Today is our one year anniversary and I can’t believe it! I haven’t really shared much of our wedding on the blog, and this is definitely the first time I’ve shared our video (above), so I thought today would be a good day to do it. I have to admit, I've been a bit apprehensive about sharing our wedding. I think because I design wedding details as a job I felt quite a lot of pressure around ours, like I felt that my design work on our wedding was going to be judged more than it usually is for some reason. I’m so embarrassed to even type that, because with a year of hindsight I understand that our wedding wasn’t a business opportunity. IT WAS OUR WEDDING. And the important thing is that we are even happier together now than we were a year ago.
Let me just say friends, planning your own wedding is SO completely different from working on them for other people, and it’s certainly no joke to be doing those two things simultaneously on a tiny budget while also paying rent in London. Although we both loved our wedding, there were definitely parts of the whole process that I didn’t get on so well with. I have a blog post coming up next week that goes into this a little bit more, because I think that it’s important to tell the whole story and not just the rosy details. However, it is our anniversary so I think rosy details are more appropriate for today ;)
We had a big party on a tiny budget at our DIY village hall wedding with one hundred lovely guests. Our top priority for the day was to have lots of our friends there and for it to feel relaxed and fun (also most importantly, no chair covers allowed). We also wanted the whole day to be at the same venue rather than traveling around, so we went for Ashover Village Hall in the beautiful Derbyshire peak district - a blank canvas venue which gave us a lot of flexibility and freedom.
We had homemade cocktails, lawn games, an ice-cream cart and a brass band that I organised as a surprise for Jake. A few funny things went wrong, like our taxi getting lost and not turning up, meaning that we had to pile into the bridesmaids cars and drive ourselves to the venue arriving very glamorously 20 minutes late. But overall we definitely achieved the relaxed and fun vibe that we were going for and it really did feel like a big party.
Our ceremony was actually one of the things we were most proud of. Our venue wasn’t licenced, so we got legally married two weeks before with just two witnesses (my sister-in-law and brother-in-law) in the most low key way possible. Our legal “wedding day” actually accidentally turned out to be one of the best days ever, because we were then taken on a surprise picnic and played outside all day with prosecco.
For our “real” wedding day, we wrote the whole ceremony and vows ourselves and asked a few of our closest friends to conduct different parts of it for us, rather than going down the route of an official celebrant. While this was a challenge and not for the faint hearted, we absolutely loved it and were so pleased with our decision. It meant that we could do the whole thing our way and tailor the ceremony so that it suited us and our relationship.
There were a few things about traditional ceremonies that we weren’t comfortable with so we left them out and replaced them with things that we like. We opted for walking down the aisle together instead of me being given away, which I loved because it kept me calm and it felt like we were entering this together as a team. My Maid of Honour read an extract from a lecture by philosopher Alan Watts and our friends wrote a poem for us that one of them read as part of the ceremony too. We were very lucky to have our talented friend Barry make our wedding rings, so we thought it was only fitting that he conduct the rings part of the ceremony which was really lovely.
The only downside about the ceremony was that we had planned for it to be outside in the fields behind the hall, but sadly it rained at that point in the day so poor Jake had to rush inside with all the chairs and made a makeshift ceremony room where everyone was squished inside cosily. I would be totally lying if I said I wasn’t gutted about this, anyone that says that you don’t notice if it rains on your wedding day clearly didn’t have their heart set on a beautiful outdoor ceremony. But we knew the risk, we do live in England, and the ceremony was still a really special part of the day.
Obviously the decor was one of the most important parts of the day for me, and we took on an absolute mammoth of a DIY project. We went for an eclectic whimsical feel with wildflowers, fairy lights, and over 4.5km of ribbon that we made into a ceiling canopy in the main hall. Seeing the ribbons go up on the Friday setting up day was one of my favourite moments, they were such a good way to transform a village hall space. We also made a light wall on the stage by draping some voile fabric in front of fairy lights - a classic trick and one of my favourites. You might be able to recognise some of the other details like the gold place cards and signs from the shop - this was their maiden voyage!
Probably the most time consuming DIY project was all of the paper flowers I made into bouquets and flower crowns for myself and the bridesmaids. There were over a hundred paper flowers in total so they took weeks to make, but I was so pleased with them in the end, I love how colourful they were and the bridesmaids looked so beautiful! Plus I love that I’ve been able to keep my bouquet, it’s still as good as new.
We had real flowers for the centrepieces which we bought wholesale from Triangle Nursery and Jake’s mum arranged them the day before. I can’t recommend Triangle Nursery enough, they were so brilliant with sharing advice for what flowers to order and the right quantities, and it was a really affordable way to have lots of real flowers on a budget. It was also a fun activity to unpack and condition the flowers when they arrived a few days before, it really made the house feel like wedding HQ. If anyone is interested in the process of doing your own flowers and the flower conditioning process then I can do a blog post on that soon.
So slightly weird confession time, at the beginning of the wedding planning process I really wasn’t overly fussed on the dress. I am more of a details girl, so I was too busy planning the invitations and decorations to think about what I was going to be wearing. I did go dress shopping, but I didn’t find anything that I liked and it did slightly pain me to spend so much money on something I would only wear once. This is not to diminish the work of bridal designers, the reason wedding dresses cost that much is because they are absolutely worth it due to the skill and time that’s involved - I just knew that I wouldn’t really feel like “me” in a super fancy dress.
Surprisingly the dress I ended up wearing was one of my favourite things about the wedding! It was actually separates. I bought the skirt from Wardrobe by Dulcinea on Etsy and I was so pleased with it. It’s very lightly hand dip-dyed in pink and it was so comfortable to wear - it really was the perfect find! I then spent months and months searching for the right top to go with it, and in the end found the sparkly pink one in topshop and loved it so much. I had six beautiful best friends as bridesmaids, and they looked stunning in their mismatched blush dresses from ASOS, which complemented the pink in my dress so nicely. I wore metallic copper shoes and my bag was custom designed by Dee from Suede and Co, to match my custom earrings made by Melodie from SlinkyLinks. It was so lovely to be wearing pieces by such talented handmade artists and friends on my wedding day.
SUPPLIERS AT A GLANCE:
Photographer: Simon Revill Photography
Videographer: Homer Todiwala
Venue: Ashover Village Hall
Wholesale Flowers: Triangle Nursery
Paper Flowers, Decor and Details: Rachel Emma Studio (obvs!)
So that was our wedding! If you’ve gotten this far, thanks for reading. If there's anything that you’d like to hear a bit more about or any hear advice on just let me know either on instagram or in the comments below :)