Today we are back with our regular feature ‘Advice from the Married Side,‘ real life wedding planning...
Happy Friday everyone, I hope have had a good week? How was your Valentine’s day? Did you celebrate or aren’t you a fan? I’m still full from all the food Nik cooked for me yesterday, but I had a lovely evening. I’m hoping to hear of some Valentines day proposals soon, I do love a good propsal story! What are your plans for the weekend? I am out for a friends 40th birthday celebrations. It should be a good night! Moving on with today’s wedding and I am finishing the week with a large dose of summer sunshine as I take you back to July of last year for the festival wedding of Riona and Matthew, courtesy of Real Simple Photography. Their day is full of summer fun, lots of outdoor games, a bucking bronco, a BBQ, and a fab festival theme that ran throughout the day.
Riona and Matthew were married on 14th July 2018 at Holy Family Church, Reigate Surrey. with the reception at Westmead events, Nutfield Surrey. ‘The church was also where I (Rio) was baptised, holy communion and held my Mother’s funeral. The venue, we wanted an outside festival wedding. I had come across the venue a few years earlier online (with my Mum) which provided the outdoor field aspect but in very beautiful settings with additional facilities to a “bog standard field” such as a summer house for use of the wedding party, a lake, parking facilities on site and ability to camp on site if so required. We had 160 guests in the day and 250 in the evening and it took a year and a half to plan.’
How they met
We worked at a pub together approximately 10 years ago, Matt came in as the manager but we rarely spoke during our time working together (intentionally on the Rio’s part). We shared mutual friends and a few years later we had our first proper chat, danced to our wedding song that night and never looked back.
Rio lost her mum in April 2016 and Rio & Matt went to Thailand later that year in November 2016. Halfway through the holiday we visited the Doi Suthep Temple in Chiang Mia and Matt got down on one knee when we were having our picture taken at the view point which overlooks the whole of Chiang Mai (22nd November). Matt had in fact proposed with the exact ring my Dad designed for my Mum (as an eternity /replacement engagement ring as the first one was when they were young and had little money). My Dad had given the same ring to my Mum in the same city, Chiang Mai, on their 25th Wedding anniversary which was nearly exactly 10 years to the day which would have been on 4th December.
How did you allocate your budget?
With difficulty. We had an overall budget set at the outset but after the venue, the tent and the catering we were not far off this budget due to the size. We shopped around for quotes but didn’t set budgets for individual items.
Where did you splurge and where did you save?
Splurge: Catering and tent were the two largest items given the size required and this essentially made up the venue and it was difficult to shop around given the work involved with the quotes and they were two of the most important features it was difficult to save on these aspects . The dress and photographer were also picked without real consideration to the price as we were more interested in quality given the importance. Given the wedding theme- the invites, lanyards and wristbands weren’t cheap but added a lot to the day. We looked into making these ourselves but we would not have saved a huge amount of money after materials and therefore given the time, ease and quality, we do not regret paying the price we did.
Save: A lot of the parts of the wedding were handmade by the bride and/or the materials were all bargain hunted– table plan, centre pieces (save for the flowers), cake toppers, wedding favours (in part), photo vinyls, desks, glitter station, pimp my prosecco & pimms, cushions/blankets, gifts and card holder, all decorations, signs, games, disposable cameras on tables etc.
Wooden signs, bunting and speech bingo cards/graphics were made by Groom’s Dad or 2 of the bridesmaids.
Flowers were done by a friend’s Mum therefore received at a discounted price. Deserts were all handmade by one of the bridesmaids and their Mum as a wedding present and the fruit wedding cake which was used as a second wedding cake was made by Bride’s godmother.
The alcohol was bought using deals online from a local supermarket. The wedding party outfits were all from high street brands (but were exactly what we were looking for) and mostly managed to find discount codes etc for these. Bride didn’t bother with expensive shoes or any accessories nor did the Groom. We also went for plain and simple wedding bands saving cost.
We initially weren’t going to have a videographer due to budget but we thankfully decided it would be worth it.
How did you choose your photographer?
Online search – Google. Then reviewing the pages and Instagram galleries. Contacting a few and comparing their prices, their work but one of the biggest things was how they responded to my initial email and if we liked their approach.
Dress- Pronovias. Accessories- I wore a necklace gifted by her brother years ago that I wear every day and my Mother’s ashes ring on the right hand. Matt gave me pearl earrings on the morning of the wedding and Mother of the Groom gave me her Grandmothers earrings to wear as ‘Something old/borrowed’. Later in the day I wore a fake flower crown which was a last minute add on – a variety of colours had been purchased for my hen do/hen-fest which I left out for use at the wedding and left a white one under my chair which came in handy.
