A second-hand dress and a homegrown bouquet: Thrifty couple save thousands on their DIY wedding

·3 min read
Newlyweds Alex and Dan Lilley saved £15,000 on their special day (SWNS)
Newlyweds Alex and Dan Lilley saved £15,000 on their special day (SWNS)

A couple from Nottinghamshire have saved thousands of pounds on their wedding by using DIY hacks, including buying a wedding dress from Marketplace and growing bouquets in their back garden.

Alex and Dan Lilley spent just £4,000 on their wedding day thanks to second-hand sites. 

Alex, a 33-year-old store supervisor, found her dress on Facebook Marketplace for just £220 and paid an extra £60 for alterations. 

She walked down the aisle to wed her partner Dan, a 38-year-old factory maintenance manager, in front of their 130 guests. 

She said: "People can pay thousands and thousands for their dream wedding but we couldn't justify it.

"Doing everything ourselves was ten times the amount of stress but the end result was amazing.

"We were nervous but the end result was better than we ever could have imagined.

"We managed to keep budgets low and still have the perfect day - I wouldn't have changed a thing."

Friends and family came together to make their dream budget-friendly wedding possible. (SWNS)
Friends and family came together to make their dream budget-friendly wedding possible. (SWNS)

The couple, who have a four-year-old son called Samuel, got engaged in 2019 but had to postpone the wedding for two years due to coronavirus restrictions.

They decided to save money on their wedding so that they can get their three bed bungalow renovated.

All the outfits of the bride and groom, their son and the bridesmaids were found second-hand. Alex's dress, a Kenneth Winston, was originally worth over £1500. 

Her home-grown bouquet was made of an arrangement of cosmos, lavender, eucalyptus, gypsophilia and achillea.

The wedding ceremony was held at their local church which cost £536. Guests then headed to Alex and Dan's back garden for the reception where they put up a marquee lent to them by friends.

Their three-tier wedding cake was made by a good friend as a gift, while the bridesmaids prepared a Mediterranean-style buffet the day before, which included baked salmon, antipasti kebabs and a bean salad.

The average wedding costs anywhere from £18,000 to a heartbreaking £32,000 (SWNS)
The average wedding costs anywhere from £18,000 to a heartbreaking £32,000 (SWNS)

For drinks, they shopped at Aldi where they got a great deal of alcohol for £400, including some own-brand Pimms and Prosecco for just £130. 

Entertainment included a local musician who charged £150, a £275 photo booth and a children's bouncy castle for £50.

After their special day, the couple then set off to Cornwall for their week-long honeymoon. 

Being frugal certainly paid off as the couple were able to save around £15,000.

According to Money Saving Expert, the average couple spends between £18,000 to £32,000 on their wedding. 

For Alex and Dan, this would have meant forfeiting their house renovation plans, however. 

Why rent a venue for your reception when you can use your back garden? (SWNS)
Why rent a venue for your reception when you can use your back garden? (SWNS)

Alex added: "It was partly me being stubborn and refusing to pay for something we could do ourselves - but it paid off!

"Just six weeks ahead of the wedding, we had a new driveway installed. We also had a new patio fitted and re-turfed the lawn.

"It does feel fabulous to have had that level of creativity.

"We wouldn't have changed a thing!"

Watch: Princess Eugenie reveals what sentimental wedding gift Prince Philip gave her

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