Credit Crunch Bride

Posts Tagged ‘budget’

A wedding cake made of cheese?

In cake on July 3, 2009 at 9:31 pm
A wedding cake with a difference

A wedding cake with a difference

Say no to the  white icing hegemony. Reject the conservativism of the sponge. Turn your back on marzipan.  Have a cake cutting ceremony without cake…

Bring on The Cake of Cheeses.

With a cake of cheeses you can have the drama of tiers without the associated overload of sugar.

The Haldon cake of cheese from The Cheese Shed - £199

The Haldon cake of cheese from The Cheese Shed - £199

Decorate your cake of cheese with flowers, ivy, fresh figs, cake toppers or even cherry tomatoes. You can go to town on decoration, because a cake of cheese could never be seen as twee.

Go  for black and white cheese reels for ultimate drama.

Go for black and white cheese reels for ultimate drama.

Plan on needing about a kilogram of cheese per 10 guests. It seems to work out at £20 for 10 guests, from looking at cakes from The House of Cheese, Fine Cheese and The Cheese Shed.

Decorate in olives and other cheese-friendly edibles.

Decorate in olives, grapes and other cheese-friendly edibles.

Five rounds of cheese looks pretty impressive. Start with something harder and less expensive for the base – like a nice Cheddar. Stick mainly to harder cheeses if you want to avoid a squished, stinky cheese mound. Then have soft goat’s cheese at the top.

Mix up your Wensleydales with your camemberts for lots of texture

Mix up your Wensleydales with your Camemberts for interesting textures

Then all you need are some crackers and a selection of chutneys and you’re ready to go.

You could even source local cheeses if you want to lower your carbon wedding footprint, like this lady.

And the best bit of all – you get to use the gag

“You may now cut the cheese…”

Supersize your wedding flowers

In Flowers on June 6, 2009 at 8:10 pm
Supersize your wedding flowers

Supersize your wedding flowers

Your budget may be sorrowfully paltry, but you flowers don’t have to be. Avoid your centre pieces looking sparse and your bouquets looking sad by choosing the right flowers.

Use Hydrangeas for bulk. They can be a little tricky in bouquets as the stems need to be kept short to stop them wilting, but for centre pieces they really work. A single stem is the size of about four roses, so despite being about £4 a stem they can work out fairly cheaply. They come in pink, blue, green, purple, aqua and white mainly, are in season from spring to autumn, and can even be dried if you really need them in your bouquet. Plus, there’s half a chance you’ll know someone who has an enormous bush of them, so you might even be able to snip them for free.

Add hydrangeas for bulk.

Use hydrangeas for bulk.

Fill with baby’s breath. Florists everywhere use baby’s breath (gypsophilia) to bulk up bouquets.

Forget the other flowers and just go with Baby's Breath

Forget the other flowers and just go with Baby's Breath

Shrink your vases. It’s the same principle as dieters use when they eat off smaller plates – the smaller the vase, the bigger the flowers look. Go Lilliputian if you so wish.

Apothecary bottles make ranunculus look giant

Apothecary bottles make ranunculus look giant

Big up the foliage. Bear grass, pittosporum, eucalyptus or even ivy can help supersize your flowers.

Weddings Save Or Splurge

Ivy only displays in wine bottles

Dos and don’ts for a practical wedding gift list

In Uncategorized on May 31, 2009 at 7:24 pm

The irony of the broke-ass bride is that at a time when what she really needs is cash, cash and more cash, instead she will be putting together a gift list full of presents that she couldn’t normally afford, even in less stretched times. It’s like doing Supermarket Spree when you know you’re off to the Debtor’s Prison next week.

Considering you wont be able to afford to buy anything for months/ years/ decades after your wedding, you’d best get your wedding gift list right. Here’s the Credit Crunch Bride’s dos and don’ts…

Do a tour of your home. Look what items you’re missing or really need an upgrade. This is the time to replace that nasty studenty cutlery and that cheapo Ikea laundry basket you never liked.

