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Budget Busting Tips for the Alternative Bride

Weddings are expensive. That's unfortunately a fact! The average cost of a UK wedding nowadays is (according to just under £32,000. I KNOW RIGHT?!

Of course, with anything there are ways to save money. But if you're thinking of cutting corners, you need to think seriously about what aspects of your wedding are the most important to you. These are where you should not scrimp! Likelihood is that you will only do this once so you should have no regrets.

Yes, the wedding industry is a huge industry - but believe me, not all wedding suppliers are out to con you out of huge amounts just because it's a 'wedding.' You're not just paying for their services on the day, you're paying for years of training and experience that comes with it. Chances are, if a price looks too good to be true, it probably is. Pay for cheap and you will get cheap. I've seen it one too many times and it always ends in tears (or a trip to Judge Rinder which I was watching the other day - two brides took their photographer to court and when I found out the price she charged, I was not surprised it ended like that - but that's a story for another time!).

So without rambling too much, because as a wedding planner, budgets are a huge part of my job, I hope to below give you some ideas for ways that you can save some pounds while keeping your alternative and unique vibe. If you have a wedding planner, help with these aspects are very often included in the price - I often find myself up at midnight gluing, cutting and generally cursing to make things for my couples.

*I would like to put a disclaimer in here before I get too engrossed in writing! NEVER and I mean NEVER scrimp on your photographer! When the day is over and everything is packed away or sold off, the only thing you will have left are the photographs of your day. You deserve to love them! The wedding blues will have hit and you will be dying to see the photographs. Don't spend hours of your honeymoon crying on your bed! (True story!) Remember that good photographers spend years training, have seriously expensive kit (that all needs insuring) and spend HOURS and I mean, HOURS editing. You should expect to be paying between £800 to £2000 for a good photographer based on their experience level.*

Time to get Crafty!

I have a love/hate relationship with Pinterest. While it is full of amazing DIY projects for weddings, it is also full of unobtainable images that get you down when your creation doesn't look like something out of a Kirstie Allsopp programme. Don't let this put you off making things for your wedding.

I am an avid crafter and there probably isn't a craft that I haven't tried - the paper marbling phase was interesting - so I am a huge advocate for getting stuck in and getting crafty. Get those bridesmaids round and put them to work! Simple decor projects can be well worth the time to save a bit of money. Plus it means you can really put your own stamp on your wedding.

Here are a few selections from Pinterest that I would say are definitely worth giving a go!

What about an Alternative Dress?

Ok so in the 'real world' we're not talking crazy money for a wedding dress as opposed to the Say Yes to the Dress crystal encrusted Pnina Tornei gown. But if you're an alternative couple, chances are the £4000 princess ball gown is not going to be very 'you.' So perhaps think outside the box when it comes to where you're looking for your dress?

High street stores such as Monsoon have some beautiful gowns which start from as little as £250. H&M even have a bridal range which includes dresses, separates and bridesmaids dresses. Some as little as £50.

Then once you've gotten your bargain gown, why not get hold of an awesome seamstress to add things to make it totally unique to you! For the majorly adventurous types, you could even attempt a dip dye! Or add an ombre custom veil?

I wanted some dramatic sleeves on my wedding dress and my seamstress (the amazing Toni at Silver Thimble Alterations) did not disappoint. Here's a close up of them snapped by one of my awesome bridesmaids who swears she wasn't trying to take a picture of my cleavage!

Don't be afraid to think outside the box when looking for your gown. The bridal store experience won't be for everyone and that's ok!

Shake it like a Polaroid Picture

Let's talk photo booths! How about getting yourself an Instax Polaroid camera, some fun props and let your guests create the magic themselves? This went down a treat at my own wedding and one of my wedding planning couples last summer! People absolutely love a Polaroid! You don't actually need to shake these new fandangled Polaroids but everyone still does!

Look away if you're Vegan!

If a three course wedding breakfast isn't your thing then how about hitting it medieval style with a hog or lamb roast? Both a spectacle and delicious! And most of the time, a bit lighter on the pocket! But if you have a family full of vegetarians, probably not the best idea!

Who Doesn't Love a Booze Cruise?

There are lots of 'ifs' with this one - if your wedding is at a dry hire venue that doesn't charge corkage and you're planning on providing all of the alcohol for your guests, then jump on a ferry over to Calais and booze cruise it up! Even easier for me as I am down the road from Dover but well worth the trip for the savings you can make for buying in bulk. Buy all the wine for the tables then get a tin bath (or normal bath if you prefer), fill it with ice and chuck it all in for your guests to enjoy throughout the day. One of my planning couples are actually doing this next year and I love it, I think it's going to create such a relaxed atmosphere during the day. Of course, I couldn't have done this with my family and friends otherwise they would have drunk Mexico dry out of tequila!

So there you have it! There are a million ways to save money with a wedding and these are just a few. It all depends on where you are willing to put the time in and what is the most important to you. They definitely don't have to be a spending-fest! But they also shouldn't be a Poundland party - remember this is one of the biggest days of your life, find a middle ground! And wedding businesses are there to help ease some of the stress - don't try to make the cake yourself unless you're a Bake Off hopeful and know what you're doing - it just isn't worth it! Have fun creating the day of your dreams and enjoy getting stuck into it, don't get worked up or bogged down in numbers and trying to get things for as cheap as possible - you deserve better than that darling! 😘

*SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT* - If you really wanted to try and save some dollar then why not hire a wedding planner? We have access to exclusive discounts on everything from photography to furniture hire and invitations and can save you those important pennies to put towards a kick-ass honeymoon! Pop me an email at and we can have a chat!

Lily x

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