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Cotswolds Wedding - Lucy and Jem

My own Wedding Saving WeddingSave money with The Chief Bridesmaid- Real Bride Groom Cotswolds

My own wedding was held over a beautiful May bank holiday in my parents' village in the Cotswolds. It was the most wonderful day of my life and yet, we saved money almost every step of the way. Our real life wedding planning became part of my inspiration for The Chief Bridesmaid.

The Wedding RingsWedding Flowers Church

Jem bought my engagement ring through a friend's friend who was a gem dealer, by going to him direct, he was able to buy the diamond much more cheaply - virtual wholesale price in fact - and so I got a whole lot more bling for his buck!

We bought our wedding rings in New York at a time when the pound was really strong against the dollar and so made a great saving there. Indeed, as my wedding ring had diamonds in it too (not necessarily the cheapest option admittedly!) - we were able to persuade the Jewellers into chucking Jem's very plain wedding band in for free!

The Wedding Location

By holding the wedding outside of London (where we both live), we made a healthy cost-saving on caterers, venues, music, hair and make up. 

The reception was held back at my parents' house - much cheaper than hiring a posh venue - although we did have to splash out on hiring a marquee.

The Wedding Car

The Church where we got married was just five minutes from my parents' house and so my family and bridesmaids were able to walk there (saving money on posh wedding cars).

Dad and I went to the church in his own car which is definitely the cheapest option. We themed the car Wedding style with a big bow over the bonnet. Total cost £16: £1 for the ribbon, £15 for insuring the Groom on the car for the day so that he could drive us back from the church. (Saved having Dad in the car too - much more romantic!)

The Wedding Flowers

The church flowers were created by two members of the congregation (and so the rates were much cheaper than typical florist ones); plus we used flowers that were in season so we didn't get stung on inflated import fees. On the previous weekend, an open day at the church had taken place and so they'd decorated the church with flowers and greenery.  As greenery can stay looking fresh for quite a while, we asked if they could keep this up so that we could re-use it the following weekend. The arch around the church doorway they'd created looked stunning, and once we'd freshened it up with a few flowers, it looked as good as new - and cost us virtually nothing!

The Wedding Breakfast

Holding our wedding at home meant that we were able to offer a free bar - manned by my tireless brother and sister-in-law to save the cost of hiring extra staff.    

Jem is a real foodie and so we didn't want to compormise on the quality of the catering. Nevertheless, after a really delicious trial meal, we actually chose the cheapest catering firm. Because they were only just starting out, they weren't yet subject to paying VAT. This saved us a whopping 17.5% versus other suppliers.  

To save money on food costs, we only chose food that was in season and rather than having a traditional wedding cake, opted for one made from cheese from Waitrose. This saved on our having a cheese course - and was a considerably cheaper option than most wedding cakes as it cost just over £100. My sister-in-law decorated it with ivy from the garden and it looked stunning. 

The DecorationsThe Chief Bridesmaid Cath Kidson Bunting

For decoration, my mum sewed bunting which we hung all across the garden, She created this from an old curtain which she dyed fuschia pink (my wedding colour) and from some cheap Cath Kidston off-cuts that she bought from Bicester Village retail outlet.

We bought the big display flowers from the church back to the house to decorate the marquee and I hung up a few giant hearts that I had left over on a photoshoot at work. 

The Wedding EntertainmentSave money on your wedding with The Chief Bridesmaid

We ran a disco through our ipod and used a local band that had been recommended by a friend. We didn't mention the "wedding" word when we booked them and paid a relatively cheap £500 - not bad for a five piece steel band!

The Wedding Dress

My wedding dress had been bought in a sample sale (at £950, it was not cheap, admittedly, but at full price it would have cost £2,800). My veil was borrowed from my sister-in-law, who had also made my necklace. A friend lent me her tiara and my wedding shoes were just £10 in the sale from LK Bennett! Check out the LK Bennett Sale shop on the Kings Road - they had several Wedding shoes (or indeed Bridesmaid shoes) discounted.Save money on Bridesmaid Dresses with The Chief Bridesmaid

The Bridesmaid Dress

My Bridesmaid's dress came from a wedding shop in the Cotswolds and was a Kelsey Rose bargain at £75 in the sale reduced from £150. She wore a pair of her own shoes and       I bought her accessories from Accessorize - £12 for the diamante hair band, £4 for the faux pearl drop necklace! 

The Following Day

As we're both from big families, we had a real issue with guest numbers - and a lot of budget strain for providing food for such a huge number of people.  So we decided instead to have an informal lunch party the following day for parents' friends and our friends that we didn't have room for on our actual wedding day. Although we had to pay for catering for this (a light buffet lunch working out at about £7 per head), it was a far cheaper option than actually having to invite them to the big day itself (which was a more formal sit down meal). The marquee and flowers were all still in place - and I even wore my wedding dress for a second day - giving me two days wear for the price of one!  

And that was our very own The Chief Bridesmaid Wedding!

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