a ‘mender wedding

Posted on: January 25, 2012

When we were swapping our old faithful blog to a swish new website, this post – our last! – went awry, and as it contains some great tips, we wanted to make sure you didn’t miss it first time round! Enjoy!

This summer, the ‘menders put our own make do and mend principles to good effect in an impromptu, relaxed and thrifty wedding! With the average wedding nowadays costing tens of thousands of pounds, we thought we would share some of our tips for cost cutting.

A key tip to saving money at your own wedding (if you can bear to leave much to lady luck!) is to hold the wedding at the height of the sales, and cross your fingers that you find some wonderful bargains! I was very lucky and managed to find both the perfect dress and shoes from my favourite designers at bargain basement prices, you just need to research well and rummage! Check out the dress, a bias cut silk satin, beaded number bought from a Jenny Packham sample sale for a quarter of the original price and the butter soft cream leather, stack heeled Chie Mihara shoes, which were purchased at our favourite store, Liberty of London, at the height of the summer sale the week before the wedding for a third of their original cost.

To finish the outfit, I needed the traditional something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue! I already had the something old, which was my beautiful engagement ring, passed down from my great aunt on my father’s side, the new was a diamond necklace bought for me by the groom, the something borrowed was a lovely pearl bracelet, lent by a good friend and the blue was a ribbon that I forced my husband to be to embroider before the wedding, which I then sewed into the lining of the dress.
The bridesmaids wore dresses from the Monsoon sale, fabulously glamourous and brilliantly cheap! My flowers were white Hydrangea and roses from a local florist, which I tied with some of my antique lace to match the dress, while my maid of honour had lilac and pink hydrangea with pink roses. Now, flowers are probably one of the most costly expenses at a wedding, so if you can hand tie your bouquets and floral arrangements, this is a great way to cut costs. I know of brides who did a cheap but effective florist course before the wedding, then popped off to the local flower market a few days before the wedding and saved hundreds of pounds by arranging spectacular centrepieces for their reception. In spite of my lack of flower arranging knowledge, I do happen to have a stunning hydrangea in my garden consisting of cream, lilac and pink flowers, so I hand tied a posy of these and some white roses in some matching antique lace from my stash for my littlest bridesmaid, and despite them being absolutely free, she loved them!
The reception is where another bulk of the costs go in any wedding. We decided that having fun with the family was the most important thing to us on our day, so we made sure the bulk of the cost went on food and drink. Therefore, we cut costs in other places. The wedding cake was a plain white iced fruit cake ordered from Waitrose and decorated with cream ribbon and more of those hydrangea cut from the garden! This is one of my top tips, as cakes can cost hundreds of pounds – ours was about £30 and looked and tasted amazing! Alternatively – get a family member to make you a delicious cake and decorate it to your taste as a wedding present – so it is absolutely free! We found a restaurant with fairy lights and a fab ambience so that little decorating was needed and the decorations we did add were home made to continue the thrifty theme.
The table decorations at the local restaurant consisted of jam jars of wild flowers and roses, retro champagne glasses filled with after dinner sweets and vintage tea cups brimming with chocolates. I also made some bunting out of some paper doilies bought from a local pound shop, hung on satin ribbon. More traditional fabric bunting, like that made at our popular bunting hen parties, would also be fabulous decoration at a relaxed summer wedding.
We had a perfect day, despite, or perhaps even because of the time and cost restrictions and managed to create the exact atmosphere that we wanted with little compromise – here’s hoping that even if you are having the full, lavish works at your wedding, we have managed to inspire you to create some of your own, personal touches at your own weddings, and if you lack ideas or know-how, simply get in touch and arrange your own, crafty, bespoke wedding to let us help you to achieve it!

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