Suit and bridesmaids
Suit- River Island. All groomsmen wore the same.
Theme or colour scheme
Yellow and Blue (the colours of Matt’s rugby club – Chipstead Rugby Club)
Sunflowers, Gypsophila, white roses, folage, gerbera daisy
Festival themed. Bunting. Centre pieces – Wellie boots holding flowers on a grass platform. Table names were vinyls with the different festival names as the middle.
We had 2 tents- one smaller one mostly used for use before the meal- around the smaller tent we had printed pictures on vinyls and hung these all around.
Small tent had blow up chairs, cushions, blankets, games, lanterns, vintage school desks were used for a glitter station and “pimp my pimms/prosecco” and a video guestbook.
Gift drop was a vintage suitcase painted white.
Card drop was a drum with a hole cut in the top with “Staunton wedfest” printed on the skin
The tent company put fairy lights up the poles in the tent.
Another big feature was that we had a cardboard cut out of my Mum (who happened to be dressed in a Mother of the bride-esk item).
Starters- large funky canapes – Salmon fingers with tarte sauce dip, chunky chips with camembert dip, mini Yorkshires with beef and carrot and parsnip puree bite and susages with a mash dip.
Mains- Brazillian BBQ buffet- steak, chicken and sausage- guests got to have all 3 with a selection of salad/coleslaw (but not your average salad, potato salad or coleslaw). Veggie option was mushroom and halloumi skewer.
Wedding cheese cake from Godminster (6 tiers of different cheeses)
Bride’s godmother also made a small 2 tiered fruit cake for the desert table
2 bands – Happy Jacks to start, followed by randy and the rockets.
Games- Shot speech bingo (during the best man speeches), guess the length of the FOTB speech, Beer pong, limbo, Flunky ball and blow-up pass the pigs.
Photo-booth- Our wedding VW camper van doubled up as a photobooth with guestbook/.
Who supplied the stationery?
Wedfest – Invites, lanyards and wristbands.
See above – Lots of personal touches and handmade items- mostly all of the decoration and small items.
Mum’s card-board cut out was probably the most personal touch, I also did a speech/poem for my Mum and Matt. We also had photos of us and with family/friends on vinyl’s and hung around the small tent.
I made the speech bingo which was completely personalised, we also had ‘Staunton wedfest” bunting. I also made the order of services, table plan, the centre pieces, the gift/card drops, the vinyls, the signs etc so they were all personal. We also had some woodwork like a personalised “this way” sign and entrance sign and at the church we had some handkerchiefs with a little message & water with them as an extra little touch.
In the morning I wrote letters for Matt, my maid of honour, my dad and my parents in law. I also made Matt a box with several things in it for the day like Creed aftershave, some personalised things e.g. socks and some funny bits. My dad got personalised socks for our “favourite walk” and my parents in law got a personalised print with a poem for them and my mother in law got a little charm to carry. Matt also wrote me a card with the earrings and his mum also gave me her grandma’s earrings and my bridesmaids had made a box of memories for my from the hen etc.
After the ceremony, myself and the groom went in the wedding car to stop at my mum’s grave in a nearby church. The photographer came with us. I was provided with two matching bouquets so that I could leave one with my Mum as I wanted her to have the bouquet that was used during the ceremony.
Seeing matt at the alter and also when he cried during his speech when talking about my Mum.
Having the cardboard cut-out of my Mum and everyone feeling as though she was there. it was amazing to have her as part of our group photos, some of which it is hard to tell she isn’t real.
Advice for other couples?
Accept help if people offer – they want to help and be a part of your day, don’t exhaust yourself in the lead-up and leave good time to prepare
Don’t sweat the small stuff- if things go wrong on the day it will still be the best day of your lives
If there are anyone specific you want pictures with, tell them to take their own photos or ask you for a photo. When you are having group photos, the last thing you want to do is add on any more than you need to as it is a large chunk of time and can get very stressful but somewhere in the evening it may not be as stressful to get some other photos with anyone special.
Do your research, shop around and don’t “panic buy” any suppliers.
Although it is completely personal preference, we found that turning our starters into canapes and having a desert table instead of a sit down 3 course meal went down really well as people didn’t go too long without food, people didn’t have to sit for hours to eat and then go through the speeches and people could pick what/how much they wanted.
Giving my husband a nose-bleed and potentially breaking his nose when falling off the bucking bronco and head-butting him, and falling flat on my face when running to hug Matt.