‘My DIY Wedding Saved Me Thousands’: The Secrets to a Special Day on a Budget

'My DIY Wedding Saved Me Thousands': The Secrets to a Special Day on a Budget

Thursday 4th April 2019

In a Recent poll, half of us think we spend more on weddings than in the past, seven in ten of those asked blamed the soaring price of wedding venues.

Nearly four in five couples choose DIY weddings over a package, and one in three held the wedding in their own home. But not everyone can fit their family into a two-bed semi.

When it comes to weddings, thinking imaginatively is the key and will save you thousands. Two DIY brides share their secrets to a 'homemade' celebration
Tracy and Mel, on how they saved money on their 'homemade' weddings.

Tracy. We didn't just want to save money, but make it more personal. We've been to lots of different weddings and decided to avoid a hotel wedding, where you have to use their set bands and restrictions.

Instead, we found a venue, Polhawn Fort on the south coast of Cornwall, just around the corner from Plymouth, with its endless coastal views. You can choose a whole weekend or a midweek wedding, it's your call. You hire the venue, then do whatever you want with it, the place is all yours for the duration. We had three days with the people we value most.

They said: "Here's the keys - do what you want." A lot of our close friends stayed there all weekend, either in the Fort or in Log cabins just up the road or at the camp site.

On the Friday our friends, family, bridesmaids & groomsmen had a great time helping us to customise the venue for the Saturday, it really was a lot of fun and they felt much more involved. Sunday was a chill out day eating & drinking around the BBQ - brilliant!

We collected or made everything we wanted for the wedding weekend, I say we, I mean friends and family helped too! Everyone mucked in, aunty made the cake, Mum the flowers - not all real but mixed, so difficult to tell real from silk! Things like signage made by the boys from rustic old crates & pallets. We found yards of cheep muslin material, which the girls help drape around the ceremony room - looked fab!

We made our own invitations. That was definitely about money - I was begrudging spending £300 when we could do it ourselves for £25 on the computer. Also, I think invitations are the sort of thing people look at, note down the date and then throw in the bin.

In terms of entertainment, we were lucky to have some talented friends so we didn't spend any money - they loved playing throughout the day and the evening. The same applies to our DJ - a close friend and he was just amazing!

I got my dress in a sample sale. Instead of paying £1,675 I got it for £800. Sample sales in good shops are excellent - and all very organised. They let three of you in at a time and if you find the right dress, you can take it away with you. There were some £500 shoes I wanted but couldn't afford. Then I went to a wedding fair and the shoe designer was selling them off for £100. We found the grooms suit on eBay for £60 - worn once!. Had it tailored to fit for £50.

There was no staff at the venue. We set up tables ourselves the day before and worked with a local caterer. When it came to food, we had sharing boards and we put together our own dessert table bought from Morrisons. It was more laidback and it worked out so much cheaper than a posh meal.

The wedding cake, made by my Aunt was a three-tier sponge with different tiers, one was chocolate! This was our dessert, with clotted cream - yummy and cost us nothing. It was her wedding present!

The venue didn't have a corkage fee, so we could bring the alcohol ourselves, which was a lot cheaper. During the day our guests drinks/wine were free. However, in the evening
we had an honest box where guests could chuck a quid in if they had one of our drinks, or they brought their own to drink.

The point is, we wanted it to be personal, and we did it together - I was lucky my groom was really into it. We must have saved around £7,000.

A wedding is the biggest party you're doing to throw with all of your favourite people, so I didn't just want to see them for an afternoon. I wanted them for the week end, and the money to be spent creatively to make it last as long as possible

Mel. We got married at the registrar office the day before, a quick ten minutes in and out.
We had a blessing ceremony on the day - loved it!
I had such a clear image of how I wanted the day to look and feel that the thought of having a package wedding didn't really appeal. One place wanted £17,000 just for food and hiring the venue for the day.

I am quite a creative person and wanted to be as hands on as possible.
It was great because the money we saved on the venue, invites and cake that we were able to spend more on making sure everyone had a good time.

We asked some local farmers if they had a barn we could borrow, and got lucky!
it was a blank canvas and we could decorate it pretty much how we liked. We bought all the flowers from our local superstore and then arranged them in jars, bottles and buckets.

I was even still arranging bridesmaids flowers on the morning of the wedding.
We had so many compliments on the flowers. My mum did an amazing job. She isn't a florist - she just has a natural ability to create beautiful bouquets.

My dad and I designed the invitations - we drew a picture of the Barn and even a hand-drawn map. I was lucky enough to have my dress made by my friend. Between us we designed the dress and then she created it.

We opted for a barbecue instead of a sit down meal as we wanted to be able to relax and mingle with all our guests. It also worked out at more than half the price.

We had a cake table and asked some family and friends if they would mind baking something nice. The table was overflowing with carrots cake, chocolate cake, meringues, cupcakes, lemon drizzle and flapjacks. We even had a dairy free option. My sister made the wedding cake.

As we didn't have to pay corkage we provided the booze ourselves. It was great because with the money we saved, we were able to spend more on making sure everyone had a good time.
Having done so much ourselves we really wanted a lasting memory of it all, especially a video. We thought about asking friends to do it, however we took their advice and got a pro, and what a good decision that was. However even here we saved some money, by promising to water and feed him for the day and he was local, so no travelling expense etc. Gil gave us a good deal.

You can save £££££ if you think imaginatively

  • Friends & Family would love to be involved - just ask!
  • Look for the unusual venue - It may be just a field, or an empty old rustic barn

- and it may be free! -Just ask!

Make it Fun and Personal