Do keep it practical. Bed linen, towels, wine glasses, crockery, bakeware, cutlery, cushions, vases, jugs, frames, photo albums, lamps, clocks and rugs will always get used.

Even something as absurdly practical as a tea towel can be pleasurable with Emma Bridewater

Even something as absurdly practical as a tea towel can be pleasurable with Emma Bridgewater

Do keep it classic. Don’t buy things you’ll go off or want to upgrade after a year or two. Get the best version of the smaller items, rather than stretching to cheap versions of big items. This is your moment to get that toaster of your dreams.

Let someone treat you to the best toaster in the world

Let someone treat you to the best toaster in the world

Don’t ask for gifts you’ll never use. Ask for gifts for who you are, not who you plan to be. If you never normally use a decanter, you’re not going to magically start, just because you’re a Mrs.

Unless you have previously owned the following items, you probably wont start using them regularly, just because you’re married:

- The ice cream maker. Just as surely as eggs should come from chickens, ice cream should come from shops, not from badly-designed home ice-cream makers.

- The cocktail shaker. Enjoying drinking cocktails is not the same as being good at making them. This requires sobriety, the correct ingredients, impeccable mixing skills and the correct recipe. This present is likely to sit in its packaging for years.

- The bread maker. There’s a reason eBay is full of bread-makers ‘used once’.

Don’t ask for presents you wouldn’t buy yourself. If you wouldn’t buy this present for yourself or someone else, it probably isn’t meant to be.

Don’t ask for things you already have. If you already have lots of lovely bed linen, don’t ask for more, just because it’s what people put on gift lists. Ask for what you don’t have, be it things for the garden, boardgames, tools, meals on your honeymoon or a firegrate.

Don’t take the fun out of giving. No one wants to give a boring present, like a sixteenth of a sofa or a fifth of a pair of curtains. Each gift should be an object which the giver feels is their personal blessing of your marriage.

Sophie Conran low casserole dish from The conran Shop

'With this Sophie Conran low casserole dish from The Conran Shop, I bless this marriage.'

How to honeymoon on a shoestring

In Honeymoon on May 20, 2009 at 5:24 am
The classic Caribbean honeymoon with the classic honeymoon pricetag.

The classic Caribbean honeymoon with the classic honeymoon pricetag.

Ah the honeymoon – a chance to relax post-wedding, and drink in your new-found coupledom in total peace and solitude. Oh no, what’s that knocking? Oh yes, it’s the Back Of Your Mind reminding you how much the honeymoon is costing you per minute.

There’s nothing fun about a holiday so ludicrously lavish that you spend it worrying about how you’ll ever clear your overdraft. So here’s how to honeymoon on a shoestring:

1. Keep it short. You don’t need to be a Nobel Prize winner to work out that a 3 day mini-break will be cheaper than 3 weeks away. A mini-break is long enough to breath out slowly, gossip about the wedding with your beloved and write your thank-yous.

2. Don’t be a lemming. If you choose popular honeymoon destinations and stay in honeymoon suites in honeymoon type hotels you’ll pay honeymoon prices. Try the Finnish Lakes rather than the Bahamas, Java rather than Barbados or Damascus rather than Marrakech. Anything that makes the Top Ten Honeymoon Destinations is likely to cost you.

3. Go out of season. If you insist on going to Hawaii, go May – June and September – December (before Christmas). Otherwise the Caribbean is off season (and hotter) from Spring – July.

White sand beaches can only truly be idyllic when they're as empty as this.

White sand beaches can only truly be idyllic when they're as empty as this.

Look for low season discounts:

Asha Cottages is a tiny family-run boutique eco-hotel in Kenya with just five guest rooms During low season (now) B&B goes down to 50 euros per night per person. You can really easily just spend a week chilling there, getting massages, eating great food and lolling on the beach without it costing and arm and a leg. Yippee!

Asha Cottages, on Diani Beach on the South Coast of Kenya near Mombasa.

