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My wedding report- laid back bash in a town hall, 27 May 2017

I'm another May 27 bride!

I never finished my planning thread, but I really wanted to properly remember as much as I can about our wedding day. I also wanted to give some tips and what I've learnt to people similar to myself - those who don't feel super-traditional when it comes to weddings, aren't sure what kind of decorations they want or need, and don't want to spend loads of money but do want to host a fab day for everyone.

Hope it's helpful or interesting to others :)

The wedding couple: Me (Lucy) and my husband (DH, his initials)

What we wanted from our day: an informal, friendly and happy atmosphere

When and where: Surrey County Hall, Saturday May 27, 2017

Day before - Setting up the venue

On the Friday morning, I had a lovely manicure and coffee with my mum, while DH finished his speech. He is both a perfectionist and a bit disorganised, so the speech was pretty much done by this point, but he was refining and needed to find a place to print it. We then bought a quick lunch for those friends who were kindly helping us to set up the venue. 

 Another friend arrived with his van at my mum's just in the nick of time and was a great help- without him, we’d have taken ages to transport everything to the venue - all our booze, our rose trees, our DIY signs and everything else. We had access to the venue to set it up from 2pm. It was pretty slow going as I hadn’t fully thought out who should do the different tasks, several people showed up wanting to help and I wasn’t sure how they could, we hadn’t fully decided where the decorations were going and it wasn’t always clear what we could do at that point and what the venue were going to be doing in the morning. The caterers hadn’t delivered the table cloths yet, which meant we couldn’t fully set up table and place names – the venue promised to do this, and were left careful instructions about sticking strictly to an excel spreadsheet, starting from the top of each row and going clockwise from the top.* We fully intended to test the music playlist but this only half worked because the chap who knew how to work their loudspeaker system wasn’t around.**

Various people came to help out- out of town guests, and some of our siblings, and parents. My FIL talked a lot about how thunderstorms were forcecast for the next day (they weren’t). My top tip for this stage would be – think of jobs that helpful people can easily do; and listen to the calm authoritative types. My brother was the most helpful person – both reassauring and practical. Any point where I wondered how something would work on the wedding day, he assured me it’d be handled.

We ran out of time to do a quasi-rehearsal but had a run through in the car park, which seemed to put my mum’s mind at ease, and I have to admit was helpful for knowing where people would sit and walk which is more complicated than it sounds.

*  **

Neither of these things – the playlist and the excel spreadsheet for the place names –  worked out quite as planned, which just goes to show that something will go wrong and it doesn’t really matter at all. 



  • Wibs77Wibs77 Posts: 414

    I am looking forward to hearing the rest if your report. 

  • Lucy266Lucy266 Posts: 176

    Thanks Wibs! 

    Day before continued - DIY Flowers

    On the Friday evening 2 bridesmaids, 1 usher and 1 best man arrived all of whom were part of my bridal party and are my very dear friends. I ordered pizza for all. We were all there to arrange the flowers from my mum’s garden for the baskets for the wedding breakfast. Because of them being from mum’s garden, the baskets were small with a mixture of different styles. Both me and my mum really enjoyed flower arranging, it was both what we hoped it’d be I think, which was a fun, low key chilled night in.  I got to bed early on the Friday night- thankfully, as I woke up wondering if the extension cord would be accessible for when the Colombian food van arrived at 9pm and, given the hot weather, what if the wine wasn’t chilled enough?

    Here's a photo to show what I mean about the flowers:


  • MrsLMTMrsLMT Posts: 3,830

    I love your flower baskets. 

  • VegasLouVegasLou Posts: 820 New bride

    Your flower baskets are really pretty. Look forward to hearing more.

  • Your wedding style sounds similar to mine so I will be reading with close interest. Thanks for the tip already on setting up, I'm also setting up my own venue and hasn't thought about assigning job so will defo give that some thought.

  • Lucy266Lucy266 Posts: 176

    Thanks MrsP! My venue wasn't a totally blank slate DIY  job, but even then I can totally recommend being as prepared as possible in thinking about who can do what, who will handle queries on the day from suppliers, while also being relaxed in the moment if things don't work out exactly as they should! 

