A Picnic Wedding: Alex & Denise

The inspiration for Alex & Denise’s Brighton wedding was for it to be “just like a big picnic”. They used local suppliers (including the caterers who used local produce and supplied locally produced champagne) where possible and DIY’ed the rest! “Our inspiration was for it to be like a big picnic – although without having to sit on the floor!” Denise told me. “I found mini picnic baskets that were used as the centrepiece on each table. These were filled with chutney, pickles and breadsticks. We wanted the wedding to be really relaxed – I’ve always disliked formal situations. I also wanted there to be lots of colour. For the meal we had a blanket set up on the floor for any children that got bored of the adults. We also did a play area with a wigwam, dress up box and colouring books. Although on the day they mainly opted for running around the field like lunatics.”

“The second (and very crucial) driving force for the wedding was the belief that it needn’t cost a fortune. Apparently the average wedding costs around ÂŁ19,000 which to me is just a ridiculous amount of money (and was totally out of the question – we had nowhere near that amount of money to spend). We had less than ÂŁ5,000 for the wedding and honeymoon but I didn’t want to compromise on the feeling of it being a special day. It was time to stick it to the man and beat the system.”

“There was a lot of DIY with this wedding. I gave myself the challenge of making 100 metres of bunting. I had my own mini production line! I sewed the bunting on to paper ribbon (which was much cheaper than using bias tape). I also made our sweetie favour bags (full of lovely sweets: pink shrimps, parma violets and flying saucers being my favourites). I really liked the look of the old fashioned paper sweetie bags – each table had a different colour (they looked great and they were as cheap as chips – sweet). They also doubled as name places. I tied them up using raffia. The raffia came in handy for lots of things – you can buy a massive bundle from floristry suppliers. This was much cheaper (and was far nicer raffia) than buying it anywhere else. Floristy suppliers were also a great place to go for decorative items (eg baskets, enamel buckets etc).”

“Another friend made great signs for the bar, camping area and toilets. This friend also made our tennis table bat table plan. Alex’s family are big fans of table tennis so it seemed like a good way to go! Each table was named after top table tennis players of the 1990s – I think that might be a wedding table plan first! I also made moustaches on sticks because I think they’re funny.”

Denise wore a wedding dress which she bought from Oxfam Bridal and then has customised and shortened by Erika Langley Bridal Alterations. “Wedding dress shops scare me so I never actually set foot in one,” the bride continued. “I’m not a girly girl and the idea of all the attention on me made me feel a bit ill. I knew I wanted a short dress – I’m only 5ft 1 and thought a meringue would drown me. Also, as we would spend the majority of the day in a field (and possibly a wet, muddy one) I didn’t want to be dragging a dress behind me. Plus, if I did need to don my yellow wellies, I wanted everyone to see them! I scoured the high street but nothing was right. I eventually went to Oxfam Bridal – perfect for me, I love a charity shop! The dresses were mainly quite extravagant but I did stumble across one that was nice and simple. It was also long with a huge train. Nothing that a dress maker couldn’t sort our though. I loved having such a simple dress – I felt really relaxed in it all day! My heels got replaced by some nice flat yellow sandals as soon as I got to the farm. A farm is no place for heels.”

Beautiful. Thank you to Alex & Denise for sharing their wedding with us today.