Our wedding day set up!

Advice, Cricut, Flowers, Planning, Wedding, Wedding Budget

We got up at 7.30 and we were both mentally exhausted from the week. Planning a wedding where you have to bring in absolutely everything is so hard. Our wedding day set up was a labour of love, blood sweat and tears. Except on the Tuesday when we legally tied the knot we didn’t really have any time for ourselves. I stayed up each night making bits and bobs. Gav was on the computer sorting out music and checking off lists.

It was more than a full time job.

The night before I was cutting out the name cards on my Cricut, it made it easier but I still had to cut out 140 name cards 6 to a sheet. I ran out of the house at 8.30 to get to the shops when they opened and picked up a few more bits or the toilet boxes. ( I will explain in a later blog)

Then my brother arrived at 10.30 with the van he had to hire because we had so much stuff. The cake was a bit of an after thought so we precariously sat it on top and it fared well.

The last thing we packed was my wedding dress and though all the mad packing we almost left It behind. We had paid for our cleaner to clean for us so we came home to a nice clean house. She was already there when we left and promised to bring anything if we forgot it.

I hadn’t packed the top table tablecloth but we just got on with it!

Dysfunctional planner strikes again

Chris drove to the venue with me Gav and Frank on board plus the majority of the props and bits we needed for the day. When we arrived we unloaded the van. This bit was a bit disorganised and people came to me asking what they wanted to do. We piled it all on the grass and tried to get started from there.

I had dreams of clipboards and lists but none of that happened!

My brother in law set to work hanging our Mexican wedding flags which looked truely beautiful! We still have some left which I am excited to keep for a party! And also he and my dad hung some streamers behind us so the top table had a pretty back drop.

I changed the seating arrangement at the last minute so we had one kind top table and then six lines of 2 which worked out beautifully.

Give me a job

My sister took charge of the tables. She said she was going to set up one and we can work from there. The theme for the seating was snowboarding. The tables were supposed to be slopes

  • Green
  • Blue
  • Pink ( no blood and bandages at my wedding)
  • Black ( the one I forgot)

I left the top tables table clothes at home still not found! Great. So I just used the ends of the longer ones to make our top table. It didn’t bother me!

I had so many good people come up to me and say give me a job! We dressed the first table then the second then the third.

Charlotte and my mum were busy making the table flowers. We used a lot of gin bottles to use instead of vases and they looked so pretty!! I asked Charlotte for bright happy flowers with lots of colour, Dahlias, sweet Williams and daisies but what she did was so incredible they were perfect. I will do a whole blog on how amazing she was later!

I didn’t want a matchy matchy wedding. Lots of colour lots textures and silly things.

Napkins and table cloths

I bought the Table cloth fabric of eBay and dyed all the napkins myself. I didn’t want black napkins so I used a yellow dye to brighten things up. I had 120 guests and made sure I had a spare 30 napkins. I was so proud of them they looked great. I had a vision of how I wanted it to look and everyone who was there helped me achieve it.

After Vicky laid out the table Becky went through and straightend the edges. Sorting out the napkins ( Vicky folded them beautifully ina loopy way) and we had to repeat it 120 times. I didn’t want too many flowers on the table because of the food going in the middle of the table.

More Cricut crafts

I bought wooden discs and made slope markers from all our favourite places, Val Disere, Chamonix , Le Duce Alps it was so hard finding photos of the markers that I had to make a few from scratch but they came out so well! We tied them the bottles.

I was going to make a seating chart but in the end I just let people find their names. It was an open venue so after the ceremony people could go in and out while they waited so it wasn’t a big deal. Also because a quarter of the wedding helped set up they found where they were sitting.

The name cards were all cut out on my Cricut. I drew a silly mountainscape and cut out that shape on the card. Charlotte being a super star made badges for everyone. We had 3 themes for our badges, Star Wars, Harry Potter and Snowboarding. We attached the badges at the top with foam squares.

Whilst we were dressing the tables my brother and his wife where folding and hand writing our peoples names!

I told you it was a team effort!

Gavs mum was in the chiller van organising the food and booze. Rosco (papa smurf) was setting up the signs helping gav with the beer. I don’t want to miss anyone out. But there was a lot of hands on deck.

