The credit-crunch bride

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The Independent Online

Nicola Kenny, 32, writer and web editor, married Stuart Ray, 31, an engineer, in June 2006

We were due to take a career break and go travelling for nine months when Stuart proposed. The intention had been to go away first, come back, save again and get married. But I felt it was too long to wait. We worked out that we could spend £5,000 on the wedding and still go travelling.

It had to be a day that would live up to both our parents' expectations. I'm not a "girly girl", but I still wanted a pretty dress, a lovely reception, drink to flow and delicious food.

At the top of a hill where Stuart's parents live is a small church, and their house is 100 yards away, with a large lawn. We had the service at the church (which is almost free; it's up to you how much you donate) and a marquee reception in the garden.

After the ceremony we had cava on the lawn – we had been on a booze cruise to France and paid £3.50 a bottle – and had a sit-down buffet of poached salmon, salads and strawberries and cream, prepared by me, my mother-in-law and aunt-in-law. My mum's best friend made the wedding cake.

Nearly everybody had helped out in some way, from giving patio heaters to doing the photography. Most people were delighted to be involved, and it made such a difference to the atmosphere of it all. AJ