This article was written as a guest contribution for Cassiefairy.com.
The blogs and magazine articles I like the most are real weddings and honest accounts of what other people did for their wedding. Trials, tribulations, likes, dislikes, what went right, what went wrong – I just can’t help having a nosey. All of which I found most helpful, so I wanted to share the story of how I saved money on my wedding with the hope to inspire and help others. It needn’t cost the earth, and it can still be amazing!
Newly engaged and showing off my ring, a friend mentioned that the jeweller my ring was from had a sample sale coming up. I signed up to their mailing list immediately, got up an hour earlier that day so I could pop along before work, and scavenged the sample sale for any complimentary wedding jewellery or cute gifts for my wedding party. I managed to find one single pair of rose gold and diamond ‘Mini Halo Hoop’ earrings to match my ring – these were advertised on their website for £695 but I got them for £30! The stems that go through your ear are slightly bent, but that didn’t matter in the slightest to me as you couldn’t notice at all once they were in! (You may notice I’m not wearing these in my profile picture.. we ran over with hair and make up I didn’t have time to put them on until later in the day!)
Earrings, Astley Clarke sample sale; £30 (approx. saving = £665)
I found my dream dress on the American website BHDN, but I was wary to buy it online without any idea of sizing or fit, so I sourced the designer back to her roots – and it just so happened she has a studio in East London. After the success of the jewellery sample sale, I signed up to their mailing list. I had lots of time, but within a month I got an email to say they were having a sample sale! The designer doesn’t do much bridal wear, and there was no guarantee of what was going to be in the sale, but I kept an open mind thinking there might be something similar from a past season. At the very least, I wanted to go along to see how the sizes fitted. As it turned out, one of two dresses I had my eye on was in the sample sale, the only one of that style and size, and fitted like a glove, so I knew it was meant to be! I ended up getting my dress for £720 – half the normal retail price.
Dress, Catherine Deane sample sale; £720 (approx. saving = £680)
Alterations and Dry Cleaning
Although my dress fitted like a glove, it needed taken up slightly and dry cleaned as it had been tried on a few times. I looked at specialist bridal boutiques and I got a quote for the hem for £160, and dry cleaning for £100… which I wasn’t really prepared to pay since I had *only* paid £700 for the actual dress. I was nervous to leave my one-of-a-kind-bargain-sample-sale-dress with anyone other than a specialist, but I simply could not justify those prices. After much googling and deliberation, I trusted my dress with a tiny Polish alterations place recommended to me by my sister. It was a bit of a trek away in North London, where allegedly all the rich women of Hampstead get their design togs altered. I was suspicious of their non-descript tiny shop, but they did an amazing job! The term, ‘never judge a book by its cover’ sprang to mind afterwards. After that, I felt a bit more relaxed to leave my dress with my local dry cleaners where my hubby gets his suits done. Upon leaving my dress, I asked if they had insurance, but they just laughed and said, ‘what do you think is going to happen to it?!’. This didn’t quite fill me with confidence but my dress came back sparkling and I couldn’t have been more pleased!
Meal & Cake
We tried to be creative with our wedding to make it more unique to us, but also to try to save some pennies along the way. My sister is a bit of a foodie and ended up having two wedding cakes at her wedding, however everyone had such a good time that that they forgot all about the cakes and we were still eating them for 3 weeks afterwards! We decided to reabsorb our wedding cake budget, removed our dessert course from our menu, and asked all of our local friends to bake us a cake instead of bringing us a present. We ended up with a massive Pudding Garden dessert buffet! It was a massive hit with our guests and it meant so much to us that our friends had contributed to our day.
Approx. saving = £700+
Although we didn’t have a traditional wedding per say, I really loved the idea of people throwing confetti! However, when I starting sourcing confetti online, it didn’t seem worth the money. I ended up making my own from dried rose petals and cheap organza bags from Amazon. We also searched for ‘printed post cards’ online rather than ‘printed thank you cards’ and managed to get around the associated wedding mark up.
Confetti: approx. saving = £20
Thank you cards: approx. saving = £40
Other Tips & Tricks
• Keep it local: I saved a fortune in time and money by keeping my suppliers local. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, don’t be afraid to ask a local shop to copy or replicate something you’ve seen on Pinterest.
• Don’t spend a fortune on personalised stationery: We bought pre-printed stationery but then ordered a custom made ink stamp that we could use again and again. Stickers are also a cheaper alternative. We ended up using our stamp everywhere – from our invitations to our place cards.
• Consider your bridesmaids wisely: After being bridesmaid 3 times, it was difficult decision for me only to have 1 bridesmaid. I just had my sister and saved a fortune on spiralling costs for flowers, dresses, shoes, jewellery, nails, hair, make up, gifts – the list goes on.
• Weigh up what is more important: I decided to have my shoes as my ‘something old’ as my dress was floor length and you couldn’t really see my shoes anyway. I wore the shoes I had worn to my sister’s wedding the year before instead of buying new ones – I loved them, I had only worn them once, and had already broken them in. It was more important to me that I was comfortable on the day.
The only thing I tried to save money on but couldn’t, was our wedding ceremony itself. Due to the popularity of Saturdays, they are almost double the price of any other weekday. I wanted to get married on a Friday as it would have saved us about £600 at our local town hall, but our reception venue was only available on Saturdays for weddings, and we already had our heart set on it. We bit the bullet and I’m glad I did in the end, as it meant more of our loved ones were able to join us for the weekend, but it would have been nice to save that £600…!
Do you have any good tips on how you saved money on your wedding? Or any insider tips and tricks? I’d love to hear them, let me know in the comments section below!
This article was written as a guest contribution for Cassiefairy.com.
is a thrifty lifestyle blog. Cassie regularly shares ‘get the look for
less’, thrifty fashion posts, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost
recipes on her blog. She has won several major writing and blogging
awards and accolades.