Planning a Low Cost Wedding Online to Save Time

Here is how I planned my wedding for less than £4000.

Low Cost Wedding Dress Ideas – Online

Many websites offer discount prices on new and used bridal gowns. Purchasing a dress without trying it on first may be scary, but you may always alter it and still save a considerable amount of money. Just remember it’s easier to alter a dress that is too big rather than too small

Low Cost Wedding Dress Ideas – Offline

– Second hand stores offer great vintage dresses and tuxedos that you can alter as needed

– Wedding exhibitions are a great place for ideas and deals if you have the time to go

– Search for a tuxedo or wedding dress style that you like online or in magazines and have it made by a local dress maker. If you omit the fact that it’s your wedding dress, you may get a lower price

– Renting your tuxedo and dress can reduce costs

– I know a girl who bought a £25 silk nightdress on sale which she accessorized and wore as her wedding gown

Online Low Cost Wedding Flowers

For my wedding, we decided to forgo the decorative flowers, since the venue had a beautiful blooming garden. To save on the bouquets we bought 1 rather large bouquet of assorted spring flowers which cost £25 and divided it into 2 smaller bouquets and 2 buttonholes. We took some white ribbon, tied each bouquet and that was that. The bouquets were ready within 10 minutes.

Here are some more low cost wedding flower ideas:

– Flowers can cost a lot depending on the type you want and the season in which they grow.

– Planning to use seasonal flowers instead of having them flown in will reduce your costs significantly.

– Re-use your flowers from the ceremony at the reception

– Get creative with your flowers; come up with your own arrangements.

Low Cost Online Wedding Stationery Ideas

I found a low cost online printing company that delivered straight to my flat. They really saved me a lot of time and money. Since everything is done online, they charge much less than my local printer does. I could always reach their customer service representatives with any questions. I ordered 100 invitations,100 RSVP cards with matching envelopes, plus 100 thank you cards with envelopes for a grand total of £106.81 this includes shipping and VAT!

Cheap Venue and Decoration Ideas

We decided to marry at the registry office the morning of the reception. This reduced our ceremony fees, as we didn’t need to hire a celebrant or a church. The reception was held at my Grandparents’ country home in Hertfordshire. We hired a marquee, tables and chairs from a local party supplier. They came and set everything up as per my Grams requests. We also hired from them tableware, linens and Champaign flutes. As a thank you gift we gave out beautiful glass candle holders with rose tea lights. We even bought some extra and used them to decorate the tables. They only cost £0.76 each when you purchase 100+.

Low Cost Wedding Food Ideas Online

– Transforming food into décor, is a “2 birds with 1 stone” cost and time saver. But if you aren’t careful it could wind up looking cheap. “Be smart not stingy”!

– I know that some people have their family members and some friends help to cater the event which considerably cuts costs

– Serving snack foods, cocktail foods, or just 1 meal also helps keep food costs low. To succeed in doing this, it is best to arrange the ceremony and reception at the same place.

Ideas for Low Cost Wedding Photography

– When hiring photographers, remember, you can get a good deal by cutting down the hours in which they are there. Have them come by for the important parts, where the quality pictures are taken.

– ALWAYS ask for the digital images on CD or DVD so that you don’t have to pay the photographer for reprints. We are living in a digital world and you should take advantage of it.

– See if a friend or family member is willing to take on this job as a gift

Cheap Wedding Music Ideas

– If you want a band without all the costs, I suggest finding a group of local students who are itching to play for an audience. This may be quite time consuming with respect to auditioning them and finding them, but it will be entertaining and cheap.

– Student DJ’s also offer cheaper deals

– Today through your pocket PC, I pod, or laptop, music is an easy expense to eliminate.

It doesn’t matter where you wish to marry, in the city or in the country. There are always ways to keep the costs low.

Thomson Job Vacancies

Thomson Holidays was set up by Canadian-born Roy Thomson who had made his money from the media, having run several newspapers and been involved with publishing and the early days of television. In 1965 he acquired 3 package holiday companies (still a relatively new concept in those days) and Britannia airlines and called the new business the Thomson Travel Group. The company Head Office is in Luton.

Over the years, the company has grown considerably, annexing Lunn Poly, one of the then main High Street travel agent chains, back in 1972. It somehow managed to stay clear of the problems which befell other travel companies such as Clarksons and Laker. Nowadays, it is part of the German-owned TUI group (LSE:TT) which has a turnover of around £14bn on which it has been making a profit of about £500m (3.2%).

TUI employs 50,000 people worldwide. They operate 150 aircraft and claim to help 30 million travellers a year.

The name ‘Thomson’ continues to operate despite the company’s new ownership although they have rebranded it to ‘Thomson Holidays’.

Apart from the usual holidaymaker packages, Thomson provide ‘something different’ as they call it with their ‘Thomson Ski’, ‘Thomson Lakes and Mountains’, ‘Thomson Adventure Travel’ and ‘Thomson Sport’ subdivisions.

Thomson also operates a fleet of five cruise ships – the Celebration, Destiny, Dream, Island Escape and Spirit – which sail around Europe and the Mediterranean.

Thomson Holidays claims to offer ‘A career to smile about’. Recruitment tends to be via Open Days whereby would-be applicants are encouraged to go along and find out more about what working for a holiday company like Thomson can entail. Given the wide range of holidays, destinations and packages it offers, vacancies can arise for just about any skill-set.

A typical entry-level post might be for a Customer Support Advisor – someone who handles pre-departure clients and can manually deal with bookings from travel agents. The stated pay is £15,000 p.a. plus bonuses.