Hayley arrived later with another car full of bits! We had flags of all the countries where our family’s live to semi cover the bales of hay. Charlotte used the excess bottles and flowers and put them at the end of the hay bales.

My dad cooked dinner for everyone! All the men gathered round the fire and had to test the booze while the rest of us soldiered on. I stopped when I realised I was tired and wanted to enjoy myself. It was about 8pm at this point!

So it was all sorted with just a few tweaks to do the next day! We enjoyed the evening, had a few cheeky drinks and went to bed early!

That was the set up. A massive thank you to everyone involved you have no idea how great full we both are.

It was a mission but it was worth it.

It looked perfect!

Darling Dahlias how does your wedding bouquet grow?

Flowers, Wedding, Wedding Budget

In April I started planting my dahlia tubers with the intention that these beauties would actually end up in my bouquet. I find that cafe au lait Dahlia are far superior to peonies in looks, just not smell.

This summer is a Dahlias dream with hot sunny days and me watering the pots like a crazy person.

Gardeners are crazy

We have to be. I watched the weather like a hawk. I studied the frost repost like it would determine how my day would go. Well it did, if it was going to frost then I would evacuate my growing bulbs into the spare bedroom

Luckily I never had to.

No frost

Our bathroom over looks the garden so I got to watch my baby’s grow. I already told you I was a crazy plant lady.

I looked over them, made sure that they we happy squeezed when they started to grow and felt bad for the ones that never got to make it.

These are my first,

little pom pom jewels. To me they are perfect but it’s evident that even if I cut them to encourage regrowth they still won’t be flowering in two months.

I can’t be sad about it though as these are beautiful flower that make me so happy!

Saving pennies

They will make it to the wedding though, I am drying the petals and turning them into confetti. So nothing will be waisted. I still have my peonie petals from June splurge.

Confetti isn’t massively expensive but myself and the venue only want biodegradable confetti. To me this should be rule everywhere. I don’t buy that many flowers but I will be using my stocks, and all my flower petals for the wedding.

The cherry blossom petals went a bit brown so I am looking at perhaps dying them. I am going to do some research and see what was best. This will also save me money.

Dahlia hopes

I still have a hope that Dahlias that I have grown will make it into my bouquets but if they don’t I won’t be too disappointed. They still may be in my bouquet but just shop bought ones!

This is my harvest from today and I think they are pretty perfect. I hated cutting them but I know they won’t grow if I don’t.

I am a novice gardener but I will definitely be growing Dahlias next year and the year after!

Growing my own bouquet: a budget step too far?

Flowers, Personal Experience, Planning, Wedding, Wedding Budget

So on an early post I wrote about how trying to find the perfect September flowers are hard. I also said that it’s hard to find what actual flowers are in season.

My mum and Charlotte are doing my flowers.

My sister said I should try growing my own dahlias , so for my birthday I bought two lots of dahlia tubers.

Sarah Raven has got the most beautiful selection and it’s where I bought mine from!

This beauty is the Rubens collection

Which are the most Devine colours ever! These are all dahlias but all so very different.

I figured that if it works great!

If they don’t flower in time then my garden will be beautiful. If I just get one bloom I will be over the moon!! If it’s a Cafe au Lait even better.

I fell in love with them so much I bought a second set of tubers in a slightly different palette. This is the Flamboyant selection!

I figured that they would all work beautifully together if I was lucky enough to grow them all.

I am on Dahlia watch

I planted them just after the last frost and have been monitoring the weather ever since.

I am like a crazy plant lady.

I actually screamed when the parcel arrived. And then I had to wait almost a month because the weather was bad.

I also bought cheap pots that I had to cut wholes in so my plants don’t drown with the amount of rain we are sure to have.

I also ran out of soil and had to top up a week later.

Being a planner I had to plan which ones to do first!

Luckily everything is written on the bag so while I was writing out the sticks I could match it to the tuber. Makes me happy!

My friend said to write the name on both sides because rain and sun will fade them.

Measure twice, cut once

This makes me so happy. I am pretty sure I am supposed to snip the top so that I get more flowers but I will do a bit more research before I make the final cut.

My garden is now covered with plant pots and Dahlias.

I have used plant pots because my garden is dark and this means I can find the best spots for them.

