Newlyweds and Preloved members, Tessa and James, tell us how they were determined to have a big day to remember, without starting married life facing a bill that they'd rather forget!
My partner and I live just outside of Godalming, Surrey. It is not cheap to live in this area of the country and I didn’t help matters by deciding to quit my managerial job to start my own pop up tea shop business, TeaSpot Surrey. Despite this, my Treasury Analyst fiancée, James, and I were determined to have a beautiful wedding day that would reflect how we felt about each other and give our family and friends a day to remember. In order to do this and not end up in debt, we would have to save hard, spend our money carefully and think creatively.
We married in Hampshire in September 2013, one year after getting engaged. We started by finding our rings from an antique jewellers in Brighton, which not only meant we had beautiful rings with histories attached to them, but spent about half of what we originally expected to.
The hardest part of the planning was finding and securing a location for the wedding. We knew we wanted somewhere we could put our stamp on and that wouldn’t restrict us by forcing us to choose their (often expensive) caterers.
After visiting more than 20 venues, we discovered a beautiful village hall and a rustic barn on a working farm for the reception and ceremony, both near Thruxton, Hampshire. Each venue cost us just £500 for the entire weekend and we were given free rein to put whatever personal touches we wanted on them.
James and I feel strongly about not wasting wherever possible, and it was second nature to us to make sure that we saved both money and the environment wherever we could. Along with family members, we visited as many carboot sales and charity shops as we could and found all kinds of wedding-related treasures there – saving us hundreds of pounds.
In addition to this, we asked for friends and family to not buy us a wedding present, but to lend us their talents; friends lent us fairy lights, filmed the wedding, created the playlist, lent us a Bentley for the bridesmaids to arrive in, family members baked our wedding cake, bought the champagne, the table wine and even secured a 100-year-old car for us to make a grand entrance to the wedding in!
I found blackboards for table names on Preloved and although I ended up buying my dress in the sales from a high street store, I spent many an hour searching through the hundreds of beautiful dresses advertised on Preloved. I loved being a thrifty bride, not only did it mean that my husband and I could start our married life not in debt but we made the day completely personal to us.
I think with fantastic websites such as Preloved, people have the option of making a beautiful wedding for less, and the stigma of having a ‘thrifty’ wedding is vanishing.
Before we started I created a spreadsheet of what we wanted, what we could expect to pay for everything brand new and what we actually bought it for. Overall, we managed to save nearly £3000 and I hope to make a little bit of money back as I am selling on many of the things we used on the day.
The biggest savings we made were on the wedding dress (£115), flowers (£150), and photographer (£500). I now know that when you invite your friends and family to your wedding they just want to enjoy themselves with you; expensive decorations look pretty but are totally unnecessary!
All of our guests had a lovely time and it was a day that James and I will treasure forever.