  • Lucy266Lucy266 Posts: 176

    Ok so to continue the report...

    Wedding day!

    I was very lucky with the weather on the day. If people remember the late May bank holiday there was a mixture of thunderstorms, very hot weather, and then turning rapidly colder around the country. In London, it rained a bit first thing but it was that warm weather rain you get where you can tell it's going to be a nice day. Originally the day was forecast to be a scorcher but thanks to some wind it was instead pleasantly warm by the time the wedding itself rolled round. Good for the guys in their suits!

    Saturday morning


    Here's a photo of me thinking about what I should do next. The photographer was the one area where I didn't cut costs and actually went above the normal going rate, even in London. It was really important for me to have some lovely photos of the day. I used Helen Abraham who is based in London but also does destination weddings. She was *fantastic* and worth every cent. If you want lots of relaxed, unposed photos that really capture the spirit of your day, and you have the budget, I thoroughly recommend her. She also does lovely couple/group shots but she is best for couples who are prepared to give up control in return for amazing photos.

    I think people were expecting me to be nervous or sentimental on the morning of. But I was very much just in ‘doing mode’. At 9am I went to get my hair done and I hadn’t really got a specific style in mind but the hairdresser was patient and methodical, and I went for half up, half down, with a plait. When it was done, I left the salon and it was so windy, but the rain had gone and the sky was blue and my hair held fine. I bought breakfast for bridesmaids, meeting up with one of them along the way, and a bottle of champers for a family friend who was doing my makeup. I got home and we had bucks fizz and ate a lovely breakfast.

    At 11.30ish Mum and the ushers went off to pick up their buttonholes/carnations from OH based at the pub (I found out later that mum had also taken these super tacky centrepieces to the venue that MIL had bought and neither I nor OH liked at all. Mum felt guilty that we’d rejected the centrepieces (she is friends with MIL) and apparently explained to the venue coordinator of all people the dispute. Anyway the venue coordinator rather brilliantly suggested putting them out for the evening disco, which indeed worked well because you couldn’t see the flower baskets in the evening and the centrepieces actually looked ok being kind of glow in the dark.)

  • Wibs77Wibs77 Posts: 414

    Very diplomatic well saved. Love the above photo. I am looking forward to reading the rest

  • Lucy266Lucy266 Posts: 176

    Back to the morning of. The final third bridesmaid arrived at my mum’s with hubby and baby in tow, as she is still breastfeeding. Everyone had a lot of fun playing with the baby. We all chatted and I began to feel very relaxed and that I really didn’t have much to do! Then the friend who’d volunteered to do my makeup arrived. She was brilliant – chatty, reassuring, careful and she did a great job without overdoing it at all.

    So, hair and make-up done. Time started to go fast and the photographer arrived early. Fliss (bridesmaid) suggested it was great I am so relaxed but might it be time for me to get into my dress? So I did – it’s kind of awkward doing this with the photographer around if you are even a bit shy. But it did result in some great photos. As the make up artist friend suggested, we did my lips last thing as I was snacking throughout the morning on baguettes, hummus and a bit of cheese. We went for a different lip colour ultimately than in this photo but I actually kind of like it here, although it's maybe a bit vampy for a bride going for a chilled out informal atmosphere on her wedding day:


    Dad arrived to pick me up at about 2.15. My dad is a really sentimental old thing and it was a bit of an emotional moment for both of us, with me trying not to cry. I spoke to dad about DH and what he does for me- which dad referenced in his speech later.

    2.25 I was ready to go to the venue (I was travelling with my parents in my dad’s car). Dad is the type who will start pacing if we are even 30 seconds behind schedule. It's a nightmare being around him and DH who has the most laid back attitude to time of any man or woman on this earth. So I put dad out of his misery and decided it was time to go, even though the taxi for my bridesmaids hadn't arrived yet. I left my bridemaids and best men with cab fare to wait for the cab coming hopefully imminently, trusting I’d see them at the venue which is only a 10 minute drive away. On the drive, I spotted a few of my soon-to-be in laws walking to the venue. 

