Bethany Granger married Kent wedding photographer Luke Granger at Danson House in November 2021, on her 30th birthday. Spending just £3,500, Bethany and Luke not only kept the costs down when planning their big day, but made all the arrangements in just three months.
As far as challenges go, planning a wedding in just three months seemed a little crazy but as we go to so many weddings, we knew what we wanted and decided that we should just go for it. We chose to have just 45 guests and spent just £3,500 in total. We are proof that you can create an amazing day on a budget if you focus on the elements that matter the most to you.
Danson House was the setting for Bethany and Luke's big day
I bought my dress via Still White (an online reselling site), having never seen it in real life. I knew the style that I wanted and narrowed down my choice by my favourite designers and fell in love with this ex-sample as soon as I saw it. It has ivory and blush layers so is really unusual, and I loved that it was a bit different. A few alterations were needed and voila!
Bethany's dress was bought from Still White
When we were first dating, Luke took me to visit Danson House one day. I fell in love with how beautiful the place was and couldn’t believe it was a registry office. I told Luke to pose for a photo for me; when he asked why, I said: “I want a photo of you in the place where we will get married one day". He rolled his eyes but obliged and now my vision came true.
A reception at Danson Stables followed the ceremony
We used greys and midnight blue for our colours as we felt these worked perfectly for an autumn wedding. My sister, Abbie, wore a dress from Ever Pretty and Luke's daughter Jessica wore a dress from Chictry. Both suited their shapes and the midnight blue colour suited our theme. They both had wrist corsages to match my flowers instead of bouquets, which worked perfectly.
The bridesmaids wore navy dresses to match the colour scheme
Katie at the Kentish Wreath Company is a really good friend, so I knew she was the right person to trust with my wedding flowers. We went shopping together and chose to create a wild flower bouquet that included all my favourites: tulips, roses, lavender, thistles, lots of greenery and even a little pampas.
Despite being big foodies, we go to so many weddings and see the cakes go to waste, and we didn’t want to invest too much of our budget with ours. Instead we chose two cakes from Sainsbury's the day before our wedding and they went down a treat. We went for one lemon and one chocolate cake and displayed them on glass cake stands (one of which was my great grandmother's) and used a topper bought from eBay.
Bethany and Luke were determined not to let anything go to waste on their wedding day
My memory of the actual ceremony is such a blur. The first thing Luke said to me when I reached the end of the aisle with my dad was: "Happy Birthday", and he gave me the cheekiest smile. All I remember is thinking to myself: ‘Wow, we are actually doing this’ and grinning like crazy.
Luke wore a suit that he will re-wear for work
After the ceremony, we had some photos with our guests on the iconic Danson House steps. We were so lucky with the weather as although it was a little blustery, the sky was clear and the sun was shining.
Everyone then made their way over to Danson Stables while we wandered through the rose garden for photographs. It was so strange being on the other side of the camera, but we had fun and enjoyed some time together. Our guests came out to meet us for a confetti tunnel, which was great fun. We wanted it to be a really relaxed casual day where everyone could enjoy spending together, so it was lovely to see all our guests having a great time. We joined the rest of our guests in the warm and my dad kicked off our reception with his father of the bride speech.
Luke then followed with a quick speech of his own, announcing to our guests that we are having a baby. Naturally, there were a few tears and shocked faces around the room but it felt like the perfect way to share the moment with everyone, and I was delighted not to have to keep the secret any longer.
One of our priorities for the day was to ensure everyone had a good meal so we gave guests the option of a traditional roast dinner, but also burger and chips or fish and chips. We had so many comments about how fantastic the food was; there was no chance anyone went home hungry.
The couple managed to stay on track with their budget, spending £3,500 on the entire day
The first dance
Our first dance was to John Legend’s One Woman Man, which is a song I love, and then we switched to My Girl by The Temptations. Luke danced with Jessica, while I danced with my dad and we were joined on the dancefloor by some of our guests.
There was such a buzz in the room seeing our family and friends enjoying themselves and the children playing so happily together throughout the day. When planning, we went with the less is more theory and there really was no need for anything else but we did have some sparklers before everyone went home.
The family even announced that they are expecting a baby to their unsuspecting guests
The night of the wedding we headed home and then the following day we spent a couple of nights at The Cave Hotel in Canterbury. We have stayed there before, as we absolutely love the food and the comfy beds. It was the perfect way to relax together.
Top tips for other couples:
Be strong willed when choosing your guest list – Sharing blood doesn’t make anyone entitled to be invited to a wedding, if a person doesn’t bring joy into your life then don’t invite them.
Wedding photography and videography are the only elements of a wedding that increase in value over time. Don’t underestimate how important your memories are, being able to remember all the details of your day is far more important than favours and decorations so think carefully about what your priorities are.
Bethany and Luke's big day was the special day they had hoped for and was perfectly pitched to them