Our first family holiday to York

Dan, Oscar and I headed away on our first family holiday to York earlier this month.

Dan, Me and Oscar on holiday in York

When I was younger, every June my parents would bundle my brother and I in the back of a car surrounded by luggage, sandwiches and carrier bags (to act as sick bags) before heading off to the same farmyard cottage in Derbyshire for a week’s holiday.  I loved my family holidays growing up and Dan always spent a similar week with his family when they visited the Isle of Wight in the Summer.

As a family Dan, Oscar and I have been in desperate need of a holiday for several months now.  It feels like Dan and I have barely spent any quality time together since Oscar was born.  The newborn days were a cycle of grasping at sleep whenever we could fit it in and then last year I spent a lot of time traveling over to Norfolk to visit my Mum when she was really poorly.  Since November, I’ve been working nightshifts and so it always seems like one of us is working and the other is looking after Oscar.  Dan and I are never both together at the same time.

We have been trying to stash away some savings this year.  One of my targets for the year was to raise an extra £500 each month.  So far, I’ve been hitting this target really well although more on that another time.  Therefore, in order that we didn’t dig too deeply into our fresh savings we needed to work our holiday travel on a budget.

Our holiday planning began checking our Tesco clubcard account.  When Dan and I first got together (11 years ago tomorrow!) we regularly used our clubcard points for stays away, but with everything that has gone on during the last couple of years we had just been accumulating points, so had quite a few saved up.

We need a suite rather than just a room now that we have Oscar as it means we can put him down to bed at his usual time of 7:30pm and then go into our room and hang out or watch TV until we’re ready to go to bed ourselves.  We ended up booking a very nice suite in York for just £80 from Monday-Thursday including breakfast, using our Tesco points to pay for the rest of our stay.

The hotel was so nice that they even lent us umbrellas for our stay and we were handed three warm chocolate cookies on our arrival.

York holiday - Oscar with a chocolate cookie

I’m pretty sure Oscar enjoyed his first experience of a chocolate cookie!

We also saved money on our trip by transferring some of our clubcard points into £40 of Cafe Rouge vouchers and £40 of Zizzis vouchers so that our dinner was ‘free’ for two of the nights that we stayed.

Oscar’s daily nap tends to fall between 10-11:30am at the moment and so we decided to work around his schedule for our holiday, heading down for an early breakfast each day, letting him nap whilst we showered and packed up his bag for our travels and then heading out on an adventure each afternoon. Me and Oscar at The Shambles in York On our first full day we headed over to the National Railway Museum. Me, Dan and Oscar at the Train museumOscar loves trains at the moment and can often be found pulling out his small train set and shouting out ‘CHOO CHOO!’ as he pushes the train around the track.  Dan treated him to a lovely wooden pull along train from the museum and Oscar has been obsessed with it ever since. Wooden pull along trainWe also visited the Jorvik Viking Centre on one of the days and Oscar enjoyed riding around the exhibition and pointing out all of the animals to us both as the car glided past.  Both Dan and I remembered the Centre as being much larger than it felt this time round.  I’m not sure if that was because we were both much younger and smaller when we visited as children ourselves?!

We also spent time walking along the river and enjoying the parks.  Oscar is obsessed with slides at the moment and we found one park with six slides.  We knew we were onto a winner! Dan and Oscar at the park in York It was so lovely to be able to completely switch off from everything that has been going on and just hang out as a family, making lots of lovely memories together.  I had initially planned to take my trainers along to get some runs in on a couple of the days, but had injured my calf on the Sunday at Milton Keynes Half, so in the end decided that four days without running wasn’t the end of the world and left my trainers at home.  To be honest, I’m glad I did.Oscar and I in York On the last morning, once we had loaded our car up and checked out of the hotel we headed out for the final time along the length of the York Wall.  Umbrellas were required, as there was a light drizzle when we set off.  We had been so lucky up until that point with the weather though with no rain at all.

