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.

Idle hands are the devils online shopping subscription

Beauty, confidence, Make Up, Wedding Budget

I have signed up to too many beauty / home websites. This pay day I had a ridiculous amount of emails offering me money off discounts, free postage ahhh. I want it all. my idle hands are shopping as soon as the subscription emails roll in.

My account looks healthy and my fingers start emptying it again.

I went on Cult Beauty filling up my basket with Zoeva brushes and Charlotte Tilbury makeup. When I got to a £100 of products I took a step back. What am I doing?

Stop the splurge

Yes I want to buy a lot of gorgeous things for my home but right now I don’t need them. I am not a shopaholic but there is something about a pay check that makes me want to spend money That has literally just entered my account!

I need to save

It’s not long till the wedding! This month has been all about paying for wedding deposits and payments. Blah blah blah. My savings are looking pretty empty.

Time for less outings

More walking ( bus fares add up)

Definitely no beauty, I have enough. I don’t wear much makeup so why am putting all this makeup into my basket? I am too susceptible to advertising and influencers. I do use all my skincare products but everything else is just money I could have spent on the wedding!

Idle hands

Luckily I also need to watch my diet! Which means less takeouts and premade meals.

As it’s a big sunnier I do want to eat better food with more veg and in the evenings I need to keep busy.

Idle hands are the devils online shopping subscription. They sit and wait for my pennies to roll in then they send me what I have always wanted but have absolutely no need for.

Yes I want velvet cushions with embroidered bees on, yes I need more plants! I just topped up my rather sad makeup collection with my Boots points. It really is the bare minimum and didn’t cost me anything however did I need it?

Plan

I need to be busier without exhausting myself like I did over Christmas.

I have so much to do so rather than spending my weekends completing tasks I am going to complete them in the weeknights instead. I will still schedule nights where I can just cuddle my best friend the sofa ( I wrote a blog on my lack of energy)

I will still relax when I need to, I won’t even look at my subscriptions this month unless Elizabeth Arden has an amazing deal on ( never going to happen).

I won’t delete them because I do have enough will power to stop buying them. This month will be a no buy month!

No spending on silly things

No make up

No skincare ( Cult Beauty I already miss you)

Do you have the same problem with pay day offers?

So obviously I bought the new Birchbox because Rock My Wedding sent me a naughty email and I wanted to try out half the items in it! It arrived within two days and I will try out the bits tomorrow when I go shopping with mum.

On Sunday I got a call from my mum suggesting that I had, HAD to buy the new Gatineau tanning accelerator.

“You don’t want to be a pale bride darling”

So thank you QVC for your special offers! I look forward to looking like a bronze goddess at our wedding.

So I failed!

But a few treats here and now are important to me not going insane with all the wedding planning.

Or so I tell myself.

Healthy habits, does chocolate count?

body confidence, food, health, Personal Experience

Day 14, 3 healthy habits, 30 day blog challenge.

I am slightly over weight, a sugar addict and lazy! So writing about 3 healthy habits seems a bit hypocritical however. I am trying to tone up and loose weight so I have change 3 things which is definitely a healthy habit.

Farewell Diet Coke

Like most people when they start dieting you give up the heavenly full fat drinks and swap them with diet drinks.

I became addicted we are talking 8 cans a day of Diet Coke. If I was hungry I would have one, every meal including breakfast I would have one. I felt like the fact that it had no calories meant that I could have it all the time.

Wrong

I started cutting back after Christmas when I ordered 3 crates of coke and Gav said it wasn’t healthy. When you rely on something too much then it’s a bad habit. It need to be kicked so I stopped.

I cut it down to two cans a day. Which was still a lot but at least it was something. This year I decided to cut out plastic water bottles. So cans of coke are harder to find.

Cutting back

When I went on holiday to Bulgaria I failed with my plastic bottles and diet coke wasn’t as everywhere so I treated myself to full fat coke!

But when I returned from holiday I didn’t buy any coke. At work I swapped my coke for squash because for some reason I wasn’t drinking enough water. I know squash isn’t that great. But I am drinking 4 litres of water everyday.

Swapping coke for water and squash is definitely a step in the right direction.

As you saw from my fridge yesterday there is no coke for either me or Gav. We both have a can but I still haven’t drunk it yet! If will be my Sunday treat!

Aurevoir chocolate

I had a lot of twix o’clock at work. Basically I now understand that I am an emotional eater. If I am upset then or annoyed then I want chocolate. Twix O’clock became a 2pm habit. I like to reward myself for everything!!!

It had to end. I am not going to deny myself chocolate but I definitely do not need it everyday. But a few times a week is fine. My skin doesn’t appreciate too much sugar so it better to cut right down. Plus I love celery so I cut it up and pop it in Tupperware. When I want to eat I something I can tuck into my cut up veg.

How good does that twix look!

Getting my arse into gear

So my last healthy habit is walking home. I get the bus to and from work. Living and working in London means that public transport is super cheap.

We now have lighter evening so roads and pathways don’t look so scary. So far I have walked home 3-4 times every week for the past 2 weeks . The weather hasn’t been great but it hasn’t stopped me.

My body is grateful for the exercise and fresh air. Plus it’s spring, so all the blossoms are out and my Instagram and a few of my blogs have had spring themes and lots of blossoms on them.

When I get home Gav meets me at the door with Frank and we go and walk him in the park. I have a wee bit more energy and my skin looks better.

Even though I should not reward myself I don’t feel so bad for eating a piece ( a whole bar, I am a compulsive eater) of chocolate.

But walking isn’t just about physical health. My 45 minute walk home clears my head. I listen to music and zone out. Walking has left me in a meditative state. I come home happy. The weather hasn’t bothered me.

I have given myself a task of 70000 steps a week and so far I have smashed it. I just need to keep going!

In summary

When I was photographing this I wanted to hurry up so I could drink the Diet Coke, it’s 10am so I will make myself wait! I also ate the celery, yum and will eat the chocolate later.

I am trying to be healthy, getting fit for the wedding. I have saved money walking home. I am saving roughly £24 a month so… I am going back to the gym. It’s only £36 a month and I miss it. I can go before work, my work mates go every day.

It about changing your mindset and creating a habit that you stick too. I am drinking more water (squash) walking home and cutting out my chocolate snacks for fruit and veg!

Things are getting better and I am feeling better!

Watch this space!

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