Asha Cottages, on Diani Beach on the South Coast of Kenya near Mombasa

5. Play the ethical card. Volunteering could be your way of affording a tropical destination. Oh, and yes, it might help you both be better people. Help out at orphanages, painting, cleaning, washing and preparing meals in Thailand, South Africa, Kenya and Fiji through Hands Up Holidays.

at least 10% of profits made are given back to community partners that you are involved with on your honeymoon.

At least 10% of profits made are given back to community partners that you are involved with on your honeymoon. Sweet.

6. Lie. Pretend to your friends you’re going on honeymoon and then switch off the phones and create a holiday from life in your very own backyard. Bring on the take aways, roll out the DVDs.

With this outrageously over-priced ring, I thee wed

In Rings on April 24, 2009 at 10:44 pm

Ladies, a ring is a symbol of your love and commitment. It’s not an exact replica. A big rock does not mean he loves you more, neither is it physical proof of how valuable you are in this world. If you’ve chosen to marry the man you love rather than a balding billionaire, you may have to compromise a little in the one carat diamond stakes.

Hand made ring made by manipulating the silver while molten

Hand made ring made by manipulating the silver while molten

Best starting point is to dare to be different. If you insist on a platinum ring with a single solitaire diamond (brilliant cut, natch) and then a matching platinum wedding band, the Wedding Industrial Complex will make you pay big time. Diamonds are not the only stone; platinum is not the only metal.

Concrete rings surely must symbolise permanence. From 22designstudio

Concrete rings surely must symbolise permanence. From 22designstudio

Here’s some less eye-wateringly expensive, alternative ring choices:

1. Don’t wear one. My mother never wore one, and has managed being married for 34 years and counting. Indeed when I was a child, she once told me rings were symbols of slavery (she’s since denied this).

2. Yellow gold is very fashion forward. For some it’s the metal of grannies and gypsies, but it’s half the price of platinum, hardwearing and is making a come-back in the fashion world.

3. White gold. This is basically gold with a coating. You may need to get it re-coated at points, but it’s still cheaper than platinum.

4. Titanium. If you’re an active woman, or star frequently as one of the rollerblading, sports-loving extras in tampax adverts, you may want an unbreakable, unscratchable, lightweight, titanium ring. It also happens to be easy on the credit card.

Titanium. If it works in hip replacements, you know its forever.

Titanium. If it works in hip replacements, you know it's forever.

5. Go vintage. Portobello Market in London has a series of antique jewellery stalls which have hand-cut Victorian diamonds bigger than your iris for much less than a new diamond.

5. Use your engagement ring as a wedding ring as well. The ground will not open up and swallow you up if you have just one wedding band not two.

6. Try semi-precious stones. See my earlier post on this.

7. Choose an unusual cut or design. What your ring lacks in expense, it makes up for in imagination.Make it round, marquise, emerald, princess, radiant or pear.

8. Embrace flaws. A slightly yellow diamond or one with a tiny flaw goes down in the gemology ratings. If you want a big rock, just get a flawed one. No one will know, unless you’re in a habit of whipping out your gemology certificate and pointing at the clarity rating your stone has. Anyway, slightly coloured diamonds have more character.

Wedding catering for the frugal bride

In Food and Drink, Uncategorized on March 15, 2009 at 9:00 pm

Catering is the main cost of a wedding. Ironically, most wedding food is bland and disappointing. Perhaps it’s the difficulty of serving over a hundred guests something that none of them will hate or be allergic to, perhaps it’s a lack of imagination. Here’s some ideas on creating the gourmet effect on a Lidl’s budget:

1. Go ironic. Kate Winslet served fish and chips at her wedding, and somehow managed to still seem elegant and cool, on account of it being Ironic Fish ‘n’ Chips. You could also serve Ironic Bangers & Mash or even (for the very Ironic) Children’s Party Food.

