We are ABSOLUTELY DELIGHTED to bring you our lovely feature writer Shelley’s big Brighton day with a £5K budget! You may have already read her post about why her wedding day was the best day ever (and why yours will be too!), but today, we’re delving into all the little details and getting all the goss. Here she is to tell us more…
This is a little bit surreal for me to be writing about my own wedding, after writing about all of our lovely readers’ weddings for years. Before I go into bridal gushing mode, I just wanted to thank all of the brides and grooms who have gone before me and shared their top tips, given their advice and excited me along the way – my wedding has been well and truly inspired by the divine dream days I’ve been fortunate enough to write about. THANK YOU! Now, it’s time to finally reminisce about our wedding which took place on 25th June at Brighton Bandstand! Eep.
Scott and I met on the second day of university (in a car park!) and went on a random hunt for pic ‘n’ mix. Over our mutual love of tea and cake we quickly became best friends and made it Facebook official in our second year.
Fast forward five years’ later to June 2014 and our holiday to Santorini. After a lovely few days of reading, relaxing and eating all the Greek food, we decided to have a day out that saw us visit villages, go wine tasting (Dutch courage, I later found out!) and end the day in Oia – famous for that postcard-perfect Santorini sunset.
A little while before the sun set, Scott kept asking if I needed the loo (my bladder is terrible!), which I found a bit odd. But – no surprise – I did, went, came out chatting about the cat toilet seat and then gushed over a beautiful bride walking past. Still banging on about the cat loo seat, I sat down next to a cute church, overlooking the sea and stunning higgledy- piggledy hillside. Scott was talking to me, but I couldn’t understand what he was saying, so I turned around to find the ring in my face! He said I cried, but I don’t remember. I just remember being in shock and then sitting down on a nail which bruised my bum for weeks! At some point I said yes! We then watched the sun set on a truly magical (and slightly random!) day!
We chose to get married in Sussex because it’s where we’ve decided to call home and we wanted to show it off to friends and family who don’t live nearby. My family (from Dorset and Birmingham) came down the week before and had a little holiday in Brighton – they now all want to move here! – and Scott’s family (hailing from Surrey) also stayed the night before and night of the wedding. It was lovely to have everyone together and just a few doors apart!
Living in Brighton and within skipping distance of the Bandstand (we all walked it on the day!), we knew that it was where we wanted to say I do, long before we got engaged. Finding our reception venue was a little bit more difficult. We would have loved a barn but with having just 30 people at our wedding, it would have looked empty! I also wanted somewhere with outside space, so we knew we had to look outside of Brighton. Our fabulous photographer (Chris Giles)’s wife suggested Iford Village Hall in the tiny village of Iford, a few miles from Lewes. We went, saw it and fell in love. It had everything we wanted!
The rest of our wedding planning and supplier finding just happened, with ease. I’m quite an organised person and I’d say most things were sorted 18 months before the big day! This definitely helped any pre-wedding anxieties, as I knew that I could fully rely on my wedding team. Reading our gorgeous readers weddings each week on Love Sussex Weddings had already influenced my choices too, making it easier to get things done!
Our amazing photographer Chris I’d known for a few years and knew as soon as we set a date that I would book him. The venues were sorted (and registrar booked). My makeup and hair had been organised. We’d seen our caterer had done a gorgeous wedding at the hall similar to our theme online and booked her. I’d even booked the fantastic (and really reasonably priced!) Lemon Bus to get our guests from Brighton Bandstand to Iford Village Hall and back again in the evening! Our helpful DJ and Master of Ceremonies Brian (who was so much more than a DJ!) was also booked at least a year before our wedding too.
The one thing that I wasn’t expecting to buy so early though is my wedding dress. This happened on a Friday lunch break about six weeks after we got engaged! I’d grabbed a quick lunch and just happened to see Coast had a sale on and went in for a mooch, not expecting to come out with a wedding dress! I saw the dress on a sale rack (reduced to less than £200!), tried it on and knew it was the one. I feel like I missed out on the ‘wedding dress experience’ (and so did my mum!), but I really loved the dress and it was an absolute bargain.
I’d describe our wedding theme as vintage-meets-summer-family-get-together. We just wanted a relaxed day with our nearest and dearest; where our gorgeous nieces and cheeky nephew could run around and basically; everyone enjoy eating delicious cake and afternoon tea, drinking fizz and having a dance to our favourite tunes!
I feel this came together with our décor – all of which was done by us! Jam jars were collected and then decorated with twine and fabric tape, we bought all the paper doilies we could possibly find and created bunting that filled the room (this came to approx. £15 for all, but was quite time consuming!) and also raided a net curtain shop instead of buying pricey lace table cloths.
To make the décor more personal, we had Polaroid style photos of our ‘story so far’ printed out and displayed around the room and also used teapots and chintzy items we had at home. Other personal touches included our MC Brian running a quiz and playing the Mr and Mrs game, along with our music choices. I love music and wanted music to work with our theme and also be fun! We opted for My Girl by The Temptations as my entrance song, Little Peggy March’s I Will Follow Him for the signing of the register and You Got A Friend In Me (from Toy Story).
Get organised. Get one notebook and write it all in there! A spreadsheet keeping your budget up-to-date is also so helpful, if like me you were sticking to a budget! Also, remember that you’re both getting married. You don’t have to take everything on and make all the decisions. Scott enjoyed putting his stamp on things and ensuring it was his big day too!
My final tip would be – and so many of the fabulous LSW brides before me say it too – but please, please, please just enjoy it. Don’t stress out on the day, there’s nothing you can do about anything then. As long as you get married, it will be the best day!
Sampling our caterer’s delicious cakes! That was a fantastic day and we didn’t eat for almost a day afterwards; we were so full!
Remembering EVERYTHING. When you do it all yourself it can be overwhelming!
Not panic so much about the weather! I must have refreshed my weather app every five minutes in the two weeks before the wedding. And guess what? It THUNDERED as I was getting ready and our outdoor ceremony was moved inside (to a café!). Did I care? No, I was getting married! And it really made for such an intimate ceremony. It brightened up afterwards for our photos!
Honeymoon Hotspot: We jetted back to Santorini (an awesome honeymoon destination) for our mini-moon after the wedding and we’re so looking forward to our massivemoon to Sri Lanka and The Maldives in January!
Thanks so much to our gorgeous feature writer extraordinaire, Shelley for sharing her top tips and beautiful Brighton wedding day. Such a lovely couple and such a lovely wedding too! In usual Shelley style, she’s really got us giggling with that proposal story! And of course big thanks to Chris Giles for these stunning photos too.
So now that Shelley’s in wedded bliss and post-wedding planning withdrawal, we need you Sussex newlyweds (and wedding photographers) to get sending us your gorgeous Sussex weddings so we can make sure Shelley continues to get her wedding fix! We’re now also accepting weddings from all over the UK and beyond for our forthcoming new big sister website. We’d love to hear from you!