Our Low Budget, Eco Friendly Wedding
Mekele the Bride: Dave and I knew we wanted to jump off the wedding treadmill. We started the process with some core values which we wanted to be woven through the day. Our aim was to create a unique wedding which was beautiful and intimate, but most of all reflected us as a couple. Although we respect many of the ceremonial aspects of wedding traditions, throughout the planning process we always tried to ask “why?” instead of automatically following the usual custom. This wasn’t always easy. It made the planning process more complicated and time-consuming, but it was always worth it. One of our core values was to try to be as environmentally friendly as possible, something quite foreign to the lavish world of weddings. We achieved this by handcrafting or recycling what we could to avoid waste and excess. It allowed us to create a unique, handmade, creative and personal vibe. It also made financial sense and helped us keep to a budget under £9k - which was really important!
The Bride & Groom
We wanted a wedding at the beach so we opted for a beach boho theme that incorporated our own personal style. The two-piece wedding dress was bought from a wedding charity shop (Prichard and Moore) in Cardiff. In addition to being recycled, the dress was also budget-friendly, and best of all donated to a cancer charity in the process - a total win-win! The rings were passed down through family or made from recycled metals. Groomsmen wore their existing suits that matched our loose colour scheme, and bridesmaids wore mismatched dresses that suited their shapes so that they would want to wear them again. The bridesmaids' flowers were hand made by the bridal party, and all flower crowns and the bridal bouquet were made by the talented Rachel Poole from Sweet Peony, Penarth, who totally understood the leafy boho brief.
As Dave and I both spend most of our lives on the water, we wanted as much of our big day as possible on a beach. Slade Farm, located near our favourite beach in South Wales was the perfect match. Having only just opened its doors to public weddings, Dave and I were thrilled to be able to use this naturally beautiful venue for our ceremony. With its historic building, walled gardens and a shell path that meanders through a forest to access the beach, it truly is idyllic. We opted for a very intimate service, with 30 of our nearest and dearest. Following the ceremony, we enjoyed the gardens and then made our way in wellies through the blossom-filled forest to the beach, where we celebrated and relaxed with Prosecco and homemade canapés served from the back of our camper van. Our talented photographer Francesca Hill took full advantage of this, capturing some wonderful shots.
From the beach, we made our way to The Plough & Harrow Inn, at Monknash for some hearty pub grub for our close party of 30. We invited people to say a few words - tell stories or write poems, give advice or share a reading, and we had some beautiful and hilarious contributions! This was a magical part of the day and the spoken words of loved ones are something we will cherish forever.
The evening was big fun and a chilled-out party for 200 with all of our friends and family in the pub marquee. We filled a dinghy with ice and bottles of beer and hoisted a sail. Our venue decorations were homemade from driftwood collected from local beaches, and glassware was collected by kind colleagues and friends. We borrowed bunting and hung polaroid pictures throughout the venue which documented our love story. Barry Male Voice Choir sang us into the party under a tunnel of oars and ski’s, and my Buddhist father gave a beautiful blessing which tied everyone in a spiritual union. Our food was a vegan curry served in recyclable cardboard boxes, and handmade cakes lovingly prepared by our friend. Our three-tiered wedding cake was made by my fab 90-year-old grandmother and decorated by Hayley Bryan @atouchoffrostingcakes. Late in the evening we had our speeches and danced into the night to the brilliant Sisterhood five-piece band.
Design a day that represents you both as a couple. Decide on your core values and stick with them throughout. Many venues want to sell you their version of a perfect wedding day - make it your day, not what is convenient to them. Sometimes this will create more work for you, but if you want an individual bespoke day it will take effort, time and thought but that's okay - it's always worth it.