Tam & Rob had a wedding in three parts. Firstly a ceremony at Michelham Priory, East Sussex. “Michelham Priory is gorgeous”, began the bride. “We got married in a beautiful medieval barn.” Their reception was then held at Hawthbush Farm. They set up a marquee for an afternoon tea and then used the barn for a festival style party late into the night! “The farm is absolutely stunning. We felt very lucky when we found it. We had looked for a wedding venue for about 6 months and found it really hard to find somewhere that would let us do our own catering and didn’t charge ridiculous corkage. We also really wanted somewhere that our friends could camp. Hawthbush Farm is such a beautiful place and Toby and Lisa who own it are brilliant hosts. We stayed in the Cowshed and Piggery on the farm for a week before the wedding with loads of friends which was great fun. Lots of late nights preparing and making quite a big dent in the wedding wine!”
“We really wanted a fun wedding which guests would enjoy”, Tam continued. “Rob & I decided we would split the day into three, so we had the ceremony, the afternoon tea with games then an evening party. I think having three different venues with lots of entertainment was fun for the guests and us!”
After the ceremony, the couple actually had a second one – a traditional Indian wedding ceremony. “My dad is Indian so after the wedding ceremony everyone had a glass of Pimms and then gathered round for a traditional Parsee ceremony called a ‘Mado Soro’. The ceremony is a blessing for the couple to wish them good fertility and a fruitful marriage. My dad explained what was going on to all the guests and what the ceremony meant. We were presented with the most amazing fresh flower garlands that my cousins had bought over from Thailand. A fruit tree was planted by my brother while prayers were said by other relatives. An egg was passed round Rob’s head three times then thrown to the ground and broken. A coconut was then smashed on the floor. Everyone then threw rice and confetti.”
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”).”
Nellie & Matt planned their Whistable wedding in just three short weeks. They wanted something small, something personal and something relaxed. They found the amazing Beacon House, right on the beach, for their ceremony and were able to use the back garden of the bride’s brother’s holiday cottage for the reception.
“Serendipity and our amazingly supportive family and friends brought our wedding together in just 3 weeks,” the bride began. “Matt and I had been engaged for 3 years, neither of us are planners but we had a clear idea of the kind of wedding we wanted, a relaxed, seaside celebration centred around our close friends, family, good food and drink. But every option we explored in Cambridge and Brighton, our two home cities, in one way or another tied us into expensive packages, so we put off the wedding and skipped to the baby.”
“A year after our son Ted was born Matt was offered his dream job in the USA, the prospect of leaving our life in the UK brought into focus the importance of celebrating our love and commitment to our new little family. With a little over a month before we were due to leave we thought lets just see if we can do this, finding our dream venue on our very first internet search and them having an available date seemed like fate. Indeed fate struck again on the day when the predicated storms were replaced by sunshine. We decided on Whitstable because my brother lives there with his family and we were planning on visiting them that week anyway. When we saw Beacon House we fell love with it immediately. It is small and personal and is in the most idyllic location, overlooking the sea. It feels secluded and private. Getting married outside to the soundtrack of the sea was a dream and my most special memory of the day. Having the freedom to spill out from the garden to the beach afterwards was perfect for our wedding party’s large brood of children; Beacon House is everything we’d tried and failed to find in Brighton.”