shop – for trainers for them both (yup! My guy wore bumpers on his wedding day!) The best part about this is both the suits and the kick can (and have been) worn again since the wedding day, which is pretty rad!
Transportation: £0 We deliberately opted out of having wedding cars and the expense that goes along with it. We selected a wedding venue that was within walking distance. The groom and best man traveled to the ceremony by their preferred mode of transport – their BMX bikes and I walked to the venue with my Dad…which is the very best way to beat those pre-walk-down-the-aisle nerves! We asked a friend with a lovely fancy car to be on stand-by for the day should the weather turn a little grim, luckily our wedding day was the sunniest day of that whole summer!
Flowers & Decorations: £0 We decided against flowers, and decided to decorate the venue with lashings and lashings of bunting. The historic venue had lots of exposed beams and we simple decorated this will miles of bunting I made from my stash, £0. We borrowed a collection of strings of mini fairy lights from my brother-in-law and his wife, who got married the year before to add in a little sparkle to the venue in for the evening reception.
Bouquet & Buttonholes: £20 As we had opted to forgo flowers I decied to make needle felted balls – about eleventy billion of them- from my stash of needle felted wool tops £0. I bought a collection of supplies from the local florist wholesaler – wire, florist tape, buttonhole pins. As we had a small guest list, rather than simply offering the bridal party buttonholes, I decided to make them for the everyone…great idea, all the guests loved them and were able to keep them after as a memento, but it took an awful lot of work and resulted in lots of little stab wounds to my hands!
Guest place names & favors: £50 We went to a wholesale store and stocked up on an excessive amount of sweets, we bought a multi-pack of mini preserve jars and filled these with sweets, adding left-over fabric from the bunting to the top and hand stamping each guests make to each to pass as favours and guest place cards at the tea party. We ended up having so many sweets left over (I suck at maths!) that we decided to decant them into every beautiful mason and candy jar that we could find (my husband’s grandfather ran a sweet shop, so there were some treasures in the attic!) and filled these to have as a candy buffet in the evening!
Invitations & wedding day stationery: £30 with a subscription for 12months from DownloadAndPrint, a bulk pack of carstock and ink cartridge we were able to make our own Save The Date Cards, Invitations, Order of Service, Table Menus and the thank you cards following the day.
Wedding rings: £350 Shopping online at Etsy allowed us to pick out fabulous rings that suited our budget and also our style – bride’s skinny platinum ring £200, groom’s titanium and rosewood ring £150
Music & reception entertainment: £20 The venue offered a guided tour of the on-site museum, and we decided to offer this to our guests as a way to entertain them whilst we were having our wedding photographs taken, £20. The music for the ceremony, reception and evening was all selected from my husband super extensive record collection and saved down onto a series of playlists to run through out the day, £0.
Wedding cake: £0 My sister is an extremely talented baker and offered to make our cake for our wedding day – and let me tell you, with a husband with a nut allergy it was looking pretty tricky for local cake makers to fully guarantee that any cake they supplied would be nut free due the kitchens in which they make them…I didn’t fancy a trip to A&E on our wedding day. So my sister – who’s eldest son also has a nut allergy – offered to make our two tier Red Velvet Wedding cake I knew it would be just delicious! This my friends was a total show stopper – one of my very favourite parts of the day!
Cake Decorations: £0 Red velvet cakes are pretty striking so we wanted to keep the decorations simple, so I made a series of needle felted balls, to match the bouquet, and a single needle felted heart and secure these to cake pop sticks – my sister added these to the cake on the morning of the wedding.
Wedding photographer: £900- here’s where we cheated…maybe just a little! We selected the lowest price of wedding package from our favourite wedding photographer, who, fortunately for us, allows couples to upgrade the package that they have selected when they have seen the photographs after the wedding day by paying the additional costs – we used some of the money gifted to us for our wedding to take advantage of this offer as these photographs were simply too good to pass up!
The little extras…
Thank You Gifts We spend £20 at the local garden centre picking our some gorgeous succulents to gift to our bridal party as thank you gifts on the day.
Children’s gifts £3 for necklace fasteners, Bunting Necklaces for the girls £0 mini bow ties for the boys – while the adult guests had buttonholes we wanted the children to have something a little more fun from the day, I decided to make a few quick little treats just for these little folks!
Guest Book £16 I wanted to have something a little different for our guest book, so bought a couple of pre-cut fabric charm packs in solid rainbow colours and a couple of permanent fabric markers and asked guests to write their messages to us on the squares, to be stitched into a memory quilt.
Total Wedding Spend: £5131.00
As you can clearly see here, I went over budget, yup I was over the 5k mark by £131 – for the nerds amongst us, that’s just under 3% over the set budget. Now, for us having a reasonably priced wedding was important, very important, and the £5k mark was what we had deemed acceptable. Yes, there were things that I probably didn’t need – like the vintage tea set, the rediculous amount of sweet for favours and the candy buffet. But, I wanted to be honest in this breakdown. Did I fail? Well, in the sense that we over spent by £131 then yes, I guess I kind of did. But, still with the total for the event coming in at £5131 and we had the most wonderful day, much of which was achieved with hard (very hard) creative graft, hours of making, it’s probably the most happy failure of my life and I would do it all again in a heart beat…including needle felting eleventy billion balls and stitching up mile upon mile of bunting!
Each and every wedding is different, we each have different skills and resources to draw on to find creative ways to keep the costs of our special day where we want them to be. What works for one bride, wont work for another, but I hope that this will help to share some creative ways to get your dream wedding to a budget that suits you…or, in my case £131 over that budget!