Fit. Seriously – So. Much. Fit. I don’t think I’ve seen a bride and groom with such amazing teeth and thus beautiful beams in every single image, they should model for Colgate*
Apart from the general mega watt smilies and pretty details what is also super special about Laura and Andy’s wedding is that they stuck to a strict budget, making clever choices and incorporating various DIY projects and help from family and friends and truly created the day of their dreams.
I especially love the “brownie baking” competition – what a fun way to incorporate your nearest and dearest into W-day AND provide a selection of delicious (and free!) desserts.
*other toothpaste brands are also available.
Laura The Bride: As a bride I wanted to feel my best and I think I had always envisaged a fish tail dress. When it came to trying on dresses for the first time, I went with my Nan, Cousin and Auntie. I tried on numerous styles and all of them looked nice but didn’t make me feel like I had found “the one”. Later on that day, we visited another boutique and tried on several more dresses, the last one I tried on made me feel special. It was a gorgeous French lace, sweetheart neckline with a small train, beautiful buttoned detail at the back. It was figure hugging and really made me feel special. I think I tried on about 12 dresses that day. We only did one day of dress shopping so all in all very easy for me to choose! There was one problem and that being that I only had a budget of £500 for my dress. My cousin Sara quickly got on Ebay and miraculously found the same dress being advertised. It had been worn for a few hours -It was a sign! The next weekend Andy and I travelled 2 hours in the car for me to try it on. It was in perfect condition, and I managed to get the dress for less than half price (within budget). I kept it a secret from a few of my friends for a while, as I felt they might judge me. But as the time went on where my final dress fitting came, I knew it was my dress and not someone else’s. It was a figure hugging gown, that was once a larger size. It spurred me on to find more bargains, as I knew we didn’t have a lot of money to create the wedding of our dreams.
￼I wasn’t too sure about a veil or not. I knew that I needed something to cover my back, and a lot of friends who hadn’t had a veil recommended that I have one. I really didn’t want to spend a lot of money on one as I knew I would only have it on for the ceremony. So I decided to visit a wedding charity shop in my local village. I knew what I wanted and luckily they had one there. My friend sewed on a beautiful pearled clip.
My feet always kill in shoes so I knew I needed some wedding shoes that looked good and looked amazing, so I did a bit of research and one day I came across the brand Rainbow Club in John Lewis. They were pricey, but I knew they would be comfy and they were in keeping with the style of my dress. Also I am not a big fan of my toes on show, so they were perfect. On the big day I don’t think I moaned once about my feet hurting. Would highly recommend!
The Grooms Attire
Andy knew straight away that he wanted to buy suits for himself and the Best Men- yes he had 2!
We wanted smart navy suits and headed straight to TM Lewin. They were great at getting the right cut for the boys and altering them. The other Groomsmen owned navy suits already, so all asked them to wear brown shoes. We bought grey ties from Next, and some stripey socks from River Island. They looked sharp. I really wasted bothered about them all looking identical, it made it more rustic and in keeping with the day, not being so formally dressed.
We live in Cardiff, but with Andy being from Devon, he had his mind focussed on getting a venue
that was in a countryside setting. We both loved barns but there are not many affordable ones in South Wales. Having searched for a good 5 weeks for venues, we returned to an email from Lyde Court which we had over looked due to cost. We knew we wanted to get married in Spring, and expressed a view of the Maundy Thursday date, which meant it was weekday rates and a bank holiday after. Perfect.
We visited the venue and met Gary the owner. The venue sold itself to be honest,he didn’t need to do anything about persuading us to book it. Its surroundings and accommodation were just what we wanted , an old rustic barn that needed very little decoration to make the perfect day.
Lyde court also has lovely dorms and 90 guests can sleep in there!! My bridal party stayed the night before and it was lovely having breakfast together in the main house kitchen. I was able to put little paper bag hangover kits and door signs in the dorms which added a personal touch for the guests when they arrived.
Lyde court already had a specific rustic barn feel to it, so it didn’t need much decoration. I think my colour theme started when I was looking for Bridesmaid dresses. Having been to many weddings you tend to stay away from a colour that a friend has had. So I was pulled towards the grey colours. This then developed into Grey floral and grey stripy/kraft brown. I did a lot of research on Pintrest and decided that I wanted paper pom poms. Andy wasn’t so keen on this idea but I put my foot down and as they started arriving through the post from China (eBay) he knew there was no going back. I used grey, ivory and a caramel colour for the pompoms.
