Rebecca and Tom's whirlwind wedding - 07.03.20

 Rebecca and Tom

7th March 2020 | Stafford County Rooms and Tillington Hall Hotel



Planning a wedding on a budget can be hard but planning a wedding on  a budget and only giving yourself 5 weeks to do it? That's a whole new level! However that's exactly what Rebecca and Tom did for their whirlwind budget wedding. Pulling in favours, recycling a family wedding dress and pulling off a beautiful wedding just before the pandemic was in full swing. Here's how they did it.


I met Tom when we were 7 - our dad's were both in the army and we had moved to Inverness at the same time. He was my "boyfriend" and best friend at the time and we've got video and photos of us together which is a lovely memory. Tom's family then moved to Stafford and we went over to Germany when I was 9 but fifteen years later I messaged a bunch of guys on Facebook with the same name to see if I could find him again. Seven years later, we were engaged and had a daughter. We hadn't made any plans to get married any time soon as we'd been hoping to buy a house but plans changed and suddenly we'd given ourselves 5 weeks to plan a wedding with a budget of £5000-£6000. We got so lucky with the date as we got married on the 7th March 2020 before we even realised the impact Covid-19 was about to have on so many people!


The first challenge was finding the wedding and reception venues. Unsurprisingly, most places were booked up with only 5 weeks notice so we couldn't be picky about locations. We were able to book the Stafford County Rooms which was our first choice for the ceremony but finding a reception venue took a bit longer. We finally booked Tillington Hall Hotel which is also in Stafford and everything started to fall into place from there.


Obviously the two venues were the biggest costs - between them they used up over £3000 of our budget but that included all of the ceremony costs, exclusive use of the whole County Room building for 3 hours, drinks for after the ceremony, two rooms at the hotel including a private bar and entrance, a buffet in the afternoon (amazingly tasty!), snacks in the evening and the tables with chairs. We were so impressed with both venues and they were absolutely perfect for us!


The next challenge was my dress - with such a short time until the wedding, all of the dresses I wanted would turn up too late and the ones I tried just didn't work for me. Close to tears one night I said to my mom "I may as well try yours on because I've got nothing else to wear!!!" Stunned silence followed as, although a little tight on my ribs and a little empty at the chest part, it was perfect. My parents got married in 1989 and 31 years later my mom's dress was getting another outing. Tom got trousers, shirts and waistcoats from Next for him and his Best Man and then bought a navy tie with dinosaurs on from Amazon - this was a surprise for me and meant so much as I love dinosaurs.


As I'd saved money on a dress, I was able to treat myself to a gorgeous pair of Irregular Choice shoes for just over £90. This was my one extravagance but I knew that I needed something special as my shoes would be on show. I then bought some matching peach Vans for myself, the Maid of Honour and my Bridesmaid for the reception. Tom also had some Vans for the reception. The Maid of Honour and Bridesmaid dresses were from Debenham for a really reasonsable price of £60 each and my daughter's dress was £15 from Amazon. All three dresses were incredible quality and looked such high quality that the three of them almost outshone me on the day!


Our invitations were then next and we used the ready made templates from Hobbycraft. Whilst we probably would have liked something more individual, they were £2 for a pack of 10 and this suited our budget perfectly. We probably spent about £10 which covered ceremony and reception invites as well as some hashtag cards to have on each table showing the #marshallgotmuired tag that we would be using.

We decided on mini doughnuts instead of a cake and ordered 100 from Planet Doughnut for £160. There were five different flavours and they were a huge hit on the day! I think they disappeared within 10 minutes and everyone commented on how amazing and unique the idea was. A family friend did make us a surprise cake as a wedding present and we also brought a chocolate cake from Costco to make sure everyone got something sweet.


We used all our own cars for the day which saved a massive amount of money. Luckily my dad has a Jaguar so there was something special about the car I arrived in but we'd decided that this was definitely an area where we could reduce costs.

Flowers was another massive cost saved for us. I'm not massively keen on lots of flowers so my bridesmaids had (surprisingly lovely) fake bouquets from The Range and the County Rooms included flowers for the ceremony. Tom surprised me with a delivery of some flowers whilst I was getting ready which I made into a little bouquet for the ceremony.


All of our hair and makeup was done ourselves as none of us was aiming for anything particularly extravagant and felt we could all achieve something that would work for the day. Hair accessories were all bought from Claires for just under £30 for the three of us. My veil on the day was actually just a £5 joke one that the Maid of Honour had bought for the hen do which was a meal the night before.

We were so lucky to know a photographer and I know not everyone will be able to save money like this. I've known Matt since university and he's an incredibly talented landscape and property photographer who hates taking photos of people haha! He promised that when I got married that he would turn his hand to wedding photography as his present and his talents transferred perfectly.


Don't underestimate the ability of your guests to take amazing photos though! We encouraged everyone to take as many videos and photos as they could and some of my favourites were from guests such as the one of me, Tom and Isla cuddling on the dance floor.

For music, we used the PA system that was already built into the hotel room, a tablet and a Spotify play list and paid around £100 to hire some disco lights.


For our wedding favours we ordered 150 small Lego boxes which costs around £200 and got some personalised love hearts to go inside. We also put plastic sweet jars filled with Lego, from our own sizeable stash, on each of the tables at the reception and these were a massive hit with children and adults!

As we had a lot of children on our guest list (by choice) we also put together some party bags using bulk bought Kinder Eggs, toys and balloons that we bought off Amazon. Altogether we spent around £100 on these but seeing the smiles on parents and children's faces as they opened them was definitely worth it! We also bought along a bunch of toys, slides and a play pen from home to help entertain the children.


Finally we put together all of the decorations for the room ourselves. I printed a load of photos of myself and Tom which were hung up all around the room, I decopaged some Mr and Mrs letters for the cake table, used £1 hole punches to make paper confetti for the tables, bought a helium tank for £30 for the balloons and bought the seat covers and ribbons off eBay for less than £100 which was a lot cheaper than hiring them from the venue.

On the day everything was relaxed, personalised to our personalities and absolutely perfect. We managed to keep the costs as low as we could, pull together a wedding in 5 weeks and not miss out on anything we wanted by keeping it simple.


How incredible was that? I love that Rebecca and Tom have a love story to tell right from being children, it's so beautiful. I also love that they ditched the wedding norms of spending loads of money and years planning and just went for it in 5 weeks! 

If you would like your small budget wedding featured on the blog then drop me an email at thriftybrideblog@gmail.com

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