GREENUNIONS: A Laid Back Budget DIY Wedding in Glastonbury Field | Tamsin and Jim
3rd March 2017
Today I’ve got a really great treat for you. Remember our GU Soulmates, Tamsin and Jim? Well they went and got married near Glastonbury last September and theirs was a very relaxed festival style DIY wedding in a field. According to Tamsin, it was the best day of her life!
The thing that amazes me is that Tamsin and Jim managed to throw an incredibly all inclusive festival style wedding with 11 bridesmaids, 5 flower girls, 9 groomsmen and 173 guests on a very lean budget of only £3,000 … could you do that?
No! I still can’t quite get my head around it either, but they did. We've already given you a taste of how they managed such a budget concious wedding that looks so amazing. But today we wanted to tell you all about the actual wedding day and the best person to tell you more about it, is Tamsin herself. Over to you Tamsin …
The Perfect Place
Our reception was held in a lovely field near my Mum’s house. We wanted a relaxed wedding where we didn’t have any restrictions imposed on us and people could camp on site.
Our vision was a lively, relaxed party with a festival vibe and that’s exactly what we got!
We’re not religious, but wanted to find a venue that had the beauty of a church and was within our budget and were so lucky to find the Yeovil registry office which had just moved to the most beautiful medieval barn. We went with very simple vows, purely because I knew that I would stumble over anything too long!
The Guest List
We had 50 at the ceremony (we would have had more, but we were restricted by the Registry Office’s license). Then we had 100 plus 23 children, for the meal and an extra 50 more guests for the evening do. My aunt and uncle had to travel the furthest, coming over from the States.
We made our own ‘Tamsin & Jim’s Damson Gin’ to welcome the guests and each table had a bottle, which definitely helped with the atmosphere!
We had a budget and stuck to it - this was because we spent a lot of time researching how we could save money. For example we supplied our own food and ran our own bar, which not only saved us money, but meant we had extra spending money for our honeymoon.
We cut out the things that we thought unnecessary like wedding favours, chair covers, hiring wedding cars, etc.
My dress was brand new but I bought it on eBay for £125 (it was £650 new) and our bridesmaids and groomsmen all bought their own outfits - when you have 11 bridesmaids and 9 groomsmen, this is a huge money saver!
Our parents were very generous with their contribution and I also designed some websites in exchange for services from some of our suppliers (vintage decorations, crockery, cutlery etc., wedding cake, wedding rings, flowers, sound and lighting).
Also our amazing creative friends all helped out massively with setting up, decorating and food.
Jim’s parents live in France and kindly supplied all the wine which meant we could afford a bottle per person on each of the tables.
My main tip on how to save money on your wedding is to think of the weddings you’ve been to in the past. What did you enjoy or what made a lasting impression and what do you not really remember? Then make a list of your priorities - then cut out all the things that don’t matter - for instance, do you need real Champagne or is Cava or Prosecco just as good?
Our priority was for us and our guests to feel relaxed on the day and to enjoy good, simple food and lots of wine, and our biggest expense, by far, was the photographer because we’ve had friends who cut corners on photography, or used friends to take photos, and really regretted it. We were thrilled with our wedding photos!
Our theme was pretty eclectic with a vintage feel. I wore a beautiful 1920/30s style beaded dress and my sister-in-law’s veil. Jim wore a beautiful pale blue suit and bow tie.
I hate going to weddings and being hungry, so we made sure our guests were well fed the whole day!
The canapés were made by my mum (pâté and crostini) and my friend Daisy who made the most amazing Greek feta and spinach filo parcels. We also had some mini Glastonbury pasties made by a local bakery.
We wanted a laid back, relaxed vibe for the wedding so decided on picnic style food; local ham, cheese, bread and salad; chutneys made by Jim's mum; quiches made by friends. It meant that each table had to get involved with cutting the food, i.e. slicing bread, etc. and this helped everyone get to know each other.
In the evening, our friends from The Unusual Pie Company made an amazing hog roast and stuffing, accompanied by Jim‘s mum’s homemade apple sauce and bread from the local bakery.
The Green Elements
- Very low food miles - everything was homemade, or from suppliers within 5 miles of our venue.
- Local wedding venue/camping - reduced the distance people had to drive or the amount of taxis.
- Swapping services - less ‘hard cash’ spent by us, the benefit being we could support local businesses.
- Less paper/printing - invitations via Facebook plus our information i.e. directions etc. were all on a website I designed rather than printing things out onto paper (which people invariably lose).
- Reused/recycled decorations - bunting was all reused from friends’ weddings, table cloths were made my a friend’s mum for her wedding and borrowed by us, food for each table packed into in old wine boxes, my dress was from eBay.
