How do you have a gorgeous wedding on a budget?
Well, Lucy and Joel are going to show you how. Their big day was planned in just three short months and they kept to a very strict budget, calling in favours and making compromises when needed. It just goes to show what a wedding is all about; marrying the love of your life, followed by a big old knees up with your loved ones.
The only thing which we ever really recommend investing in, is a photographer whose style you love. The images will be the lasting memory of your day, and these ones captured by Imogen Xiana are truly beautiful. You’d never know that the wedding was planned in such a short time scale or that less money had spent on it than another because the images simply capture what a lovely time everyone is having.
Enjoy this one and for anyone planning a village hall wedding, this is great inspiration!
Lucy The Bride: Joel proposed with a wooden and diamond engagement ring that he’d been practicing and making for months without me knowing. That pretty much set the theme, we wanted a completely homemade and rustic wedding, we wanted it in three months, and on a seriously tight budget.
Even though I work for a wedding dress designer, and am surrounded by beautiful wedding dresses everyday, I had no idea what kind of dress I wanted, so the ladies in the Sassi Holford boutique were a massive help in finding the dress that suited my shape and made me feel confident. Sassi was kind enough to let me tweak her design and make the dress myself, which I wore with a train length veil, gypsophila in my hair, and my handmade engagement ring. Shoes weren’t that important to me, and a pair of cute and super comfy New Look wedges did the job just fine.
We’re fortunate enough to have some amazing friends, one of whom is the amazing Hannah, of Hair by Hannah, who was kind enough to be my bridesmaid and styled my hair beautifully. Another of our close friends is Amy Elizabeth, who is a really talented make up artist, who did my make up, they made me feel amazing by the time they’d finished.
Joel’s very much a country gent, so tweed was always going to feature highly, we got his tweed jacket and trousers from the Hammond and Co. by Patrick Grant range at Debenhams, and bought matching mint green ties from TK Maxx (Hardy Ames) for all the groomsmen. The typical buttonhole wasn’t exactly Joel’s style, and we had seen some cool feather alternatives on Pinterest, but as Joel’s always making things, our florist suggested incorporating a tiny tool, so his buttonhole was woven around a tiny spanner.
Living in Somerset, we had thought we wanted an old rustic barn for our reception, but instead we found the loveliest split level village hall and cricket pavilion in Roadwater, Somerset. It was a beautiful hall that we knew we could transform into what we had imagined. They also had cricket matches on every Saturday that summer, so we planned our English afternoon tea with lawn games around that.
The colour scheme was mint green and ivory, we wanted loads of lace and textures and a rustic feel. Our venue was great as they let us decorate however we wanted, so we created a huge fabric canopy with fairy lights everywhere and had our homemade lace and string spheres suspended from the ceiling. We loved those massive light up letters you can buy, but as they were so expensive, Joel made a huge ‘J&L’ out of wood and sheet metal, they looked so professional. The ‘L’ was a bit sharp in places, so we nicknamed it ‘lethal’. Some friends of ours had bought enough vintage tea sets for their wedding a few years earlier, and offered us to use it. It was so beautiful and made the afternoon tea a delight. The table pieces were made from old glass jars, we collected jam jars and some we decorated with lace and some we spray painted.
We struggled to find a wedding car that suited our theme, so were so happy when a kind workmate lent us her beautiful Nissan Figaro in matching green colour to use, it was the perfect colour and such a fun car, it couldn’t have fitted more perfectly into our big day.
￼Joel’s lovely sister in law, Elizabeth Esson, offered to provide and arrange all the bouquets, buttonholes and table arrangements as a wedding gift. She completely understood the look we wanted and we were so happy with every detail, especially my simple vintage rose bouquet.
The Wedding Party
We had both our friends, and our nieces and nephews involved in the wedding party, so for the little ones, we got cute matching suits for the boys, and I made them some bow ties that matched the older guys ties. For the little girls, they had matching mint green dresses and small embroidery hoops with lace and flowers instead of bouquets.
For our friends, we wanted them to be able to wear what they wanted, so the guys wore whatever grey suit they chose with the matching ties we picked, and the bridesmaids got to choose whatever dress they wanted that was a soft mint/sage green. They all looked amazing and were much more comfortable on the day because of it.
We had already dealt with the legal side of our marriage, so on our wedding day we had a very relaxed talk about marriage by a family friend at Bridgwater Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Elizabeth had managed to sneak in ￼that morning and decorate the hall with flowers, and it was lovely to see all our friends there to enjoy the ceremony with us. We were then able to give a little time for our guests to take their photos and chat without being worried about signing the register (we also saved a fortune on the registrar!)
