Tuesday, 11 January 2011

What a difference [547] days make...


Eighteen months since I blogged.

I'm not married yet.

I nearly am though :)

The last year and a half has been a bit of a rollercoaster personally and professionally - luckily for me my fiancé and I have both managed to keep our jobs (he's even had a couple of promotions) and we've managed not to argue ourselves out of our wedding. A tough time... but then it's been tough for everyone, and I feel very lucky we've almost made it to our wedding day relatively unscathed.

As it's less than a month to go before the big day (*eek*, *faint*, *sweat nervously* etc) I thought it might be useful for me to impart the very humble scraps of advice that may or may not be useful for those newly-engaged, terrified fiancées emerging blinking into this Brave New World of the recessionista bride:

  1. Save, save and save a bit more: it's very likely your wedding will cost more than you think. Our final wedding budget is approximately 50% over our original estimate, adn we thought we'd budgeted pretty tightly. Nothing wrong with sticking a few wedding bits and bobs on a credit card somewhere, but taking out a mahoosive loan to spend on a one-day party? Maybe not the best idea
  2. Think like an accountant: think of the most boringly sensible person you know. Now double their boringness. Now imagine them talking about the benefits of tracker v fixed mortgages, the different types of ISA on the market, why the recent VAT increase is a good/bad thing... you've got it! That person there! THAT should be the voice in your head you double check every wedding purchase with. Yes, it's tedious. But asking yourself again do you REALLY need those vintage pearl hairpins, when you know the ones from Accessorize would do and are half the price, will really help you in the long run.
  3. Reduce, reuse, recyle: sales are your friend. eBay is your friend. Friends who have just got married are now doubly your friend. Embrace the wedding dress sample sale! (I did, and saved a grand on my dress). Stalk new brides on You and Your Wedding and on eBay - the stuff they're selling has been used ONCE! For a FEW HOURS! And your recently hitched mates are likely to have a plethora of things you can borrow for your big day - hey, if you ask to borrow their veil/garter/tiara/groom (perhaps not the last) you're validating their excellent taste in the most public way possible. Easiest way in the world to get your something old/borrowed.
  4. Bargain like a bad-ass: don't be afriad to ask for discounts. Pick your moment wisely and you could be shaving hundreds if not thousands off your budget. Good times to try to hammer out a deal: if you're getting married out of season (suppliers are more likely to be struggling to find the business); if you're booking at the very last minute; if you're buying lots from the same supplier (e.g. discounted veil/tiara if you're buying your dress from the same shop). Not good times to haggle: they've already offered you a realistic, nay generous discount; it's a small family-run supplier who are already offering goods at a very low price; if you're getting married on a Saturday in August (they don't need your business that much - there are hundreds of brides queueing up at this time for their services)
  5. Put yourself in your guests' shoes: it's easy to get caught up in the wedding magazine ideal of their idea of the "perfect wedding" - which is usually wall-to-wall designer and packed with the latest (costly) trends, which all add up. As long as you have what you want, you don't need the uber-expensive bells and whistles the mags are saying you "should" have. All your guests want is to share your day, see you smiling and to have a good time. That's only going to happen if you're happy and relaxed. Put down the desiginer letterpress invitation catalogue (even if its pages are so reassuringly thick and glossy). Step away from the Louboutin shop. Your guests will still love you.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Cinderella never had to budget

Where is my fairy godmother?! The role is open if anyone wishes to apply... anyway, thoughts have been turning to The Dress. And how on earth I'm going to get the £2.5k dress of my dreams for less than half that price.

It seems there are a number of routes:

  • Sample sales - both general dress events, and sales by the individual designers. The divine Sassi Holford is holding her sale next month - too soon for my budgeting, but hoping to visit her in Janaury
  • eBay - both for secondhand dresses, and also for people in China to copy Western designer dresses for a fraction of the cost. And I do mean a fraction
  • Second hand dress sites - brides selling their worn once dresses

My favoured route at the moment is that of the sample sale. This is for two reasons: I'm pretty much sample size, apart from being a few inches too short. This means that the dresses should fit me everywhere except in length - and that's the bit you need to cut off sample dresses, where they've got dirty where they've dragged across the shop floor.

