Barn Wedding report - 11th November 2017

Hello ladies,

I've been lurking on the forum for a while now and didn't have a planning thread but I really would like to do a report. Hopefully you will find it a fun read and maybe even find the few DIY elements helpful.

Brief history: Graham and I met at work. Our first date was actually the date of the Royal wedding in 2011 (makes it easy to remember!). We moved in together in 2013, bought a house together in 2014 and then got engaged in August 2016.

Proposal: As a rule, each year we both take our birthdays as leave and spend the day together and on my birthday, G insists on paying for everything so I get completely spoilt. We rarely go away so last year, we decided to go to Belfast for a few days, including my birthday. On the actual day, he took me to the Rose Garden in Belfast's Botanical Gardens and proposed. He did a brilliant job of choosing my ring. I like big sparkly rocks as much as the next girl but as I have quite small hands, only delicate rings look good on me. Unfortunately he’s lost the picture of my ring that day! I’m hoping he somehow finds it and I can pop it in later. Here are a couple of photos of the rose garden (not exactly the same but oh well!).

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He'd gone to my parents to ask for my father's permission but as luck would have it, Dad was out when he visited. So he told my mum who was very excited, told her not to tell anyone and then returned the next day. Dad was as cool as a cucumber while Mum was bouncing in her seat. Apparently it was obvious why G was there and just to wind Mum up, my father acted like nothing was out of the ordinary and started sorting through the mail! This was roughly the Wednesday before the Monday G proposed and he'd gone to great lengths to keep it a secret. He'd sworn my parents to secrecy but by Friday night, my mother was already blabbing to her friends. She does struggle with secrets!

 

Reception Venue:

Naturally I started looking at venues. My ideal venue was somewhere with grounds, a marquee and availability in September 17 (G didn't want a long engagement and insisted on getting married within 1.5 years). Unfortunately, quotes from venues or prices from websites of places we liked soon made us realise that our budget wasn't large enough for what we liked. We'd set it at £15k (excluding clothes and honeymoon) which is no small amount so we decided on November as it would be cheaper.

Eventually we found Lains Barn in Oxfordshire. I love the rustic look and even though there wasn't much land, I figured the weather would be dreary so it wouldn't actually matter (and I was right!). I think one of the most stressful parts of planning the wedding was finding the venue. After that things pretty much fell into place - with a bit of work of course!

We booked around late September or early October. So we had about 13 months to plan everything else and it was plenty. I can stress out quite easily so I decided to just keep on top of everything and be proactive.

 

Save the Dates:

I love kraft paper and it suited our venue so I chose these Save the Dates which we sent out about a year in advance.

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Posts

  • MrsL-GMrsL-G Posts: 86 New bride

    Ceremony Location:

    We're both Catholic and Graham really wanted a church ceremony so he found a small, old CoE church near the barn's closest station. From November to April, we dragged ourselves out of bed around 6.30-6.45am and up from London to Oxfordshire in time for the ten o'clock mass once a month (after that we attended every two months). We'd get back home mid to late afternoon, depending on whether we stopped for lunch on the way home, so it was a long day but the church's community was lovely and very welcoming. We always left with a strong sense of wellbeing (and the best train journey there was when G pulled a cookie out of his pocket for me!!).

    We also attended a Marriage Preparation day, which was thought provoking and at times, fun. One activity had men and women divide into separate groups in different rooms. Each group answered the same lot of questions and then after, we rejoined our fiancés and shared our answers. One question was 'Why now?'. I did ask G why it took him so long to propose and he reminded me of my To Do list which consisted of:

    1) Buy a house

    2) Get a dog

    3) Get married

    And as we'd only gotten our puppy in March that year, I didn't really have a leg to stand on! (And, no, I didn't share this with the ladies in my group!)

     

    Invitations:

    Did I mention I like kraft paper and card? I do love the rustic look! My only other requirement was a compact invitation that allowed us to include lots of information.

