Travelling back from collecting a china order from a wedding recently, I heard a wonderful programme on the Radio 4’s You & Yours relating to the escalating cost of a wedding today. Having had to work to a budget for our own wedding day and having to now, through my own wedding business, match couples Pinterest-inspired dreams to their more realistic bank-balance, I listened with interest to the incredible tales of the 1970s bride who fed and entertained 250 guests for £50 and the more recent divorcee who splurged a horrifying amount on the big day, only for the relationship to break down less than a week into the marriage and the inspirational trainee photographer who quickly married in her lunch hour as she wasn’t able to get the time off work!
One of the wonderful things about the rise in popularity of vintage weddings is the nostalgic look at how it used to be done in days gone by, and the examination of our old English wedding customs and traditions. It’s astonishing to think that only a generation ago many couples didn’t even have an evening do, but headed off on honeymoon after a quick bite to eat!
With financial contributions no longer coming from just the parents-of-the-bride but more often now from the groom’s family and indeed the couple themselves, the expectation of what a couple want, need and should spend for their big day can escalate out of control and it can be difficult to manage the joint expectations of the contributors. I believe that couples planning their big day can benefit from taking note of how previous generations tied-the-knot on a budget and kept their hard-earned savings for the important business of building a home and a future for the marriage and by keeping the focus on the things that really matter to them as a couple and avoiding an unnecessary splurge on the superficial. It’s refreshing to see that along with the adoption of the timeless and elegant look of vintage weddings, many couples are introducing more of the bygone traditions to their special day which lends a wonderful air of authenticity to a vintage-inspired wedding as well as helping to keep the spending under control.
Here are some budget-saving hints and tips I’ve picked up over the years, I hope they can be of some use to those planning a stylish day on a shoestring. The best advice from the radio programme was to spend within your means and ensure you have a day that truly reflects you as a couple and your life together. Just don’t throw out the disco just yet, we all love a good dance!
Make and do and mend. From drying confetti petals to making jam and sewing bunting to handwriting name plates, there really is no greater labour of love than crafting your own wedding items. Call on the skill sets of your friends and families and when you are cursing over tissue paper pompoms and lace bows at midnight rest assured you will be saving money and these beautiful details will not go unnoticed by your guests.
Call in the cooks! If you have talented bakers on your guest list, ask them to bake their favourite cake for your big day, perhaps as part of a wedding gift. Showcase the collection on a dedicated cake table dressed with pretty china cake stands complete with nameplates acknowledging who made what. A unique, personal and visually stunning way to save on the catering bill, have your cake and eat it!
For a summer wedding welcome drink swap expensive champagne for an elderflower cordial with sparkling wine and serve in chic vintage champagne saucers on silver trays, simply stunning.
Get the vintage look on a budget by mixing a splash of vintage in with cheaper contemporary pieces, for example dress a plain white dinner plate up with a vintage tea plate on top or a cheap white tablecloth with some vintage lace.
Hire a hall! Village halls can be hired for next to nothing. Cover noticeboards with swags of gorgeous vintage fabric, hang handmade bunting from the rafters and show off the original vintage trestle tables with lace or hessian table runners.
Keep it local and use your local independent suppliers, they come with a wealth of local knowledge and they can be flexible on prices and packages. Not only can you save on delivery costs but local suppliers are able to use their network of fellow suppliers to secure discounts and recommendations.