Real-life bride Zoe Carroll "audibly gulped when seeing the price of hiring most traditional wedding venues for the day alone" which inspired her to get thrifty and DIY her wedding day. Her whole day totalled around £6,000 which is a staggering £25,000 saving on the average wedding cost! From her supermarket flowers through to her charity shop dress and handmade invites, she's exclusively spoken to HELLO! Online to reveal how she did it…
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Zoe hired a village hall for a fraction of the price
Zoe ditched the idea of a traditional wedding venue after learning about the price tags and set herself a mission to find a village hall. "I came across a beautiful village hall in a rural village. It was built in 1879 with the most gorgeous flint walls and high beamed ceilings. I knew it was the perfect blank canvas," she told us.
The bride added: "Hiring a village hall also opened up some other cost-saving avenues – I hired it from Friday lunchtime to Sunday lunchtime for just £300, which meant that instead of paying for a company to decorate the place, I could do this myself (with my merry band of volunteer helpers!).
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"It also meant I could provide my own wine with a very reasonable corkage fee of £1.50 a bottle (I was quoted £10 at some venues!) as well as allowing me to splash out on decent catering. We did, however, save money for the evening food as a friend offered to make some pizzas, and we also raided Costco for sweet treats!" Hiring tables and chairs was an area that Zoe was willing to spend on though and it was "worth the extra £200".
"We decided to have the ceremony in the local church near to the village hall, so there was no need to fork out for a wedding car or transport between venues for guests – we all walked through the village instead (and had several cheers from the local pub garden as we passed!)," Zoe happily reported.
Zoe recommends making your own invitations
Zoe went down the DIY route for her invites and armed with marbled coloured card and Microsoft Word she created invites for all of her guests for around £20!
"It was great fun having a cutting and sticking production line at my parents' house," revealed Zoe.
The bride wore a charity shop dress - and looked incredible
Now for many brides, the dress can be the biggest thing about the wedding – and often one of the biggest costs, but Zoe has an eye for a bargain and her local charity shop came up trumps.
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"I found my dream dress in a charity shop for £200 – I saw it in the window and just knew it was the one!" gushed Zoe. "I was lucky enough that it also fit like a dream so no need for pricey tailoring. It was by Ronald Joyce and was brand new; the shop told me they often get donations from local boutiques."
"I found my shoes in TK Maxx in the clearance for £6! I didn't want to spend much on shoes given that my dress was floor length, and no one would see them anyway, so I was delighted with my find."
The hair and makeup
For Zoe, her hair and makeup spend was zero thanks to amazing friends and family. "I'm extremely lucky that my father-in-law and auntie-in-law are both hairdressers, so they took charge on the day. One of my bridesmaids is also fantastic at makeup so we had several lovely evenings doing trials and she did a wonderful job on the big day," said Zoe.
Favours are an added extra on a wedding day, a small token for your guests and there are many cost-saving options out there. Zoe went for a shot of alcohol which also doubled up as a place name – savvy!
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"I bought miniature glass craft bottles from The Works and filled them up with pink gin liqueur from Lidl, adding a name tag to each one using craft labels. In total it cost around £25 – including the mini funnel set I bought to distribute from Poundland!" she explained.
The flowers were from the supermarket
Seeking a whimsical country feel, Zoe enlisted her mum as florist. "We had great fun watching YouTube tutorials together, and the day before the wedding I went to Lidl and raided their flower section! I spent around £70 on flowers (I particularly love their miniature roses) and also ordered a job lot of gypsophilia from a stand on Norwich market," Zoe reported.
Zoe also made her own eco-friendly confetti
Confetti is definitely an easy DIY that any bride can try as it's super simple. "We dried fallen flower petals and used leftover card from the invites to make confetti," said Zoe.
Second-hand decorations complemented the venue perfectly
For Zoe, this was the best part of the planning. "Given that we had a fairly blank canvas, I could really go to town. I kept a lookout at car boot sales, charity shops and Facebook Marketplace for anything that had the potential to make a good decoration. I bought lots of old mirrors and the best part was I was able to keep them and use them in our home after! One of my favourite ideas was collecting different plants which we used as decoration, and were then able to plant in our garden after – I needed a hedgerow anyway!"
Zoe whipped up her own wedding cake for a bargain £15!
"I bravely - or stupidly - did this myself!" confesses Zoe. "I’m no Mary Berry but since all I wanted was a naked sponge cake, I figured I could whip one up fairly easily. I had all the cake tins anyway having made a similar cake for my mum's birthday, so it only cost around £15 for the ingredients and decorations. I also made the cake topper out of some old chopsticks, leftover invite envelopes and some ribbon!"
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