Weddings on a budget

It’s easier than you think to save money on your big day. Here’s the first part with those easy peasy ways to keep to your budget during the wedding planning process…

Set yourself a budget

It’s essential to have a clear idea of what you can and can’t afford before you even begin any planning. With a strict, set budget you’ll be able to keep track of where your money’s going and you won’t end up overspending!

Prioritise

Before you start planning, think about what’s most important to your on the day. Plan to splurge only on the things that are really meaningful to you and your h2b, and save on everything else.

Simplify

It’s important that your day reflects you. Don’t try to plan an extravagant wedding if you don’t have the funds! Simple, elegant weddings can still be perfect and you won’t blow the budget. Remember – your wedding day is about sharing and showing your love for your partner, not showing off.

Shop around

Don’t rush into buying anything as soon as you’re engaged. Dress shopping is definitely a planning highlight, and it’s so easy to get carried away and end up buying the first dress you fall in love with. Make sure you keep your eyes peeled for the best offers and get an idea of different styles that are available. Likewise, get several quotes to make sure you’re getting the best price and research carefully so you don’t end up being overcharged.

Hunt for bargains

You don’t have to splash out on a designer gown if you don’t have the money. The high street has a great selection of wedding gowns and if you search vintage shops you may discover quirky and original finds for a fraction of the price.

Let your bridesmaids wear their own dresses

It can be a nightmare finding bridesmaid dresses that your girls all agree on. If you let your maids choose their own, not only will you cut out any dress shopping drama, but they’re also more likely to foot the bill at the end!

Create a salon at home!

You can still look and feel fab if you do your own hair and make-up. While getting styled by the professionals is a definite luxury on the day, if you’re used to doing your own make up, you’ll still be able to create a natural, beautiful look as well as saving money.

Just remember that it’s important to practise a few different styles before the big day to avoid any beauty mishaps! Why not book an appointment with a beauty consultant in a department store or go to a masterclass as party of your hen do?

Don’t turn into a Bridezilla!!!

We’re sure you already know that wedding planning has its ups, and its downs. Here are the signs that wedding planning has got a bit too much for you (it’s only temporary, promise!)…

Taking over your life

With it being a day that most brides-to-be have dreamed about since they were a little girl, it’s no wonder that it planning your wedding will take up a lot of your time. Even if you’re not actively out shopping for it or actively getting those DIY tasks done, you’ll find yourself subconsciously ‘favouriting’ all sorts of articles and shopping searches so you can come back to them later. Even your iPod that you plug in on the way to work is filled with ceremony classics to help you pick out your playlist.

The one becomes not the one

If you’re starting to question the magical feeling you had when you found ‘the one’, you’ve been thinking too much about it. When the dream-dress-doubt creeps in, it’s time to get a grip! It’s a common thing for brides to feel in the run up to their wedding – they want to look and feel their best after all – but get yourself through the doubting stage, and that magical feeling will return when you put it on. Then you’ll be wondering how on earth you ever thought it wasn’t the one!

Goodbye wedding diet

Sometimes brides and grooms-to-be fancy going on a diet or a mission to get into shape before their big day, and that’s okay! Healthy eating and taking up jogging is all around good for you and we totally recommend it to not only look your best, but also feel and be your best (but no ridiculous dieting please!). But when the stress kicks in, so do the carb and sugar cravings, and before you know it: your head is lodged in the back of the cupboard trying the find that secret stash of Mars Bars you hid away from the healthy-you. Oops.

Your friends stop contacting

Suddenly, conversation becomes just you talking. Why aren’t they replying your WhatsApp’s, texts, phone calls, Facebook messages, emails or tweets? Just why? Because maybe, just maybe, your predominant conversation topic – your wedding – is getting a little too much. Linking to the first point, just because it’s taking over your life (to a degree if you’re careful!), doesn’t mean it has to take over theirs. If you can’t think back to what you and your best girls spoke about before you got engaged, you’ve gone a step too far.

OR they’re constantly asking if you’re okay

Or perhaps you’ve got to the stage where you don’t want to talk about your wedding, in fact, you don’t want to do anything. Like any good friend, they will all be worried about the fact you’re not getting out of bed due to wedding-meltdown. When you actually do make it out of your dressing gown and slippers and go out, you’ll be jumped on with incessant questions like, ‘Are you okay?’, ‘I’m always here for you, you know that, right?’ and ‘If there’s anything I can do, will you tell me?’. If you’re at either of these stages with your friends – them either outright ignoring you or them overly anxious about you, it’s probably a good time to have a little break from planning, we think…

Can the honeymoon hurry up?

