Jenny and Lee tied the knot back in the Spring in a humanist ceremony at Glasgow University Union. They wanted their wedding to be super personal with a hint of vintage style and lots of crafting.
I so love the origami paper flowers, the bicycle table plan and DIY favours which sound scrummy. Jenny looked effortlessly beautiful in lace with her hair curled to perfection, while Lee opted for a handsome kilt and herb buttonhole. Delightful.
Thanks to much to the wonderful Maureen Du Preez for sharing her photographs with us today.
The Proposal… We actually met online in 2008. I saw Lee’s picture and it was such a fun and relaxed picture and he just looked very friendly. We chatted for about a week before we met up. Lee is from Kent originally but had moved up to Scotland about 14 years ago. He hadn’t been to Glasgow lots as he had lived in and around Edinburgh since he had moved up. There’s a lovely traditional pub called the Ben Nevis (open fires, traditional music, dogs…) close to where I lived at the time so I suggested meeting there. It was such an easy first date. We chatted until closing time and I remember both of us asking ‘should a first date be this easy?’.
Family plans fell through for Christmas in 2011 so we decided to use the opportunity to go away just the 2 of us. We hired a lovely secluded cottage near the banks of Loch Tay. I had insisted on bringing almost our whole flat to the cottage including the pre decorated Christmas tree to make it feel homely. On Christmas morning we had a walk down to the loch. It had been very wet and windy the day before, so we donned our walking boots and waterproofs and clambered down to the waters edge. I wasn’t expecting the proposal at all, so he took me totally by surprise. Our parents called to wish us happy Christmas just as we were walking back up to the cottage and we were naughty and decided that we wanted to keep the moment to ourselves for a couple of days, so we didn’t tell them or Lee’s family until 2 days later. We didn’t rush into wedding plans immediately after the engagement, but we decided in September to get married the following May, so once that was decided we didn’t have ages to plan. To be honest I wouldn’t do it any other way, we didn’t want to spend years planning the wedding and 6 or 7 months was a perfect amount of time to organise things.
The Vision for the Day… We didn’t have any theme as such but wanted it to be very personal and also to make it as informal as possible so that everyone felt at ease. We quite like the slightly vintage craft feel that’s in at the moment but were careful not to go overboard. We wanted to tie in a lot of elements that meant things to us (such as nature, our interests, the outdoors etc), but just wanted hints of this and not style it too heavily, but have the emphasis on informality.
The Planning Process… If you can convince your partner to take an equal share of the planning then it makes it much easier and also it’s both of your wedding, so it’s much more fun coming up with the ideas together. I was lucky as from the word go, Lee wanted to do the planning together and both during my speech and his, the word Groomzilla was mentioned (for a reason)! Also, don’t forget why you’re doing this in the first place – then all the little things won’t matter as much.
The Venue… Glasgow University Union
The Dress + Accessories… The dress was bought from: www.etsy.com – A designer in China I wanted blue shoes to tie in with the blue underskirt. I don’t tend to wear heels a lot, so it was tricky finding something that I didn’t think I would fall over in! In the end I actually found a pair when I wasn’t really looking – from H&M. They were £15 and I loved the colour, probably a bit brighter blue than I had originally thought but I loved them with the dress, and I also managed to stay upright in them which was the main thing! I found a nice vintage blue hair clip from an Etsy shop (http://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/ClarkandDiversey). It was simple but really pretty and I found some turquoise paper rose hair clips from ebay, so I think in total it all came to about £20. The only other bit of jewellery I wore was the pearls my mum got when she was born – I think it was quite traditional at the time for babies to be given pearls. I loved the fact that it was a personal touch and it sat really nicely with the dress.
Finding the Dress… I didn’t want an expensive dress and from the start knew I wanted a shorter dress. I had gone to a couple of bridal shops and vintage shops but all the dresses were over budget. I had heard of some brides getting their dresses on ebay or other online shops. I saw my dress on Etsy and although the designer was so nice to deal with and very accommodating (I had asked for a light blue underskirt and also for sleeves to be added) unfortunately you get what you pay for with the quality. It wasn’t a disaster though as some friends had recommended a local bridal alteration specialist called Fabricated Alterations. Andrina was great and managed to get my dress to exactly how I had wanted it in the first place. She’s one talented and patient woman! I’m so glad I picked a short dress, it made the ceilidh dancing much easier and it felt fun and informal which was exactly what we were aiming at for the wedding anyway.
