'low cost budget wedding hair and beauty' Category

Budget London Wedding Venues

Maybe it’s the dark of January and that urge to hope and plan that comes with darkness.  Maybe it’s the impending financial uncertainty. Maybe it’s the fact I haven’t been to a wedding in ages and I LOVE weddings.  Whatever it is, something this morning reminded me of how difficult it was to find cheap but lovely London wedding venues and I wondered how the ones we considered before settling on our Kent location were faring — and charging — in 2020.

The venues listed here are all ones we considered for our DIY, crafty, family-friendly wedding.

London Wedding Venues Under £1k

Suburban Village Halls

Village Halls

We looked at a village hall in a London ‘burb which has self-catering facilities, tables, chairs etc for over 100 guests and a small grassed area.  We would have filled it with fairy lights, lamps and tealights to avoid the neon strip lighting. They charged £21 per hour before 6pm and £24 per hour after.  A group were in the night before and early Sunday morning (6am) which is what put us off.

Ruskin House, Croydon

Ruskin House, a licensed wedding venue near West Croydon, had a large, pretty and playful garden with a BBQ area and a large hall set in its grounds, with its own bar, as well as a hall in the main part of the house.  There was a small room — the Mandela Room — where you could get legally married, which accommodated 50 guests, while the halls had capacity for 120. The doors to the Mandela Room opened onto a patio area, so there would be scope to have more guests gather outside, or perhaps you could live stream the ceremony with a projector in the garden… There’s also a small members’ bar on site and various community meetings and activities (like the Green Party, Folk Club and Croydon Trade Union Movement), so when we visited when planning our wedding, we were kindly reminded that the building wouldn’t be exclusive hire.  However, in 2016 the costs were £475 including the ceremony room, garden and garden hall (registrars in Croydon charge a £300 call out fee which took it up to £775 overall) – a London wedding venue for under £1,000 (email for current prices). You could DIY food – a picnic and BBQ in the garden would be perfect. You could also supply your own fizz and the bar was reasonably priced. https://ruskinhouse.org/hire/ 

The Centre, Wallington

This venue was in the grounds of a church in the SW London suburbs – so still accessible by public transport if you’re not averse to a bus.  They were very flexible and enthusiastic and had suitable outside space for kids to run around, as well as being open to use decorating however we wanted to. They also allowed access the evening before for setting up. There was a stage, which meant we could have had the glorious open mic music and poetry we did at our wedding.  We needed to do self-catering, due to our budget, but this meant we would also have had to clean up the party ourselves and the venue was needed the next morning for a church event. I couldn’t quite visualise hoiking up my white dress and putting on my marigolds after the reception, but perhaps it would have been fun! The package we were quoted, for hire, tables, covers, etc, came in under £1k.  thecentrewallington.co.uk

Carshalton Water Tower

Another SW London venue, near Carshalton Station. It’s around £60/hour to hire and is an extremely pretty listed building, with quirky features like the pump room and airy, bright saloon and orangery.  It’s set in the grounds of St Philomena’s school, so is surrounded by greenery.

 

London Wedding Venues £2k – £3k

Skip Garden

This King’s Cross venue looked really exciting and celebrates sustainability and the kind of craftiness we love.  Although outdoors, they had a cover available for half of the venue on a rainy day. They produce their own food from eco friendly sources and the gardens themselves.  Our kids were too tiny for us to feel like it was the perfect option, but it would make a really lovely venue. Costs are not listed, but were within this range when we enquired.

https://www.globalgeneration.org.uk/hire-our-space 

Avenue Halls, Kew 

This venue – a large church in Kew, SW London – looked extremely pretty from the website, although we never quite made a visit.  It’s currently £102 per hour to hire the largest hall, or £72 per hour for the smaller. If you’re having a small wedding, there is a new, airy room with views onto the garden at £30 per hour, with capacity for 30 guests. https://www.avenuehalls.com/ 

The London Canal Museum

This lovely venue in North London allows you to arrive by Canal boat.  Couples often get legally married in Islington Town Hall, before their reception (which is, of course, a separate cost).  In 2016 it was about £1.5k for a party from 5-11pm, or £1.8k till midnight, with no corkage. It’s not much more now – around £2k for a full hire with extras.  I think you can self-cater but you can definitely choose your own caterer.   http://www.canalmuseum.org.uk/venue/wedding.htm

 

The Alternatives

Midweek Registry Office

Generally speaking, it’s around £50 for a basic registry office legal bit with two witnesses, on a weekday.  You can then have a ceremony of your own design led by a friend or family member on your wedding day in any reception venue of your choice.  It costs a few hundred quid or more to get an official registrar out to a licensed venue, on top of the venue hire fee. Link for your own ceremony ideas: https://humanism.org.uk/ceremonies/non-religious-weddings

 

Wedding Auction Site 

You can help out people who have decided not to go ahead with their venue booking for whatever reason by buying discount weddings on https://www.cancelledweddings.co.uk/ 

 

Happy to help. There are ideas for even the least crafty among us on my other pages, including outdoor venue decoration, corsages, food, drink and more on my earlier pages.  Have a wonderful day!

