Today I am back with my regular feature ‘Advice from the Married Side,‘ real life wedding planning advice...
Happy Friday afternoon everyone! has it been a long week for you all? The first week back at work after the Christmas holidays is never an easy one, but it’s nearly the weekend so put a big smile on your face! This afternoon it’s the turn of Alison and Joe again and this time Alison is back to tell us all about their venue. Choosing the venue can often be the hardest part of planning a wedding, with costs playing a large part in the choice. Today Alison talks about the Church, meeting the vicar and their decision to go with a marquee instead of a traditional venue or village hall.
Happy New Year! 2014. Year of the wedding…
Only a few weeks ago everything wedding-wise was “next year”. And the wedding being June, the sixth month of the year, I’ve been thinking six months to go – loads of time. Well now we are actually into 2014 and I have thought about time a little more it has dawned on me that we actually only have five months as the wedding is at the beginning of June. This triggered a few nightmares (making a welcome change from my usual sea-themed nightmares!) where the day arrives and we are not ready – suppliers haven’t been in touch and don’t turn up. Joe has nothing to wear, we forgot to send out the invites, we took so long getting ready that we had to get married at night when it was dark and the electricity went off when I was trying to curl my hair. You name it, it happened! I think this was just a little nudge to say right, maybe best starting to get thing sorted a bit more. We both spent Christmas feeling horrendously ill so there wasn’t much of anything being done, nevermind wedding planning. On the upside we spent lost of time together over Christmas in front of the TV.
We have most of the biggies sorted but “being sorted” generally means being decided on and a deposit being paid. Most things seem to have two main stages – choosing a supplier and paying a deposit and then having to finalise the details and final costings nearer the time. We have paid the deposit for a mobile bar for example but there is still lots to sort out – numbers for welcome drinks, what the welcome drinks will be… Actually now I’m thinking about it that is all for the bar!! We are doing ok really and I think as long as we start to get things moved along a bit more we will be fine. This week I thought I would talk a bit about our chosen locations…
I’d never thought all that much about where I would ever get married but I think I automatically thought “church”. Once we got engaged and started to think about having an actual wedding though I wasn’t really too fussed about where the actual ceremony would take place. Joe was the one who particularly wanted a church wedding. Neither of us are regular church goers – in fact the only time we go to church are weddings and funerals and taking flowers to graves! If it was going to be a church wedding though, there was only one place I really wanted it to be. I spent a lot of time when I was growing up at my grandma’s in a small village in the countryside. She used to take me and my sister to the harvest festivals and other events at the church. It’s a lovely tiny church with big uneven beams inside. My grandparents are both buried there now so it would also be special to me to get married at the church where they are. The church itself is quite unique – it is a Grade II listed building with parts dating back to the 13th century. It is in the middle of nowhere and is known as the “Chapel in the Wilderness”. It is only small and will seat up to 90 guests. Our day time guest list is currently hovering just above that figure so everyone may have to squeeze up a bit!
Last year when we enquired about getting married at the church there was no permanent vicar and they were waiting to find out who their new vicar would be. We went to meet them just before Christmas. I mentioned last time that I was a little apprehensive about this as I felt a bit of a fake wanting to get married in church yet not being a churchgoer or overly religious. The new vicar turned out to be a lady. We called round to the vicarage which is not too far from where we live. I don’t know what I was expecting but the whole thing seemed very normal. A down to earth lady living in a normal house that just happened to be called “the vicarage”. As soon as I saw that our vicar was blonde, wearing Christmas tree earrings and a flowery dress with red boots I felt at ease. We filled in the initial paper work and she talked to us about the order of the service and the things that we needed to decide on – hymns, readings and the wording of the vows etc. We are due to meet her again in March when we will discuss the service in more detail and the hymns etc that we have chosen. She directed us to this website www.yourchurchwedding.org – which has actually proven to be really useful in planning a church wedding. It seems to make it all a bit more modern.
From the church we will be going on to Joe’s parent’s house for the reception. Well, not literally their house, but a marquee there! When we started to plan the wedding we knew that we didn’t want to spend a fortune on it. We instantly thought about a marquee as we are lucky to have the space available. When I first started to get quotes some of the prices made us start to think that it may be easier and cheaper to just find a venue. We looked into a local village hall thinking that would be a cheap option. Although it was inexpensive compared to bespoke wedding venues etc, you end up being tied in to their bar or their catering etc. The cheapest drinks package (as you couldn’t supply your own drink) was more than what we wanted to spend really. Then there were restrictions about when you could access the hall to decorate and then again the time when you had to go back and have everything removed by. Surprisingly they were also pretty booked up too so we were limited on dates. The main thing that put us off was that the music had to stop at something like 11pm and there was also a noise limiter at the back of the hall that would shut off the power if the sound reached a certain level. We started to feel it was all a bit restrictive so went back to the marquee idea.
We found some more reasonable priced quotes and in the end were put in touch with Malibu Marquees www.malibumarquees.co.uk through one of Joe’s friends. They are a local family run company so it was nice to deal with someone down to earth and wanting to help us out and not just make money from us.
(Photo source: www.malibumarquees.co.uk)
We recently met up with Brett from MM as we had changed our plans slightly… Joe’s Dad is in the process of building a barn/agricultural shed on his land and suggested to us that if we had the reception inside there it would allow more space for parking in the filed where we had planned on having the marquee. So we met up with Brett last weekend to show him the area and see what was achievable. Being a larger space than the marquee we were initially planning there were lots of things to consider that we hadn’t thought about. We have now decided that we will partition the marquee off to have an entrance section containing the bar which will then lead through to the main seating area. The dance floor and stage area for the band will be kept partitioned off in the day with a curtain or other divide until the night. That way we won’t feel like we are rattling around in a barn big enough for 500 seated guests with just our 100 day guests. We plan to line the barn as we would have done the marquee and have carpet laid down and a wooden dance floor. I was hoping to take some pictures of the barn as it currently is for the blog but the weather was so horrendous and cold when we were there that photos never got taken!
I think the nice thing about us having the marquee is that you start with a blank canvas and can really make it your own. We’ve got lots of ideas for decorations etc that we need to get a move on with but I’m really looking forward to getting stuck into that. We also have the advantage that there is no restriction to when our suppliers or ourselves can access the marquee either so it feels like there is less to try to sort out and plan there. The only down side to creating the day ourselves is that we don’t have anybody to co-ordinate the day and make sure suppliers are where they should be and that things have been delivered to where they should be. I’m sure that will be fine with a bit of delegation.
So, by my next blog in five weeks time I should have lots of DIY goodies to show off. Now I’ve written that publicly it should push me on and give me some kind of deadline to work to!!…
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