Kate’s wedding is one that I have been really excited to see. We bumped into eachother while she was still in the early stages of planning, and expressed how overwhelmed she was with the big task ahead of her. We exchanged a few emails after that, and I did my best to recommend service providers who I thought she might enjoy working with and who I knew were affordable.
Well Kate, you blew it out the park!
We particularly love Kate’s cascading bouquet of orchids, the view from the chapel of the majestic Midlands landscape and Kate’s Julia Ferrandi long sleeve, open back wedding dress. While we do enjoy colour, the bridesmaids nailed the monochrome look in their black dresses, leather jackets and a hint of deep red on their nails and lips. Trés chic.
Kelly Daniels Photography did an outstanding job photographing the event and we are so privileged to share these images with you today. Kate has also very graciously shared her budgeting tips with us all, and she makes some very good points…so listen up girls.
Over to Kate:
My biggest worry on the day was…
having all eyes on me! And Scott not liking my dress (he was quite vocal about what he did and didn’t like!). Turns out he loved it.
The hardest part of planning was…
being overseas. A month after we got engaged Scott moved to London and 4 months later I moved there too – so while I managed to get all the big things done in those 4 months, the next 8 months were all done from London via email and phone calls.
If my budget was unlimited the one thing I would have added is…
probably all the ‘nice to haves’ that I left out. And flights so our friends and family who live overseas, who couldn’t make it, could have been there.
The best advice I received was…
the typical one of ‘take it all in’ – but it’s said so often because it’s true! It all goes so quickly! And secondly, to do it how WE wanted.
I wish we didn’t bother with…
there’s nothing we would have left out. From the start we were strict about what was ‘nice-to-have’ and ‘need-to-have’ and so all of the things that we felt weren’t absolutely necessary we had chosen to leave out anyway.
The biggest mistake I made was…
feeling rushed when I didn’t need to. That last half an hour before I walked down the aisle I was so flustered, as I was conscious that we were running late, there were people everywhere, and I just wanted to get to Scott! I wish I had just taken a moment to have a glass of champagne and sit with my bridesmaids and have a little time-out before we left.
Nobody warns you about…
how strange it is to change your name! For 29 years I have had my name and suddenly it was different. Your name is something that you instantly recognise and so it takes me a while, when I see my new surname, to register that it’s me (I wanted to take my husband’s surname – it wasn’t under duress!).
The best money spent was on…
our venue. I had seen The Glades on wedding and photography blogs, and I loved it, but as venue hire is one of your biggest costs we deliberated about this for so long. Some places are more expensive but they include accommodation, co-ordination etc, other places are less expensive but then you have to pay for every little ‘extra’ – so there is a lot to weigh up. In the end, after seeing many many venues, and weighing up all the costs, we decided to just go to go with what we loved, and I’m so glad we did. Not only was the venue beautiful, but Gabi was so helpful and accommodating and I was confident that she knew what we wanted.
Oh, and the cakes – the best bee-sting you have ever tasted – cheap as chips but SO delicious!
Describe the best moment of your day.
When we entered the reception to everyone cheering and smiling, we knew that every person in the room was happy for us. During the prep stage you put so much emphasis on the aesthetics, and while maybe the fact that I absolutely loved my dress, flowers etc. allowed me to not have to focus on those aspects, the thing that really stood out for us was how genuinely and completely happy people were for us – we have never felt more loved.
People are still talking about the…
speeches – my Dad’s speech has be one of the best father-of-the-bride speeches ever (and that’s not me being biased!), Scott and his best-man brought us all to tears, and our MC had us in stitches.
When my next bestie gets engaged I will make sure to pass on…
the list of vendors that I used – they were all AMAZING.
Let’s be honest, weddings have become somewhat of a show, and even a low key wedding is expeeeensive. But at the same time, it’s such a special day that deserves all the attention it gets. As much as it is ‘one’ day it’s a day that you’ll remember forever, so actually, it’s every day. So you have to find the balance between having your dream wedding and also being realistic about costs.
