Now here is a couple after my own heart. Their wedding day had so many similarities and an ethos close to my own wedding celebrations, so of course I loved it in an instant.
Georgina and James (aka. Team Butson) were hitched on the 6th January 2018 at Southampton City Art Gallery followed by a reception at Hanger Farm Arts Centre in the New Forest. Their day was a riot of rainbow colours, confetti and fun times, all captured wonderfully by Nicola Streader Photography (thanks Nicola!). What I love about their planning process and actual wedding day is their vision to not conform to tradition or rules. They woke up together in the morning, walked down the aisle side by side, decided against having a cake and created a new surname for themselves. So awesome!
You won’t believe it when I tell you their wedding was all planned on a £6,000 budget either. I mean everything was just so rad. From the multicoloured décor, to the food and drink options and the cool outfits. I also have to mention just how lovely their joint wedding report is, so worth a read. Enjoy it all folks.
THE PROPOSAL | James: We got engaged on our four year anniversary; the 7th January 2017. I took George to The Pig near Bath for a weekend away and proposed to her in a muddy field, next to a kissing gate.
As we walked across the field, towards a kissing gate, George gasped. A deer leaped over the fence on our left and ran directly across our path, followed by three more of its friends.
George, rather sarcastically, said ‘four deer for four years – it’s a sign!’ and we continued on toward the kissing gate. That’s when I knew it was time to do it.
I do this thing when we go through kissing gates. I go through first and close it in-front of her, and say ‘can’t come through unless you’ve paid the toll’; and make her give me a kiss. She sighs and rolls her eyes, but I know she loves it. Or loves to hate it.
I went through before her, closed the gate and waited for her to look up and notice me. Before she could say anything I blurted out ‘this isn’t a kissing gate, it’s an enGATEment gate’; not my best work, but she got it.
George: Our relationship is built on idiocy, of course I got it. I don’t remember the next five minutes though, I think I went into shock. The first thing I remember saying is ‘did I say yes?’
THE VISION | George: We didn’t really have a ‘vision’. We always said we were lucky because neither of us had ever dreamed of our wedding day, so we didn’t have any lofty ideas to live up to. The only thing we knew was what we didn’t want.
James: The only thing I remember us saying was that we didn’t want to be engaged for longer than a year, we didn’t want to spend much over five grand, and we wanted to pay for it all ourselves.
THE PLANNING PROCESS | James: We didn’t really have a process; we just did things on the fly.
George: We very quickly sorted our venues, photographer, and food choices (pizza van, slush puppie machine, candy floss maker, and popcorn machine).
After that we went back to normal life; we went to Eurovision, travelled South East Asia for a month, and pushed the wedding to the back of our minds. We knew it would happen at some point, but to be honest the majority of planning happened the month before the wedding.
BUDGET | £6,000
THE VENUE | George: We knew we wanted to get married in Southampton. It’s where we first met, where we first moved in together, where we bought our first house, and where we still live. We chose to have the ceremony in Southampton City Art Gallery; neither of us wanted a church wedding but we wanted to make sure the venue was unique, and reflected us as a couple.
James: After the ceremony we ferried our guests to Hanger Farm Arts Centre in Totton. We fell in love with it the first time we visited; it was effectively a beautiful blank space. We knew we could make it our own.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | Self-portrait Azaelea dress.
Boden cropped cashmere cardigan.
Dune Bunnie Scalloped heels.
FINDING THE DRESS | George: I wasn’t hugely bothered about what I wore. All I knew was that I wanted to be able to wear it again. I break out in hives at the idea of buying something to only wear it once.
My dress was the only dress I’d seen and genuinely thought I’d wear again. But I like to try before I buy, so me, my Mum and my sister took a trip to Selfridges London, on the vague hope that they would have it in store.
They did. I tried it. IT HAD POCKETS! Of course I bought it. Well, my Mum bought it. She insisted.
GROOM’S ATTIRE | James: Like George, I wanted a suit I would wear again in the future. We went shopping together and bought a suit on sale that happened to be in my size. I’m not the best at buying clothes, so I trusted her opinion more than anyone.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | James: We walked into the ceremony together to Eurovision winning song, Euphoria, played on the cello. Our cellist was great, she didn’t bat an eyelid when we asked her to learn both Euphoria, and Katrina and the Waves ‘Love Shine a Light’ for the signing of the register!
George: We did something different with our readings.
James: We surprised each other. We each picked a reading, but kept it secret from the other. The first time we heard each other’s reading was during the ceremony.
There’s an amazing picture of George bursting with laughter when she realises one of my Groomsmen is reading the lyrics to Luther Vandross’ Never Too Much.
George: I chose Eurovision queen Loreen for my reading. ‘Euphoria’ reminds me of standing next to James at our first Eurovision, singing the words along with hundreds of other Eurovision fans, and feeling like I’d found my home; and being so thankful that James was the one to take me there.
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | George: I didn’t have any bridesmaids; I simply had my little sister, my twin soul, my forever friend, as my Maid of Honour.
