A savvy bride got her entire wedding without spending a single penny – by winning online competitions.
Canny Claire Morton, 33, spent two hours a day sitting in front of the computer bagging herself cash, make up, transport, a DJ and even her hen do.
Mum-of-one Claire became the envy of her friends after she shaved £12,000 off her wedding bill to husband James, 31, a milkman.
Claire was able to splash out on an £8,000 honeymoon to Orlando, Florida, with the money she saved from her March wedding.
She now documents her success on her blog ‘Penny Grower’ and wants to make cash-strapped families aware of her savvy ways.
Claire, from Belfast, Northern Ireland, said: “James and I didn’t have a big budget for our day and I wanted to have the wedding of my dreams.
“I didn’t want to scrimp, so I decided to try and get as much as I could for free.
“Our wedding day looked like it had cost thousands, but actually all it cost me was the time I spent entering competitions.
“I want to tell other brides that they can save thousands just like me!”
Claire and James met through mutual friends in 2012 and have a two-year-old daughter.
The pair got engaged on St Patrick’s day in 2015 but didn’t make any wedding plans until a year later.
Claire tells how she turned to competitions after fearing they wouldn’t be able to afford their big day.
In March 2016, a friend told her about a messaging app called Tengi which gives away cash prizes to people who sign up to the app, so Claire and her family signed up.
Incredibly, on April 1, 2016 Claire received a notification that she had won £10,000.
Claire was able to book the Europa Hotel Belfast, organise a photographer, outfits for her and James as well as flowers, hotel rooms, a registrar, rings and invitations.
But Claire didn’t stop there, and began entering any competition she could find.
While some brides-to-be spend their evenings browsing through wedding catalogues. Claire sat in front of the TV scouring facebook for competitions every evening, entering up to 10 a day.
She said: “I was looking for any competitions relating to things that I knew we would need for the wedding.
“Usually it was just small companies because you have more chances of winning.”
Claire won a £420 hen party with Hullabloo as well as hen party goodie packs which included decorations as well as a robe and slippers.
She also won a DJ worth £450, a VW camper van for transport worth £225 and a photo booth for guests worth £350 and her cousin donated a £350 cake as a wedding gift.
Incredibly, Claire and James did not spend any of their own money on their wedding – and even managed to put £200 of left over cash towards their honeymoon.
On the day, Claire told her friends and family about how they’d scrimped the wedding and all their guests were in awe of the bargain big day.
Now the newlyweds admit they’re ‘addicted’ to entering competitions to save money and have since won sports tickets, alcohol and appliances for the house.
This year, Claire launched her blog with tips for ‘blagging’ freebies.
She added: “Our wedding day was totally amazing and we enjoyed every minute of it. It made us realise that we can be frugal in so many more ways.”
Since her wedding in March, Claire has gone on to win more competition freebies, including beauty treatments, food goodies and sports tickets to the value of £2,000.
Claire tells how she splashed out £900 for a lace wedding dress and £3,350 on a stunning hotel venue.
Paid with the 10k cash prize
Photographer – £1000
Suit – £120
Dress – £900
Dress alterations – £230
Flowers – £144.90
Registrar – £280
Rings (including a new engagement ring) – £3350
Hotel/Venue/Meals/Evening Buffet/Bridal Suite – (28 day guests, 80+ evening guests) – £3002
Shoes for myself, James & our daughter – £550
Our Daughters dress – £20
Day invitations – £5.99
Evening Invitations – £20
Tips for DJ, selfie mirror, camper van, dress alterations, make up – £110
£297.89 left over put towards honeymoon
Facebook competitions for the wedding total
Smurfs Disco & entertainment – £450
Moondance wedding camper van – £225
Selfie Mirror company – £350
Wedding Cake with Perfection cakes Templepatrick – £350
Light Up heart – £100
Make up application – £60
Hullabloo Jewellery hen party £420
Honeymoon – paid for with savings
Harmony of the Seas cruise – £3300
Flights – £1,700
Spending money £3,000
Other Facebook Competitions in 2016:-
£50 hair dressers voucher
Lancome gift set worth £250
Mens superdry sunglasses
David Beckham set
Northern Ireland t-shirt
£10 café voucher
Make up brush set
X8 cases of 1.5l bottles of volvic water
£20 eurospar voucher
Lipofreeze treatments (used before our wedding)
Kettle & toaster
£85 lifestyle sports voucher
Santa and reindeer ornaments
£250 love to shop vouchers
£75 goodie bag of perfume etc for a friend
X4 Ulster rugby tickets
£30 cinema vouchers
Box of crisps Candle and oil scents set – £60 value
Make up goodie bag
X2 tickets for a medium show
Butchers meat pack – £10 value
Total – £1868
Other Facebook competitions in 2017
Butchers meat pack – £20 value
Emjoi drinking cards game
Cocoa mint sunglasses – £80 value
Butchers voucher – £20
Disney goodie bag
200liters of oil
X2 John Bishop tickets