We always knew that we were never going to have a wedding in a hotel or a grand estate. It just didn’t seem to fit us. I’ve been to weddings before and they’ve been spot-on. Beautiful centre pieces, fabulous food. All in the priceless comfort of knowing that this establishment knows exactly what it’s doing.
Apparently, ‘easy’ doesn’t work for us. Apparently, we want to work for our fun. (I know, I hate how that sounds as well.)
I’m an only child with a small family, and I always wanted a small wedding. Josh is one of 4 siblings, with a huge extended family. We started a general head count, and that’s when we realised we could never have a small wedding. There were too many people we needed to be there.
Enter rule #1 of wedding planning. COMPROMISE.
So we knew what we wanted. A festival wedding (we met at a festival, when I was selling strawberries – hence the nickname ‘Mefus’- strawberry in Welsh), a romantic Glastonbury, on a tiny scale. We knew of a field we could use in West Wales, and started to plan filling it with massive tipis, posh port-a-loos, outdoor games, food trucks… A DIY wedding. It couldn’t be that hard!
I will probably write another blog on the engagement, but one thing I will say is that within a few hours of being engaged, I had a new Pinterest board, creatively named ‘Our wedding’. Immediately we had an idea of the style and atmosphere of the day.
Pinterest is a fantastic tool in order to visualise a mood board of colours and ambitions. But after a while, it becomes overwhelming. I found myself drowning in a blur of rustic photo booths and succulent lapels. I can only take a certain amount of pinning before I’m drunk on tea light-filled mason jars.
Pinterest is like a bottle of Chilean Merlot. I know half a bottle will keep me merry and joyful, and the other half will make me sleepy and sloshy. I don’t want to waste the rest of the bottle! Similarly, I know that more of an hour on Pinterest will give me the exact same headache. Note to self- must buy bottle stopper.
NAÏVE HOPE AND REALITY CHECKS
Initially, I assumed that a DIY wedding was a fantastic way of saving money. I’d love to own a house one day, and the thought of spending thousands of pounds on one day made me feel sick. (The average price of a wedding in the UK last year was £24,000). Gross.
We started looking at hiring tipis and ‘luxury portable toilets’ – that’s a thing apparently. We bought tickets for a wedding fayre which concentrated on DIY festival weddings – I was so excited and full of optimism. Sadly, I came from there annoyed, drained and clueless.
The place was full of cutsey ‘vintage’ stalls selling over-priced concepts of what they expect you to need. Cocktail vans, bird cages and hay bails. I couldn’t believe the extortionate prices of these things, and even some of the sales reps seemed unconvinced at how valuable their ‘service’ was. When did DIY weddings become so pre-packed?!
It annoys me that there is never a set price for any goods or services. It’s the same online. ‘Call now for a quote!’, “call our friendly sales team”. I’m not looking for a friend- How about just write it down so I can do my research without your convoluted sales pitch? I’ve read that you should say you’re organising a large birthday party when asking for these services, but I don’t want to lie, I shouldn’t need to lie. I should be able to ask for the service, without them knowing or caring what the event is. I don’t want to trick somebody into giving me an average price.
*Friendly sales staff* “Oh it’s for a wedding? Congratulations, you must be a young couple who are more than likely saving for a deposit on a house, in the middle of a housing crisis. Let me just calculate what we can do for you. Well this tipi is £4000 for a party, and then if I add the ‘special wedding atmosphere’, let’s see that comes to… The average price of a mortgage deposit. Gimme.”
Rant over. Too many exclamations. Excuse me while I make a chamomile tea.
Suddenly, we were looking at spending thousands of pounds without even starting to hire flooring, lighting, generators, tables, chairs… It was working out cheaper to hire an upmarket hotel as a venue. Back to the drawing board.
To do list; I need to finish the guest list, and we need to visit some venues.