I can't believe I'm seriously planning on spending hundreds of pounds on one dress. Crazy.

Sunday, 31 May 2009

Hmmmn... not quite cupcake heaven

I made cupcakes. They look good (even if I do say so myself). But... the frosting tastes a bit weird...

Anyway, here are the little beauties... far too much glitter methinks, and believe me I wasn't going for that lurid shade of Barbie pink. Back to the drawing board...

Friday, 29 May 2009

Actual cake obsession.

Latest wedding obsession is the cake. Sparked by a flurry of deliveries to my office of these little beauties, I think that a cupcake tower is a fun, attractive way to offer a wedding cake without the boring old fruit cake that only Great Aunt Ethel likes anyway.

So... I've ordered my edible glitter, I'm hitting Sainsbury's baking section tomorrow and by Sunday afternoon I hope to have turned out several glittery confections of beauteousness. The thinking being that if I can perfect my technique over the enxt year, I will be able to save the average £350 these companies charge for a cupcake tower for 100 guests. RESULT!

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Venue hunting

So, we've been to visit a venue, and we loved it. We're making ourselves go to see half a dozen more places over the next few months, but I have a sneaking suspicion we're going to end up back at our first place. It's a converted barn that would allow us so much flexibility, right down to being able to offer our guests a choice of five different puddings on the day. RESULT!

However... it's £4k just to hire. I know that's not expensive as wedding venues go, but outside of the weird and wonderful bubble that is WeddingLand, £4k is an awful ot of money to spend just on being allowed to take 100 people to a room for seven hours. Ho hum.

We can't book anything until we've done some serious saving, so I guess we just have to put dreams of that place in the back of our mind while carrying on the search.


I migth have just done a little investigation into making my own centrepieces that would look perfect in the barn. Just lovely.

I am definitely owed that lottery win right about now.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009


The hunt for invitations has started. A quick Google search reveals that hundreds, nay thousands, of businesses are all desperate to provide me with a veritable wet dream confection of card, cord, ribbon and a hundred choices of ink colour. Further investigation reveals that they would also like to divest me of a month's take-home for the pleasure.

I have (stupidly) set my heart on letterpress invitations - the kind that's the style du jour for trendy American weddings, but yet to really take off here. Letterpress invites are so classy and stylish and LOVELY. However, they're also loopily expensive.

I'm trying to find a cheaper way of getting the invites I'd like - making them myself is clearly not an option - but I'm struggling! Surely there's some typography/printing student who'd like to take this on as a project...?!

In the interim, I've decided to sulk and decide I'm not having ANY INVITATIONS AT ALL, and perhaps I'm NOT INVITING ANYONE TO MY WEDDING, and EVERYTHING is SO UNFAIR, etc. etc.

*Not F*cking Invited, in case you're curious

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Keep calm and carry on

Well, blimey. So I'm finally engaged. The Boy has gone and done it, he's popped the question, I have a beautiful ring on my finger and now it's time to start planning the day of my dreams, the party of the decade, the wedding of the century.

Except. Except.

My timing is impeccable. We're in the middle of the biggest recession of the last fifteen years - possibly the last fifty. People are taking pay freezes, pay cuts, anything to stop them slipping into the rapidly rising unemployment statistics. The reaction of my newly engaged friends is not that of joy - it's of blind panic. Unsure of the stability of their own jobs, they've just found out that the parents spent their inheritance on home improvements and holidays in Marbella in the heady, hedonistic late nineties. There's no wedding fund to secure the Asian fusion barbecue at the stately home of your dreams. There's no big bonus to be counting on to make a dent in those plans for your classic yet princessy dress and wedding breakfast in a chateau in Provence.

I think only a wartime sprit is going to get me through. It's going to be tight, we're going to cut corners, but by God ladies, there's eBay! We will fight them at the sample sales, we will fight the hotelier who suggests £150 a head menus, and most importantly WE WILL NEVER SURRENDER!

In the meantime, I'm off here to stock up on motivational items.

RB x