Balling on a Budget: Wedding Planning - Pt 1

As you may know, I (Mama Panda aka Rufina) is passionate about supporting independent businesses so following on from our previous blog post detailing how our beautiful wedding rings were made, it gives us so much joy to showcase the amazing brands that we worked with who gave nothing short of delivering 110% in the six months leading up to and on our wedding day despite us “balling on a budget”.

Check out the pics to see how it all turned out!

Stationery and Calligraphy signage: @scrittouk

Since I was 7 years old, Michelle Trotter has been a close friend (Wowser – 25 years! That’s a quarter century!!!) She might as well be family and for being supportive throughout my life, it was a no brainer to ask her to honour us with being a bridesmaid. I’m so lucky and humbled to have her as a friend – thanks sis!

In addition to bridesmaid duties, She offered her time to help create our autumnal themed stationery (save the dates and invites) as well as the beautiful welcome and seating plan mirrors. Her work didn’t stop there. She also created our table signage (we opted for meaningful song names rather than table numbers for a personal touch) and guests’ name place cards (all by hand. Girl got skills). In addition to this, Michelle personalised the “Bride Tribe” purses that I gave as gifts to the bridal entourage as well as created a mirrored signage for our son Shayne to hold whilst walking down the aisle. Have a look at the pics to see how awesome she actually is at what she does!

Creative is an understatement and with a background in branding, ideas flow through her like a dodgy kebab after an awesome night out (but in a good way though lol).

As a passionate calligrapher who takes pride in her work, and quite rightly so, we can’t say we’re not biased to her art but I think judging by these photos you will probably agree. Head over to to see more.

Rings: @burtandgurtlondon

A husband and wife team that specialise in creating beautiful bespoke engagement rings and wedding bands. You may have seen them floating about on Mama Panda’s insta stories as I work part-time for the dream duo that is Mark and Jaycee. If you have ANY hesitation about having jewellery made for your loved one, have a word. They will put your mind at ease by guiding you along the process and ensure that you get nothing less than perfection.

You can read more about how they came to making Rufina’s temporary engagement ring here.

To enquire or book them for your special proposal/wedding day you can also contact them via email on

Cake: @kamikobakes


I think it’s safe to assume that the “cake tasting” is always way up there on the bride and groom’s favourite things to do on the wedding planning list. Well it was definitely up there for us!

In our case we had Maria. We were blessed!

She came to our home (ideal for us as we have our children to work our busy schedules around) and presented us with cupcakes of various flavours. How convenient that a couple of Emil’s groomsmen just so happened to pay us a visit on that particular day – it almost turned into a cake tasting party!

How many guests? What flavours did you decide on? Who can’t eat what (intolerances)? What cake design? She asked, we answered, she more than delivered.

Initially we wanted to have a single venue for our reception after our ceremony. Unfortunately, this plan went to crap and we’d have to carry on the party elsewhere but the plus side was that we would have 2 cakes! One for our day guests and another for our evening guests! Cake! Cake! Cake!

Keeping with the theme but switching it up a bit in layout, Maria absolutely SMASHED it!

Day cake: 3 tier (3 different flavours – Chocolate, Strawberries and cream and Pandan) and cupcake tower for gluten free and vegan guests.

Evening cake: Single cake (for us to be able to slice, cookies and cream flavour) and cupcake towers for all guests including gluten free and vegan cupcakes. This was a tip worth keeping in mind for those celebrating in a more relaxed environment as we found cupcakes more practical to hand out and was less messy to eat standing up too! Can you eat a slice of cake off a plate whilst holding a glass whilst dancing to your favourite 80s banger? Cupcakes are the answer!

Oh and another tip we learnt – delegate a bridesmaid or groomsman to save part of your wedding cake (or in our case, a tier lol) for you to enjoy after the wedding day as more likely than not you won’t have time to enjoy a full slice! (We were so happy we did this as we were able to enjoy cake for the following week as a ritual with our cups of tea *thumbs up #winning #cakegang)

Personalised Cake Server: @onemamaoneshed

I met Siobhan via the Instagram world, making my initial order a year ago for a personalised silver spoon that I gave to my God-daughter on her Christening day.

Emil says I’m very good at thinking about the “little details” (although it sometimes comes very last minute) as the little things amount to the big things. Sometimes he says things and I don’t know what he’s on about so I just smile so I can end the conversation quickly but I think he has a point here lol.

Every beautiful cake deserves a shiny new cake server and on this occasion remembered that I already knew an awesome lady who could add that special something to this item we would now treasure forever (And possibly pass down to our children as a keepsake).

Cake Topper & Personalised Wooden Keepsake Box: @ashare_designs

When it comes to cakes, it’s no secret that the #PandaFamily believe that Maria from Kamiko Bakes and Lucy @ashare_designs go hand in hand!

We didn’t actually ask Lucy to add our hashtag to the personalised wooden cake topper that she made for us but we are so thankful that she did it anyway because it was an AWESOME touch!

If there was a single word that I could use to describe Lucy other than “inspirational”, Patient will definitely be it!

Sometimes my mind can be all over the place what with running a business/blog, working part-time whilst keeping our #ThreeLittlePandas looked after as well as juggling an unpredictable health condition and hospital appointments. BUT, when I remembered just days before the wedding that we had forgotten to order a box for us to keep our polaroid photos during the wedding day then after keep all of our momentos in after the wedding, Lucy was the first person I turned to.

*Not only did Lucy manage to use the font for our names to match our theme and stationery, she managed to include a passage from one of our favourite songs on the inside of the box lid too!

Lucy – Thank you for always being so patient and supportive to us. You created something we genuinely love and appreciate and we are so happy to have you as part of our special day even though you couldn’t be physically present. We appreciate you always *hugs.


At the start of writing this post dedicated to those who worked so hard to make our special day what it was, I didn't think I'd be writing quite as much about each brand but so as to not overload you with wending vendor goodness, I'll break the post up into three posts.

Stay tuned for more from make-up to flowers to decor to those who bring it all together!

#FinallyFound1inEmil #ThreeLittlePandas #PandaFamily #WeddingPlanning #LondonWeddings #StuffWeLove

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