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Royal Wedding week is almost upon us! Compare the costs of Royal Weddings past and present

William and Kate's Wedding is almost here! How much will the Royal Wedding actually cost? And will it be the most expensive wedding of all time? Check out this handy Royal Wedding budgets past and present to find out!

Infographic by - Compare cheap car insurance in minutes.

Article posted: 2011-04-20 13:41:20

Wedding dresses for under £100 - Berketex Bride Bridal Gown sample sale - March 25, 26 & 27 March

Surely getting a "proper" wedding dress for under £100 is impossible these days....well, possibly not. Berketex Bride are having an enormous nationwide three day sample sale this week - starting on Friday 25 March and finishing up on Sunday 27 March 2011 - featuring some wedding dresses for less than £100. 

Berketex Bride Sample Sale voucher Wedding dresses for under £100

Article posted: 2011-03-22 12:51:18

Brides find wedding planning is more stressful than their day job

Nearly four in ten people (38%) think planning a wedding is more stressful than their day job, according to research from BT. But it's not just how couples are going to pay for their wedding that they're worried about...

The recent survey also found that over a quarter (27%) of people think that organising weddings are more stressful than moving house, and 20% think it's more stressful than exams for higher education or professional qualifications. 11% even think wedding planning is more stressful than having a baby, while 9% label it the most stressful thing a person can do. Only 8% of people think that there is nothing stressful about planning a wedding.

Rather than the wedding budget being the main concern, the research reveals that the biggest worry for both men and women was found to be finalising the guest list and working out a seating plan for the wedding breakfast, with 50% of people saying they find these tasks stressful.

Women tend to be more concerned about losing weight for the big day (26%) than they do about committing the rest of their life to someone (19%). Whereas 23% of men are more concerned about committing to someone, with only 17% worried about shedding the pounds.

Soon to be married couples are generally trusting of their close friends, with only 10% of those asked, finding going on the hen and stag worrying. 10% of men surveyed admitted that they thought that listening to the best man's speech would be an ordeal.

Perhaps those surveyed had been following the advice from the Chief Bridesmaid - so didn't have the money worries that many Brides and Grooms experience. However, if you are having wedding worries, why not read my advice on organising your guest list.

Article posted: 2011-03-22 12:14:53

Personalised M&Ms! Exclusive discount for The Chief Bridesmaid readers

Special offer on NEW personalised M&Ms for Chief Bridesmaid readers!

On your Wedding day, you kind of feel like you're famous. Everyone stands up when you enter the room, you can't walk anywhere without a wall of cameras flashing at you and everyone says really, really nice things to you. Voucher code personalised m&ms

So if you like the idea of feeling famous, why not go one step further and get names written in lights? Or at least written on chocolate. You can now get M&Ms made bespoke for you!

Now M&Ms can be customised with your own personalised message and eye-catching colours (twelve to choose from). Get them decorated with your name, romantic phrase or message, or your wedding date. The scope for creativity is endless.

Even better news is that the kind peeps at M&M's have given you a unique voucher code offering £30 discount when you spend £150 or more! Just type in the discount code "CHIEF-BRIDESMAID" when you make your purchase from the website

Discount code for bespoke M&Ms

My only advice is to not open the box before your big day - otherwise any  pre-wedding day healthy eating could go right out of the window!                                    

Article posted: 2011-01-20 11:23:41

How to get on BBC 3's Don't tell the Bride - and get your wedding paid for!

Be on BBC3's Don't Tell the Bride - and get your Wedding for free!

If the old saying, there's no such thing as a free lunch is true, then surely there can't be such a thing as a free wedding. Well then, you'd be wrong.

Every year, a few lucky couples' weddings are featured on TV programmes like BBC3's Don't tell the Bride or my own show Three Grand Weddings.

I blogged earlier this week about the reality and pitfalls of being on a Wedding TV show, but if you've read the risks and are still up for getting your wedding paid for - and featuring on National TV, then here's some good news for you.

BBC three are looking for couples who want to get married in 2011 to be on Don't tell the Bride

If you've big ideas for your wedding day, but can't afford anything more than a cheap wedding, Don't tell the Bride could give you £12,000 to plan your wedding day!

Just remember, this will mean putting all of the wedding planning into the hands of your groom. Down to what dress you'll be wearing!

Applications close on 3rd March 2011, simply apply here. Please let me know how you get on!

Article posted: 2010-12-16 05:40:59

Get your Wedding paid for! Having a TV wedding

I get lots of letters from Brides and Grooms asking how they can get their wedding for free. Many of you may have watched my TV series on Wedding TV - Three Grand Weddings.

In this show, three lucky couples got expert advice from some of the UK's top wedding planners and their £3,000 weddings paid for. Obviously, as with any reality TV show, there was a catch, on Three Grand Weddings, the Bride and Groom didn't know any details of their big day until the wedding day itself! All of the wedding planning was left to their friends annd family.

The Bride and Grooms may have been cut out of the wedding planning, and their big days may have only cost a budget £3,000, but nevetheless, they all had an amazing time - and I don't believe regretted a thing. The top it all off, the couples all won a honeymoon too.

What sort of Bride suits a TV wedding?

If you're willing to relinquish control of the wedding planning, and don't have set ideas of how your wedding day should look, applying to be on a TV Wedding show could be a great option to pursue.

You just have to remember, you often will have no say in the wedding planning whatsoever. You won't even get to see the wedding dress until the day itself.

Wedding planning can be one of the most magical experiences you can share with your future hubby, you need to make sure you're willing to forgo this for the sake of saving money and hassle.

On the other hand, if spending hours pouring over table decorations really isn't your cup of tea, and you couldn't care less whether you have chair covers or stools for the wedding guests, appearing on a wedding planning show could really be a great option for you.

How to get on a Wedding TV Show - and often get your wedding paid for!

A second series of Three Grand Weddings is planned for next year - I won't be the presenter sadly, as I'm living abroad. If you're interested in participating in this, or any of Wedding TV's other TV programmes, why not check out their "Be on Wedding TV" page and apply to be on of their shows?

Alternatively, for shows like BBC3's "Don't tell the Bride" keep an eye out on The Chief Bridesmaid blog and Be on Screen.

Article posted: 2010-12-16 05:08:11

What is a Chief Bridesmaid and what does a Chief Bridesmaid do?

If you're a Chief Bridesmaid who has come to the Chief Bridesmaid blog to find out what they need to do on their friend's wedding day - check out Chief Bridesmaid roles, duties and responsibilities.

That page will tell you all you need to know to perform your head bridesmaid duties to perfection before, during and after the wedding ceremony. 

Putting together the list of tasks made me realise that being Maid of Honour, can be not such an honour after all, no wonder my friend Lisa calls Bridesmaids, Bride slaves!!


Article posted: 2010-12-13 08:23:59

U.S Bridal Sample Sale - San Francisco

Bridal Sample Sales: Glamour Closet - San Francisco

Glamour Closet in San Francisco is holding a sample sale this weekend (December 18–19, 2010). The North Beach discount bridal salon, Glamour Closet in the bay area, will have hundreds of bridal gowns on sale such as Vera Wang, Pronovias, Carolina Herrera and Monique Lhuillier. Some wedding dresses are discounted by a huge 85%.

The Glamour Closet only holds wedding dress sample sales once a year, so this is your only opportunity to check it out.  All wedding gowns will be priced at either $499, $999 or $149.

No appointments are necessary for the sale, but with discounted dresses on the top of every bride's agenda, you need to get there early to make the most of this fantastic sale.

Glamour Closet San Francisco

114 Columbus Avenue

San Francisco, CA 94133

Tel: 415/391-1515

Article posted: 2010-12-13 05:15:04

Kate Middleton's engagement ring - Royal wedding moneysaving tips & how to get your own ring for less!

When Prince William gave Kate Middleton his mother's ill-fated engagement ring, the move was deemed by many to be controversial, even unwise. Whether or not you agree, us Brides can learn two very helpful and important moneysaving wedding lessons from Prince William when it comes to the royal engagement ring. 

1. Prince William saved money by passing on a family heirloom

In these times of economic uncertainty, I think Prince William's decision to save money by recycling Princess Diana's engagement ring was a wise one. If he'd spent thousands of pounds on a brand new ring, the media would have no doubted criticised him for wasting money.Just because Prince William went for the cheap option, it was by no means the least heart felt. He gave a ring to Kate that had enormous emotional value for him, which is obviously far more important. Kate Middleton engagment ring photo

If there are engagement rings in your family no longer being used, then I say it's absolutely fine to re-use them. If you're a groom and you're worried that your bride to be will be disappointed that the ring isn't brand new, you could always buy her a new matching necklace to go with it. It wouldn't have to diamond - cubic zirconia is a great alternative (it looks almost identical); alternatively, artificial diamonds are a great choice and far more cheap.

2. Carat for Carat, Sapphires are cheaper than diamonds

Sapphires are actually rarer than diamonds, however, because historically, diamonds have been in greater demand, their price has been unfairly and artificially inflated. Sapphires are actually cheaper, and because they are more rare, represent better value. So Kate got more bling in her ring for the same amount of money.

It's possible to buy white sapphires too, which are also far more cheap than diamonds. However, they don't sparkle as much, so you're better off looking at stones like zircon, cubic zirconia, demantoid or titanite if you'd like a cheaper and more ethical diamond alternative. 

3. Royal Bride Kate Middleton is saving money too

As Kate Middleton's sapphire ring is blue, she can save money by using her engagement ring as her "something blue" on her wedding day. She should remember, however, that her engagement ring should be placed on her right hand during the wedding ceremony. This is because the wedding band sits underneath the engagement ring. Once the exchanging of the rings ceremony is over, Kate can then simply move her engagement ring over to her left hand to sit on top of the wedding band.

4. We can even learn some wedding budget tips from Prince Charles

When Prince Charles originally bought the ring from Garrard Jewellers of Mayfair, he saved quite a bit of money too because the ring wasn’t made bespoke for Diana, nor was it even unique. Rather it was on sale to the general public. Mind you, it still cost 28,500 pounds (and that was 30 years ago), which I certianly wouldn't recommend spending, even if you can afford it!

If you're "a chegal", a girl like me who likes to rock the royal look for less (where cheap meets regal), you should check out this article from new royal blog Mr and Mrs Wales which examines where you can get cheap imitations of Kate Middleton's engagement ring on the high st and internet.




Article posted: 2010-12-09 22:24:21

Vera Wang Sample Sale 2010 - Wedding dresses reduced by 70%

Vera Wang is having a Wedding dress sample sale!

Vera Wang dress sale £1,500The Chief Bridesmaid is excited to announce that there's going to be a huge Vera Wang Wedding dress sale in London. Yes, Brides, you heard it right, it's the Christmas present you've all been dreaming about! 

Up to 70% off Vera Wang Wedding dresses

The Vera Wang store in London, which is based in the basement of Selfridges, will be discounting both bridal gowns and accessories by a huge 70%! The Vera Wang sample sale will be held from Friday 10th December 2010 until Christmas Eve and no appointment is necessary.

Vera Wang wedding dresses might be completely unaffordable for most of us Brides, but the December sample sale now means that it is possible to buy a Vera Wang wedding gown for less than £1,000! £1,000 might still be a lot of money, but if a Vera Wang dress is something that's a "must have" for you, then this is the perfect opportunity to snap one up at a (relatively speaking) bargain price. There are strapless, a-line, fishtail, asymmetric, prom and grecian dresses all on offer. 