  • Lucy266Lucy266 Posts: 176

    As a side note, and advice for brides on a budget, I did not spend much money on hair and makeup at all and I don't regret it. I originally asked a bridesmaid, S, if she'd do my makeup. Because she was nervous (although she did a fab job on my hen do) she asked the friend mentioned above, M, to help out. M did it as a favour - she also knows my mum well - and did a fab job. I had gone for a Bobbi Brown trial and bought a few things from that.* My bridesmaids all did their own makeup and looked absolutely great; they know what suits them!

    As for hair, I went to a salon. Rather than mentioning the W word and getting taxed accordingly, I just booked the appointment asking for a stylist who could do up-dos. I did take a risk here as I booked just the one appointment for the morning of without trying the stylist out before. However, even if I'd been sensible and done that, I reckon I'd've still saved money rather than getting a stylist to come to my mum's place and do proper 'wedding hair'. The salon charged me £39. 

    I also spent very little on cars. It's just one of those things that I didn't feel would really impact the overall experience of the day. I am lucky to have a dad who doesn't drink (so wouldn't need to worry about him having to go without at all) and has a nice car, but even just with a normal taxi you'd save loads. 

    *I recommend Bobbi Brown trials for brides unsure of makeup like me.You can get an idea of what you like and what suits you. But don't let them upsell you day creams or night creams. They're expensive and not all that!

  • Lucy266Lucy266 Posts: 176

    Future Mrs Thomas, Vegas Lou - thank you for the sweet comments about the flower baskets! They were tiny so we don't have loads of photos, but I'll try and get a good photo of the bouquet which was also homemade!

    Wibs77 - diplomatic indeed! Bernice at Surrey county hall is a great calming influence!

  • ruthie1979ruthie1979 Posts: 794

    ahhhh Loving the report, everything looks (and sounds) so relaxed and perfect 

    Looking forward to reading more x

  • Lucy266Lucy266 Posts: 176

    Thanks  ruthie1979! I've got it all written, so I'll finish it soon!

  • Lucy266Lucy266 Posts: 176

    Continuing my wedding report on a lovely, lazy Sunday! Really liking married life right now.

    3pm - the ceremony

    I got married in Surrey County Hall. I'd recommend the venue to anyone - it's flexible enough to put your stamp on it, while not being totally DIY so you don't have loads of details to coordinate and worry about. It's good value (no corkage!!!) and beautiful.


    We got to the venue and waited for ages to start making my entrance, and I was still feeling calm and chilled. I heard the noises of guests chatting, it sounded like there were loads. I heard that a few were late, and wanted to peek out and see who. I had my interview, and then it was time to go!

    The first people I saw were some of the kids playing outside with the crèche staff, which was lovely in a very normal way. Then I went in and was so happy to see everyone. In all honesty at a certain point I was just looking for DH at the top of the aisle waiting for me. I smiled loads, I think, I was so happy. When I got to the top of the aisle, I noticed he had a bit of an orange chin which was apparently someone’s foundation rubbing off on him :D


    I noticed the musicians who we’d got at the last minute, one of them was my close mate, Vicky. They are called Luna Strings Trio and they were fantastic- they played some contemporary and some classics.

    Seeing everyone there to celebrate us, because they love us, was so incredibly heartwarming.

    I want to look up the detail of the ceremony because the vows were perfect. Something like – I promise to forgive you, laugh with you, be faithful to you, and never take you for granted. I felt very very sure when I was reading them. We had three readings and my mum impressed everyone with her reading of Roy Croft’s poem I love you. Both me and my dad were in tears! Our other readings were Seamus Heaney's 'Scaffolding' and Christina Rosetti's A birthday. The Croft and Heaney poem are both about building long, lasting, deep relationships which are about friendship as well as passion and romance. I think I found the Roy Croft from FutureMrsWoolgrove on this very forum. I hope she doesn't mind - I doubt we have any mutual guests ;) - and I am very grateful to her!

    Off to write some thank you cards, then will continue....

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