Posts Tagged ‘money saving’

How to wear a bit of history down the aisle:

We don’t all have a cartier tiara to borrow from the grooms Granny, but a piece of reworked or vintage jewellery will be full of past and memories and can make just as grand a satatement.

Elizabeth from Made-New has found a way of reworking tired, forgotten or broken jewellery into decadent pieces – necklaces, bracelets and acessories.

“Jewels with a history, a life of intrigue, with love’s memories or sad regrets, carelessly cast aside, sleeping at the bottom of a tired drawer,  discarded, forgotten, pieces of life’s metal, are twisted and woven, beautifully created, sole links are partnered again, and made-new, to please and to charm, give hope and experience, reborn and released in to a brand new creation …”

Have a rummage in your jewellery box or accessories drawer, and get your mum to do the same… If you find some tired or broken chains, pendants, brooches or watches that you want to be reborn into stunning wedding acessories then contact Elizabeth so she can work her magic. Then you will not only have a new piece of jewellery, but it will be full of your own memories too.


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Plants in glass jars

We love this creative and cheap favour idea from Daisy & Ben via Emma Case Photography.

Loads of plants self seed, creating more little plants than you can handle and spreading halfway across your garden, or your parents, or neighbours… Get them to plant up herbs, flowers or any spare seedlings into clean jars of various shapes and sizes and coordinate them by tying a ribbon round the neck. Et Voila!

Image via Emma Case Photography

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We all know that if you so much as whisper the word ‘wedding’ to a supplier the price suddenly shoots up, especially with those dedicated to only serving the wedding industry.

Surely there must be an untapped resource of very talented people out there who can make great cakes, take gorgeous photos and play the funky music… and there is – Students!

Someone studying for a music or photography degree spends 5 days a week (if not more) dedicated to perfecting their talent, and usually is looking to earn some pennies to go towards their studies (and extra curricular activities…). Ok, they may be lacking in the experience of having done lots of weddings specifically, but for certain aspects of the wedding that is not so important, and the price difference can often make it worth it.

A fashion student can make the adjustments to your dress that the shop is asking £££ for.
Your young cousin with Grade 8 piano could play as you walk down the aisle or during reception drinks.
If you are looking for something different for your photographs look for a photography student who enjoys playing with light and trying new things…Their portfolio will give you an idea of what they can do.

At our wedding we had an 8 piece funk band made up of students – they put on a fantastic set, got everyone up dancing and you could tell they were having a great time too…

So, how to tap into this resource…
– Ask around – friends of friends, who do you know who is still studying and ask if they can recommend anyone.
– Try the new site SchoolyWeds which is a directory of creative and talented students offering their services.

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When prioritising what you want to spend your money on for your wedding, little extras such as favours make a nice touch, but can often be just done for the sake of it, spending money on something with little thought. So here are some ideas for thoughful and personal gifts that cost less than £1 per guest:

Sew little fabric bags for each person for them to fill up at a candy bar during the reception (use left over fabric that has been sitting at your mum’s house since you were 5). Sew the persons name onto the bag, or add a luggage tag, and it can double up as a place card. Borrow storage jars of different sizes from friends, or search for them on freecycle, then visit the local cash & carry to fill them with different types of sweets – it makes a really colourful display. (Image above via Amy Atlas Events, NYC)
Time per favour: 15mins
Cost per favour: 5p for fabric, 2p for luggage label, 50p for sweets

Is your mother-in-law-to-be green fingered? Ask her to plant bulbs in little pots for each guest. A couple of narcissus bulbs would be perfect. The plant-tag with care instructions sticking in the soil can double as a name card. You will probably need a roll of sandwich bags available for guests to carry it home without spilling soil everywhere…
When the plant flowers later in the year (and every year after that) they will remember you both and your fabulous day.
Time per favour: 15mins
Cost per favour: 50p for mini plant-pot, 30p for bulbs, 5p for label

Home-made with love: For domestic goddesses, consider a homemade favour. If the thought of a weekend in the kitchen sounds like bliss, then why not make a batch of fruit jam for your wedding guests? Buy mini jam jars from www.freemanharding.co.uk, and add a handwritten label. (Or if you are uber organised, ask friends to collect up all their glass jars for the months before the wedding)
Time per favour: 15mins
Cost per favour: 5op for fruit, 2op for jar tops, 5p for labels

Give a charity donation of  £1 on behalf of every person – print them each a little card telling them which charity. If you have time you could make it one that is specific to them, or theme it around each table. Again, the little card can double up as a name placecard (see a theme developing here?)
Cost per favour: £1

Seed cards – a little book of 10 plantable forget me not seeds – 10 books for £9.99 – from Confetti.co.uk. Or you can get personalised ones – 50 for £39.99 – so if you know you have 100 guests it actually saves you money. If you have 90 guests, or 130, then the extras you could send to relatives or friends who couldn’t make it on the day along with their thank you card. They will feel so loved and appreciate the thought…much easier than sending cake to put under their pillow!
Cost per favour: Max 99p

Mini paper bags and cones are so easy to make – save £’s by making them rather than paying £1 each for fancy boxes and then having to pay on top for the contents… fill them with sweets, confetti, rose petals, chocolate, love hearts… you are only limited by your imagination.
To make a mini paper bag, get a book about the same size as the bag you want, wrap the paper (colourful, or in your theme colours) around the book as if wrapping a present, but leave one end open. Ta Da! Tape a little string/ribbon handle on the inside if required.
Time per bag: 5 mins (max!)
Cost per favour: 2p for paper, 5-10p for handle, 50 for contents…

Try to make the favour personal to you as a couple, or to fit with the theme of the day to make guests remember it, and to show them your appreciation for their presence (and presents!)

