A bride who looked a million bucks despite her big day costing a third of the average UK spend.
Grace Evans, 30, who is battling the painful long-term condition of fibromyalgia, has opted for a small but exquisite wedding to Jamie Wilkins, 31.
They were married at Pauntley Court in the Cotswolds, with its own Norman church, in front of 24 guests, followed by a wonderful reception at the mansion.
The thrifty couple spent just £6,950 – compared to the UK average of £20,493, according to website Compare Wedding Insurance.
Grace, from Worcester, who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, which affects muscles and soft tissues, in 2017 and is non-functioning and everyone was impressed with the couple’s economy.
A longtime lover of vintage and second-hand clothes, Grace spent £325 on her Justin Alexander wedding dress, which she bought on auction site eBay.
She said: ‘The lady I bought it from originally paid £1,795. Luckily she lived locally in Gloucestershire so before bidding on it I went and she let me try it. It matched perfectly.
Her wedding slippers and evening dress also came from eBay, with her Rainbow Club shoes costing £15 and her dress just £4.60.
The couple’s wedding rings were purchased during a store closing for half retail value – Grace’s costing £500 and James’s £250.
The three-tier wedding cake costs just £35, with most wedding cakes costing around £200. He was created from a £15 M&S cake and two cakes from a local cafe, costing £10 each, which were then decorated with roses from his mother and grandfather’s gardens – with additional petals turned into confetti.
Grace and Jamie’s families and friends also pitched in to help the couple.
Her mother Avril, 73, and older sister Jo, 54, decorated the church with lilies, roses and baby’s breath. Grace also used YouTube tutorials to make the wedding bouquets and boutonnieres for the flowers, alongside Jamie.
Grace’s sister – Georgina, 33, created raspberry and chocolate brownies as their favors and mum Karen, 58, made Grace a gorgeous garter.
The economy did not stop there. Grace also bagged her bridesmaids’ pink dresses at bargain prices.
She said: “Two of my friends – Rosie and Miriam, both 30, were bridesmaids. They wore multi-way dresses which cost £25 instead of £110 from a Coast sale.
“My cousin, Nina, 32, was also a bridesmaid and wore the darkest pink dress. Hers was Oasis and she got it from TK Maxx for £11. I think it was at the originally £95. I just browsed through all the sales, keeping in mind which dress would go with which friend.”
To suit their budget, they opted for a weekday wedding by having their big day on a Wednesday. Although newlyweds, Grace and Jamie are far from new to savings.
They renovated their three-bedroom Victorian semi-detached house, which they bought in August 2014, from “top to bottom” to look like a “petit palais”, despite very few new items.
The soaring cost of living is putting household budgets under pressure, with some having to choose between heating and food.
Here are some resources available if you need help.
Advice to citizens
Citizens Advice is an independent charity providing free, confidential assistance with legal, consumer, housing, debt and other issues. Its website details the help available and where your nearest office is, for face-to-face advice.
Helpline : 0800 144 8848 in England / 0800 702 2020 in Wales (open 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday)
The Trussell Trust
The Trussell Trust supports a national network of over 1,200 food banks, providing free emergency food to those in need. You can use its website to locate support wherever you live.
Hotline: 0808 208 2138 (open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday)
Turn2us is a national charity that provides practical support for people in financial difficulty. Its website includes a benefits calculator and details about programs and subsidies in your area, including for energy and water bills.
Hotline: 0808 802 2000 (open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday)
Grace said: “With our bathroom, we have all the fixtures and fittings ex-display. Also, my grandfather, Derek, 88, was an engineer and he built our studded walls with my husband.
“We bought a lot of things used and I gave them new life by painting them. We like to buy things from thrift stores.
Grace, who grew up frequenting vintage fairs and charity shops with her sister Georgina, 33, in their late teens and whose father Steve, 61, was also a lover of antiques, says searching Google for Voucher codes can be another great money saver. .
She said: “I would recommend saving up to everyone because it’s really fun once you get into the swing.”
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