hello MR & MRS : Where to begin?
It might seem a little self-indulgent, spending time writing about our Big Day but SO MANY people helped bring it together and make it the amazing celebration it was and after almost two months I’m already starting to forget a lot of what happened. So it feels important to document it and shout about the incredible beans who helped us bring it all to life.
As with everything I tend to share on the blog and social media, this will be like a diary about one of the most fun, love-filled, whirlwind-esque days of my life, when I married my adventure buddy. And, seeing as you lovely lot said you wanted to hear about it too I thought it might inspire and delight some of you as well as helping me relive the magic of the day.
I actually started writing this blog the week after our mini-moon in Colin the Camper and it started to grow so quickly (what can I say, I’m a waffler!) So after some thought and fabulous feedback today on instagram this morning, I decided to chunk it up into 6 sections and share everything as a mini series, which hopefully makes it more engaging to read… and of course will mean plenty of photos.
It took me a year to write about our engagement story (read it here if you want to go right back to the beginning) so it’s probably best this does get delivered in chunks or I may never get around to finishing it!
So, first up in the Big Day series, is a peek in to our planning journey, including a bit about searching for a venue and finding the most amazing, wonderful human bean to help coordinate our day.
WHERE TO BEGIN?
I’ll be the first to admit, the idea of planning a wedding filled me with absolute dread. I always wanted to run off and get married up a mountain or on a beach with our nearest and dearest then just come back for a big party. The Beard, however, is much more traditional and wanted to do it ‘properly’. We both agreed on one thing though… we wanted a HUGE PARTY with lots of food, gin and everyone we loved around us.
We decided that an outdoor, festival-type of thing was best suited for our party and we started to look at venues… well, fields! When I first moved to Cambridge we had been for dinner at a lovely pub in the village next to us and across the road, we saw a tipi on the village green - it looked so beautiful and the party inside sounded fun! Horningsea Village is also VERY pretty. After looking at fields as far out as Surrey and Norfolk we finally remembered what we had seen on our doorstep and got chatting to the owners of the Village Hall and Green - we quickly realised we may have found the perfect location and venue!
This was all back in January 2017 and we hadn’t really decided on a date. I wanted to give ourselves as long as possible to plan (and SAVE £££!) but The Beard didn’t fancy waiting years and suggested Spring 2018. We checked over dates with Pauline (lovely Pauline!) at Horningsea Pavilion and we were limited on choices already. The two weekends either side of my birthday were the most sensible and appealing options available for Spring the following year, so we went for the 19th May… that’s right, we picked the date first! Harry & Meghan obviously thought it was a corker of an idea and followed suit!
Once these two pretty big things were sorted, that’s when I started to get overwhelmed and realise I had no idea what else we were meant to be doing! I’ll admit, we were winging it for the first 6 months of the planning and although we started to get a rough idea of what we needed to do, it wasn’t until I treated myself to the Rock’n’Roll Bride x Veronica Dearly planner that I really felt like I could get my shit together. It is BRILLIANT and anyone getting hitched should invest in one - the suggested timelines and checklists were just what we needed and the super-fun stickers gave me life throughout the whole process!
Overall, The Beard and I split tasks and worked really well together, don’t get me wrong there was a lot of nagging and reminding from me but Will was brilliant. He took control of spreadsheets and budget stuff as well as sorting out things like a Campervan and making candles for our ceremony. We had decided that food and photography were the next most important things for us to nail and it didn’t take us long to book our favourite local food vans and find the perfect photographer (hey Danny 👋🏻) and videographer (hey Mark 👋🏻) to capture our day.
Towards the Summer of 2017 though we suddenly found ourselves left without a tipi and someone to help run the day! Looking back now, I couldn’t be more thankful it happened like that because it meant we got to work with April of Kook Events. I had met April briefly on a ColourWalk in Nottingham earlier that year and although she was based in Yorkshire, I was in love with the work she had done already and thought it was worth seeing if she’d consider working on a Cambridge based wedding. April is BRILLIANT! Not only was she happy to work with us and travel to Cambridge, but from the first chat (and many giggles) we had, I knew we were on the same page and had found the perfect person to help us pull together the missing pieces of our celebration plans.
April offers everything from complete planning of a wedding to coordination on the day or just sourcing suppliers and she tailored her services perfectly for us. In no time we had the perfect tipi, bar, celebrant and band as well as the comfort in knowing someone would be helping us set up, run the day and pack down again the following morning. April was fast becoming my favourite person in the whole wide world (sorry Will!)