What other ideas have you come up with? Or which will you be doing? Leave us a comment below…

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A wedding? I don't know what you're talking about...

A wedding? I dont know what you're talking about...

In today’s Guardian Rachel Holmes lets you into the secrets of her wedding planning – and it mostly focusses on eliminating the word ‘wedding’ from your searching.

Where in the past weddings followed traditions and certain elements were expected, we are now seeing a rise in DIY weddings and events that are completely unique to the characters involved. You are not expected to follow the path set for you by big budget magazines, but are free to plan YOUR day to what you want. The usual ‘first dance’ and ‘cutting the cake’ can be emitted and more unique elements introduced.

What Rachel and many other brides-to-be want is a big party and often searching for vendors and suppliers solely by the tag ‘wedding’ can not only restrict the selection, but also push the price tag up unnecessarily.

Do you really need ‘ bridesmaids dresses’ when just gorgeous dresses may not only fit the budget better, but are more likely to be worn again and thus giving much better value for money.

If you have your mind set on a certain thing – don’t settle for the first price you are given. This is definately my top tip. I tried on my wedding dress in a London boutique & fell for it immediately…and then realised that no way was I going to be able to make it myself (as per my original plan). So one day I found a list of stockists for that brand and set about ringing them one after the other, quoting the last price I was given – and managed to knock over £1000 off the price tag, picking it up from a shop much nearer to where the actual event was being held – perfect!

Get creative making favours & decorations. Image: Sanna Wicks

Many of the services offered under the tag ‘weddings’ are not to hard to do yourself, you are literally paying for the convenience of having someone do it for you. So if you have the time get friends and family baking, cutting, sewing and sticking – it’s great fun in groups over a bottle of wine… They will love being involved in your day, and takes some of the pressure off you. It just takes organisation!

Which is where Rachel’s next tip comes in – make lists and more lists, and feel the satisfaction when you cross things off. Using an interactive planner such as Wedding Notebook will allow you to keep track of everything including guests RSVP’s, the budget, and a general to-do-list of what needs to be done when.

Having a personalised website for the occasion will give guests the low-down on what they need to bring, wear and all the details of where to go for the big day without you printing off hundreds of trees-worth of paper instructions. Let them know about the ‘guess the honeymoon destination’ competition to win big prizes on the day.

Read Rachel’s full article in the Guardian

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Example of a wedding dress available from Oxfam Bridal

Example of a wedding dress available from Oxfam Bridal

There are now so many options for buying a wedding dress, and buying on a budget doesn’t have to mean second hand.

If I say the word charity shop don’t think granny jumpers, but gorgeous designer bridal – and all brand new! Oxfam Bridal are dedicated bridal boutiques all over the country, such as the store in Heswall, Wirral, where they have up to 200 never-worn wedding dresses in sizes from 8-24 in stock at any one time. They usually sell these wedding dresses donated by top designers, which are often worth over £1000, for between £100-200, with the rare high-designer piece going for up to £300 – what a bargain!

At the Big Green Wedding Fayre the fashions shows from Oxfam Bridal were stunning, and I really couldn’t believe the prices, just because the designs are end of line.  My favourite was a long bridal coat from designer Neil Cunningham worth £5000, but this one Oxfam dont sell, they rent it out to brides so they don’t have to fork out so much to be able to wear it.

Try on a range of wedding dresses at Oxfam Bridal

Try on a range of wedding dresses at Oxfam Bridal

Oxfam are receiving donations all the time so the stock is constantly changing as a result. The gorgeous dresses in these photos are ones that have been sold previously in Oxfam Bridal shops, but numerous other styles and sizes and sizes are always available. So just find your closest store, pop along and see what you fall in love with – you can’t afford not to! The great thing is that the Oxfam bridal shops are staffed by volunteers so all the money for your dress does straight to charity – double bonus!

How do Oxfam get never-worn dresses?
When the new collections come in, bridal boutiques donate their unsold dresses from the prevous season to charity so they can claim back the VAT. One of the winners of this is Oxfam who have a dedicated warhouse set up to receive the donations and distribute to their shops throughout the UK.

Remember, no-one is going to know where you got your dress unless you tell them. And even if they do, does it matter?

Rail of Wedding dresses at Oxfam Bridal

Rail of Wedding dresses at Oxfam Bridal

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DIY wedding ideas


Floral centrepieces (from Sweet Paul) – Use dahlias, or any large headed flower, for a striking colourful table centre for your summer wedding.

Romantic tealight holders (from Project Wedding)  – create a romanic glow with personalised tealight holders – may require battery operated tealights to pass fire regulations!

DIY wedding dress (from Treadbanger) – Sew your own £10 wedding dress – no pattern needed – from 6 white t-shirts.

Wedding cakes (from Cheap Wedding Success) – Making individual fairy cakes is easy to do from home (or to coerce friends into helping) and doesn’t require professional icing skills like a large cake. Having a fairy cake tower is a fast growing trend – ice them in colours to match you theme. Just make sure you bake at least one per guest…

Do you have any DIY ideas you want to share? Leave a comment below.

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