Cassiefairy – My Thrifty Life

Cassiefairy's thrifty lifestyle blog – Saving money every day with DIY crafts, sewing projets, low-cost recipes & shppping tips


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Personalise your wedding reception (& cut costs too!)

One of the most important days of your life is your wedding day. It’s just one day of celebration, yet we spend more money on this than many of us earn in a whole year. A few short hours costing thousands seems a little excessive. So is there a way to maximise the experience while shrinking that cost down to sensible proportions? Absolutely. Everybody loves a wedding, but if you want to achieve the dream without dropping your jaw on the floor at the cost, why not give these ideas a go..?

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MC Mates

No need to hire a professional DJ, a ‘Master of Ceremonies’ or announcer. Ask your dad, your brother, your auntie, or any of your friends. Many people struggle to know what to buy you for your wedding. And plenty of us struggle with the cost of gifts. They will be delighted to have such an important contribution to your wedding, and it can become one of the gifts you’ll treasure the most. Best of all, you’ll get exactly what you asked for. Your friends and family know you well, so everything they provide will be personal.

Home-baked Cake

Mmmmm. Nothing is quite as tasty as a freshly baked cake. Sure, you can get four tiers of intricately designed and decorated wedding cake from the baker. Looks good on the outside, but may be disappointing on the inside. Make it yourself, including the decorations that are personal to you. If you have children in the family, let them get involved. There is nothing more personal and charming for your friends and family than something that comes from you or your guests.

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Centrepieces

Making your own centrepieces is easier than you think, and they make a great parting gift for your guests. Thrift shops and budget stores always have bowls and vases at bargain prices. You can insert craft sand or pebbles and artificial flowers to fill it out. Add lots of colours and a range of textures to create something extra special. Paper flowers work well for this too – or even sweets!

Continue reading “Personalise your wedding reception (& cut costs too!)” »


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Guest post – Unique ideas for a hen party

Planning the hen night can be a daunting task and even more so nowadays as bridal parties want something different and a night out drinking and wearing L-plates just won’t cut it. If you are looking for something competitive, challenging, fun, or just plain silly there is a hen night theme to match. Katie Jones from orlajames.com says to check out some of these unique ideas.

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Games-based hen weekends

There are many companies out there offering unique game-based hen weekends so if your friends have a competitive streak this might be the choice for you. From inflatable knock-out challenge games to human table football, the options are endless. Why not get into giant bubbles and race, set up a hen Olympics, or get into teams and play against each other in a Segway polo game to really drive your hen’s competitive spirit. For those who are more adventurous and are not scared of going underground, a weekend of trampolining in underground caves looks like an amazing hen holiday! Or for a slightly more gothic edge, a weekend of zombie paintball fighting could be awesome.

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Pampering weekends

No, not just a girlie weekend at a spa; there are some unusual options available including the chance to have a makeover and photoshoot where the hens are made over as mermaids. Or unicorns. Brides who want to treat their party to a nice meal, but with a twist, could opt for a Mad Hatter tea party, complete with costumes and characters, or why not go for a bedtime story themed evening where you can wear your best pyjamas and be entertained with stories after your meal. Or how about a day at a private cinema watching non-stop chick flicks while sipping Prosecco? Sound perfect! For some really quirky hen party ideas, then a tour round London on a vintage bus that is set up to offer quintessentially British afternoon tea could be just the ticket, not to mention a very civilised way to see the capital.

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4 budget-busting tips for your wedding day

Put the word ‘wedding’ in front of anything and suddenly the cost goes up. It’s insane to think how much the average wedding costs. In the days when I got married 14 years ago, there wasn’t half the choice there is now. Then again, the services that were available didn’t cost half as much as they do today! But, your big day doesn’t have to mean big bucks. On the contrary, even the most thrifty of brides can have a day fit for a princess without having to break the bank. After all, a wedding is just one day; marriage is for a lifetime. So, if you’re a bride on a budget, how can you make sure that your day is one to remember without having to splash out? Let’s find out.

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Go DIY

The DIY bride is now a big thing with more and more people taking the plunge in creating their own wedding accessories. From invites, to bouquets to decor, most brides are now popping along to their local craft store to find out what they can make themselves. If you’re something of an expert baker, you could bake your own wedding cake. Unleash your inner creativity – not only will you save money, but you will also have a thoroughly personal wedding. After all, who wants something that everyone else can have? It’ll be utterly bespoke and personal to you.