 

(Un)Crafty Bride on a Budget: The Wedding Dress

A dozen years, or so, before my wedding.  I ask my mum to make me a white version of this green Jigsaw dress, with a slit up the leg as well as a ruffle.   She says Yes.  I am single.  She says she will figure out how to make it when the time comes.  She is trying not to laugh.  She will do it, though.

http://saranesbitt.co.uk/2011/08/22/week-eleven-of-why-so-many-clothes-the-best-of-clothes-the-worst-of-clothes/

Four years before our wedding, when our first daughter is tiny, and my mum has recently died, I watch a lot of Don’t Tell the Bride.  I fantasise about what my wedding dress scene would be (although we are not engaged).  I imagine my husband would find something lovely, and very thoughtful, but I would be in West Cork, in Alice Halliday’s studio, giving her my mum’s and granny’s linens to make something like this wedding dress she made from the bride’s grandma’s tablecloths

When I propose to my husband, a year and a bit before our wedding, we consider a last-minute, seven-weeks-away booking on the (don’t-think-too-much-about-it) cancelledweddings.co.uk .  I decide the dress doesn’t matter, I just dream madly of a simple shift, this amazing cape by Alice Halliday (made for Florence Welch) and these R. Soles boots.

We settle down, decide a real budget, and I realise my £150 dress and shoes budget won’t quite cover one boot.  

A year before the wedding, I find, on ebay, a white version of my green jigsaw dress, with a slit up the leg as well as a ruffle.  It’s £79; it’s an original 1990s Ghost dress, probably one I eyed up as a child, seeing the perfect wedding dress.  It’s an ethereal copy of what I’d dreamed up with my mum.  

 


A few months before the wedding, I realise that a chiffon white dress and a one-of-a-kind, beaded cape and two small, gorgeous, beloved, huggable children, who will be eating a lot of chocolate wedding cake, will not mix well.  I decide to get a back up dress and to find a less delicate cape, veil or shawl.  

I order a dress from ebay, but the corset stops an inch above the waist of the bodice, and it does odd things with my body.  My oldest child suggests I sew fabric flowers onto my waist.  It seems feasible… In the end, I resell the dress for what I paid (£20).  

Can you tell one of my kids took this pic?

I try a dress on in a charity shop near work.  I decide white suits me.  I become emboldened.  I decide I will look good in anything.  This is better than the me who has been worrying about her mother’s apron in her Ghost dress, wanting there to be less of me.

I buy a back up dress on ebay for £30.

In amongst my mum’s old clothes, I think, is the rainbow catsuit she had always wanted to wear as her Mother of the Bride outfit.  It comes with a cape, I vaguely remember.  There is a studio photo of my mum wearing the ensemble, in the Seventies.  Her mum had bought it from a graduate of Central St Martin’s.*  I recall a capelet, which wouldn’t be right.  I check, anyway.  I open up the storage bag to find a flowing, sheer, rainbow cape.  My wedding cape.  

I also get hold of a rainbow mermaid dress, for when the red wine starts to flow and the dancing is in full swing and there may be spills…. and briefly consider wearing it down the aisle instead, with the cape.   


A perfectly tidy craft and study area

 

Of course, my period has to make a feature of itself at my wedding.  My cycle goes doolally, so that I will definitely be on on my wedding day. As anyone who has lived with Endometriosis knows, my paper thin, white, chiffon dress is not going to be comfortable.  My back up dress becomes The Dress.

My period got something right.  I loved The Dress; it went with the Lizzie Bennet hair.  It sat unobtrusively under my mum’s rainbow cape, which cradled me in her rainbow colours as I walked up the aisle, with and without her.  When the cape was off, The Dress held me, showed me, and was utterly comfortable.  

 

Photos by Tracy Morter www.tracymorter.com – an amazing wedding photographer

And, around midnight, I became as shiny as Tamatoa in sequins.  ShiiiiinnnnneeeeeY!