We had photos of our families in a grassy field, and then headed to Kilve beach on the North coast of Somerset near Minehead for the rest of the photos. We chose this spot because the scenery is just beautiful, and we had spent a lot of time going for walks and fossil hunting there. It’s a wonderful place, and is even more special to us now.
After our High Tea, our evening guests arrived and we managed to persuade everyone to come inside out of the sunshine for a few speeches. Joel said a very short piece thanking everyone for helping so much with the day, and giving special mention to people that had helped us while we were going out. Joel’s housemates had arranged a speech without him knowing, so that was a little terrifying for him, but they were very lovely and warned Lucy about her future.
Joel’s best man Reuben had been a close friend for many years, and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house after he had explained to the gathering how well suited we were for each other. The stories about a few of Joel’s holiday antics were entirely unnecessary, however!
One of the best features of our reception venue was the amount of outdoor space we had available to us. As well as the cricket match happening in the background, we also made the most of the parkland with lots of outdoor games like giant jenga and boules, and also enjoyed the children’s play area. Having the outdoor space helped us get the relaxed atmosphere we were aiming for, and was really vital as we had a lot of young families as guests and we wanted them to have fun too. As it happens I think it was the adults that used the play area more than the children, and the photograph of all the groomsmen along with Joel on the slide is one of our favourites!
A wedding band is a lovely thing, but because of our short time frame and expense, we decided to have DJs instead, Joel’s brother Sam and Zac Peters got everyone dancing and added to the fun, relaxed atmosphere of the night.
As mentioned earlier, we decided to split the day into two halves with an afternoon tea provided for our older friends and family, and then a party in the evening. We had enormous help all day, but the afternoon tea was a triumph of co-ordination by our friends and family. They managed to provide enough sandwiches, cake and scones (with jam and cream obviously!) to feed an army, along with tea and coffee and home-made Elderflower cordial made by Lucy’s brother and his wife. Planning the quantities of food involved in an event like this was really difficult, so it was great to have the help of people that were experienced in this sort of catering.
Once all our other friends had arrived, and the speeches had been enjoyed, we began our evening meal. We investigated lots of different ways to feed people, but nothing suited us as well as a hog roast provided by a local company. We wanted the meal to be a bit more special than just a pork roll, so a friend of ours who is well known for his roast potatoes lived up to his reputation and we also had lovely mediterranean salads and houmous provided by a greek friend (You see what we mean about how grateful we were for our friends and the help they gave!).
The great thing about arranging the food like this, as well as having ample space for everyone, is that there was no awkward waiting around to be fed, and people could just go up to the lovely Hog roast ladies and get their dinner throughout the evening.
Joel’s sister Chloe provided a beautiful wedding cake for us. We chose to have three tiers – one sponge, one fruit cake and then a small top tier, for us to keep until our first anniversary. We gave Chloe a range of pictures of things we liked and the cake was perfect and fitted into the wedding colour scheme and style perfectly. A few of our first dates were lego related, so the cheeky inclusion of lego characters ‘building’ the cake instead of figurines on top was a lovely touch.
We knew that photos would be the main way to remember our wedding day, but we also both absolutely hate having our photo taken. Imogen Xiana is a close friend of ours, and we were big fans of her previous work we’d seen. She made having our photos taken completely non-awkward, and a bit of the day we had been slightly dreading ended up being one of our favourite bits! We couldn’t have been happier with her work and I think we would both agree that of everything that happened on our wedding day, the thing that we wouldn’t have changed is the photographer. It was especially nice that she took the time to find out what sort of photography we liked, and didn’t just treat it as a generic wedding photography job. Also, watching her and Ben working together as a team was lovely.
Dori Opitz kindly helped us by recording the speeches and also some candid photography throughout the day. We were really grateful to have something to look back on like that!
We ended up having so many diy projects, but the one project we worked on together that we were most pleased with was our wedding favours. We wanted to make a small personalised gift for each of our guests, so bought blank jigsaw puzzles from Tiger, and personalised them with the guests initial, using a circus font stamp, and then spray painted doily patterns on them. It not only gave the guests something to do but something truly unique for them to hopefully remember a happy day with. We loved them!
Let yourselves have more than three months to plan, although the day was better than we’d ever hoped for, it took a good few months to get over the chaos! Also, spreadsheets and detailed timetables that show where everyone has to be at what time might seem a bit over the top, but they really help the day run smoother and give all those helping out peace of mind. Looking back on our wedding, we realised just how amazing and talented our friends are, as we were on such a tight budget, we asked for help with things rather than wedding gifts. Other than that, have fun!