There is nothing more I love than hearing about couple’s making choices about their wedding which are individual and important to them. When G and I were married we had a kind of elopement followed by a wedding party a few weeks later. There are no rules and as Dave and Lu say in their wedding day advice “you do you“, quite frankly whatever that may be.
Dave and Lu did there wedding in their own style held in a beautiful bird hide, at a nature reserve; RSPB Leighton Moss in Lancashire on the 26th July 2019. Following a joyful ceremony in the bird hide they had portraits with their photographer, the wonderful Stevie Jay Photography. Aren’t the portraits of them amongst the nature just so gorgeous? I am so thankful to be sharing these images today.
Together with their 11 guests they headed home for their reception of home-made quesadillas, DIY decorations and a weekend of celebrating followed. It all sounded so perfect; laid back, personal and natural. A micro wedding of dreams.
The proposal wasn’t planned at all. We have been together since the end of high school (we actually first met in primary… though Dave doesn’t remember me from then!) We were on our way home from our favourite local coffee place, and just came to a mutual decision that it seemed like a pretty nice idea to throw a bit of a party to celebrate us being a thing for so long. Which was wonderful, because it meant we had the chance to go pick out a ring together too!
The only vision we had was that we didn’t want to be sucked into anything that felt unnecessary. We just wanted a day of all the things/places we really like to share with our family.
The Planning Process
We were fairly haphazard in our planning process. We went through a ‘wedding checklist’ on a wedding planning website and basically decided we didn’t want to bother with a lot of the things on there: florist, DJ, bridesmaids/groomsmen, outside catering. What was left we tackled over the course of a year, managing to decide on some things early on (photographer, venue) and others organised much later (we bought Dave’s outfit about 3 weeks before!)
It was not the most organised planning process, but since we were having a small wedding, it worked for us!
We didn’t track our budget, we just used the rule of ‘if we balk at the price, don’t pay it’. We didn’t end up spending a lot, the two biggest costs were the registrar fees and the photography. Both of those were well worth the money. If we were to do it again, I wouldn’t say there was anything we missed on the day, so I’d take the same approach.
The Readings & Music
We had no readings – we wanted a short, snappy ceremony and just get it done! We did enjoy picking the music though. We walked in to Come and Get your Love – Redbone, signed the register to The Lava Song (from the Disney short), and walked out to Still Into You – Paramore (at which point Dave’s sister was heard saying ‘Of course you picked Paramore’).
RSPB Leighton Moss. We liked the idea of an outdoor summer venue, and Leighton Moss is not only beautiful, but is local to us and a charity. The staff were amazingly friendly and excited for us (they don’t do many weddings a year) and it was such a beautiful place to tie the knot.
We spent about 2 hours at Leighton Moss, having the ceremony and finding some spots for photos, before heading to our house for the reception. Our photographer didn’t come to the reception but kindly followed us to the shore road near our house to take a few more couple photos (which make me think of Wuthering Heights whenever I look at them!).
Since we only had 11 guests we had the reception at home. No professional photos there, just a polaroid camera and camera phones for a few snaps of the cake, ‘Til death do us party’ banner and us huddled around the fire pit in the evening. We self-catered the whole thing, bulk cooking vegetarian chilli, guac, salsa etc for Build Your Own quesadillas in the evening.
Our family’s had travelled up for the weekend, so we continued the celebrations the next day with a wet but worth it walk around the headland at Arnside, an evening of making homemade pizzas, and finally on Sunday a family brunch at our favourite café in Lancaster on Sunday morning who do the most amazing French toast I have ever tasted. (And coincidentally is the place we were coming back from on the day we got engaged).
Your Outfits & Accessories
Lu: I didn’t feel entirely comfortable in the wedding dresses I tried on, so I went for separates (I like long skirts/cullottes + crop top in everyday life, so I thought why not look for something similar for my wedding day?). After a long, long search and various ebay purchases and returns I ended up with:
Skirt: A dreamy champagne tulle skirt from Needle and Thread.
Top: A sheer/lace cropped cape from Coast that I sewed hooks + eyes up the open back of to close it up a little – ebay bargain at £3.90!
Dave: Knew he wanted to look smart but didn’t want anything too formal. We put together an outfit to go with our laid-back vibe, and didn’t even end up wearing the linen jacket we bought!
