Wednesday, 4 February 2009

My Credit Crunch Wedding

I'm not usually known to be frugal, but when a part-time marketing consultant/copywriter and a full-time heating engineer decide to tie the knot they have to take into account a distinct lack of funds. For J and I, you can also include a distinct lack of willing benefactors. 

A little internet resarch revealed the fact that my dream wedding - a marquee on Temple Island for 150 guests, free flowing booze, fine dining, loads of flowers etc would only be a reality for me if I robbed a bank, sold a kidney or reconciled myself to 5-10 years worth of paying off a loan. For just one day (albeit a very special one)? No way, Jose. 

Our limited resources haven't been too restrictive though. We've just had to focus more on what's really important for us. Which is: a fab honeymoon and a great party. Oh, and I expanded that criteria recently to include a Red-Carpet-Oscar-Winner-Dress. A girl has got to be a goddess on her wedding day, naturellement.

So, we're going halves on a two week honeymoon in Thailand. I'll be raiding my recently-started ISA for that one. Actually, depleting it would be a more accurate description.

My dress is a Mireia Bisbe (Spanish designer) raspberry red and was way over my budget. That is, until I bargained the Back Room Girls down by £200 and my lovely friend, Anton offered to put £250 towards it as a wedding present. Bless his cotton socks.

Did I mention my sweet, silver shoes were on sale at New Look? I spend per week more on cappucinnos than I did on them. They look great.

My lovely flower girls will be in Monsoon dresses.So pretty. Their posies are from Ebay.

My arty friend is doing my make-up, both for the ceremony and for the party. I'm eschewing the Aston Martin for my clapped out Golf.

The wedding invitations were free to do - we set up a Facebook event page and invited everyone via that. Our guests can use the page to upload photos and videos after the event. For those resisting signing up to Facebook, we just emailed them the info.

We have no official photographer, but have invited the Henley Standard photographer to come - they've agreed.

Our ceremony will be just one witness each plus Els and my niece, Sulis, at Henley Registry Office. We'll then all go to Michelin-starred The Hand In Flowers for lunch which we'll go dutch on. J and I will spend our wedding night in their Angus Suite. Our night of decadence.

As for the party. Well, the Village Hall at Nettlebed is a real find. Yes it is a Village Hall but no it isn't lacking in atmosphere. It's wood panelled and has a bar. Better still, it's only £200 to hire for the evening. Bargain.

Instead of a wedding present, we're asking friends to bring a 'pot luck' buffet dish and money to spend on themselves at the bar. Sarada, who is a wonderful cook, has offered to make the cake. I've asked for carrot cake. Not a traditional choice, but then I'm not really a traditional kinda gal.

For decorations, I'm planning on red and white helium balloon clusters - bunched together with ribbon and weighted a bit like the ones here. We'll get a kit and create them ourselves. Candleson the tables for a twinkly effect, but these ones so we don't burn the place down.

Music will either be our friends DJ-ing (one of them is happy to lend us her decks, another has some booming speakers, and at least 3 of our friends are fairly good DJs), or playlists we'll line up on J's Ipod.

Entertainment? Well, that's the best bit. 

My good friend does a Burlesque Fire Hoola-Hooping show (for festivals and corporate gigs) and she's willing to perform for free on the huge, secluded lawn at the back of the venue. We're keeping that one a secret - apart from warning friends with kids in case they want to shield the little dears from nipple tassles and suspenders - so shhh..don't tell ;-)

I also fancy getting some of these and asking guests to launch them after the Hoola-Hoop show, as a nice finale.

Total cost? Way, way, way less than the traditional wedding. With rings, excluding honeymoon, I reckon about £1,500. Good eh?


Single Parent Dad said...

£1,500, that is top notch.

Your wedding plans sound wonderful. Just right. Watch out for power lines with those chinese lanterns, just like we didn't at a party we went to before Christmas.

And if we don't get an invite, can you send us a piece of carrot cake? My favourite, and we had carrot cake cup-cakes for our shindig.

Home Office Mum said...

Very impressive. And what a fab array of friends you have. But best of all, I used to live in Nettlebed!!! I know the village hall. My old house is the one next to the White Hart pub (which is next to the village hall). It was there that my two children were conceived and although I didn't give birth to them there that;s where they spent the first bit of their lives. Both of them were christened in Nettlebed church and the christening lunches were at the White Hart.

So wishes you lots of lovely Nettlebed wishes for your wedding day. Sounds marvellous. As does the honeymoon!

Anonymous said...

OMG I NEED to see that hula display!

Nicola said...

It all sounds brill. Definitely my type of wedding. And the dress sounds gorgeous. My wedding, almost 12 years ago, was similar (tho it's all gone tits up now i still think our wedding was tops). I had a purplish dress, made by the head seamstress of Fergie's dressmaker, no less, for peanuts. Our only expense was hiring a huge limo for us and all our guests to trot about London between the 3 venues we 'visited'. It was a blast. One of my friends was a serial mooner but had promised to keep her bum in her knickers. Unfortunately after she consumed a couple of bottles of fizz that promise went out of the (limo) window, along with her bum. There are not many brides who can say they have smiley wedding-ish pics interspersed with close-ups of their best mates bottom...

Not quite your average wedding but memorable in every way - and so rewarding to create something original on a shoestring.

Wishing you both the best of luck and the happiest of happy days. x

that girl? said...

Wow - this sounds wonderful, very personal and stylish to boot! Love the idea of the flying lanterns at the end... and Burlesque???!!! You are so now!! Have fun organising and planning

Anna Moulton (soon to be Higgs) said...

Thank you, every one. It's lovely to have such positive feedback as my plans have often met with raised eyebrows - as if I'm not doing things 'properly'!

SPD-thanks for the tip, and you're welcome to come try some carrot cake
HOM-how amazing! Are you still local? I will upload some photos so you can see the hall
MTAM-my friends are performing at the London Burlesque Newcomers Final on 3rd April at La Scala Nightclub
Nicola-your wedding sounds more raucous than my hen night - love it!
That Girl- thank you, the burlesque is more by accident than design though...

Tara@Sticky fingers said...

Good for you. I think that is absolutely fabulous and you will have a brilliant time because you have put so much thought into it.
You don't need to spend thousands to have the best day.
My wedding dress was from Monsoon and a week later I saw it in a brochure someone sent me for designer dress and it was identical. Mine probably cost the same as the packaging for the fancy pants one!

A Modern Mother said...

If it's not too late ... have a great wedding. Sounds wonderful. Hope it's OK, I'm putting this post on Thames Valley Mums Blog.