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    To add a Chinese element (I'm Chinese and G is English), we decided to seal each envelope with a wax seal of a Chinese character. We were told that the design we wanted was a version of the Double Happiness symbol, a character traditionally used for Chinese weddings, but I think it's actually a Longevity character (either way good). Nowhere sold the stamp so we got it custom made and then poor G spent hours melting little wax stars over a candle, pouring it onto the envelopes and carefully stamping it.

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    Lastly, for immediate family and friends who knew our cats, we used a custom postage stamp with a photo of our furries.

     

  • MrsL-GMrsL-G Posts: 86 New bride

    Day before the wedding:

    My father picked G & I up in the morning and we headed off to Oxfordshire to meet our minister for an 11am rehearsal where she talked us through the ceremony and took us through our vows. Up until now things had felt quite relaxed but I was suddenly hit by the awareness that in just over 24 hours I'd have to do this in front of nearly 90 people! Of course I was the one to muck up my vows and G immediately pointed this out (our minister's immediate response was 'Shut up!'). Even now I can't remember the correct wording, just that 'until death do us part' is wrong. G was also grinning at me through a lot of it - I was convinced he was laughing at me but he assured me he was just happy and a bit giggly.

    I also mentioned to my husband-to-be that the part of my vow about 'sharing all that I have' with him did not include dessert.

    She gave us some advice (like don't force the ring all the way along if it's not going to go as she doesn't want any broken fingers) and answered our questions. All in all, it was very useful.

    Then it was off to the barn to meet my mum and Arthur, a dear family friend whom I call my Other Father. He kindly brought our decorations from London. We then got to work and set up all our decorations in record time. Afterwards, G took the train back to London and the rest of us went to a local pub for lunch, after which Arthur went home. I'd rented a cottage for the night before and of the wedding on Airbnb so we checked in, unpacked and got some essentials from the local supermarket. Then later that evening we met my uncle and three of my mum's friends for a lovely dinner at an Italian restaurant. As we'd had a late lunch (pulled pork and a baked potato with seasonal vegetables!), I had two starters: avocado and prawns with melted cheese followed by mushroom soup. Delicious!

    We headed back at a reasonable hour so I was in bed by 11pm or so but unfortunately I barely slept a wink.

  • MrsL-GMrsL-G Posts: 86 New bride

    Wedding Day

    I admitted defeat around 7am and just accepted the fact I might be in zombie mode by early evening.

    Around 10am, my florist dropped off my bouquet and a buttonhole for my father. I also had a sneak peek at the flowers for the barn! I loved everything, especially my bouquet. My H&MU stylist and photographer arrived around 11am and it turned out that they knew each other! In the run up to the wedding, even the day before, it didn't feel real. It wasn't until about an hour before the ceremony that it actually hit home that I was getting married. And then I had butterflies in more than just my hair!

    Dress:

    I actually tried on over 70 dresses before making my choice. Though to be fair, I liked a dress in the third shop I went to but it wasn't quite right. It wasn't until much later that I found out this dress was an altered version of the original. So I then tracked down the original and found my dress! I'm short and have a big butt and thighs so anything clingy or in mermaid style was out. While I did find some beautiful sweetheart poofy dresses, they just weren't me. Simple is more my style so I chose Frida by Rembo Styling, though we had some lace added to the back – I’m shy!

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    Accessories:

    I borrowed a gold necklace of my mother's. The problem with gold is that it can look quite blingy but as my dress was so simple, I thought it would be all right. Mum insisted I wore earrings so I borrowed her diamond studs. Other than that, I just wore a gold bracelet I always wear. (I didn't wear my engagement ring as I want to wear it on my right hand but need it resized.)

    For shoes, I had a simple pair of ballet pumps but I inserted some fun insoles from Alice Bow for additional comfort. They were my 'something blue' with the word 'Bride' on each.