I have hardly any photographs of me with my Mum from when I was growing up and I really regret not taking the opportunity to snap more shots of us together as I got older. . Now that I’m a Mum myself I’m trying my hardest to ensure that I feature in photos of Oscar as often as possible so that we can share memories of our time together as he grows up. . Here’s a picture of us along the town wall in York last week. It rained constantly on our final lday in the city but armed with a large umbrella it was just so lovely to be able to switch off fully and truly enjoy just spending time with Oscar and Dan. . I’m already thinking about holidays for next year! . #York #Yorkwall #17monthsold #babywearing #familyholiday #littlemoments #mumandson A post shared by Mary (@fromteachertomum) on

Dan and I both agreed that a week-long break is required at least once a year to give us the opportunity to fully switch off and reconnect as a family.  I’m already thinking about plans for our next adventure!

Did your family go away every year when you were growing up?
Where was the last place you went on holiday?
Can you recommend any other lovely areas in the UK to head away on a mini break as a family?

Getting away on a budget

For the last few years, Dan and I have treated ourselves to a break away on Tesco points at least once a year.

Tesco is known for having one of the best reward schemes in the UK.  When I was refused a mortgage in 2010 on the back of having never owed any money it didn’t take me long to decide which credit card company I was going to go with to build up my credit rating.  Using my credit card now I get 1 point for every £4 spent, WHEREVER I SPEND IT.  When you first buy a new house, go on holiday to New York and get married, Tesco points quickly add up and points mean prizes!  Or in this case, nights away.

On Tuesday morning, Dan and I loaded up the car with a holdall of clothes and toiletries that weren’t packed in the every growing pile of boxes collecting in our dining room.  All of our money is being hoarded away at the minute ready for the house move and inevitable redecoration so we didn’t have a lot to spare but were in desperate need of a break away together.  We received Foo Fighters tickets for Christmas, so this time round Manchester was the chosen location and we transferred enough Tesco points into vouchers to book a two night stay, and have £30 each of Pizza Express and Zizzis for our evening meals.

We did have a little spend on arrival in Altrincham, as, after a quick change cocktails were obviously necessary.  Time to relax and actually see each other for a change.  Life has been so busy just lately!

Date night in ManchesterLuckily, we stumbled upon a little cocktail bar in the town centre displaying Happy Hour signs from 6-8pm.  We wandered in a few minutes past six…

Cocktails in Manchester Cocktails in Manchester…before heading over to Zizzi for a lovely free three-course meal which included this pizza that was so big it could barely fit in the photo…

Rustica Primavera at ZizziThis was the Rustica Primavera – I’m a sucker for any dish containing goat’s cheese, green pesto and a selection of veg.

Dessert was all about the Chocolate, praline and sea-salt torte.  This was amazing and definitely requires another taste test immediately!

Zizzi chocolate tartWe had a fairly early night on the Tuesday, before a leisurely 8am get-up the next morning.  Eight AM.  I never sleep in this late.  Whenever we go away for a few days, I always make use of the buffet breakfast to grab a Full English.  Dan usually tries to encourage me to have fruit and yoghurt as he thinks I will enjoy it more, but I am too lazy to ever put together a breakfast like this first thing in the morning so I take full advantage of the fact that it is all laid out for me in the hotel.
I don’t like bacon, but eggs came in both the scrambled and fried variety so I took both as an extra protein dose for all the walking we had planned that day.

Fry up for breakfastWe spent the morning out at Dunham Massey – exploring the gardens and the house.  It was lovely and sunny out.  I felt awful in the morning – my cold had developed into a full on coughing and sneezing fit and so it was nice to get outside and with no time pressures for the day.  We also treated ourselves to some fantastic icecreams whilst out exploring the gardens.  I’ve decided that our next house move needs to be to somewhere with a garden this size(!)  Everywhere looked so pretty.

Dunham MasseyWe headed back to the hotel for 3:30pm, threw on our waterproofs and headed on the mile long walk to Pizza Express.  It started tipping it down just before we arrived so we were very glad of our forward-thinking and that we wore our coats!

