Howdy folks.. Hope you all had a good weekend and spent some quality time with the Dad’s in your life yesterday…

Today we have a lovely free spirited real wedding – And they did it so well on a budget… Something we know a lot of DIY couples look for!! Heres how Luke and Cate created their special day with limited funds without sacrificing the all important party element! Fabulously caught on camera by Flash Charlie Cotswold Wedding Photography. Over to the happy couple!

Cheltenham-Pitville-Wedding-Flash-Charlie-216The Proposal happened on NYE 2012 we were dressed as Guess Who? characters on the way to a party at the rugby club! Sport is huge for us and it moulded the vision for the day –  The colours were based on Luke’s beloved Saracens Rugby club, yellow and blue, with some grey and white thrown in for good measure. The fact it was April also fitted in with the yellow of the theme as there were lots of Spring flowers about for cheap…

AKA ‘Frankendress’ – A mix and match dress

The skirt made from a dress bought from eBay (China), a sash made by my mum from Japanese Satin (purchased from sari shop) & a sequin top from Topshop. It took a week to make, and wasn’t even started until three weeks before the wedding as another dress that I ordered didn’t arrive in time!

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Our ceremony was held at The Pittville Pump Room in Cheltenham.. We had a playlist of orchestral pop songs – I walked down the aisle to “You’ve got the love’ by Florence and the Machine.

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A massive party, informal, fun and relaxed, with lots of FREE BOOZE!

We had a £5000 budget and this included a two week all inclusive honeymoon. We had to get clever with ideas to make our wedding Fun, cheap, cheerful, eclectic, and relaxed as cheaply as possible! We didn’t set out to have any specific style of wedding or to make so much of it ourselves, but the budget dictated that was the only way we could have the things we wanted.

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The wedding should have been sponsored by eBay China & IKEA

The fact it was also yellow and blue didn’t help! The chairs and tables were free at the venue and dressed up with cheap whit fabric (50p a meter) and table runners made from IKEA bedding. The bunting was made by a friend for another friends hen do and was claimed when no one else wanted it. The lanterns and carafes were IKEA, the glasses that doubled as place markers and favours were from eBay and cost 30p a piece. I wrote the names of the guests on them using metallic markers for glass so that they could be washed and reused after. The venues were both so beautiful already that it didn’t take much to dress them up.

Food by the bride with a helping hand or two

All food was made by bride and two lovely helpers the day before, and kindly managed by some wonderful volunteers on the day.

We served:


  • Caramelized Red Onion & Feta Puff Tarts
  • Swedish Meatballs with Ligonberry Dip
  • Brie & Cranberry Filo Parcels
  • Mini Popcorn Cups in Wasabi or Bacon & Maple Syrup flavour


  • Build a Pitta > BBQ Pulled Chicken, Falafel, Coleslaw, Pitta Bread, Salad, Cheese, Pineapple, Sauces
  • Mini Pizzas > Chorizo, Ham & Mushroom, Margherita
  • Vegetable Cous Cous
  • Pasta Salads
  • Potato Salad

Day Drinks:

  • Lager stubbies
  • White wine sangria


  • Hot Dogs cooked on a DUMP TRUCK BBQ! – Barbeque owned by a Rugby friend

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Our favourite moment of the day was the evening, when the stress was over and everyone was drunk and having fun. Also, remembering I had bought an enormous amount of glowsticks and throwing them to the dance floor from the stage!

Do you have any advice for couples planning their wedding day? Plan as early as possible and delegate if you can. Don’t be too precious about a theme and make sure you incorporate white, it will make it easier to buy things on the cheap. It’s often less expensive to buy some things than rent (like our glasses & carafes), so try to get things that do double duty or can be used again. Do your research. Sometimes things seem cheap, but when you have to buy 200 of them, suddenly it all starts getting out of control.

Budget, budget and budget again! I had a spreadsheet with a couple of nifty formulas that calculated how much we had, what each thing cost and whether it was a saving or overspend, and then recalculated the total appropriately. There are lots of templates and tutorials online, or, like me, you could ask for help from an Excel whizz you know.

Don’t get precious about it. There were things we changed and added right up until the day. We had the flexibility to change the times of things as we completely self catered. However, don’t take on things you are confident doing. Food and craft are both things I was completely confident in doing and it was still stressful.

Some of our last minute ideas were the most poular, like the shot bar and the table origami.

The party element of our day was really important to us. We spent £500 on drink, cashing in on deals and planning ahead so that our guests didn’t have to spend any money if they didn’t want to. The fact that the venue was right next to a Tesco meant people were free to grab something different if they wanted.I calculated that with corkage and bar fees we would have ended spending at least £250 anyway, so by spending a bit extra we could give our guests a lot more. If you provide your own booze, don’t be a label snob. Nobody complains about a free drink!

Things WILL GO WRONG! Some woman at the ceremony venue told the bridesmaids & bridesman to do a silly penguin walk down the aisle 2 minutes before it started when I was out of earshot. It was the complete opposite of what they had already been told, and they panicked and tried to do it. The result was hilarious!

Pick and choose your own traditions. My oldest friend is a man, it didn’t feel right him not being part of the wedding party. Instead of being an usher he suited up with a shirt and bow tie to compliment the bridesmaids dresses and it was amazing. (Even if my Gran did think he was going to turn up in a dress until the day)

Don’t forget why you are doing it. We could have got in lots of debt or waited a long time to get married. However, after I was diagnosed with Cancer in 2011 we knew that the most important thing is the life you build, the home you make and the family you create, in whatever manner that happens. Doing a big wedding on a small budget was our way of having our cake and eating it too.

So there you go – A fine example of a fabulous, emotive wedding on a budget. All details thought about and not forgotten. This couple knew how to pull in family and friends to help make their day extra special. thanks for sending us your stunning wedding. Well done Cate and Luke!! xx 

The Line up

Ceremony: Pittville Pump Room

Reception Venue: The Tithe Barn, Bishops Cleeve, Cheltenham –  A cheap alternative to a barn, the location was near a pub and Tesco, perfect for drink runs!

Photographer: Flash Charlie Cotswold Wedding Photography

Bride’s Dress: Homemade

Bride’s Shoes: Dune – Bought in the House of Fraser sale

Bride’s Headpiece/Veil (if worn): 2 x Hair slides from Accessorize

Bride’s Jewellery: Right hand ring – antique

Groom’s Outfit: Three piece suit from Slaters, shirt from Matalan, Bow tie from eBay (China), homemade pocket square

Bridesmaid’s Dresses: ASOS – purchased in the Winter sale for £15 each! The lace cover ups were purchased on eBay for £5 each.

Bridesmaid’s Accessories: Handmade necklaces made from salvaged silver cutlery handles. Handbags, from eBay, shoes – each bridesmaids own.

 Cake: ASDA white chocolate cake with topper made by bride using blank Goose Grease peg dolls – Glass cake stand from IKEA

Flowers: Fake flowers purchased on eBay and from Hobby Craft for bouquets and made by bride. The daffodils at the ceremony were ‘going spare’ and provided last minute by the lovely Pump Rooms events manager! At the reception the table flowers were plants from the garden centre potted into IKEA 35p mugs.

Hair:  Extensions by Dinky Links, styled by bride

Make Up: By bride

Entertainment (Band/DJ/Silent Disco etc): DJ – Friend from Rugby

Stationery: Made by bride


Wedding beauty on its way!

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