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How Millennials are doing weddings differently

Have you found yourself suddenly being invited to more weddings than ever before? Did the whole of last summer consist of hen parties and weddings at the weekends? If so, you’re probably a Millennial and are having almost the same calendar of weddings-hen-parties-and-baby-showers as I am at the moment!

Millennials are those of us who were born between 1980 and 2000. As a result, many Millennials are entering the time of life when they choose to get married. But it’s worth pointing out that they’re not doing everything the same as the generation before them. In fact, their approach seems rather different. Here is what millennials are doing to switch up their wedding experience.

They’re sharing on social media

If you went to school or university with somebody, you probably didn’t find out they got married through the newspaper or because you actually went to the wedding. Instead, the first time you heard about it was probably through a social media website, usually Facebook. This is something new for Millennials, the generation who grew up consuming social media. Unlike generations before them, they have the means to publicly share every detail about their big day, from start to finish.

In fact, things are getting even more intrusive with applications like Periscope which allow couples to have their entire day live-streamed over the internet. People who aren’t even at the event can enjoy it from the comfort of their own homes, which is great if there’s an old aunt who can’t make it to the event because of health reasons.

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How I saved money on my wedding by Laura from Devine Bride

As you may remember, I’ve been asking some of my favourite bloggers to help me out with some guest posts this summer so that I can take a little time off. Luckily my pals didn’t let me down and emailed over a huge variety of inspirational blog posts for me to share during August. Here’s another guest posts by the lovely Laura from Devine Bride, who has already shared snaps of her thrifty wedding idea for a homemade dessert buffet on my blog at the end of July. Today she’s telling us about all budgeting tips and wedding day hacks she used to save £££s on her own wedding – read on to find out how she did it..!L&A-LowRes-375The blogs and magazine articles I like the most are real weddings and honest accounts of what other people did for their wedding. Trials, tribulations, likes, dislikes, what went right, what went wrong – I just can’t help having a nosey. All of which I found most helpful, so I wanted to share the story of how I saved money on my wedding with the hope to inspire and help others. It needn’t cost the earth, and it can still be amazing!L&A-LowRes-271Dress

I found my dream dress on the American website BHDN, but I was wary to buy it online without any idea of sizing or fit, so I sourced the designer back to her roots – and it just so happened she has a studio in East London. After the success of the jewellery sample sale, I signed up to their mailing list. I had lots of time, but within a month I got an email to say they were having a sample sale! The designer doesn’t do much bridal wear, and there was no guarantee of what was going to be in the sale, but I kept an open mind thinking there might be something similar from a past season. At the very least, I wanted to go along to see how the sizes fitted. As it turned out, one of two dresses I had my eye on was in the sample sale, the only one of that style and size, and fitted like a glove, so I knew it was meant to be! I ended up getting my dress for £720 – half the normal retail price.L&A-LowRes-11 L&A-LowRes-95

Dress, Catherine Deane sample sale; £720 (approx. saving = £680)

Alterations and Dry Cleaning

Although my dress fitted like a glove, it needed taken up slightly and dry cleaned as it had been tried on a few times. I looked at specialist bridal boutiques and I got a quote for the hem for £160, and dry cleaning for £100… which I wasn’t really prepared to pay since I had *only* paid £700 for the actual dress. I was nervous to leave my one-of-a-kind-bargain-sample-sale-dress with anyone other than a specialist, but I simply could not justify those prices. After much googling and deliberation, I trusted my dress with a tiny Polish alterations place recommended to me by my sister. It was a bit of a trek away in North London, where allegedly all the rich women of Hampstead get their design togs altered. I was suspicious of their non-descript tiny shop, but they did an amazing job! The term, ‘never judge a book by its cover’ sprang to mind afterwards. After that, I felt a bit more relaxed to leave my dress with my local dry cleaners where my hubby gets his suits done. Upon leaving my dress, I asked if they had insurance, but they just laughed and said, ‘what do you think is going to happen to it?!’. This didn’t quite fill me with confidence but my dress came back sparkling and I couldn’t have been more pleased!L&A-LowRes-385

Alterations: Mihaela’s Fashion Shop, Cricklewood; £20 (approx. saving = £140)

Dry Cleaning: City of London Dry Cleaning Co, Canary Wharf, £25 (approx. saving = £75) Continue reading “How I saved money on my wedding by Laura from Devine Bride” »


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Guest post – 5 tips for organising a low-cost hen party at home

He popped the question, she said yes, and then she popped the question to you – will you be my bridesmaid?! Weddings are a wonderful time of celebration, and it is an honour to be asked to be the bride’s right-hand lady during such a joyous occasion. However, before you start dreaming of all the beautiful dresses, the girlie shopping days and the flowing bubbly drinks, there is a hen party to organise. Here we give you some fantastic tips on how to organise the perfect hen party at home!