I collected jars, specifically Dowe Egberts coffee jars and painted them in different shades of grey and glitter. I even posted on my local village Facebook group and asked the neighbourhood to collect them for me, and I managed to get about 14 jars. It was an amazing response. I ended up letting guests take a jar of flowers home with them aswell, which was nice for them to be reused.
￼Being on a budget, I had asked friends what they budgeted for flowers, we were gobsmacked at how much people were telling us. Realising we hadn’t put enough in for the flower budget I was abit worried. That was until my friend said she was more than happy to help do the flower arrangements. She was a Primary School teacher and not a florist but had helped at friends weddings before. I had no idea where to start with flowers and really took all the guidance she had to office. We sat down and looked online and decided that it was going to be pale pinks, lots of greenery and whites. Lyde Court also offer their garden flowers to be able to fill jars on the tables. Having visited at Spring time in 2014, I knew a lot of the colours were yellows and purples, so we blended this theme into our flowers. We bought the flowers from a warehouse shop which is open to the public. I didn’t want lorry loads of flowers and I think its such a shame that they all go to waste and flowers are expensive. I just wanted enough to look pretty and make the venue look decorated. So we were able to buy within the budget of £300 to have 3 bouquets, fill 4 milk churns, about 30 jars full, button holes. Luckily we bought extra as the flowers hadn’t grown very well at Lyde, so we had enough spare flowers for Karen (owner of Lyde) to add to her home grown daffodils. We only went on a 4 day mini moon, so I had the privilege of having some of my flowers and my bouquet for 3 weeks. I gave some to my neighbours for them to enjoy aswell.
The Wedding Party Fashion
Straight away I knew I loved the TwoBirds dresses, but managed to find a company online called In One Clothing that make identical ones. They posted one out to us to try on aswell. We went for a soft grey. Sara was 5 months pregnant when I got married, so the drapy material was perfect. Holly wore a beautiful tulle Next dress with accessories from Monsoon, she looked like a doll. Andy really wanted to buy a new suit so it also made sense to help buy the Best Mens suits too instead of hiring. The service in TM lewin was great, all needed altering, so it was literally 3 tailored suits. We saved £400 buying them on offer aswell.
We decided to have the ceremony in the barn rather than outside, It was a bit too chilly and it was more intimate in the barn. We had a civil ceremony that was so emotional, we both welled up saying our vows! I had an instrumental version of Christina Perri’s ‘A Thousand Years’ to walk in to. Andy’s Sister Karen read us a reading called On Your Wedding Day, and my best friend Sara read a light hearted one by Bee Rawlinson, we personalised it.
We didn’t put lots of flowers on chairs, I just bought 2 rolls of lace and put a few chairs dotted about with it on the backs, and tied some flowers to the back.
We made a play list with 6 hours of our favourite bands and songs on which we played during
reception drinks, we also had a giant Jenga out which had drinks tokens in, incase people pulled out a jenga block. The music played during the meal aswell. as soon as the meal was over, we had Thoby Davies play on his loop pedal. We found Thoby at our local pub in Cardiff. He was amazing and played for an hour while the band set up. We then had Apollo Soul play 2 sets and they also learnt our first dance –Hey Ho by The Lumineers. We had our guests holding sparklers during the dance, It was magical. Following that we had Boutique Disco (our Best Man Grant Reynolds) perform a sound clash with our Usher Ben Field. Ben threw out glow sticks to all our guests. Everyone had a good boogie!! We also had fancy dress and masks and glitter wigs which ended up on the dance floor at the end of the night.
At the end of the night, we all sat around the fire pit on hay bales and ate marshmellows, it was a fantastic end to an incredible day.
We also had a photo wall and polaroid camera, which guests put into a book for us!
￼We had canapes during the reception drinks, Hog roast and salads for the main, and the Brownie Bake off for dessert.
Christine and her staff were brilliant on the day. We had tons of canapes which we brought out in the evening along with mini fish and chips in the night.
