There is so much emphasis put on the engagement ring when you are getting married...
Happy Monday everyone, I hope you all had a wonderful weekend? Did you get up to anything exciting? Ours was spent baby shopping and I’m pleased to say we have quite a few bits crossed off our list now. We also went to see ‘Dallas Buyers Club’, which is a brilliant film, I highly recommend it!
I have a busy and exciting week ahead with lots of interesting stuff to share with you on the blog, including the first wedding of the week which comes courtesy of the lovely Belinda McCarthy. Kirsty and Daniel planned their farm wedding all for under £10,000. They were careful where they spent their money and drafted in friends and family to help with all the DIY projects. The day turned out beautifully and just as they wanted it, with an afternoon tea, garden games, amazing food stall in the evening, photo booth and gorgeous outdoor ceremony! What a perfect day!
Kirsty and Daniel were married on the 14th of September at Dan’s Grandma’s farm, Little Common Farm North Bradley, Trowbridge. ‘We looked at a lot of local venues however we had a very clear idea of how we wanted our wedding to be and they all seemed too stuffy for us and a lot were really quite expensive. Key for us in choosing our venue was the ability to have the relaxed family vibe that allowed for all of our ideas and creative projects. We approached Dan’s Grandma not expecting her to say yes really but she was great and let us have free reign of the Farm to create exactly what we imagined. We were extremely lucky that we know the Minister at the church at the top of the lane for the farm so we were able to have our field ceremony, that I’d unknowingly really wanted for ages and then make it official all in a registered building directly afterwards as I’d felt a bit funny about having two ceremonies and not having our family see us legally married. Perhaps the most important factor for us in choosing our venue was the history we have with the Farm, Dan worked with his granddad from being a little boy on the farm and it was another way to feel that his granddad who is no longer with us was part of our day as he’d had such a big influence on Dan throughout his life. We had approximately 85 guests for the day. It took us just under 9months from start to finish to plan!’
How they met
We met at school aged 11, we got together aged 15 in year 10 and have been together ever since, just over 10 years.
The proposal was quite unexpected, we’d been living together for a few years post uni and after 10 years together we’d had a lovely holiday to Cornwall and were feeling quite contented. Dan proposed on Christmas Day just after making the best meal I’ve had in my life! We were both stuffed but he disappeared upstairs to get my present that he’d been keeping from me all day and came back down with a ring, on one knee in his cracker hat. . We were so happy, we kept it to ourselves for the rest of the day then spent the rest of the holiday period celebrating and telling people.
How did you spend your budget?
We didn’t have much of a budget, Dan had to sell our beloved Land Rover Huey to pay for part of our day so we knew we had to allocate our funds carefully, we investigated a few online blogs for advice and wrote up our budget. Deciding having good food, a pretty marquee, and outfits that we felt comfortable and most importantly the photographer so we had lasting memories of our day in were the best uses of our budget, we knew we were able to make savings in a lot of other areas by doing things ourselves and we did A LOT ourselves! The whole thing cost less than £10,000 we really believe having a budget didn’t mean we couldn’t have everything we wanted and shouldn’t impact on planning.
Why did you choose your photographer?
We noticed Belinda on the Boho website and saw she was local and had the exact feel to her photography that we wanted. My father used to be a wedding photographer but also had some dreadful wedding pictures from his wedding and stressed the importance of the photos to us so we knew we had find someone that fitted the bill perfectly. On top of this Dan runs a printing business so we wanted someone who would allow us to have high quality images and the original files so we could create our own prints from the day. Belinda was very accommodating of this and when we met her we knew she was perfect to record our day. Neither of us are partially comfortable in front of a camera but Belinda made us feel at ease and lots of our guests commented that they hadn’t even noticed photos were being taken.
I’m not someone who had dreamt about their wedding dress all my life so the dress shopping was traumatic, one of my bridesmaids practically had to drag me into the dress shops. I went to a few that were quite stuffy and was told I’d left it too late, (I was looking in January) but eventually I happened upon Victoria Park Bridal, where Louisa was so helpful and enthusiastic about the wedding I knew I’d found the place I would find my dress it took two visits and I ended up with the perfect dress that I’d not even tried on the first time round. Even better it was in the sale and half price! My shoes and accessories all came from the high street, the jewellery and one pair of shoes (the flats) came from Debenhams at the last moment as I’d not put that much thought in and I needed a way to make my hair behave but they went perfectly. I also had some lace shoes from BHS which were a much cheaper version of the £135 one I originally wanted, I replaced the ribbon in the shoes with my own teal to add some colour and finally I had some hunter wellies that I bought online. A little bit of searching meant I could have everything I ‘needed’ without spending a fortune and adding some simple touches by had to give them a unique look.
The suit and bridesmaids
Dan’s and the best man’s suits came from Reiss they fitted beautifully so we knew they had to have them. The bridesmaids dresses actually came from Amazon, they were made by Fever but the website had sold out and there was no local stockist, I was quite upset as this was the only dress that they all agreed on lucky Amazon saved the day. Shoes were from monsoon, the flat shoes they all wore down the aisle were from their own collection, Karen’s shoes had a makeover on the way to the hairdressers in the morning where we added some teal ribbon flowers as we decided the torrential rain the day before meant heels were out for the big entrance.
Theme or colour scheme
There was no official theme for the wedding, we wanted something relaxed, we knew we both liked teal (we found out afterwards this is one of the hardest colours to photograph, not that you can tell from our pictures.) so we incorporated that and given you can’t have flowers in teal we weren’t limited on choice, I chose seasonal flowers in purples, cream and pinks that complemented the teal nicely.
