WEDDINGS can be incredibly expensive, but a savvy bride and groom has proven that they don’t have to be.
Newlyweds Alex and Dan Lilley have created their dream wedding with 130 guests for just Â£ 4,000 – and all thanks to a variety of tips and tricks.
The couple, from Harby in Nottinghamshire, used second-hand websites like eBay and Facebook Marketplace to bring their dream wedding to life while keeping costs down.
Thrifty Alex, 33, even grew her own bouquet of flowers to walk down the aisle in front of their 130 guests.
After getting engaged in 2019, Alex, a store supervisor, and Dan, 38, a factory maintenance manager, wanted to tie the knot on a low budget while also saving for a home renovation.
Parents of four-year-old Samuel believe their clever tricks saved them around Â£ 15,000 – and it was the perfect day.
âPeople can pay thousands and thousands for their dream wedding, but we couldn’t justify it,â Alex said.
âDoing everything ourselves was ten times more stressful, but the end result was amazing.
âWe were nervous but the end result was better than we could have imagined.
“We’ve been able to keep budgets low and always have the perfect day – I wouldn’t have changed a thing.”
Alex and Dan had put their wedding preparations on hold for two years due to the pandemic, but ultimately decided to take the plunge and set a date in March.
In order to juggle an expensive home renovation from their three-bed bungalow alongside their wedding, they decided to take a thrifty approach where possible.
With the date set for August 21, everyone was on deck for the couple, alongside their friends and family, to pull it all together in the ultimate DIY mission.
But despite the odds against them with a guest list of 130, the couple’s spending amounted to just over Â£ 4,000 – miles below what many couples choose to spend on their big day. .
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Alex said: âWe just couldn’t justify using the money for the wedding when we knew it was needed for our house.
âI searched online and saw a lot of people saying their wedding cost over Â£ 20,000, and we weren’t going to spend that.
“But at the same time, we really wanted to get married, so we wanted to do both.”
The couple celebrated their service at a local church – for a total fee of Â£ 536 – before everyone took a five-minute walk to their house, where they hosted the reception in the back garden.
They cut music costs by taking their own sound system and using a free seven-day YouTube trial to stream it – and avoided paying for an orchard because their friend at church offered to step in for free. .
The outfits worn by the couple, their son and their bridesmaids were taken from various websites. Alex bought his own dress, a Kenneth Winston with an initial value of over Â£ 1,500, for a theft of just Â£ 220 on Facebook Marketplace.
Alex added: “I had to pay an extra Â£ 60 to have the dress altered by a seamstress – but it was still a lot.”
The huge marquees erected in their back garden were borrowed from friends for free, with Â£ 160 spent on fairy lights to give it a cozy feel.
Their giant three-tiered cake was baked for free by a devoted family member, as a wedding present – while Green-Fingered Alex grew his bouquet in their own garden using packets of seeds totaling a handful. of books.
Her homemade bouquet consisted of an arrangement of cosmos, lavender, eucalyptus, baby’s breath and achillea.
The food on offer was a buffet to feed their 130 hungry guests – prepared by their loyal bridesmaids the night before – and included Mediterranean-style dishes including baked salmon, antipasto skewers, and a bean salad.
While shopping at Aldi, they bought the whole thing for Â£ 400 – around Â£ 3 per head – as well as bottles of their own brand Pimms and prosecco for a total of Â£ 130.
Buying most of their decorations from stores such as The Range and Dunelm, they outfitted everything with candles, chalkboards, banners and hay bales for under Â£ 200.
Entertainment included hiring a local musician for Â£ 150, a photo booth for Â£ 275 and a children’s bouncy castle for Â£ 50.
The total cost of the wedding came to around Â£ 4,030 thanks to their thrifty approach – instead of the tens of thousands that many spend on their perfect day.
âIt was ten times more stressful doing it yourself than paying someone else, but the end result was better than we expected,â Alex explained.
“We are fortunate to have such supportive friends and family.”
The couple enjoyed the best of both worlds by celebrating their wedding while renovating their home – and Alex revealed that the thousands of pounds they saved have already been put to good use.
âEarlier this year, we knocked down a wall in our house and built a new dining room,â she said.
âWe also had a new terrace installed and the lawn re-grassed.
âJust six weeks before the wedding, we also had a new aisle installed. “
The newlywed parents went on a week-long honeymoon to Cornwall with four-year-old Samuel before returning to married life to continue their renovations.
Reflecting on their journey, Alex said: âPart of it was me who was stubborn and refused to pay for something we could do on our own – but it paid off!
âIt’s fabulous to have had this level of creativity.
âWe wouldn’t have changed anything!
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