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    I wasn't planning on a veil but I found a beautiful and slightly different version of a draped veil on etsy by the seller 'thehoneycomb'. I unfortunately don't have any good photos of it but hopefully this one gives you an idea.

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    I did look at gold hair accessories but I didn't find any I really liked and they were all so expensive. So I decided to make my own. G likes it when I wear butterflies and one of our first dates was at the butterfly tent at the Natural History Museum and as we were getting married on Armistice Day, it felt only right to wear poppies in my hair! I also asked my H&MU stylist to add some gypsophila to soften the look.

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    I couldn't find a clutch I liked so I made that too. I bought a box clutch frame and using a poppy print on canvas with the words 'Lest we forget', I made the sides and then lined the inside with burgundy velvet.

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    My bouquet consisted of freesia, lissianthus, veronica, gypsophila, pinecones, spuce and some other greenery. The stems were bound with jute string and tied around that was a photo charm of Sue, my Other Mother (Arthur's wife), who sadly passed away last October. She was a wonderful lady and we miss her dearly.

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  • MrsL-GMrsL-G Posts: 86 New bride

    Groom's prep

    Graham drove up from London with his best man and friend, got dressed at a hotel and then picked up the buttonholes from the barn before heading to the church. He wore a grey tweed three piece suit with a white shirt, red tie, brown belt and shoes.

    I arranged a couple of surprises for him on the day before the ceremony:

    1) a pair of limited edition poppy cufflinks made from metal from the oldest remaining spitfire used by the British in the Second World War.

    2) a buttonhole with a small photo charm of his uncle who passed away a few years ago.

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  • You clearly put a lot of thought into the small details; great homemade elements. I love your bouquet!

  • MrsL-GMrsL-G Posts: 86 New bride

    Thank you Midd2Sturton! I know, isn't my florist brilliant?  I even took the bouquet on my mini moon so I could enjoy it for longer!! 

  • I love everything so far, I especially love your hair and your bouquet, both are stunning!

  • MrsL-GMrsL-G Posts: 86 New bride

    Thank you Weatherwaxe! And just because I haven't posted on your thread doesn't mean I'm not reading it or enjoying it! (I should so go post on it.)

  • MrsL-GMrsL-G Posts: 86 New bride

    The Bridal party just consisted of myself and my parents. While I have several female friends, I'm not really close to any of them so I decided not to have any bridesmaids. I know there are a few ladies on this forum in the same situation so I just wanted to say that I do not regret this decision. Besides, during the ceremony I was too busy trying to breathe to notice! During the wedding breakfast, we did have a top table (a round one) and I didn't feel self conscious at all.

     

    This is a photo of my parents after my stylist had worked her magic and Mum had gotten me dressed - I'm thinking I must have looked somewhat acceptable!!

     

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     (I have now added a photo of our Save the Date.)

  • LizzieBHLizzieBH Posts: 196

    Aww, everything looks gorgeous :) I especially love your dress - I'm a HUGE Rembo Styling fan! 

  • MrsL-GMrsL-G Posts: 86 New bride

    You have great taste LizzieBH!  And thank you!

  • MrsL-GMrsL-G Posts: 86 New bride

    The Ceremony

    It had been drizzling lightly all morning so my parents and I hussled to Dad's car (I was too tight to spend money on a fancy car!). Our photographers were a husband and wife team and Sam's husband Steve was waiting for us outside the church. I had a dumb moment of 'who is that man and why is he right by our car?' but thankfully my brain kicked in as the car door opened!

    Mum went into the church and as Dad and I were waiting outside for the signal to enter, the door opened for my minister to stick her head out to say 'I know you asked for the church toy box to stay shut but there's an unhappy child in here...'

    Of course the only appropriate response was to widen my eyes and say 'So kick'em out'.

    After she laughed, I told her to do whatever she thought best. She shut the door and when it was time to enter the church she escorted us down the aisle. Our organist learnt the Portuguese Love Theme (from Love Actually) for my entrance music and it's a piece I love but I'm ashamed to say that after my first step into the church, I didn't hear a note as my heart was thundering away and I was focusing on looking at my guests.

