A Wedding on a Budget with Portraits in IKEA: Janet & Dave

I’m rather partial to IKEA… I know it’s not the fanciest of home stores, but whenever I persuade Gareth that we need a trip there (I’m sure we’re due another one soon) I feel like a proper grown up. I can actually afford the stuff (like who decided £2000 was standard for a table and chairs? pah John Lewis, PAH!) and it makes me feel all educated buying things with Swedish names. Plus their items are always pretty… even if not always functional – “why yes Gareth I do need that cardboard deer head to put on my office wall…” And don’t even get me started on the kids department. I just wish the pink chest of drawers came in adult size…

So when wedding photographer and all round cool dude Chris Barber sent me Janet & Dave’s wedding I was excited. Not just because of Dave’s Rock n Roll stylings but because they chose the Coventry Ikea as the location for their wedding day portrait sesh. GENIUS! Oh and they spent just £4000 on their day. I’m IN AWE.

“We had our daughter in January 2011 and that gave me a serious itch to be married”, Janet began. “Dave proposed on Christmas morning 2011 with my Granny’s wedding band. He had a calendar printed with a photo of our daughter from each month last year, and on December 25th 2012 he had written ‘anniversary of our engagement’, which is when he nervously popped the question!”

The couple were married in July at Coventry Registry Office, and their reception was held at Varsity Warwick, a local student bar with delicious food. “We were originally planning a bigger and more expensive wedding for September 2013. It was the wedding we had talked about before we were engaged, and before we had our daughter. It would have been a wonderful day, but something about it just wasn’t sitting right with us. We hadn’t booked anything yet, despite having found the venue we wanted already, so we changed our mind. I had been looking at options for having a small ceremony and then a meal for close family and friends, but even the costs for that seemed astronomical for what you would get, and none of the restaurants were ‘us’ or had any meaning to us as a couple. Then Dave jokingly said ‘why don’t we get married at Varsity?’ – our favourite place to go for a meal, a somewhat quirky student pub in Coventry with an amazing menu. Unbeknownst to him, I made some enquiries and spoke to the super lovely manager, Rachel, who was so excited to have us there for our wedding reception. It wasn’t something they had ever done before, although they have parties there all the time, but they pulled out all the stops for us. They really went the extra mile, putting up all of our decorations for us and setting everything up beautifully (after my very helpful instructions of “here is a box of stuff, please make it all look pretty”).”

The wedding was planned in just 3 months by the way… “Oh yeah this happened in April this year”, Janet continued. “So I grabbed a calendar, phoned around all of the ‘must have there’ people and collected all of the dates they were busy this summer, and put them on the calendar. There was one Saturday left blank. It was this Saturday or bust. I called up the registry office, and they had one ceremony space left for that Saturday – the first ceremony of the day – 9:45am. I didn’t even hesitate, it was meant to be, and I booked it right away. For two very ‘not morning people’ people, this was love!”

“Our venue was chosen because we love it, and we wanted to be somewhere that we loved. I think people really enjoyed being able to order what they wanted on the day from a big menu, rather than just being presented with a meal. I’m also pretty happy that we can go back there any time we want and celebrate with some awesome food! We didn’t have speeches, or a bouquet toss, or a first dance, or any dancing at all in fact. Our wedding day ended with me sitting outside with the small group of friends who made it to the end, drinking a cup of tea and eating icing scraps.”

But what about the IKEA idea? Well… “Our inspiration was just ‘being ourself’, simple as that”, Janet explained. “We didn’t do anything we didn’t want, and made choices that reflected us as a couple, and us as a family. I did my own hair and make up – no way was I dealing with anyone else at that early time in the morning! My mum drove me to the ceremony in my mucky Megane, and I skipped the ribbons. We walked down the aisle as a family of three, with me ending up leading the way. We had a ring warming ceremony before saying our vows, which was a really lovely way to involve everyone in our commitment to each other. Oh yes and we went to IKEA to take photos, after a (joking?) suggestion from Chris, our photographer, because I seriously love IKEA.”

Despite having a small budget, the couple knew the photography was one of the most important things for them, and the spent as much as they could to get the photographer they wanted. They were able to save on the decorations by DIYing them and the venue by making an unconventional choice, but the photos – well there was no compromise. “I knew from the get go that photography was – vows aside – the single most important thing about our day”. Janet concluded. “I think that is reflected pretty clearly in our budget, with Chris making up 41% of the total wedding cost. Money very, very well spent if you ask me! With the super early 9:45am ceremony, we had a good amount of time to go off with Chris and create some awesome couple shots that we would no way have got with a more traditional timeline. I mean, where would we have found the time to traipse across Coventry, chill in IKEA car park, get thrown out of the store, and hang out in a pedestrian subway with a lovely busker who knew very few lyrics!? I think our favourite memories of the wedding day are of the time spent in the field next to the pub, which we got to by crawling through a hole in the hedge. Those photos sum up our feelings about the day, the three of us just hanging out, being happy, having fun, and not really caring about a single thing.”

Awwww gosh darn it I love these guys. I love their wedding. I love their chilled attitude and I love love love their photographs. Congrats to you both and thanks to Chris Barber for sending over his bad ass images!

Supporting Cast:

Photography Credit: Chris Barber Photography
Ceremony Venue: Coventry Registry Office, Black Prince Room
Reception Venue: Varsity Warwick
Bride’s Dress: Mikaella Bridal ‘1455’, bought on eBay
Bride’s Shoes: Marks and Spencer & Converse
Bride’s Headpiece: DIY
Bride’s Cardigan: Phase Eight
Groom’s Outfit: Jacamo & RokGear on etsy
Bridesmaid’s Dresses: Vivien of Holloway
Flowergirl dress: John Lewis and Livie & Luca
Cake: Yummy Treats
Flowers: DIY
Stationery: DIY
Custom Favour Pint Glasses: www.coffeecups.co.uk

19 comments

  1. These are great, what a cool and fresh set of photographs. I love the shadows and lines in the Ikea and underpass pics. Off to look at them again!

  2. Alison

    Love the engagement with the calendar…so sweet! And the cake being cut into slices like that is very cool.

  3. Love this chilled out wedding, great inspiration for those having a more low key day. :) Reminds me of my own which was also planned in 3 months on a shoestring budget. Thanks for sharing Kat!

  4. Kay

    This is beautiful — (yes, I’m partial to Ikea) but I think this is the best wedding I’ve seen ever! I love the purple accents

  5. Great seeıng coventry on here! We got marrıed at the regıstry offıce and had our recpetıon at a bar too. Thıng ıs, ı take all of these locatıons for granted doıng weddıngs and portraıt shoots ın the same locatıons! Nothıng new for us cov photographers but stıll great to see ıt featured! Try the round market ıf your there agaın! You wont get kıcked out!

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