We love a bride with a budget and lots of very helpful tips on how to stick to your budget. We know most of you have restrictions when it comes to how much you can spend and it’s great to read Mags’s story on how they compromised on certain areas to make sure they stayed within their set budget.
Mags is stunning with her shocking red hair (and super nails to match!), her Romona Keveza gown is epic and has an epic veil to boot. There’s lots of high street and lots of handmade and it has all been perfectly captured for your viewing pleasure by Mirrorbox Photogrpahy.
Mags The Bride: As soon as we got engaged in 2012 we started the planning process and pretty soon we realised that we would need to be really hand on and do a lot ourselves in order to afford the non-traditional wedding we wanted.
Even though we’re both originally from Ireland we knew we wanted to get married in our adopted home of Edinburgh. We wanted to have a humanist celebrant marry us and there’s a wealth of quirky venues scattered across Edinburgh to choose from. We also knew that being hands on would mean a lot of DIY work at every available opportunity and needed to keep our travel costs down.
Save The Date
As we knew we would have many people coming to the wedding from Ireland we wanted to give them a lot of time to make sure they could make it. We had started saving for our modest wedding budget and had to do a Save The Date for little or no cost. We bought a couple of dolls from a toy shop, sewed some clothes and made a few modifications to make them look like us and using our little digital camera put together a cheap and quirky stop motion Save The Date that we could email to our guests and they loved it!
We had to come up with a budget friendly way to do our invites. We made them our of reclaimed 35mm film canisters, rolling the invites back inside for the guests to pull out and even hand making the pillow boxes to post them out in. Our local film processing shop handily supplied hundreds of canisters for free so we could sift through and find salvageable ones.
I took a white wedding taxi to the venue on the day, to only did it mean we could have a special car for half the prince but it looked so vintage in the pictures. We even arrived early and had to wait in the village so as not to take anyone by surprise!
I was worried about looking for a wedding dress as I couldn’t imagine the kind of dress I would want. I went to a bridal boutique with my mum and came away quite disappointed after trying on a LOT of dresses
and not feeling remotely comfortable in any of them beautiful as they were – but I’m only 5ft 1” and felt tiny! I
I thought about having one made but quickly discovered that having an original design made might be out of budget.
I knew I liked tulle and I’m dotty about polka dots so randomly googled ‘tulle polka dot wedding dress’ and found this amazing Romona Keveza dress online. I fell in love with it immediately but was devastated to find that not only was it not stocked in the UK but it was three times my wedding budget. i spent weeks searching online for a pre worn one.I was incredibly lucky to stumble across a ride in New Jersey who had bought the dress in my sze, had it shipped from Beverley Hills only to discover it wasn’t the right size for her and she was unable to return it. She subequently bought a different dress and I had obsessed over for half the price! It went from Beverley Hills to New Jersey, back to Beverley Hills, to Florida and Ireland before it got to me in one piece and it as perfect.
As I’d blown my entire bridal budget on my dress I had to cut back on some other things. I got my veil from Etsy, I wore high street jewellery and completed the look with some gold glittery Louboutins which my lovely family gifted me.
The bridesmaid dresses were Jenny Packham which I found at 70% off in Debenhams which was a stroke of luck as I had five bridesmaids to dress.
We decided not to have formal page boys or flower girls. Instead we gave each of our nieces and nephews roles in the wedding from ‘petal scatterer’ to ‘booklet distributor’ and ‘ring bearer’. That also meant they could wear whatever they wanted.
Bryan never wears dress shoes and has little cause to and so wanted to make a statement by wearing his trademark Chuck Taylor Converse with his wedding outfit. It went without saying that such funky footwear would need an equally funky suit. he went to traditional tailors and suit shops to start with but very quickly got bored and reverted to Topman where he picked up the amazing skinny blue suit. As it was only a two piece he had a tailor make a dapper made to measure wasitcoat for him by buying two jackets and modifying one. As it was Topman it cam out way under budget.
We simply asked the groomsmen to turn up in slim fit back suits and gave them enough funds with which to hire one if needs be, bought five matching bowties and pocket squares from ASOS and they each selected their own preferred footwear, which worked a treat because they each had their own unique spin on a slim fit suit and shoe combo.
We would recommend any couple starting to look at venues to make a list of deal-breakers as things that are important to he bride may not be so to the groom and vice versa. We had a clear idea on what our budget would allow and most importantly we wanted a venue that wouldn’t restrict the use of suppliers we wanted.
This led us straight to Kirknewton House Stables as it ticked all of our boxes. It was a little pricer than we had planned but we had the freedom to cut back in other areas . The feedback we got from guests on the venue was unanimous ‘wow!’. It was as though we had our own country pile and had all the family over for a summer picnic and partied in peace until 3am.
We really enjoyed the wedding DIY.We had a long narrow room to dress which was difficult. We wanted the general feel to be a relaxed, summer get together but to really reflect our style. Our favourite piece of decor was undoubtedly the ‘Bliss’ sign which Bryan made using just foam board and christmas lights. It created such a lovely focus point in the room.
There were a lot of little token points around the room to create a general senses of ‘us’… Our favourite song lyrics cross-stitched on embroidery hoops, , a tiny model of our cat Arthur, the Save The Date dolls, my pink bicycle, quotes from our favourite movies etc.
Our favours were oddly flavoured shots, which also saved us the extra cost on a glass for the toast, we made te cup candles, we also made our own ceremony booklets in the style of the ‘For Dummies’ books. The guests really appreciated us pointing out what time they would be fed!
Rouge Flowers who did our bouquets supplied the flowers we required to make up the bunches for the tables and we arranged them the dat before. We chose simple wildflowers not only because they suited the theme but so the arrangements could look intentionally messy in line with my amateur attempts at flower arranging.
Back to the tight budget again, we knew a band was out of the question. We had each guest supply two songs on their RSVP’s and created a playlist using these.
Everyone got really giddy when we gave the award for ‘Best Dressed Guest Wedfest 2014’. We handed out clothes pegs to a select few guests during our receiving line without them knowing why and their tables had to do a cheer-ometer to decide the victor who got a bottle of liquor to share with their table.
We cant thank our caterer Nicola enough for all the work she put in. she was upfront about what we could and coundn’t afford to do and we built our dream menu around that. It consisted of Thai Chicken Curry, Vegetarian Pesto Lasagne and Asian Salmon. We supplied all the desserts ourselves.
We met Sam at Mirrorbox Photography having found them online. They were true to our vision and the quirky style we were aiming for. It was so important to us to have a photographer (and we ended up with two!)who could be relaxed, fun and yet at the same time be organised and talented enough to capture the important moments and make them come to life.
The thing I would really advise other couples like ourselves is to always be honest about your limited means in a particular area. If a supplier cannot do what you need within the price range you don’t waste anyones times or even better they’ll do their utmost to make it work if they want to work with you.
Becky is at her happiest when dunking a slightly chilled chocolate digestive into a very warm, very milky cup of tea. She also loves her job and pinches herself every day to make sure that she isn’t in a graphic design dreamworld.