    I reached Graham without falling on my face and off we went.

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    Our minister conducted a beautiful, personal ceremony during which she spoke of Sue and also of the fact that 'sharing all that I have' does include dessert (unfortunately). We had three lovely hymns: Make me a Channel of Your Peace, Lord of All Hopefulness and We Pledge to One Another. The first of which had some words missing from our order of service (whoops).

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    We said our vows, we had a kiss, G smeared lipstick above my mouth and our minister had to come to my rescue before we signed the register and took photos. To say I was nervous was an understatement. Graham later told me he could see how fast my heart rate was by how fast my chest was rising and falling. (He also said that I bungled the words again.) And then we exited the church to Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen on the organ. Our guests remained in the church while we took some photos outside. G then surprised me with a fancy business car (rather than a taxi we'd spoken of previously) to take us to the barn (as we walked over to it, we passed the unhappy child and his poor father).

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  • MrsL-GMrsL-G Posts: 86 New bride

    Thank you! xx  My parents must be glad to be rid of me, they told Graham 'No returns'!

  • MrsL-GMrsL-G Posts: 86 New bride

    The Drinks Reception

    We arrived at the barn in time to greet our guests as they arrived. The Drinks Reception was held in the Bar area so we had the card box, guest book and some wooden letters on a table by the door.

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    Buying the wooden W & G online and spray painting them myself was a lot cheaper than buying them painted. However, they weren't very steady and I need to spray them again before displaying them at home.

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    I love our guestbook but things didn’t go quite to plan (I’ll explain later).

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    Our seating plan was displayed on a large easel but we actually had two and the second was displayed on this smaller easel.

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    During the drinks reception, the following canapés were served:    

    Tandoori chicken crisps with a spicy mango salsa

    Chicken and spring onion Yakitori

    Vegetable Arancini

    Tomato bruschetta on gluten free French crostini (vegan)

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    Graham has coeliac disease so we insisted that everything be gluten free to prevent cross contamination and him getting ill on the day. I unfortunately didn't get any canapés (I didn't want to talk to anyone with my mouth full or accidentally wreck my dress) and though there were less than 90 of us and we ordered enough for 115, our guests devoured the lot which was brilliant.

    After greeting the majority of our guests, we headed off to take some photos. It was cold, I hate having my photo taken and the ground was wet so that didn't take long! Then it was on to the group photos which, for some reason, were completely disorganised despite having lists of names and ushers to help. It took longer than it should have so I was freezing but between photos, Sam pilfered Steve's jacket and wrapped it round me! Lovely woman. The only photo we didn't take was a photo of everyone as the lawn was wet and soft. The plan was to take it before the meal in the barn but we completely forgot.

  • MrsL-GMrsL-G Posts: 86 New bride

    The Wedding Breakfast

    Our guests were then asked to enter the barn for the Wedding Breakfast. Here are some photos of our decorations and the room:

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    Pinterest's photos of hoop wreaths inspired me to make the below. (After I finished gluing the letters down, G pointed out that the S was upside down. So I had to remove it but as it was so late at night, I admitted defeat and for a day or so, it said MR & MR!)

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    On each table, we had a hurricane vase containing some sand and a pillar candle, logs to raise the vase up and a wreath (conifer/spuce, gypsophila, veronica, freesia and pinecones). I painted wooden blocks with chalkboard paint for the table numbers and G's mum kindly wrote 'Table 1' and all the name cards in Italics.

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    Lastly, I made golden paper confetti using a puncher and scattered them on each table. It is the Chinese Double Happiness symbol which is traditionally used for weddings. This photo shows them more clearly.

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    This is our wedding favour. Red and gold are auspicious colours to the Chinese and again, the gold character is the Double Happiness symbol.

