I'm so glad we had vegetarian food. Being veggie, it was important to us. I'm also glad though, that we carefully considered whether the food would be enjoyed by our guests. Food and drink are a big part of the day for guests - we made sure there was lots of it, it was high quality, and that there would be something for everyone. Food was one of our biggest spends, and we definitely think it was the right decision!
Entertainment & music
This was something we spent quite a lot on. We knew we wanted a Beatles band very early on - they went with our tea & cake filled, very English, fun but traditional wedding, everyone has heard of them, and the main reason - we listened to their album on the drive down to Brighton when we got engaged.
The later part of our reception involved everyone being on the dance floor - one of L's favourite memories from the wedding is stepping back and seeing everyone dancing, laughing and having fun on the dance floor.
We had a string quartet play during our ceremony, something that was important to L. Our brides entrance track was a piece of classical music that L heard long before we met, and decided if she ever met someone she wanted to marry, that would be what she walked down the aisle to. The music is also now a popular choice for wedding music, so it went well. We also chose a song that means a lot to Lauren's dad, which was played during the signing of the register. We're glad we didn't choose a modern song that could go out of date, or something that sounded good but meant nothing to us.
During our wedding breakfast we wanted music playing in the background, and this was a playlist that we had compiled ourselves. The music was songs that meant so much to us - songs from mix cd's we made each other as teenagers etc, the songs were the story of our relationship, and reduce us to tears often! It's also the music we want playing at the birth of our children, so we weren't sure at first about sharing this with a room of people. Also, we both have quite diverse taste - a few of the songs were by artists no one would have heard of, especially some of the more 'bohemian' tracks, and we did wonder if people would think 'what on earth is this?!' Luckily if they did think that, they didn't say!
We wanted our wedding day to be incredibly relaxed, yet still quite a traditional wedding day. By creating an order of the day it became clear to us that there would be times when there wasn't really anything 'happening', and wondered for a while if we should plan things to fill the gaps. The first 'gap' was following the wedding ceremony, and before the breakfast. Champagne and canapes were served outside on the terrace, and it was the first opportunity for guests to meet people they didn't already know, and chat to others they hadn't seen in a while. This was also when the vast majority of photos were taken, both group shots and our individual ones.
Later on in the day we had another period of time, after the speeches and until the arrival of the evening guests, were tea and coffee was served outside on the terrace. During this time we also made it clear to people that if they wanted to take a break from things, and walk round the grounds or re-apply make up etc, they were more than welcome. We found that most people really enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere, with our music playing, tea and coffee, the sun shining, and a chance to sit back and enjoy the day, so we are glad in retrospect that we didn't feel the need to plug the gaps with 'entertainment', as it certainly would have altered the feel of the day.
Photography was the area that probably took us the third largest part of our budget. We get our professional album soon and can't wait as we have seen how beautiful the pictures are! Our photogrpaher takes beautiful, genuine photographs - we had seen a lot that create trendy 'pinterest aimed' pictures which we hated. We wanted memories not a photo shoot! The photos are a lasting memory, so we wanted an actual physical album. Although for volume of information, we like having this blog, books/albums are still our favourite way of preserving memories. We still look through scrapbooks we made years ago - airline tickets from our first trip together, a card included from the first flowers L sent me, our first valentines and Christmas cards from each other, letters we sent when we lived apart etc. We had a photo book of our honeymoon pictures made, and of course our wedding album, and this is how we want our memories preserved - not on Instagram or Twitter, but in beautiful books we can look through cuddled up with a cup of tea.
It was important to us to have a small, intimate day, and I am glad we stuck to the 30 people we had originally wanted for our wedding ceremony and breakfast. Although this list went up and down throughout the planning process, we really believe that those who were there on the day were definitely the right people, in character and in number. We would never have wanted a huge wedding as we aren't very show-off type people, and wanted to share our day with a few people who mean the world to us, as opposed to a lot of people we don't know very well. The evening guests comprised of an extra 50, and this was great as it meant those people we work with / have known for a long time, but that we couldn't accommodate for our daytime, could still be a part of our day. One thing someone said to us but we didn't really understand until the time was how little you see each other at the evening reception!
Planning & shopping
We started shopping early! As we had decided our colours not long after we got engaged, if we saw a bargain, we could grab it. There is the risk of buying things too hastily, such as me buying eight 2ft tall glass vases for our tables from eBay, then discovering our florist provided them for free! The only things that changed as our planning progressed is that some things were changed from pink to grey, as otherwise we would have had far too much pink! In the end the pink and the grey were perfectly balanced, so I'm glad we made the choices that we did. Some things were a split second decision, like L deciding her dream wedding shoes were converse (because that is just her!), and she bought and customised them, and then saw some gorgeous heels she HAD to have too, so ended up with not one but three pairs of wedding shoes!! And some decisions took us a long time to think about and mull over, but having two years allowed this.
We also wanted to look like 'us' on our wedding day! We have seen many brides unrecognisable under fake hair, heavy makeup, unnatural tans or drastic weight loss. We ate healthily in the run up to our wedding as obviously everyone wants to look their best in their wedding pictures, but we avoided drastic diets, and as we hate exercise - we did none! Lauren also bought fake tan to use as she is very pale but decided last minute not to use it - we were both glad of this! We did our own makeup as we wanted it to be pretty but natural. We were in all honesty having too much of a good time to worry about our appearance - we didn't reapply makeip or even look in a mirror the whole day!
We also started honeymoon shopping early as there were things we knew we wanted, such as our travel outfits being in our wedding colours, - we bought our wedding colour Havaiana's with personalised studs, pink Converse, and 'Mrs' tops during summer 2012 - a year before!
Not in a bridezilla, egomaniac way, but in the way that it's your wedding day, and it's easy to get caught up in worrying if everyone else is enjoying it! We made sure way before the wedding that the day would run effectively, enough food was provided, and that drink would be provided during the daytime. We got stressed early on about people being very blase about attending our wedding, with some people texting us a few days before to say they were now busy, my bridesmaids not being overly involved etc, but the thing we remembered in the end was its our day, and we had the best day ever. The harsh truth is people won't be as excited as you, they will forget to get back to you about things, and your wedding might not be their priority - sometimes constant excitement over the little things is best kept between you and your fiance(e) ! But on the day it's different, enjoy people's excitement, enjoy your own, enjoy every minute! We have said so much through our blog posts, 'we want this wedding to reflect us', and it really did. From the plentiful tea and cake, the music we chose, L having converse on her feet while I had expensive heels I'd always wanted, the pink and grey wedding colours which are our favourite colours, and all of the things we made along the way, so that they would be 'ours'.
Our wedding day really was all about our love, it didn't reflect anything but us and our loves for each other, and we absolutely would not change a thing.
This will probably be the last of our wedding related posts, as we have been married for two months now we look forward to what this year, and the future brings us. We have absolutely loved writing down each and every detail here, and have loved the comments / emails / messages we have received as others have enjoyed reading it all. Our wedding day will always be our greatest ever achievement, because it reflects what we are most proud of in our life, each other. Wherever life takes us, whether we are rich or poor, living in a mansion or a cardboard box, have 7 children or none, and have 1000's of friends or 2, we will always belong to the greatest person who ever lived, and that was all tied up in the most amazing day of our lives. All the planning, all the heartache, being at work 6 nights a week, through all the highs and all the lows, our blog has provided an outlet for our thoughts, feelings and ideas, and I hope that it provides an insight in to just how incredible the 4th of July 2013 was for us, not that words can ever describe it really. Now here's to the future - a year of travelling to lots of places, new jobs for us both, and then hopefully - babies!