|My dress was from Delphine Manivet at Browns Bride, Shoes: Miu Miu, Sunglasses: Valentino, Hairband: Louis Vuitton. Chris wore suit: Paul Smith ‘Abbey’ suit, Shirt: Uniqlo, Bowtie: Rake at Matches, Shoes: Office, Sunglasses: Ray-Ban|
What a whirlwind it was, I remember a whole mixture of emotions (all of them good!) on the day of 13th which I was desperate to relive throughout my honeymoon (much to the annoyance of my husband!). Happiness, joy, laughter, warmth, excitement, anxiety (in a good way) all in one day. I had spent months and many evenings planning most of the finishing touches myself, and although exhausting at the time, all my family and friends appreciated it and nothing went un-noticed (phew!).
The honeymoon was out of this world. If anyone is considering going to Japan: DO IT. It is the most interesting, kind and fun country we have ever been to (and I’ve been around!). Every place we visited was just as spectacular as the last and we made many friends with our attempts at the language (FYI ‘Oy-shi-ka-ta’ means ‘This is delicious’ and will work wonders!).
|On our way to the airport, wearing my new super comfy Toast trousers (in the sale here)|
I don’t want to put up too many photos as want to wait until our amazing photographer, Ed Peers, has sent his beautiful shots…and Japan pics will have to wait until I’ve done a strong edit!
But thought I’d share my ideas towards my wedding, making it personal and most importantly, saving money!
What I spent money on:
- BAND – Music was so important to us, and I saw our band, Hackney Colliery Band play at a MatchesFashion party and just knew it was the right investment. Everyone thought they were AMAZING (and said so, too).
- TENT – we used Beautiful World Tents for their amazing tipis…we didn’t tell anyone so it was a real surprise when people walked in (especially as it was a VERY tight squeeze in the garden – which I felt made more of an impact, anyway!).
|The ‘Photo Op’ area my dad built on the left in front of the tipis|
- PHOTOGRAPHER – I knew from very early on that I wanted Ed peers to photograph the day, he came very highly recommended to me by Laura Fantacci (from WIT Blog). He lived up to every expectation: very kind, inconspicuous and he works till when you need him. For me, working with photographers daily, this was my most important expense.
- THE DRESS – I really didn’t expect to, actually. I was thinking I’d just go J Crew but as soon as I tried this on, I wanted it – it fitted with our vibe so much. Plus I knew my husband would be wearing a quite retro suit…and knew it would go together nicely.
What I scrimped on…
- VENUE FEES – it was a close call whether the tents would fit in my parent’s garden, but totally worth it. We saved so much on corkage costs and catering bills…
- FOOD – we went with a local caterer, rather than a known one, and our menu was quite simple: smoked salmon, burger and chips, banoffee pie. As our meal was filling, we missed out extras like bread and coffees. We also printed all the menus ourselves.
|We sourced the chip fryers, coleslaw pots and cut the parchment paper ourselves|
|My sister made all the napkins out of H+M table-cloths!|
- DJ – as we’d spent a lot on our band, in between we decided to have CD playlists. This way, we selected all the songs which we knew our friends would all enjoy. My brother-in-law is a DJ so actually pre-mixed the music for us on CD so there were no awkward 2 second silences between each song. If you have someone who could do this, I would HIGHLY recommend this, as most of our friends probably didn’t even notice we didn’t have a DJ!
- Decorations – most of the chalkboard signs were hand-made, paper poms were from Ikea, and lots of items were recycled from friends (all the vases were my nan’s milk bottles and pickled onion jars!). Any tables we bought for display we HAD to be able to use them in the flat afterwards. So we managed to furnish a lot of our new home at the same time!
- Invites – we just wanted something you could stick easily to your fridge, so went with Project Pretty, who printed the invites, envelopes and order of service quite cheaply. We then made our info and RSVP cards…
|Our ‘Fill in the Gaps’ RSVP cards, which we displayed on the day|
- VIDEOGRAPHER – I didn’t really love the style of many of the wedding videos I saw online…I basically wanted a 2 minute music of the day, showing everyone laughing a having a good time, with cool music playing over it. Instead of going with a big company, we contacted an assistant of a company we knew and spoke about our ideas together and she agreed to do it for us. It looked like she got some fab snippets, and cannot wait to see!
