Wedding Service

Thrifty newlyweds have dream wedding for just £ 4,000 after turning to secondhand websites


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A thrifty couple revealed how they had their dream wedding for 130 guests for just £ 1,400 by purchasing the second-hand wedding dress and creating their own invitations.

Shop supervisor Alex Lilley, 33, and her new husband Dan, 38, plant maintenance manager, tied the knot on August 21 in a church service followed by a reception in the garden at their home in Harby, Nottinghamshire.

The couple, who are parents to four-year-old Samuel, are saving for renovations to their home and didn’t want to spend too much money on their big day.

Thanks to smart money-saving tips and the generosity of family and friends, Alex and Dan estimate they’ve saved around £ 15,000 on their wedding.

Shop supervisor Alex Lilley, 33, and her new husband Dan, 38, plant maintenance manager, tied the knot on August 21 in a church service followed by a reception in the garden at their home in Harby, Nottinghamshire. Their wedding day cost a total of £ 4,000

A friend offered to bake the couple's <a class=wedding cake, which means they got it for free” class=”blkBorder img-share” style=”max-width:100%” />

A friend offered to bake the couple’s wedding cake, which means they got it for free

Alex and Dan were able to count on the generosity of their friends who lent them a huge marquee free of charge to welcome all of their 130 guests, pictured

Alex and Dan were able to count on the generosity of their friends who lent them a huge marquee free of charge to welcome all of their 130 guests, pictured

Breakdown of Alex and Dan’s wedding expenses

Church service and banns – £ 536

Bells – £ 90

Without Orchard

Music – Free

Service order – Homemade

Wedding dress – £ 220 + £ 60 alterations

Bridal pumps and flats: £ 50

Dan’s Costume and Shoes – Occasion

Son’s outfit: £ 97

4 x Bridesmaids Dresses – £ 110 on eBay

4 x bridesmaids shoes – £ 105 Debenhams

Bridesmaids Makeup x 4 – £ 120

Gifts for bridesmaids – £ 120

Bridal & Bridesmaids Hair Accessories & Bridal Earrings – £ 46.50

Cake £ 0 – Free

Flowers – £ 6 from Aldi + garden crops

Photography – Free

Drinks – £ 130

Food for around 130 people – £ 400

Live music – £ 150

Marquee – Free

Festoon lighting 160 €

Decorations – £ 165

Paid help – £ 40

Photo booth – £ 275

Alex’s Ring – £ 373

Dan’s ring – wearing his father’s

Nails £ 4 (made them herself)

Bridal makeup £ 50

Mother of the Bride Makeup £ 20

Guestbook £ 23.71 (not in the main street)

Glasses and cutlery – £ 325

Invitations – £ 40 homemade

Confetti – £ 33.27 from eBay

Pew Burlap Bags € 18.62 eBay

Pimms Pimms £ 36 for 6 from Aldi

Flower border background – 82.85

10 fleece blankets € 33.95 Dunelm

Bunting – Free

Bouncy castle – £ 50

Groomsmen gifts £ 50

Total – £ 4,020

Of which the following were paid for by friends / family as gifts: £ 840

Alex said: “People can pay thousands and thousands for their dream wedding, but we couldn’t justify it. Doing everything ourselves was ten times more stressful, but the end result was amazing.

“We were nervous, but the end result is better than we could have imagined. We managed to keep budgets low and always have the perfect day – I wouldn’t have changed a thing. ‘

Alex and Dan had suspended marriage preparations for two years due to the pandemic, but earlier this year they decided to tie the knot in August.

In order to juggle an expensive renovation of their three-bed detached house alongside their wedding, they asked loved ones for favors and searched for second-hand items where possible.

“I searched online and saw a lot of people saying their wedding cost over £ 20,000 and we weren’t going to spend that,” Alex continued.

“But at the same time, we really wanted to get married, so we wanted to do both.”

Alex revealed she bought her wedding dress, pictured, which originally cost £ 1,500, for just £ 220 on Facebook Marketplace

Alex revealed she bought her wedding dress, pictured, which originally cost £ 1,500, for just £ 220 on Facebook Marketplace

Alex and Dan's cat at the wedding.  The couple spent less than £ 400 on decorations and Alex grew his own bouquet, pictured on the right

Alex and Dan’s cat at the wedding. The couple spent less than £ 400 on decorations and Alex grew his own bouquet, pictured on the right

The marquee where the couple had their <a class=wedding reception. They spent around £ 160 on lights” class=”blkBorder img-share” style=”max-width:100%” />

The marquee where the couple had their wedding reception. They spent around £ 160 on lights

Alex and Dan have a four year old son named Samuel, pictured.  They paid £ 50 for a children's bouncy castle to keep the little ones happy on their big day

Alex and Dan have a four year old son named Samuel, pictured. They paid £ 50 for a children’s bouncy castle to keep the little ones happy on their big day

The couple celebrated their service at a local church, at a total cost of £ 626, 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 second-hand on sites – with Alex getting her own dress, a Kenneth Winston originally worth over £ 1,800, for a theft of just £ 220 on Facebook Marketplace.

Alex added: “I had to pay an extra £ 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 £ 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.

The happy couple are trying to save money for renovations to their home and decided to throw a thrifty wedding by hosting the reception in their own backyard.

The happy couple are trying to save money for renovations to their home and decided to throw a thrifty wedding by hosting the reception in their own backyard.

The wedding cake.  In total, Dan and Alex said they spent £ 400 on food and £ 130 on drinks for their guests.

The wedding cake. In total, Dan and Alex said they spent £ 400 on food and £ 130 on drinks for their guests.

Pictured: Alex's bouquet and the couple's wedding guestbook on their big day.  They said their thrifty wedding was the best day ever

Pictured: Alex’s bouquet and the couple’s wedding guestbook on their big day. They said their thrifty wedding was the best day ever

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.

Shopping at Aldi they got the whole thing for £ 400 – around £ 3 per head – plus bottles of their own brand Pimms and prosecco for a total of £ 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 £ 165.

Entertainment included hiring a local musician for £ 150, a photo booth for £ 275 and a children’s bouncy castle for £ 50.

The total cost of the wedding came to around £ 4,020 thanks to Dan and Alex’s thrifty approach – instead of the tens of thousands many are spending on their perfect day.

Friends and family also paid £ 840 of the total cost, meaning the happy couple paid £ 3,180.

Alex said: “It was ten times more stressful doing it yourself than paying someone else, but the end result was better than we imagined. We are fortunate to have 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.

She explained, “Earlier this year we knocked down a wall in our house and built a new dining room. We also had a new patio installed and the lawn re-sodded. Just six weeks before the wedding. , we had a new driveway. installed too. ‘

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 trip, Alex said: “Part of it was me who was stubborn and refused to pay for something we could do on our own – but it paid off! It’s fabulous to have had this level of creativity. We wouldn’t have changed anything!

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