Brides can even preview the bridal dresses that have been reduced on the Vera Wang website. The Chief Bridesmaid checked out the discounted dresses earlier and spotted these favourites: Vera Wang dress sale discount reduction bargain designer dresses

This beautiful one shoulder asymmetrical dress from Vera Wang's collection has been reduced from £3,200 to far more affordable £1,500. I love the sexy draping and tight silhouette -making it both a sexy and stylish choice for any Bride looking for a bargain.

My second favourite bridal gown can be bought for less than £1,000 - almost unheard of for a designer wedding dress. This Vera Wang dress is on sale for just £975 reduced from £3,250 - a saving of over £2,000! It's v-neck is incredibly flattering for both bigger breasted brides and those girls with less to show off,  like me! It's low back keeps it sexy without being wanton.

Discounted Vera Wang wedding gowns less than £1000For those Brides who prefer the more traditional look - white strapless with a huge cinderella train, there are plenty of these in the Vera Wang sale too. Most of these bigger dresses are priced between £1,500  and £2,000.

There are just over 100 dresses on sale to choose from, but as interest from Brides is likely to be high, it's worth heading down to Selfridges earlier rather than later to snap up a bargain. The sale doesn't begin until this Friday, but the good news is that you can check out the styles on offer now. Simply go to Vera Wang


Friday 10th December - Friday 24th December 2010


Monday - Saturday 10am - 7pm

Sunday     11:30am - 6pm



Vera Wang, W1 - Selfridges

400 Oxford Street


W1 1AB

020 7318 3095

Article posted: 2010-12-07 22:37:12

The dress that got away....the Suzanne Neville dress I can't get out of my head

It's bad, my husband and I got married two and a half years ago and I still can't get the Suzanne Neville wedding dress out of my head.

It was the dress that got away. A beautiful fishtail Suzanne Neville wedding gown that looked like just another wedding dress in the pictures, but when I tried it on, I felt like a million dollars. 

Suzanne Neville Seville

It was fun, sensational yet simple and sophisticated. It's corset pulled in my tummy and lifted my bosom sky high. My traditional English pear shaped body was transformed into something infinitely more like Marilyn Monroe.

It was beautiful, a triumph! It was the perfect wedding dress, yet I'd have quite happily have collected an Oscar in it too. It was just in a word, perfect.

But there's a moral to this story and a lesson to be learnt. I couldn't buy this dress, I had a wedding gown already.

Any wedding expert will tell you. Never, ever, try on a wedding dress once you've already bought one, especially if you are trying to save money. You'll end up being plagued wiith memories of the wedding dress that got away.....

If anyone owns this wedding dress, made by Suzanne Neville (and I think named Seville), please do get in contact. I'd love to hire it for the day to get some snaps in it. I could then just pretend that I wore it all along......

With love, The Chief Bridesmaid xoxo

Article posted: 2010-11-30 07:01:51

The Royal Wedding budget – Even Royals have to have them!

The cost of Kate Middleton and Prince William’s wedding ceremony and reception will be shared by Kate’s parents and the Royal family. British tax payers will be covering the cost of security and transport.

Traditionally, the Bride’s parents pay for the whole wedding, the 20th century equivalent of a dowry.  Michael and Carole Middleton have given an enormous £100,000 towards the costs for the Royal wedding.  OK, they might be millionaires, parents, but £100,000 is an awful lot of money to any family.

Despite the fact that their daughter is marrying into one of the wealthiest families in the world, the Middletons wanted to pay their own way, and had been saving up Kate’s wedding fund for some time. The Royal Family will cover any remaining costs for the wedding ceremony and reception.

Whilst the Royal Family is generally steeped in tradition, it’s actually terribly modern for the wedding costs to be split between both the Bride and the Groom’s parents. With Brides and Grooms largely getting married in their late 20s and 30s now, it’s increasingly common for couples to cover the costs for their wedding themselves – or split it with their respective parents  

Kate Middleton’s parents are said to paying for the cost of Kate’s wedding dress and the honeymoon (which is likely to be in the Caribbean), as well as contributing towards the service and the reception.

Prince Charles and the Queen will cover the remaining Royal Wedding costs which are likely to amount to millions of pounds. The 5 million pound security and transport bill on April 29th will be covered by British Taxpayers.

Planning the wedding budget is an unenviable task for any couple, even a Royal one. If Prince William and Kate have an extravagant wedding (by royal standards), they’ll be criticized for wasting tax payers’ money.

But, on the other hand, if they cut things back (reduce the number of bridesmaids, go for a simpler wedding dress, cut down on the flowers) and have a low cost wedding, the British public and Royalists alike will be let down.

The Chief Bridesmaid’s advice is to save money on those elements of their wedding that the nation won’t be able to enjoy as a whole. Serve the Royal Wedding guests cava or Tesco champagne (which has I believe has the Royal Warrant) rather than Bollinger (Queen Victoria’s favourite).  Even Victoria and David Beckham (who are rumoured to be on the invite list) would be unlikely to taste the difference.


Even experts in saving money on weddings could learn a few lessons from the Royal wedding. I've been so impressed by Kate and William's cost saving decisions so far:

Furthermore, the British economy is likely to make money because of the Royal’s big day! British tourism is likely to surge with reporting a threefold increase in London hotel room bookings for the last week in April.

And for every wedding supplier who earns money from the Royal Wedding day, there will be more money pumped back into the British economy. So it’s good news for the country all round.

Article posted: 2010-11-30 04:39:29

Kate Middleton Engagement dress lookalikes hit the High St

I am just updating my blog post from last week about similar dresses to Kate Middleton's iconic Issa wrap dress. When the Royal Wedding was announced last week, Kate wore an amazing sapphire blue dress for the engagement photoshoot. Ever since, expert designers across the world have been sewing as fast as they can to reproduce their “tribute” versions of Kate’s dress for the High st.

Now because we can't afford the real thing - a costly £385, and indeed, where you could buy the Issa dress has now sold out, I've been hitting the shops to find the best affordable lookalikes on the High st.

With a plethora of Kate’s dress copycats, British Readers have got a few options to choose from, but you’ll have to move fast.

UK High st store Coast have got a great lookalike - their McQueen dress. This dress shimmers like the Issa dress and at just 125 pounds is a great cheaper way to copy the Royal look.

Coast Kate Middleton engagement dress cheap lookalikeThe Coast dress isn't too showy on the bust (so good for Christenings and Weddings) but is fitted at the waist so you won't feel too Mumsy.

The second and most convincing copy of Kate Middleton's engagement dress is Chica Online’s Pepita dress in Navy.  They’re out of stock currently, but you can email to be added to the waiting list. It costs 99 Euros or 85 pounds. Certainly in this photo is looks like a great imitation. It looks glossy without being shiny, the colour is the perfect match to the Issa dress, plus it’s really good value.

The cheapest option in the UK is Tesco’s Florence and Fred 16 pound replica. With much of the UK media reporting on what a great copy this was of Kate's engagement dress, the Tesco website is currently sold out.  However, check out ebay or selected Tesco stores and you’ve still got a chance to snap one of these up. Wear it to parties and weddings at your peril though, you could well run into someone else wearing it too.

Florence and Fred Tesco copy of Kate Middleton dress American readers, or those who are happy to splash out on postage, you can get your own affordable version of the Royal engagement dress from your local mall. Check out this delectable number from US High st retailer Anthropology.US high st imitation of Issa Royal Engagement dress

Whilst this dress doesn’t shine like those from the UK, it's less of a direct copy of Kate Middleton's dress, so you won't be shown up for trying to imitate her. At $138USD, it’s not cheap but it looks great quality and it has got some great reviews from the girls who have already bought it.

Last but not least, Australia’s High st has its own Issa replica, New Idea magazine nominated Leona Edmiston’s Hannah dress as the best imitation currently on the market. It’s $335 AUD and available now. But if you want something that bears a closer resemblance to the real thing, experts say that there’ll be a rush of dresses inspired by Kate Middleton's dress in the shops soon.

Australian shop copy of Royal Engagement dress

Article posted: 2010-11-25 21:54:54

The Royal Wedding date is set for 29 April 2011

The gorgeous Kate Middleton and Prince William Wales have set their wedding date for Friday April 29th 2011.

So Wills and Kate have confirmed their wedding date, and better still, David Cameron has confirmed April 29th will be a bank holiday for Britain. So there's no excuse not to wave your union jack flag, pull out your hankies and sit down in front of the box to share in their big day. Better still, why not dust off the Charles and Diana china for the occasion.

With the May bank holiday, the Royal Wedding bank holiday and Easter resting nearby, Britain will actually only have three working days between April 22 and May 2, and there'll be three short working weeks in a row. Awesome!

The cost of the Royal Wedding bank holiday to the British economy - in terms of lost productivity and overtime payments - is said to be a huge six billion pounds. It's just as well the Royal Family and the Middletons are paying for the wedding themselves!

It's worth taking into account that the six billion cost to the country will be offset -  revenue generated from additional tourism, royal memorabilia and the extra free time for shopping and partying will benefit retailers. 

Are you getting married on Friday 29th April? How do you feel about the Royal Wedding overshadowing your plans? Please get in touch and let me know -

If you're obsessed by the Royal Wedding as I am, check out new blog Mr and Mrs Wales for all the latest news, gossip, photos and details on Kate Middleton and Prince William's wedding.

Alternatively read on for how you can get a wedding dress from Kate Middleton's favourite dress designer Issa for just over 400 pounds - I kid you not!


Article posted: 2010-11-24 21:55:41

Jenny Packham Sample Sale, London !

Great news! The FABULOUS Jenny Packham is holding a London Sample today and tomorrow (Friday 19 and Saturday 20 November 2010)

Jenny Packham wedding dresses aren't on sale, but her evening wear and accessories are. So if you fancy something a little bit more red carpet than church aisle or you're looking for Bridesmaid dresses - check it out! Dresses start at an incredibly affordable 99 quid, so definitely worth checking out for a potential bargain!

All the details of the sample sale can be found on the Looking Good - Wedding dress discounts page.



Article posted: 2010-11-18 23:58:29

Get a Wedding Dress from Kate Middleton's Dress Designer for just £403.62

How to get an Issa Wedding Dress of your own for just over £400

With Kate Middleton choosing a dress from her favourite designer Issa to wear for the official Royal engagement photocall and interview, sources suggest that Issa could be the designer for the Royal Wedding dress too.

If Kate Middleton does choose Issa to design her wedding gown, Issa will become the designer of choice for Brides in 2011 and beyond. The good news is that even if this becomes the case, it’s still possible for you to get an Issa wedding dress of your own relatively cheaply. Issa create a range of white full-length evening dresses that look both bridal and absolutely sensational, yet are affordable even on a low budget. Royal Wedding designer ISSA Value Designer Wedding Dress Marilyn Monroe

First up is this beautiful Marilyn Monroe-style wedding dress that Issa sell exclusively on Made from silk-chiffon, the detailing at the front is very similar to Kate’s engagement dress, beautiful for accentuating an hour-glass figure. But best of all, it’s just £459.57 – amazingly good value for an Issa dress, and actually pretty cheap as far as designer wedding dresses go.  With its low back, ivory glow and Hollywood glamour appeal – this bridal gown would easily look five times the price.

Issa one shoulder Bridal gown affordable designer wedding dress






Also from is this gorgeous one-shouldered grecian Issa evening gown. I absolutely love the slim silhouette, this would make a beautiful wedding dress for any Bride, and at £523.40 is great value too. The perfect choice for the girl who wants a royal designer wedding dress but isn't on a designer wedding budget.