Groom’s Attire… Although Lee is English, he wanted to wear a kilt. He bought an ex hire one from a local kilt hire shop. Again to keep with something less formal, he didn’t opt for the traditional jacket, ghillie brogues etc. He found a really nice tweed jacket from Next and some brogues from Frasers and bought a blue tie and pocket square online to match with my shoes and underskirt.
The Readings + Music… We knew we wanted song lyrics for readings. It’s quite difficult to pick as there are so many songs we both like, but even though they may sound sweet songs when you’re listening to them, when you read the lyrics they’re not maybe the most appropriate. In the end we narrowed it down to 4: I Love You Because (Johny Cash), Songbird (Fleetwood Mac – we both really like Fleetwood Mac and both love the song), You’re in my Heart (Rod Stewart) and All I want is You (Barry Louis Polisar). We sent them to both my brother and Lee’s dad and let them choose which one they would like to read. Lee’s dad chose All I Want is You and my brother chose Songbird.
One of our friends, Colin, plays the harp, so we had asked him if he would play at the wedding – it was beautiful and even better that it was played by a friend. One of our friends used to DJ, and offered to make us a play list for the background music and also for some dancing after the ceilidh finished. From the word go we knew we wanted a ceilidh band. Lee’s family were coming up from England and he wanted to show them a good Scottish shindig. We found the Jim Jam Ceilidh Band online and loved their website (they have a funny little cartoon to advertise the band). They were exactly what we were looking for, ceilidh dancing with a folky twist. So many people at the wedding said they were the best ceilidh band they’d heard. There are many things that make a wedding, a good band is definitely one of them. We all danced our socks off!
For our first dance we had Home by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. I still remember the 1st played me it, he said the lyrics reminded him of us. It seemed right to have it as our 1st more upbeat and although we were initially reluctant to not use the original Edward Sharpe version, when the band played it, it was amazing and I’m so glad they played it for us.
The Vows… Being a Humanist wedding, we wrote our own vows. We used Pat Heppell from the Humanist Society Scotland who was amazing at guiding us. We wrote our vows while we were stuck in Glasgow airport for 8 hours in February. We were flying down to Bristol and it was during the bad snow storms that shut the airport.
Although maybe not the most ideal place to write your vows, it gave us loads of time to really think about them! We also included a more light hearted vow each, which we didn’t tell each other until the day. Lee promised to me he would listen more (which sounds a serious one, but it was an in-joke) and I promised Lee that I wouldn’t curb his obsession with ‘collecting’ bikes. It made the vows even more personal and added a bit of humour too.
Beautiful Bridesmaids… I had my 2 nieces as ‘mini maids’ and got their dresses from Monsoon. My brother and his family live in Reading so on a visit to see them, we all went dress shopping and they did a wee fashion show for me and Lee. I wanted them to pick a dress that they loved and told them they could pick whatever they wanted – in the end they both liked the same dress! The bridesmaids dresses for my friends were a bit more tricky – Again I wanted the girls to pick something they would wear again and they didn’t have to match or stick to a colour scheme (since we didn’t have one), but not having a colour to stick to proved more of a challenge. In the end, they managed to find 2 different dresses from Coast that actually tied in with the colours of my nieces dresses, so it all worked out. I bought my nieces their necklaces from a little local jewellers and bracelets for my bridesmaids from Nancy Smillie in Glasgow.
The Flowers… We didn’t actually use a florist. Initially I was going to just pick flowers from my mum and dad’s garden for the bouquets, but my mum was worried they may not last as they don’t stay in Glasgow. I toyed with the idea of not having any at all, but at my hen (a mix of Alien Wars and afternoon tea), one of my bridesmaids had brought origami paper for the girls to make things for me, and some of my friends started making very pretty flowers. It was the perfect idea to use flowers that some of my friends had made at my hen for our bouquets.
The Cake… A very good friend offered to make our cake as a wedding present for us. It was such a generous offer and she did an amazing job. A few of my friends met every week at her house to help make things for both our wedding and another friends, and for weekly feeding of the cake with booze! We also used some of the spare paper flowers as cake toppers.