- Organic or natural elements where possible - local organic British flowers grown without pesticides, organic salads and homemade food.
- Running our own bar - we bought our own alcohol, a friend lent us her smoothie stand as the bar and we employed our own staff. We also printed our own glasses which the guests kept for the duration, going back for refills, which cut down on rubbish.
- We recycled all the cans, bottles, etc.
Can you be both Stylish and Green on your Wedding Day?
Our wedding wasn’t dictated by it, but it felt more natural to go in that direction. We have been to lots of very formal weddings and we knew we didn’t want formal, so once we’d decided that, everything seemed to fall into place. Once you decide to do things yourself and not be dictated by the venue etc., I think you have more options.
Tips for other Couples planning to throw a Green Wedding …
- Speak to local suppliers to get the best deals. The smaller the company, the more willing they tend to be to swap services or negotiate.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help - we put requests out on Facebook for loads of stuff ranging from refrigerated units to hay bales and invariably got a much better deal that way.
- Think about having your own wedding website; easy to update the information, people wont lose it plus you will save paper and money!
- Food and drink seems to be the big wedding expense, so think about how you can reduce these costs. Do you need a 3 course meal, serving staff, 250 guests, etc.?
Top Tip from the Groom
Having 11 bridesmaids and 9 groomsmen seemed ridiculous to some, but it meant we had 20 additional helpers to help with setting up, decorating, running errands and clearing up afterwards so there was a method in our madness!
We have lots of friends with children and we wanted them to be able to relax and not have to be constantly looking after or entertaining the kids. There were 23 children ranging from babies to 11 years old and they had a brilliant time all running around together.
As our day was so laid back, the kids were able to get down from the table and run around. All the parents commented on how great it was just to let the kids all play together rather than having to keep them sat at the table and on their best behaviour.
My favourite moment was when my amazing bridesmaids sang us a song they had made up about us to the tune of Summer Nights from Grease (one of my favourite films). I t was led by my maid of honour and accompanied by one of the groomsmen on guitar. They handed out song sheets to each of the guests who all joined in (much to the bemusement of some of the older ones). It was so personal and touching, and a complete surprise - we totally loved it!
We also had a bouncy castle and some fabulous face painters for a couple of hours who kept both children and adults entertained.
What does marriage mean to you both?
This is from my speech and I think sums up my feelings:
“As you all know I don't often struggle with words, but I've really struggled to explain my feelings. But love is not easily defined in words, nor shaped by definite actions, or visualised clearly in the mind. But I knew exactly what it was when I fell completely and utterly in love with Jim.
For me love is a feeling, a knowledge, and a certainty, that someone is there for you no matter what. Someone to not only share the happiness and laughter, but to understand your grief and sorrow, to comfort your fear and pain, to listen without judgement and be brave enough tell you the truth even if you don't want to hear it.
Jim you are my best friend, my teammate and my absolute rock - you make me feel like a stronger, wiser and braver person and ,whilst I don't ever want to get old, the prospect is a lot less daunting and a lot more fun with you by my side and I feel ready to tackle whatever the world throws at us.
This is from Jim’s speech:
“On one of the first nights I got to know Tamsin I just wanted to care for her and after all these years, nothing has changed … when I imagine the best version of myself, it’s always with Tamsin at my side. She’s my best friend, and that’s the truth, not just something corny to say at a wedding. My partner in crime, my ‘little one’ I promise to keep loving you and looking after you forever.”
Our photographer, Amber at Liberty Pearl, was fantastic. She went out of her way and stayed longer than she needed to. Her style is very natural and that was very important to us, as neither of us is very comfortable in front of the camera and we absolutely love all the photos.
Thank you so much Tamsin and Jim for your fabulous wedding story, I am in awe.
Well, now we all know the secrets to throwing a fabulous laid back, festival style wedding on a budget. Are you planning a budget wedding? I’d love to hear all about it so just email me the details and I will get back to you for a chat.
Wild Picnic Co.
Tamsin was so taken with the sharing hampers they put together from local Somerset produce that she has now set up her own wedding hamper business Wild Picnic Co.
What an fabulous idea and i wish her the best of luck with the new venture!
Food: Wild Picnic Co.
Website/invites: Digital Carrot
Flowers: Organic Blooms. Organic Blooms is a Handpicked partner and listed in Green Union's Wedding Directory
Hog Roast: Unusual Pie Company
Vintage props and Light Up Letters: Lighthouse Events
Crockery and Vintage Props: Eclectic Bliss
Face Painters: The Fash Pack
Nails & Makeup: Angel-Oh
Rings: Alice Barratt Jewellery
Wedding Cake: Bridget's Cakes
Photographer: Liberty Pearl Photography
Lighting & Sound: DSS Audio
Previous Blog Post