Next, Issa's choice for a more laid back wedding. On sale at just £403.62 from (reduced from £1,153.19 - that's a 65% discount), this Issa dress would be a great choice of wedding gown for a Bohemian bride or beach wedding. It’s cute embroiIssa sale wedding dress discountdery and plunging neckline means it’s both sweet and sexy at the same time. Only sizes 6 and 8 left through at the time of writing this.

Finally, for those Brides who want to break the mould and move away from traditional white, this gorgeous midnight blue evening dress would make an amazing wedding dress. Made from silk with a low back, it’s both sexy and sophisticated and utterly, utterly gorgeous. Available from Midnight blue bridal gown silk one shoulder princess catherine designer for £429.79 – not cheap, but absolutely great value for a designer wedding dress.

So Brides, there we go, if Issa does become Kate Middleton’s designer of choice for the Royal Wedding dress, you could have one by the same designer for just over £400. Pretty amazing value if you ask me.

Let’s hope Kate has been consulting The Chief Bridesmaid to get a few moneysaving wedding tips, I think she would look absolutely beautiful walking down the aisle in Issa’s Marilyn Monroe £459.57 number.

Click on the link for more money saving tips and ideas on getting a cheaper designer wedding dress, it could save you a lot of money.

Article posted: 2010-11-18 01:28:06

The Answer to the Questions on the Nation’s lips: Who made Kate Middleton’s blue Engagement Dress & where can I buy it?

All is revealed - Kate Middleton's engagement dress designer was from Issa! Speculators suggest that Issa could be chosen as the Royal Wedding Dress designer.Sapphire blue silk wrap dress royal engagement photo Kate Middleton Issa

The Chief Bridesmaid absolutely LOVED the beautiful blue silk wrap dress that Kate wore for her engagement photo shoot and interview, and so spent all of yesterday trying to get one of her own.

Kate’s fitted frock cost £385 and is from Issa, a London-based fashion label set up by Brazilian-born designer Daniella Issa Helayel. The dress was so popular among the nation that within 12 hours of Kate and Will’s interview being aired, it sold out on website royal wedding photo call dress kate william

Where can I get Kate's dress for myself?

Whilst Kate's exact dress has now sold out, Matches still have this similar Issa dress available in a pale grey colour for a slightly cheaper (but still unobtainable for most of us non-royals) £330 on

Similar Issa dress to Kate Middleton engagement photo blue dressBut don’t worry girls, no doubt the high street designers will be knocking up replicas in no time, and when it does, The Chief Bridesmaid will be here to report on where you can buy it!

As well as celebrities like Madonna and Naomi Campbell, Issa has been a favourite designer of Kate Middleton for several years. The rumour mill is now suggesting that Issa-founder Daniella Issa Helayel could even be a contender to design the Royal Wedding dress itself!

Will Issa be the Royal Wedding Dess designer?

Adding fuel to the fire is that Issa has recently begun making custom bridal gowns, including a wedding dress for Jessica Simon, the daughter of Monsoon owner Peter Simon.

The good news for Brides is that Issa already has a couple of ready-to-wear full-length white evening dresses that would make great low-cost wedding gowns. Check out my next blog on how to get a wedding dress from the Royal Dress Designer for just over 400 pounds!

Alternatively, read on to get money saving tips on buying a wedding dress.

Article posted: 2010-11-18 00:39:39

Congratulations Kate Middleton and Prince William on your engagement news! Royal Wedding planned for Spring/Summer 2011!

Yay for the new Royal Couple!

The Chief Bridesmaid is overenjoyed with the news that Prince William has finally proposed to Kate Middleton (or Princess Catherine as she will soon be formally known) nine long years after they first met at St Andrews University. 

The Royal wedding, which will be the biggest since Charles and Diana’s, is planned for sometime during Spring or Summer next year. The Royals are known for their short engagements, and so rumour has it that their nuptuals could be scheduled for as early as March 2011.   

Did everyone enjoy watching Kate and Wills’s first post-engagement interview together? As absolutely stunningly beautiful as Kate looked, did you cringe a little bit as they stuttered to answer some of the questions? I was definitely endeared to their rather awkward charm, but I do hope Kate is given a bit more media training before the next one!

Kate and Wills Royal Wedding photo blue dressThere’s no denying though that Kate Middleton is both stunning and incredibly stylish. (How much do we all love the silk blue wrap dress she wore for the engagement interview? If you know who designed it, or where sells good imitations, please email me at chiefbridesmaid <at> and let me know!)

 Best of all, whilst she has elegance and class, she’s a bargain hunter at heart.  Kate has shown on numerous occasions that she’s not afraid to save a few pounds by shopping on the High st. Who could forget this fabulous topshop number she wore a few years ago?

Royal Wedding News Kate Middleton Topshop style photo

 For those Royalists among you, I’m going to be blogging non- stop on how you can recreate the best bits of the Royal Wedding for your own wedding (and on a smaller budget). I’ll be following the William and Kate’s wedding plans every step of the way and bringing you advice on how to recreate the royal look for less. This week, I’ll be looking into where you can get your own copy of the Kate Middleton’s wedding ring more cheaply and talking about the Royal Wedding budget.  Yes, I’m sure even Princess Kate (to be) will have one! 

Please stay tuned and join me to wish the new Royal Couple our very genuine best wishes upon their engagement! (And a good chance of an extra national holiday next year – yay!)

Article posted: 2010-11-18 02:16:39

A Quick Big Up to any Aussie Brides

Aussie Brides - check the weather for your Wedding day on the World's most revolutionary weather website! is super speedy to use because it recognises the user’s location and immediately delivers weather information for their area, enabling faster access to their local weather information.Chief Bridesmaid wedding forecast

It's also really easy to use because all your local weather forecast is combined into one page, so unlike other sites, you don't have to spend hours searching through layer of content to find what you want. So whether you want to see the part-day forecast, 10 day forecast or rainfall probability - it's all at your fingertips . Coming soon is the 28-day rainfall planner, so even when your wedding is weeks away, you can still see whether it's forecast to be a washout. But don't be down-hearted - remember Bridies, it's good luck to rain on your wedding day! It did on ours!

Check it out now, - they're running an awesome competition at the moment (42" TV, Macbook and waterproof camera,yes please) - could be a great way to kick off newly-wedded bliss!! Lots of love, The CB xoxo

Article posted: 2010-04-14 12:58:27

Three Grand Weddings - episode one starts tonight!

Hey Brides and Grooms,

A brand new ten-part series is airing on Wedding TV tonight at 9pm - Three Grand Weddings, and The Chief Bridesmaid is delighted to be involved! I'll be presenting the show as well as offering top tips on how to save money on your wedding day. 

Three Grand Weddings sees three couples set their friends and family the task of planning their dream wedding – all on a budget of just £3,000!

Each couple also had a top wedding planner on hand to help too - however, there was a catch....the couple had to hand over the wedding plans completely to their planner, friends and family - and not know a thing about it until the big day itself! 

So the Brides arrived at their wedding day not knowing where they were getting married, what they were eating for their wedding breakfast or even...and here's biggie...what their wedding dress was like!

In episode one this evening (with a repeat on Wednesdays at 8pm), we'll meet the wedding teams and see them decide on the wedding venue!

So, how will the wedding teams get on? Will they manage to put together a wedding for just £3,000? Or will all of the wedding budget be gone by the end of the first episode?

Tune in to the Chief Bridesmaid tonight on Three Grand Weddings at 9pm on Wedding TV (Sky 266 and Freesat 400) to find out!

Article posted: 2010-01-11 20:51:27

Chief Bridesmaid Lucy Elliott to present

The Chief Bridesmaid, Lucy Elliott, has been appointed as the presenter of Wedding TV’s brand new series, "Three Grand Weddings". 

This is the first commission aimed at Brides getting married on a budget - and let's hope it's the first of many. I'm so proud of Wedding TV for covering what other wedding media has ignored for too long - weddings that don't have superstar, celebrity  designer budgets. 

The brand new series called, "Three Grand Weddings", will be airing from Monday at nine pm on Freesat 400 and Sky 266.

"Three Grand Weddings" sees three couples set their friends and family the task of planning their dream wedding – all on a budget of just £3,000! With the average wedding in the UK costing over £20,000, it’ll be an enormous challenge, and so the wedding teams will have to be resourceful and imaginative in order to win.

As well as presenting the series, and offering viewers top tips on how to save money on their wedding day, Lucy Elliott will be judging which couple’s wedding team have done the best job of creating a dream wedding on a nightmare budget!

The series has come along at the perfect time. Today’s engaged couples are worried about keeping their jobs, nevermind planning expensive weddings and so it's high time there is a series that caters to brides on a budget.

Ultimately, though I hope viewers will take out that it doesn’t matter how much you spend on your wedding - if the man’s perfect, your big day will be too.

"Three Grand Weddings" will be airing from Monday at 9pm on Wedding TV (Freesat 400 and Sky 266). There'll be repeats on Wednesdays at 8pm.

Article posted: 2010-01-07 12:29:58

Happy 2010 fromThe Chief Bridesmaid!

To my dearest Brides and Grooms,

Wishing you a wonderful 2010 - especially if you're getting married this year!

Make your New Year's resolution not to overspend on your Wedding day!

Hopefully, the credit crunch and recession is coming to an end, but this isn't to say that so should saving money for your wedding! The road to economic recovery is a long and uncertain one, and therefore, it's important that you still manage your wedding budget, avoid emotional spending.  

Exciting new developments for The Chief Bridesmaid in 2010

The Chief Bridesmaid will continue to offer Brides and Grooms in the UK advice on maximising their wedding budgets - whether they be large or small! However, The Chief Bridesmaid will soon not just be found online - Lucy Elliott, founder of The Chief Bridesmaid, will soon be seen presenting a fabulous series for Wedding TV all about budget weddings!

Apologies too for being a bit quiet on the blogging front over the past couple of months, I've been setting the groundwork for The Chief Bridesmaid's expansion to Australia. The UK site will continue to run as normal, but they'll also be wedding planning information for Australian brides too.

Good Luck with all your Wedding plans - please remember - if the man's (or woman's) right for you, your wedding will be the best day of your life regardless of how much you spend on the wedding!

Lots of love,

The Chief Bridesmaid xoxo

Article posted: 2010-01-04 09:51:44

Wedding Planning needn't be all hard work

When you're planning your wedding, it's easy to get disheartened. Wedding costs can spiral, misbehaving relatives can mess up seating plans, and you and your Hubba-to-be can find yourselves arguing over the tiniest details from bouquet ribbon to invitation lettering.  

That's why I was really pleased to come across a site that sees the funny side to weddings and the things we obsess about in the months before the big day. The Wedinator collates the world's funniest wedding pics - from the angry Bride who's had one too many to the most unimaginably tasteless wedding line-ups (must be seen to be believed!).

So next time you and your Groom have a fight over the wedmin, or feel your budget wedding is no longer within your wedding budget,  why not check out The Wedinator. it won't help you plan your wedding - but it will bring a smile to your face!



Article posted: 2009-12-01 14:45:20

Reader questions - I love Real Bride Sarah's wedding dress - where did she get it from?

Reader question - I love real life "cheap but chic" bride Sarah's wedding dress - it's really unusual and just stunning - where did she get it from?

Pronovias designer wedding dress - cheap chic Bride  The Chief Bridesmaid's answer -

 Real life Bride Sarah's beautiful dress is from Pronovias. Now Pronovias wedding dresses aren't by any means cheap, however,  they are better value than many of the other designer wedding dresses you see out there. For example, many of Pronovias's dresses still come in for less than £1,000, compared to the £2,500 that many designer Bridal shops charge. This dress cost well under £1,000 yet looks a million dollars.

