Credit Crunch Bride

Archive for February, 2009|Monthly archive page

Readings that don’t make you hurl.

In Readings on February 28, 2009 at 1:54 pm

It’s OK if you’re a Christian isn’t it? Just wheel out the Corinthians, and Robert’s your father’s brother, readings = sorted.

However, what if you are a) a feminist b) have taste c) were not raised in The Romantic Period with Wordsworth as your best friend? It’s a fine line to tread between the not very funny ‘comedy reading’ and a pretentious sermon that makes your guests start studying their fingernails. Hopefully these suggestions will balance nicely on that line between vomit and lead balloons:

1. Film extracts. Film is far more relevant to most peoples lives these days, and it likely to be less turgid. The monologue by Robin Williams about how much he misses his wife’s idiocyncrasies in Good Will Hunting will create an entire congregation of lump-filled throats. Or, Adam Sandler’s “I Wanna Grow Old With You” song from The Wedding Singer, which features rhyming couplets like:

So let me do the dishes in our kitchen sink.
Put you to bed when you’ve had too much to drink.

2. Song lyrics. No need to read bits which go “la la la”, obviously. There’s ‘Forever Young’ or ‘The Wedding Song’ by Bob Dylan, or how about Fairport Convention’s ‘White Dress’ which has bouncy rhymes like:

Feel how the wind blows, December despair
Bring me a ribbon to tie up my hair
I’ll be your bride, go where you go
All of my life, you’ll be my beau (continued here)

3. Write your own. Tread carefully here. These are usually dire. Sweet, but dire.

4. Prose can work. Sidestep Captain Corelli’s Mandolin and look at Khalil Giblan’s piece on marriage in The Prophet. It encourages space within the marriage, as “the oak tree and the cyprus grow not in each other’s shadow.” Ooh, and it’s not too long. Alternatively there’s a piece on loving the wrong person in Daily Afflictions by Andrew Boyd:

“Because you yourself are wrong in some way, and you seek out partners who are wrong in some complementary way.”

5. Modern poetry. It seems weird to sum up your love using words like “twas” and betwixt”. Modern poetry avoids this issue, though it can sound a little less grand. Pablo Neruda works if you want a bit of mild erotica in your big day. From ‘Your Laughter‘:

Take bread away from me, if you wish,
take air away, but
do not take from me your laughter. (continued here)

‘I’ll be there’ by Louise Cuddon

I’ll be there my darling, through thick and through thin
When your mind’s in a mess and your head’s in a spin
When your plane’s been delayed, and you’ve missed the last train (continued here)

‘I like you’ by Sandol stoddard Warburg – an extract, as it goes on rather. It’s a tad corny, but sweet nonetheless.

The poem that goes on and on...

The poem that goes on and on...

I like you and I know why.
I like you because you are a good person to like.
I like you because when I tell you something special, you know it’s special
And you remember it a long, long time. (continued here)

And for the more cynical bride there’s ‘Lovesong’ by Ted Hughes. It’s a superbly dark, inappropriate and beautiful journey through a relationship. Not for everyone.

5. Slightly less modern poetry

‘Rabbi Ben Ezra’ by Robert Browning in response to Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Unfortunately, it mentions God, so that rules out civil readings.

Grow old with me, the best is yet to be

Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be!

‘I carry your heart’ by e e cummings, performed here by the much revered Cameron Diaz:

Get the poem on a moleskine or printed on canvas, via etsy

Get the poem on a moleskine or printed on canvas, via etsy

Or, there’s ‘Somewhere I have never travelled‘ by e e cummings, possibly minus verses 3 & 4


Bridal beauty on the cheap

In Beauty, DIY on February 26, 2009 at 12:50 pm

There’s a burgeoning industry in pre-wedding beautifying. First, you’re advised to have 6 months of facials, then there’s teeth whitening and tanning,not to mention fitness trainers to shout you into a smaller dress size. Brides get whipped up into a frenzy of panicky weight loss and facial masques and suddenly pre-wedding beautifying is a small event in itself. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. Here’s how to beautify without those beastly costs:

1. Water is free. Hydrate til your pee is like liquid diamonds and your skin glows like an Evian models’.

2. Dry brushing is the secret to being cellulite free. OK, it’s a bit like self-flagellation, but it does wonders for those dimply thighs.

Brush in long strokes towards the heart and think of England.

Brush in long strokes towards the heart and think of England.

