Bea & Robbie’s Intimate London Wedding

Bea and Robbie met in January of 2014 when they were both begrudgingly dragged along to a group date with some pals. Bea says there hasn’t been a day since that Robbie hasn’t made her laugh – the perks of marrying a stand up! Thank goodness they went along to that fated date, as last year they tied the knot in a beautifully intimate ceremony in North London. We asked Bea all about it.

How did you get engaged?

We got engaged on my birthday in the November of 2015. Robbie surprised me with a trip to Cornwall where we stayed on a dry docked boat in the middle of nowhere. I was confused when he made me get up so early for my birthday breakfast, but it turned out the ring was burning a hole in his pocket… He proposed over eggs and bubbles!

What kind of wedding did you plan?

From day one all we wanted was good people, good food and a good knees up. We had to save from scratch and didn’t want to hang about, so we had 9 months to get some money together and plan the whole thing. We did the whole thing locally in North London, opting for a non religious ‘ceremony’ hosted by our best pals followed by a big sharing feast and party at our favourite local pub.

What was your first dance?

September by Earth Wind and Fire

Why did you choose Patchwork for your honeymoon fund?

Of the few ‘funding’ sites Patchwork was the easiest to use. It’s transparent about cost and it’s interface is breeze whilst looking really lovely. It was so easy to use. Everything from setting it up, to sharing our link, to transferring the money was so user friendly.

What did you ask for contributions towards?

We funded a whole list of lovely things we wanted to do on our honeymoon – we thought it would be nicer for someone to know they bought us a boat trip, or dinner at the top of a mountain rather than a gravy boat or a hand towel…

Setting off on our trip knowing everyone had chipped in felt like a big extension of our amazing day. We were thoroughly overwhelmed by the love and generosity of our family and friends and being able to think of them as we went on our adventure was such a nice feeling. Our friends loved how original the idea was.

Would you recommend your trip to other honeymooners?

We did a little road trip through Portugal and Spain for our honeymoon. Staying in Europe was amazing because we didn’t waste any time travelling before we could start our fun!


 

Thank you Bea & Robbie for sharing your patchwork story with us. And a huge congratulations from Team Patchwork!

If this has inspired you to make your own patchwork, just customise one of our readymade patchworks or create one from scratch.

Patchwork Loves: SOON THE SUN + Giveaway!

Soon the Sun is a stylish new label designed for women who like to travel far and pack light. Their essential holiday collection is made up of versatile pieces that can be pulled straight out of your hand-luggage, ready-to-wear on the beach during the day, or out for dinner at sunset. We interviewed STS Founder Pusia Chatfield to find out more.

First up, for all the super stylish women using Patchwork as a honeymoon fund, why is Soon the Sun the perfect honeymoon collection?

So much organisation and thought goes into the big day that by the time the honeymoon comes around there isn’t much space left to plan for that “What am I going to wear?!” moment. So I think “Soon the Sun” is the perfect match for the busy bride because she cares how she looks and feels but hasn’t got much time or headspace left to worry about what she’s going to take on her honeymoon, or even start to think about packing it. It’s a capsule collection made up of eight garments that answer all your holiday needs.

Ok let’s back up, why did you start Soon the Sun?

The idea came to me when I was away on holiday. I’d packed for twin boys, aged eight months, myself and half-packed for my husband too. I realised after the holiday how little I had worn, I literally had only worn a few things – my staple favourite pieces that I had always taken on holiday, that were now threadbare but still very much loved. The rest had stayed in the suitcase. This was the starting point for Soon the Sun.

What’s your design process – how do you decide what makes it in the collection?

I guess I just looked at the things in my wardrobe that I had worn over and over. They were the same pieces that came on holiday with me every year and I think this is probably what everybody else does. We tend to buy new things to take on holiday but we don’t really need or want them. These pieces that I love so much were my perfect garments, they answered all of my needs whilst on a sandy beach or in a busy market. They are lightweight, not precious fabrics, just cheesecloth – so no need to iron, easy to dry, timeless, throw on pieces, to wear from beach to bar.

