The Budget Wedding Guest

Weddings are expensive. No matter what part you play in it, they still cost. I’m always honoured to be invited to anyone’s wedding, but there’s always an expectation there. It may not even be from the bride and groom, but when we are invited to a wedding, we as guests spend money on a new dress, new shoes, a new clutch, new jewellery, a fascinator or hairpiece, an up-do, a tan, a professional makeup job, nails… it goes on.  Simply because we feel we have to. It almost seems rude not to make the effort for the couple on their Big Day. As much as I would love to spend money on all of that, I simply can’t. I can’t justify using what would be on a whole months savings on looking good for one day.

I was invited to my very good friend’s wedding on the 24th of August. I’ve known her since I started secondary school and couldn’t have been more excited to be there to celebrate with her. It was a beautiful wedding, and I’ve never seen a groom with more admiration for his new wife. Tissues were required.

Obviously I wanted to keep up with the crowd and look my best, but I had to keep it within a savings-friendly budget. Here’s how I put myself together for the big day:


I was going to wear something I already had and decided to pick something from either my own wardrobe or my two sisters’ wardrobes closer to the time, but we ended up finding a little floral shift dress in the Marks and Spencer sale for a very extravagant £11. I’m a solid 10 and at a (generous) size 8 it was a bit of a squeeze, but I couldn’t resist buying something new for the sake of a tenner. If it zips, it fits.


Ebay. I reaaaaally struggled to find a fascinator that was the right colour, and, to be frank, didn’t look like something had landed on my head and died. Why is it you can never find something when you’re looking for it? I ended up googling it, which has lead me to some great bargains in the past. I tentatively ordered one from a UK based seller for £16.99, hoping it would arrive looking like the picture. To my surprise, it actually did, and came with both a headband and a clip to accommodate the hairstyle I hadn’t yet thought of.



Pink, satin, peep-toe stilettos, bought in the Karen Millan shop sale in Kildare outlet village about 4 years ago for about 40 euros. I’m pretty sure a light shone on those shoes the moment I walked into the shop. I didn’t need them then, but I wanted them. I can’t lie, they hurt so bad after about 2 hours, but they’re perfect for an event where there’s lots of sitting and where it’s later acceptable to remove them.

I’d show you a close-up, but they’re a little scuffed. 😬

Hair, Nails and Makeup

DIY. As I’ve said before, I’m no ‘MUA’ but I can put my face on fairly well, especially when I’m taking my time with it. I tried my first cut crease using pink and plum tones – nothing like trying something new 2 hours before a wedding- and it wasn’t awful.  My hair had been in benders the night before to curl it so was a little bit out-of-control by the time I got them out, but after a minor meltdown and the help of my sister it submitted into a soft, half-up style with a bit of a vintage vibe to it. Jenny also did my nails with gel polish in fuchsia pink to match my shoes and fascinator – who needs a salon when you have sisters?!

And there you have it – total cost: £27.99 and favours owed. And without wanting to sound narcissistic, I think I looked as well as everyone else.

Gillian x

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