Get on course to create for special wedding day

Within recent years, the tradition of hefty wedding bills falling on the bride's family is slowly fading.
Learn how to re-trim, re-craft, renew an old hat at a course on August 27 at West Dean CollegeLearn how to re-trim, re-craft, renew an old hat at a course on August 27 at West Dean College
Learn how to re-trim, re-craft, renew an old hat at a course on August 27 at West Dean College

So what’s to stop us defying the tradition of large wedding expenses all together?

Despite growing up into a world of realisations of the costly nature of weddings, the girl fantasising of her special day is most certainly still buried deep within.

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The ceremony of your dreams doesn’t have to be compromised by the extortionate price tag; there are hundreds of ways to make sure your wedding remains economical without opting for ‘second best’.

Organising your wedding on a budget and introducing the DIY aspect can create a personal touch that makes your special day individual to you.

West Dean College runs more than 700 short courses in arts, crafts, gardening, creative writing, food and music each year, and now they are opening their doors to those planning a wedding with a whole host of DIY wedding courses.

Aimed at helping you with every aspect of your wedding, the short courses enable you to create the day exactly as you dreamt it and ensure the special occasion will be unique to the bride and groom.

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There are one-day courses teaching: the basics of flower arranging, and how to choose and create flowers for hand-tied bouquets and table decorations; the cuisine of your wedding, scaling up recipes for large numbers or adding that fancy touch of professionalism to dishes; the recreation of shabby hats into head-wear fit for a milliner; the key principles behind beautiful portrait photography.

The longer courses give you a few days to master skills such as making silk purses, headdresses and bridal accessories and the introduction into textiles, in order to turn your hand to soft furnishings, jewellery and even, the all important wedding dress.

A course is also available on request to spend a day making the ultimate gift for your spouse: the gold rings that will signify your love throughout the entirety of your marriage.

They can be made from purchased metal or metal from a meaningful source, or by re-using jewellery.

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The tutor will guide you through the process to produce polished wedding bands that are entirely unique.

The courses encourage both brides, grooms, mothers or whole wedding parties to create the perfect wedding, on a budget.

Although many of the courses include lunch and dinner, accommodation is available.

For more details or to book a place, visit, email [email protected], or call 0844 4994408.

Do it yourself:

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Invitations – They are the first that people outside close friends and family will hear of your wedding, so ensure they are personal by doing them yourself! There is no need to overcomplicate or overpay for your invitations.

Dance lessons – Gone are the days when it was vital to know how to slow-dance for the local ball, and no-one wants the embarrassment of an out-of-time first dance. However, paying for lessons is unnecessary! Turn to YouTube for a waltz tutorial or invite a friend with a sense of rhythm round for a lesson, for free.

Flowers and centerpieces – You can avoid florists’ outrageous fees by creating your own table decor. There are hundreds of ideas for DIY centerpieces; displays as simple as wild flowers in a rustic vase can create an effective traditional look at a very low cost.

Drinks – Contrary to popular belief, champagne is not a must at a reception. There are some delicious sparkling wines as a perfect substitute. Guests won’t scrutinise you if the meal lacks top-named brands, so just keep it simple.

Leave it to professionals:

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Planning and co-ordinating – Hiring a professional to help out with co-ordinating doesn’t mean you have to compromise having the day as you planned. They have the experience and contacts to make sure your wedding runs smoothly. It takes a strain off you, so you can sit back and appreciate the wedding.

Music – Despite the option of creating your own playlist on your iPod being invitingly inexpensive, a band or DJ have the presence that can step up your reception. However it is important to do your research: a DJ disaster can change the entire wedding atmosphere.

Videography – Your wedding video will capture the whole day from start to finish, and become the only way to relive one of the best days of your lives. Therefore, it’s worth making sure the person in charge of this task knows what they’re doing and is going to capture the day as perfectly as you remember it.