Elysia and Luke Baxter married at the Ferry House Inn, Leysdown

The average wedding may cost around £30,000, but there's no reason you can't have the day of your dreams on a budget, as Elysia Casey and Luke Baxter discovered

Saving for a wedding can be daunting, but Elysia Casey and Luke Baxter were on a mission when it came to their big day.

The thrifty pair, both 24, saved the majority of the funds for their wedding, which came to a little under £20,000 (save for some contributions from family) in the four years following their engagement, while also moving into their own home in Medway at the same time.

Elysia gets ready Picture: Liza Smith
Elysia gets ready Picture: Liza Smith

With purse strings tight, one crucial element was a venue they liked that was on a budget, and it was a chance passing that led them to them choosing the Ferry House Inn near Leysdown on Sheppey.

The couple from Hempstead, who met in sixth form in Walderslade, were on a day trip to the island when they spotted the sign.

Elysia, a special needs teacher in Rochester, said: "We'd looked at venues all over the place. But we went past a sign for it on our way to Leysdown for the day, so we just turned down the road.

"It is really out of the way and really nice. The best thing was they have cottages there and the whole family stayed there the night before with us."

Elysia at her wedding. Picture: Liza Smith
Elysia at her wedding. Picture: Liza Smith

The pair had a non-religious ceremony, with 70 guests looking on, and a colour scheme of light grey and blush pink, with flowers that were cream and blush, before an evening reception of 120 guests.

Elysia's make-up was done by a friend, and her hair - half-up half-down plus some extensions - was by her hairdresser, Michelle.

Elysia said: "I didn't feel nervous until I walked down the aisle. I was expecting to be really emotional and crying but I was just really happy and beaming. It goes so quickly but I couldn't have had a better day."

Luke Picture: Liza Smith
Luke Picture: Liza Smith


For their engagement, the couple went on an overnight trip to watch Shrek the Musical in Canterbury, on Valentine's Day, and had agreed not to spend much on presents for each other.

Elysia said: "Luke said to me 'I just got you a little something' and I said 'I hope you didn't spend too much.' Then he pulled out a pick and mix in a coke cup... the ring was inside that.

"I just balled and balled. It was a real shock, I wasn't expecting it then. I was ringing everyone. It turned out he had even asked my parents' permission beforehand."

Of their relationship, Luke, a train driver, said: "I don't think we take things too seriously. If you can't have a laugh, what's the point?"

The wedding of Elysia Casey and Luke Baxter Picture: Liza Smith
The wedding of Elysia Casey and Luke Baxter Picture: Liza Smith


Dress: From Alta Costura in Gabriels Hill, Maidstone

Favourite moment: The evening reception, when everyone was on the dancefloor singing Wonderwall at the top of their voices

First dance: Al Green's Let's Stay Together

Photographer: Liza Smith

Luke and Elysia Baxter. Picture: Liza Smith
Luke and Elysia Baxter. Picture: Liza Smith

Special touches: The best man's girlfriend read out a remembrance poem for those who were only there in spirit

Transport: Doris Dreambus, a campervan, organised by Elysia's dad

The cake: A colour-changing ruffle cake to Elysia's specification, was made by Rebakers in Rainham

The honeymoon: The first night was spent at Leeds Castle, courtesy of their families. A two-week honeymoon followed in Las Vegas

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