3. Expensive body exfoliators are a waste of money – get the cheapest you can buy, or just use salt granules.

4. DIY Intense Pulsed Light hair removal – For the price of a few trips to Madame Bikini Wax and a little bit of patience, you can actually get your hair removed forever. Boots has just introduced a DIY non-laser Intense Pulsed Light hair removal kit, called Smooth Skin, for an introductory price of £250. That’s a great deal cheaper than salon hair removal, which can cost thousands, and means those mortifying trips for Brazilians could soon be a thing of the past.

Boots Smooth Skin takes 6-12 weeks to de-fuzz you

Boots Smooth Skin takes 6-12 weeks to de-fuzz you

5. Awarded high street products – Superdrug Instant Radiance and Boots No 7 Protect and Perfect Beauty Serum are prize winners.

Even my mother recommends this

Even my mother recommends this

6. Sleep costs nothing. You’ll always look like poop if you’re tired.

7. Beauty schools – get all your beauty treatments done for a song, by nervous but enthusiastic students.

London Esthetique run a student salon in Margaret St, London W1.

£12 for Galvanic cellulite treatment?  Happy days for your orange peel.

£12 for Galvanic cellulite treatment? Happy days for your orange peel.

8. Shop around for beauty products. Otherwise, you just pay lazy tax. Jersey Beauty Company do tax-avoiding Dermlogica and Saint Tropez products. You can normally get a third off or more for any product on ebay (unused, obviously).

9. DIY Facials – According to You and Your Wedding, here’s how to do it:

Mix two teaspoons of fine oatmeal with enough natural yoghurt (for oily skin) or almond oil (for dry skin) to make a paste. Leave it on for 20 minutes then wash off.

10. DIY make up – No need for an expensive bridal make up lady, or the pre-wedding make-up trial. Learn how to do your make up better yourself. It’s cheaper, plus it’s a skill you can keep forever. You can get a free make-up advice in most department stores. If you ask the nice lady her advice, and don’t mention it’s a wedding she’ll surely help you out. Alternatively, teach yourself with Lauren Luke’s YouTube make up tutorials. There’s endless make-upstyles to choose from:

Lauren Luke’s Bridal Make up

Alternative button holes (boutonnieres)

In Decoration, DIY, Flowers on February 25, 2009 at 1:14 pm
Found on Thoughtful Day

Found on Thoughtful Day

If you can’t afford to spend on the big things, at least make the little things brilliant. So, you may have a reception in a draughty cowshed, but at least the ushers’ buttonholes (or boutonnieres) will be fabulous. Michelle Ragu made these beauties.

The autumnal button hole

The autumnal button hole

Make your own fabric boutonierres here:

From Once Wed

From Once Wed

From Once Wed

From Once Wed

And finally, LaLaLaurie from Etsy has some mad aunt inspired boutonnieres, full of buttons, feathers and birds.

Would look a treat on your most butch of ushers

Would look a treat on your most butch of ushers

Button holes which are a little less girly

Button holes that are a little less girly

Finding a boutonniere which isn’t effeminate can be an arduous task. A shell boutonniere is all very well for a beach wedding, and yes, silk boutonnieres will last forever, but they’re not exactly manly. What about a neatly folded pocket square? They set all the chaps suits off, are useful for wiping away tears and might even be used again. Learn how to fold one beautifully here.

The silk pocket handkerchief, perfect for an English gent.

The silk pocket handkerchief, perfect for an English gent.

Supermarket wedding flowers

In Decoration, DIY, Flowers on February 24, 2009 at 1:07 pm

You know it makes sense. If a supermarket stocks them, they’ll be cheap and hardy. Here’s some ideas for those who wish to embrace Tesco’s Finest:

1. Re-doing a mixed bunch. Buy one of those mixed bunches from Asda, bin the excess foliage, remove any clashing colours, cut the stems to length, secure with wire, wrap in ribbon, bang in a few pearl headed pins, and wham bam thank you ma’am – Bouquet a la Supermarche.





2. Now for table displays, mums and daisies are easily available and work wonders if you’re looks for a sunny yellow theme.

Making the sun shine at Sainsbury's

Making the sun shine at Sainsbury's

3. Meanwhile a mix of irises, statis and carnations kicks ass if you’re doing a blue or lilac theme. There’s a guide to supermarket wedding flowers at Real Simple.

4. Pink carnations, a.k.a Carrie Bradshaw’s favourite are as ever, a winner. Mix them up with copious filler flowers.

Mix carnations up with lavender

Mix up your carnations

How to do a carnation display, according to Martha Stewart:

Hide distracting sepals and stems by clustering the blossoms into a tight dome. Soak five blocks of floral foam in water until saturated. Line up three of the blocks in a shallow bowl. Center another block on top of those three. Cut the remaining foam block in half, crossways, and place half on either side of the stack. Trim each carnation stem to two or three inches. Working your way from bottom to top, stick each carnation’s stem into the top foam block. When you’re finished, trim or rearrange flowers to fill out the dome and fix “bald” spot.