What's also worth pointing out is that because Pronovias is so incredibly popular, it's not uncommon to find newly wed Brides selling their dresses off on second hand wedding dress sites like Share the Dream. Preloved - the second hand website - currently has 114 Pronovias dresses and veils for sale, so it's always worth checking their site out if you're happy to buy second hand.

Second hand Pronovias wedding dress sale discount designer budget reduced


Article posted: 2009-08-18 00:44:54

Delicious credit crunch wedding cakes from Planet Cake!

Hi All

First of all, an apology on two counts -

The Chief Bridesmaid and her hubba have been travelling through the deepest depths of Asia for the last few months so it's been too difficult to post regularly. Apologies if I've been a bit quite for a while. I'm back online now and so I hope redeem myself over the next few weeks.  Planet wedding cheap cake london bargain affordable low cost

Secondly, this is a bit of a re-post. Last time I wrote about Planet Cake's fabulous idea to offer simpler credit-crunch priced cakes, I didn't have access to a computer that could re-size the stunning photos adequately for me to be able to post them. Anyway, with a new laptop purchased, I've been able to do that, and can now offer the opportunity for you to indulge in some delectable wedding cake porn! Check this beauty out for starters!

Until now, professional wedding cakes may have seemed beyond the reach of most Brides on a budget, and so Planet Cake has come up with the perfect wedding cake for Brides who want a fabulous, yet low cost, cake for their big day.

The money saving idea behind the beautiful 4-tier credit crunch wedding cake is that it is iced with a simple rustic style of butter-cream icing instead of the smoother, more traditional fondant icing frequently used in cake making. There are no fiddly, time-consuming piped designs or flowers made from sugar, as it is these elements that increase the cost of the wedding cake. (Personally, I love this unfussy, more modern look to icing - I think it looks tastier and much more stylish.)

Strawberry chocolate cheap professional wedding cake maker london

This wonderfully cheaper alternative can then be simply styled using coloured ribbons and fresh fruits and flowers to create a stunning yet elegant cake.

To keep the costs down, Planet cake have decorated the credit crunch wedding cake with garden flowers, herbs and fruit. The difference in price between an orchid and a simple garden daisy is huge. The result is a more organic yet beautiful style of cake. I love the simplicity and unpretentiousness of it all.

The top tier of this wedding cake is a dummy. This allows for flowers and foliage to be easily pushed into the cake. The other 3 tiers are sponge (in any flavour of your choice) and will feed up to 80 guests.

Cheap credit crunch butterfly wedding cake planet cake londonFor a total cost of £325, Planet Cake will source the decoration for your cake to match your theme. Alternatively you can purchase the cake for £300 and let your friends or florist do the decorating.

You can have the cake in any flavour you choose and the covering can even be coloured if you wish. The cake is made fresh to order from quality ingredients and has no artificial content.

As most professional wedding cakes average at a cost of £600....this one is a bargain and it’s really tasty too!

Aside from the credit crunch cake, Planet Cake is offering all Chief Bridesmaid readers a 5% discount on cakes booked with Planet Cake (excluding the credit crunch cake) OR 8 boxed mini fruitcakes to match their chosen cake as gifts for the top table. Please quote offer code "the chief bridesmaid" upon booking.

To contact Planet Cake, call Rachel on 07958 714672 or check out the website at

Looking for other ways to save money on your wedding cake? Planet Cake suggests these money saving tips:

Always tell your cake maker if you have a fixed budget and they should accommodate your needs within the design.

When purchasing your cake from a cake maker, the more sugar flowers and piped decoration, the more expensive your cake will be. These details are very time consuming, so to keep the cost down, keep it simple! The less dots and spots, the cheaper it will be.

If you want to make your cake look bigger, but not pay for the cake, most cake makers use polystyrene dummys. You could have a 5 tier cake, yet only the bottom tier is real. You could even hire a whole dummy cake. Most cake makers have display cakes that they use for exhibitions, so it’s always worth asking! Then you could serve your friends homemade delights, when it comes to eating. Daisy straw rustic cheap wedding cake

Don’t choose expensive fresh flowers. There are so many pretty cheaper flowers out there like flowers from your own garden, or cheaper cut flowers like gerbias.

Cup cakes are now a very popular choice for Brides. They are really fun and can be dressed to suit any theme. Again, if the decoration is simple, for example a big strawberry or a fresh daisy, it is going to be so much cheaper than choosing an edible handmade sugar flower. Planet Cake has cupcakes that range from £2.00 to £5.00 depending on their complexity.

And lastly, you can always ask for a never know!

Article posted: 2009-08-17 08:27:46

Did you have a wedding for less than £5,000? Appear in Look magazine!

Did you get married for less than £5000?

Dearest Budget Brides and Grooms,

I've been contacted by Alice, a freelance journalist for Look magazine who is keen to put together a story on weddings that cost less than £5,000.

If you're an already-wed or very-soon- to-be-wed who had a budget wedding and are aged between 19-35, why not take up this fab offer of telling your wedding story, getting your name in print and potentially making a little bit of money in the process.

I'm always keen to feature budget brides in my real weddings section too so please keep in touch, send me your wedding pics and tell me your ideas.

Over to Alice......

I'm a freelance journalist and I'm currently researching a feature for Look magazine about couples who got married for less than £5,000 (brides should be aged 19-35).

Featuring would involve you giving a phone interview all about your wedding and budgeting etc. and we would like to take a photo of you and your now-husband too. We'd also need a couple of collect photos from your wedding day. In return, we'd be able to pay you a small fee as a thank you (on publication).

If you're interested, please contact Alice by email at

Article posted: 2009-07-18 16:03:46

Need a helping hand funding your wedding? BBC Three's Cash Mob is here to help!

BBC Three are producing a new TV series called Cash Mob, the series offers expert advice to help people save money where it really matters! 

Cash Mob will feature people looking to make an important life changing purchase - an engagement ring for a groom who's fallen on hard times, flights for relatives from to join a couple on their wedding day, a vital trip abroad to visit a poorly relative - and BBC Three's personal finance and negotiation experts will teach them the skills they need to get the item at a price they can afford.

The show are looking for people to take part and would like to hear from anyone aged 18-35 who is up for the challenge as soon as possible! If you have an interesting story behind why you really deserve the Expert's help, why not get in touch with the show letting them know what you want to buy and why? 

Contact Paul Morten at BBC Three     Tel: 0208 5769357*      


Closing date: 10 July 2009

* Standard geographic charges apply and calls may be included in your telecoms provider's call package. Calls from mobiles may be higher.

Article posted: 2009-06-29 06:54:29

Make your low cost Wedding appear like a money-no-object!

The Chief Bridesmaid went to a fabulous wedding at the weekend, one of her dearest friends from Uni and his girlfriend. It may have been an unpretentious, country wedding but it nevertheless was amazingly grand with breath-taking flowers and entertainment. To the untrained wedding planning eye, it could have been perceived as a money no object affair. But to a budget obsessed Bridezilla like the C.B, the wedding was a wealth of money saving ideas - and the typical guest would never have guessed a thing! 

So, a typical guest might have assumed that the bridal car - a convertible Citroen 2CV covered adorned with pretty flowers - was expensive retro wedding transport.

In reality, a wedding saving expert would spotted that in fact the Bride's car was her own (so free of charge), driven by her brother (again free, yet adorned in a chauffeur's cap to look the part), that the flowers were taken from the Bride's parents' garden (free again) and arranged by friends of the family (yes you've guessed it, free!)

A person looking at the couple's wedding photos might have supposed that the wedding took place in the grounds of a costly wedding venue.

In reality, the wedding was held in the Bride's parents backgarden - they'd just been gardening VERY hard over the last year or two! The couple did have to spend on a wedding marquee, but they because the wedding was held at home, they saved money on venue hire fees, corkage and the catering costs came in slightly cheaper than what's typical of venue catering costs. 

None of the wedding guests at the big day could have failed to have been astounded by the beautiful, beautiful flowers!  

In reality, a practised budget bride would have noticed that the couple were actually incredibly, incredibly wise with their wedding flower budget:

The grounds around the marquee were stunningly decorated with fairy lights, candles in jam jars and a bonfire that was set light when dark fell. It looks absolutely stunning in photographs - particularly where the orange glow is set against the backdrop of the marquee (n.b the fire and the canvas were a very safe distance apart).

The wedding entertainment was country dancing, an evening cabaret and a disco. Surely this would cost a fortune? But no! The cabaret was put together by the couple's friends and family so cost only time, not money. The country dancing caller and DJ were friends of the family and so came at a reduced rate.

So there was their wedding day - a beautiful day that to an outsider would have looked like a big budget bonanza - but in reality, was low-cost, simple and very, very effective.

Congratulations you guys - I had such a good time at your wedding day. Hope you're having an amazing honeymoon together.

with love, The Chief Bridesmaid xoxo

Article posted: 2009-06-04 17:28:11

Planet Cake launches a Credit Crunch Wedding Cake!

Until now, professional wedding cakes may seemed beyond the reach of most Brides on a budget, and so Planet Cake has come up with the perfect cake for Brides who want a fabulous cake more cheaply.

The money saving idea behind the beautiful 4-tier credit crunch wedding cake is that it is iced with a simple rustic style of butter-cream icing instead of the smoother fondant icing frequently used in cake making. There are no fiddly, time-consuming piped designs or flowers made from sugar, as it is these elements that increase the cost of your cake.

This wonderfully cheaper alternative can then be simply styled using coloured ribbons and fresh fruits and flowers to create a stunning yet elegant cake.

To keep the costs down, Planet cake have decorated the credit crunch wedding cake with garden flowers, herbs and fruit. The difference in price between an orchid and a simple garden daisy is huge. The result is a more organic yet beautiful style of cake. I love the simplicity and unpretentiousness of it all.

The top tier of this cake is a dummy. This allows for flowers and foliage to be easily pushed into the cake. The other 3 tiers are sponge (in any flavour of your choice) and will feed up to 80 guests.

For a total cost of £325, Planet Cake will source the decoration for your cake to match your theme. Alternatively you can purchase the cake for £300 and let your friends or florist do the decorating.

You can have the cake in any flavour you choose and the covering can even be coloured if you wish. The cake is made fresh to order from quality ingredients and has no artificial content.
As most professional wedding cakes average at a cost of £600....this one is a bargain and it’s really tasty too!

Aside from the credit crunch cake, Planet Cake is offering all Chief Bridesmaid readers a 5% discount on cakes booked with Planet Cake (excluding the credit crunch cake) OR 8 boxed mini fruitcakes to match their chosen cake as gifts for the top table. Please quote offer code "the chief bridesmaid" upon booking.

To contact Planet Cake, call Rachel on 07958-714-672 or check out the website

Looking for other ways to save money on your wedding cake - check out Planet Cake suggests these money saving tips:

Always tell your cake maker if you have a fixed budget and they should accommodate your needs within the design.

When purchasing your cake from a cake maker, the more sugar flowers and piped decoration, the more expensive your cake will be. These details are very time consuming, so to keep the cost down, keep it simple! The less dots and spots, the cheaper it will be.

If you want to make your cake look bigger, but not pay for the cake, most cake makers use polystyrene dummys. You could have a 5 tier cake, yet only the bottom tier is real. You could even hire a whole dummy cake. Most cake makers have display cakes that they use for exhibitions, so it’s always worth asking! Then you could serve your friends homemade delights, when it comes to eating.

Don’t choose expensive fresh flowers. There are so many pretty cheaper flowers out there like flowers from your own garden, or cheaper cut flowers like gerbias.

