Budget bride who organised £2,500 wedding shares tips for a big day that doesn't break the bank

A bride who wore a £30 dress and saves cash right across her big day has shared how you too can reduce your wedding spend.

Emma Bryan, 39, married partner Gavin Bryan, 40, last month in York, after spending nearly two years saving up for the big day.

But with Covid restrictions and her son Isaac Bryan, eight, to look after, Emma decided she wanted to keep the cost down and managed to plan the entire day for under £2,500.

After trying on wedding dresses worth thousands of pounds, the bride settled for a £30 wedding dress from fast fashion company Boohoo which she claimed made her feel ‘better’ than the more expensive alternatives.

The couple also managed to find bargains online – finding her son’s suit for £50 on eBay and spending just £17 on her wedding shoes in the sale.

Emma, from Castleford, Wakefield, said: ‘We got engaged in November 2019 but we wanted to wait a little bit – £2,500 is still a lot of money to us!

‘Neither of us wanted a big wedding because we don’t like being the centre of attention so we wanted something really intimate that only our closest family and friends came to.

‘We stayed at the Galtres Lodge in York and just walked to the registry office – I couldn’t justify paying for a car to take me a few minutes down the road.

There was just four guests at the wedding – Emma’s bridesmaid, son, and the two witnesses. However, they said the short guestlist helped make the day ‘better than [they imagined], taking away the pressure and nerves of a wedding.

Emma, a finance assistant, and Gavin, a warehouse worker, managed to keep the wedding under £2,500 by searching for details and keeping numbers at the wedding low.

How everything was spent

  • Registry office – £153
  • Dress – £27 (Boohoo)
  • Shoes – £17 (Asos sale)
  • Hair and makeup – £400
  • Suits for male witness, husband and son (£650)
  • Hotel – £568 for two rooms for two nights including breakfast
  • Food and cocktails – £107
  • Rings – £575 (H Samuel and Etsy)

Total – £2,497

The majority of their budget was spent on accommodation and hair and makeup – costing a total of £968.

Emma added: ‘We saved money by taking our own pictures instead of hiring a photographer and just having a simple afternoon tea instead of a full three course meal.

‘My biggest tip would be to focus on what you want and why you want to get married.

‘The day should be about the two of you not impressing a bunch of strangers you haven’t spoken to for months.’

‘Don’t think you have to have a big wedding dress because you can feel just as amazing in something from Boohoo, ASOS or Dorothy Perkins.

‘I tried on the big dresses and nothing made me feel as good as this little off the shoulder, lace dress from Boohoo that I got for £30.

‘Don’t be talked into getting more than you need as a lot of hotels and venues will tend to charge more because it’s a wedding.

‘We didn’t have a wedding cake – we just had the little cakes that came with the afternoon tea!

‘Check eBay, Etsy and all the sales because you can find some great bargains – my son’s suit should have been £100 but we got it for £50 from eBay.’

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