As we arrived, the waiter greeted us in Italian.  Dan, having learnt a few phrases whilst we were away on honeymoon last year decided to respond in Italian.  The waiter, then interested, asked Dan if his Italian was good.  Dan fluently replied in Italian stating that ‘His Italian was a little patchy so if possible it would be easier to speak in English.’  (A phrase he used on numerous occasions whilst we were away in August!)  Clearly he did a very good job of replying to the waiter as the waiter then paid special attention to our table and spoke to us several times in Italian.  Dan got rather worried after the first conversation that he wouldn’t be able to understand anything said to us, but luckily the conversation centred around food, and that was where Dan had learnt the majority of his phrases from.  We started with some garlic dough balls because seriously, they are our weakness when we head for a meal out.

Pizza Express garlic dough ballsAnd the salad I chose is going to be recreated at home repeatedly this month…

Pizza Express Pollo VerdurePollo Verdure – Warm chicken and mixed vegetables in a honey & mustard dressing served on a bed of spinach and rocket with balsamic syrup and goat’s cheese, a wedge of lemon and warm dough sticks.  I could literally eat this for days on end and not get bored!

After dinner we headed back out to the tram station to catch a tram to Old Trafford, where the Foo Fighters gig was to be held.  Somehow I managed to fall asleep on Dan’s lap for pretty much the whole 20 minute journey here, whilst in our carriage on the tram people were pressed in up against the glass and winding up the noise with excitement for the gig.  I literally could fall asleep anywhere!

When we arrived it was still raining which was a shame, but it didn’t stop us from having a little rock out of our own whilst waiting for Foos to arrive.

Wet and rainy at Foo Fighters gig in ManchesterBecause we arrived not long after 5:30pm it was still pretty empty when we first got there, meaning that we could pretty much pick our spot for the evening, although I wasn’t hugely taken by the support bands.

Foo Fighters in ManchesterAt 8:00pm on the dot we were treated to a really good show though and non-stop amazing music and entertainment for the next two and a half hours.  Dan was looking on Twitter the next day and discovered that apparently the gig was heard from almost ten miles away!  He took lots of video footage on his phone so we only have a few photos.
Foo Fighters in ManchesterGetting out of the grounds after the gig was a little out of my comfort zone.  People were pushing everywhere and police ended up closing one of the exits to give the movement outside time to die down.  We queued for a long while to get on the tram and then we were really crammed on.  I was glad to get off and back in to the hotel.

I was a little sad to head home on Thursday morning, but having received a phone call on the Wednesday to hear that our move would not be going ahead on the Friday as originally planned we really needed to head back and unpack essentials for at least one more week at work.  It was lovely to spend some time together though and not have to worry about spending too much money as we had been money savvy a couple of months back when planning our trip.

Is a Full English breakfast on the cards when you go away?
What is the best gig you have ever been to?
Do you use any reward schemes at all?  What has been the your favourite reward?

The true cost of running

Before I became a runner I would always hear comments or see articles about how running was the cheapest sport available. “All you need are trainers!”
True, unless you want to end up with saggy boobs, friction burn on your thighs and arms and blisters all over your feet!

If running is the cheapest sport I can’t imagine how expensive other ones come in at!

Me and money
I decided to keep a log of all my running expenses during 2014 which I’ve broken down into different categories to try and get an idea where the money went…

All I can say is, I hope Dan’s not reading this report, because it appears that quite a lot of my hard earned cash went on my running addiction last year!

