Written by Bethany, PA to Luke Granger Photography

How To Plan A Wedding, With a Twist

As far as life commitments go, choosing to get married is a pretty big decision and I am sure you all agree it is not to be done so lightly. However, what if the thought of being married wasn't what was holding you back, but the wedding itself?

Let me explain a little...

You have found someone you love whole heartedly, someone who makes you laugh each day and despite their faults (because believe me everyone has them), you are able to find a happiness and understanding like no other. Together you already share so many aspects of life; a home, a business and a family, but you want to strengthen that bond one step further by becoming united together as husband and wife. However, the idea of a stereotypical wedding does not appeal to you as much as you once thought it would; there are aspects of tradition you wish to include but you want a day without pressure, a day that allows you to celebrate with family and friends in a relaxed and informal way. The more you consider what is important, the more you think well why the hell not?

Well, that's where we have decided to take an alternative approach to planning our own wedding and we would like to take you all on this journey with us. Here at Luke Granger Photography, you know we like to do things a little bit different to most; I often tell Luke he is a 'little bit extra' (you could say 'a little boujee'), so what better way to plan a wedding than to create a challenge for ourselves. How to plan a wedding in 3 months with a small budget of around £3000.

Do you think we can we do it?

How To Plan A Wedding In 3 Months

As far as challenges go, how to plan a wedding in just 3 months is a pretty creative one if we do say so ourselves.

Let me explain how we came about deciding to plan a wedding in just 3 months

Having been engaged since 2019 we have spoken about getting married so many times but for all sorts of reasons we have never decided that the time was right. It's a well known fact that I would have happily married Luke years ago, but I'm pleased that we have now reached the wedding planning stage together. If you are planning a wedding you may also be able to relate to some of our pre wedding dilemmas and discussions.

Working Within The Wedding Industry

Working within the wedding industry ourselves has made me want to get married even more, whereas to Luke he feels like he goes to wedding's so often that it will be like a busman's holiday. On the other hand, having seen so many of our couples happily tie the knot, we would both like to share the joy and memories of own day together and we also know lots of elements we do and don't want on our own wedding day which means we already have a good idea of what we are after.

Do We 'Need' To Get Married?

Neither of us feel we need to get married to prove our love for each other so at least we are on the same page about that, however, given that we already live and run businesses together we discussed about the need to spend a large sum of money on a wedding. Deciding to plan a wedding on a budget was not a decision taken lightly and we won't worry if we go over budget slightly but we also don't want to be paying for our wedding day in years to come. A larger house is a priority for us so we will be sticking to a small budget but we are certain we can create a fantastic day.

A Big Wedding Vs A Small Wedding

Anyone who has met Luke will know that he is not the most affectionate of men, so saying wedding vows in front of lots of people does not come naturally. Neither of us would have ever wanted a massively large wedding as that's just not us, but the guest list is something that influenced our decision to get married for some time. The more we looked into booking our wedding, the costs associated to having 80+ guests seemed unjustified so a smaller intimate wedding is ideal for us.

When & Where

For a long time we discussed different Kent wedding venues and dates but for one reason or another we changed our minds and then Covid came along to disturb things. Then a few weeks ago I asked Luke If he could plan a birthday party for my 30th which is in November, it sparked a conversation where he had an idea of combining our wedding and my birthday together (at least he won't forget the date) so we decided to go for it.

So here we are...

We have chosen to invite just close friends and family for a small relaxed registry office wedding and we intend to make it a fantastic day. Keep an eye on our wedding planning journey, we will be sharing it with you all and we fully intend to have some amazing wedding photographs of our own to share.

How We Planned Our Our Own Budget Wedding

Location, Location, Location

Regular readers will know that Danson House Registry Office is one of our favourite Kent wedding venues. It's grand, beautiful and truly the most stunning registry office I have ever seen and we love photographing weddings there.

Fitting perfectly within our plan for a budget wedding, and being available on our chosen date meant that our ceremony venue, Danson House in Bexley was the first part of the wedding ticked off of our list. The room we have chosen is The Salon which hosts 45 guests (+ Children on laps) which fits perfectly with our guest list and I am over the moon. We have photographed a few weddings at Danson House before, so do check out what it looks like from outside; it's beautiful.

I have a little story to share with you...

Back when we were first dating, Luke took me for lunch one day and decided that as we were passing we should visit Danson House. Having never visited before, I fell in love with the place immediately and enjoyed wandering around all the different rooms as they all have such different styles. One room in particular stood out to me with its beautiful ornate walls and stunning gold chairs so I asked Luke to stand still. Looking at me confused, he asked why and my response was "So I can take a picture of you in the room we will get married", as you can see we laughed it off at the time but I remember the moment like it was yesterday.

In this photograph, Luke is standing about a metre away from where we will say I Do, I guess it must be fate.

Luke Granger in The Salon at Danson House, Bexley. September 2018

Designing Our Own Wedding Invitations

Together we decided to make our own invites, table numbers & place cards to keep our wedding stationary budget friendly. We chose an adobe illustrator design on Envato Elements, a content library that we already subscribe to as part of our business (you will find some of the Envato licensed music tracks featured in our latest school video projects).

We chose the design initially because it worked well with our Grey and Midnight Blue theme, perfect for a November wedding in Kent and tweaked elements to suit our needs.

Here are the budget friendly Wedding Invites and RSVP cards we designed together, not too bad if we say so ourselves.

For a premium quality we used our 12 colour Canon Image prograf commercial printer to print the wedding invitation design. This was then mounted onto super thick 500gsm white card using professional spray glue and left to dry overnight. Once cut and each bundle tied with ribbon, our invitations were placed in midnight blue envelopes and ready to deliver/send to our guests.

In terms of our wedding budget, we spent £29.85 on the card and envelopes (both purchased via Amazon). Photographic paper, ribbon and spray glue were items we already had in stock, as were a book of stamps that had been in my purse for about a year. We intend to hand deliver the majority of our wedding invitations to again reduce postage costs and will be using the remaining card to create table numbers, place cards, a table plan and activity mats for the children.

Naturally we are perhaps a little more comfortable about designing and printing our invitations ourselves and owning our own workshop means we have the resources available but if you're planning a budget wedding yourselves, consider speaking to a local printers who may be able to help keep create your invitations.

Here Comes The Bride

Despite choosing to plan a wedding on a small budget, there was one thing I made certain I was not going to give up and that is having an amazing wedding dress.

Knowing that with just a 3 month planning window I would have less choice when visiting bridal stores I focussed my attention online and soon fell upon a website/app called Still White. A platform for real brides and stores to sell preloved or sample dresses, Still white is the largest online bridal marketplace and I knew If I searched I would find myself a bargain. Being able to filter down sizes, wedding dress designers, location and styles, I soon found a beautiful wedding dress that I knew was the one.

A handful of messages back and forward with the seller helped answer a few of my questions and despite never seeing the dress in person, I committed to purchasing a beautiful Justin Alexander for a bargain price of £350 (It retailed at £1600!)

After a stress free and protected payment made was via StillWhite, two days later the postman arrived bearing a very large box and as Luke was out, I enjoyed 10 minutes swishing around the living room feeling very smug about my bargain of a lifetime.

My wedding dress needs minor alterations (which may push the budget a little) but it is the most beautiful dress I have ever seen, the rose/sand/ivory colour is stunning and the style suits me perfectly. I can't wait to show you all after the big day, luckily you only have to wait until November.

We will be updating this blog throughout our planning journey, check back soon to hear more of our plans