Cup cakes are now a very popular choice for Brides. They are really fun and can be dressed to suit any theme. Again, if the decoration is simple, for example a big strawberry or a fresh daisy, it is going to be so much cheaper than choosing an edible handmade sugar flower. Planet Cake has cupcakes that range from £2.00 to £5.00 depending on their complexity.

And lastly, you can always ask for a never know!

cheap Blogs

Article posted: 2009-05-31 23:16:18

Church offers free weddings to Brides on a budget

Cash strapped Brides hit by the recession are having to postpone their wedding days. But one church has decided to offer a helping hand to couples who can't afford to get married. St Hild and St Helen's, in Dawdon, County Durham, is giving credit crunch Brides and Grooms the chance to get married in the church for free.

As well as the church service, it is reported that the virtually free wedding offer throws in an organist plus outfits for the bride, bridesmaids, bridegroom and mother of the bride.

The only condition is that couples take four pre-marital lessons before the big day - with a £50 fee payable to the registrar.

Credit crunch Bride, Donna Swinney, 29, and her fiance Alan Davison, 33, couldn't afford to get married after he was made redundant from his job last year.

But the couple became the first to take advantage of the free wedding service when they tied the knot last week. The Church's Vicar said: 'People really want to get married, but at this time there's a credit crunch.

'I think those who have taken up the offer think it's a novel idea. They wanted to know more because it's free and they've been looking for a church for a time.

'They really want to be married and be together, and that's as it should be.'

Good on St Hild and St Helens - a brilliant idea and a dream come true for Brides on a budget! Let's hope we see more ingenuity like this from wedding suppliers in the recession.

Article posted: 2009-05-21 19:36:21

Win, Win, Win! Bride Wars DVD competition!

Hey All,

Has the Chief Bridesmaid got a treat for you today? We've got a Bride Wars-themed competition!

Bride Wars - the fabulous chick flick with Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson - is being released on DVD on Monday (18th May), and to celebrate I've got 5 copies of the DVD to give away as well as a pair of Bridal-themed boxing gloves for the winner!

I went to see Bride Wars at the cinema earlier this year and absolutely loved it - drama, comedy, tears and enough wedding porn to keep even the most beleagued Bride a pre-wedding glow!

The story follows best friends Liv and Emma as their dream weddings turn them from BFFs into Bridezillas!

Liv played by Kate Hudson (How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days) and Emma played by Anne Hathaway (The Devil Wears Prada) have been best friends since they were kids - furthermore, they have been planning every detail of their weddings since they were six years old. Both dreaming of a lavish celebration at New York’s plaza hotel, it looks like they will finally get the weddings they have longed for when 20 years later their respective boyfriends propose, they secure June dates at the Plaza and get ready for happily ever after.

But when it comes to weddings, nothing ever goes according to plan…

When their exclusive wedding planner makes a terrible error, Liv and Emma end up scheduled to marry on the same date. Unwilling to back-down, their lifelong friendship gets cast aside as the former pals find themselves locked in a take-no-prisoners Bride War to ruin each other's big day!

If you'd like to enter this fabulous Bride Wars competition, you will need to answer this question:

What is the name of Kate Hudson's film star mother?

Please write your answer in the subject line of your email and send it to me at:

Please include your name and address in the body of the email and respond by the closing date, June 1st 2009. The t&cs can be found at the foot of the page.

The winner will receive the bridal boxing gloves and a copy of Bride Wars on DVD, 4 runners up will win a copy of the Bride Wars DVD each.

Good Luck! But if you don't win, you can always check out a fun free Bride wars-themed ecard for your bridesmaids:
Bride Wars E-card

Whilst we're on the subject on wedding movies, maybe we should have a think about some of the other best wedding movies out there. Might be a good idea for table names?!:

1. My Big Fat Greek Wedding
2. Muriel's Wedding
3. My Best Friend's Wedding
4. The Wedding Planner
5. 4 Weddings and a Funeral
6. Love Actually (OK, not exactly a wedding movie, but Keira's dress in this is so stunning it totally deserved a mention)
7. Father of the Bride
8. Green Card (I love this film!)
9. The Wedding Singer
10. Sex and the City - the movie.


with lots of love, The Chief Bridesmaid xoxo

Bride Wars Competition - Terms and Conditions:

1. This competition is open to entrants in the UK and ROI only.

2. The Chief Bridesmaid reserves the right to cancel or amend the Bride Wars Competition without notice. Any changes will be posted either within these terms and conditions.

3. In the event of any dispute regarding the Rules, conduct, results and all other matters relating to the Bride Wars Competition, the decision of The Chief Bridesmaid shall be final and no correspondence or discussion shall be entered into.

4. You may enter the Bride Wars Competition as many times as you like however where a winner has been selected and The Chief Bridesmaid discovers or has reasonable grounds to believe the winner has used any software or automated process either to answer questions or to make bulk entries, The Chief Bridesmaid may select an alternative winner. Any further winner will be selected on the same criteria as the original winner and will be subject to these Rules.

5. Competition entries must be made in the manner and by the closing date specified. Failure to do so will disqualify the entry.

6. Prize winners will be chosen at random from all qualifying Entries within 28 days of the closing date.

Article posted: 2009-05-20 14:41:22

U.S. Brides have all the luck!

I know that many of you guys who read the blog aren't based in the UK and so I thought that today's entry should go international.

The Chief Bridesmaid has just discovered another benefit for those who live in America. These benefits go beyond the best national parks, the best looking President, getting movies ages before anyone else, and being the home of Gossip Girl (which simply must be the best TV show on earth). America is the home of David's Bridal, true show-stoppers of bridal gowns and bridesmaid dresses that brides can afford whatever their budget may be.

Much like the Chief Bridesmaid, David's Bridal works on the principle that every bride should look and feel like a million dollars on her wedding day regardless of her budget. When browsing some of their key looks for the season, it's honestly hard to tell that they aren't designer. What I love is that they don't offer low cost wedding dresses just to make up the money on their accessories, with veils at $49 and bridal shoes at $39, everything they offer is good value.

My favourite is the modern romance look - a beautiful, elegant halter neck dress, veil, handbag, shoes and jewellery all for $630. Lovin it. With between $50 and $300 off everyone of their bridal gowns currently, even the most credit crunched bride should be able to find something within their budget.

Article posted: 2009-04-24 10:57:20

It's the small thoughtful touches that make a Wedding

Congratulations to my oldest friend Kate who got married to the lovely Paul on Saturday! Wow, what an amazing wedding - a beautiful bride, lovely venue and awesome band (hulagroove, who were just amazing).

It struck me at the end of the night that two of the most wonderful and unique things that I would remember after the day were actually the cheapest.

Kate has lived next to a stately home all of her life - the park there has the most amazing view - as you look across the lake, a majestic bridge sits on the horizon and reflects into the lake's waters. It's an amazing view, and more personal for Kate still as that's where Paul proposed. In admirable style, Kate approached the owners of the stately home and requested whether the buses taking guests from the church to the reception venue would be able to travel through the house's grounds past this incredible view. The estate kindly agreed (as Kate had been visiting most weeks for the last 30 years!), and so all the guests were treated to the most incredible bus ride through the park and past this incredible view. Everyone was so suprised as we headed past the Bridge that there was an audible "coo" from all the Wedding guests. A wonderful moment for everyone there.

The second personal touch was testiment to Kate's forethought. So that all the guests could feel comfortable and be rest assured that they were looking great, she left some lovely molton brown toiletries, chewing gum, nice lip gloss and various other little bits to help keep the wedding guests feeling on tip top form. A lovely thoughtful touch that made the wedding guests feel thoroughly looked after.

Congratulations Kate and Paul - it was an awesome, awesome wedding day and an amazing time on honeymoon!

with love, the chiefbridesmaid xoxox

Article posted: 2009-04-20 19:06:55

Have you had a beautiful budget wedding?

Are you a Budget Bride? Did you have a credit crunch wedding? Did you push your wedding suppliers to the max to get a great value wedding? Did you negotiate the unaffordable down to affordable? Did you go to amazing lengths to save for your wedding?

Then The ChiefBridesmaid wants to hear from you.

We're always looking for case-studies from Brides who had a fabulous day without busting your wedding budget. Just think, by passing on your moneysaving tips on how to have a brilliant wedding, you'll be helping hundreds of other credit crunch brides out there.

If you do have a story to tell, I'd love to hear from you. Please email me at

with lots of love from the Chief Bridesmaid and hundreds of credit crunch Brides-to-be out there xoxox

Weddings Blog Directory

Article posted: 2009-04-17 19:09:54

Less couples are taking the plunge!

The number of couples getting married in England and Wales fell more than 40,000 to 236,980 in 2006, from 278,975 in 1996, the office for national statistics revealed today.

That means that 1 in 7 of the girls who would have got married in 1996 are no longer getting wed.

I can only hope that it's not the high cost of weddings that are putting couples off. Fear not, there are plenty of ways to cut the cost of your wedding day, if you're a savvy Bride and push for a better, cheaper deals from the wedding market.

The good news for you thirty-somethings is that the average age for women getting married has increased almost two years since 2006 to nearly 30 for women and 32 for men.

So there's plenty of time to find a man and even less excuses to feel like you've been left on the shelf...if Brides love the man at the end of the aisle, they'll look happy and gorgeous walking it whatever age they are.

with love, The Chief Bridesmaid xoxo

Article posted: 2009-04-15 19:40:37

Groom funds wedding by selling advertising on his tie!

Has the credit crunch caused you to postpone your wedding day? Looking for ideas on how you can raise money for your wedding budget?

Well, why not take inspiration from a Groom in Romania who is trying to pay for his Wedding by selling advertising space on his wedding tie.

Tudor Ciora, 26, from Sibiu, has set up a website for bidders who wish to advertise on his wedding tie - he believes that with the money he raises he'll easily pay for the wedding ceremony.

Companies can pay 20 euro for a space near the top of his tie, 15 euro for one in the middle or just 10 euro to have their name at the bottom of the tie.

Mr Ciora hopes that the funds raised will not only pay for his wedding day but also a new car.

Would you allow your Wedding day to be a sponsored event?

Would you be happy to offer sponsorship on your order of service or wedding invites - or would that be a step too far?

How about shaving in company logos into the back of the groom's or best man's hair? At least they won't show up in the wedding photos where they're facing the camera!

Or how about selling advertising on the inside of the mens' suit jackets?

If you can think of an interesting or unique way of raising money for your wedding, you could attract attention from the press, which in turn, is likely to attract higher advertising revenue. It's not everybody's cup of tea - but if you're lucky enough to think of an innovative enough idea, you might just find that your wedding pays for itself!

Food for thought anyway....

with lots of love,

The Chief Bridesmaid xoxo

Article posted: 2009-04-14 22:10:40

6 tips to walk the aisle in style!

Worried that walking the aisle will reduce you to an emotional wreck? Don't want running mascara in the wedding photos? Here are my top tips for walking the aisle in style!

1. Tell your Dad or whoever is walking you down the aisle not to say anything remotely emotional to you on the day - especially immediately beforehand! Just before entering the church is not the time to tell you what an amazing daughter you are, how beautiful you look, how much he and your mother love you etc etc! Ask them to get any such conversations over with the night before!

2.If the reality of getting wed is likely to make you sob your way down the aisle, pretend you're a film star walking the red carpet or you're Kylie Minogue playing Charlene in Neighbours. Tell yourself that it's not real and you're playing the part of stunningly beautiful yet composed bride floating down the aisle on her wedding day - if you believe it, everyone else will!

3. Unless you really dare, or don't mind shedding a few tears, don't share any lingering looks with your parents! I completely ignored my parents until well into the Wedding recpetion so that I wouldn't well up!

