A little help from my friends

Annie and George held their celebration in a village hall in Northamptonshire that was decorated by family and friends the night before.

“It was completely personalised, as my dad put up voile and hessian and kitted the hall out completely to make it feel like a wedding,” says Annie.

“All in all, we tried to make everything as personalised as we could. We made two wedding signs for decorations, the table seating board, personalised hangers for the bridesmaids, the name placement cards and a few other parts. Initially, we wanted to save on cost but looking back I am so glad we spent so much effort making things ourselves. It meant so much more and people took these away as keepsakes of the wedding.”

“My top tip is to create a detailed schedule of when things are happening and where people need to be” says Annie. “Get as many people to help too, if possible."

“Also, put on the schedule what jobs your wedding party are doing, such as handing out drinks or keeping the punch bowls stocked up. I gave the ushers the job of tidying up the plates after everyone had eaten and I found that really helped the day run smoothly with no wedding planner. Luckily the bride and groom squads were very willing to help out. I think, because we had so many people helping, George and I didn’t have to think about anything on the day, we could just enjoy it.”

Beautiful shoes on a budget

Vanessa and Steve’s wedding at Bristol registry office featured some unique sparkling shoes and plenty of bright ideas when it came to saving money.

“I got my wedding shoes for just £5 and decorated them myself.” she says. “It turned them into beautiful shoes worth hundreds of pounds. It was amazing. We tried to avoid extra spending, so we ordered our wedding cake from M&S, which only cost £40, and it was lovely."

“We also didn’t have a DJ, we just had a lovely background music. Most of our entertainment was interacting with one another and sharing some lovely stories.”

“So, keep it simple and do what makes you happy. Buy a lovely dress because that is the most beautiful part of your day. Then try to avoid getting into debt to make a wedding that pleases other people, as it would be so stressful trying to pay back the debt. A stressful home is not a happy home!”

Vintage crockery and centrepieces

Belfast couple Amy and Michael had a tea themed DIY wedding. “As a wee English Rose living in Northern Ireland, and an avid tea drinker, we wanted a tongue-in-cheek theme. I’m a nurse and a midwife and Michael is a preacher, so we also had a book theme of theology books and nursing/midwifery books. Our table centres were piles of vintage books on religion or nursing (It took many Saturdays of car boots and National Trust libraries to find these!)”

"We also had vintage teapots containing a flower posy. Very Mad Hatter’s tea party. Our table names were teas and the top table was Lady Grey, my favourite. Our decorations were china, teacups, saucers and teapots. And lots of bright flowers.”

Head overseas

However, if you’re not arty or great at crafting, don’t panic. Another way to save money is to have an overseas wedding like this happy couple. “We decided on a destination wedding almost right away,” says Shanice.

“This reduced the cost and we also got a holiday out of it! The packages available cover most aspects for you, so it really does take the stress away. It was the most easy and stress free experience for me."

"We'd found the venue on a destination wedding website and, after contacting the company, we landed on a Cypriot wedding at the Asterias Beach Hotel. We took a risk booking a venue that we'd never actually seen in person. Neither of us had ever been to Cyprus before either, but the wedding planner made everything so easy and the pictures sold it to us."

“The venue was overlooking the beach, the food was delicious and the drinks package and decorations were great. I wouldn’t have changed a thing. I would recommend a destination wedding to everyone. It can be so much cheaper and you can be more selective with the guests, reducing your per head cost. Venues and suppliers can work out cheaper too. Plus, if you chose the right hotel/package, it usually comes with the open bar included and covers most of the key elements, leaving you stress free.”

Get your bride squad involved

Robinn and Dylan live on part of a large farm that belongs to Robinn’s family, so this was the perfect setting for their DIY wedding. “Behind the farm is a large garden with a large lawn,” say Robinn.

“This is where we organised our wedding, all by ourselves. With a large tent and homemade decorations, it looked exactly as we had in mind. I met with my bridesmaids every month and we made everything from place names to flower walls.”

Keep tabs on your budget

Hannah and Jack went for a stylish rustic theme with nods to Japanese culture. “I actually made all the signage myself and my mum and I folded one thousand origami cranes for a huge hanging display to bring good luck, a Japanese tradition,” says Hannah. “Our favours were beautiful bespoke log slices with our name, date and venue laser-engraved. I also hand wrote calligraphy of the guests’ names on the other side, so they would double up as place settings.”

“Budgeting is key,” says Hannah. “Set one right at the beginning and keep tabs on everything you spend. Do your research to find suppliers that meet your budget. Choose a big hitter each that you don't want to compromise on, then work out how to reduce costs on other things that you are happy to compromise on. Ask the professionals for advice, too. They've seen thousands of weddings!”

Find a baker in the family

Bethany’s obsession with bees led her to make personalised confetti. “I cut out bee confetti for the tables and the confetti thrown on us,” she says. “It took forever! Paper flowers were pretty much everywhere, including on the ‘In Memory’ table.”

"We had a burgundy wedding theme, with burgundy, navy and blush flowers and a burgundy wedding cake with cupcakes on the top layer, cheesecake in the middle and a rainbow cake on the bottom. Both the cheesecake and cake were made by Vinny’s mum and they were a big hit.”

And, finally, some sound advice…

Jessa and Philip married at Penrith Registry Office followed by an intimate dinner for close family and friends. As far as Jessa is concerned, “The cost of the wedding doesn’t matter, only spend what you can afford,” she says.

“Don't take a loan or borrow money, just to have an expensive one. Don't worry about your guests, having them as one of your guests and choosing them to be a part of your special day is already a gift to them. You don't want to enter married life with debts, do you? The most important part of the day is you and your partner becoming one.”

Click here for lots more DIY wedding ideas from our brilliant real-life brides. Also, for more inspiration, check out our Instagram, Facebook or TikTok accounts.