Talking of a little break: the honeymoon! You just cannot stop thinking about the honeymoon. The happiness of the thought of just utter relaxation and having nothing to worry about is so much that you even start to curse the wedding because it’s getting in the way of it! It’s the one obstacle between you and that sunbed.

You’re ticking all the boxes.

If you’re ticking any of these boxes of 10 signs that you are an un-cool bride to be, you only need a quick reality check and you’ll see the monster you’re turning into!

Wedding costs

Having a clear idea of your budget is essential for any wedding day. Sit down together, or with your parents if they’re going to contribute, and work out what you can afford to spend.

Write down the estimated costs in a budget planner.

As a guide, here are the average amounts that Brides readers spend. (Of course, it’s up to you where you decide to save or splurge!)

Wedding venue: £2,500

Reception venue: £4,000

Catering: £3,000

Photography/video: £1,500

Flowers: £500

Cake: £300

Entertainment: £700

Dress: £1,300

Shoes: £100

Stationery: £240

Headdress/veil: £100

Attendants’ outfits: £450

Mother-of-the-bride outfit: £300

Groom’s outfit: £300

Beauty: £250

Engagement Ring: £2,500

Wedding rings: £650

Other wedding jewellery: £200

Honeymoon: £4,000

Gift List: £2,000

Total: £24,890

If budgeting is a big concern, you may be interested in tips for setting your wedding budget.

Fairytale Weddings

When it comes to romance, beauty and timeless charm, Disney has it all sewn up. Everyone has a favourite Disney character or story, and even if you’re not the biggest Disney fan, it’s hard not to be bewitched by the escapism of Disney’s larger-than-life fairy tales.

In celebration of Disney’s enduring sparkle, be inspired by four of the most famous — and best loved — Disney princesses. Whether you’re looking for inspiration for a Disney themed wedding, or you’d just like a touch of Disney magic on your big day, check out these four very special Disney princess mood boards.

Eternally Elsa

Frozen is a modern classic, loved by millions across the globe. Perhaps you’re such a big fan of the film that you’ll be playing “Let It Go” as you walk down the aisle…or maybe you just want to incorporate some of Elsa’s signature sky blue into your wedding styling. With her side plait and ice cool beauty, Elsa is a stunning Disney icon — and a few touches of Frozen magic will make your wedding day spellbinding.

Charming Cinderella

Cinderella is perhaps the most popular princess to inspire a wedding day. Her fairy-tale revolves around love and marriage — and a beautiful girl’s search for Prince Charming. Now you’ve found “the one”, you could celebrate your own love story by taking a leaf out of Cinders’ book: go for full-on glamour with a huge ball gown, sparkling headdress, sensational underwear, a horse drawn carriage, glitzy reception décor and — of course — a beautiful pair of glass slippers.

Seductive Snow White

Snow White is a dark fairy-tale complete with a wicked witch, a poisoned apple and a glass casket where Snow White sleeps until she is woken from her slumber by a handsome prince. If you’re using this story as your inspiration, forget the seven dwarves and concentrate on the enigmatic beauty of this Disney classic. Opt for dramatic make-up, a crimson dress, blood red roses against bright white icing, linen and candles, and a classic red and white colour palette. If you’re a raven haired beauty with a mysterious side, Snow White is definitely the princess to inspire you.

Rocking Rapunzel

In the 2010 Disney movie Tangled, Rapunzel appeared as a feisty, independent and spirited princess with a bubbly personality — as well as magic golden hair. If you want to blend timeless Disney romance with a contemporary edge, use Rapunzel as your role model. Look for a boho-inspired gown, 70s-style headband, pops of purple in your colour scheme and – in keeping with Rapunzel tradition – a castle with a tower for your reception.

When marrying abroad

Considering getting married in Spain, France, Greece, Italy or Mustique? You’ll need to do your homework first – luckily for you, we’ve done the legal bit for you…

CERTIFICATE OF NO IMPEDIMENT (CNI)

What? A certificate confirming there are no objections to your marriage.

How? It is a legal requirement that each party gives notice prior to any proposed marriage. You’ll need to arrange a meeting at your local register office – your notice will then be displayed for 15 days before your CNI is issued.

When? The certificate is issued without an expiry date. However, the country in which you intend to marry may have its own validity period; so check.