Lyde also allowed us to have a brownie competition, which allowed us to ask some of our culinary skilled guests to bake their best batch of brownies. These brownies were served as desserts as a mini brownie tower, along with ice cream, cream and strawberries. This saved us abit of money and really involved our guests and created abit of a talking point when it came to the dessert course.
We fell in love with Jessica’s photography as soon as we saw it. The natural shots and the glowing light that she manages to capture made me so excited to see our wedding day photos. We met Jessica at Lyde court on a sunny January afternoon. We got on straight away and were on the same wave length of the types of photos we wanted. She made us feel at ease and actually enjoy ourselves. Our engagement photos are amazing, and we are so glad we had the opportunity to do that before the big day, I would definitely recommend it.
Jessica and her second shooter Rob Fuz arrived bright and early to capture myself and Andy getting ready with his boys. It was great we were all on the same site to allow Jess and Rob to switch between both parties. Jess caputured some magical emotional moments and everytime we look at the photos again, we fall more in love with them. Such a talent.
We decided not to have a professional videographer for the day. Firstly I don’t like seeing myself on
screen, but secondly due to the cost. A friend of ours Jon Moore always puts together video clips at friends’ wedding, so for our wedding present he is kindly putting together a special video for us. My Uncle also has his camera out for most of the day, so we have a video of all the special moment.
Just because you are on a budget doesn’t mean you can’t have the wedding of your dreams. Have the wedding you want and not for your guests. You can end up spending so much money on things that your guests won’t even end up noticing.
We drew up our budget and we stuck to it. If you are prepared to get things second hand, then you will save yourselves thousands. We have been to so many weddings and been far to full to eat 3 courses, so we weren’t worried about not having the traditional 3 courses, this saved abit of money. I think the most important areas to spend money are on entertainment.
- Starting with the save the dates, instead of buying invites, we sent email save the dates
from Paperless Post . I think it cost about £12 to send them all.
- Invitations- I bought brown craft card off eBay, along with Kraft Tags. With a bit of a design brief my
Cousin designed the invites, and I got them printed off at Mailboxes in Cardiff.
- I bought a stamp kit off eBay and we made the name tags for the wedding invites and the chutney
- One of the first things I bought and made was the card suitcase, It cost about £10 from eBay, and I
painted it, lined it with material and my friend Jess made some beautiful bunting, she also made a Mr and Mrs and my cake bunting. This was hessian from the table cloths and also the cream material from the back of my table plan.
- Instead of hiring table cloths and table runners, for the same money I decided to buy it from a local fabric shop. I spent £100 on white material and hessian. It took a few hours to cut the lengths of material and hessian but they looked perfect. I now have lots of table clothes that I might hire out!
- Andy kept his eyes open for bargains everywhere we went, on one occasion I was utterly impressed
when he returned from Sainsburys with 4 steel milk churns reduced from £10 to £2.50, a wicker wand and wicker heart. These were perfect for putting our big flower arrangements in.
- Andy’s Mum and my Auntie made the Jam’s and Chutneys for favours- home grown produce from Devon and Yorkshire.
- Andy made our table sign out of old architrave from our house renovations and abit of chipboard. The table plan was abit quirky. I stamped on the names of familys and couples. Each then had to scratch off a dot to find their table number. No one knew who they were sitting next too until they got to the table.
- Andy made pallet signs which were salavaged, painted them in black board paint. My Cousin used glass pen the day before the write all the signs. He also made a little one for his speech which say “when I say “my wife” please cheer”. It was something completely unique to our day.
- We bought photobooth props, pompoms from eBay.
- We made hangover bags for guests (eBay bargain)- including eye masks, paracetamol and a malteasers bunny!
- Water bottles for guests to take home- cheap from Costco.
- Ask for discounts when buying suits, they can only say no.
Photography by Jessica Raphael Photography
- Preloved Wedding Dress eBay
- Bridal Shoes Rainbow Club from John Lewis
- Bridesmaid Dresses In One Clothing
- Flower Girl Dress Next
- Flower Girl Accessories Monsoon
- Groomsmen Suits TM Lewin
- Socks River Island
- Ties Next
- Venue Lyde Court
- Catering Christines Catering
- Entertainment Apollo Soul
- DJ Boutique Disco
- Hair/Makeup Hilary’s Wedlocks