One bride shares how she saved thousands of pounds on her rustic DIY wedding without compromising on style or quality.

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Credit: Mick Grand, The Kensington Photographer

DIY Wedding Tips From the Couple Saving Thousands on Their Rustic Wedding Day

With the average cost of a wedding in the UK rocketing to nearly £32,000 in 2019, its no wonder brides and grooms-to-be are looking for savvy ways to cut back spending on their big day. Sara Smith and her husband Stefan reveal how they achieved their perfect rustic wedding for a smaller cost but without sacrificing any of the magic (and the photos prove it).

Why Choose to DIY Your Wedding

It was about saving money but also about the finishing touches being personal, unique and totally different. Planning a wedding is stressful but so many brides just go out and buy everything instead of upcycling, recycling or buying second hand.

It is the biggest day of your life but the budget can quickly spiral out of control. For those on a small budget you can still have an amazing wedding by being creative and thinking, “What can we do ourselves”.

Get your bridesmaids involved and enjoy the build-up to your wedding by making your own decorations.

Here’s How to Achieve a Stunning DIY Wedding

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Credit: Mick Grand, The Kensington Photographer
Continue reading below…

In total we saved over £3,500 by doing things ourselves and we didn’t compromise on quality at all. Here’s how…

DIY Wedding Decorations

The Flower Arch

This was thrown out in the street by a Thai Restaurant that was closing down. We pulled the red flowers and rope off and replaced with white ones bought in bulk on eBay for less than £20. We then got some hessian, designed the Mr & Mrs Smith stencil by printing it off the computer, cutting it out and using white paint. Wrapped it around the bottom of the arch. This cost us less than £30 and was personal to us with the date and our name on. Other companies were charging £250 for just a flower arch.

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Credit: Mick Grand, The Kensington Photographer

Spend: <£30

Saving: £220

The Flower Hoops Centre Pieces

We found children’s hula-hoops for £1, when got to work wrapping them with white net voils (£2). We also bought vines of faux leaves in a bulk of 10 online. We had a total of 6 flower hoops and then joined them together horizontally to make the centre piece of the tipi. All together this cost us £20, while companies wanted to charge us £350 for similar centre piece.

Spend: £20

Saving: £330. 

Chandelier

Instead of paying £200+ for a huge disco ball we used a bicycle wheel, some string and loads of cut up CD’s. We put a light fitting in the middle with a spinning light bulb. The look really suited our rustic DIY wedding vibe.

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Credit: Mick Grand, The Kensington Photographer

Spend: £7

Saving: £193

Bouquets

You can buy the bouquet handles from places like Hobby Craft or online for about £4. Add whatever flowers you want. They just go straight into the foam. You can use a hot glue gun to secure them in. DIY wedding flowers are a really quick and easy way to save money. My bouquets cost £15 each and I had 5. I was quoted £50 each from a florist. So saved £175.

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Credit: Mick Grand, The Kensington Photographer

Spend: £75

Saving: £175

Table Arrangements

The flowers and the fish bowls were £1 each from Poundland. We bought a bag of gravel from Wickes for £4. We had 10 table decorations in total. We were quoted £20 per table.

Spend: £24

Saving: £176

Rustic DIY Wedding Cake

I was quoted £350 – £450 for a 3-tier wedding cake. I decided to watch YouTube videos and give making my own a go. I  had a few practices and, in the end, made my own for less than £40. The rose flowers were surprisingly easy to make even though they look complicated. Top tip: practice with Playdoh.

Spend: roughly £40

Saving: max. £410

The Cake Table

This was our dinning room table and we covered it with ivory curtains from a charity shop. The pictures hanging up behind are pictures of us, printed at home and pegged on string with little pegs bought from Poundland. The basket was from home and we just made bunting that said “cards”.

Saving: unknown.

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Credit: Mick Grand, The Kensington Photographer

The Tree Plants

One was from a skip from an office closing down, one was found at the local refuse centre and we cleaned it with fabric softener, three others we bought from Ikea on special offer.

DIY Wedding Invitations

We used an online template and made them at home. It cost £40 for all materials and saved us £200 by doing it ourselves.

Spend: £40

Saving: £200

Ditch the DJ

We were quoted £400 for a DJ. Instead we made our own playlist so we got the music we wanted, merged it together on the player and used a stereo we had already. Cost us nothing and we had no mumbling DJ or people requesting songs we hate.

Spend: £0

Saving: £400

More Money Saving Tips for Your Wedding Day

Bridesmaid Dresses

Mixing & matching is a good way to save money (and fit our rustic theme). The older Bridesmaid dresses were end-of-line Airanna Pappell designer dresses at £23 each. The younger bridesmaid dresses were also £25. As long as they complement each other and and have a bouquet they look like bridesmaids so no need to spend £150+ per dress.

Spend: £96

Saving: estimated £504

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Credit: Mick Grand, The Kensington Photographer

The Wedding Dress

I bought my wedding dress off the rack and had it altered to fit. All wedding dresses will no doubt need some alteration, even if it’s just the hem. You can save a fortune by buying from a discount wedding boutique and having it altered to fit.

Wedding Shoes

My wedding shoes were wedged white lace trainers and cost £15 from Poland. I didn’t see the point of wearing expensive high heel shoes when the dress covered my feet. Plus being in flats suited our rustic DIY wedding theme.

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Credit: Mick Grand, The Kensington Photographer

Location

It’s important with a rustic or DIY wedding to choose the right location. We chose a location that we knew would provide amazing wedding photos. Our location was free of charge as it was in the grounds of a country pub that provided us with an outdoor bar. The surrounding fields and the sunset we knew would make incredible wedding photos.

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Credit: Mick Grand, The Kensington Photographer
Suppliers

We chose to hire a beautiful tipi from Serentipi for our wedding reception and our wedding photographer was Mick Grand at The Kensington Photographer. The bridal car was from Regency Wedding Cars in Chesterfield.

Total Savings: £3,500

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