Skip forward to Autumn/Winter 2017 and we had sorted….
As soon as we met Pauline and explored the cricket pavilion and grounds in Horningsea, we knew we had found our venue. The fact it was local was important and made it feel special to us. With the cute, light and airy pavilion and it's large grassy green, we knew we had found the best place to 'erect' our party tent (that one's for you, April) and fill the space with all things colourful, fun, food and gin related!
PHOTOGRAPHY & VIDEO
It goes without saying that Daniel Ackerley Photography & Mark Asplin, White in Motion Videographer are a total dream team. After meeting both Danny and Mark in one of our local pubs, we knew we had found the perfect people to help capture our day. When you can share a pint and lots of laughs while sorting out such an important part of your wedding day, you know you’ve struck gold - sorry I nearly ran you over with my bike though Danny!
You'll see throughout this series of blog posts just how talented Danny is and fingers crossed I'll also work out how to share some video with you when we get our paws on footage from Mark too.
Until then you can enjoy a preview on Danny's website here: CAMBRIDGE WEDDING.
Plans for our favourite local food vans, the cake of dreams, late night snacks and a tea bar were well under way too. No more spoilers about that here though, more on all the tasty goodness in another post!
and THANKS TO APRIL, we had also sorted…
The Gin Joint, who came all the way down from Liverpool for us! I had spoken to Carly separately about her stocking some of my Gin pins and earrings so when April had also been chatting to her and they came up with the perfect bar solution for us I couldn’t have been happier!
A BEAUTIFUL TIPI
Working with local businesses was important to us so to be able to work with Cambridge Tent Company was amazing on so many levels. Their staff were a delight to work with (thank you Rob & Gemma!) and they helped us design the layout for the perfect party tent. Their hat tipis are just GORGEOUS and everything that came with ours was perfect, from the benches and tables to fairy lights, giant barrels and the golden disco ball!
When you’re sent a list of bands to review and one of them features Tribute by Tenacious D on their sample set list, you know you’re on to a winner. Not only did The MP3s learn and nail our first dance song (which was a bit of an odd request) but they totally smashed it all night with their sets. More about music to follow in a later post!
From our first meeting, throughout all of our email conversations, to the writing of our ceremony and vows, Michelle Taylor was SO MUCH FUN to work with and created the most perfect, personal and unique ceremony for us. Not to mention also helping us to try and inflate a giant flamingo and fix our fire pits together the evening before our big day - her skills are endless and Michelle’s passion and enthusiasm is contagious!
We needed a celebrant to conduct a ceremony on the day because we had to sort out the legal paperwork separately - you have to get married in a licensed place for it to be legal in England and Horningsea Pavilion is not licensed. We didn’t really know what to expect or what we needed to do but Michelle talked us through the nitty gritty and all the different possibilities for ceremonies, from hand fasting and stone warming ceremonies to jumping the broom and candle lighting. We filled out a questionnaire and told Michelle about our adventures so far and where it all began for us and from that Michelle created the most wonderful ceremony including our own 'love story', readings from 4 of my bestest bitches, lighting candles for loved ones and reading our own vows.
Lots of friends and family came up to us after the wedding to tell us how personal and different the ceremony was and it meant the world to hear - especially as it was a super-hot day, I was late to my own bloody wedding and it was quite a lengthy affair overall. It was magical though and we can’t thank Michelle enough, if anyone is thinking of getting a celebrant for their big day or any other occasion, give this beaut of a human bean a shout! You won’t regret it!
At this point we felt like we had most of the important bits sorted and had also begun dress hunting, organising stationery, menu selecting (my fave!), decor and DIY projects - but I plan to write about all of those in other posts, so you'll have that to look forward to!
This is where I’m gong to end the first section of Big Day waffle! I hope you’ve enjoyed the little insight into the beginnings of our big day and if you’re interested, a new post in the series will land every Wednesday, for the next 6 weeks! (I told you I was a waffler!) In the mean time though, check out the magical beans mentioned in this weeks post and show them some love by following the links below:
THE GIN JOINT
CAMBRIDGE TENT COMPANY
WEDDING PLANNER & STICKERS
The dress, the shoes, the boobies (socks!), hair, make up and how to bring fur babies to your wedding! I'll be sharing what the rest of the beautiful bridal party donned too.