An Australian beach wedding and a budget, shabby chic reception: Lauren and Tim

Lots of brides have been asking me to feature real weddings that are largely home-made and can be done on a budget. So here is Lauren and Tim’s DIY day. A true family affair, it shows how much can be done with some creativity, determination and love – you don’t need a huge budget to have an amazing day. In Lauren’s words:

All photos (c) Lauren Bloxham

“We were married on Wategos beach in Australia on April 14th and had the reception on June 4th 2011.”

“It was a truly home-made affair, we held the reception at Ty Derw country house near Machynlleth in Wales, which is run by Tim’s mum, Mair, and her husband Nick.  We took six months to organise everything, from buying the marquee on eBay, to making bunting from offcuts and free samples ordered online, buying the china in charity shops and at carboot sales from Wales to Somerset to Surrey.”

“Fresh flowers came from the market in Machynlleth three days before the reception, cut lavender and dried roses (seen on the wedding cake) were bought online from  We used for the ‘vintage’ style children’s plates and cutlery.  We made cake stands from odd plates and fittings bought from”

“Table linen was inherited from my two grandmothers and collected over the years by my mother.  I bought brown paper luggage tags on Amazon to write place names, and brown paper bags for children’s party bags.  We catered the day ourselves, baking prolifically and making sandwiches the week before.  I made the cupcakes using the primrose bakery cupcakes cookbook the day before the wedding!”

“We stocked the bar in advance from Laithwaites and bought cava from Tesco. Glasses were free from the local pub who also supplied us with kegs of beer and music was courtesy of Rob, owner of the Dolbrodmaeth Hotel, who provided a fantastic live band!  My friend Kirsty painted children’s faces, and we bought sticking activities from  In the evening we had a hog roast BBQ.  As favours, many of the guests took home the fabric hearts, and I gave aromatherapy massage and or blended bath oils for the girls in the family (I’m an aromatherapist”

“Luckily we are a family of very thrifty, crafty women who together stitched and sewed and baked and bickered(!!) and very practical men who laboured putting up the tent, stringing lights, building the bar and listened to us bickering(!!)… Which enabled us in the end to have a fabulous day with all our friends and family for less than £5K. We had 120 guests all in all including children and partied in to the night, with the last of us heading to bed at around 3am!”

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