What a fun and love filled wedding we have for you today. WWW readers Laura and Sue tied the knot on 4th June 2016 at Brighton Town Hall followed by a whale of a time at their reception at Fabrica. The whole day sounds like a riot and I certainly had a few chuckles reading Sue and Laura’s account of the wedding, and in particular the proposal!
The pair didn’t opt for a set colour scheme so their day was filled with lots of different tones set off by the most beautiful multicolour blooms. I just love a wedding where family and friends are heavily involved and set up is a team effort. This one is a master-class for all you DIY couples and whipping your willing volunteers in to shape.
Laura looked fabulous in her lace tea dress from the White Leaf Boutique and Sue opted for a gorgeous Grecian number from Ocean Bridal Studio, after two very different shopping experiences. The best women and flower girls wore complementary dresses from Monsoon.
Thanks ever so much Jacqui McSweeney for the wonderful images of Laura and Sue’s special day.
THE PROPOSAL | It was our 2 year anniversary and Sue (being the ever romantic type) had booked a surprise night away to celebrate. Being a BIG fan of the classic detective tv shows (Murder She Wrote and Columbo), Laura had a small inclination as to where they were going and possibly what was going to happen based on a few things that Sue had said over the months of planning.
Further detective work was carried out on route and Laura’s suspicions were validated when they arrived at The Crazy Bear Hotel – AMAZING!! After lots of bubbles (drinking and Jacuzzi), Sue gave Laura a book filled with photos of Sue in different poses around their hometown of Hove with a large piece of card presenting photos of all the fun times that they have had together as a couple.
The last page of the book set up the perfect moment where a beautiful ring was presented in a little wooden box…
SHE SAID YES!!!
Needless to say, there were a few (thousand) tears of joy! Floating on cloud nine, they went for a 7 course dinner at the hotel, where Sue proceeded to fall asleep at the dinner table, seems that organising a proposal is exhausting work.. bless.
Laura woke up at 4am over excited and ready to plan, by 4:05am the first Pinterest board was created.
THE VISION | We knew we wanted a really fun party with all of our closest friends and family and we wanted it to be in Brighton, apart from that we didn’t really have a vision. This was a struggle at the beginning as it made it harder to know where to start, but then once we found our venue, everything just fell into place.
Hessian soon became a theme which we used in various forms (thanks to Sue’s Mum) to decorate the tables. The venue lent itself to have 3 long banquet tables which we loved! And the venue being an old Church, the Altar was the perfect location for our DJ. Our DJ Mitch was recommended as someone ‘who will bring the party’ and he certainly did this.
We wanted lots of colourful flowers as didn’t really have a “colour theme”, simple decoration, great music and lots of drinks.
THE PLANNING PROCESS | This is where Laura came into her own what with her love of spreadsheets and organising.
Our first hiccup was how many guests to invite – I am sure everyone who has planned a wedding will agree with this. Both of us started off wanting to invite everyone (165 people), then quickly you realise there are a few problems with this 1) affordability 2) venues which can hold the numbers you have in mind and 3) affordability (again!). After a LOT of conversations and versions of the final list, we finally had our guest list of 120 people.
We booked the big things early on (venue, ceremony, caterers, DJ, photographer) which meant we could enjoy planning the smaller details like how to decorate the venue. The event planner for our venue (Stacey) was also really helpful in providing us with a list of vendors he had worked with before and liked, we were keen to use local, recommended vendors (who were nice!), so we worked through his list as a starting point – it was important to us that we worked with vendors who made the planning enjoyable and not stressful and that is 100% what we got.
BUDGET | We started off with a budget of £15k which we learnt quite quickly was a little bit unrealistic for the day we wanted, it crept up to £19k which we were quite happy with in the end based on the quality of our day. We did try and save money where we could by making things, but this wasn’t always possible.
THE VENUE | We fell in love with our venue Fabrica (which is an old refurbished Church used as an Art Gallery and events venue), we didn’t need to decorate too much as it was so beautiful, we just added lots of twinkling lights to accentuate the features.
The venue came totally empty, so we had to hire everything (tables/chairs/crockery/cutlery/glassware) this felt like an overwhelming task initially, however the hire company Stacey recommended were brilliant and even reminded us what we needed to hire, it also meant we had everything exactly how we wanted it (table layouts, chair design etc).
Our wedding day was on a Saturday, however we had access to the venue hire from the Friday so we could set everything up. We were so lucky as so many of our friends and family came to help us which was invaluable, we had 5hrs which flew by, but we got it all done and it looked AMAZING!
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | The fact we are both girls meant that we were asked (a lot) if both of us were going to wear dresses, the answer being HELL YES! Why have one when you can have two!!
We also wanted the other persons dress to be a surprise – this was quite nerve wracking as although we have different styles and weren’t concerned (too much) with choosing the same dress, we also wanted our dresses to complement each other in design and colour. We stressed a little about this at the beginning, but then just went with it, neither of us wanted to influence the others decision on what to wear so we hoped for the best and everything turned out just right.