Being grateful: A Pre thank you

Flowers, Organising, Wedding, Wedding Budget

I am trying to prethank all my wedding party for what they are about to do, or have already done for me. Weddings can cause rifts and there is nothing like a wedding to bring out the worst in people.

I have a wonderful team of Danettes family and friends who have offered to help and I am taking them up on it. And quite frankly I don’t want to piss them off and appear ungrateful!

So this week, as a prethank you I took my mum, mother in law and sister in law out to a posh restaurant for a slap up feast. They have already done so much for me Gavin and the wedding and there are 7 months to go!! I know we will be asking a lot more of them especially their time and opinions.

Flowers

My mum was only here for a few days but she was a whirlwind of help and answers. She trained as a florist so disapproved of a few of my choice ( apparently no to pink and yelllow). But I love them together so she obliged.

She ummed and arrrd over the flower arrangements which half way through, I was like perfect, next! But she took her time and it did look really beautiful when she finished. She was happy, even with my yellow ( freesias are her favourite) so I knew she would give in!

Budget savings

I refuse to pay for vases but she was impressed with my array of jam jars thank you Dowe Egberts and your perfect coffee jars! Plus my mother in law kindly donated a lot of golden syrup jars perfect!

My table runners slightly scared Hayley and mum at first till we set it out but honestly I think the whole thing will look beautiful!

Granny Donelly wisdom ” suits the wearer not the starer”

I am going to do the rounds and make sure everyone understands how much I appreciate there help and input!

My best friend has always been my rock since I was 14 we have been thick as thieves! I am thinking of ways to thank them before I become a wedding zombie focused on all the details. She is off to Madrid for hen do planning, how crazy is that.

I need to plan something special for just us!

Grateful

Being thankful and grateful is easy but it is also easy to think our friends and family know how much we appreciate their help. Some times they need to hear it! I am trying to do this so if I do get a bit crazy, they will understand I am out of character.

I refuse to be a bridezilla! But that doesn’t mean she won’t show herself every now and then!

So that’s it,

My little Friday blog.

Hope you enjoyed it!

France, Mum, Food and Wedding Talk

Flowers, Personal Experience, Planning, Travel, Wedding

My mum is my biggest cheerleader. She is impressed by pretty much everything I do which is great and much needed when you are feeling blue. France is one of my homes, her home. An army brat learns to make a home where ever they can!

This little blog is just about me and my mum, France, food and a bit of wedding talk. Hope you enjoy!

Lazy me

When I get to Jarnac I turn into loungy French me. I swan around the house drinking Kronenburg, nibbling of french bread and Port Salut. I am happy as Larry coming back home to France.

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We normally don’t stray to far from Jarnac as my breaks to see my mum are all about relaxation and family not travelling frantically about. We normally end up on the veranda, have big life talks or curled up at night on the sofa chatting nonsense.

Until my parents moved to France I didn’t think of it as a holiday destination which is crazy. I think for couples France is so romantic, chateaus, champagne and amazing food. France doesn’t have to cost a fortune and from Britain it is just a short flight.

Most people tend to go straight to Paris, the French Alps or the south of France and they miss out on all the beautiful cities and towns in between. If you want a relaxing, meandering, brocante filled long weekend then visit France.

I spent a long time on the lawn sipping passion fruit gin and tonics going through my mums floristry books. It so peaceful and beautiful.

All the weight gaining alcohol

This trip was a lovely lazy trip. We went to a vineyard and picked up Cognac Champagne which if you are ever in the area you must try. It is delicious and very rare even in the area. I bought all their stock they had left which was two bottles!

Yum.

My mother is kindly supplying our toasting Champagne from a local vineyard and we cant wait. It is light and not bitter at all, we had it at my brothers wedding in proper champagne glasses ( which I wont be having: tiniest gripe).

All the yummy food

Mum has been learning more french recipes and Eggs Mimosa  is definitely my new favourite. This was one of the best lunches of all time, light and refreshing and enough left overs that I could have it for tea the next day.

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We went to a few restaurants and had amazing steak at both! our aperitif was a lovely Cognac Schweppes.

Although my mum is a wee bit stressed about making my bouquet everything else she is really relaxed about. She cant wait. We had a slightly stressful conversation about the legal part of our ceremony which I am still annoyed about. Annoyed that I have a legal ceremony not the fact that she was talking about it.