What’s the difference between style and fashion?

Style stands the test of time, it’s fashion but timeless. It’s about knowing what suits you and what makes you feel comfortable – if you’re comfortable in what you’re wearing, you’ll look stylish, confident and sexy. Stylish garments are usually a combination of the right fabric, shape, fit and colour. These elements can transcend fashion trends and decades.

Your garments are all organic, using 100% natural fabrics and dyes. Why is this important to you?

I just feel there is a small but growing amount of women who are starting to think about where the things they wear (like make-up and face creams) are being produced. We worry about what we eat – we are concerned about where it’s from and how it’s produced. There’s a growing conscience. I think every new business should be concerned with the environment and aim to reduce their impact in whichever way we can.

I thought it was time we started thinking about garments, the clothes we wear on our skin. If you’re in a beautiful place then you want to feel close to nature – you’ll feel good that your garments have done as little damage to the planet as possible. Our garments are made in India with a fantastic small factory, which is a start, but we still have to ship them back here – so I’m not totally there yet.

Why should we all consider buying less and buying better?

We are taught that fashion is fast moving, and that you need to keep up with the trends. When in fact a good garment can stand the test of time and transcend eras. My favourite era was the 70s and lots of my garments have been inspired by that time. You know when you own a good piece and it comes out every year and you still love it and wish you could buy it again, that’s what Soon the Sun is about – relaxing in the knowledge that you can come back time and time again and your favourite style will be there so once you’ve loved it ’til it’s threadbare, you can come back to buy the same piece again. Not much will change except maybe a new colour. Buy what suits you and buy what you love. We encourage women to #wearlessmore. It’s much cooler.

Along with the entire STS collection what are your holiday essentials?

+ A good skin cream with 50+ factor – LA ROCHE-POSAY is excellent!
+ Sunglasses – two pairs, big ones and less over the top ones
+ No underwear, waste of packing space. Always in my swimwear anyway
+ A good read or two. Anything set in a warm climate. I love ‘My Family and Other Animals’ by Gerald Durrell
+ Maybe a “sexy book” (as my nan would say)
+ Lots of Coco de Mer
+ Good shawl for cold nights.

What songs are on your holiday playlist?

Oh man this is hard… Any Prince obvs…
Relax Your Mind – New Look (whole album) – For dreaming in the car on the way to the airport or on the beach
Everywhere – Fleetwood Mac – Driving in the car with the roof open, sunnies on, morning sun on your face, first day on the beach
Pennies from Heaven – Inner City – For dancing on the beach, reminiscent of raving days, hands in the air moment
And any jazz for when you’re home cooling off and having a chill with a glass of wine in your hand and salty snacks, looking out at the view (if you have one) or just looking at next door’s towels.


 

Thanks, Pusia! Is anyone else now desperate for a holiday? Well if you’re lucky enough to be off on your travels soon, you’re going to want to enter our Soon the Sun giveaway. Head to our Instagram page to be in with the chance of winning your favourite piece from the new collection. All you have to do is follow @patchwork_it and @soonthesun and comment on the post telling us which item from Soon the Sun you can’t live without before midnight on the 23rd June – good luck.

For full terms and conditions click here.

The Only Wedding Checklist You’ll Need – We Promise.

Wedding planning can feel a little bit overwhelming at times and that little niggling feeling of forgetting something can start to haunt you. Well don’t worry, we’ve come up with the ultimate wedding checklist, so that you can keep track of every little thing you need to do in the coming months. Sorted.

Newly engaged

+ Drink champagne/beer/apple juice and cheers to each other

+ Tell your loved ones, shout it from the rooftops if you like

+ Enjoy this time together – soak up all those warm fuzzy feels

+ Decide what kind of wedding you both want – what aspects of the day are most important to you? Try and start off on the same page

+ Decide if you want to elope – if so, ignore the rest of this list 

River Medlock Photography – www.rivermedlockphotography.com

11- 12 months before your wedding:

+ Buy a wedding notebook, or just open a brand new Google doc for all of your planning needs

+ Make your wedding Pinterest board (and follow ours here) – it’s the most fun way to collect ideas (but don’t get overwhelmed by all the ‘stuff’)

+ Take a first stab at your guest list

+ Set your wedding budget (be realistic)

+ Pick a date!

