When Jess and Chris decided to get married, they found that the place they drew inspiration from the most was seeing how other people had done things their own way. They chose elements that they had enjoyed from other weddings, and did away with traditions they felt had no meaning to them.
“We made every decision together and questioned everything ‘typical’,” Jess explained. “If we didn’t see the point of something, we didn’t do it, and we replaced it with something meaningful to us.” This meant switching an elaborate cake which no-one would eat for a bountiful buffet of local cheeses. They picked their flowers based on what was local and in season, and made blackberry whisky as their wedding favours as something that people would enjoy, rather than leave behind.
In lieu of a particular wedding theme, it was important to the couple that they spent their budget on what mattered most to them and that, in line with their day-to-day principles, they didn’t consume more than was necessary or create a load of waste. They borrowed tablecloths, vases, hampers and fire pits from friends who’d used them in their own weddings. They made several hundreds metres of bunting from old sheets and shirts. Flowers were arranged in vintage jugs, borrowed vases, even an old watering can and large mayonnaise jars. With their venue boasting 360 degree views of the Sussex countryside, they felt it needed little embellishment for the sake of doing so, and were happy to allow the beauty of the local surroundings to shine through.
As Chris is a web developer, and in-tying with their eco-conscious efforts, they decide to cut down on physical paperwork and instead had a wedding website to convey all the important information for their guests, including illustrations from Jess’ friend. They roped in the creative talents of further friends and family to make things like badges for place names, created out of old badges and blackboard paint. Jess’ dad made the macrame hanging for the ceremony backdrop, which now hangs proudly in Jess’ home studio.
Jess’ outfit was a particularly good thrifty find; the skirt came from a charity shop and was altered by a local dressmaker, and the top was something she only decided to wear the morning of the wedding! She made her headdress at a millinery workshop she attended, and she wore vintage jewellery that was sentimental to her.
Their bespoke ceremony, created with their celebrant, was entirely personal to them and involved all the special people in their lives; from readings, to music, they involved friends and family in any way they could. A particular highlight for the couple was that all their friends and could be involved and bless their wedding rings; making them even more meaningful for them than just symbols of their love for one another.
While the biggest expense for their wedding was the food and drink, they saved an enormous amount by catering a lot of it themselves. With the wedding being in the countryside and a long way from anywhere, they were mindful that their guests didn’t go hungry – or run out of drinks! For the wine they did a booze cruise to Calais as they found it the most cost effective way. As for their wedding breakfast, they had lamb roast over wood fires, and roped in family members to provide fresh salads and accompaniments. Even down to sausage sandwiches on the Sunday morning were catered by the couple, which was big undertaking but important to the two of them to ensure their guests were well fed and watered.