*UPDATE – THE RAINBOW CAPE DESIGNER 

I am exhilarated to have met someone online whose mum has the dress version of the rainbow catsuit and cape. It turns out the designer is Jean Varon, who is credited by some as the true inventor of the miniskirt, and who dressed Diana Rigg in The Avengers. 

I love the threads that connect us all.

(Un)Crafty Bride on a Budget: DIY Wedding Hair

Photo by (the utterly fabulous) Tracy Morter www.tracymorter.com  

 

One of the obvious areas to save money for the wedding was on hair and makeup.  I decided to do my own, which was hugely daunting as I have two daily hairstyles: down, or loose bun (or ‘flower’, as my youngest calls it).  I also have two fancy hairstyles: I can straighten my hair, or I can rag curl it.  

For the wedding, rag curls seemed most bridal and most unlike the everyday.  

I have a set of Remington Hair Envy Heated Rag Rollers, which plug in in their case and are very easy to use.  If you wanted to use zero electricity and chemicals, you could easily do this style using the more traditional method of tearing rags and applying them to damp hair.  

Rag rolling creates lovely ringlets in even the most stubborn, fine, straight hair, which you can separate with fingers to make into loose curls.  

I watched a few YouTube tutorials to help me perfect my method and found this blog helpful http://offbeatbride.com/rag-curls/

My hair is fine but plentiful, straight on top with a slight wave / kink. I am of mixed white British and Irish heritage.  When I began practising, I had a long bob, which was slightly longer at the front, much like Mandy Moore in this Pinterest picture (yeah, honest…)

The bob responded pretty easily to rag curls, as in this first attempt, the summer before (planning is everything…).  

However, as I couldn’t imagine getting married without my old, long hair, I had grown it quite long by the wedding.  The back just didn’t work down by this stage – it was too haphazard and not curly enough, and was best roughly pinned up with the nicely-curled front down and loose, a la Lizzie Bennett in 1990s Pride and Prejudice.

Lizzie Bennet

I put my hair into rollers first thing on Friday, before we left London to head out to Kent to our Saturday wedding’s venue.  To keep the rolls from falling out and / or bashing me in the forehead, I wrapped them in this Liberty silk scarf.  My about-to-be Mother in Law tidied up the back into the scarf for me when we got there, which I really appreciated, as the back kept unrolling.  

Day Before Hair

 

On the wedding day, I got extremely nervous about taking out the rolls, so one of my lovely bridesmaids came into the bathroom with me as moral support.  Once unrolled, it was fine and dandy. I swept back my hair into the shape I wanted, and my lovely friend helped me pin it up.  Honestly, if we could put this together in a tiny mirror in a dormitory bathroom with a puddle of wasps on the floor, you can DIY your hair, gorgeous ones!  Just before we left, my wonderful sister fixed in my rainbow mermaid comb, made for me by the massively talented Irish designer Alice Halliday from sea pottery and shells (http://www.alicehalliday.com/ ).

 

Alice Halliday comb – this is bespoke, but others are available on Alice’s Etsy shop https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/AliceHalliday 

I avoided using hair spray as no matter what I did during practice runs, my very fine hair ended up heavy and crispy with it.  I had put a curl activator through it on Friday morning.  The key is to roll up your hair when it’s damp, and to trust it to dry out overnight.  The curls really stick for hours, and fall out elegantly enough. Here they are at nearly midnight…

Back to the day of the wedding… After the ceremony, back at the reception venue, I needed to fix my hair and completely lost the ability.  We were still waiting for the second mini-coach to bring guests, so I had a few minutes to fix it.  One of my oldest friends happened to bump into me as I came out of the bathroom having given up.  She sat me down in the breakfast room and the two of us caught up as she gave me a new hairstyle in five minutes flat – something she had last done in 2002 when we were students.  Complete with rainbow mermaid comb, it was magical.

Photos by Tracy Morter www.tracymorter.com

It was important to me to get my hair right for the wedding, and I am very happy with how it turned out.  My hair and I have history.  I grew up with bum length hair, and chopped it all off not long after my mum died, while I was caring for my newborn, first child.  I wrote about that here http://saranesbitt.co.uk/2013/03/14/cutting-my-own-hair-short-an-act-of-grief-identity-or-silliness/

 

(Un)Crafty Bride on a Budget

I’ll be posting regular DIY wedding blog posts with

  • Tips on creating a personal, beautiful DIY wedding
  • Low-cost ways to make your wedding day perfect on a budget
  • Environmentally-friendly, sustainable options
  • Links to professionals who are excellent at what they do
  • Especially for the enthusiastic, give-it-a-go, non-crafty crafters and DIYers, like me!
  • A whole lot of love