+ Research venues, visit your favourites and book the one

+ Find your wedding photographer, set up a meeting and book them

9-10 months before your wedding

+ Choose your wedding party and ask them to do the honours

+ Start shopping for wedding outfits – don’t feel obliged to stick to wedding boutiques, there are plenty of other options around if you’re not keen

+ Decide what to do about food – plan self catering or book a caterer

+ Start making your wedding website if you’re having one (they are handy for your guests to see all information in one place!)

+ Have a think about what kind of cake you’d like (a 3 tier lemon cake or a ‘bake off’ style dessert table? The possibilities are endless..)

+ Design and send your save the dates

+ Research your wedding invitations

+ Decide what to do about music – are you going to hire a band/book a DJ or create your own playlist?

+ Make a honeymoon Pinterest board and follow ours here.

Dale Weeks – www.daleweeksphotography.co.uk

5-7 months before your wedding

+ Ask a friend to be your wedding day MC – it will be super useful on the day to have someone telling everyone what’s happening and when

+ Book your DJ or band if you’ve gone down that route

+ Book your florist

+ Reserve hotel rooms for your wedding guests

+ Decide if you’re going to do your own hair and makeup, or if you’d like a professional to do it – research stylists in your area

+ If your wedding party are wearing suits, decide whether to rent or buy them

+ Have a think about wedding rings and decide on some styles

+ Schedule your hair and makeup trials – it’s a good idea to coincide these with your hen do so that you can give your look a proper trial run

+ Book your wedding night accommodation (unless you’re heading home, in which case buy some extra special bedding so you can have a blissful first lie-in as a married couple)

Babb Photo – www.babbphoto.com

4 months before your wedding

+ Start your honeymoon fund or create your cash gift list with Patchwork

+ Check your passports – you’re going to need them to be up to date if you’re going abroad for your honeymoon

+ Buy your wedding rings

+ Book your wedding transportation if needed

3 months before your wedding

+ Send your wedding invitations, including a link to your Patchwork registry

+ If you need any dress fittings, get them scheduled in

Start any of your DIY jobs, invite friends round to help (ply them with wine)

2 months before your wedding

+ If you’re writing your own wedding vows, start working on them now

+ If you’ve decided to make a speech, start jotting down ideas for that too

+ Do a bit of honeymoon planning – need a new swimming cossie? Get that sorted now

+ Start wearing your wedding shoes around the house to make sure they’re comfy for the big day

Matt Penberthy – www.mattpenberthy.com

6 weeks before your wedding

+ Make final decisions or alterations to your wedding outfits

+ Finalise your vows and speeches

+ Make sure your food is sorted – finalise menus with caterers

1 month before your wedding

+ Put together your seating chart – post-its come in very handy at this point

+ If you’re having any hair or beauty treatments, book those appointments now

+ Making a wedding playlist? Get started on that now! Pick your favourite dancing songs, and maybe some chilled ones to play while your guests are waiting for you to enter the ceremony

+ Finalise any vendor payments

+ Plan the timeline for the day itself, so you know exactly what’s happening and when

+ Tell your wedding party any information they need to know ahead of the day – timings etc

+ Check your dress fits!

+ Confirm any prop/furniture/suit hire

+ Go and get your marriage license

Through the Woods We Ran – throughthewoodsweran.co.uk

2 weeks before your wedding

+ Confirm your final guest list

+ Give your photographer a list of shots you’d like on the day – want to get a picture with grandma? Make sure your photographer knows

+Confirm delivery details with anyone dropping stuff off on the day (flowers, hired furniture, etc.)

+Make sure you have a plan in place for the wedding venue setup and breakdown

1 week before your wedding

+ If you’re having a manicure, get it done now. And don’t do any washing up after.