I also asked my little brother to be my Man of Honour, and give a speech at the reception. Which he did, wearing a rave whistle, glow sticks, and my bridal hairband and veil.
THE FLOWERS | George: We did the flowers ourselves. We went to a flower wholesaler and showed them some pictures of simple, easy DIY flower bouquets. They were really helpful in telling us which flowers were in the photos we’d found (two types of eucalyptus, and white ranunculus), how many we could get for our budget, and how well they’d last. We ordered around seventy five pounds worth of flowers, which was A LOT. Way too much, in fact.
The day before the wedding we picked them up and set up a flower workshop in our kitchen. There was no plan; we simply cut them and shoved them into vases until they looked vaguely ok.
James: We’d been hoarding glass vases for a few months!
George: I also made my own bouquet pretty haphazardly, and two mini bouquets for my Maid of Honour and James’ sister, Becky, his Best Woman. On the morning of the wedding I made 10 buttonholes for James’ groomsmen and the men in our families; most of them lasted the entire day!
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | George: Nicola’s details were passed on to me by a friend of mine who is getting married later this year. As soon as we saw her photos we knew she was the photographer we were looking for, and she would capture our day perfectly.
She made us feel instantly comfortable when we met her for an engagement shoot; something we’d never intended to have but was offered by Nicola as an extra, to help us all get to know each other.
James: She understood that we weren’t a ‘wedding’ couple; we didn’t want any of the usual faff.
George: I chose to forego ‘bridal prep’ photos (being brutally honest, I was never going to hang a picture of myself having my make-up done up on my wall) in favour of Nicola staying later into the evening to catch some of the dancing. I’m so glad we did, the dance floor photos are my favourite. They capture us in our natural habitat!
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | James: We never settled on a wedding colour so décor was easy. George did everything in the week leading up to the wedding and used all the colours she could find.
George: I’m incredibly proud of my DIY chalkboard sign; I truly believe it’s my greatest accomplishment.
James: Two of our best friends, Nell and Bruce, helped us set everything up (despite the fact that they were moving to New Zealand 3 days after the wedding). We rocked up to the venue the night before the wedding to meet Crocks, who were supplying tables, chairs, and table lined, and George instructed us on where she wanted things.
George: My older sister made party bags for all our guests as a wedding gift to us. She put so much effort into them. Each bag had a rave whistle, glow sticks, and personalised party poppers.
I’d also ordered LED flower crowns, glow stick glasses, glittery crowns, and glowing bunny ears, and scattered them around the room. We were aiming for a ravey-disco-village-fete vibe.
THE HONEYMOON | George: We spent 3 days at The White Hart at Somerton. It was gorgeous; we had a huge claw foot bath tub in the bedroom so I could sit in the bath, drinking prosecco, watching TV.
James: Our ‘official’honeymoon is at the end of March. We’re headed to Japan for 2 weeks to tour Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | James: We didn’t do a ‘big reveal’, George didn’t walk down the aisle toward me. We met beforehand to sit with the registrars, and walked down the aisle together. I did arrive at the venue before George though.
My groomsmen and a few of George’s friends were with me, rushing around, handing out buttonholes, and finding a chair for the cellist. At this point I hadn’t seen George for a few hours, and I was starting to get nervous. I suddenly felt like I was waiting.
Then someone casually said ‘here she is’ and I looked up and saw George looking back at me – I think she was looking for me too. It felt like we both just needed to know the other person was there.
George: I remember this. I was searching everywhere for him and when I found him we just stood and smiled at each other from opposite ends of the room while other people carried on around us, like Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant in the press conference scene at the end of Notting Hill.
James: I think our guests would say we had multiple memorable moments; from making our ‘grand entrance’ to DMX ‘X Gon’ Give it Ya’, to both wearing LED light up trainers on the dance floor all night, and of course, our ‘last dance’ of the night to Katrina and The Waves, ‘Love Shine a Light’.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | George: There’s nothing that you have to do. Don’t let people make you feel like you have to do things because they are ‘traditional’.
James: We had a lot of pushback from people who told us we ‘had’ to do things because they were ‘tradition’ but they didn’t feel like us.
George: We stayed in our own house the night before the wedding, together, and we woke up together. We didn’t have a cake; James is lactose intolerant and I’m not a huge cake fan. James walked me down the aisle because I knew I wouldn’t be able to physically get down the aisle if he wasn’t by my side. We both changed our name; Georgina Dawson and James Butler are now the Butson’s.
We did things our own way regardless of what people told us we should do.
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Photography | Nicola Streader Photography
Ceremony | Southampton City Art Gallery
Venue | Hanger Farm Arts Centre
Flowers | Dutch Masters Ltd
Make up | Eye Candy Hair and Makeup
DJ | Patrick Kelly – Accolade DJs
Caterer | Guy Young – Truly Scrumptious
Popcorn, Slushies, Candy Floss | Zak’s Parties and Events
Tables, Chairs, Linen | Crocks Catering Equipment Hire
Wow wee! Huge thanks to Team Butson for sharing their incredible wedding celebrations with us, such joy xo Lou