Town Centre Barn Wedding - August 2019

Hello all, 

I've been engaged for over a year but joined recently and have enjoyed reading your planning threads so thought I'd start my own. I'm a terrible rambler so I'll try not to go on too much!

How we met

OH and I met in 2010 when we moved into the same house share - me having just left a 7 year relationship, him having moved into the area for a 1 year work placement as part of his degree (he was a mature student, having qualified in accountancy then deciding in his 20s that computer science was his real love). We were friends at first then one night a few months later got very drunk on a night out and ended up kissing, and it went from there! The next year he went back to uni an hour away for a year and I was working so we were a bit long distance, then when he graduated we rented our first flat together.

We bobbed along happily until 2014 when we decided to start trying for a baby, and in late 2015 our son was born. 

OH knew from early on that I wanted to get married and have children as that was the reason I left my previous relationship - ex was adamant he didn't want either. This was cemented when our son came along as I really dislike not having the same surname as my little boy. OH is so laid back he is almost horizontal and while not opposed to marriage, isn't particularly bothered either way so I waited a while for him to pop the question!

«13456714

Posts

  • MrsCToBeeMrsCToBee Posts: 1,762 New bride

    The proposal

    Prepare yourselves for the least romantic engagement story ever.

    Early one Friday evening in February 2017, we were chilling with our son in our living room, watching a bit of TV and playing with his building blocks with him. OH kept trying to get our son to give me a red building block but as is the case with 16 month olds, he wasn't playing ball!

    Eventually OH picked up a red block and handed it to me...at this point I realised it wasn't actually a building block, it was a red ring box, and OH asked me if I would marry him while looking scared witless. I was absolutely stunned but said yes immediately and tried to slip the ring on to my finger....only it was far too small 😩😂

    Now my birthday is in February, and my OH always likes to go to central London on the rare occasions he shops, so when he told me he was going the previous evening, I assumed he was buying my birthday present - turns out he had randomly decided to propose on either Valentine's Day or my birthday so bought the ring, but he's rubbish at keeping secrets and couldn't wait for either of those! My best friend had got engaged a few months previously and I think he knew I was feeling a bit sad that we still weren't, so it gave him the kick up the bum he needed to sort it out.

    Anyway, none of our relatives were answering the phone so we did our son's usual bed and bath routine then I popped to Tesco Extra for some shopping we needed still in absolute shock. Later on we got hold of relatives and friends and told them the news, and the next day we went back up to London to swap my ring for one which fitted. I was devastated when the jeweller told me it wasn't in stock in my size and I had to wait a week for it to be couriered to me, which felt like a year 😂

  • SadieeeSadieee Posts: 1,775 New bride

    Yay another thread to follow!!

  • MrsCToBeeMrsCToBee Posts: 1,762 New bride

    The Budget

    A few days after proposing, OH went abroad to work for a month, leaving me to start manically Googling venues and writing lists (I bloody love a list!). I'd have loved to get married abroad but for various family reasons that idea wasn't a goer, and OH has always wanted a traditional wedding with all his family and friends there anyway as he is incredibly close to them.

    When he returned, we looked at rough pricing online and discussed budget. We aren't flashy people and we'd both feel a bit silly wafting about in a stately home so we decided to keep the venue fairly low key. Also, our priorities had changed since we had our son so we were saving to buy a house, and tbh we'd both rather spend money on the honeymoon than the wedding! We ideally wanted to spend £6k or less, but we realised £9-10k was a more realistic budget. We also decided that we would wait until 2019, as though we would have liked to have done it this year, my 14 month maternity leave had somewhat decimated our savings! 

    We are paying for it all ourselves, the only help we are receiving is that OH's nan has offered to buy our cake, bless her.

