Newlywed Tegan Groombridge reveals how she organised her 'maids wedding day look (from shoes to gifts) for less than £250
"So many wedding blogs talk about people having a wedding for £1,000. As wonderful as I expect that wedding was, we don’t all have family to pay for parts of it. We don’t all fit in the designer Alexander McQueen dress our mum wore, and, more importantly, some of us don’t want to use the local church hall for our reception. My £10,000 wedding budget was about planning smart and making compromises, cutting back where we were able, so we could have what we wanted. All whilst managing to make it look like a £20,000 event.
Unfortunately, I am not one of those women who can make their own vintage inspired dresses, do contour make-up or grow my own roses for my bouquet. I am one of those women who reads articles online, trawls the internet and creates a colour coded spreadsheet. We had a total of 5 bridesmaids. Andrea, Clair and Katie were my big girl bridesmaids. Lily and Sophie were my little girl bridesmaids. All 5 of them cost a grand total of £161. Even adding on their gifts, we spent just under £245!
The big girls
Many brides save money with their bridesmaids paying for their own dresses, but as we had chosen them we wanted and felt we should pay for their dresses. Each dress retailed at £70 at Boohoo. Clair’s wasn’t in stock which led us to checking eBay for the dress to see if we could buy 3. Someone was selling the dress BNWT for just £30. Katie’s dress was also on eBay for only £12 as the label was torn when they removed the tags. Andrea was not to be saved on, but My Favourite Voucher Codes had a 20% off voucher code for Boohoo and we spent just £56.
The girls chose their own shoes to suit their personalities and styles. As they would have them forever we agreed that if they matched the dress they could choose their own. They were happy to pay for their shoes and we saved some pennies.
I did a large order for my flowers along with my table decorations at £500. The girl’s bouquets were smaller versions of my own making their arrangements cheaper as my florist had to have the glitter, baby’s breath and ribbon anyway. All I paid for was the 3 extra roses in each bouquet as everything else had to be bought for other areas (this was in the £500 budget).
Like most of the money saving wedding blogs I was lucky to have a friend who did my hair as a wedding gift. As a very wonderful close amazing friend (she might read this) she did the girls hair as well at a huge discount to what she would normally charge. My money saving came from the decoration. Instead of fancy clips, hair pieces or accessories we just added some more baby’s breath gypsophila, which cost £5 because I forgot to ask my florist. Technically Andrea’s husband paid for it in a last minute dash to a florist.
The girl’s dresses had very high neck lines which made buying jewellery quite difficult as I couldn’t do the standard necklace, earrings gift set. In the end we opted for designer (Ted Baker) earrings so that the girls would see that we had spent more on a smaller gift to match their dresses. We shopped around the sales and the stores to find the right earrings and in the end used a sign up to Goldsmiths newsletter online and took a 15% discount on our first (and last) order.
The little girls
We were tempted by some £40 dresses in BHS with petals in the skirt, but the MIL reminded me that she wouldn’t spend £40 on a dress for our niece as she would be lucky to wear it again. We were back on eBay and found dresses from China at £7 each. We bought both dresses a size bigger in case they were made small or if they grew. We decided a £14 (no P+P) gamble was worth it against an £80 BHS spend. We think they were perfect and Sophie’s ended up in tatters after she danced to every song. Lily the little princess wore her dress again to her 6th birthday party and I could have cried.
Having paid out for the girls and for the wedding our little girls’ mummies wouldn’t let us pay for the shoes. The girls got to choose their own shoes. They had them well in advance to avoid blisters and rubbing. For the record, they both had £9 shoes from Tesco & Asda, so they wouldn’t have broken the budget.
My wonderful florist also created the wands for the girls, so I just had to buy the actual wands at £2.50 each. They had a few flowers and ribbons in twinned in them but again that was off cuts of my main flowers so didn’t cost anything extra.
At four and five respectively, Sophie and Lily are both beautiful with gorgeous hair! As small children, they were never going to stay pinned and coiffed, so we opted for them to wear their hair loose. I wanted them to be little girls, without anyone fretting about hairs being out of place.
The girls both had a little moon charm gold necklace for the day from Claire’s Accessories for £5 in a buy one get one free offer. We bought them a little grown up gift but spent just a few pounds, because things get lost and broken when your only 4 or 5. The moon represented that we loved them to the moon and back which is what my husband tells me every day. We also got them small handkerchiefs embroidered with their name, our wedding and our names and a poem that read: “Today you are young, but the years will pass by and you’ll soon be a bride in the blink of an eye. So here is something for the day you will say, I need something old for my wedding day”.
This is a gift that has been stored away in memory boxes and I hope something they will have one day for their special day.
In conclusion, my beautiful girls all looked wonderful and had a great time. In my experience, sometimes it’s about saving money smartly rather than going without. Yes, your big day is meant to be big - but that doesn’t automatically mean it needs to be astronomically priced."