'Your wedding should be what you - not others - want'
Ciara (27) and Sean Flavin (34) got married in March of this year in Athea, Co Limerick, with the reception in Listowel, Co Kerry
"We didn't set a budget for our wedding per se, but we knew that we didn't want to get into debt over the day. We had a long engagement of four-and-a-half years so that we could plan everything as to how we wanted it. We covered a lot of the cost ourselves, and spaced it out over this time.
We used credit options with a lot of elements, such as the wedding rings - we paid an amount off them every week. We did the same with the suits for the lads, and these were then their gifts. Good job we didn't have to worry about bringing them back - one of our groomsmen split his pants while rocking out to ACDC's Thunderstruck.
Great friends and family provided the music for the church ceremony and the drinks reception. Sean's aunt has a local cake business, and she made a beautiful three-tier black and white cake, and an extra gluten-free option - plus cupcakes!
The groom and his men came to the church in a vintage tractor and trailer. I bought quite a lot online, most notably two veils on DoneDeal.ie, which saved me hundreds. The veil I opted to wear came with a beautiful note from the previous owner wishing us so many years of happiness.
I also used eBay.ie a lot; I got cufflinks for the groomsmen, some beautiful signs for the reception and the bags for the sweet table. I bought the sweets in Dealz, and jars in Dunnes.
Closer to the time I was looking for something different for the reception, and on Facebook one night I spotted The Dingle Crepe Van. I messaged their page and once all was agreed I booked them and we told no one. Everyone was asked to go to the local bar after the ceremony, and were greeted with a beautiful vintage bus serving homemade crepes, popcorn and a chocolate fountain.
For every guest staying in the hotel, we bought bottles of water, bars of chocolate and paracetamol and put them in a morning-after hamper with a personalised thank you note.
I think it is great to see people being smarter with their cash. There's no denying weddings are expensive but they should be what you want, not what everyone thinks you should have."