Who? If you are getting married in Italy, Spain or Greece, you will be asked for a CNI. You’ll need to get your CNI translated and sworn before the courts or Justice of the Peace in the relevant country.

Cost? A register office notice fee costs £35 per person while there is no charge for a CNI.

STATUTORY DECLARATION

What? A legal declaration used to confirm your single status.

How? You will need to make a declaration under oath, in the presence of a solicitor, stating your intent to marry in the destination that you have chosen.

When? This document must be obtained within three months of your intended wedding date.

Who? Italian law requires a Statutory Declaration.

Cost? The cost is nominal (from £5).

LEGALISATION

What? The Foreign & Commonwealth Office needs to certify your statutory declaration and CNI as genuine.

How? You will need to complete the legalisation application form at gov.uk and then send away the relevant documents and payment to be processed.

When? Immediately after you have your Statutory Declaration and CNI, as the SD has a three-month expiry date.

Who? Weddings in Spain, Greece and Italy require the legalisation of documents.

Cost? This service costs £30 per document, plus postage.

Beautiful Readings

Planning a Wedding is pretty stressful and then there are poignant speeches and poems to consider. Brits ultimately don’t want something that feels too cringe or over the top to say. We want something that can transfer sentiment in a meaningful, thoughtful and beautifully written way that speaks of real and true love, not just the love you find in novels. Here are some lovely readings and quotes from books that will really hit a chord with you and your wedding guests, without it feeling a little too intense. 

 

The Bridge Across Forever by Richard Bach

“A soulmate is someone who has locks that fit our keys, and keys to fit our locks. When we feel safe enough to open the locks, our truest selves step out and we can be completely and honestly be who we are; we can be loved for who we are and not for who we’re pretending to be. Each unveils the best part of the other. No matter what else goes wrong around us, with that one person we’re safe in our own paradise. Our soulmate is someone who shares our deepest longings, our sense of direction. When we’re two balloons, and together our direction is up, chances are we’ve found the right person. Our soulmate is the one who makes life come to life.” 

He’s Not Perfect by Bob Marley  

“He’s not perfect. You aren’t either, and the two of you will never be perfect. But if he can make you laugh at least once, causes you to think twice, and if he admits to being human and making mistakes, hold onto him and give him the most you can. He isn’t going to quote poetry, he’s not thinking about you every moment, but he will give you a part of him that he knows you could break. Don’t hurt him, don’t change him, and don’t expect for more than he can give. Don’t analyze. Smile when he makes you happy, yell when he makes you mad, and miss him when he’s not there. Love hard when there is love to be had. Because perfect guys don’t exist, but there’s always one guy that is perfect for you.

This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen

“No relationship is perfect, ever. There are always some ways you have to bend, to compromise, to give something up in order to gain something greater … The love we have for each other is bigger than these small differences. And that’s the key. It’s like a big pie chart, and the love in a relationship has to be the biggest piece. Love can make up for a lot.”

 

Getting the Right Photographer

Make sure you budget for your photographer 

Brilliant pictures cost a lot, but they last a lifetime, so it’s an investment worth making for your wedding. Your budget will inevitably determine which wedding photographers are in the running, but don’t make it an element you scrimp on. Memories are priceless and high quality photographs make all the difference.

Create a detailed action plan 

Everything from your chosen venue to the time of year will affect your wedding photographs. If you’ve got your heart set on certain shots, like couple’s portraits at sunset or a sparkler send-off photo, then you need to talk it through with your photographer. If they know what you want, together you can work out when and where to fit those photos in. 

Make sure you’ve both done your homework 

You can trust your photographer’s experience and ability to come up with great ideas for photographs. But, it is also worth finding your own fun ideas too. Ideas for unusual group shots, any props you might want to include, or parts of your venue that offer a particularly interesting backdrop will all help to create fantastic photographs. 

Remember that practise makes perfect 

While you can get good deals with a photographer who’s new to the industry and building their portfolio, you do need to find someone you trust to get it right, and experience can play a big part in that. A professional photographer distinguishes all the subtleties of shooting a wedding – they’ll know exactly when to photograph your groom as he first sees you walking down the aisle, how to achieve the perfect confetti shot, and what to do in the event of rain. A creative and flexible approach often results in the most breathtaking and brilliant wedding photographs. 

Browse your photographer’s portfolio 

Look through the portfolio of any photographer you’re considering. You won’t just be looking for examples of the weddings they’ve captured. You’ll also be looking at their different styles and approaches. When you find the photos that resonate with you, you’ve found your style and photographer. 

