How to add value to your wedding day without subtracting from you budget.
I was pretty set in my ideas that I didn’t want to spend all our hard earned savings on a wedding. After finally buying our first flat together last year, we wanted to make sure we didn’t go into too much debt getting married. As our main priority is paying off the flat as quickly as possible.
D as you will know from previous posts, isn’t too into knowing or tracking where our money is going, so a budget for our wedding was sooo far from his mind. But not mine. I tracked everything as you will know from to how I organised 4 weddings in 6 months so I could see where our money was going, and what we were spending it on.
There are a few key areas where I knew I didn’t need to spend a fortune to get my desired look for our wedding, hah, controlling or what.
So here are my tips for cutting costs without sacrificing on your day.
If you are like me, you know what your hair can and can’t do. I can never have sleek straight hair all day, it kinks fairly easily, but my hair is thick and can hold curls like no one’s business.
I’d decided early on in our planning that I wanted a short curly style, and this I knew I could do myself.
The only thing I can’t do, is cut my hair short. I do actually own a pair of hair scissors and used to cut my hair when it was long, so much quicker, easier and cheaper than going to a salon. When I first move to London I had a few shocking haircuts and decided early on that I was better off doing this all myself. But short hair is a bit harder to get right, and I do not trust D cutting the back of my head, hah.
I found a hair dresser in our area with decent reviews and booked an appointment around 4 months out, to test the length. I also got it styled in curls instead of a blow out, and boy oh boy were they rubbish. But the length was perfect and indeed where I wanted it.
So I spent the next 2 months testing out how I was going to style it on the day. And sure enough I got it down pact, and loved how it was looking.
Around two weeks out, I went along and got another hair cut to make sure the length was perfect and it would have some time to settle.
No matter how many times I practiced there was a hair mishap on our first wedding day, I’d washed my hair the day before and added a tiny bit of product to my scalp to help with dryness…. However when I woke up the next day my hair was super oily looking.
The lazy person I am, I wasn’t going to wash it again, so I used some baby powder in the roots and boom, it was back to almost fresh as a wash. After 4 weddings, I was able to perfect the look I wanted, and I was happy with how it looked each and every time. I honestly wouldn’t have been happy entrusting someone else to do it for me.
If you have time, and you know what you want is achievable on the day for you, then you can definitely cut costs here. It’s not for every bride, but it can be for a lot.
I also helped out a dear friend who got married one month before me, I offered to do her hair on her wedding day, and boy was I nervous. Hah, more nervous about ruining her big day than I was of my own.
Based on the location of our weddings, this one was a no brainer for me. I wasn’t going to pay for someone to come out to a safari park to do my makeup when I didn’t have time to trial anything. And based on a rock my wedding podcast stating that makeup should feel like you on your wedding day, and not a different version of you, I decided I could nail this myself.
I don’t wear a lot of makeup (despite what D says), eyelashes are always big for me and sometimes a lippy, but other than that I keep my look fairly natural, and I didn’t want anything too outrageous for the big day.
What I did spend money on was a trial at Charlotte Tilbury. Which was great value, the session is an hour and you get a full face of makeup, a glass of prosecco all for £100, which is then redeemable against their products.
I learnt a lot in this session and bought some amazing products, however going from no eye shadow to trying to get a shade and look for a wedding is tough. So I also did a makeup class with some friends, which gave me a load more confidence to pull off a much deeper and darker eye shadow.
Superdrug is filled with so many great cruelty free brands, that I picked up a huge palette that had everything I needed, and each wedding day I actually changed the shades I went with. By the last wedding I had the perfect look and my blending was so good. Who knew that eye shadow could have been in my toolkit much sooner than now, it’s all about confidence.
Like most brides I had very clear ideas on how I wanted my wedding, and I wanted to bring as much of south Africa and Australia into our big days as possible. Mother Nature provides so many amazing gifts in these countries, so it was the easiest task to come up with the perfect look.
Flowers can become very costly and they weren’t really the look I was going with. I wanted it all very neutral and the backdrops to be the focus. I mean when a safari park is your backdrop why wouldn’t you want to highlight it.
Using the two countries nature was actually quite easy as the climates are almost a mirror image, so thankfully almost all the same trees and flowers are common and available at the same time.
Eucalyptus was pretty much the only flower I wanted, however we did add some native flowers into the mix for bouquets. But all our table decorations, hair piece and cake accessories were penny gums or the long thin variety.
We used this part of our wedding to bring together our families and in each country we spent some time with our parents picking and collecting all the leaves, it was a really nice way to bring our families into the day.
When all your guests are flying into a location and you don’t want to spend too much money on decorations you need to become creative. A big shout out to my mum on this one, I do not know how many hours she spent on Pinterest trying to find clever ways to decorate the dinner table and chairs at our wedding in the safari park.
Pinterest is definitely your friend here, if you can think of it, chances are someone has done it. So get searching.
We ended up buying some white material that was cut into long strips (thanks dad) that we then used to dress the backs of the chairs, using some twine and eucalyptus leaves. This cost us less than £50 and really added something special to the ordinary deck chairs.
Next we bought some oasis and pushed leaves into them to create centrepieces, this was so time consuming, but so beautiful in the end. Whilst the boys were off having beers on the wedding morning, all the women were helping me to dress the house, and whilst no one was held against their will, hah, we did need all hands on deck.
But the end product was so beautiful. We spent maybe £100 on all the decorations total including the favours. I don’t think having an external company to do any of this would have added any significant value to the day. D was so appreciative of what we’d done, and secretly I couldn’t have given complete control over to an external supplier to pull this off.
At our other weddings where we had some things thrown into our package, we used the decorations they’d provided, and thankfully they went with the same theme as the rest of our events. Though in Orange my mum, again the bargain hunter she is, she found some interesting candle holders that we were able to decorate with eucalyptus leaves, and use as centre pieces.
They were so amazing and I’m doubtful we’d even be able to find someone to come up with that design, and we’d probably have paid a fortune.
Finally my hair piece was made from hot glue and leaves at each event. To my utter surprise I managed to find a fake eucalyptus branch at a shop right by our house in London, so strange, so now I have a proper hair piece that I’m able to wear time and time again.
Not everyone will want to cut costs on the items listed above and that is perfect for them. We (I) knew we could do better with spending less and having something a little less OTT. But as always everyone is different and everyone’s special day will be different. So use some, all or none of my tips and your day will still be the most fun for you.
How did you save money on your wedding?
If you were to do it all over again, what would you change?
Peace out for now