I’ll be honest, at the beginning of wedding planning- everything feels like a priority.
I couldn’t imagine a day without amazing food, flowers, great music, all of the little details, ribbons wrapped in Disney-esque bows around napkins and small dogs carrying flowers down the aisle (not really, but you get my point). It’s hard to prioritise things because, duh, everything is IMPORTANT. But- as costs start tallying up- and to do lists become more embellished, working out what truly matters is key. There was one point where I started stressing about whether peach white or off white were the right linen colours and then there was the day of the chair pad covers (yes, this was me, and not J.Lo in Hustlers)- I honestly started considering spending several hundred pounds on the colour of the chair pads. The things WE WOULD NOT SEE, BECAUSE PEOPLE WOULD BE SAT ON THEM. Weddings have the power to give you an incredible eye for detail, and also irrationalise the things that truly mean something to you- it’s witchcraft, I’m sure.
But! With the things we did decide to opt for, I thought I’d share a little about them today. Like I’ve said before, the internet can make you think you need a helluva lot of things you really don’t, and when it came to referencing my Pinterest board- I had some stripping back to do. One thing I did find overwhelming was the idea of ‘making everything look nice’, which is where Angela and Sam came in. My friend Angela runs the brilliant Italian Eye Events, and was invaluable when it came to styling (and introducing me to the incredible Sam, who I cannot recommend highly enough).
The two of them helped bring all of our ideas together- be it a cake table for our dessert, finding cutlery that didn’t make my eyes water with the cost, or making sure the dinner settings were laid out beautifully- without breaking the bank. So, without further ado, here is a little run through on the finer details we did go for…
The Order of Service
Now, when it came to the order of service- I think this was the only thing I was a bit of a princess about. I knew what I had in mind (thanks to the ‘nets) but I had no bloody idea about how to do it. Typical. It started with discovering Newspaper Club and realising that would be the perfect way to display everything from our ceremony readings, and throw in a little bit of fun in there too (including a ‘meet the parents’ page, and crossword too). Thankfully, my bridesmaid and bloody brilliant mate Carrie stepped in, and helped enormously build the most perfect Photoshop/InDesign template- and help construct one of the most perfect touches on the day. It took us (read: her) hours (I was on hand for company/singing) and I couldn’t have been happier with the end result. Unfortunately as we made this I don’t have a template handy, but can’t recommend Newspaper Club enough- and think they may have a couple on there to check out too!
Dressing The Venue
When it comes to ‘dressing your venue’, I think there are a number of things to consider- because it certainly isn’t a one size fits all. One thing I really thought we needed to do was cover the place in flowers, because I assumed that’s what you did when it came to weddings. It’s so normal to see flowers draped from every surface (which, don’t get me wrong is gorgeous) but with some venues, it’s actually not entirely necessary. Flowers can cost an awful lot of money, and when we were told that actually- because of it’s heritage, and simplicity- the venue could speak for itself (come on, it has floor to ceiling windows overlooking the city and a flecked ceiling, people)- it can actually make more of a statement to strip things back- especially when it came to ours.
Sometimes, I think we can be so conditioned into thinking we need to do things that we can forget to stop and appreciate what’s already sitting right in front of us- less can really be more. In the end we ended up with some simple bright posies lining the aisle and on tables, and this certainly felt more apt for something a little more ‘hand picked’ and understated, especially because the venue was grand enough as it was.
The only real ‘dressing’ we had to do was downstairs. Having a venue that was somewhat ‘dry hire’ meant we had to think about things like hiring in furniture, and places for people to sit and relax in between all of the shape cutting- which wasn’t something we thought about until quite late on. In the end, and with the help of Sam, we sourced some gorgeous pieces from Anthology Vintage Furniture Hire (as well as my trusty disco ball and handmade ‘Just Married’ sign), which made the evening space feel a lot more cosy and comfortable- especially for people that didn’t fancy standing all evening, and perhaps wanted a bit of peace amongst my rowdy singing (who can blame them)…
The Cake Table
This was something that could have absolutely been a hit or miss. After being particularly indecisive about what desserts to have, we decided to put it to the crowd (or, ahem, our guests) and set up a bit of a wedding bake off- asking everyone to reply with a bake of their choice (if they fancied) when they posted back their RSVP. Although we were very cautious that this could be quite an ask (we made sure we’d be making enough and employed patient direct family to get on the insurance brownies)- it turned out to be really brilliant, not only so that there was something everyone could enjoy- but just made the day feel even more personal and special. We had everything from hand decorated cookies, maid-of-honour meringue’s, sponges from my nan’s and dads famous brownies- and meant everyone could go back for as much as they liked- as well as being quite the talking point! On your marks, get set…
Now, let me say this- favours are lovely. Of course they are- but one of the first things our caterers told us when we started planning was that people don’t take them. Unless they can slip into your handbag, be eaten or stuffed into a pocket- people will generally leave them on the table- and this is so, so true. They’re also something that people can spend a lot of money on- and sometimes, to put it simply, that money can be better put elsewhere- so if you’re on the fence, it’s really not worth spending a fortune on. In the end we did opt for favours (edible, y’all)! And picked some of our favourite Italian sweets from Pastiglie Leone (which we always pick up in Lina) to have on the tables. Although it might have been a little nod to our (very loose) Italian theme, they’re simply something we both really love, and hey- who doesn’t love a vintage tin filled with sweets? Plus, if some were left- all the more for us, right?
When it came to confetti, ours had to be natural coloured and biodegradable- so we decided to make mini pouches to pop on peoples seats for when we left after the ceremony. I picked up some mini recyclable bags from Etsy, some neutral petals from Shropshire Petals, and pretty much did enough for just over 2/3 of guests to have a bag (because there was 150 people, we knew not everyone would necessarily want/need any)- and this proved a pretty safe amount! I also made stickers with our little ‘logo’ using our initials from Moo.com, using the one our brilliant stationer The Noteur had done for our wedding invitations.
& finally, three things to keep in mind…
Find your priorities…
With wedding planning- not everything can necessarily be a top priority. For us the non-negotiables were good music, the people (we wanted to have a certain number of people which obviously influenced the venues we could have) and the location. All of these factors play into one another. For example, because we wanted to get married in London with a capacity of over 100 people, it meant that certain venues were out of bounds- certain costs had to be factored in- and whether we went dry hire or not all had to be thought about. Think about the things to you that are the most important. Perhaps you want a certain restaurant to cater (which might mean places with recommended suppliers are out of bounds), or have somewhere in mind you you’ve always wanted to tie the knot at. These things can really help shape other decisions, and thinking about the bigger picture can really help fine tune everything else.
Know it’s not always in the details…
Although details are lovely- details also cost a lot of money and I cannot stress enough how you really don’t need everything thought of. At one point I started getting stressed about how our table plan would be displayed and that our table numbers weren’t anything more than… table numbers (and not quirky names, or something more imaginative). You start worrying about things that truly, in the grand scheme of things don’t matter- and unless you really have the time to think about them, I promise not everything is as enormous as you think.
Finally, don’t sweat the small stuff…
… and enjoy it! The planning process is meant to be (largely) enjoyable- so if you can, delegate, know the things top of your wish-list and try not to be too influenced by what you see other people having. Everything is inspiration- but not everything has to be at your wedding. Create pin boards to help refine the things you like, but don’t be governed by them- take suggestions of things that pop up again and again and work them in, if you can, in a way that suits you. It’ll all come together in the end- Disney bow or not.
Photos: The Curries