Our wedding day

I thought I’d write a post about the day itself and share some of our photos, giving thoughts/reasoning behind some of the choices we made for our big day!

Let me start with a disclaimer: we had a very modest budget for our wedding, the average wedding in the UK costs £20,000 and our budget was nowhere near this, given that we were both students at the time! I totally lost track of how much we actually spent but it was somewhere in the region of £6-7 thousand. You may be shocked and wonder how we did this, given a “budget wedding” is generally somewhere in the region of £10,000 but I’ll give some tips in this blog! The key word is compromise, it can’t be the most grand wedding on a teeny tiny budget but with a lot of hard work it can be absolutely perfect! In the end, our wedding suited us down to a tee, no fuss, no frills, relaxed and fun atmosphere!

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We decided to have our wedding in a village hall, namely, Earls Colne Village Hall, Essex. Originally I had wanted a rustic barn setting for the wedding, or a whimsical marquee in a big field…. but when those options proved too expensive (marquees start from £3000 shockingly!) we bagged a beautiful, big village hall for only £400. A lot of hotels and manor houses do deals these days, if you have your wedding mid-week or off-season then you can get it a lot cheaper… however with our university timetables we knew it would have to be in the summer, and as we had a lot of people travelling for our wedding we couldn’t really do it mid-week. Besides, those places didn’t really suit our theme.

We spent the whole of the night before setting up the hall – I was so overcome with emotion seeing all my visions and pinterest boards come to life!

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I chose eight bridesmaids for my big day, my two sisters were my maids of honour, I also had Josh’s two sisters, three of my close friends and one of my cousins. They all live in different parts of the country and I don’t really see any of them regularly, so doing dress fittings would have been impossible! I liked the idea of having dresses that were a bit different to one another, but I still liked the idea of being the same colour etc. Being the control freak that I am, I couldn’t bear to let them go off and choose their own, so I didn’t feel I could ask them to pay for their dresses. I found the multiway dresses on Pinterest and fell in love, they retail for around £100 in the UK but when I went on Etsy, I found some which were around £35 each. They came from Hong Kong so I was slightly dubious, I ordered one first and it was perfect so we ordered the rest! Josh’s youngest sister was a little bit too young for the style of dress we chose, so I picked her up a dress from the teen section at New Look, the colour matched perfectly! I asked all the girls to buy their own shoes, I wanted them to wear flats as I was doing so and I’m already quite short, it also added to the relaxed theme. I asked them each to get a silver or gold gatsby style head piece which they all chose beautifully! For their bouquets and the guys’ buttonholes I just bought some cheap gypsophilia from Asda bunched it up and it looked pretty good! I wanted it to look as though they’d picked it off the side of the road and it did! Was so cheap and easy.

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For the best men/ groomsmen I wanted the casual look so we decided they wouldn’t wear suits. They all bought their own grey trousers, shirts and brown brogues and then we bought some braces and a navy bow tie from primark – it was brilliantly cheap and they looked fab.

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My dress was by Justin Alexander, I found it at Bird’s Bridal in Chelmsford. Let me know if you want more info/tips about finding a wedding dress etc. My dress was off the rack, originally a size 16 but it was half price. I am a size 10 so I had to have LOT of fittings, especially as I’m very short! I had the sleeve altered so they’d be off the shoulder and some of the underskirting removed as I didn’t want it to be puffy, I just wanted it to go straight down.

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Josh’s suit was from Jeff Banks, it was a 3 piece, tweed grey suit. He looked so handsome and dapper. He wore a navy tie, white pocket square, brown brogues and a pocket watch which I bought him the week before the wedding.

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Our flowers for the church were provided by the church flower arrangers, they did an absolutely incredible job of following the theme perfectly. The church was particularly special to me as I went there since I was a little girl, and my parents still attend there now. My bouquet and Josh’s buttonhole were provided by The Great British Florist and were made of homegrown wildflowers, I wanted it to look as though I’d just gathered them on the way to the church! They also provided us with buckets of wildflower stems which we put in to jam jars and placed around the reception as I was adamant that I wanted to do them DIY!

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We served Pimms out of jam jars, when people arrived and had a drink station for people to refill during the meal. For the evening a local pub provided us with a bar. We ate fish and chips from a fish and chips van – we were gutted that we didn’t get any pictures of this! We also had an ice cream bike for dessert. The cake was made by a friend and we bought the lego figures to go on top off ebay. We had donuts underneath as they’re our favourite!