Tie: I found this – I’m a sucker for plant prints at the moment, and it fitted in well with the venue being so natural!
Trousers: Comfortable and casual(ish) £9 bargain chinos from Primark.
No professionals in for this, just the help in my 2 new sisters in law: Maddie did a cracking job on my hair (which even survived my shaking my head upside down to get rid of sunflower seed confetti) and Immy did a wonderful job on my make-up. I don’t normally wear any so was a bit nervous about looking weird with it on, but I just felt great all day!
For our reception at home I went to Tesco the night before and bought 3 bouquets to lay out on our dining table.
My wedding bouquet was just a handful of Ox-eye daises (my favourite flower) picked from Dave’s mum’s garden and bound with twine the night before.
Groomsmen & Bridesmaids
No bridesmaids/groomsmen, just a general word of advice to our guests to come in smart/casual clothes with no stiletto heels (bird reserves aren’t built for pointy shoes) I think they all picked wonderfully and we looked surprisingly cohesive as a group!
We had three cakes (I love cake) as we knew we wanted something for everyone.
My parents brought my favourite cake up from a café in Shropshire (where Dave and I grew up) Every time I visit home I make an effort to visit just for a piece of the Espresso and Walnut cake.
The second cake was homemade by me – Dave just wanted a Victoria Sponge so that’s what I did!
And my brother brought up a Vegan vanilla and raspberry cake which went down a storm.
It was a great decision to have 3. I ate cake daily for the next 2 weeks.
Stevie Jay – So friendly and laid back. I am so glad we went for a photographer with a natural style. We have so many natural and beautiful photos to remember our day. And my favourite thing is that I feel we just look so happy and not self conscious about having photos taken at all (which I was worried that we would!).
For the reception and following day’s celebrations we had an instax instant camera (which I have hung up in a Pinterest inspired creation at home) and we have a fair number of photos on phones too. We made sure everyone shared their photos on Google Drive after the wedding so we could collect them all while anticipating Stevie’s!
The Details & Décor
The staff at RSPB Leighton Moss dressed the room for us – the ceremony was in a bird hide, so they gave it a hoover, put a table cloth down and fitted some seats with some stretchy chair covers that we bought second hand on ebay for £1.50 each.
After that, the beautiful scenery outside was all the decoration we needed.
For our reception we used our house. I bought some bunting from ebay for the garden, a ‘punny’ banner saying ‘Til death do us party’ for our living room, and a few other fairy lights/decorations to finish it off.
I got flowers from Tesco the evening before the wedding – spur of the moment (and reduced by luck!) but we didn’t want to overdo it at home. After all, we were keeping it casual…
Both my engagement ring and wedding ring came from Wave Jewellery in Kendal, who welcomed us with open arms when we stumbled into their shop in June 2018 saying ‘Can you help us find a ring? I think we just decided to get engaged…’
We spent a long time looking for a wedding ring for Dave, going to many high street jeweller quoting a lot of money for plain bands that all looked the same to us. We ended up with a £40 tungsten ring from Amazon. We ordered two sizes as we weren’t sure about sizing, and it looks great! A lovely darker grey than a lot of the bands we had seen before.
We haven’t had a traditional honeymoon yet – perhaps we will go away somewhere in the near future. Instead, we had two weeks off work together where we made no plans at all and just woke up everyday and decided to go wherever we fancied (which was usually a coffee shop).
We forgot to tell our parents that they were being our witnesses, so that was a nice surprise for them during the ceremony!
Given that we got married on a bird reserve we couldn’t have traditional confetti and so we bought sunflower hearts to use instead. The photos came out great but I was still picking sunflower seeds out of my hair that evening!
And finally – I love that I have a stupid grin on my face all the way through the ceremony, and that upon being told ‘I pronounce you husband and wife’ Dave’s response was a cheery little ‘Great!’ with a smile on his face too. Mission accomplished.
Advice For Other Couples
You do you. It doesn’t have to be expensive, and it doesn’t have to be anything you don’t want it to be. (I mean the opposite also applies – if you want to be big and traditional then great!) We loved every minute of it and we weirdly didn’t feel stressed about it at all. We were just happy to be making it official and eating lots or quesadillas and cake.
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Wow, so so special. Didn’t they both look just so amazing too?
Dave and Lu, thank you both so much for sharing your wonderful wedding story with us xo Lou