 

Valentine’s Day proposals

It’s completely understandable why you’d want to! Is there a more romantic day of the year? Whilst everyone seems to be planning a wedding you haven’t even proposed yet!!!  So even if the day is cliché, your proposal doesn’t have to be. Here are 5 creative ways to propose on Valentine’s Day!

  1. Put It in the Movies

Are you and your love a couple of movie buffs? Rent out an ad space at your local theatre to play your “trailer” asking them to marry you! Thanks to technology, you can produce a short video fairly easily using video editing software. Or hire a Videographer to help you produce something that’s a little more high-end. Turn your life into a true romantic comedy with clips of video of the two of you, or recreate classic scenes from old romantic movies. We guarantee they won’t see this one coming!

 

The Proposal: During the last scene of the trailer, proclaim your proposal onscreen and have the ring waiting for the moment of surprise.

 

  1. Make it a public affair

An idea for the artsy couple, or just those who appreciate spontaneity and the unexpected: Incorporate live art. The trend of “living creativity” is definitely growing, and live artists are quite amazing to watch. Maybe you set up an evening stroll, and “happen” to come across a Performing Artist who is painting on a canvas, or creating a chalk mural on the sidewalk. Encourage your significant other to stop and take it in for a moment, for a truly unique memory.

 

The Proposal: Coordinate with the artist ahead of time to have them include the two of you in their piece. As your darling realises that it’s about the two of you, pull out the ring for your big moment.

 

  1. Say It with Paint

For the imaginative couple who loves to try new things together, hide your proposal in painting class. Most cities offer a wine/paint class, where romance and art meet! They’ll assume that you’ve found something new and exciting to do together, never suspecting that you have a proposal waiting. And after the big event, you’ll have a memento to remember the evening for the rest of your life.

 

The Proposal: Paint several easels ahead of time, spelling out “Will You Marry Me?” and make arrangements with the class instructor to have them help coordinate the big reveal.

 

  1. Create a Storybook

There’s no better way to lead up to the next chapter in your life than to start at the beginning. Create a book about the journey that has brought you to this moment by highlighting key moments in your relationship! Start with how you met, your first date, first holidays, memorable trips, or inside jokes along the way. Don’t worry if you’re not an amazing artist or writer.

 

The Proposal: On the very last page, create a part of the story that says something like “This is when I asked you to be mine forever.” Or simply draw or include a picture of a ring.

 

Beach themed weddings

Many absolutely adore heading to the seaside as a relaxing day out away from the troubles of modern life. Be it diving head first into the waves or sprawling out on your towel, it’s fair to say that we as a nation love going to the beach – we even spend money to sit on the sand abroad – but have you ever considered a seaside themed wedding?

You can’t actually get married on the beach in the UK without jumping through a few hoops. As such, it might be better to merely theme your wedding around the seaside instead, opting to exchange vows at a cliff-side stately home.

Strolling entertainment

A strolling musical act is a very popular act of all – For example you could book a strolling act comprising two guitarists and a saxophonists, the group have a pre-prepared repertoire that they hand out to guests as they stroll about your wedding venue. Like the look of a song on their sheet? Request it! A bit like a live walking jukebox. We can readily assure you that guests will not stop talking about your wedding day for many months to come!

Acoustic Band

An acoustic band is perfect for the beach because let’s face it, electronics and water don’t really mix. Or rather, they do mix a little too well and that is very dangerous for all concerned. A summer party down on the sand after your wedding ceremony might just be the order of the day and with this in mind, they can stroll around with your guests and everybody can have a marvellous time!

Mermaids

Let’s be honest, a wedding is often a somewhat magical affair and to that end, why not take it from the realm of reality by hiring a mermaid or two to swim elegantly in the waves? At first, guests won’t be totally sure of what they’ve seen but after getting a glimpse or two of the tail, we are sure they’ll absolutely love the surprise! A fascinating act that is performed by experienced aqua performers, your wedding photos will be a sight to see, keep this in mind when planning your wedding entertainment.

Ice Cream Van

What’s a trip to the seaside without an ice cream? No trip to the beach is complete without a Mr. Whippy with 99 flake or a few scoops in a cone and your wedding is the perfect timing to hand one out to everybody! With the sun beaming on your wedding day and the sea breeze cooling everybody down, an ice cream will surely make a welcome change from the bottles of fizz doing the rounds!

