Today I am back with my regular feature ‘Advice from the Married Side,‘ real life wedding planning advice...
Happy Monday everyone, I hope you all had a good weekend? Mine was lovely, time spent with family and friends a bit of drinking a bit of food and lots of fun and relaxation, perfect!
We have another jam packed week coming up for you, starting off with this gorgeous barn wedding from Paul Fletcher Photography. Debbie and Lewis decided that the venue and the catering were the most important aspects of their wedding day so allocated a large proportion of their budget to this area. They then decided to save money on the flowers, decoration and stationery by doing these themselves. The results are lots of handmade projects and help from friends and family in the lead up to the wedding. A beautifully fun and relaxed day with some gorgeous photography.
Debbie and Lewis were married on 18th of April 2015 at Grittenham Barn in Tillington. ‘We knew exactly the type of venue we wanted, a relaxed country venue were we had the freedom to have things just as we wanted. When we saw Grittenham it was perfect. We had 100 guests in total and it took 5 months to plan. It was A non-traditional relaxed day that we enjoyed planning together. Loads of personal touches and fun silliness made it a really memorable day!’
How they met
We both went to Edinburgh university but didn’t meet whilst we there. We met through a mutual friend when we were both living in London, he went on to be our best man. We had been together for just over 5 years when we got married.
We were on a long weekend in Istanbul in December. Lewis was acting a bit nervous the first night over dinner. When we got back to the hotel room I was changing into my pyjamas and turned round to find him on 1 knee on the floor behind me holding up a beautiful ring! He looked very pleased with himself.
How did you allocate your budget
Our main expenditure was the venue and the catering. It was very important to us that there was plenty of really good food! We also spent money on a band rather than a DJ, it was totally worth it. We then tried to save money by doing the flowers, decorations and stationary ourselves
How did you choose your photographer
Paul Fletcher was recommended in the information pack we received from Grittenham Barn. We really liked the photos on his website and when we spoke to him he really stood out above other photographers we had met. He had just the right balance of professionalism and excited enthusiasm
My dress was from David’s Bridal in Stratford. I was very nervous because it was strapless and I didn’t want any mishaps, but Ernie at David’s Bridal fitted it perfectly, he was my saviour! My sparkly shoes (which I just adore) were Kurt Geiger and I got my necklace from John Lewis. I also got a pair of sparkly sneakers from Kurt Geiger for dancing in the evening, this was definitely a good move
The Suit and Bridesmaids
Lewis had a bespoke suit from Tom Fox in Guildford. He picked every detail, down to the colour of the stitching round the button holes! We knew he would wear it loads in the future so it didn’t matter it cost 3 times the amount my outfit did. The Bridesmaids dresses came from ASOS.com. We dressed them up with a ribbon around the waist. It was very difficult to choose something that would suit 6 very different girls so I kept it simple. I also got them matching necklaces from Accessorise.
Theme or Colour Scheme
We didn’t have a colour scheme, we wanted to avoid too much uniformity and instead went with a more relaxed random feel
I did all the flowers myself including the bouquets & buttonholes. I had a look at Pinterest for some ideas then went to New Convent Garden Flower market to see what I could get. It was a really fun morning going round with a friend deciding what flowers to get. I did a practice run for the bouquets a few weeks before, I am glad I did, it would have been a bit stressful doing it for the first time the day before!
The bouquets were Sweet Avalanche Roses, Phlox, Lisianthus, Ranunculus and Grape Hyacinths. The button holes were sweet avalanche roses with eucalyptus. I chose the biggest roses because I thought they would look best in the button holest. Unfortunately, although they were beautiful, they were so heavy they kept flipping upside down…..oops! They still looked great when they were the right way up though
We did almost all the decorating ourselves! We went round boot fairs for weeks before the wedding buying a random collection of jugs and vases for the centre pieces. We then filled them with meadow-style flowers for a colourful look! We printed photos of our families and friends and had them on the walls, wrapped organza round the chandeliers, and put up lots & lots of fairy lights, festoons lights and a few paper lanterns for a pop of colour!
A group of friends helped us do all the decorations the day before, it was a really fun day!
We borrowed an Instant Polaroid camera from a friend and got loads of film. We then hung string and pegs around the venue so the photos could be put on display – decorations that got better as the night went on!
We had a mezze starter, we thought this was a good way to get everyone chatting and we love lots cold meats, humus and asparagus spears! The main course was either a Slow Roast Lamb (our favourite meat!) or a Nutty roast Gnocci option for the vegetarians
We didn’t want a traditional wedding cake. Instead we asked lots of our wonderful friends to bring a cake or dessert, country fayre style. These were portioned and put on the tables for dessert. We also had some that we put on a cake trolley that Lew and I pushed round serving our guests! We wore aprons each saying Mr Danby and Mrs Danby! It worked really well, everyone was excited about all the different options
We had a band called The Mixtape. They were amazing. They played massive tunes and the dance floor was full all night long
Buy or DIY your Stationery
We did all our own stationary. The invitations were brown luggage tags which we decorated with ink stamps and tied with ribbon. We also did a photo booth style strip of photos that had a magnet on the back so could be put on the fridge. We then used the ink stamps to decorate the menus and party bags on the day
Personal or Handmade Touches
We had one of our Best Men speak before the registrar to welcome everyone and say a few words about us, he was the one who introduced us to each other so it was lovely to have him kick off the day. One of my favourite bits of DIY were our place settings which were photos of each guest with us. It was so much fun digging through old photos to find pics of everyone!
We also put party bags on the tables with silly sunglasses, glow sticks, balloons and, my personal favourite, transfer tattoos in them! It was like a kid’s party, so much fun!
I (The Bride) did a speech. I have an amazing family and friends and I really wanted to stand up and say thank you and tell them how much they mean to me. It’s not every day you get to do that and I’m so glad I did!
I made all the confetti myself and made paper confetti holders out of doilies! Again, a few pennies saved.
We wrote our own vows, it was important that our promises should be personal. It was very emotional but something we will remember forever.
Another highlight was my Mum (Mother of The Bride) doing a speech. My Dad wasn’t well enough so I asked my Mum if she would do it instead. She was so nervous but she totally nailed it, she’s such a star.
Advice to other couples
Just do whatever makes you happy, whether it’s traditional or a bit different, it’s your day! Try not to get stressed, it’s not worth it! It WILL all come together in the end and you’ll spend the day on such a high you’ll wonder what you were ever worried about
How much we enjoyed the photography! Neither of us are great at posing, I tend to feel a bit awkward but it was actually so much fun. I think this had a lot to do with Paul. He was such a nice guy and was enthusiastically running round looking for the best light and trying to create interesting fun shots and we got caught up in his enthusiasm. He wasn’t bossy but still managed to arrange everyone how he wanted. I didn’t think I would spend my wedding evening at dusk clambering through a rutted filed in my stilettos, it was great.