Give your florist, caterers etc a contact number in case of emergencies – not your own. Maid of honour is usually a good call.

+ Make a little wedding day kit for emergencies – include make up, cotton wool buds, safety pins, a needle and thread, painkillers, plasters, hair grips and mints.

+ Pick up your dress/outfit if you need to

+ Try your whole outfit on (and do a little excited dance)

Tim Kelly & Nadine Ellen www.timandnadine.com

1 day before your wedding

+ If you’re heading off for honeymoon straight after the wedding, make sure you have your transportation organised

+ Print your vows/speech 

+ Take a few deep breaths and try and get an early night

On your wedding day

+ Be in the moment – with a lot going on you can get swept away, but make sure you take it all in

GET MARRIED!

We Heart Pictures – www.weheartpictures.com

After the wedding 

+ Have a Buck’s Fizz for breakfast and toast to your marriage

+ Make sure vendors have been paid in full

+ Follow up with your photographer to check when you’ll get your wedding photos back

+ Ensure everything you hired has been returned

+ Send out thank you notes to people who helped with the wedding

+ Send personalised thank yous via Patchwork with pictures of you enjoying your gifts

Heading to the wedding? Don’t forget these things: 

  • Rings
  • Outfit
  • Vows – if you’ve written them
  • Speech
  • Umbrella – just in case!
  • Marriage license
  • Wedding playlist
  • Underwear
  • Shoes
  • Comfy shoes for evening
  • Emergency kit
  • Wallet
  • Cash
  • Passport

For a printable version of this checklist just click here.

Patchwork Couple: Patrick, Julie & The Mission to Find ‘the Missing Power Loop’

Patrick and Julie are self-proclaimed ‘weirdo/geeks’. So when Patrick decided to propose, he knew he had to do something sufficiently geeky (and romantic!). What followed was an epic sci-fi treasure hunt, a very happy Julie, and a beautiful wedding. Patrick tells us all about their engagement, wedding day and the wonderful honeymoon that their friends and family helped to fund.

How did you get engaged?

This is probably more complicated than it should be. But she is more than worth it. I wanted to marry Julie after about three years of being together. Even though I always told her I never wanted to get married (which she was okay with but secretly wasn’t). So it was a complete surprise when it happened (so sneaky or clever depending).

I wanted to incorporate a bit of ourselves into it so I decided to do a sci-fi treasure hunt. I created illustrations and clues and a guide book to go along with the event which took a year to make and plan. I wanted to tie it in with our four year dating anniversary so Julie wouldn’t suspect it was a proposal, just a really good anniversary present.

I created invites for Julie and two friends to take part in the “mission to find the missing power loop” (wink). On the day I presented her with the book and the first clue which would lead her to the next and so on. Each location were places we had been to on dates and were special to us – seven in total. (I thought it was going to be a logistical nightmare getting all these businesses to help but I was really surprised and grateful that all of them said yes they would.) The book of illustrations along with a “star map” would help her decipher the clues. Julie and her friends made it round London to all the locations with the last clue leading to me waiting at Opium – one of her favourite cocktail bars. She was instructed to bring all her clues with her.

After a drink I presented her with the eighth clue which was a star constellation chart. What she didn’t realise was that all the clue cards had bits of constellations on them, printed on tracing paper.. And that when stacked up in a certain way on top of the chart they spelled out ‘will you marry me?’. I got down on one knee in the middle of the bar and presented her with the ring. She said yes whilst crying. Ahhhhhh!

What kind of wedding did you plan?

We had to be clever for our wedding due to financial constraints, so we planned it for a year and a half to get it down to what we really wanted. We decided on a simple ceremony with sixty family and friends at Clissold house – a beautiful manor house set in a park in North London. For our reception we wanted an industrial/natural theme at the West Reservoir Centre, an art deco former water pump house on a boating lake just down the road.