- FLOWERS – although I asked a professional, local florist, Mad Lilies, to do mine and the bridesmaid’s bouquets, I knew I could do the flower displays myself. It took a LONG time the day before to organise (I arranged over a 100 jars!), but I was so pleased with the result and it felt so much more personal. My florist agreed to order the flowers I wanted through a wholesaler (so no trotting down to New Covent Garden Flower Market at 5am for me!) and helped advise me on which flowers would be in season etc. I went with white Nigella, blue delphiniums, rosemary (for the smell), white aster, lilac spray rose, gypsophilia and larkspur, for a wild, meadowy look.
|Painstakingly doing the flowers the day before! It was worth it…|
The extra touches which definitely made it…
- PHOTOBOOTH – nowadays, it’s rare when a wedding doesn’t have one…and it definitely helped make the evening even better. Think about those people that don’t like dancing…there’s no one that doesn’t love photobooth! I went with Coco Photobooth – they were really reasonable (around £600 as opposed to Boothnation which quoted us £1300). We got the retro photobooth style, and used our own props (Superhero theme) and Muji brown scrapbook (rather than a logo’d one). They give 3 sets of copies for you and then stick one in a book, which doubled up as our comments book (we asked them to stick ours down with washi tape!) and then you get a memory stick of images as well.
|Hulk masks made by Mummy Hughesy on Etsy – she usually makes for kids but she kindly adapted ours for adults!|
|Having fun with friends (and my friend’s gorgeous daughter, Scout)|
- FAIRY LIGHTS – more is more, in my case. We had lights everywhere, it just makes it so romantic looking! I also really wanted those ‘festoon’ lights, which are huge in the US but very hard to find here. This is where my dad came across my stubbornness – no other lights would do! But again, it was worth the perseverance!
- MUSIC – selecting your own playlist has a real bonus of sounding like you. Everyone commented on how good the music was, and we made sure then we had something for everyone.
- EVENING SNACKS – never underestimate the power of food. Everyone was still totally stuffed by the time evening snacks went round but they still tucked into some grub! We had mini shepherd’s pies, churros and chocolate, fish and chips in cones and a cheese table.
- PROPS – all of the little extras were my expertise! I was in heaven. Chalkboard tables, paper poms, photobooth props – I loved doing it.
|Paper poms (from Ikea) and ribbon from VV Rouleaux, with my mum wearing LK Bennett accessories (similar here)|
|Lavender Letters from Polly Fields – these are now by my fireplace!|
|An old Ikea table, covered in chalkboard paint. Chairs, £10 each, Ikea (which we can now use when we have extra guests over!)|
|Our £39 table from Achica, which are using in our flat, now|
|Chalkboard and easel from ChalkboardsUK – we’re already lending to a friend!|
|The beautiful Bunny Ears a colleague made for me – much cheaper than the Maison Michel ones!|
All I would say is, to get the best deal: be prepared to haggle. I hated doing it, but some of the initial quotes I was given were ridiculous. And it’s a lot easier to do it over email, at least!
Obviously it’s part of the fun to give your helpers a gift…and we really enjoyed giving something back to everyone who had put so much effort in.
|I went to Anya Hindmarch Bespoke for my sister (you can get it engraved with a message your hand-writing)|
|I’ve always loved this bracelet, so nice to finally get it for one of my bridesmaids, from Alex Monroe|
|These initial charms are so cute. I bought this for my bridesmaid who had just had a baby called Patrick, from Astley Clarke|
|We went with chic and practical, wallets from Paul Smith|
|Frames from The White Company are sterling silver, look great and come in chic, easily-wrappable boxes!|
One thing I think I should add as well is that…as much as you plan and stress for the big day and worry about every tiny detail, it doesn’t matter. I stressed about teeny tiny spoons that I wanted for the salt pots, and on the day? Didn’t even notice or see them (but sure they were appreciated somewhere!). There was apparently a cut-out of the electrics on the day too, which caused a delay with food. Did it bother me? Can’t even remember. So it’s worthwhile thinking about all these things when you’re stressed and budget doesn’t stretch. Would it be nice to have every elements all included? Sure. Would it REALLY make the difference to the day? Probably not. Everyone is there for you and will have fun, no matter what.