 

Entertainment that’s up close and personal

It’s a sad fact that many people who attend your wedding may not be in the best of health. This may be because of an injury, general sickness or complications related to age but that is not a reason to exclude these attendees from the fun! It’s true that your Great Grandmother might not be able to dance to an Ed Sheeran track any more, but she can still enjoy some wedding entertainment! How? By booking strolling entertainment of course, where the performers come to you!

Living Topiary

If you’re booking a summer wedding then hiring Living Topiary is an absolute must! Perfect for weddings taking place at stately homes like Eltham Palace, or a natural fit for venues like Kew Gardens, Living Topiary are a fun act that will have everybody smiling as they arrive for the ceremony. Perfect for photo opportunities and surprising guests as hedges apparently come alive, they are a hit no matter where they go and are sure to be the most talked about part of your wedding day… Until the vows and speeches of course!

Eyecon Art

Here’s something a little bit different to offer your guests on their wedding day – a high resolution photograph of one of their eyes. We admit it may not seem like a standard form of Wedding entertainment to feature at a wedding, but Eyecon Art is certainly interesting. Not as mobile as a number of other acts, this is still a fascinating and high-tech form of wedding entertainment.

Strolling entertainment.

A strolling musical act is a very popular act of all – For example you could book a strolling act comprising two guitarists and a saxophonists, the group have a pre-prepared repertoire that they hand out to guests as they stroll about your wedding venue. Like the look of a song on their sheet? Request it! A bit like a live walking jukebox. We can readily assure you that guests will not stop talking about your wedding day for many months to come!

 

Polish weddings

In Polish culture, weddings are preceded with engagement celebrations. Those are usually small parties held for the closest family members of the groom and the bride and are meant to get the two families meet and get to know each other better. The engagement dinner party means that both families accept the engagement.

In the past, the engagement ceremony was the time when the future bride received a ring from her beloved partner before the entire family gathering in a very official way, which resembled to some extent the wedding ceremony itself. In recent years, however, that official note has been largely abandoned and a ring is delivered when the future groom pops the question for the first time in a more private setting. The family gathering is just a nice way of informing the family members about the mutual decision once it has been made.

The Polish Wedding Ceremony

For many years, preparations for the Polish wedding ceremony and reception were largely concerned with finding a place for the wedding, organising food, drinks, making guest-list and inviting people to the wedding. In some regions, especially in the countryside, the custom was to invite family, friends, and neighbours in person, so the future groom and bride would devote a lot of time to visiting people before the wedding day. In the modern day, although the tradition prevails in some places, open-minded Polish younger generations and celebrities copy the western examples and some Polish brides and Polish grooms like to hold Hen and Stag parties shortly before the wedding day.

Most Polish weddings take place on Saturdays and continue through Sundays. The marriage ceremony and wedding reception for all guests are held on Saturday, while a smaller, more private party for close friends and family is continued on Sunday. There are no weddings during the 40-day Lent before Easter and during the Advent before Christmas. Those periods of year are believed to be the time dedicated for penance and preparation for the most important Christian holidays, so there is not space for public celebrations and dancing parties. Interestingly enough, there are very few weddings in May as well. This is mostly due to superstition, as many people believe that persons who marry in May are not going to be happy and won’t live together long.

In the church, the bride and the groom walk up the aisle together preceded by their groomsmen and bridesmaids. The parents and other guests are usually already seated when the couple enters the church. Whether the ceremony takes place in church or at a local magistrate, there must be two witnesses of the marriage, who sign the documents alongside of the bride and groom. During the religious ceremony, the traditional in the Western movies kiss basically does not exist. Civil ceremonies are less solemn and usually only the bride and groom, and the witnesses are allowed in the room, so whether they kiss or not, very much remains their private venture.

In Poland, weddings in the countryside are usually much bigger than weddings in the city. The reason for that is simple; in the countryside all people know each other, so most get invited to the wedding unless there is some conflict going on between the families. Thus, weddings in the country are longer and more extravagant because more people attend, and more guest return on the following day to celebrate, eat, drink, and dance some more.

A special moment on the first day of Polish wedding celebrations is when the Polish bride is taken the white veil off and an apron is wrapped around her waist. This symbolizes that she gives up her innocence and accepts her duties as a wife, a hostess, and a mother. Once this tradition is satisfied, the wedding guests give presents to the newlyweds. In most cases, those are congratulation card with money, but other useful household objects are also quite common.