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    We wanted them to be fun so inside was:

    1) A scratch card

    2) Two chocolate Lindt truffles

    3) A note thanking guests for coming and asking them to leave a message for our guestbook as well as a colour code for the chocolate flavours (there were 11 different flavours)

    I was really happy in how we managed to include the two most important things to the Chinese: Money and Food! We also thought that if guests didn't like their flavours, they could swap with the other people on their table which would get them chatting.

    All children also got goodie bags consisting of sweets (purreed fruits for the little ones), a fun straw and a something fun (lip balm, finger puppets, toy, mask, etc.).

     

    Once everyone was seated, we entered the barn, had speeches from my father, best man and G before eating. The three course meal consisted of:

    Sweet potato & butternut squash soup with gluten free bread rolls

    Roasted belly of pork served with seasonal vegetables, roast potatoes, roasted apples and a CIDER jus

    Roasted aubergines filled with squash, minted courgette, feta and walnuts (vegetarians and vegans)

    Eton Mess

  • Your table settings are so so pretty, simple but really effective. Also I love your favours - did anyone win anything substantial? That would have been great :)

  • MrsL-GMrsL-G Posts: 86 New bride

    Thank you! If anyone won a jackpot, they were smart enough to keep quiet about it - in case we decided to tax! 

    My husband won £5 and then wasted it on more scratch cards  silly man! 

     

  • MrsL-GMrsL-G Posts: 86 New bride

    Entertainment

    For a bit of extra fun, G and I put together a quiz for our guests. We weren’t keen on the Shoe game or the usual Mr & Mrs questions so we came up with something more personal...

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    These were the questions:

     

    1) Where did Graham & Wan Tchi meet?  _____________________

                         

    2) Which of the below ailments has Graham had since meeting Wan Tchi?

      Gout

      Coeliac disease

      Appendicitis

      Anorexia

      All of the above

     

    3) Which of the below has Wan Tchi Not had as a hobby?

    Acrobatics

    Ballet

    Trapeze

    Belly dancing

     

    4) Since buying a house with Wan Tchi, which of the following has Graham done there?

    Sawn his leg open

    Nearly knocked himself out opening the fridge door

    Fallen down the stairs (multiple times)

    Given himself a black eye with the bathroom door

    All of the above

     

    5) Whose mum threatened her child with putting the family hamster in the oven?

    Bride / Groom

     

    6) Whose mum thought guinea pigs and rabbits could have babies together?

    Bride / Groom

     

    * We confirmed this isn’t possible with our vet which we hope convinced her.

     

    7) What is Wan Tchi's dream job?

    Veterinary surgeon

    Dessert critic

    Professional puppy cuddler

     

    8) When Graham and Wan Tchi first started dating, they came to an agreement. Match each statement to the correct person.

     

    I'm always right                  Bride / Groom

    It's never my fault               Bride / Groom

     

    Tie breaker: How many days have Graham and Wan Tchi been together (since their first date)? _________days.

     

    Anorexia was added as a joke answer as G is a little 'cuddly'

    The top table wasn't allowed to play and as expected, the Sibling table won but as they had an unfair advantage, they were then disqualified from the competition (there was some booing) and the prizes were awarded to the next table with the highest points (and yes, if the Sibling table had not gotten the most points, we would have looked at them and shaken our heads in disgust). The prizes were different coloured rosettes with the word 'WINNER' and drink tokens.

    It went down a storm =D

  • MrsL-GMrsL-G Posts: 86 New bride

    After the wedding breakfast, we vacated the barn so that staff could turn around the room for dancing. We returned to the bar area for tea & coffee and cupcakes. There were two kinds of cupcakes: plain sponge with chocolate butter cream and little red sugar hearts and then sponge with jam in the middle topped with vanilla butter cream and a chocolate heart decoration. They were made by a friend of a friend who had also kindly provided some takeaway containers which was perfect as a lot of guests opted to take theirs away. (I bought a couple of vegan cupcakes from Wholefoods for our vegan guest.)