Your Photographer… Our photographer was Maureen Du Preez photography. We searched for a long time looking for a relaxed photographer that we could have fun with and felt comfortable with. Maureen totally fitted the bill. We had a pre wedding photo shoot which was included in the package, and went to a small beach that we go to quite a lot. It gave us a good chance for us to get to know each other. It also helped as we felt a lot more relaxed getting our photos done on the day. Having the confidence in Maureen took a lot of the stress away as we knew that we would love our photos.
The Details + Decor… Although the Uni has lots of atmosphere and is a lovely venue without any additional touches, we wanted to add a few extra things. Lee (a self confessed Groomzilla), really wanted a couple of trees at the end of the room we were getting married in. We got 2 very realistic fake ones from Country Baskets in Glasgow. My mum is also a very talented crafter, and made lots of bunting (with a little help from her friends at the embroiderers guild). For the table decorations, we used large tin cans filled with sand. Me and my mum made paper flowers out of second hand music scores and we attached them to twigs that me and one of my bridesmaids collected from the park. We also attached leaves (which were made from print outs of aerial maps of the areas where both me and Lee grew up) to the twigs too. We attached the names of each table on a luggage label and attached it to a twig. My other bridesmaid also painstakingly made hundreds of little origami stars out of the second hand music scores too for confetti for the tables which tied in beautifully. My dad also paints and we asked him if he could paint a picture of the union and we got everyone to sign it. We also did an alternative guest book and got people to take photos of themselves holding a piece of A4 paper with a message for us on it.
Our stationery was created by Lee. Lee is a graphic designer and we never considered using anyone else to design our stationery. We did the majority of the wedding planning together and used to go to café’s/pubs to do research, organise, etc. We found quite a lot of inspiration for the stationery on one of these visits and Lee did an amazing job. He also made activity books for the children coming to the wedding (there were 20 children in total), which went down a treat (although one of the activities had said the winner would get a prize – children notice these things, we forgot and had to improvise a prize!). We decided not to have orders of service as we were having a humanist wedding and felt it would be nicer if people could just listen to the ceremony without flicking through an order of service. My mum had sent through an idea for a table plan which we loved. It was a bike with the table plan attached. Lee has lots of bikes, and one of them is a lovely old antique bike (called Hercules). We draped fake ivy on the bike, attached some tin cans to the back and some flowers in a basket on the front, with white ribbon in a V over the basket (well we weren’t having cars so it incorporated the traditional ribbons on cars). We then put the table plan on luggage labels and attached them to the bike. We decided to not have place settings on the table and although everyone was allocated a table, they could sit where they wanted at their table.
Our favours were little jars of chutney. I love making chutney and my mum makes great jams and marmalade, so we bought small jam jars from a wholesale shop online, which kept costs down and I made the chutney and mum the marmalade. It was a fun day to spend with mum and didn’t take too long to do. Both me and Lee travelled up to my parents a few weeks later and put all the labels that Lee had made on them.
The Honeymoon… We’re just back from a road trip in California. We wanted quite an active holiday and to see some amazing things and California definitely has that to offer. With all the planning that’s involved in both planning a wedding and a road trip, we decided to do the honeymoon 5-6 months after the wedding. It’s a great way to do it, that way you can dedicate a lot of time to planning exactly where you want to go…plus, it extends the wedding high for a little longer!
Memorable Moments… There were so many parts of the day that were our favourite, it’s hard to pick. Walking to the park together, the ceremony – it was so personal and I would definitely recommend a Humanist wedding to anyone, but I guess most of all the favourite part was having all our friends and family celebrating with us and having them all there in the one room – when else does that ever happen?!
Advice for Other Couples… We said that we didn’t want a videographer and we didn’t have one. I don’t think we would have liked to have the whole day filmed but there were really special moments that we feel now that would have been nice to capture such as the speeches and the ceremony.
Credit Where Credit is Due…
Venue | Glasgow University Union
Photographer | Maureen Du Preez Photography
Kilt | Macgregor and Macduff
Dress Alterations | Fabricated Alterations
Band | Jim Jam Ceilidh Band
Such a lovely lovely day. I so love how united Jenny and Lee were throughout their wedding planning.
Thanks so much to Jenny and Lee for sharing their beautiful wedding with us today XOXO Lou