It has kind of grown from two people to immediate family but hey, thats okay. It just means our super fancy meal at the Holborn Dining rooms will be at a great affordable London Pub instead.

My sister referenced Kate Winslet’s wedding and I said yes, just like that! Well we all know I love Marianne in Sense and Sensibility!

We also talked about Videographer’s and prices and my brother suggested that I stop focusing on creating these magical Youtube moments and just pay someone to capture the whole day. I think he was right and me and Gav discussed it and we are now just looking for someone to capture our day.

Nothing Fancy

Just withing our budget.

And that’s what I need to focus on. Not creating a stupid Pinterest wedding I need to create a beautiful wedding for me and Gav. A moment in time when our friends and family can drink and be merry.

That’s what we are focusing on, oh and our budget.

At this moment in time I would like to be under our budget not over it!

when I left France and my mum is was so hard. I had to say goodbye to so many of my family in such a short time. My mum is coming over to help with the invites and wedding planning but that’s not till the new year.

Till then it will just be Skype!

Bon voyage mon ami!

Wedding Planning; It’s all in the details

Advice, Flowers, Organising, Planning, Wedding

I know that my guests don’t really care that much about the details. They wont care that I have made all the table clothes and hand dyed all the napkins. They may think me brilliantly talented or absolutely stir crazy! But I love details at a wedding. Love them.

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To me, wedding planning, its all in the details

When my friends Sam and Keith got married they had a travel theme. Bunting was made out of maps as well as the boutonnieres. We had mini suitcases filled with boozy sweets as favours. The table was made up of travel books and tiny travel origami. It was all pretty perfect. The amount of effort they went to and yes, half the guests probably didn’t notice but I did. I loved it all!

Details are all about effort, creating a perfect space

I am not making everything because I am a control freak. I am doing it because it is going to save us an absolute fortune in renting and money. I can resell the napkins on as well as keep a set for us to use all the time. Table runners can also be resold, I am looking forward into curating this wedding.

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Plus, I am creative. A wedding day designed by you is a creative person’s dream.
I want it to be bright and colourful with nods to things we like.
I want our guests to eat and drink and be really for happy for us.
I also want it to be semi original (not going to happen) Pinterest has too many inspirations and at the end of the day I don’t want it look like everyone else’s.
It is easy to get lost in the details.

Planning

I use my bullet journal, I have lists upon lists in it. It has a time line, budgets, ideas, sizes, savings, due dates. You name it. My life is in that planner. I have a lot of lists of things I cam going to make and things I am going to source.
Which means I have a lot to do, a lot to make.
I am going to continue to put a lot of effort in the details because it is what I am interested in.
When I read wedding blogs I scour over the tables, what flowers they have used. How full the table is, what are the favours? I look at the table numbers and how everything is arranged. To me there are never enough photos of the little bits.

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Promises to myself

It really is my favourite bit and I know that I sound a little crazy. Weddings where the tables are jam packed full of details fill me with such pleasure.

So, at the end of the day I will make a few promises to myself.
• I will have a cut off date when the details have to stop
• I will buy if it is cheaper
• I will not worry if people don’t notice it
• I will try not to overwhelm our wedding with details!!!
• I will not stress if some of my projects don’t turn out right and I can’t use them

Well we will see if I can keep my promises to myself.
If you are doing a lot of DIY, Good Luck.

We can do this!

Generic Wedding Saving Blog tips and are they helpful?

Advice, Flowers, Personal Experience, Planning, Wedding

As I have been dreaming of a wedding for years I have read hundreds of blogs on helpful  tips wedding advice. Where to spend your money and where to splurge.

I would have considered myself an expert until I started planning my own wedding.
Then I realised that so much of their wedding tips to save money are just too generic.
My biggest gripe with other blogs is when you are looking for ways to save money on your wedding and they suggest you elope.

THAT IS NOT HELPFUL WHEN PLANNING A WEDDING!

This has got to be the most useless advice ever. They may as well say don’t do it! An elopement is not the same as a wedding with friends and family. If you don’t want to spend money, deal with family stress, making your own wedding invites, then why are you reading a blog on money saving tips for your big wedding day?
I am not saying elopements don’t take money and time to plan. An intimate wedding for two is still a wedding but they are not the same as a wedding day.
Seriously bloggers!!! If you planning on having a reception when you get back then you are still spending money on a wedding and it can still be as stressful. So an elopement is not helpful advice thank you very much!