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    Around 7.45pm the band started playing and they were a hit. The dance floor was never empty and our guests had a brilliant time. Then just before 10pm, sandwiches and crisps were served. Unfortunately a lot of the sandwiches weren't eaten. I'm not sure whether it was because our guests weren't hungry or because the filling was, well, stingy. The ham and cheese sandwich had only one layer of ham. We paid £6 a head which was a portion of 1.5 small sandwiches. That money would have gotten much better sandwiches at M&S!!

    Just after the band stopped playing (~10pm), we then had fireworks. G really wanted these and it was a late addition to our budget but it was so worth it. We also kept it a secret (like the band) so it would be a nice surprise for everyone. And they loved it! G & I piled onto the ramp outside the barn with some of his family and friends. By this time our photographers had left but my SiL managed to get this shot. The little boy on the left is G's nephew and made us laugh by announcing 'These are the best fireworks I've seen in my whole life!'. He's also sitting on the shoulders of G's manager, whom he'd never met before. Apparently he just turned round and looked up at the gentleman saying 'I'd see much better if I was sitting on your shoulders'!

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    After that lovely display, the band switched to a DJ. Towards the end of the evening he played YMCA and seeing G lined up with his brothers and best man was hysterical. It’s such a guy song. After that, the DJ played 'I've had the time of my life' featuring G and his best man and the best part by far was them attempting 'the lift'. Surprisingly, no one ended up in hospital.

    Come midnight, we closed shop and headed to a local hotel. Naturally, I was exhausted and wanted nothing more than to roll into bed. Unfortunately, the ties for my bustle were knotted very tightly (probably from everyone stepping on my dress!) and G took forever to undo them. He claims it took him a good hour - it was so not an hour, time must pass differently when you're tipsy - and it would have been a lot faster if he'd allowed me to go to his mum for help!

    All in all, a brilliant, though tiring, day

  • It sounds like you had an amazing day!

    By chance, do you have any more pics of that lovely clutch?  I absolutely love it -especially the fabric. I'm curious how big it was and what the inside looked like.  I'm not a huge fan of the store ones of white satin and/or covered in pearls and beads.  Yours is so unique!

  • MrsL-GMrsL-G Posts: 86 New bride

    Hi Kitty

    I bought the frame from www.supply4bag.com

    They come in different sizes. It's basically an empty box. 

    The fabric came from ebay. I searched for something like poppy print fabric.

    Hope that helps! 

  • MrsL-GMrsL-G Posts: 86 New bride

    Budget

    So we'd originally set ourselves a budget of £15k which was to pay for everything on the day excluding our clothes, accommodation and transportation (my parents kindly paid for the canapés, my dress and some of my accessories). Despite adding on the two flower balls and fireworks towards the end of the planning which was an additional £1k, we were roughly on budget. I say roughly as I may have made the odd mistake and I forgot to include the cost of the postage for our Save the Dates and invitations. We had a little over 90 people in total and everyone was invited for the day. Here’s a breakdown:

    Barn Venue hire in Oxfordshire in November - £3,800

    Food and Drink - £5,034

    Food and Drink for photographers and band - £85

    80 Cupcakes - £180

    Save the Dates and Invitations - £366

    Insurance - £101.5

    Banns at local church - £41

    Church for Ceremony (fees, banns, certificate, heating, organist, verger) - £576

    Photographer (half day) - £700

    Florist - £1,644.85

    Fireworks - £500

    Band - £1,100

    Decorations, Quiz and Prize - £355

    Card box and bunting – £12.74

    Guestbook - £80

    Seating plan - £19

    Favours x 100 - £194

    Goodie bags, activity books, etc. - £50

     

  • MrsL-GMrsL-G Posts: 86 New bride

    Decorations borrowed from the venue - £40

    Venue packing up decorations after reception - £50

     

    All in all, £14,929.09. And just in case you're interested, a more detailed breakdown of our flower costs is below:

    Bridal bouquet: £100

    Buttonholes: £6 x 9

    Jam jars with flowers: £20.50 x 7

    Wreath centre pieces: £65 x 11

    Flower balls: £250 x 2

    Delivery to 2 locations and set up: £130

    Hopefully people find that useful!