Clothing: £230.60
Nike full length tights – £32 (Jan)
New club vest – £15
VLM Adidas top – £32
2 pairs of Ronhill shorts – £29.70
Asics Nimbus 16s – £102.95
Nike Pro Victory Compression Sports Bra – £18.95

VLM training top

Nutrition: £104
6x Stinger waffles – £6
2x packets of Jelly Babies – £2
Nakd bars – £22
Sour cream and onion pretzels – £20
Nuun tablets (four tubes of lemonade flavour) – £24
Breakfast for all whilst in the Gower house – £30

Penn State Pretzels

Physio: £40
One session with my local physio to sort out the problem with my foot. – £40 (Jan)

Race entries: £294.35
Wellingborough Multi-terrain 10k – £16
Oakley 20 – £22
London Marathon – £31
Conti Lightning Run – £50.60
EMGP Race series (Entry to the eight races in the series including Rugby 6, Blisworth 5, Weedon 10k, Banbury 5, and Milton Keynes 10k) – £52
Shires & Spires 35 – Free (for marshaling at an earlier Go Beyond event)
Royston trail half marathon – free (took another runner’s place)
Mablethorpe marathon – £28
Grim Reaper – £65
Dusk ’til Dawn 50 – £29.75
Gower marathon – free (took another runner’s place)

VLM number

Travel & accommodation: £387
Train ticket to London expo: £31
Train ticket to VLM: £119
Accommodation for London: £202
Accommodation for Gower: £35

Magazines/books: £31.88
Year subscription to Women’s Running magazine – £31.88

wpid-IMAG1164.jpg

Club: £85
Membership: £35
Running club Pasta party ticket – £15
Running club Christmas party ticket – £35

Accessories: £105.65
Vivofit: £79
Handheld torch: £3
Tent for Grim Reaper: £8.65
Headtorch: £15

Garmin Vivofit

Blogging: £38.30
Domain name and hosting: £38.30
+ A lot of hours!

GRAND TOTAL: £1316.78

This can only be classed as a rough guide.  It doesn’t include the pots of vaseline I’ve used up in the cupboard or plasters I’ve slapped onto cuts I’ve obtained whilst squeezing through footpaths yet to be cut back.  It doesn’t even look at the costs of washing all my extra kit each week.  On average I run five times a week.  This time of year that means an extra five pairs of tights, five short sleeved tops, five long sleeved tops, five sports bras, five sets of (usually) very muddy socks, and the occasional cap and jacket on top.  A good two washes extra each week at least.
Who knows how much more/less I would have eaten/travelled if I wasn’t a runner.  It doesn’t include my petrol costs, or meals out for times when I have travelled to races.

My Garmin account tells me that I burnt off 179,462 calories from running in the year 2014 and I rather suspect that I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy quite so many hot chocolates with marshmallows as I did if that number was a little lower so I’m sure my food bill was much higher over the course of the year than if I hadn’t burnt off those calories.  Apparently 179,462 calories is the equivalent of 327 Big Macs (not that I like Big Macs) or 587 KFC Malteser Krushems.  (I do like these, and have indulged in the odd one here and there after particularly tough ultras!  Although I definitely haven’t indulged in 587 of them.  That would set me back an extra £1168.13!)

KFC Malteser Krushem

In honesty, I think that 2014 was one of my lighter-spending years when it came to running.  I didn’t have any real injuries, I still had a lot of nutrition products and clothing that I received as part of winning a place on Operation Ultra in 2013 and three of my race entries did not require cash to enter.  I’m not sure I want to work out how much I spend in 2015 though…  :S

Have you ever worked out how much you spend on running/keeping fit?
Is it more or less than my rough costings?

How much a wedding in the UK ACTUALLY costs

How much a UK wedding actually costs

(I know this post won’t interest everyone so feel free to skip over it if you are not interested in weddings or how much one costs!)

When Dan and I first started planning our wedding last year we bought several bridal magazines in the hope that they would make sure we thought of everything before our big day and weren’t left with major elements missing from the wedding we had always wanted.

The more magazines we read, the more we began to realise just how incredibly difficult it was going to be to judge how much our wedding would cost.  Magazines all gave helpful ‘average’ figures (which were all different from each other) but there was no way of knowing if we would need/want the maximum or minimum figures given for each element of the day.  I spoke to a few friends, – two of whom said it cost them under £5,000 for their wedding.  Excellent, – we finally had a figure to work from.  Or so we thought…

As soon as we began requesting quotes for venues, caterers and bands we realised just how unrealistic £5,000 was going to be for the wedding we wanted.  I’ve since spoken to both friends and when they sat down and thought about it, they realised that parents had paid off large chunks that they had never included when totting up the costs, or they hadn’t thought about little things they’d picked up here and there such as the guestbook, balloons or stamps.  (Every little thing adds up!!!)