Fruit Cubes for Sparkling Cocktails

Check out my recipe for fruity cubes to jazz up your hen party bubbly

 1. Decide on the who, where and when:
This is the basic information required to get going with your planning. You should probably enlist the help of the bride in this part too as you don’t want to forget anyone she may want there. Obtain a list of invitees from her and agree when suits her best to have the hen. The where and what can be kept a surprise if you prefer. Decide where is best to host the hen party. If going with a home party then will it be based at your home, the bride’s, the mother of the bride’s or another friend’s house? The best part about having the party at home is that this can really help to keep the costs down. Everyone knows weddings can be expensive events, so if you can all avoid having to pay out for accommodation just before the big day, that’s a bonus!L&A-LowRes-271

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Thrifty Wedding Inspiration – Homemade cake buffet

Wedding food can take up a hefty chunk of any wedding budget, so it’s important to consider plenty of different options when you decide how to cater for your guests. After lots of research (on Pinterest, naturally) I began to think that dessert + after-dinner truffles + wedding cake + tuckshop + ice cream cart might be a little bit overkill for the average wedding. Sure, these are all really lovely parts of the wedding reception and if you’re known for your undying love of ice-cream then go for it! But if you’re on a budget, it’s not a problem to play around with the wedding breakfast format a little and same some money at the same time.L&A-LowRes-539After checking out these images of fabulous dessert buffet tables I learned that IS possible to cut back on some of the food at your wedding without disappointing anyone. To be honest, a slice of cake at the end of the night won’t really be missed, and serving up your wedding cake instead of a dessert is a perfectly acceptable money-saving option too. Why not ask guests to compete in a ‘bake off’ and bring a cake that they have baked at home. This would fit in perfectly with a village fete themed wedding and allows guests to be a part of the event. All you’d need is some serving plates and a big rosette for the ‘winner’ of the bake off. And I’m sure all the guests would all enjoy tucking into the huge variety of cakes that end up on the bake off table.L&A-LowRes-538 L&A-LowRes-540Laura from no-nonsense wedding blog Devine Bride says; “We tried to be creative with our wedding to make it more unique to us, but also to try to save some pennies along the way. My sister is a bit of a foodie and ended up having two wedding cakes at her wedding, however everyone had such a good time that that they forgot all about the cakes and we were still eating them for 3 weeks afterwards! We decided to reabsorb our wedding cake budget, removed our dessert course from our menu, and asked all of our local friends to bake us a cake instead of bringing us a present. We ended up with a massive Pudding Garden dessert buffet! It was a massive hit with our guests and it meant so much to us that our friends had contributed to our day.”L&A-LowRes-254 L&A-LowRes-543I think that these buffet tables all look so inviting, and the variety of cakes that guests could bring to your wedding is unlimited. I would personally love to be asked to bake a dessert, and would hand over my cupcakes with pride! I also think that guests would be more happy to tuck in when there’s a cake buffet on offer, as nothing is too precious to slice up (unlike a traditional wedding cake). Of course, if you want to ‘cut the cake’ you could always stack up a number of Victoria sponge cakes to create one large tiered cake, or could ‘cut the ribbon’ instead to declare the dessert buffet open!L&A-LowRes-285 L&A-LowRes-541 L&A-LowRes-271Let me know if you’ve decided to do something a little different for your own wedding by leaving me a comment below and I’d love to see your own wedding ideas or cake photos so please tag me on Instagram @Cassiefairy. And be sure to stop by Laura’s blog Devine Bride for plenty more wedding inspiration, advice and fantastic ‘real life’ wedding photos.