5. Tiny vases – This is a bit like the small plate principle when you’re dieting, except this is more of a floral diet. Even a tulip can look grand and imposing in a miniature vase.

From Toast and Tables

From Toast and Tables

6. No fear. It’s scary doing it yourself, but then so is ending up in years of pointless debt because of an outrageous floristry bill.

Watch this florists’s video on pros and cons of supermarket flowers – she says the quality is fine, the prices great, it’s just the arrangements that can be a little.. well.. common. However, with a bit of DIY rearrangment you’ll have flowers fit for a lady.

Other posts you might like:

The totally cheapest bridal bouquets ever – Part 2

The terribly cheap carnation bridal bouquet

The Totally Cheapest Ever Bridal Bouquets: Part 2

In Bridesmaids, flowergirls & pageboys, Decoration, DIY, Flowers on February 23, 2009 at 11:41 am

After the enthusiasm for The Totally Cheapest Bridal Bouquets Ever, it seems time to release Part 2. Ladies, put those floral worries aside, here’s some alternatives to the classic bridal bouquet:

1. The dried flower bouquet – it’ll never wilt and you can put it together yourself weeks before. Imagine the aroma of lavender wafting down the aisle.

Californian based Lavender Fanatic

Californian based Lavender Fanatic

2. The origami bouquet – if you are blessed with endless patience, this could be a route for you.

A solution for brides who don't have jobs

A solution for brides who don't have jobs

3. The Wire Bouquet – This one’s more for the rock chick bride. Make it barbed wire if you’re really alternative.

wire bouquet for the 'hard as nails' bride

wire bouquet for the 'hard as nails' bride

4. The Etsy bouquet – there’s always an alternative version of a bouquet on Etsy, which is an online marketplace for independent designers. Try The Storque for recent creations.

$105 for 24 silk roses, each with real branches

5. Balloons as your bouquet. Flower girls with miniature balloons? Whats not to like?

A bouquet of balloons

A bouquet of balloons

6. A fan. Blushing brides with fans are sexy, it’s a science fact.

7. Peacock feathers. A single one, or a fan of them.

The terribly cheap carnation bridal bouquet

In Decoration, DIY, Flowers on February 22, 2009 at 10:06 am
Carnations can be delicate and elegant

Carnations can be delicate and elegant

The carnation is the recession-friendly flower. It symbolises love to your guests and a less badly dented wallet to you. They come in all the colours of the rainbow, are hardy and last days. Some say they are the flowers of petrol station forecourts. Some, like Charlotte in Sex in the City, call them ‘filler flowers’. Not I.

The power of a single colour. Kaboom.

The power of a single colour. Kaboom.

In single colours they have impact.

Two tone bouquet

Two tone bouquet

In two similar-but-different shades, they look as complex and interesting as George Clooney.

So many styles. Not sure about purple though, because purple is for crazies.

So many styles. Not sure about purple though, because purple is for crazies.

For glamour on an Audrey Hepburn level, add a brooch.

The monochrome bouquet

The monochrome bouquet

Martha Stewart shows you how to make a black tie carnation bouquet, with ingenious, but somewhat fiddly ribbon flowers…

Ribbon Flower How-To
For each flower, cut a 9 1/4-inch length of 1-inch-wide satin ribbon.

1. Measure 1/2 inch from one end; mark lightly in pencil. From there, mark 1 1/2-inch intervals five times (for five petals).

2. With matching thread, hand-stitch semicircles from mark to mark.

3. Pull thread to gather; knot.

4. Sew ribbon ends together, right sides facing, to make flower; snip off extra ribbon. For stem, stitch flower to looped and twisted end of white floral wire.

This is no ordinary ring. This is a laughably cheap ring.

In Rings on February 21, 2009 at 11:58 am

You know the credit crunch is really crunching when Marks and Spencers start selling an engagement ring and wedding band set for £18. It comes in 4 sizes, with a ‘M&S’ hallmark on the inside. Perfect for the really loyal M&S customer.

Not quite a month's salary, unless, of course you're a very poorly paid illegal immigrant

Not quite a month's salary. Unless, of course, you're a very poorly paid illegal immigrant

Read the Daily Mail article here.

Meanwhile Ernest Jones is selling a nine-carat white gold ring for £115. Their cheapest engagement ring costs £275. Also, ‘Jazz it up’ is selling engagement rings for £150. See article here.