From the start we decided that we wanted our wedding to be described as ‘fun and relaxed’, and so we chose our top 3 priorities – for us they were the DJ (music can make or break a party), enough booze (everyone has fun when they are full of wine!) and the photographer (why spend all that money on one day and have bad pictures to show for it?!). These 3 things weren’t necessarily the most expensive aspects, but they’re where we put the most thought.
I was open with my vendors from the start about needing to work with our budget – I asked if they would give us a discount if we paid in full upfront, or if we paid them cash – and some of them did! I also chose our vendors based on their cost vs quality vs personality. It’s important to have reliable people who are good at what they do and provide a quality service, but that doesn’t mean that they have to be the most expensive. On the other hand, you do get what you pay for, so I wouldn’t suggest basing your vendor choice on cost alone, but if you look further than just the most well-known options there are some gems who offer just as good a service at a more budget-friendly price. It’s also important to get a good feeling from the people that you’re working with, especially your dress-maker, co-ordinator and photographer/videographer. You’ll be spending a lot of time with these people, so if you have a personality clash or you don’t trust them to do what you’re expecting, don’t use them, or iron out your differences from the start. It will just cause unnecessary stress if you don’t. And don’t be shy to ask people for referrals – most of my vendors were referrals, or I had noticed them at weddings that I had attended.
In reality, most people don’t have an unlimited budget, so you need to decide what is or isn’t significant for YOU. I made a list of everything that you would usually have/do before/at a wedding and then eliminated those that weren’t so important to us. Some people love designing invitations, getting them printed and posting them out, and while I love receiving wedding invitations (they stay on my fridge forever!), as cost-saving, it was something that we were willing to cut out. So a friend kindly designed our save the dates and invites, and we simply emailed them. The same went for wedding favours, printed stationary, a big wedding cake, fancy champagne – things we would have liked to have had, but things that we could eliminate as a cost saving.
Buy all the little ‘extras’ as you go along – all these little items do add up but if you space them out and get one or 2 items per month – you don’t notice so much. Things like jewellery, shoes, bridesmaid accessories and ties, you can get in the months leading up to the wedding. And don’t be shy to ask people if you can borrow items that you may need. Veils are expensive (considering what they’re made of!) but I had 3 people offer to lend me theirs. I did borrow one from one of my bridesmaids and it was so special to be able to wear it – plus it counted as my something borrowed. The same went for things like champagne buckets and fire pits – people have these items at home, so instead of paying to hire them, ask around.
DIY where you can, but don’t stress yourself out over it. At one stage I was obsessing about making name tags, and my mum-in-law gave me some good advice about effort vs outcome. Is anyone going to leave your wedding saying ‘OMG, did you SEE the name tags at the Campbell wedding?!’ – no. So if it’s going to take you countless hours, or money, that could be spent elsewhere (like relaxing!) then don’t bother. Having said that, glass jars are your friends – there’s nothing prettier or more cost effective that a floating candle in a jar so get your family and friends to start collecting now and stack them up.
I have been to weddings from both ends of the spectrum and what I remember is not whether the bar was free or if the brides dress was expensive – it’s how happy I felt for the bride and groom, which is a direct reflection of how the bride and groom felt. If they are happy, relaxed and enjoying themselves, then the guests are happy, relaxed and enjoying themselves. People love weddings and they want to enjoy themselves. They’re not there to judge or criticise – so relax, have fun, and everything will flow as it should.
Venue: The Glades
Dress: Julia Ferrandi
Caterer: CHC Catering
Bar: Thistle Bar Services
Photographer: Kelly Daniels
Videographer: Studio 29
Band: The Kickstands
Hair & Make-Up: Nixon Make-Up – Laura Halgreen
Suits: Suit Yourself
Lawn Games & Easel: Hired & Co