  • MrsCToBeeMrsCToBee Posts: 1,762 New bride

    The Venue

    We had looked online at lots of places within our budget and went to a few wedding fairs to get a feel. I'd been to some wedding fairs with my engaged best friend the previous summer but her budget is probably 3 times ours so none of them were appropriate. OH's hometown is 90 minutes by car from where we live in Kent, and we have lots of friends in London also, so it was important that venues were close to public transport and accommodation as over half of our guests aren't local. We looked briefly near OH's hometown in Essex but it isn't great for weddings, in fact all of his friends have chosen to get married elsewhere. OH and his family are also incredibly plain eaters while I love good food so we wanted somewhere where we could have multiple food options as one size certainly wouldn't fit all in our case!

    The 'Hell No's'

    Dale Hill Golf Club - very corporate looking, not near any public transport or hotels, and the place looks like a swirly carpet showroom - they are everywhere, all clashing with the furniture, the curtains, each other. It was a no from us. It's also a lot more run down than it looks online.

    image

    East Sussex National Golf Club

    Much bigger, nicer interiors but still very corporate, plus they can have several weddings on the same day, and again, it's in the arse end of nowhere so we ruled it out. In fact we realised golf clubs aren't for us at all and ruled them out altogether.

    image

     

     Mountains Country House

    Went to a wedding fair here while OH was abroad, and to have a nose as it's the private school my mum went to and I'd never been there. IT IS STUNNING!  If money was no object I would have my wedding here in a heartbeat, but sadly it is 😢😂 You can get married either inside or outside, then they have a stunning marquee for the reception in beautiful grounds.

    image

    imageimageimage

     

    The Royal Wells Hotel

    On paper this was perfect - within budget, disabled friendly, has it's own rooms, close to public transport. We arranged to go and see it and the wedding coordinator didn't show up to our appointment. There was a wedding on that day and a groom was also frantically searching for her - none of the other staff knew where she was. Another staff member showed us around and the ceremony and reception rooms are lovely but it only has a tiny, non private courtyard garden. He also told us they are very short staffed!

    The coordinator was meant to call us to re-arrange, she didn't. I called her and she made a pathetic excuse and we made another appointment, which she cancelled the day before with another weak excuse. We decided she was too unreliable so discounted the venue.

    imageimage

     

     

  • MrsCToBeeMrsCToBee Posts: 1,762 New bride

    The serious contenders;

    The Plough at Leigh

    Country pub with an attached barn and a nice garden. Very professionally run, really good food offering too. Top end of our budget but do-able. Only thing that put us off is that there are tiers of hire- exclusive, part day exclusive or barn only, with exclusive hire really expensive. We didn't want to pay out all the money for exclusive use as with our numbers we only really needed the barn, but that would have meant sharing the garden with pub customers, and with 10 young kids attending we wanted them somewhere secure. The barn is also quite dark and cold, and the heating is from 2 indoor fireplaces that look pretty dangerous for kids to be near. The whole event takes place in the Barn too which means you have that turn around time where everyone has to sod off somewhere else for an hour which I don't like.

    The landlady reacted incredibly snootily to a joke my OH made about people getting drunk at weddings and basically said it wasn't acceptable which we found bizarre for a pub and wedding venue 🙄 It was also the most expensive of the final 3, and is in a bit of a hotel black hole, with only one Premier Inn nearby, so sadly we crossed it off our list.

    imageimageimageimage

  • MrsCToBeeMrsCToBee Posts: 1,762 New bride

    Second contender was the Mercure Tunbridge Wells Hotel. The wedding coordinator is lovely and the ceremony room is very nice, but the reception room is quite small and the outside space is just concrete as far as the eye can see. The only nice place for a photo is the little pond and it was dirty with litter floating in it the day we visited!  They do packages and were prepared to be quite flexible about the menus but ultimately it's just too soulless a space. Also the ceremony room is upstairs with no disabled access. My grandad is very elderly and a wheelchair user so he wouldn't be able to get there, and it's likely the ceremony is the only bit of the wedding he will attend.imageimageimage

