Pip and Alex’s Handmade and Personal Wedding in Harrogate by Barnaby Aldrick

Today’s wedding is a great example of letting a little wedding budget go a long way! And it shows that you don’t need a stash of cash to create a beautiful and memorable  wedding day. Being smart with your budget and drawing in talents from your friends and family can really make your wedding day super personal as well as cost effective. Pip and Alex embarked upon a fair few handmade projects for their wedding day and brought in some new wedding traditions that personally I think should be seen more often…….Cake cutting during the ceremony!! Yes please! All the guests doing shots once the bride and groom say I do, great idea! However the thing that really steals the show, is Pip and Alex’s French bull dog, How cute! Big thanks to Barnaby Aldrick for capturing the day for us.

A deeply personal celebration of us; everything and everyone we love. We had our french bulldog as our ring-bearer, our wedding cake made by my sister, ceremony tequila shots, incredible live music, surprise poems and non-stop dancing.

Pip and Alex were married on 27th August 2023 at Crimple in Harrogate. ‘We had a tight budget, so we knew from the outset that traditional wedding venues who charge £5000+ just to rent the space were out of the question for us. This challenged us to think creatively about the type of venue that would work for us. We were so naive at the beginning; thinking a tipi in a field would be a budget-friendly option… only to discover the hire fees, caterers, toilets etc totalled up to match those posh venues we couldn’t afford. It was actually my (Pip’s) grandma, mum & sister who went to Crimple Garden Centre for lunch one day; loved the food and asked “do you do weddings?”: little did we know they had an awesome event space at the back. We had one walkaround; loved the combination of outdoor & indoor space, the food was incredible, the location was perfect & it was within our budget. We were sold! We had 80 day guests and welcomed another 30 in the evening. It took 18 months. Although there were a good 9-12 months in the middle where we did very little. There’s the flurry at the beginning of securing your venue and suppliers and we relaxed after that. We could have done it in 6 months if the industry wasn’t so booked up in advance.’.

How they met 
We met at school, but were never more than acquaintances. We went to universities at opposite ends of the UK; then ten years later bumped into each other at our local pub on Christmas Eve. Despite having little in common as teenagers, we got on like a house on fire as adults. We started dating and a few months later, the Covid pandemic started; so Alex moved in with Pip and her sister. Everything happened quickly after that: we got a dog, integrated with each others’ families and were engaged 2 years later. We’d been together 3.5 years at the time of our wedding.

The proposal
Everything happened quickly in our relationship; so retracing our steps on Christmas Eve two years on from our fateful meeting, we discussed getting married. We took a trip to Birmingham Jewellery Quarter and chose the ring together; agreeing that the engagement itself would be a surprise. Pip was convinced it would happen on a scuba diving holiday, so Alex caught her off guard on a day trip to visit his grandma in Arnside, Cumbria. It was a beautiful day with a blend of snow and sunshine, and when we strolled to the top of Arnside Knott for panoramic views of the Lake District, Alex got down on one knee.

How did you allocate your budget?
We both love a spreadsheet! Having worked in account management, finance & operations between us, we approached our budget methodically. Our guiding principle was that everything we spent money on had to add more joy to the day. We cut out a lot of things you feel you “should” have on your wedding day; like a traditional venue, expensive floral arrangements, fancy stationery, wedding favours, cake and transport. This meant we could afford the things most important to us on a tight budget.

Where did you splurge and where did you save?
Entertainment was our biggest priority. We had a bespoke ceremony from a talented celebrant, Rachael Meyer. Start to Finish Music brought the party for us with an acoustic duo, band and DJ Sax set. We saved on the venue hire and accommodation. Crimple hadn’t done that many weddings when we booked it; which made it hard to visualise at times. But it was so worth it for the price, and the team was incredibly flexible to our needs. We didn’t have fancy accommodation to pay for: we just used our home and parents’ house for the bridal & groom parties. Pip’s sister made our wedding cake; we went low budget on bridesmaids’ dresses and we made all of the decorations ourselves with an army of friends and family.

How did you choose your photographer?
When looking through Barnaby’s photos we loved how he’d captured those fun, silly moments in peoples’ facial expressions. It was so important for us to capture the joyful moments of our wedding: we didn’t want a serious editorial shoot. He clinched it for us when we had our first call with him, and we described our mad vision of a party in a garden centre. In the early stages, our families had struggled to visualise what we were trying to achieve, and we were nervous about pulling it off. But it was Barnaby who gave us full confidence to embrace the quirkiness of it all. We really leaned on Barnaby’s experience, professionalism and excitement in our planning phases. He added more value to our day than he could ever realise!

The dress 
I got my dress at Off the Peg by Dotty in Holmfirth. I bought silver shoes in John Lewis as I wanted them to be something comfortable that I’d wear regularly – and I’ve worn them to every fancy event I’ve been to since. I already owned my accessories and our florist hand made my flower crown from low budget flowers like gypsophila.