Obviously for each wedding the amount can vary enormously, but I thought it might help others if I listed how much our wedding came to earlier this year as I kept detailed accounts and you can see just what we got for our money!

Throwing confetti at our wedding in Sharrington church

Dan and I decided early on that we would each choose one important thing to us and that would be our splurge for the day.  Dan wanted a really good band, and I wanted to arrive in a horse and carriage – something I’ve always imagined for my wedding day.  We found that lots of people wanted to help us out and be a part of our day so we could save money by letting them help.  Dan’s Mum made the cake, my parents put together the flowers, my Maid of Honour made decorations for the venue, along with Dan’s Mum who created all of the bunting.

Venue:  (£2252.52)

Dan and I walking down the aisle at our weddingIt was important for me that we get married in the church I grew up going to when I was small.  (Sharrington in North Norfolk)  My Mum has been the church organist ever since I can remember and it was where all of my Dad’s family had been married.  I knew it would mean a lot to several people to see me get married in the same church.
Ceremony – £237
Vicar – £215
Banns – £34
If you are getting married in a church, Wedding ‘banns’ need to be read for three weeks in both the church you will be married in and also your local church if you are getting married somewhere away from home.  Make sure you know who is organising the banns to be read for your wedding as ours was rather a last minute job!
Village Hall – £320
We struggled to find a venue for a little while as we were completely without clue as to just how much stately houses and grand hotels cost.  Way out of our price range it seems!  We were getting quotes for some places of up to £5000 and that included nothing but the location – no catering, no accommodation…nothing!  In the end after some searching online we discovered Swanton Novers Village Hall which we could hire at a very minimal cost from Friday – Sunday.  The hall had been left minimal, so that it could be used for weddings in any colour scheme.  It came fully stocked with cutlery and glasswear, as well as a beautiful wooden playground which we all enjoyed after dinner!  Along one side of the hall were large French doors which we decided to leave open leading into a marquee for the food in the daytime…

Wedding marquee at night

Marquee – £1250.52
The cost of our marquee included nine round tables and 75 chairs, drapes on the ceiling and a starlight ceiling.
The marquee for our yellow wedding
Hotel room – £196
We always stay at cheap little B&Bs when we go away so decided to stay somewhere really nice on our wedding night.  Unfortunately we never got to experience it for very long as we didn’t arrive until 11:15pm and had to leave early the following day to collect ferry Ushers around as they did not have cars.  We stayed at The Dales hotel in Upper Sheringham.

Catering:  (1929.44)
Three course meal and bar – £1616
Our caterers were Anglia Catering and they impressed us from the very beginning.  They responded promptly to emails and were happy to answer the smallest of our queries.  We even got a bottle of wine sent to us at Christmas!  They invited us round for a tasting session ten months before the wedding and again, we were nothing but impressed at the quality and attention to detail.  Unfortunately I have no pictures of the food on the day.  Something I meant to ask my bridesmaids to take photos of! 
Welcome drinks and table wine – £173.15
Paper plates – £4
We supplied the welcome drinks and wine for the tables as it worked out a lot cheaper for us to do so.  My Aunt has a Cash & Carry card so we took advantage of some savings there.  We bought 12 bottles of orange juice for children and non-drinkers, 12 bottles of red wine, 12 bottles of white, 4 bottles of Bucks Fizz for arrival and 8 bottles of Asti for the toasts.Wedding alcoholTesco shop – £104.57
Originally we had looked at having a Hog Roast or similar in the evening, but prices started at £500 (without salads and side dishes) and we weren’t sure how long guests were going to stay for (many were travelling for up to 4 hours to be with us on the day) so we decided to put together our own evening food for a fraction of the cost.  We bought 5x packs of breadsticks, 10 eggs, 8x packs of marshmallows, 8x 100g chocolate, 1 tub of Flora, 3x packs of salad tomatoes, 3x mild cheese, 1 green pepper, 1 red pepper, 7 yellow peppers, 4x ready rolled puffed pastry, 5x packs of seedless grapes, a jar of mayonnaise, 2x popping corn, 6x packs of baby plum tomatoes, 3x 70 cocktail sausages, 2x 1.5kg bags of carrots, 5x pork suasage meat, 4x tins of tuna, 1 pack of ham, 10 packs of closed cup mushrooms and 2x packs of celery.
My parents also bought us 10x loaves of white/brown bread which we pre-ordered at our local bakery and 10x french sticks on the morning of the wedding.