  • MrsCToBeeMrsCToBee Posts: 1,762 New bride

    Third contender was The Barn, a pub/restaurant in the centre of Tunbridge Wells.. I know some of the past and present staff and have done birthday meals etc there before, plus a good friend had her wedding breakfast & reception there so I had a pretty good idea of the offering. We went for a first visit to see it when it was dressed for a wedding, and as I already knew, the conservatory area where ceremonies are held is very small. Plus points are that the food is fab and gives your guests 4 options to choose from for each course, it's very close to a train station and surrounded by hotels, they have a really good, reasonable all inclusive package, don't charge venue hire, and while the courtyard garden isn't huge it's really lovely, secure and we would have exclusive use. The wedding breakfast is in the restaurant upstairs, while the ceremony and evening reception are downstairs, so you don't have to worry about them turning the rooms around either. Also did I mention the price is INCREDIBLE?

    They only do weddings on Sundays so OH was adamant if we chose this venue it had to be on a bank holiday weekend as so many of our guests would be travelling. The only thing that put  us off a bit was the small ceremony area.

    imageimage imageimage

  • MrsCToBeeMrsCToBee Posts: 1,762 New bride
    Sadieee wrote (see post):

    Yay another thread to follow!!

     

    Thank you :)

  • MrsCToBeeMrsCToBee Posts: 1,762 New bride

    Venue decision - May 2017

    OH then went away to work abroad for a month again, and when he returned, we weighed up the pros and cons of each venue and decided to choose The Barn - their offering was the best value, they have wheelchair access for the ceremony, we know the food is good and they offer multiple options, and most importantly we know and trust the manager. We arranged a meeting at the venue to book a date, which had to be a bank holiday. 2018 was fully booked, but the Spring 2019 BH dates had been free on our first visit.

    I have always wanted a spring wedding as I love spring flowers and I don't like heat, plus I just wanted to get married ASAP. OH had been lobbying for high summer as he loves heat and wanted the best chance of a sunny day.

    Well, he got his way - by the time we went for the second meeting all the Spring bank holiday Sundays had been booked and August BH Sunday 2019 was the next available date. So 25th August 2019 is our wedding date!

  • MrsCToBeeMrsCToBee Posts: 1,762 New bride

    Theme/Colours

    I've always known I would have navy blue included in my wedding, it's my absolute favourite colour and suits everyone. I've decided on gold and coral as accent colours, with tiny hints of mint. Here are a couple of pics from my Pinterest:

    imageimage

  • MrsCToBeeMrsCToBee Posts: 1,762 New bride

    Flowers

    I've decided to do all the wedding flowers myself, with fresh flowers.

    My brother got married a few years back and they had a real DIY wedding, so SIL asked me to do the flowers. I did a lot of practice in the run up to their wedding, learning from books and Youtube tutorials, and it went well - I did buttonholes, bouquets, centrepieces, top table arrangement, pew ends and a simple floral arch. So I'm pretty confident I can do it again.

    Flowers will be bought from Triangle Nursery who I used before - they are a wholesaler who also sell to the public and will courier the flowers to you. Here are a few examples of bouquets I like:

    imageimageimageimage

     

  • MrsCToBeeMrsCToBee Posts: 1,762 New bride

    Feel a bit like I'm talking to myself here 😂

    Anyway once we'd booked the venue, I started shopping for bits and bobs as I saw them - I love a sale!

    First thing I bought were these pouches/clutches for me and the bridesmaids - reduced to £3 each in the Accessorize sale!image

  • MrsCToBeeMrsCToBee Posts: 1,762 New bride

    Second thing was the frame for our seating plan, dirt cheap in Timagehe Range - I'm going to spray it gold.

  • MrsCToBeeMrsCToBee Posts: 1,762 New bride

    Next were my shoes. I can't walk in very high heels & I have exceptionally wide feet and it's really hard to find glam shoes to fit me, so when I spotted these in the New Look sale I pounced - they are much sparklier in real life!image

  • nicki126nicki126 Posts: 248

    Lovely ideas!  The shoes look fab - can't resist a sparkle!!