Alternatively, you could go for:

1. A vintage ring. Portobello Road is a good place to look.

2. A wooden ring. The planet will thank you.

From Simply Wood Rings

From Simply Wood Rings

3. An online ring at get much more diamond for your buck apparently.

5. A non-diamond ring. Moonstones, pink sapphires or even your birthstone are far less identikit than your average solitaire diamond. Look at stones here.



The Great Hunt for the cheap, slinky wedding dress

In Dresses, Uncategorized on February 20, 2009 at 11:54 am

The hunt for an affordable wedding dress is a long and arduous one. The hunt for an affordable, slinky, 1930s inspired wedding dress not made of polyester or covered in stains, is a long, arduous, grueling and time-consuming one. Here’s a load of general tips for finding a cheap wedding dress that I blogged about earlier. Here’s where the hunt has taken me so far:

1. Personal shopper at Selfridges – Great service with two assistants running around the designer floor looking for non-bridal designer dresses. I found this amazing blue Balenciaga dress. Unfortunately it was £1300. Oh.

2. Oxfam Brides – see my earlier post on this.

3. Ritva Westenius Despite being outrageously posh, they were very nice here. I found two beautiful dresses, ‘Eleanor’ and ‘Gilda’, which I’m now scouring the net for second hand versions in size 10. Anyone?

Ritva Westenius Gilda

Ritva Westenius 'Gilda'

4. Caroline Castigliano. Here I was asked by a very frightening Miss Haversham type what sort of wedding I was going to have, as she eyed me up, trying to work out how rich I was.

“A nice one?” I replied. It went downhill from there. The only slinky, non-meringue dress was by Sharon Hoey. Again, I’m now on the hunt online for a second hand one (size 10, bias cut, cowl back,no cleavage anyone?)

This lady is selling hers for £1000, which is sadly little steep

This lady is selling hers for 1000 euros, size 8

5. Etsy seller Miss Bombshell ticked my fancy with this silk charmeuse number.

Miss Bombshell's 1930s dress. Found by etsywedding.

Miss Bombshell's 1930s dress. Found by etsywedding. $500

Making a splash with confetti

In Confetti, Decoration, DIY on February 19, 2009 at 12:50 pm

Confetti shouldn’t cost a thing. It is simply daft to spend any money on something that is literally going to be tossed on the floor. Some people release doves, or blow trumpets. Okaaay. Here’s some confetti ideas that are as cheap as they should be:

1. Rice. The classic option. I’d say long grain easy cook is a winner.

2. Hole punch confetti.

Simply hole punch a lot of coloured card

Simply hole punch a lot of coloured card

3. Dried petals, stolen over a number of weeks from your local park. For kleptomaniac Londoners, Victoria Park has a marvellous rose garden.

4. Bubbles. Also, very eco. Just make sure they wont stain your dress.

5. Lavender rice.

6. Brightly coloured popcorn. Sweet, not salty. Again, be warned about staining your gown.

7. Birdseed. Very eco (ahem, cheap).

8. The big balloon release. Very grand, very un-eco.

9. White feathers. No need to add tar.

Or, blow the confetti budget on.... ostrich feathers

Or, blow the confetti budget on.... ostrich feathers

10. Leaves. Not sure about this one.

Headpieces, crazy woman veils and things to wear in your hair

In Decoration, Dresses on February 17, 2009 at 11:00 am
To wear a veil or not to wear a veil, that is today’s question. There’s something just a little crazy about a young woman draping herself in netting. However, on one’s wedding day a small dose of crazy can a good thing. Wear a small birdcage veil on your face, and no one will notice that your dress pulls slightly under the arms; adorn your hair with a silk flower and the plainest of dresses will seem glamorous. Here’s a selection of affordable headpieces to turn you into the star of your own wedding drama:
1. The fabric flower. Elegant, and reusable as a corsage/ brooch.
Ivory organza flower £85 from Million Design

Ivory organza flower £85 from Million Design

2. A vintage wax blossom headband. Here’s a secret. I don’t actually want to tell you about this because I’d quite like one for my own wedding, and I wouldn’t want them to sell out. However, I saw some cryingly wonderful ones at Annie’s Vintage, on Camden Passage, Islington, London at the weekend. £48 a pop.

This one isn't from Annie's Vintage, but it's similar

This one isn't from Annie's Vintage, but it's similar

3. The birdcage veil – easy to DIY if you’re getting your hair put up. Also, not quite as OTT as the full scale veil

4. Crazy feathers for the crazy bride within.

Feather headband for just 35 of your American dollars on Etsy

Feather headband for just 35 of your American dollars on Etsy

5. Diamante clips. A profusion of these can make you look a million dollars.

A fiver from Accessorize

Pick these babies up for a fiver at Accessorize