Thomson offer the following benefits package:

Financial– Monthly performance-related bonuses, recommend a friend bonus

Discounts– Holiday concessions after a year of service, travel discounts after 3 months, other staff discounts

Welfare– Company pension scheme, childcare vouchers

General perks– Subsidised gym and restaurant (obviously depends on locations)

In summary, Thomson Holidays is an excellent company to work for especially if you want a career that is in the travel industry as the perks for even the office based jobs can mean that you end up on numerous foreign holidays every year.

10 Ways to Survive Life on a Student Budget

We all knew 2009 would bring some difficult news about student loans, but no-one expected it to be quite this bad. No sooner had 50,000 students just got used to the fact they’d have to start their courses without all their loan money; then The Confederation of British Industry recommended students should pay more for their loans.

Of the record 1 million UK students who applied for funding this year, 16% have not yet received any money. So tough times ahead for English students it seems – or maybe not. Some savvy students are taking intelligent steps to ensure they meet the challenge of rising borrowing costs head on. They’re making sure they stretch their budget to the limit and graduate with as little debt as possible. Of the hundreds of tactics students are using to make uni-life easier on their pocket, here are the 10 most popular in no particular order:

Get a part-time job

It may seem obvious but a surprising number of students don’t supplement their loans with a wage. Now, nobody needs to tell you about benefits working in a bar or supermarket can bring to your social life! But it can also stop you from blowing your student loan on those things that make uni-life so much fun such as nights out, takeaways and parties! Getting a part-time job is also a great way to meet local people outside of the traditional uni-scene.

Get your kicks for free

It doesn’t have to cost the earth to enjoy yourself at university. There are plenty of people happy to furnish you with shed-loads of freebies. All you have to do is look for them online.

P** less money up the wall

If going out and partying is your thing, then there are ways to having full measures of fun at a fraction of the price. There are several websites that provide discount vouchers for pubs and clubs such as Jongluers.

Eat out for less

Restaurant bills can leave a nasty taste in your mouth. So, don’t pay the full amount. From Pizza Hut to your local Indian restaurants, there are hundreds of money-off vouchers out there.

Sell books and buy cheaper ones second-hand

The trouble with university textbooks is that once you’ve read them and learnt from them, they just end up on the bookshelf gathering dust. Earn yourself a few extra quid buy selling them to other students. Or save yourself money by buying them second-hand. You can do both by following one of the links at the bottom of this article.

Switch gas, water or electricity supplier

Shopping around for good deals on essentials such as utilities and car insurance can save you hundreds of pounds each year. There are plenty of price comparison websites out there to help you switch providers and one exclusively for students.

Look and smell good for less

The economic times are tough. And from ski wear deals to free fake tans, fashion and health & beauty retailers are offering all sorts of incentives for your business. You can find loads of   discounts  at health & beauty at and fashion by searching for voucher  codes  online.

Reduce the cost of your weekly supermarket shop

The price of a basket of food and drink has never been so high. So, take advantage of all those money-off vouchers supermarkets offer and bring the cost of your weekly food shop down. Supermarkets compete and try to undercut each other all the time. So shop around online for deals before you go out shopping.

Get your high-tech stuff at low prices

If you love gadgets such as iPods and mobile phones or just need to get a laptop to write your assignments on, you can save pounds on electrical goodies. Mobile phone companies, broadband providers and computer manufactures are falling over themselves to get your business. Take a look at the what deals they’ve got to tempt you by going online.

Set yourself an entertainment budget and stick to it

It’s so easy to overspend on that gives us the most pleasure. Restricting how much you spend on fun doesn’t mean having less of it; especially when you look at some of the great ‘nights out and in’ deals available online.

These are just 10 ways to live large and spend small at university. Now it’s over to you to make the most of them and find more ways to stretch your student budget – so you graduate with less debt.

Review – David Attenborough’s First Life

A Review of the Book – “First Life”

Designed to accompany the two-part television series, “David Attenborough’s First Life” covers the billions of years of time, leading up to the development of advanced forms of life on our planet. It is a chronological journal, split into eleven chapters that tells the story of the “slow burning fuse” that led to the explosion of life in the Cambrian, the development of the Phyla of organisms that are still with us today.

The text is informative, not too technical and designed for the lay person to follow. There are many splendid photographs and lots of information on the fossil locations, although it would have been interesting to read more about some of the UK fossil locations such as Crail in Scotland and perhaps there are too few scary creatures for children to enjoy. Although, it is amazing to see the strange and wonderful creatures known as the Ediacaran fauna (soft-bodied, bizarre organisms). By the Late Precambrian, around six hundred million years ago, simple food chains had become established with over thirty different genera recognised, this simple ecosystem is known as the Ediacaran fauna after the Ediacara Hills, north of Adelaide in South Australia, where a variety of Late Precambrian fossils were discovered in the late 1940s.

The introduction, written by Sir David Attenborough, really brings out his passion for fossils and fossil collecting. The highlight of the book, was reading about Sir David’s own connection with Charnwood forest, the site in Leicestershire, the county of Sir David’s childhood, where the important Precambrian fossil Charnia (Charnia masoni) was discovered.

“First Life” – Appropriate and Informative Content

At over 285 pages in length, this book provides an appropriate balance between academic content and computer generated wonders. One of the features of this book, are the extreme close up photographs of important fossils. The vast majority of fossils from the Precambrian and the Cambrian geological period are extremely small, but the highly magnified and full colour photographs really help to bring the fossil evidence “to life”” as it were. The reader is treated to some wonderful images, illustrations of the primitive sea landscapes and some excellent computer generated impressions and graphics as to what the fauna and flora of the Burgess Shale site might have looked like (British Columbia, Canada).

David Attenborough’s First Life Book in Summary

So in summary, a good book, an interesting read, perhaps not ideally suited for children but a fitting tribute to the work of scientists and to Sir David himself.