Real Weddings

Alternative Wedding with a homemade dress – Hannah & Daryl

If you’re looking for budget wedding ideas then look no further – these two pulled off a fantastic wedding for only £2,000! This real wedding featured loads of the DIY touches that we love including a BLUE dress made by the bride and a 'first look' outside Newcastle Train station, the scene of their first date. Read on for a load of beautiful budget wedding ideas (clue - you're going to want to buy a glue gun!!)

When Darrell, a customer service advisor and Hannah, a stay at home parent were planning their wedding and trying to think of a theme there could be only one… Daryl Hannah!!! A running joke because of their names, they ran with it “possibly a bit too far” but the results gave everyone a good laugh. Their gorgeous wedding was done on a limited budget but what they achieved is so inspiring. Scroll for all the gorgeous pics by Joss Denham.

budget wedding ideas-alternative wedding newcastle

How did you guys meet?

We actually met on facebook, which probably isn’t very romantic. I jokingly said ‘marry me’ to Darrell in our first ever conversation, so it’s pretty nice that it actually happened.

blue wedding dress alternative wedding

Tell us about your proposal…

I proposed to Darrell at an Arcade Fire gig. I only decided to do it the day before we travelled up so it was a bit of a last-minute rush, but I think that helped me be less nervous. I was still super nervous though, despite the fact we’d been together 6 years and had a kid together, which seems silly now.

budget wedding ideas alternative wedding

Where did you get married and why did you choose your venue?

Newcastle upon Tyne registry office for the ceremony and then Summerhill Bowling Club for the reception. We wanted somewhere central that would be easy for everyone to get to. We went to view the bowling club in summer and walked past the lush greens and beautiful wildflowers surrounding it.

As we went inside we found ourselves in a bright, airy space with gorgeous beams and I think we both just knew immediately that it would be perfect. The club serves as a space for a lot of community events and classes so it was nice to know that our money would be supporting them in that. Hugh and all the staff were so friendly and easy to deal with, and they really helped keep everything organised and on track. They were great.

Who was your photographer and how did you choose them?

Joss Denham Photography. We came across Joss’s work and knew that it was exactly what we wanted, but we didn’t think we’d be lucky enough to actually get him! There’s something dynamic about the way he shoots that captures the story and context behind all of the little moments. He has a really cool way of framing things that puts the focus on unusual details that might otherwise be forgotten. Throughout the run-up to the wedding Joss was really friendly and easy to communicate with.

He helped us to plan our ‘first look’ photos, which he took in central Newcastle before walking with us to the venue. That walk was such a lovely part of the day, and Joss managed to take loads of really personal candid photos during that time we had to ourselves, as well as a few directed ones that show off his creativity. Throughout the reception he silently swooped around and caught some really special moments that we would have otherwise missed, and completely caught the flavour of the whole day. He was an absolute pleasure to have there and the results are truly amazing – his work is going to bring us joy for the rest of our lives!

Tell me about your dress…

I made my dress, which cost a grand total of £54 once I’d got all the fabric and trims. I do not recommend this if you can avoid it. I never wanted a traditional dress anyway and was planning on a nice high street dress, but I’m really tall so my options were limited to tall ranges. I’m fairly handy with a sewing machine and have made clothes before, so I committed to making it. I couldn’t find a pattern I liked so I ended up self-drafting one and working on it a little bit every evening once our kid was in bed. I grew to resent it so much that I put it off until really close to the wedding and had to just thrash it out. There were bits that should have been tweaked but I couldn’t face it. Other than the bust panels it fitted beautifully, and it was exactly what I wanted. So I got my dream dress for super cheap, but at what cost to my sanity?!

What did you DIY? Give us your budget wedding ideas…

We definitely ‘kept it real’! It was almost entirely DIY. We were on a very limited budget and we wanted to keep things intimate and genuine so we didn’t really do anything lavish. Most of our stuff came from the pound shop or ebay and lots of things were just scrawled in sharpie or chalk, but they did the job and meant we could focus on the stuff that mattered for people to have a good time. We had a fair few kids coming too and we wanted to make sure they had fun instead of having to sit and ‘be good’, so that helped things stay loose and relaxed.

I made the table plans and favours myself too. This is where it got super weird and budget. We had a bit of a running joke about Daryl Hannah because of our names. We ran with it, possibly a bit too far. Each person got a favour of a teeny tiny framed photo of Daryl Hannah, using some little wooden frames from Wilko. We had been at a loss for what to name all the different tables, until Darrell had the mint idea of using Daryl Hannah films. She’s been in some weird films.

Tell me about your cake…

For cake we bought two big supermarket sheet cakes, the kind where you can put your own photo on. A lovely friend swooped to the rescue and did the decorating on the day, we just bought a load of berries and mint to go on the top. She made them look so delicious, and then we just completely forgot to even cut the cakes later on. The day was so chaotic that we just missed it out. We ate a lot of cake for the next few days.

How did you pick your flowers?