Michelle & Noah's picnic wedding

Michelle & Noah's picnic wedding

2. Have a picnic. This is ultimately the same as a cold buffet, but everyone gets their meal pre-packaged in a little wicker basket, and you sit on blankets on a sunny lawn.

Everyone loves a good wedding spit roast.

Everyone loves a good wedding spit roast. Sorry, did I just make that joke? Yes, yes, it appears I did. Apologies.

3. The hog roast, or indeed a BBQ. A whole roast lamb feeds about 40 whilst a whole roast pig feeds more like 100. There’s also a certain drama in seeing a huge skewered animal being roasted.

4. Choose a theme. Like Italian or Mexican. Even the most gourmet pizzas or burritos will be cheap in comparison to your standard 3 course affair.

5. Go for a fork buffet. A cold one is cheapest. If you have lots of interesting salads, a delicately poached salmon and a joint of gammon can be amazing.

6. Choose less expensive cuts. Fillet of beef is more expensive than sirloin.

7. Don’t have a sit down meal. A shorter wedding with canapes and drinks can work as a lower key affair. Indeed canapes can be tiny works of art. Just make sure they’re suitable for ladies wearing lots of lipgloss and trying to remain elegant.

Here’s a guide to how many canapes you’ll need per person.

Wedding canapes often outclass the main meal

Wedding canapes often outclass the main meal

8. Do your own catering (ok, get your mum to do it). This pair actually did it, at their $2,00 wedding, so it is possible. Inevitably though, it would be a Big Stress, unless you are actually Nigella Lawson. However, there is no doubt it will save a great deal of money, plus there’s something sweet about having food cooked by the bride. If this sounds too ambitious, you could just cook the wedding cake or the puddings yourself…

9. Sweat your caterers. Get comparative quotes and make sure they’re not going to hit you for surprise extras, like charging you for providing the dishes in which the food is served or similar nonsense. If they think you’re a besotted bride whose brain has turned to financially-illerate mush, they’ll hoik up their prices.

Other posts you may like:

Wedding reception drinks on a budget

Save the date (and some money)

In DIY, Stationery on February 12, 2009 at 3:58 pm

What is this Save The Date thing that has suddenly become de rigeur? In my mind, just another way to rip off young, insecure couples. However, there are as ever cheap ways of doing it:

1. Use the phone. It’s a nice way to catch up with people. And if you don’t have their number in your mobile, should you really be inviting them?

2. Take inspiration from all over, then design your own. Ooh look at these…

Save the date

Save the date

Or look at this Save The Date Flickr Gallery.

Keep it simple, like this card from minted.com

Keep it simple, like this card from minted.com

3. Just send out the invites really early.

4. Send a postcard and save on envelopes. Clever.

By Turtle Julian

By Turtle Julian

5. Star yourselves. Make yourselves the stars of your own save the date cards.

Courtesy of A Cup of Jo

Courtesy of A Cup of Jo

Invitations without the invoice

In DIY, Stationery on February 4, 2009 at 9:50 am

1. Create a Facebook event. Yay.

2. Email a pdf of your invite. Then you can fill your invites with as many colours and flourishes as your heart desires.

2. Illustrate it yourself, if you’re half decent with a pencil.

Illustration by Liam Stevens

Illustration by Liam Stevens

3. Send a postcard with a handwritten personalised note to each guest.

4. Use online stationery companies, like MyGatsby (a tasteful US company), Friends Invited (a less tasteful but cheap UK company), VistaPrint or Printed4U (UK based).

You need to trawl through some dodgy designs to find anything decent

You need to trawl through some dodgy designs to find anything decent. This quick example is from Printed4U at £50 for 60.

5. Steal inspiration from everywhere then design your own. Look high, then spend low. Try Bumblebee Press, Smock Paper, Sweetbeets and Twig & Fig.

Smock Paper

Smock Paper

6. Embrace arts and crafts. Make your own from lots of templates following instructions here. Warning: some are quite dodgy.

Make your own Calla Lily invite

Make your own Calla Lily invite

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