The suit and bridesmaids
The groom & groomsmen suits were from Next. The bridesmaid dresses were from Shein. I don’t feel proud about the lack of sustainable credentials to these purchases; but it was a necessity with our tight budget. We dressed 7 bridesmaids for £100, and they looked fantastic! Our florist made each of them a crown with purple wildflowers and they wore their own shoes and accessories.

Theme or colour scheme
We wanted a simple, rustic look with sage green, purple and pops of colour. We weren’t constricted by a theme, which allowed us to be flexible to what worked for our budget. We had friends and family collecting gin bottles and jam jars for 18 months, which we arranged flowers in throughout our venue.

We went for more of a wildflower look to stretch our budget, with nods to Alex’s Scottish heritage throughout with thistles in the bouquet and buttonholes. We chose seasonal flowers with a base of gypsophila, eucalyptus, daisies, hydrangea, berries and the odd rose. 

Wildflowers, handmade wooden signs and jars we’d collected over 18 months dotted around the venue. We made a small amount work hard for us; with our 7 bridesmaid bouquets doubling as table centrepieces. We also carried our decorations through 3 different zones throughout the day; from our ceremony space, to our dining and then party space, so nothing was wasted.

We had rustic canapes post-ceremony; a three course meal for our wedding breakfast and pizzas at the end of the night. Our three course meal consisted of fishcakes or a beetroot salad’ mushroom risotto or delicious chicken & seasonal veg; followed by a dessert platter in the party room to avoid that lull in energy you can get from sitting at the wedding breakfast for too long.

Wedding cake
Pip’s brilliant sister made our wedding cake, a trio of our favourites: chocolate, lemon and carrot cake. Our Celebrant made the cake cutting part of our ceremony, so we could serve it alongside our canapes before the wedding breakfast. It was a brilliant idea, as everyone actually got to try a piece, rather than it being forgotten at the end of the evening.

Start to Finish Music arranged everything for us. We chose Cat & Mac as an acoustic duo; who added a few members to form a band in the evening. After their set we had a DJ Sax set – it was just non-stop dancing.

 Who supplied the stationery?
We tried to be paperless as much as possible, using With Joy for our wedding website. Our friend Ellen is a master at calligraphy so we had her over for dinner one evening to write all of our name cards, which we displayed slotted into collected prosecco corks. 

Where did you go on your honeymoon?
We went on a road trip in South Africa, starting in Cape Town, travelling through the winelands to the Garden Route, before ending on a Safari. It was incredible!

Personal touches
Almost everything was a handmade personal touch! Our ceremony was entirely bespoke to us. Our celebrant Rachael interviewed us for 3 hours to capture our full story, and encouraged us to include family as much as possible. We had our French bulldog Winnie as our ring-bearer; cut our wedding cake that Pip’s sister had baked and Pip’s mum delivered a poem she’d written specially. We topped it off with tequila shots in Alice in Wonderland style “Drink Me” bottles which even Pip’s grandma enjoyed. But every decoration in the venue had been styled by our team of helpers the day before. We’re lucky to have such talented and supportive people around us!

Special moments 
Our ceremony was incredible, and really set the tone for a high-energy, laughter-filled day. The groom party danced down the aisle and our celebrant Rachael couldn’t have done a better job of capturing our story. We spent a lot of time in the build up to the wedding worrying about an empty dance floor; but we needn’t have! We will never forget those moments bouncing around with our family and friends.

Advice for other couples
Planning a wedding during a cost of living crisis can be disheartening; so unless you’re exceptionally lucky, it’s important to recognise that you’ll need to make compromises. So take the time at the beginning to agree on your priorities to avoid conflict further down the line. For us, we wanted to prioritise the energy & atmosphere of the day; not the aesthetics. We began by reflecting on common energy lulls during a wedding & considering how we could counteract them. For example: we kept the wedding breakfast short to avoid that post-food coma & put the dessert in the party room to get everyone moving; where our band was waiting to welcome them onto the dance floor.
But if there’s something you shouldn’t scrimp on: it’s confetti! We bought rabbit food petals thinking we were really savvy; but it came out like dust on the day. Biodegradable paper mixed with larger petals would have been a much smarter choice. 

Biggest surprise 
Alex’s sister worked with our celebrant to have a surprise sing-along with our whole audience as part of her ceremony reading. It was a poem that started to sound familiar… Before we knew it; the audience were singing the chorus of “When I’m 64” by the Beatles. Everyone really went for it, too, further amplified by the stretch tent above us. It was a beautiful moment. Shortly after that, we finalised our ceremony with the cutting of our cake, only to realise we’d forgotten a knife. There were gasps in the audience as Alex’s Scottish uncle, donned in full kilt, stood in the audience bearing the dagger from his sock to save the day. It was the wildest hour of our lives.



Supplier Shout Outs


Barnaby Aldrick 

www.barnabyaldrick.com / www.barnabyaldrick.com/blog / FACEBOOK / INSTAGRAM


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