4. Smile and try to have fun as you walk down the aisle! I know it sounds hard but this is your one day to feel what it's like to be a pop star - today you're marrying the man of your dreams - it's the biggest celebration of your life - make the most of it!

5. Take five before heading into church to compose yourself, it's a chance for your Bridesmaids to double check you are looking gorgeous and for you to take a very big deep breath!

6. If you really don't think the other tips will be enough, have a big breakfast; and then shortly before leaving for the ceremony - have a vodka and tonic. It'll steady your nerves and give you the confidence to walk that aisle in style! It certainly helped me - I made it to the readings without having a sob!

Article posted: 2009-04-06 23:45:37

What are artificial diamonds? Are they just as good?

So what you think if your man proposed with a beautiful diamond engagement ring that contained a man-made artificial diamond?

Chemically, it would still be the real deal - identical to a mined diamond, but instead of being mined and found naturally, it had been created in a laboratory. You wouldn't be able to tell the difference, and cruciually, as they're much cheaper than real diamonds, so you'd get a much bigger gem for your money!! Bring on the bling!

The introduction of large, feasible diamonds grown artificially has set off much debate about the advantages and disadvantages with these new gems. In a sense "artificial" diamond is somewhat of a misnomer, these aren't fake diamonds or simple lookalikes like cubic zirconia, glass, or quartz. Rather they are "cultured", grown, laboratory, or man-made diamonds, similar to the words used for pearls. At a chemical make up level, there are no appreciable differences between the dazzling gems that we know and love and that emerge from the ground and those that emerge from a vacuum chamber in terms of cut, clarity, or color.

If even certified geologists have trouble distinguishing mined diamonds from their manufactured counterparts, then I don't think we should have a problem with wearing them in our engagement rings. It might not be as traditional, but anything that looks just as fabulous and yet costs less is a winner in my book, and my cheque book.

My Hollywood history lesson from Leo Di Caprio's "Blood Diamond" also teaches me that men and women around the world are still dying for the sake of the diamond trade - and so could mined, artificial diamonds actually offer a humanitarian alternative to the traditional engagement token?

Article posted: 2009-03-27 15:51:08

Special wedding photography offer - for The Chief Bridesmaid readers!

Award-winning photographer Jay Rowden has teamed up with The Chief Bridesmaid to offer 10% off his wedding photography packages.

Jay trained in photography at esteemed University Central St Martins and has since had his work featured in numerous national magazines, newspapers and high profile TV campaigns. But after shooting a wedding in 2008, he hasn't looked back.

Check out his beautiful work on his website - - please mention offer code - the chief bridesmaid if you do decide to book.

Offer is subject to availability and is only available to London brides.

Denise Byrd Wedding Dresses - Stylish designer wedding dresses and bridal wear at a deep discount to normal Bridal prices. The bride can buy her wedding dress conveniently online. All sizes including Plus size; made-to-order in the UK for a quick delivery.

Article posted: 2009-03-24 16:23:25

Wedding sale at BHS - 20% off

BHS has 20% off selected wedding dresses, accessories, shoes and bridesmaid dresses - making it cheaper than ever to stock up for your wedding day there.

I'm loving the BHS Jessica pink lace-up back bodice priced at £28 - it's elegant, pretty and simple - not at all the tacky, cheap looking thing you might expect at such a bargain price!

Article posted: 2009-03-24 10:23:02

Free Bridal make up and skin-care classes from Dermalogica!

Have a free Wedding make-up and skin care class with Dermalogica

Dermalogica are organising free interactive make up and skin care classes for Brides-to-be in their London store.

They'll be running free Bridal make-up classes for Brides-to-be on 16 April 6-8pm, 14 May 7-8pm and 18 June 6-8pm.

They'll be running Bridal skin-care classes giving tips on how to achieve that all important wedding day glow on 25 April 2-3pm, 15 May 6-7pm and 18th June 6-8pm.

Call 0800 345 7546 to book yourself a place now!

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Article posted: 2009-03-23 17:35:54

Clinique bonus time is back! Stock up on your wedding day make up now!

Clinique Bonus Time at Boots is now on! Receive your gift with 2 Clinique purchases until April 4th 2009.

Clinique isn't by any means cheap make up, but it is good quality and so it's worth making an investment in a couple of really key pieces for your wedding day. Plus with Bonus time, you'll get given a number of sample sizes for free, these are ideal for packing into your make up bag honeymoons and hen nights!

The Chief Bridesmaid loves Clinique sparkle skin body exfoliator as a real treat before home fake-tanning! The Clinique lip enhancing lip gloss is great too!

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Article posted: 2009-03-20 22:44:47

Wedding Saving Expert is changing its name to The Chief Bridesmaid

Some of the best things in life are forced to change their name occasionally - Marathon became Snickers, Jif became Cif and William Bradley became Brad Pitt - keeping suit Wedding Saving Expert is changing its name to The Chief Bridesmaid.

Don't worry, the site will still be bringing you the best in moneysaving wedding advice, low cost dress tips and exclusive special offers with wedding dress suppliers.

So you'll still get the same fabulous special deals and the same savvy advice - you'll just have a slightly different url to type in. All too confusing? Why not bookmark the site for future easy reference.

lots of love

The Chief Bridesmaid xoxo

Article posted: 2009-03-12 23:01:01

Did you have a wedding for less than £3,000?

Did you have a wedding on a rock bottom budget? If so, the Chief Bridesmaid would love to hear from you. How did you save money? What are your top tips? Did your cheap wedding live up to all your dreams? Your story could be told in a top newspaper. Please tell me your story at

thank you! with love, The Chief Bridesmaid xoxo

Article posted: 2009-02-26 22:28:32

Win your dream wedding in the Cotswolds worth £15,000!

The Community Times in Cheltenham is running a competition offering Brides the chance to win their dream wedding in the Cotswolds worth around £15,000! The lucky Bride and Groom who win, will be given virtually everything from the wedding dress, bridal lingerie, hair styling, make-up, honeymoon lingerie, men's wear, rings, tiara, flowers, photography, accommodation, wedding cake, food, drink, wedding car, balloons, chair covers, table decorations, chocolate fountain, glassware, violinist and more.

Entry is free and open until March, simply enter online:

Further details and terms and conditions can be found at this address.

Article posted: 2009-02-22 11:03:22

Amazing discount! Become a Luxe cardholder for just £100 (normally £325) - the smart way to save money on your big day

Good news Ladies! The Luxe Card, the only luxury lifestyle membership card exclusively for women, has now extended its offering to Wedding supplier discounts! Even better news, the lovely ladies at Luxe are offering Luxe card membership at a hugely reduced price of just £100 (normally £325) but you'll need to quote WSE upon application.

So now, even if you're looking to organise a bigger budget, more luxurious wedding, you can potentially still save thousands along the way! This is the smarter way to save money on your big day in every sense of the word.

Luxe Members already receive a variety of exclusive offers at an extensive range of high-end boutiques, shops, salons and spas to hotels, restaurants, bars and professional services, potentially saving thousands.

But with their new bridal offering, brides can peruse a dedicated wedding directory to source the most original and inspirational ideas for their dream day, with amazing concessions from London’s top wedding suppliers from venues to dress makers, hotels to jewellers.

By using The Luxe Card’s partner companies such as The Arabian Tent Company, you can save up to £1,200 on the cost of your wedding marquee hire. Or treat your guests to free glasses of Prosecco when you use Jamie Oliver’s catering company Fifteen Events....the possibilities are endless for a truly spectacular wedding, at a fraction of the original cost.

For the full range of discounts and to sign up for this amazing deal, go to

Article posted: 2009-02-18 13:15:56

Valentines designer wedding dress sample sale!

Saturday 14th February, 10am -6pm - Browns Bride Designer Wedding Dress sale

Brides, check out this exclusive chance to buy a hugely discounted designer wedding gown from Browns Bride! Many of the dresses are nearly new and are up to 70% off. Designers include Peter Langner, Reem Acra, Monique L’Huillier, Oscar De La Renta, Ellie Saab and more.

Please note that the dresses are only available at these hugely cut prices on Saturday 14th February. This is always a popular event so please arrive early to avoid disappointment.

For further information please contact or 0207 514 0056/ 0057.

Article posted: 2009-02-10 18:24:37

Wanna be on TV? Are you getting married before May 2009?

Fancy getting your wedding day featured on the TV? Well, read on...

Channel 4 are making a unique documentary about weddings and married life in the UK for the prestigious "Cutting Edge" series and are looking for a huge cross section of couples to get in touch!

If you’re the lucky bride or groom, please get in touch now. By contacting Channel 4, you are not committing to being filmed; we are keen to speak to anybody for research and all calls will be treated in confidence.

CALL / TEXT Ang on 07505 902 510 / 020 7749 3112

or email

Article posted: 2009-02-10 18:22:17

Watch Money-saving Wedding advice on BBC2's Working Lunch

Watch yesterday's cheaper weddings interview on BBC2's Working Lunch with The Chief Bridesmaid's Chief Bridesmaid, Lucy Elliott on the link below

They discuss why weddings have got expensive, what are the best areas you can cut the cost on, and practical tips on how to do this. Watch on for a cheaper wedding!

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Article posted: 2009-02-03 22:36:07

Lucy Elliott to appear on Working Lunch (BBC2)

This Monday, 2nd Feb, Chief Bridesmaid of The Chief Bridesmaid, Lucy Elliott, formerly Lucy Shannon (me), will be appearing on the BBC's fabulous Working Lunch.

Every Monday, Working Lunch has a moneysaving Monday - and with this week's wedding special - this is essential viewing for any Brides and Grooms looking to plan their wedding during the credit crunch.

I'll be talking you through my top money saving wedding tips, where is best to save - and where to spend, and how to emerge from a recession wedding without wedding debt.

So please, tune into Working Lunch Monday 12.30-1.00pm.

Article posted: 2009-01-31 10:38:51

Save or splurge! What are the best things to save money on, and where's best to splash the cash!

Whatever your wedding budget, you can still have the day you've been dreaming about since you were little if you prioritise those areas that you really care about, and set out to save on those areas that you don't.

There are also some things that you can get away with spending less on than others - and so here are my top tips on where to save on your wedding, and where to splash out:

1. Splurge on the name-cards – and you can save on the wedding favours

- My sister-in-law bought pink lady apples in bulk and attached a paper leaf to each with each of the guests’ names on it – this fabulous and unique name card also doubled up as a wedding favour and so she actually ended up saving money! Most wedding favours are forgotten and left at the end of the night so there’s no point investing too much in them.

Other ideas for namecards that double up as wedding favours

o My cousin had cookies or cupcakes with the guests’ names iced on them

o Beautiful flat pebbles from the beach with guests names written on them in pretty writing

2. Splurge on the dress, save on the accessories and shoes

- Everyone will remember your dress, no-one will remember your veil, shoes, bracelets or jewellery

- Most wedding dresses are long and so cover your shoes anyway plus wedding accessories can be easily borrowed from friends and relatives. My shoes were £10 from the LK Bennett sales shop and my veil was borrowed from my sister (I wore my veil for about an hour whereas the dress stayed on all day!).

3. Splurge on the wedding breakfast, save on the entertainment

- Invest in the food – a few pounds will make a difference to the taste and the quality; save on the entertainment – no-one will care if it’s an ipod rather than a DJ

o advises its readers to run a democratic playlist as part of the wedding invite. Ask the guests what their favourite tunes are in the invite and encourage them to send back a list with their RSVP. That way you can line up your ipod with songs everyone enjoys.

