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Whilst in the very early stages of wedding planning, the biggest detail that we struggled to nail down was the date. We came up with idea after idea; ranging from some time in the Spring (so I could have a daffodil bouquet as they’re my favourite flower) through to the late Autumn (so Christmas lights would be up in town for the photos), but nothing really felt right. Eventually, one of us (and it’s something we both secretly want to take the credit for) suggested getting married on the anniversary of our first date.
When Andrew stood up and made his speech on our wedding day it was 4 years down to the minute that we met for the very first time. We’re a product of online dating, as everyone seems to be these days, and he had sneaked under the wire with a message just as I was about to throw in the towel and give up on the whole thing.
You know how they say things like ‘when you know, you just know’? Well, I wouldn’t say that; but it’s fair to say that after we met it dawned on both of us that serious life things could actually be easy and fun, and we wanted to get on and do them together.
Due to the move to Dundee, and our friends and family being spread out all over the country, it took us ages to settle on where to get married. We checked out places in South Wales, and up here Dundee, I even secretly checked out eloping about 1000 times; but we went for Bristol in the end as it’s where we met and there’s an element of it that will always feel like our city, wherever else we might live.
We were set on not having a church wedding as neither of us are religious so there wouldn’t have been any point, and when we saw just how beautiful the Lantern Room in Bristol Registry Office was it felt like fate. I still can’t believe how gorgeous that room is: all high ceilings, warm tones, and even a domed ceiling. The decor in the hallways and stairways is just as stunning: it’s a terrific building, with the perfect wide stone steps outside for confetti shots! To have all that on our small budget felt amazing.
After the ceremony we managed to find a little time to walk through the streets of Bristol. As a big group we all walked past the market, down to the river, and popped into one of the pubs that we went in during our first date; The Old Duke, a Bristol institution. We loved being able to get these shots and have a swift pint in the infamous cobbled courtyard right by the river.
As it was a Bristol wedding, we had to end up on a boat at some point didn’t we? And that’s exactly how we ferried our guests from the post-ceremony riverside drinks up to the reception. We arranged a sweet boat, called the Tower Belle, to pick us up and take us along the river to Beese’s Riverside Bar and Gardens, which is quite literally right on the river about an hours sail outside of the city centre.
The overall vibe that we wanted for the day was laid back and relaxed. We didn’t want people to feel under pressure to be anywhere or do anything, and I didn’t want to be under pressure myself. I think it had the effect of being such a chill day that people could really just enjoy themselves and come and go as they pleased.
From day one we arranged the wedding around my chronic pain and fatigue, and the possibility that I might need to rest or duck out for a bit. Luckily, that didn’t happen; a combination of extreme rest in the days before the wedding and my adrenaline on the day meant I didn’t need to leave early or use my cane.
In between the food and the speeches, we wandered the gardens for some couple shots. We primarily wanted a documentary style of photographs, simply because I’m not keen on staged photos and I didn’t want to lose hours of our already short wedding posing for them. However I’m so pleased we did these in the end, and our photographer Olivier did a wonderful job.
Both mine and Andrew’s outfits were a hodge podge of sale finds, gifts, eBay gems, and things unearthed from the back of the wardrobe. Andrew’s suit was from Slater’s, his shirt, tie, pocket square and shoes were from ebay, and the belt he wore was actually an old one of mine that just happened to match the shoes perfectly.
My dress was from Virgos Lounge who sell through ASOS, my sandals came from the House of Fraser closing down sale the day before the wedding, my earrings are 80’s clip ons from an Etsy seller, and my lipstick is Maybelline (trust me, if you’re in the market for a lipstick that won’t budge, I tried so many long-wear lippies over an 18 month period, and the staying power of the Maybelline Super Stay ones are beyond that of way more expensive brands).
I’m going to go into more depth about the decorations in a later post because, despite not wanting a DIY wedding, I made almost all of them myself. I’ve mentioned before how small our budget was and we really tried our best to make the most of what we had. There wasn’t a theme, we just wanted it to be bright, chill, and colourful. Looking at the pictures now I think we pulled it off.
Our music throughout the different stages of the day was taken care of by a series of playlists which we pulled together, and then spent hours refining, on Spotify. We took requests from our guests via our wedding website and made sure to include them all, which I think was a great idea because there wasn’t one person who didn’t get up to dance at least once. Our ceremony songs took slightly longer to agree on, because we could only have 4, so we wanted to make sure they sat right with both of us. In the end our ceremony set list looked like this:
The assembly music for guests was Nick Cave, then I walked down the aisle to Jens Lekman. Talking Heads saw us through signing the register, and our exit music was Ramones. For a peak at the playlist that got everyone dancing that night, the entire evening playlist can be found here; the opening song is the song we had our first dance to!
The festivities went on until midnight, by which point there was just a core group of diehards left. One disadvantage of a weekday wedding (we got married on a Thursday) is that people do have work the next day. Having said that, other than the weather and me having a little more time to do my make up, there isn’t much either of us would change about the whole thing.
With hindsight, we both had such a wonderful afternoon and evening; but like you hear everyone say, it went by fast. As I mentioned a little earlier, our main concern was that everyone had a good time and felt relaxed, if we could achieve that vibe whist also providing some great grub in cute surroundings then we considered it a success.
There’s so much I haven’t covered, but this post was only meant to be a quick overview and a chance to share some photos, yet it’s turning into a rambling monster. I want to write more specifically about certain aspects too: all the DIY decorations, how we legislated for my illness, doing my own makeup for the wedding in like 10 minutes, my original dress not fitting at the last minute… I have a whole host of things I want to chat to you about so watch this space!
Photography: Olivier Burnside
Ceremony Venue: Lantern Room, Bristol Registry Office
Reception Venue: Beese’s Riverside Bar and Garden
Boat Hire: Bristol Packet
Flowers: Pipley Flowers
Andrew’s Suit: Slater’s
My Dress: Virgo’s Lounge Curve via ASOS (Old Season Stock)
My Hair: Sam at Bath Bridal Hair