Our decorations are probably best described as rustic, homemade and found objects.
Myself and one of my bridesmaids and a crafty friend made metres of bunting, we had tissue paper pom poms in all sizes, jam jars which we decorated with twine were used for the flowers, we had props like Dan’s grandma’s old suitcase for our cards and our flower arch. We wanted decorations that fitted with our relaxed atmosphere.
Myself, my mum and one of my bridesmaids spent 3 early mornings visiting Bristol flower market so we could look at and purchase flowers for the tables, buttonholes, and arch. The volunteers at Lacock Abbey where one of my bridesmaids’ works collected jam jars for us to decorate and use as vases. On the tables we had Lisianthus, gypsophila and Ranunculus. We bought far too many of the flowers in the end but it was better to have too many that too few and gave us gifts for all of our helpers.
We also had the groom’s buttonhole, my flowers and the bridesmaid’s flowers and flower girls flowers put together for us by a florist as I wasn’t prepared for the stress of doing those ourselves! In my bouquet I had Cream Roses, purple Lisianthus and some foliage which Dan’s buttonhole coordinated with, the bridesmaids had Blueberry Roses and white Lisianthus and foliage. On the day I was disappointed that I preferred their flowers to my own. It was a lesson that once I’d committed so much to the DIY flowers I really didn’t like being out of control with mine. Having said that all of the flowers were beautiful and went wonderfully with those we had arranged ourselves on the day.
After the ceremony we had a high tea with sandwiches, tea and cakes with our own processco served as the toast. Later in the evening we had ‘food stalls’ which served Mexican and Italian food, chilli, pulled pork buns and pancakes and tiramisu for afters. All of this was prepared in the outside marquee with a basic generator and cold running water. Our caterers did a fantastic job of producing some excellent food. They also fitted in with our theme with vintage tea sets and cutlery.
My mum made our cake, it was a traditional fruit cake, which is our favourite and reminded us of Christmas and the proposal so felt appropriate for our day. It was beautifully iced by Dan’s step Aunty Carole who did a perfect job of creating the simple crisp design we wanted.
We wanted to be sure our guests would be entertained during our photo time and for those that didn’t join us for the legal ceremony there was something to do. We arranged various lawn games, a lemonade stand and a photo booth so the guests were able to keep themselves entertained. We also had a band in the evening and a DJ to allow for those of us that we were camping to carry on Dancing into the night.
Buy or DIY your Stationery?
Dan being a printer we couldn’t help but DIY our stationary for the wedding. The invites took many designs until we both agreed on a simple but colourful invite with bunting and teal theme on a brown card background. The place names and signage including our table numbers, table plans and larger signage were all designed by Dan and put up in the rain the night before with the help of the best man and ushers.
Personal or handmade touches
Everything about our day was personal!
• Our outdoor ceremony featured a homemade aisle runner made from hessian, handmade confetti cones, and a willow and flower arch that was created by Dan and then decorated by my mum with flowers .
• I tied bunches of lavender that my mum had dried for chairs in the ceremony.
• We also made our own wedding rings; we spent a lovely day with Sue Lane in her studio creating our rings and were so happy with them at the end of it. We love having something that we made for each other to show off every day.
• I made the dress for our flower girl.
• We also made all of our decorations, the place names were created from corks and scraps of fabric made into flowers with the help of a glue gun and a lot of burns.
• Dan designed and printed all of our stationary and signage and our order of service booklets.
• Myself, my bridesmaid and a good friend made enough bunting to decorate our marquee with help cutting out from Dan’s stepmum and my mum and nan. The fabric was donated to us by an upholsterer we know.
• Another good friend spent the weekend before the wedding making our gigantic pom poms for the photobooth and marquee.
• Myself and one of my bridesmaids also spent many evenings decorating the jam jars that were kindly collected for us by the volunteers of lacock abbey, we wrapped them in twine and my bridesmaid made twine flowers that were used to cover the joins and to add to the decoration.
• The flowers that went in the jam jars were also something that we did ourselves with flowers from Bristol flower market, it really was worth the saving and we had ample left over.
We were both amazed by what we’d managed to pull off, seeing everyone gathered in the field when I arrived was exciting and special as I could sneak a look at what was waiting without them seeing me. The day was fun and had the exact vibe we wanted having our photos taken gave us chance to have some time together. When we sneaked away from the party and ventured to our caravan looking back over the marquee and being so happy with what we saw, the marquee was lit up perfectly and we both felt it was lovely to have all of our friends and family in one place all getting along.
How well it all went, we were both so happy we’d anticipated Dan being called away to resolve issues but there was only once where the generator cut out that he was called off and I didn’t even notice! We really felt that it was exactly as we wanted and we wouldn’t have changed anything so I guess you could say the biggest surprise was how well we’d planned the whole thing.
Advice for other couples
This is a tricky one! I think the most important thing to remember is you are planning your day and it should be as you want not what the family think you should have. If you are planning an outdoor wedding have an alternative- we were lucky we could have used the church if we needed to, but realise that if you do have to go with your alternative you will be compromising- I remember a very heated debate the night before when there was an almighty storm where I was adamant I was not changing to the church and the weather would be on our side, luckily for me it was! Remember to have fun and accept help! If you don’t get to bring all of your ideas to life it isn’t the end of the world and you won’t notice on the day. Be prepared for things not to go to plan on the day and go with it. If you plan a very crafty wedding then I’d recommend having something to fill the gap even post honeymoon should you take one having lots of projects to come back to helps to fill the wedding void.