4. Splurge on the cheese, save on the wedding cake & midnight buffet

- If you aren’t into your cake, why not have a wedding cake made from rounds of cheese instead of a traditional sponge?

- This will not only serve as your wedding cake, but also your cheese course and can be used as your midnight buffet!

- For our wedding, we bought the cheese from Waitrose and my sister in law decorated it – it cost about £100 – a fraction of a professionally made wedding cake and looked rather more impressive.

5. Splurge on the wine, save on the champagne

- Very few people could tell the difference between champagne and prosecco or cava. Why not save money by choosing one of these cheaper alternatives and spend what you save by upgrading to a slightly nicer wine?

Article posted: 2009-01-26 22:28:36

The BHS Credit crunch Wedding dress

BHS have just released photos of their credit crunch wedding dress which costs just £100 for a pretty silk bodice, A-line floor length skirt and shoes.

So, it might not be everyone's cup of tea, but if you're after something light, simple and really quite cheap - this could be the dress for you.

Article posted: 2009-01-15 23:47:31

Keen to forget the Credit crunch blues? - Head down to Bride Wars!

Lovely Brides-to-be! A couple of friends and I headed down to Bride Wars last night and ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT! I promised a bit of a review last week so here it is:

So it might be a bit cliched, so I guessed the ending half an hour in, but nevertheless if you fancy indulging in a bit of Weddingtastic fun, this is the movie for you. Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson are fabulous! The dresses are gorgeous! And you'll come out of the cinema filled with a warm glow of happiness. The perfect antidote for Brides feeling a bit mis with recession gloom and credit crunch blues. Enjoy! The Chief Bridesmaid xoxo

Article posted: 2009-01-13 23:34:29

50% off Wedding Dress storage boxes

50% off Perry de Montaignac Wedding Dress boxes!

Just because you've saved a fortune on your wedding dress, doesn't mean you won't want to keep it in pukka condition after the big day.

If you're keen to keep your wedding dress looking fabulous, we may well have the deal for you -

Top Wedding Dress cleaner and storage expert Perry de Montaignac are offering an exclusive discount of 50% off their beautiful wedding dress storage boxes.

These custom-made Wedding Dress boxes store and protect your lovely dress in a traditional and natural way, sealing it off from harmful environmental effects.

The acid-free tissue wrapping and ph neutral materials ensure your dress is stored in the optimum storage condition to ensure that your dress will be properly protected in a box which lasts a lifetime.

The box also protects from dust and light which can fade and mark your dress.

Plastic dress covers are not suitable for long term storage because they let in light which fades the fabric and they do not allow for changes in humidity which could cause condensation and mould. PVC covers will also break up after several years allowing dirt particles to drop into the fabric and spoil it.

Normal cardboard boxes (unless made with special pH neutral board) contain acid that can pass into the dress fabric causing discolouring and yellowing.

Wardrobes, drawers, suitcase linings and colour dyes in clothes will all have an effect on the purer fabrics of a wedding dress if they lie together and so always separate a wedding dress from any other item using an acid free tissue.

However, never wrap the wedding dress in coloured tissue paper - all coloured tissue paper contains dye which will affect the dress. Place the dress in a totally dark place and use tissue paper which is white and acid free.

Don’t hang a dress on a hanger other than for a short term in order to avoid stress on the seams and shape.

To take advantage of this fabulous 50% offer, call Perry de Montaignac on 0871 437 2848 quoting The Chief Bridesmaid; or check out their website

Article posted: 2009-01-12 22:06:16

Things I wish I'd known before my Wedding day

I'm lucky enough to be heading off to a preview of "Bride Wars" tonight - Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson's new movie. (Can't wait - will let you know how good it is tomorrow).

Therefore, I'm taking a day off blogging and handing over to the wonderful Livvy who's written a hugely helpful list of things she wish she's known before getting married.

Over to you, Livvy:

When I was about to get married I wished there was an article I could have read which were 'the five things I wish I'd have known before I got married' (re. organising the wedding not about marriage per se!).

So here goes. For what it's worth my top 10 wedding planning tips would be:

1. Don't forget your mother-in-law! Involve her in the wedding planning in some way so she feels involved, however small the task. Offer to go wedding dress shopping with her (you can always ensure that you have a couple of girlfriends there too if you think she may need diluting a little for you to spend an afternoon together!) or on an outing to source ideas for the table/ribbons/flowers etc.

2. Also give you mother-in-law a specific job to do for the wedding day itself, again however small. Ask her to be in charge of the arrangements for the confetti for example. Just be sure that you tell her whether you want real petals, what mix of colours you'd like and ask her to source a basket and some paper cones etc. Or if you're having a wedding at home, ask if she'd mind sourcing the hand cream and hand wash for the toilets, or making the car parking, toilet or wedding this way signs.

3. Time will creep up on you very quickly on the day itself, be ready at least half an hour before you're due so that you can enjoy a drink of champagne/tea or whatever your tipple with your mum and bridesmaids etc. Being rushed on your day is a horrid feeling, you want to be able to relax and enjoy it.

4. On the day itself, once the ceremony has taken place, the wedding can often pass in a complete blur with you and your newly-wed husband often off talking to different relatives and friends. Afterwards on the honeymoon, it's too easy to find yourselves dissecting the day and wishing you'd said or noticed things on the day itself. So I would advise you to interrupt and steal your hubby away a couple of times during the day to take some time to walk away from the crowds to share a few private moment and savour the day. It'll be your only chance to chat to one another without the fear of being interrupted. A number of people gave me this tip and it doesn't make sense until the day itself but it's a gem!

5. Ensure that the Best Man and Ushers are clear of their roles (even if it means you have to circulate a to-do list in advance). Don't assume they will know what they are doing! Work out who will carry the flowers from the Church to reception, who will fetch people as they are needed for photos (this may not be the Best man - you may want to nominate either the loudest or a couple who know the family members!), who will direct the cars, who will keep a list of taxi numbers and help people get home etc.

6. Water. Whether it's hot or a cold day make sure that one of the Bridesmaids and at least one Usher has a small bottle. Nerves and excitement can often leave you completely parched!

7. Make a list of formal pictures you want to capture, I can't tell you how many friends say they wished they'd remembered to get one of just their siblings with the bride and groom etc. It's difficult to remember on the day itself and the photographer can advise you of what is realistic, and how long it's likely to take.

8. Plan for extremes eg. umbrellas, hand held fan, shine control powder paper, insect repellent, lipstick to touch-up with. (We got caught out terribly with a midge attack the likes of which have never been seen before or since?!)

9. If you are having children at a wedding, be clear that the boundaries are understood, if of course you want any there at all (!). So many friends have said they found it so upsetting that toddlers and babies were not taken out when in tears during the service. Parents seem deaf to their own child's cries if they want to see the ceremony themselves. Sounds obvious that you'd take them out if they cry, but it's not at all.

10. If you are changing your name, be sure to book your honeymoon tickets in your correct name depending on when you plan to change your passport.

Article posted: 2009-01-27 10:00:25

Another Wedding Giftlist supplier falls victim to the Credit crunch: Wedgwood - will it affect your Wedding Giftlist?

Luxury china maker Waterford Wedgwood has gone into administration after the economic slowdown hit the debt-laden firm. Ironically, Wedgwood themselves gallantly offered respite to couples who faced losing wedding presents after online gift service Wrapit went into administration earlier this year.

Recession-hit Waterford Wedgwood called in administrators after six years of loss-making in which the group has racked up debts of almost £400 million. BBC News published its business editor, Robert Peston, expressing that there was "no surprise" that the heavily indebted firm has floundered. "Waterford Wedgwood's collapse is a resonant event, that speaks of a noxious global squeeze on consumer spending," he said. "Almost everything that it manufactures is a nice-to-have rather than a must-have. And most of us are thinking twice about shelling out on nice-to-haves."

I've been in contact with Wedgewood who offer their own wedding gift list service to see what will happen to outstanding gift lists that have not yet been fulfilled. I'll update here as soon as I hear back. It looks like the trauma won't be on the scale as Wrapit, however, as their website already mentions that their wedding gift list service has been closed down - let's hope it was sometime ago.

In the Summer, Wedgwood valliantly vowed to honour all Wrapit orders for their china (despite having nothing to do with company) and gave brides who ordered direct with them a £25 gift voucher for future purchases for every £100 they spent.

It also set up a special customer services hotline for the estimated 240-plus brides that would have missed out on Wedgwood gifts.

Let's hope that another company behaves as honourably as Wedgwood did and comes to the rescue of any Brides and Grooms who have outstanding wedding lists with them.

Did you hold a wedding list with Wedgwood? Please let me know and I'll do everything I can to help. Email me at

Article posted: 2009-01-06 23:25:22

Get your wedding paid for & appear on BBC3's "Don't tell the Bride"

Credit Crunch Brides & Grooms - worried the recession could cause you to postpone the wedding? Here's the perfect solution for you!

One of my favourite TV shows, BBC Three's "Don't tell the Bride" is coming back, and they're looking for couples who are desperate to wed!

Do you have hundreds of ideas but not hundreds of pounds? Are you willing to put all of the wedding planning into your groom's hands?

This could be your chance to have a wedding that you'll really remember - and on the cheap! The TV Producers are offering £12,000 as your wedding budget if you agree to participate in the show.

Email or call 020 7479 4210 if you'd be interested in taking part.

Article posted: 2009-01-05 23:06:04

Happy 2009 from Wedding Saving Expert!

Credit Crunch Brides - it's the beginning of a new year and so it's time to make your new year budget resolutions! Here are The Chief Bridesmaid's moneysaving resolutions to avoid starting married life in debt -

1. Resolve to seek out better, cheaper bargains for your wedding day!

2. Resolve to not overspend just because you feel that otherwise your big day won't be perfect!

3. Resolve to beg and borrow on those aspects of your wedding that are not your priority.

4. Resolve to work out a wedding budget - and stick to it at your peril!

The deepening recession is going to make 2009 a financially stressful enough year as it is - overspending on your wedding isn't going to make it any easier. Your wedding day will be perfect because you're marrying the man of your dreams - regardless of whether you spend £100, £1000 or £10,000 making it happen.

Don't start married life in debt - follow The Chief Bridesmaid's advice and have the wedding day of your dreams without the debt.

Article posted: 2009-01-04 23:23:55

How has the Credit Crunch & Recession changed your attitude to your Wedding budget?

To my lovely Brides and Grooms-to-be (plus any already-marrieds who happen to be reading this),

As we plunge into recession, I'm keen to assess how this has changed Bride and Grooms' attitudes to their wedding budget. Are you reconsidering your Bridal bonanza for a cheap wedding? Or is your wedding budget remaining the same? I would love to hear what you think...

It would be really helpful if you could possibly email your answers to me at:

Questions to Already-weds & Bride/Grooms-to-be -
1. Did/Is funding your Wedding Day/Honeymoon drive/driving you into debt?

2. Did you feel like wedding services/products offered good value for money? It'd be great to hear about any areas you felt you were ripped off on if relevant.

3. Has/Would the credit crunch made/make you re-consider how much you're willing to spend on your big day? Will you be seeking out cheaper options?

To Unmarrieds
4. Has the recession put you off getting married altogether or made you consider postponing your big day? If so, by how long?

To Marrieds
5. In retrospect, do you feel you spent your wedding budget wisely? I'd love to hear any great decisions versus less wise ones!

Thank you so much for helping me with my research!

I'm hoping I can use the results to help future Brides and Grooms-to-be find better value in the wedding market.

with love, The CB XOXO

Article posted: 2008-12-30 15:46:01

15% off Unique Wedding Venue hire- Trevor Hall!

