Today’s is a fabulously fun, colourful and creative wedding on a budget – Charlotte and Gareth were married at Fison Barn and wanted to keep their day informal and pretty without breaking the bank! Their ideas are lovely; Charlotte’s DIY tips and her English Wedding Interview are a great read. I love Charlotte’s honesty too: they tried making invitations but in the end, as it can be so time-consuming to do, they bought their invites online and focused on the craft projects they’d really enjoy. And the ones where Gareth spent a few days covered in glue… oops!
Contact & Bookings: Carol Elizabeth Photography
Like with everything in this wedding, our flowers had to be colourful and fun. I used Richard Mathews, who offered a good deal and were friendly, I gave them sort of free range explaining my theme was colourful and fun. He asked me to find examples of flowers I liked then he worked out something from those. I was so happy with them as he’d managed to put in fresh sweet pea flowers, a flower I had really wanted.
Both venues were beautiful on their own without decoration but we wanted to add our own little personal touches. It was only the tables at the reception that needed covering.
Our table lanterns were fun to decorate. With a small army of family and gallons of hot glue we hand stuck loads of tiny fake flowers. That was the main diy project of the wedding. Otherwise to save time we brought other decorations from Hobby craft, Tescos etc. But the bit we did I loved doing, (don’t think husband did he was covered in glue for a few days).
Professional printing costs a fortune, our orders of service were printed at home and designed on Photoshop by myself. The designing creative element was fun for me, standing at the printer putting in paper wasn’t so much. But when a hundred people are holding a different coloured piece of paper the overall effect is worth the hours spent. Also it was a big saving money-wise.
The English Wedding Blog Interview: Charlotte & Gareth
Wedding photographer’s website:
Were you pleased with your wedding photographer? Do tell… we love a brilliant review!
Yes, yes, yes.
Our other photographer pulled out about a week before the wedding, due to a death in her family. So my future husband and I were left with little time to find a replacement. I put a desperate plea on a wedding page via Facebook and people suggested names of photographers. Carol was really close by to our venues and had the date free; plus I really liked her photos. We loved her documentary style, with both traditional and contemporary feel.
Tell us about the moment you saw your wedding photos for the first time?
Carol put a few online that evening or next day. I was astounded how good they looked. She’d managed to capture the moments so well. Then we had to wait for the rest to be ready, but the wait was worth it. They are stunning images, she documented all the important moments.
St Mary the Virgin Church, Long Wittenham and reception at Earth’s Trust Little Witteham.
Can you describe your wedding in fewer than 10 words?
Happy day, with fantastic weather.
Your wedding style or theme:
Colourful and fun. With an eco friendly vibe.
Where did you find your suppliers? (Blogs, magazines, recommendations?)
Online mostly, through ‘Everything wedding in Oxfordshire’ on Facebook. And Guides for Brides. Google was my friend.
What’s your top tip for saving money?
Look around, get plenty of quotes, set a budget!! Rent instead of buy. Keep buying little items throughout the time between setting the date and the day of the wedding.
… and which elements of your wedding are you glad you spent more on?
It was worth spending out on the reception venue the barn and courtyard were so spacious and pleasant in the sun. We spent a lot on food too, but it was worth it, we had plenty to go round.
Where did you buy or source your wedding stationery – or was making it a labour of love?
We started to make them but it took forever even for a simple design. So we got 100 invitations made online, you can design it pretty much yourself or use one of the template designs and personalise it.
Did you fall in love with your wedding dress?
Oh yeah, I fell hard for my dress. The second it went on I loved it.
Wedding dress designer and bridal boutique:
Wed2B in Milton Keynes. It had amazing dresses for £500 or less, I’d looked at little boutique shops and nearly fainted at the prices. I’m a woman who hates paying too much for anything especially something I’m only going to wear once. So bit of online digging found this company, I’ll admit I was sceptical – “what’s wrong with them?” “Why are they so cheap?” But I went to the place and was surprised by the friendly staff and relaxed atmosphere. Boy those dresses were so pretty, sleek and sophisticated to all out princess glitzy.
Tell us about your accessories: jewellery, shoes and anything else!
I had two pairs of shoes for the day, pretty lace flats and some sexy heels in a similar pattern to my flats and got them both at bargain prices: total spend £20 and plus I can use them with other outfits. You shouldn’t knock budget places. I was in all the sales, and Shoe Zone can have some really pretty stuff. The jewellery came from a department store on a blue cross sale. I wanted something to go with the nature setting our reception was at.
Get a decent bra, don’t skimp, spend a bit of money on it. Because you’ll be wearing it all day under your dress. It’s a must get right or you’ll be regretting it all wedding day.
And what did the groom wear? Any recommendations for tailors?
He had to get a tailored suit, we’d been loads of places and got quoted £1000+ till out of desperation we dared go into Austin Reed. We at first got a quote for £800, we waited and January came up very quickly and we knew it’d take at least two/three months to make and tailor properly. In a bit of luck they had a sale on and we got his suit for £500 and the lovely manager gave us free hire of cravat, waist coat and pocket square.
Beautiful bridesmaids: what did your best girls wear?
Myrtle dressed from an online company called Lindy Bop, I’d researched that 50’s style dresses fit most body types. They had a variety of colours, which fitted my theme. My other consideration was if I’m gonna spend money buying these dresses they have to more than one use. Knowing I had a pretty bridesmaids dress hanging in my wardrobe that I won’t be able to use again.
Hair and make-up – did you DIY or hire a professional?
My best friend stepped up and did the hair on the day. And taught me how to do my make up myself. I asked her early on so I could budget if we did need a stylist but she was giddy with delight to be asked. So excited for my wedding.
The wedding cake: what kind of cake did you choose and why?
We decided early on that we didn’t want a tiered wedding cake. [Images and nightmares of it falling over!] We wanted something fun, not the norm. Gareth proposed to me in the Eden project, Cornwall – an Eden cake was our way of incorporating the engagement into the wedding. So from there we hired a friend of the families’ daughter to make it. We had a sponge for all our cakes, if you can get a Costco card do. They have a cake making service and we got wedding and congratulations iced onto large cakes. They’re of a size suitable to feed a large number of guests.
Entertainment: any musical recommendations, surprises or treats?
We just had a DJ, it was simple decision. A band playing live music would have been magical, but the budget wouldn’t allow. However the bouncy castle was a big hit. Good for kids and big kids.
On the day tips and advice:
On the day, enjoy it, let family and friends deal with any last minute problems. Sit and eat the food.
What’s the best thing about being married?
Having a special day to look back on with my best friend in the whole world.