Our second wedding anniversary will be at the end of this month (crikey, already?), so I thought it was high time we shared some of our DIY hints and spilt the beans on how we got married in 2013 spending less than £4000. Here are 10 ways to get creative and cut costs.
1. Anything you can do confidently yourself, do.
Have you got mad calligraphy skills or sewing nous? Maybe you can bake up a storm or perhaps your other half is a wizard at graphic design, photography or making playlists. Using your creative (and let's be real - organisational) talents is a mega-thrifty and satisfying way to put together a day that feels personal to you. And remember, Pinterest can be your best friend here - search for wedding craft projects based around your skillset.
2. Call in favours
We're fortunate enough to have friends and family who are passionate about baking, music, sewing, bookbinding, photography, even driving and soapmaking. And said lovely people were kind enough to use their talents as gifts for the day, saving us an unthinkable amount of time and money.
You're sure to have some talented people in your life. Consider asking them to give you a hand. Special input from people you love is priceless. But remember, if someone's doing you a favour or giving you mates rates, diva demands or a bridezilla attitude are completely out of the question.
3. Be realistic
Don't give yourself more to do than your time, skills and resources can fairly allow. Organising a wedding takes a lot of work, whether you're crafting or not, so make sure you'll enjoy the process, too. Pulling an all-nighter to do last minute glueing, sewing or painting is no-one's idea of a good time - believe me, I did a textiles degree. Instead, be honest with yourself about your gifts and limitations. If you can't do something for whatever reason, scrap the idea or get some help. It's supposed to be fun!
4. See it as a chance to learn
That said, time allowing, planning a wedding can be a great opportunity for you to pick up or improve a simple skill you've always wanted to master. Basic origami, nail art or even just how to use double sided sticky tape could be on your agenda. I had a bash at doing my own makeup and had a lot of fun learning how to do different stuff to my face (read more here).
5. A lot can be done in a crafternoon
It's all about sharing and delegation, my friend. Many hands make light work. Are you in a craft group or have some practical pals? Gather them together for an afternoon or evening of making. Whether that's cutting and sticking, baking, or faffing about with glitter, ribbon or yarn, keep the tea and or wine flowing, supply tasty snacks and you'll be amazed how much you'll get done. And your friends and family will have fun spotting stuff they made on the day.
6. Go local, think small
Your local market, wedding fair or wedding magazine are great places to start hunting down local suppliers or venues that are likely to be much more reasonable! This is how we found a fab local florist and I tracked down a pretty vintage veil for a tenner.
Picking local, fairly central venues with good public transport links and parking meant we cut transport costs for ourselves and some of our guests. Yes, we had to compromise on some of the more aesthetic things, but it was worth it.
7. Spend the money where it's needed
Identify the areas where you'd like to splash out or don't have the skills to DIY. For us, this was groomsmen suits, a beautiful maid of honour dress, fresh flowers and a pair of killer heels. I'm pretty useless at hair, so I forked out for a hairdresser on the day. Best. Decision. Ever.
8. Old, borrowed and (not necessarily) blue
It's a special day but, seriously, not everything has to be new. Borrowing, or using things you already own saves a fortune and adds personal touches to your day. Yes the dress was new, but we used buttons from my Nan's old button stash and the petticoat from my prom dress. Our teacups made cute decorations and my old case for art materials was ideal for collecting cards in. Be resourceful and make the most of your favourite things.
9. Find your biggest cost and cut it
We quickly realised that feeding our guests was going to be one of the biggest pulls on the old purse strings. We got around this in two ways. Firstly, we decided to get married in the afternoon so we'd only have to arrange one meal (kinda stingy but very necessary). Secondly, we opted for a buffet, doing away with the sit-down-dinner idea. Nope, it wasn't fancy, but it was really fun and relaxed. And we used it as an excuse to scrap the nightmare of a seating plan.
10. Less is more (kinda)
Have a good look at your plans and see what you could do without - it's as simple as that. When it comes down to it, is anyone going to remember the chair backs, how fancy the tablecloths were or how many candles you had? They're not. Yes, making your special day pretty is cool, but not at the expense of your purse, sanity or relationships. And the less you have on your to-do list, the more time you have to relax and enjoy the experience. It's all about celebrating your union with the people you love.