  • SadieeeSadieee Posts: 1,775 New bride

    Love your shoes ans those little cluthes are fab!

  • ruthie1979ruthie1979 Posts: 794

    Oh love your shoes & those clutch bags - need to remember to have a look at the sales!! xx

  • MrsCToBeeMrsCToBee Posts: 1,762 New bride

    Thanks ladies, I'm normally quite a plain dresser and don't do bling, but sod it, I'm going full on sparkle  for my wedding day!! The shoes are comfy which is the main thing as I have 'problem feet'. I didn't want to spend alot as I'm bound to be in a pair of flip flops after a couple of hours anyway.

    I buy everything in sales, even my MIL calls me the yellow sticker queen as my freezer is always full of reduced food from the M&S opposite my work 😂

  • MrsCToBeeMrsCToBee Posts: 1,762 New bride

    Wedding party

    Bridesmaids

    I have 2 best friends, it's always been a given that they will be my bridesmaids. I do have half sisters, sisters in law etc. but I'm not particularly close to any of them, so I'm happy to leave it at that. 

    Page boy

    Our son who will be almost 4 will be our pageboy. I feel a bit like I should have my nephew but haven't decided yet, as then I'll feel I should have OH's nephew and my 3 Godsons and the whole thing will snowball...we'll see!

    Best men

    So the OH has decided he must have THREE best men  🙄 I feel it's a little excessive and 2 of them could be ushers, but it's the done thing in his group of friends so I'll just roll with it...

    Flower girls

    I didn't originally want kids in the wedding party except our son, but my oldest niece has never been to a wedding where she wasn't a flower girl (3 times already and she's only 4!).....so as soon as we announced we were getting married she assumed she was going to be a flower girl 😂 I didn't have it in me to break a 4 year old's heart so her and her 2 sisters will be flower girls!

  • MrsCToBeeMrsCToBee Posts: 1,762 New bride

    Flower Girl's outfits

    I absolutely love the Estella dresses from Monsoon - I know they're popular but I think they are so sweet. I was at a kid's clothing nearly new sale last year and saw one in perfect condition in the size my oldest niece will be for £15 so I snapped it up. I then got on eBay and bought the same dress in the other 2 sizes I need for around £15 each, both also in perfect condition. So 3 dresses for £45...I was pretty pleased as they cost that much each new! I also got them a hairband each for £2 a pop in the Monsoon Christmas sale. 

    image

    image

  • ruthie1979ruthie1979 Posts: 794

    I love the Monsoon dresses too & have bought one for my niece to try on tomorrow when she comes over. Did you go for the white or gold/sparkly one?

    Can't believe you got such a bargain on eBay and nearly new sale! I was tempted to buy one of eBay I saw but it wasn't the right size but might keep looking xx

  • MrsCToBeeMrsCToBee Posts: 1,762 New bride

    Bridesmaid dresses

    Inspired by my bargains for the Flower Girls, I started looking at dress ideas for the bridesmaids. I want them in navy but had no intention of buying anything until much closer to the time in case they change size/get pregnant etc. Both my maids are tall though so it can be hard to find dresses the right length. 

    I really liked some navy maxi dresses from Little Mistress and I kept seeing them on Debenhams, Littlewoods, ASOS, Very etc. so I figured they must be a fairly popular design. So I had a look on eBay and *purely by accident, slip of the finger* bought 2 dresses, again both worn once and in perfect condition, for around £15 each. They are £70ish new.

    They have elasticated backs so should fit but if not I'll get back on eBay again!

    I have no doubt they will be too short for my girls but I want them in knee or calf length dresses anyway so I'll get my mum to alter the length nearer the time.

