Zopa’s hassle-free loans have helped 1,000s of couples make it to the altar (Representative APR 17%). But while we can help with the finances, you don’t want us planning the wedding itself (teal anyone?). So for inspiration, we asked wedding planner Lauren Goodman of Bluebird Creative to show us how she’d plan an elegant country wedding for £15,000
Zopa challenged me to create a country wedding that will make you feel great on a budget that feels good too. This was set at £15,000, which I know from some market research is a very common budget for my Brides Academy couples. So what a perfect to challenge to accept, and to show what’s possible.
There are probably lots of questions you ask yourself when you see wedding Pinterest pins and boards like this, and at least some of them probably revolve around the costs.
So let’s unpack the budget
In order to put a wedding together for £15,000, this is how I would break it down and what I would allocate to each area. Now this is obviously dependent on location and how many guests you plan on inviting (I’ve assumed 50 for these numbers), but you can tweak each element to suit your own circumstances.
Now this is obviously slightly over the suggested budget, but you’d be able to shave off a few pounds by looking at the number of guests you have and what your priorities are. You may decide you already have shoes perfect for your wedding, perhaps you don’t want to spend too much on your wedding dress, or you have friends that want to photograph your wedding day. It is all about what’s important to you and what you can be flexible with. Whenever I work with a couple, I always find out what is important to them right at the start, before I create their budget breakdown.
Now, let’s go over the different elements and what you can do to keep them within budget, whilst fitting your country wedding theme.
Venue – £5,000
When looking at venues, keep your budget in mind. Remember the size of the space you are looking at and the style. A more traditional manor house building is more likely to cost you more. A full marquee will not fit this budget and a dry hire (which is where you are solely hiring a venue and then you hire all suppliers separately) can end up costing you more as you will have to add everything in yourself. A rustic barn, which includes furniture, is a great option, or hotels tend to have a package that includes both food and drink in the price and can work out a lot cheaper overall.
Food and Drink – £5,000
The price of your food and drink will depend on two factors: what food you choose and how many guests you decide to invite.
If you have a package with a hotel, then you will likely get a sit down meal or a buffet option.
However if you have gone a little more country with a rustic vibe, you may like to go for grazing, sharing boards, wood fired pizzas, hog roasts or massive paella stations. Look into the local caterers in your areas and mobile food companies, which can provide quirky sharing and relaxed options to add a fun element to your meal.
You may have your heart set on a designer wedding dress, but they obviously come with a designer price. However companies like ASOS now have amazing high street options for both brides and bridesmaids!
There is also the option of finding a pre-loved or ex-sample dress, which has a history and a story. This option is also great if you are looking to make your wedding more eco-friendly…
Look for a florist who works with locally sourced flowers. Not only are they more eco-friendly because they haven’t travelled so far, but it means you won’t be paying for the transport. Local and seasonal flowers will really fit the bill.
Some florists have their own cutting gardens on site and grow seasonal blooms. So by explaining your aesthetic and colours, they can create beautiful bouquets using in-season blooms.
In terms of your floral table centres, bud vases are a great direction to go in. You can use a variety of vases or bottles and place a few stems per bottle, mixed in with candle votives or tea light holders. This is a budget-friendly way of creating a display and also looks really elegant and relaxed.
Alternatively, repurpose your bridesmaid’s bouquets as table centres and move any ceremony flowers to decorate your reception space. I advise all my couples to repurpose ceremony flowers as standard. It is such a waste to only use them for such a small part of the day.
When thinking about your wedding stationery, have a look at places like Etsy. You can download and print gorgeous designs or order pre-designed templates to suit your theme at amazing prices.
You can also get creative and make you own.
Printing on something like vellum can be quite a cheap printing option and the look is gorgeous and very on trend.
Perhaps you could learn calligraphy and use this in your invites for a personal touch?
Consider how much information can fit on your invites, to save on paper and printing costs. You may decide to send save-the-dates and basic invites, with the rest of your information on a cost-effective wedding website?
Cake / Dessert £0
This is one of the areas where you can really look to save on your budget. Do you have a friend or family member that would like to make this for you, perhaps as your wedding gift? For some people it is a real honour to be part of your day in this way.
Alternatively you could ask some of your guests or bridal party to all contribute a different sweet for a relaxed dessert grazing table.
Reception Decor £300
When looking for decor for your reception, consider hiring pieces instead of buying them. You’ll be surprised by some of the gorgeous pieces you can find to make a photo corner backdrop, or lanterns to hang from the ceiling.
Making decor is also an option, but, depending on what you want, it can actually end up costing more than hiring and take a lot of time! At least with hiring there is no waste afterwards and you don’t have to consider what to do with the items after the wedding either.
So there we have an unpacked £15k country theme wedding. Make your budget work for you and your day. Consider what is important to you and tweak your budget appropriately.
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