Hello you lovely people! How are you all? if you are here in the UK...
I have a gorgeous same-sex wedding for you today from Mike Plunkett photography . Emily and Sian the two lovely brides, put on a totally homemade wedding with lots of amazing DIY details that they spent months creating. From paper flowers to invitations, wooden signs, place names, decoration and centre pieces, they really worked as a team to get the ‘brown paper bag with a hint of pastel’ theme put together throughout their wedding day. Working to a budget also meant that the day was more personal and it also meant they could go traveling to Asia and Australia after the wedding
Emily and Sian were married on 20th September at Wincham Hall Hotel, Cheshire. Over 100 guests joined them throughout the day and evening celebrations. “During the wedding planning Sian’s mum was diagnosed with terminal cancer and passed away. We also both left our jobs and moved from Leicester to Liverpool. Looking back it was a very stressful time and planning the wedding gave us a focus in such difficult circumstances. Budget was really important to us as we were planning a trip to southeast Asia and Australia in our first year of marriage. When we saw an advert for the venue on Groupon we went to see it and booked it the next day. Although it was an inexpensive package we really felt that no expense was spared and Alan and Claire let us put our own stamp on things, which helped make our wedding unique.”
How they met
We worked together at a children’s outdoor activity centre in 2007, Sian taught Emily archery. We have been together for 3 years.
In our typical fashion there wasn’t a romantic proposal – we are too sensible headed and made the decision together that we wanted to get married. However once we decide something we want it right away, so booked the venue before we told many of our closest family and friends.Together we discussed what we wanted for the coming year, which included travelling together, so we wrote down our plan which consisted of the following:
– Get thin – seven stone lost between us through slimming world
– Get wed
– Get flights – booked to fly to Hanoi 5th March 2014
– Get van – campervan for travelling around Australia
– Get tan
You can follow our adventures through our blog wanderingwives.net
How did you spend your budget?
We kept track of everything we spent using a spreadsheet that Emily created. It was really useful and helped us to plan and budget properly. We overspent on some things but made savings on others. We used interest free credit cards for the bigger purchases and a store card for the bridesmaids dresses to get extra discounts. We planned it so we didn’t need to get into debt and could still afford to go travelling together afterwards.
How did you choose your photographer?
A friend of a friend had used Mike for her wedding. We had seen the pictures and loved how he captured the day. We liked his informal approach and how he caught people looking natural and enjoying themselves. He also puts together beautiful hardback wedding books rather than a traditional album, and is great at editing to give the photos a soft vintage feel.
Emily wore a lace Charlotte Balbier dress, which was the first she tried on. Of course she then had to drag her mum and sister across Liverpool to try on all the other dresses, just in case. She wore floral Toms and a feathered hair piece from Accesorize. She had two “something blues”; a necklace that her dad gave her for her 18th birthday and a Tiffany bracelet with a blue heart on from her mum. Both brides had a silver sixpence in their shoe, courtesy of Emily’s Grandad.
Sian wore a simple slim fit gown from BHS, white Converse and jewellery which had been a gift from her father to her mother on their 25th wedding anniversary. She also wore a Tiffany infinity necklace which was a gift from Emily’s mum.
The bridesmaids wore vintage style floral dresses from Debenhams. The best woman wore a pastel pink tailored shirt and slacks which matched the base colour of the bridesmaids’ dresses. Sian’s bridesmaids wore Wonderwoman Converse to match Sian’s which was a fun surprise for Emily when she got to the end of the aisle!
Theme or colour scheme
Our colour scheme was brown paper bag with a hint of pastel. We used brown paper, luggage tags, string and old paper to achieve this. Bakers twine, bouquets and bridesmaids dresses gave a hint of pastel and brought everything together nicely. We used old books and scoured charity shops for old ordinance survey maps and sheet music for the flowers and table confetti.
We made all of the flowers ourselves from paper. We used pastel and flower print paper for our bouquets and adorned them with costume jewellery and buttons. They each had a special Macmillan pin attached in memory of Sian’s mum. They are very special to us and we love that we were able to keep them.