    I then saw some really nice blue crystal alice bands in the Accessorize sale for £3 each. 

     image

    image

    So 5 dresses and hair bands for less than £90....absolutely over the moon with that, and it has shaved a big chunk off our wedding budget, as I was expecting to spend around that per person 😁

  • MrsCToBeeMrsCToBee Posts: 1,762 New bride

    Hi Ruthie, I went for the white but do love the gold too! I actually bought one off eBay by accident which was the wrong colour but I got back what I paid for it so no hassle....the dresses really have resale value so you'll definitely be able to sell them after if you want to. 

    If you're not in a rush there are always loads on eBay, it took a few weeks for the littlest flower girl's size to come up but it did eventually. 

     

  • ruthie1979ruthie1979 Posts: 794
    MrsCToBee wrote (see post):

    Hi Ruthie, I went for the white but do love the gold too! I actually bought one off eBay by accident which was the wrong colour but I got back what I paid for it so no hassle....the dresses really have resale value so you'll definitely be able to sell them after if you want to. 

    If you're not in a rush there are always loads on eBay, it took a few weeks for the littlest flower girl's size to come up but it did eventually. 

     

    I've bought the gold/sparkly one which is lovely but not sure if the sparkly skirt bit is a bit too sparkly if that makes sense! Thinking I might return and get the white ones!! Good to know I will get some money back if I sell them after the wedding on eBay. xx

  • MrsCToBeeMrsCToBee Posts: 1,762 New bride

    The ones I bought were the non sparkly cream, but the one I bought by accident was the sparkly white and it was really pretty. I went for cream though as I'm pretty sure I'll be wearing ivory, not white.

  • MrsCToBeeMrsCToBee Posts: 1,762 New bride

    Men's Outfits

    My OH is of very big build and tall, but with a long body and short-ish legs for his height. He has been a best man 3 times in the last few years, and 3 times been given hired suits which were massively ill fitting, where the waistcoat has ended above his belly button and doesn't have a proper back, the shirts never tuck in as they are too short so he's had to wear his own, and the trousers are always wrong. He was even given trousers once which were  2 pairs joined together with 3 seams on the bum, they looked ridiculous and split after an hour as they had been so poorly altered. So unfair and embarassing for him.

    We have 6 men to dress (OH, 2 dads and 3 best men), plus our son who is page boy and there is absolutely no way we are spending the best part of a grand for my OH and FIL who is built similarly, to feel uncomfortable and look ridiculous in hired suits.

    My dad hates Moss Bros suits and has begged not to wear one and to wear his own suit. He also hates feeling restricted around his neck and hates wearing ties, so has requested a clip on tie.

    We had a think and most of OH's friends and family work in the City and all already own lovely suits which are made for them and fit them properly. OH owns a lovely, properly fitting suit. So we are going to provide ties and pocket squares and they are all going to wear their own suits.

    Our son is going to wear navy shorts,  short sleeved white shirt, & waistcoat with either a little tie or bow tie.

    Having trawled the internet we found DQT - they do waistcoats which will fit OH, with matching ties and pocket hankies, and are able to provide clip on ties and kid's waistcoats and ties all in matching fabric. 

    Priced it up last night and everything we need for the men and our son will come to £78. Sold!

  • MrsCToBeeMrsCToBee Posts: 1,762 New bride

    Rough idea for the men - different suits with the coral ties tying them all together. OH doesn't want to differentiate his tie etc from the rest so I'll give him a fancier buttonhole!

    imageimage

     

     

  • MrsCToBeeMrsCToBee Posts: 1,762 New bride

    image

     

    image

    This is the idea for our son but in navy with a coral bow tie.

  • MrsCToBeeMrsCToBee Posts: 1,762 New bride

    So I  may have *accidentally* bought my wedding ring! In my defence, it was an absolute steal....

  • SadieeeSadieee Posts: 1,775 New bride
    MrsCToBee wrote (see post):

    So I  may have *accidentally* bought my wedding ring! In my defence, it was an absolute steal....

    Hahah I did this when the one I wanted but couldn't afford went into the sale and only my size was left :D congrats on getting your ring!!

«13456714
Sign In or Register to comment.