Money

Let’s talk money and weddings. I don’t think you should ever plan anything above your budget. Why would you spend more than you can afford? Modern day weddings are not all carriages and huge white dresses.

Setting your budget is important but so is doing your research!

If you had to strip everything away including guests then who and what would remain?
This is the most important question for you as a couple. What do you want. What do you not care about. What can you sacrifice so you have what you want and will it be worth it. It is your day, not your family’s or your friends, do this one for yourself. They love you and know you they will get it.
The problem with generic advice is your wedding is not generic. It is personal. Even if you want to recreate someone else wedding ideas it will still not be generic as it will be you and your wedding party.

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Blog tip 1: When to get married

Often the response is to get married in off peak season as it is always cheapest.
Yes, they are right, winter months are cheaper but the wedding industry is really pushing us and increasing our winter wedding to ridiculous costs.

October is now considered late season not off season. Expensive is always going to be expensive.
These bloggers are suggesting ways to save money but at who’s expense? Getting married on a Tuesday means your guests have to get take two days holiday off to attend you event. It may be cheaper for you but not for them.
There are other options…..
Either get married within 6 months and grab all the last-minute bargains including venues. Leaving it last minute may get the opposite, you may get overcharged for a few things as well. Cancelled booking etc means that deals spring up all over the place.
You need to be highly organise but I am telling you can do it.
Or get married in two years and save up towards it. I didn’t think I could save as much as I have but I am determined to be debt free after the wedding.

Blog tip 2: Cut down on your guests

Well yes that is an obvious one, but sometimes you really do have a big family or group of friends. We are planning around 110 people. If you think about it that’s 55 people each…. 20 of mine are family members then I am inviting 15 of my closest friends and their partners.
That isn’t that many people.
The majority of their partners are my friends and I have known them for years. We won’t have anyone there who’s names we don’t remember after a couple of drinks. This is the benefit of getting married after a decade. Our lives are entwined. His friends are mine.
We aren’t having children except for the wedding party. This is helping with costs but also we don’t really want children there.

It’s our choice: we are child free.
Cutting down your wedding guest list will save you money. As long as you have the people around you who mean the most to you, who have always been there for you then they are who matter.
Weddings cost so much money!!!! You can’t invite everyone you know but is telling you to limit your numbers that helpful?

Not sure… I guess so. Just don’t go crazy.

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Blog tip 3: Don’t use real flowers use fake

Okay, hmm, unless you don’t like flowers then why not use them? You don’t have to have a fancy bouquet with diamonds in the roses. Just have a great big bunch of your favourite flowers.
You can buy little potted plants that decorate the table and double as favours.
Use in season flowers bought direct from a flower wholesaler or market trader. Just let them know what you are after and turn up the day before to buy them. Ask a crafty friend to put them together just don’t have massive expectations for them to be the dreamlike Instagram worthy creations. Gypsophila, white carnations or hydrangea heads can look really effortlessly chic and can be whipped together quickly. Don’t forget super market flowers!!
Keeping your flowers simple is key to an elegant look.
Boutonnieres are £12 a pop (yes really!) these are simple to make but don’t attempt unless you are crafty or have someone to guide you. Youtube can teach you quickly and you can practice with your garden flowers. These really don’t need to made from fresh flowers. These can also be super personal too, think geeky toys, pin badges.
Paper flowers are so simple you could learn to make them in 10 minutes and perfect in an hour!
My awesome friend Jess didn’t have flowers she had cool gourds on the table and her bouquet was a gorgeous designer clutch bag that she wanted. I loved her priorities she wasn’t a fan of flowers so she didn’t have them.

