GU SOULMATES: Real bride Tamsin on How to Throw an Eco Wedding on a Budget

27th September 2016

So, the big day was just over 2 weeks ago and the wedding looked so amazing.  Tamsin and Jim got married on September 10th near Glastonbury and theirs was a very relaxed festival style DIY wedding in a field. They had a budget of £3,000, 11 bridesmaids and 4 flowers girls.  HOW does that work?

Tamsin told me that she’s learnt so many things throughout the process of planning her big day and, most important of all, it confirmed just what fantastic friends she and Jim have!  Their friends freely offered their help with everything from use of cars, making food, organising, crafting … the list is endless. Obviously this spirit of giving helped the couple to save heaps of money, but Tamsin worked hard to keep the budget in check too. 

Photo: Liberty Pearl Photography

Tamsin’s Top Money Saving Tips:

  • Consider doing your own food - we had a simple picnic style lunch with all local food - bread from the bakery, ham, cheddar cheese and locally grown salad, plus friends made homemade quiche, scotch eggs, pickled onions and chutneys. This cost us around £2 per person!
  • Canapés can also be expensive, so see if your local bakery can give you some inexpensive options.  Ours made some fantastic mini pasties which worked out at around 40p each but were pretty substantial.  Other easy canapés such as crostini and pate are cheap and easy to prepare yourself.

Photo: Liberty Pearl Photography

  • Serving staff - we didn’t have any - our 11 (yes eleven!) bridesmaids handed out canapés and then the picnic lunch was packed in an old wine boxes which each table collected themselves.
  • Instead of sending paper invites, which can be fiddly and costly when you end up sending a whole pack of information, I designed our own wedding website with all the info and interactive maps.  This means we didn’t get bombarded with questions, we could easily update the information any time and people don't loose the invite (I always manage to do this).
  • Of course, flowers are a big part of any wedding but you CAN save on flowers by using the bridesmaids’ bouquets as table centres - we did this and the table looked amazing!  Admittedly we did have 11 bridesmaid’s bouquets and 4 flower girl’s posies to decorate with!

Photo: Liberty Pearl Photography

  • Run your own bar - you can set your own prices to keep them down for your guests and even after paying staff, hiring the bar, buying cups, straws, measures, etc., you will still make money.  We’ve put our bar profit towards our honeymoon.
  • Swap champagne for Prosecco - I prefer it anyway and honestly, people won't notice especially if you make Bellinis or add fruit syrup.

Swap champagne for Prosecco and lace with fruit syrup

  • Don't worry about things like chair covers and wedding favours - nobody really cares and won’t remember them afterwards. They're expensive and very time consuming.
  • I bought my brand new dress on Facebook, still with the original tags on it for £125!  So shop around before you spend a fortune on a dress.
  • We had our marriage ceremony in a registry office (albeit a very pretty one).  The difference in the fee between £150 at the registry office and £600 if the registrar comes to you, means we saved £450!
  • Negotiate with local suppliers.  Asking for a discount becomes easier the more you do it and being polite definitely gets you a long way - they can only say no!  Offering skill swaps is a great way to get high value items without paying hard cash.  As I'm a web designer this was fairly easy for me, but there are lots of other services small businesses require such as book keeping, admin support, etc.

I predicted that our wedding budget would come in at around £3000 which I guess was a bit optimistic - we actually came in at £5000.  But we got back the bar costs plus a small profit so this has taken £1000 off.  The real total then is around £4000 which still isn't at all bad!  I thought it would help you with your own budgeting if you could see my own spreadsheet, you can download it here.

Photo: Liberty Pearl Photography

Tamsin’s Top Eco Savvy Wedding Tips:

  • Although we had glassware for arrival drinks and on the tables, we had our own personalised reusable cups printed for the bar, so there was less rubbish like plastic cups and cans and no broken glass to clear up.
  • Reuse/recycle as much as possible - I borrowed tablecloths, bunting, rugs, sofas etc. from friends.  Facebook is an amazing way to do this.
  • If your venue is outside have clearly marked recycling bins to encourage people to recycle (saves of tidying up too).
  • Not printing invites - see above - we used recycled luggage tags to send to those who aren't on Facebook then called, texted and Facebook’d everyone else to give them the website link - Facebook is also a good way to keep track of numbers.
  • Encourage people to share lifts - again Facebook is a great way to do this.  Because most people were camped at our wedding they were on site and willing and able to help us clear up the next day. It kept the party going too!

Thanks so much Tamsin, I wish I’d had this sort of information and real bride tips when I got married.  Tamsin’s TOP MONEY SAVING AND ECO WEDDING TIPS have given us a huge insight into, not only how to manage a wedding budget, but how to have a fabulous eco friendly wedding with everything you want at a very affordable price.

I'll be posting their full story, with heaps of photos, in a few week’s time.

Type your email address into the field at the bottom of the page and hit 'Sign me Up' to be the first to read more about Tamsin and Jim's wedding. 

It was a beautiful day and their photographer Amber at Liberty Pearl Photography had this to say about the wedding:

“Documenting their love as well as their first day as husband and wife was better than I could have imagined.  I am so in love with their wedding - I love it when a couple's personality and style shines through on their wedding day and theirs was just perfect.  It was so creative and beautiful in every way and I am so pleased with the photos.”

Photo: Liberty Pearl Photography

Tamsin runs a digital design, training and support service to individuals and businesses throughout Somerset, Dorset, Devon, Wiltshire, Bristol, Bath and the surrounding areas, Digital Carrot,  She's going to role out a wedding website service, based on her own, for other couples planning to save on paper and printing for their wedding invitations.



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