Laura’s Dress – Lace Tea Dress, White Leaf Boutique, Brighton
Accessories – Vintage Style Encrusted Silver Diamante Crystal Gem Pearl Hair Comb, Etsy
Shoes – Debut Debenhams & Accessorize sandals for the evening dancing
Sue’s Dress – Grecian design, Ocean Bridal Studio, Hove
Accessories – Clara Crystal and Pearl headband, Anusha (NotontheHighStreet.com)
Shoes – Julie – Satin two piece court shoe, Rainbow Club
FINDING THE DRESS | We went wedding dress shopping separately, Sue with her mum and two friends and Laura with her mum, sister and friend.
Sue visited 4 shops in the one day and knew as soon as she put on her dress that it was the one. Sue was open minded with no preference to design or style, so tried everything on…. Everything!
Laura knew what she didn’t want, that was lots of lace and bling… and sure enough walked out with a lacy dress and added a bling’y belt. Just goes to show you need to try everything on to find the right one! Sue had the right idea!
THE READINGS & MUSIC | Reading during ceremony: Proud – by Louise Wilson
Song as guests enter the room: Grow Old With Me – Tom Odell
Song as couple enter the room: She -Elvis Costello
Song during the signing of the register or schedule: Murder She Wrote theme tune & instrumental (generated a few laughs from our guests!)
Song on leaving: Hold My Hand – Jess Glynne
First dance: Glitter Ball, Sigma ft Ella Henderson (not your traditional first dance song, but we loved the words and wanted something upbeat that our guests could join in and dance to during the chorus, also something to get the party – and it worked!)
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | We decided to do this a little differently, we are both very fortunate to have lots of fantastic friends and we really struggled on who we wanted to include in our day. Basically we wanted everyone…. Which is kinda what we ended up doing. We had three Best Women, 13 G’Ushers (girl ushers – tee hee), four flower girls and a page boy.
The Best Women (Sue’s best friends Lianne and Jez and Laura’s best friend Nikki) and flower girls (Laura’s nieces Leah, Abbie, Isabella and Keira) wore beautiful dresses from Monsoon, and the page boy (Laura’s nephew Edward) wore a gorgeous little suit from Debenhams. Although the Best Women dresses and the flower girl dresses didn’t match, they complimented each other perfectly in colour and style – what a fluke!
Our Best Women did speeches and totally blew us away with their wit, hilarious stories and kind words. Let’s just say a little too much was shared with the family that day!
The G’Ushers each had a boutonnière and lots of jobs! Haha. We can honestly say the day went so smoothly because of them. Between them, they ushered our guests in and out of venues, played the music during the ceremony, delivered a Reading beautifully, gathered people for photos and drank most of the wine ;) We couldn’t ask for better friends.
THE FLOWERS | This is where we struck gold. Laura’s good friend’s husband (Danny) is a Buyer for a Florist. He was totally brilliant, he took our vague description of what we wanted along with a few pics we’d found on Pinterest and turned it into the most amazing collection of bouquets and flower arrangements for us to decorate our venue with (MASSIVE shout out to Sue’s Grandpa, late Grandma and Uncle Malc for arranging and decorating the venue with them).
Our venue was bursting with flowers of all colours which was exactly what we wanted and we couldn’t take our eyes of our bouquets, they were so beautiful!
THE CAKE | Instead of having ‘a’ cake, we decided on having lots of cakes – I mean why should you have to choose! We found Mr Bake at a wedding fair, after tasting a selection of his cakes/tray bakes, we booked him immediately. He had a huge selection of choice which made it really hard to narrow it down, in the end we decided on:
Lemon & poppy seed
Peanut butter swirl
Better than snickers
The fruity crumble
Decorated with Blueberries, raspberries and strawberries
We also ordered a rainbow layered cake and Cloud 9 (in Brighton), this was the cake that unfortunately ended up on the floor… Oops!
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | It would be the biggest understatement to say that Jacqui was just the photographer at our wedding! She did a magnificent job at capturing us and our guests in the photographs (we have honestly never looked so cool!) but she also practically ran the day for us! As the best day of our lives unravelled, Jacqui was there to manage where we needed to be and exactly what that situation needed to look like – whether it was arranging 120 people for the perfect group shot or capturing the moment where myself and Laura saw each other in our dresses for the first time (so many tears). We both trusted Jacqui completely and the photos couldn’t be better – we absolutely LOVE them!
I never thought that I would enjoy getting our photos taken so much but it actually became one of the highlights of our wedding day! We were taken around the coolest places in Brighton and were given such a warm reception – many of the photos were accompanied by cheers from tourists on the beach! Jacqui would often stop us mid-walk if she saw something that would make an awesome picture – this is exactly what we wanted!
It’s quite tricky to put into words how grateful we both are for having Jacqui with us on our day – she became so entwined with our friends and family that we were truly sad when it was time for her to leave. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Jacqui for any friend’s wedding – I honestly can’t think of a reason why anyone would want to use anyone else! She’s passionate, professional, hilarious and just take a look at the photos to see how talented she is!