  • MrsL-GMrsL-G Posts: 86 New bride

    Guestbook

    We decided to have a beautiful wooden box engraved with Mr and Mrs LG and our wedding date as our guestbook with large wooden hearts for our guests to leave us messages. Unfortunately we didn't anticipate the following:

    1) People leaving messages and not signing their names

    2) People using multiple hearts so there ended up not being enough for others (one little girl, bless her, used 8)

    3) People not leaving messages because there were no completely blank hearts left

    4) One of G’s friends thinking it would be appropriate to drawing penises on multiple hearts.

    Everyone’s different and I’m sure G’s friend was only trying to be funny but I found his drawings inappropriate, offensive and upsetting.

  • MrsL-GMrsL-G Posts: 86 New bride

    REVIEWS

    Venue: Lains Barn – 3 out of 5

    The venue is lovely and my contacts there responded within a reasonable time frame to my queries and made sure they had all the information they needed from me in the run up to our day. I haven’t given them full marks because:

    1) the sandwiches they served in the evening had very little filling. I noticed, my mother noticed and I’m sure my guests did as well. Most of them weren’t eaten and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was because they tasted mainly of bread. For £6 plus VAT per head, I expect better.

    2) I paid them £50 to pack away my decorations after the reception and left them instructions of what we wanted to keep. Each vase had sand and a heavy candle in it. As the glass is quite thin, I asked them to bin the sand and put the candles in a separate box (I didn’t want the vases getting damaged on our way home or sand to end up all over my father’s car). When we went there the next day to collect everything, we found out that they hadn’t bothered so we had to do it ourselves. This was after my parents left the staff a generous £100 tip.

    3) We had some left over wedding favours with the decorations and I placed them in a box with garden string and scissors. I asked for the favours to be packed up with our decorations but when we got home, I realised they were missing, though the string and scissors had been returned. In hindsight, I should have contacted the barn immediately because they may have had an explanation but at that point I was too upset.

     

    Fireworks: Total Pyro – 5 out of 5

    My husband was the one in contact with them but they kindly charged us the previous year’s lower fee, saving us £50 as we were happy for them to use their leftover stock for the display. I’m not really sure how that’s a negative thing as the display was brilliant and everyone enjoyed it. I would definitely recommend them.

     

    Flowers: Croppers in Bloom – 5 out of 5

    My budget for flowers was actually £1200 but I later blew it by adding two flower balls.  We spent over £1600 on our flowers which is a lot of money but it was so worth it as they made the venue look so lovely. Throughout the planning process, Helen was very patient and helpful with ideas and suggestions. I loved all the flowers she worked so hard on but my bouquet most of all. Her shop is based in Theale and I would definitely recommend her!

     

    Photographers: Sam and Steve Photography – 5 out of 5

    I cannot praise Sam and Steve Vaughan highly enough and strongly recommend them. When I started looking for a photographer, I already knew I didn't want to spend a lot of money because I didn't want lots of photos (I hate having photos taken of me). Their style is wedding documentary so few posed shots and they were happy to give me half of their usual package for half of the full price. We agreed that they'd take photos until the end of the speeches (by 4.45pm) and though I'm not sure what time they left, it definitely was after 8pm.

    Throughout the day, Sam was part photographer and part bridesmaid. She helped me carry my train, put my veil back in, covered me with Steve's jacket between shots, etc. Basically both went above and beyond and I'm so very glad that they were our photographers! We have some wonderful shots of ourselves and our guests enjoying themselves and we can’t wait to share them with our friends and family.

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