Weddings are expensive. Fact. But they don’t have to break the bank, ours certainly didn’t and I wanted to share some of our money saving hacks that helped keep our dream wedding under £10k.
I am certain that abroad weddings can cost a fortune but the one thing they do give is the option to go small. And less guests means less mouths to feed – which I found, through my research into home v.s away weddings, is where the costs start to creep up. We had 28 guests at our wedding and they only included our closest family. Whilst I am sad that meant some of our wider friends and family couldn’t come, they were able to watch via a video link and we threw a party for them when we got home which also meant I was able to wear my dress again – even better value for money!
The scorching Santorini sun meant real flowers just weren’t practical, plus the cost for even a small selection just didn’t seem like good value, so I opted for artificial flowers instead. I found an amazing selection on Country Baskets and had so much fun with my girl friends making my bouquet, button holes, corsage and centrepieces. They looked incredible on the day, no one had any idea they were fake and the best bit – my bouquet is on display in my lounge at home now. I see it every single day and it reminds me of how happy I felt on my wedding day. You can find amazing pre-loved artificial flowers and more on Sell My Wedding.
When we priced up giving everyone a glass of fizz for our speeches, it added over £200 to our budget. So we didn’t bother. Every one of our guests toasted us with their own drink without a second thought, and it was a drink they actually wanted so nothing went to waste. We opted instead for a refreshing Mr Mojito or a Mrs Pina Colada cocktail on the terrace after our ceremony and they didn’t disappoint!
Shock horror but we didn’t have a wedding cake. Our ceremony was late in the afternoon and we served a three course meal which included generous and delicious slabs of Baklava. No one was hungry for cake, no cake was wasted and no pictures exist of us cutting a cake on our wedding day. Every bride I spoke to told me they don’t ever remember eating their wedding cake so I decided we could do without it, and I was right.
I hadn’t realised what a big deal wedding shoes were until I googled them. I mean don’t get me wrong, I like shoes as much as the next girl, but £300+ on a pair of heels that you more than likely can’t even see is not my idea of money well spent. I ended up buying my gold block heel scrappy sandal from New Look at the end of the previous summer season and had worn them a few times before I decided they actually perfectly complimented my dress. They cost £13 and were super comfortable. And in the tiny glimpses of them you can see in my wedding picture, I think they look beautiful. And what’s more, I still wear them regularly and they pretty much go with everything.
Admittedly I only had one bridesmaid, my gorgeous older sister, Laura, but even so I still believe kitting bridesmaids out can be done for a relatively low cost. I knew I wanted Laura to wear green, but that was the only parameter I set for her dress. I mainly wanted Laura to choose her own dress so she had something she felt comfortable and beautiful in. So when we stumbled across a forest green grecian number for £50 in the sale at House of Fraser we were both delighted. Laura loves a bargain even more than I do! If we’d both had in mind exactly what we wanted we never would have found it, but by being open-minded and prepared to stray from a more traditional style, we ended up with the perfect look.
If you spend the most money anywhere, make sure it’s on your photographer
If there is anything I would tell you not to scrimp on, it would have to be the quality of your photographer. We almost didn’t even approach our photographer as we assumed it would be cost prohibitive. But believe it or not it was actually more cost effective for us to fly our Hull based photographer out to Santorini than it was to book one out there. And boy, I am glad I did. Sarah Beth Photo was just incredible and I would recommend her in a heartbeat.
We were both nervous about having our photo taken and my husband is fairly shy when it comes to “formal” stuff like that, but she was incredible and made us feel so comfortable and fabulous. I look through at least a handful of our wedding pictures every month since our big day, I have given them out as gifts and put them up in our home. Talk about return on investment! They are like little pieces of art that perfectly capture the happiness and love we felt on our wedding day. My advice would be to prioritise this over everything else and you will capture memories that will last a lifetime.
You can read more about my wedding in Santorini on my earlier blog post Destination: Wedding. If you have any questions or want some advice if you’re planning your own wedding just leave me a comment, I’d love to hear from you.