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The details were lovingly created by me in the run up to the wedding, I created blackboard signs with the help of my dad, a pick and mix stand, storyboard with baby pictures of me and Josh, stamped every person’s name card one letter at a time, stepladder table plan and so much more. For favours we had jam from the Tiptree Jam Factory and we also had loads of fairy lights, bunting and burlap! It was very time-consuming, doing it all ourselves, we spent hours and hours, but I felt so much joy when I saw everything we had created!

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Our wedding was the best day of our lives, it took so much planning and preparation but it was totally worth all the stress, anxiety and tears in the end. Top tips for budget weddings: call in favours from anyone and everyone you know, shop around, look in the sales, DIY DIY DIY, and have something cheap yet quirky for the meal! I knew God was at the centre of every decision we made and he provided everything we needed and more. If I have one word of advice for people I would say, don’t be afraid to do it your way. Don’t worry about traditions, do what you want! You can never have every idea you ever see on Pinterest but with a bit of hard work you will get the day that’s perfect for you. I have so much more I could say but I think this post has been long enough, if you want to know about anything in more detail let me know.

“Therefore, what God has joined together, let no man separate”  – Mark 10:9

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The most inconvenient time of my life…

In an effort to describe our future nuptials, my mum recently said to me “You and Josh are getting married at the most inconvenient time in your life for all the right reasons.” As I pondered this statement I realised that it was exactly true.This post is not meant to sound pretentious or judgmental to those who decide to take a different path, I believe everyone is free to make their own choices, however I wanted to explain why I have made mine.

Ever since I was a young teenager, I have known that I want to get married. Spending my life with another person and sharing in every season together has always been an exciting prospect for me. As a Christian, I believe that marriage was designed by God, to glorify God. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, they shall become one flesh” Genesis 2:24 – This passage shows that God designed men and women to be in a union together, two becoming one. This doesn’t mean that we can’t be our own person once we are married, or that we don’t have our own mind/disagreements/differences but it means that we make a promise, a covenant, to live out the remainder of our lives as two people on the same path. One life, two people.

Clearly, a big part of marriage is sex. I don’t want people to think that Josh and I are getting married quickly simply because we are desperate to have sex and can’t wait any longer. It’s true, as Christians we believe that sex is to be within a marriage context and that is why when I was around fourteen I made a promise to God that I would not have sex until I am married and also why at the beginning of our relationship, Josh and I decided that we would not have any sexual contact with one another until our wedding night. It feels slightly awkward to talk about this but that is what we decided. It says in the Bible in 1 Corinthians 7:9 “It is better to marry that to burn with lust” and I’m not going to lie and say that this hasn’t been part of the motivation for us getting married, the temptation has been more than we could have anticipated and we are not professing to be in any way perfect. But this is not the main reason behind us getting married, only one strand.

We have spent the last year becoming best friends, falling in love and getting to know each other inside out without needing to get to know each other sexually. I would do anything for Josh and I believe that he would do anything for me. I do not have a doubt in my mind that he is the person that I am meant to spend the rest of my life with and this doesn’t make me feel trapped – actually it feels remarkably freeing! I don’t see us getting married as a ball and chain type scenario, we’re not going to become anti-social, or boring… we want to travel the world and have experiences together and on the way have a tonne of fun. I don’t want to believe what so much of today’s culture tells you; that your fun and exciting life ends with marriage. Marriage is just the start in my eyes!

The most important element of why we have chosen to get married now is because of our love for Jesus. We have said from the beginning that our relationship and future marriage is not just between the two of us, but the three of us. Josh, me and God. Every decision we make, we pray it through, every trial we face, we thank God and ask Him for His help and guidance. We believe that God has brought us together to spend our lives together and that is why we have decided ‘why wait?’. We want to live out our calling from God together starting as soon as we can. It’s that old cliche; ‘When you know, you know’. We know marriage isn’t going to be easy, and we know its not a decision to take lightly but we also know that “If God is for us, who can be against us” Romans 8:31 

So yes, I am getting married at a most inconvenient time. I am still at uni, we have absolutely no money and very little time to plan a wedding.. but we have never been happier in our whole lives. I heard it said once ‘The best place you can be is at the centre of God’s will for your life’ and I thank God that I am in this place.

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“I have found the one whom my soul loves” Song of Solomon 3:4