Preparing the wedding foodI was adamant that I did not want frozen food which had been shoved into the oven served at our wedding and I got my own way!  We made a selection of egg mayonnaise, tuna mayonnaise, ham and cheese sandwiches, we dipped marshmallows in chocolate, placed cocktail sausages and cuts of cheese with grapes on sticks, my Great Aunt baked hundreds of mini sausage rolls, we used peppers with the lids chopped off to hold dips and baked little mushrooms topped with slices of cheese and tomato as a ‘healthier’ version of pizza.  One of my favourite touches was the french stick cut on a slant with slices of pepper, celery and carrot placed inside.  (See Pinterest.)  There were also big pots of Smarties laid out with the children in mind.
The biggest bag of Smarties you ever did see – £7
We used Banquet roll to cover the tables and placed yellow napkins out with the evening meal.  I’m pretty sure we still have about 60 napkins remaining.  Clearly our guests are pretty clean eaters!
Banquet roll – £14.72
100x yellow napkins – £10
Dan’s Mum made the cake at no cost to us.
Wedding cake

Decorations/entertainment:  (£1506)
20x yellow balloons – £6
We placed yellow balloons on our road signs so that they stood out to our guests driving past.
Band – £1500
The Yow Yows - wedding bandThe band was one of our bigger splurges, but very definitely worth it.  If you ever get the chance to see/book The Yow Yows, then do so.  They were superb and all our guests told us so.  Between dances of course!  They did a mix of their own stuff as well as covers and the dancefloor was always full.
Because the band weren’t arriving until the evening, Dan borrowed a PA system from the school he works at for the speeches and music we had on during the meal.
My parents provided all of the beautiful flowers on our wedding day which they had been growing all year long.
A path of yellow marigolds at the church for the weddingMy Maid of Honour made lots of tissue paper decorations and my now Mother-In-Law produced bunting to help decorate our venue.
Wedding bunting

Transport:  (£500)
Horse and carriage – £500
Wedding day with horse and carriage
We were so glad we went for a horse and carriage ride to the venue as it meant we actually got to spend some time together!

Stationary:  (£190.63)
Save the date cards – £42.90  from Zazzle.  The only thing I was disappointed about when it came to the Save the Dates was the large Zazzle logo on the back of the card.  We covered them up with some spare sticky labels I found.
500 sheets of yellow and brown card – £24
The card from Papermill Direct came in so handy for invitations, food orders on the tables and even the numbers on the tables.All wedding invitationsRibbon – £6.50
This came from Hobbycraft but we actually used much more ribbon than this on the flowers, but my Mum purchased it separately.
100x Yellow envelopes – £5.80  (ebay)
Guestbook – £21.60  
(Shutterfly)
Wedding GuestbookConversation starters – £11.09
from Moo.com I do love Moo and we’ve ordered various things in the past and always been happy with the results.
Wedding conversation starter cardsSeating plan board – £26.89
We borrowed my Maid of Honour’s easel to display the seating plan at the entrance to the marquee.
Wedding seating planThank you cards – £32.77 (Snapfish)
Stamps – £19.08
(36 2nd class)
Stamps actually cost more than you think!  And take up a lot of money when you think you need them to pay deposits to companies, send out Save the Date cards, invitations and thank-yous.  We hand delivered as many items as we could.