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | A lot of the detail and décor was made by either Laura & Sue or Sue’s mum Angela. We liked that this added a personal touch to the day, as well as involving family during the run up to the day. The venue allowed us free rein to decorate as we pleased (applying common sense where needed), so we wrapped lights around the pillars in the venue which looked fantastic in the evening pictures.
Sue’s mum handmade hessian & lace sleeves for over 40 jam jars (which held our table flowers), hessian & lace place card holders, personalised bunting and hessian table runners.
We wanted to make our guests feel welcome, so we created a collage of large frames which displayed polaroids of everyone.
Laura & Sue made the table planner from an old picture frame, hessian and hand written cards. The tables were named after our favourites gins.
We served 2 cocktails on arrival – Gin & Elderflower and Pimms – which we ensured were nice and strong (just how we like them).
Our caterers served the most delicious canapes (to soak up the strong cocktails), followed by a scrumptious 2 course dinner – the cake table was dessert. The caterers we chose (The Big Fig) are a Brighton based charity who own a cookery school which teaches under privileged people how to cook… really well – gourmet style! It made us happy that our money was funding a charity as well as feeding our lovely guests.
The final touch to the tables was provided by Laura’s mum. Quite a while ago she decided that Laura should start collecting Salt and Pepper shakers and bought her a new pair for Christmas every year…. For 20 years! Yes, that is correct – we have 20 different pairs of all shapes and sizes. It was good to finally put them to good use and created a few laughs on the day.
THE HONEYMOON | We didn’t have a honeymoon, we had a MEGA-moon. We were very fortunate that we were able to take a couple of months of work, so we took advantage of this and packed a rather large bag and headed to South East Asia for 2 months. We didn’t really have a plan (which after all the planning for the wedding was a delight!). We started in Thailand and eventually made our way around Vietnam, Cambodia, Sri Lanka and Singapore.
Highlights included 1 week in a Cambodian Yoga and Meditation retreat, breakfast above the clouds in Ella, Sri Lanka, cruising amongst the beauty of Halong Bay and trekking through the hills and rice paddies in Sapa, Vietnam. We made some truly amazing memories.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | Laura’s Mum setting up a personal picnic of wine and cheese in the middle of the room whilst the rest of us ran around like headless chickens getting the venue decorated and set up on the Friday.
Sue walking down the wrong aisle at the beginning of the ceremony. Due to the unique layout of Brighton Council Chambers, there were 3 potential aisles, we had planned to walk down two different aisles at the same time (which of course there was a drawing to illustrate) and meet our Dad’s at the end to give us away. Sue got so distracted by seeing all her friends, that she walked to far missing the aisle entirely meaning Laura got to the end too early. Sue eventually found her way, but not before lots of laughter
Laura’s Brother in Law Mike was helping himself to a slice of one of the cakes from the cake table, however misjudged his strength and somehow slid the cake off the stand and onto the floor. Sue witnessed this and made a joke to Mike saying how Laura was going to kill him. Mike was mortified and made for a quick exit, eventually being dragged back by us laughing. We will not let him forget this though.
The night ended with the guests dancing behind the DJ stand (Laura’s mum even had a go at DJ’ing) and the DJ shouting ‘one more song’ until he played another. Safe to say we got our wish and our wedding party was bloody awesome!!
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Expect to argue over some of the details, the day is important to both of you and therefore you will have strong opinions on what you want. This is ok. You will get to a compromise and move on.
Arrange for a close friend/family member to be the ‘go to’ person on your wedding day, you don’t want to be bothered with questions from the caterers/DJ/venue organisers unless it’s an emergency. By the time the day is here, you won’t mind if you sit down to eat at if 4:30pm or 5pm, let someone else manage any issues on the day.
Don’t plan things on the day that you don’t think you will enjoy. Every minute becomes precious and the day will fly by. We didn’t “cut the cake” as by the time you have gathered 120 guests, posed, cut the cake, you are taking away half an hour of fun dancing!
Get a videographer as well as a photographer. This was always a maybe for us due to budget, however after watching Laura’s sister’s wedding video, we booked it immediately and we are over the moon with it! The day becomes a happy blur, watching the video brought back so many memories and captured precious moments – we wouldn’t be without it and plan to watch it on every anniversary.
Finally, enjoy yourself – this is your day and you will absolutely have the best time. Surround yourself with the people you love and have fun!
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Photographer | Jacqui McSweeney
Wedding Ceremony | Brighton Town Hall
Wedding Reception | Fabrica
Videographer | Charlotte Dart & Adam Dart Photo & Film
Photo booth | ClickSnicket Photobooth
Caterers | The Big Fig
Table, chairs, crockery and glassware | Hire All
DJ | Mitch Mathews
Ice | Ice Busters
Dress (Laura) | White Leaf Boutique
Dress (Sue) | Ocean Bridal Studio
Thank you Laura and Sue for sharing your gorgeous day with us and the hilarious account! Rachel x