I also made the bouquet, hair accessories, buttonholes and corsage myself. My glue gun is my favourite new toy! I bought loads of cheapo artificial flowers from ebay and Ikea and somehow managed to get them into a coherent kind of peachy-orangey-tealy scheme. My shoes were £3 flats from Primark with some ebay bits glue-gunned on top, and I loved them!

Tell me about your hair and makeup…

I did my own hair and makeup. I have shortish curly hair and an awkwardly half grown out undercut, so it was really just a case of seeing how the curls went on the day and pinning them into a shape! I was worried I’d regret doing the makeup myself as I don’t often wear it in everyday life. I thought by the time I’d bought all of the makeup I probably could have paid for someone else to do it. In the end, however, I was happy with my decision – it’s so much easier to work towards a vision you have than to try and articulate it to someone else. I looked at a few tutorials but ultimately ended up sacking them off and just doing what looked right.

budget wedding ideas DIY flower crown

Tell me about your catering. Was it done in-house or did you bring outside caterers in?

We hired Truly Madly Pizza, Jed and his gang came and set up their trailer and dished out incredible wood fired pizzas for hours! We chose them because they had such a varied menu compared to other pizza vans. They worked so hard and were so accommodating of everyone’s requests, including dietary requirements, and the pizzas were just delicious. It was great not having to worry about organising anything on the day as they just turned up and cracked on. And who doesn’t like pizza?

How did you get everyone up on the dancefloor?

We hired a local karaoke setup which the best man did a brilliant job of being in charge of for the evening. It took a while for everyone to get to the optimal state for singing but then it was really good to have a bit of an organised activity mixed in with the dancing.

Other than that we just had a spotify playlist, which we’d been curating for a year. It was the first thing we started after getting engaged! It had a ridiculous number of songs on it so now it’s our go-to playlist in the car or for just chilling in the house.

How did you choose to decorate your venue?

We dressed the venue ourselves – we had a team of amazing friends who helped Darrell set everything up while I drove off to sort out childcare and to get ready. It was really magical for me to turn up later and see its transformation!

We got a load of colourful round paper lanterns from ebay and that was pretty much all we needed to decorate, other than flowers. The flowers were just from Asda – a mix of sweet williams, spray carnations and chrysanthemums. I think I spent around £21 on the flowers. I spent the night before the wedding arranging them in different sized jars and bottles that I’d collected over the year. Some of them still had bits of label or adhesive stuck on them. I don’t think anyone even noticed.

I bought a load of A4 size blackboards from the pound shop and they were great for making little signs for the guestbook, baby change area, etc. Tablecloths were papery ones from a supermarket. It was so cheap and basic but it looked perfect!

Did you have any speeches?

We had three speeches – the bride first, then the groom, then the best man. Pretty standard I think when there are no fathers!

What was your first dance song?

We had Angels by the XX – we wanted something that we didn’t really have to dance to, because nobody wants to dance properly in front of a room full of people! We have a few other songs we thought of but there was always something that made them not quite right (like actually being about death).

Any tips for saving money?

In the end we probably spent around £2,000. This was actually a bit more than we’d hoped! But we got carried away. We achieved this simply by doing so much ourselves.

Would you do anything differently?

I would have definitely rather not have been doing the driving around and dropping off on the morning. It left me with about 25 minutes to get ready. My poor friend who was with me had to just sort of sit on the sofa while I showered and threw makeup onto my face in a panic. It wasn’t the relaxed bonding time it was supposed to be! I quickly threw some pins in my hair as the taxi was waiting outside so I had no real idea what it looked like all day. I stuck the cleavage tape on my dress in the taxi so it was all bunched up weird, I had no idea until I saw the photos. And I forgot my beautiful earrings. Definitely should have tried to plan that part better!

REAL moments

  • The registry office ceremony. I thought this would be the boring part, but it was seriously beautiful. I cried the whole way through. We had our most special friends there with us as well as our little boy, and that made it even more lovely.
  • The alone time we had when we did our first look photos and on the walk to the venue. It was strange to be walking along streets that we’ve walked on so many times on nights out, but now to be doing it all dressed up for our wedding!
  • Arriving at the venue and seeing all of our special people standing there together. That still chokes me up every time I think of it. We could have had our wedding in a grotty bus station and that moment would still be just as beautiful, having everyone there.
  • Getting home. We didn’t book anywhere for our wedding night, but we were child-free. It was so nice to come back to our own home after the wedding. It was like a reminder of our life we’ve made together. It was perfect.

REAL Suppliers

Photographer: Joss Denham Photography | Videographer: Wycombe 89 Media Bride’s dress: Handmade by the bride | Shoes: Primark | Rings: Tattoos by Sophia Guerley | Hair & make up: Bride | Groom’s suit: River Island | Catering: Truly Madly Pizza | Entertainment: Karaoke & Spotify | Venue décor: DIY

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Gaia Hudson

Written by gaia_bkir

Founder of Brides Keeping it Real and mum of two little ones, Leon & Ada. Passionate about providing a supportive online community for brides and grooms who want an achievable, uncomplicated wedding planning experience.