 

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Blog tip 4: Make your own invites

Before I start on the cost of invites I can tell you that I am hand making my own. They will be 3D colourful and have separate bits to them. They will cost me approximately £200 including stamps and the order of services. It will take me a good couple of months to design, send to the printers and put together.
I am also going to say that the invite sets the tone to the wedding. The dress code, colours and organisation. Pour as much into onto those bits of card or you will forever have people calling you with times, presents wedding colours, you name it they will ask for it.
You spending hours attaching Swarovski crystals on your invites will mean nothing to them. A bride who has been there and any crafty friends you have will appreciate your effort. They may comment that the will look lovely but, in the end, they are heading for the recycling bin of destiny.
(disclaimer I actually love an invite, I keep them all as a memento of the day but also because I just love stationery)
My advice to you is this, if you are making them then keep it simple. I know I am not but I have a year to make them. Your guests just want information they will regard a fancy invite with the same eye as a printed invite. Plus printed invites are not what they used to be.
Guests want to see the love, they want to laugh with you and have a little happy cry.
As long as they are fed and watered they rest is not important.

Blog tip 5: You need a Spreadsheet

Okay I would agree with this. Making sure you track your money is vital to your savings. But you don’t have to use the bloggers. Make your own it takes about ten minutes to knock one up or just go on excel templates. They are prepared for you. You can cut out the bits that you don’t want.
Paying for someone’s spreadsheet is ludicrous.
The first thing I did when I started asking for quotes was set up a joint email address separate to our personal accounts. This means that I don’t get in updated with quote in my personal email, now GDPR has kicked in this is less of an issue however. If you are getting a lot of quotes you have them all in one place. I love it.

Blog tip 6: Wedding apps and making your own wedding websites

For carbon footprint conscientious brides with tech savvy guests this is great.
For the rest of us I am going to say no.
Go on any blogging forum and you will hear of upset brides that are in tears or disappointed because they keep getting calls from confused family members who don’t go online. Save yourself the stress, put it on website if you want one but print out a paper version for your older family members.

They are going to call you anyway.
As for wedding apps I have tried 3 and I don’t find them personal at all. Yes you can adapt them and change bits but honestly my excel spread sheet has times and dates when thing need or have been paid. They liked to send me updated of when I needed things completed by but I don’t like there timelines. I have a wedding Bullet journal.
I am old school but everything is in there.

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When booking anything for your wedding, the sooner the better.
I have 15 months to go, I have venue, photographer and entertainment booked. Flowers are being done by my mum and bridesmaid…. The rest we are working on.

Blogging tip 7: Wedding trends for 2000 and blah blah

Blah blah is about right. Fasted way to date your wedding is to follow all the bridal trends there are. Just do want you want within your means. Calligraphers are amazing. It is a true art, but can you read it? Can you? Neat handwriting is better than scrolls of words, again most things written on paper are going straight to the Recycling Bin of Destiny.
Welcome signs are beautiful (I love them and will hopefully be making one) but do you need it nope- cut costs. Orders of the day are useful but after the ceremony nobody looks at them. No one. This I don’t generally keep.
Succulents ( I am addicted to) geodes, geometric metallics and acrylic signage, I love them all and Pinterest is guilty of putting them on my wedding feed. But these are a trend and we are being led by them. I love them and think they all look beautiful but follow what you love not what is in fashion.

Blogging tip 8: Don’t have wedding favours

Ooh I am stuck. Not sure about this one. I didn’t want them. Gav does. So, I went into design mode and have created the box for the favours to go in. All I need to sort out is what to put in them.
Favours are hit and miss. I think my favourite ones are edible or drinkable ones. Port yummy, pick-a-mix great but are they necessary absolutely not! I don’t mind if people forgo the wedding favour. Nor should you. Let’s just say you pay £1 a favour, then you have to put them in box or container, then you need some ribbon to tie round it. It all adds up.

Un less it is edible guess where it is heading………

Common sense

Planning above your means is futile
Modern day weddings happen the other was around now. Peoples priorities have changed. Buying a house is the biggest commitment you can make to each other before marriage.
Let’s face it 25k is becoming half a deposit for a house. A few years ago, it was your whole deposit.
Times are changing and everything is rising in price.
Do what you want! Making is cheaper but your time isn’t. Weigh up what you want to spend on what and try to keep to that budget.
So as a practical person, having a house is actually more important than have a big fancy wedding. Luckily, I don’t want a big fancy wedding, I just want my friends and family to help me celebrate me and Gav and our relationship.
It is still costing more than I would like but because we are making a lot, we are saving thousands of pounds.
As I am being honest even if I was rich I would still have the wedding we are planning. I just wouldn’t be making all the bits I am.
Time is precious.
You are not generic.
Dana