Clothing/looks:  (£2267.20)
Wedding dress – £705
I loved my dress and the whole experience I got at Nadine’s Bridal Boutique in Dereham.  It was actually the very first dress I tried on!
Veil – £65
We had a bit of a nightmare with my veil.  I really wanted one but didn’t think I could justify the cost.  I ended up going back to Nadine’s just two days before my wedding and buying the one they had recommended from the beginning though as I liked it so much.
Wedding rings – £358.20
Our wedding rings
From H.Samuel (Hate the photo of our hands!)
Bridesmaid dresses – £248
Bridesmaid dresses

I really liked the Two Birds bridesmaid dresses but there was no way I could spend £1000 on four dresses!  Luckily, I discovered a seamstress on ebay who made dresses similar to order.
Suits – £696
The Groomsmen suits
We had seven suits to order in total.  Dan, both Dads and Dan’s four groomsmen.  Dan was quite specific in the look that he was after and with the guys spread all around the UK it suited that we chose somewhere that allowed everyone to pick up their suits from different branches.  We went with Greenwoods in the end.
Necklace – £40
My wedding day necklace
This was another last minute purchase, (three days before the wedding!) but one that was very right.  I happened to be walking past a sign for Treasures the Bridal store in Kings Lynn and with help from a lovely member of staff I bought my necklace.  Dan bought me some earrings as my wedding present which I received the morning of the wedding.
Eyelashes – £15
Getting my eyelashes tinted was a fantastic suggestion by the lady that did my makeup.  For just £15 I removed the hassle of mascara for six whole weeks!
Shoes – £80
My wedding shoesHair – £35
I used a stylist in Fakenham that had already styled my hair for several other friends’ weddings.  There is a vlog on my hair and makeup here if you want to take a look.
Makeup – £25

Photography:  (£1033.97)
Photographer – £975
We used Sylvia Photo and this cost included all edited shots on USB stick to keep forever.
2x SD cards – £17.49
3x video cameras – £41.48
We asked one of my bridesmaids, my brother and one of the ushers to each have a video camera on them throughout the day so that they could record important bits for us which I have since turned into a wedding video.

Gifts:  (£215.09)
Favours – £73
For favours we bought each adult guest a scratchcard at £1 each which my bridesmaids placed into the name cards when they arrived at the venue.Wedding favours - scratchcardsFavours for the kids – £10
I placed together a magazine and crayons for each of the three children along with a bubble wand from Wilkinsons and some sweeties to keep them going until their dinner arrived.
Kids with the bubble wand at our weddingGroomsmen – £67.99
The Groomsmen each received personalised pint tankards.
Dads – £20.49
We went for jokey mugs for each of the Dads with translations in Norfolk written on (so that they could understand each other as my Dad has an incredibly Norfolk accent, and Dan’s Dad is very much from Wolverhampton!)
Bridesmaids – £28.61
Mums – £15
Both the bridesmaids and the Mums received personalised bookmarks from us with their birthstones on the top.  The bridesmaids also received framed photos of us all together on the day in a frame once we had received our photos from the photographer.  The Mums have a special Christmas present each coming their way.

Paperwork:
Passport – £72.50
Stupid name change costing me all that money!

TOTAL:  £9967.35
If you want to see all of my wedding posts on the blog, then please visit the wedding page.

What this doesn’t include: honeymoon, hen/stag weekends, wedding magazines, cleaning of my dress (yet to be done!) or petrol costs (we got married 100 miles away from where we live).  There are many areas that we could have cut costs, but there are also several areas where we saved, and we still intend on selling on my wedding shoes, the bridesmaid dresses, and two of the video cameras amongst other odds and ends.

Were you as surprised as us at the cost of weddings when you started planning?
Please let me know if this has helped you with cost ideas at all!  I’d like to think it’s helped at least one person out there now starting out with their wedding planning!