 


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DIY Project – Make your own personalised wedding bouquet

One of the key things that a bride-to-be should consider for her wedding (besides her wedding dress of course!) is the wedding bouquet. Any bride would want to be sure to choose the most amazing, beautiful and unique flower bouquet on her wedding day, but simply choosing beautiful blooms is sometimes not enough. Some flowers have different symbolism (older generations may point this out!), some may not withstand a whole day of carrying, while others may cause hayfever outbreaks! So it’s important to consider which flowers would be best for you on the big day and one sure-fire way to get the beautiful bouquet your heart desires is by making your own. And that’s where today’s guest post comes in..!Customized bouquetWhile I’m away for the half term holiday I’ve asked the specialist team at Fresh Flowers how to make a special, unique, and thrifty bouquet at home. Thankfully they were able to help and have come up with a DIY wedding bouquet project that you can follow step-by-step. This way you will be able to carry a beautiful personalised bouquet down the aisle, while also saving money. So for those women out there who are starting to plan for their weddings, here is the tutorial (with handy photos) that you can refer to in the run-up to the big day.Step 5First of all, here are some of the things that you need to prepare to make this DIY wedding bouquet: Continue reading “DIY Project – Make your own personalised wedding bouquet” »


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Weddings & diamonds – How to choose a ring for life

Having just returned from my bestie’s hen party, my thoughts have turned to weddings, rings and the big day itself. While, as a bridesmaid, I’ve been privy to a little information about the big day, there are still a lot of exciting things that the bride and groom are planning that I have no clue about. It’s going to be fun finding out what surprises they have in store for us on the wedding day and I’m eager to see how they’ve personalised their big day.wedding day choosing rings inspirationOne of the things I’m most excited about is seeing my best friend’s wedding ring. My own wedding ring is one of my most cherished possessions, and it hasn’t been taken off since the day my husband put it there, nearly 13 years ago. So I know how special this one piece of jewellery is and how important it is to get the wedding ring right. After thinking about this for a couple of days – all the while begging my friend to give me a sneaky peek of her choice! – I’ve come up with some tips for brides who are about to choose their wedding ring, to help you pick a style that suits your lifestyle now and in the future.i said yes engagement photo inspiration1. Make it future-proof

A style of ring that you absolutely LOVE now, might not be the right design for you in the future. Trends come and go, colour inspirations vary from year to year, and fashions change with the seasons. Whereas you’re going to be wearing your wedding ring for decades to come! So it makes sense to go for something classic and not be swayed by “this-years-must-have” design. I’d recommend simplicity over extravagance, and would pick traditional gold or platinum over a rose gold band or coloured jewels. bride and groom Continue reading “Weddings & diamonds – How to choose a ring for life” »


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How to be a good bridesmaid

 

Your bestie finally asked — you’re going to be a bridesmaid! The next few months (or even years) are going to be a whirlwind of planning, preparation and parties. If you’re going to go down in history as the best bridesmaid ever, you’ll need to up your game. While I’m away for the last of the school holidays (and I’ll report back on what we got up to next week!) House of Fraser has been kind enough to write a guest post for me, sharing their tips on being a good bridesmaid:bridesmaid dress house-of-fraser-brocade1.     Wear the dress

The most important part of your role in the wedding is the bridesmaid dress, so you’re naturally going to have some opinions and preferences around what you would like. By all means tell the bride what style suits you and which colours you like but when your comments start to turn into diva demands, it’s time to stop. Remember, it’s not your wedding, so if the bride has settled on a bridesmaid dress that may not be to your taste, bite your tongue and wear it.

2.     Make sure you’re 100% invested

As we’ve already mentioned, there’s more to being a bridesmaid than following the bride down the aisle. Rather, you’ll dedicate months — maybe even years — of your life to wedding planning, dress fittings, hair trials and hen parties. If you can’t commit to all events, you should consider whether you should be a bridesmaid in the first place.

house of fraser bridesmaid dresses

Cobalt blue bridesmaid dresses from House of Fraser

3.     Start saving in advance

It’s no secret that weddings are expensive. If the bride and groom need to reign in their spending, you may be asked to buy your own dress or shoes, or pay for your own hair and makeup. Throw in a wedding present and hen party spends and the costs can quickly mount up. Start saving as soon as you’re asked to be a bridesmaid, so you won’t be strapped for cash in the long run. Continue reading “How to be a good bridesmaid” »

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