Special offer for The Chief Bridesmaid readers - 15% off fabulous wedding venue

Whether you are looking to have a fairytale wedding with a marquee, a small bespoke affair or a stylish civil ceremony, Trevor Hall can be the perfect setting. Even better news is that Trevor Hall are offering a 15% discount on their venue hire to The Chief Bridesmaid readers for bookings taken after 1st November 2008 for January to the end of March 2009.

Voted one of "Top 10 Country Houses to stay at in the UK" by The Sunday Times, Trevor Hall is nestled within 85 acres of park and woodland with breathtaking views. Situated just three miles from Llangollen, it is a much loved and cherished family home that is entirely at your disposal.The interior style combines lavish Regency with eccentric furnishings, quirky artefacts and pop memorabilia, that help to make the Hall completely unique. Check out my reception venues section in "the reception bit" for photos of this stylish venue.

Downstairs comprises of a Medieval dining hall, incorporating the main staircase, stone fireplace and access to drawing and smoking rooms, snug and games room with pool table.

If you're interested in finding out more and taking advantage of this fabulous offer, call one of Trevor Hall's in-house event co-ordinators on 01978 810505.

Article posted: 2008-12-05 23:14:00

Was this the ultimate Credit Crunch Wedding?

As the Recession gloom continues, a couple have enjoyed the ultimate Credit Crunch wedding

With the recession deepening, more and more Brides are getting The Chief Bridesmaid savvy when it comes to their Wedding planning. In the age of the credit crunch, Brides are learning to stretch their wedding budgets further, get more for their money and save every step of the way. Just take the story of Odette Fenwick’s credit crunch wedding. Instead of spending £25,000 on their big day, she and her fiancé Chris May got hitched for just £597.29.

Odette said: "I would've liked a big wedding, but it's too expensive. It's better like this as we've enjoyed the bargain hunting."

She bought her amazing cheap wedding dress online from auction site eBay for just £52 and cut costs by buying second-hand rings for just £19. They saved more money by asking their 30 guests to bring their own food and wine for the wedding reception - and saved money on venue costs by holding the reception at the garage door showroom where Chris is a fitter. Instead of champagne, they bought 89p a bottle Chardonnay .

Instead of going away on honeymoon, the newlyweds - who have five month old daughter Bailey - will have a romantic stroll on the seafront near their home.

The couple persuaded a radio station to loan them a car and a local newspaper photographer took the pictures. They talked the local bakery into making a three-layer sponge wedding cake for £80 instead of a normal £250 wedding cake.

Two gazebos for the showroom reception cost £70 and 40 plastic champagne glasses were £13.26.

What, however, was most refreshing about these wedding savers is their wonderful attitude to their wedding day and wedding planning. The groom said: "I'm so happy I don't mind what sort of wedding it is."

With the money the couple have saved, they are hoping to move into our first home. And there lies the point - savvy brides invest in their whole marriage, not just their wedding day. Don’t risk starting your married life in debt - plan to a wedding budget that you can afford - and have fun trying to stick to it.

With love, the Chief Bridesmaid

Article posted: 2008-11-11 21:54:59

10% off Fabulous Wedding Photographer for Wedding Saving Expert readers

Special discount for all The Chief Bridesmaid readers! Fabulous photographer Hannah Songer of Alma Wedding photography is offering 10% off the cost of her services to all readers who mention "The Chief Bridesmaid" when booking.

Hannah is a professionally trained photographer who gained a degree from one of the top photography colleges in the country.

She offers incredibly good value yet comprehensive wedding photography packages from just £590! Hugely good value for a photographer who covers everything from your wedding morning preparations to first dance.

Alma wedding photography is based in Tonbridge, Kent but Hannah is reasonably flexible to attend Weddings in London and across the South of England.

Contact Alma wedding photography for more details of the special discount at or check out the website at Please note this offer is subject to availibility.

Article posted: 2008-10-30 20:35:32

STOP PRESS - Bargain Wedding Dress - Marks and Spencers selling £15 Wedding Dresses

Credit Crunch forces a Wedding Dress revolution: Marks and Spencers has put one of their wedding dresses on sale for £15 (reduced from £100!). It’s stylish, elegant, beautifully bridal and there won’t be a guest at the wedding who could tell that it was such a bargain. Even if you decide not to wear it having bought it, at such a cheap price, you could probably sell it on eBay or a second hand wedding dress site and still make a profit!

Brides - don’t let the credit crunch put you off getting married - now is a better time to organise a wedding than ever before - wedding dresses are going on sale for the cost of a cheap dinner out. After being featured in the Metro, the £15 Marks and Spencer wedding dress has already been taken off the M&S website and so it’s a matter of phoning around the stores THIS WEEKEND to see if they still stock the wedding dress in question.

With budgets being squeezed, and the nation tightening its purse strings, it’s time for brides and grooms to hone their negotiation skills and fight for bigger discounts, fairer prices and better value deals with their wedding suppliers.

With the credit crunch in full swing, it’s a buyers’ market and so Wedding suppliers will have to be more responsive and cut their costs if they’re to win your custom. Don’t be scared to ask for a discount - obviously be nice, but you can be firm too. Think positively - there’s always room for a discount if it means that they could lose your custom altogether. You aren’t being stingy - you are just rightfully seeking better value for your money on your wedding day.

But according to Marie Claire magazine, for some lucky brides, credit crunch or no credit crunch, they’ll be spending a bomb on their big day. Wedding planners insist big-budget brides are undeterred by the current economic climate and are ploughing ahead with lavish celebrations.

The organiser of The Designer Wedding Show which takes place in Battersea this weekend (until October 12 2008) said, ‘Our brides see their weddings as a once in a lifetime event and so far we have no sense that the current economic outlook is putting them off.’

Perhaps the sorts of brides visit the show should read before they head to it - Marie Clare reports that most spend an average of £5,000 on a wedding dress and £89,000 on the whole day!

Ladies - just because your wedding budget might be less than those uber-spenders, doesn’t mean your wedding day will be any less valuable - it’s just about being clever with your choices, prioritising the aspects of your wedding day that are most important to you and saving the pounds on those elements that aren’t. After all, beginning your married life in debt would certainly be no honeymoon….

With love

The Chief Bridesmaid xoxo

Article posted: 2008-10-10 22:23:08

Escape the credit crunch blues with a super chic yet good value honeymoon

The Chief Bridesmaid is chilling in Spain for a few days and has found the perfect chic but cheap honeymoon venue on the Costa de la Luz. Huerta Las Terrazas is the Café del Mar of bed and breakfasts. “Bed and Breakfast” whilst strictly true, seems like a bit of a poor description for this boutique hideaway. Perched on the hillside, the rolling, stunning gardens have a sea view and in the distance you can see the lights of Morocco. The Moorish influenced rooms are an absolute joy to sleep in - beautifully decorated with sprigs of lavender left on your pillow. Very romantic and an ideal place to relax after your wedding and enjoy a fabulous honeymoon.
The Chief Bridesmaid and her “best man” have had a great couple of nights cuddling up under the Romeo and Juliet mosquito net over the bed - it’s been like a second honeymoon! (Not sure if the mosquito net is strictly necessary, but it feels very romantic and bridal!)

Indeed, some honeymooners who got married on Sunday arrived two days ago and the hosts Al and Amy laid out rose petals over their honeymoon bed!

But don’t worry, this isn’t the sort of venue where every other person is on honeymoon - this sort of thing makes my flesh crawl - it’s like going to a restaurant on valentines’ day and having to compete in being the most in love! There’s been a mix of trendy media types, kite surfing enthusiasts with young families and couples looking for a bit of R&R. Tarifa, the kite surfing capital of the world is a ten minute car ride away, so it feels like an upmarket Ibiza meets Cornwall meets Rip Curl catalogue.

At night time, the garden and house is lit with beautiful fairy lights and twinkling candles, accompanied by Ibiza chill out tunes. The chief bridesmaid is sitting back writing this having raided the honesty bar laying on a sun lounger next to a pretty pool in the garden. This is truly bliss. What more could you need for your honeymoon...and it won't break your budget either...

With love,

The Chief Bridesmaid xoxo

Article posted: 2008-10-10 22:31:37

Can you have a cheap Wedding Dress with style?

Most girls have been dreaming of their Wedding Dress since they were in school uniform, and so is cost really something brides should have to compromise on? Just the thought of a cheap wedding dress is enough to make even the most chilled out bride come out in a sweat...

But among the gloom of the credit crunch, fuel prices and rubbish weather, there is unexpected reprieve in the form of fashion - you might not have to spend quite so much as you anticipated on an on-trend wedding dress after all....

Folk is one of the on trends for 2008 - 1970s inspired floaty dresses, (faux) furs, heavy lace and sumptious feather trims were seen across the catwalks from Gucci to Hermes. With haute hippy chic high on the agenda, vintage wedding dresses are the way to go, and the good news is that they're usually cheaper (and far more unique) than something bought brand new!

To lay your hands on a vintage wedding dress, call Oxfam's special bridal stores or the Vintage Wedding Dress company in London. Not only will you be high fashion, you might grab yourself a bargain in the process.

with love
The Chief Bridesmaid xoxo

Article posted: 2008-10-11 20:57:12

Credit Crunch Vogue - Simple Wedding Dresses are the most beautiful

In times of economic boom, fashion gets decadent. Designs are more elaborate, textures are fussier and colours are richer. It's all a bit rah-rah and bling! Make up and hair is affected too, during economic upturns, hair gets bigger and make up gets heavier - think about the heavy black eyeliner, red lipstick and huge perms in the 80s for evidence!

When the economy slows down, everything gets pared back. Lines are simpler, fabrics are lighter and when it comes to design, less is infinitely more.

As seemingly classic as Wedding Dress design might be, Bridal styles are very much influenced by the tide of fashion.

With the credit crunch upon us, simpler wedding dress designs will be en vogue. Fussy Jordan-esque Princess wedding dresses will be replaced by cleaner less extravagant, slimmer cut silhouettes - like fishtails or grecian shapes. In 2009 and 2010, we'll be looking at less sequins, less embroidery and less flounce on Bridal looks.

Rather, we'll see more brides dressed simply in plain white satin, with their hair loose and barely-there make up. It'll be about showing off your natural beauty - looking like yourself - rather than someone else on your wedding day.

I think grooms are going to be pretty pleased to see their brides looking natural on their wedding day. I can't think of any boys who actually like girls caked in make up - or with their hair scraped back into some elaborate style and covered in hairspray.

And so if the credit crunch spells the end for Bridal runway blusher stripes, tangerine spray tans and croydon facelifts and brings back a bit of natural beauty to Wedding Days - perhaps it's not all bad after all..........

Article posted: 2008-09-06 11:30:02

5p Wedding Dress seen on GMTV

OMG - did you see the Bride who got married in a 5p Wedding Dress on GMTV this morning? Amazingly, it actually looked really nice too!

Believe it or not, the Wedding dress was not secondhand AND it was made to measure! I think she bought it from ebay and there was a £40 postage cost (the designer was based in Singapore) but that still meant the total cost was a miniscule £40.05.

I guess the great thing with auctions is that if no-one else bids, then you can get a complete bargain. But be careful - there are a lot of scam merchants on there, so it's not a risk I'd typically want to make...

Have any of you girls bought your dresses from overseas designers on ebay at a rock bottom price? I'd love to hear your stories...were you as successful with your bargain dress buys?
Or was it a complete disaster?

with love

the Chief Bridesmaid xoxo

Article posted: 2008-09-03 21:32:32