We decorated the venue with paper flowers made from old dictionary pages, Agatha Christie novels, OS maps and sheet music. It was a beautiful way of recycling old paper but very time consuming. We made flowers for hours every evening in the run up to the wedding, and got quite a few glue gun burns! We had lots of quirky props from an old shop window display, plus some old household items from Sian’s parents’ house like a vintage teapot, old books and a Scrabble board. We teamed these items with the paper flowers and used them for centre pieces and staging. We decorated some wooden signs and a wheel of fortune which kept everyone entertained. Our table plan was made using an old Jaffa orange crate which Emily’s great grandmother had used to keep nappies in. We tied luggage tags with the names of our guests to it using bakers twine.
The food and wedding cake
– Farmhouse pate and melba toast
– Roast pork loin with apricot and thyme stuffing
– Homemade lemon tart with cream
The food was rustic and hearty with good portion sizes that pleased everyone. The children and vegetarian meals were also great. We also had canapés and an evening buffet, which our guests assure us were equally enjoyable, although we didn’t have much time to eat these.
Sian’s tattooist made the wedding cake. In a previous life she used to make a lot of cakes and has great flavour combinations. She is also someone we can trust implicitly with artistic decisions, we gave her a rough idea of the theme and she created exactly what we wanted. I think we said “brown paper, sheet music and old books, and make it cool,” she did exactly that. We also plan to get tattoos of our wedding flowers done by her soon.
The DJ was provided by the venue. He played a variety of music to suit all our guests and played a lot of the requests that we gave him beforehand (although some were probably a little too obscure). We got a big wheel of fortune from a shop window and put our own spin on it with forfeits such as “buy a bridesmaid a drink”, “dance with a dad” and “serenade a bride”. The DJ was great at getting everyone involved with it, from the kids to the grandparents.
Buy or DIY stationery?
We made our invites and place settings using luggage labels, bakers twine, brown paper and lots of spray mount. We got postcards printed with a couple of wedding photos on to send as thank you cards.
Personal or handmade touches
Everything! We made the invites, flowers, bouquets, table plan and decorations. For our wedding favours/place settings we made bags of pick n mix sweets and tied them with bakers twine and luggage tags. We also added Macmillan pins to each bag as it is a cause very close to our hearts. The wheel of fortune was an unexpected triumph, we thought most of the guests would just have a look at it, but they all played for hours and really got to know each other. Our families and bridesmaids helped us to place all of the wedding decorations the day before and it was wonderful to see it all come together. Sian did a flower making master class as part of her speech, so all of the guests had their own petals. They also took most of our flowers and decorations home with them; we keep finding them when we go to visit people.
The whole day was wonderful, chilled out and filled with friends and family, exactly as we wanted it. Sian’s special moment was seeing Emily walking down the aisle. For Emily it was Sian’s heartfelt speech, which was also very funny, and included great anecdotes about many of our closest family. We didn’t get a lot of time together throughout the evening as there were lots of people to catch up with and shapes to throw. After our guests had gone we went up to the bridal suite and had a cup of tea together and opened some cards, just relaxing and sharing our memories of the day.
Advice for other couples
Use a spreadsheet to plan your finances and take advantage of any offers. Think about what you wear in the morning as you will be photographed – we all forgot and our best woman wore a t-shirt saying “take me to the strippers”, and Sian had a vest with the cookie monster on which made it difficult when choosing photos for the album! Remember why you want to get married and what is important to you both.
We sent our cake maker some photos of our flowers and things as inspiration for the cake, and then told her to make whatever she wanted. The result was amazing! The cupcakes were delicious and fitted in perfectly with the feel of our wedding, so that was a lovely surprise.
Another was Emily’s grandparents didn’t know if they would be able to come as it was a long way for them to travel. We found out a few days before that they were going to come and were so happy to have them there.
For Emily it was waking up and going to breakfast to find a postcard with song lyrics on from Sian, and then receiving postcards from various friends and family members throughout the morning, each with song lyrics on that are special to us.