We’re big on the organisation (Julie is the best at the spreadsheets, rotas and paraphernalia that goes with it) due to her job as a Health care assistant for disabled children. I try to keep up but mainly I bring the hands on skills as I’m a bookbinder. We did everything ourselves (not for the faint hearted!) from folding 800 origami butterflies to hang from the ceiling, making concrete planters with Maidenhair ferns for the table centrepieces, designing and printing the save the dates and invites. We had complete control over everything that went into it which was nice as it was a complete reflection of us and no-one else!

To bring our geekiness we had the Star Trek enterprise model for our guestbook and Marvel Avengers figures set in concrete for our table numbers. And for the natural elements, besides the origami, our florist (Your London Florist) made Kokedama (Japanese hanging plants) ferns to hang from the double height space. I always think it’s the details that make it special (that and an open bar!) and people will take that with them after the event. It was a lovely day, tiring but lovely.

What was your first dance?

Our first dance was to ‘Do You Wanna’ by the Arctic Monkeys. It was a disaster! I stepped on Julie’s dress so much. That’s one detail we ran out of time to perfect. We tried to do a foxtrot (learned of course through YouTube) as it was a pretty simple step. Yeah… it wasn’t. We have a video which we will never watch again!

Why did you choose Patchwork for your gift list?

We went to the Most Curious wedding show in Brick Lane, saw the Patchwork stand and thought it seemed like a really good idea. I mean it makes sense for modern day couples who already live together and therefore have gravy boats and wine glasses. Pooling individual gifts into a collective is perfect.

What did you decide to fund?

We wanted to fund our honeymoon to Mauritius as we were on a tight budget for the wedding, with nothing left for the honeymoon. Julie’s family is from Mauritius and I had never been so we wanted to do a luxury boutique hotel and then stay at her dad’s and see family – a best of both kind of thing, so the funds went to all kinds of stuff from cocktails to a private boat trip.

We were really grateful to everyone for making it possible. It was a big success. And I think it helped that our friends and family could relate to where we wanted to go. It made it easier for more traditional guests to get on board with that ‘new fandangle interweb’ instead of a physical gift.

And finally, would you recommend your trip to other honeymooners?

Who doesn’t want to go to a tropical island! Mauritius is great and I know we are a bit biased but it does have something for everyone, from luxury to camping and everything in between.


 

Thank you Patrick & Julie for sharing your story with us. And a huge congratulations from Team Patchwork.

If this has inspired you to make your own patchwork, just customise one of our readymade patchworks or create one from scratch.

Sofia’s Career Break Photo Diary: Myanmar

So far, you’ve read about Sofia’s adventures in India and Nepal, and seen the beautiful photos she’s taken along the way. This week Sofia’s in Myanmar (formerly Burma) – a country that has captured her attention and imagination since she first arrived. Over to Sofia to share her take on this amazing country. Plus, read on for her top 5 tips for Myanmar.

Myanmar   

Myanmar is a country of intrigue. Unexplored, unexploited, ancient temples and hushed secrets of political turmoil. And with tourists only being allowed to travel into the country in recent years, I wasn’t sure what to expect when arriving in Myanmar. But what laid ahead of me was a country of great history. Despite all of the challenges Myanmar had faced with internal conflicts, war, and a steep economical demise, the people are kind, warm and modest. They are happy to welcome you, smiling and peacefully quiet.

This attitude stems from their Buddhist values which are most prevalent in their everyday lives. This is perhaps the most interesting thing to see when in Myanmar. Everywhere you go, the red and pink robes of nuns and monks can be seen wandering in the markets and walking the streets. Turn the corner and you’ll see young children being inducted into the monastery on ceremonial processions. Wake up each morning to the chants of prayers and a line of young boys collecting food, holding out silver bowls for rice to feed the monastery. Head to one of the many pagodas and watch the locals bow down to the Buddha.

Travelling through Myanmar, though the landscape may change, one constant is the way in which it’s lands have been adorned with temples – ornate crumbling red brick temples in Old Bagan and tall gold steeples in Yangon. Throughout, you can admire the architecture and detail that has gone into building the pagodas, from the Hsinbyume wedding cake-shaped pagoda in Mingun, to the Pindaya cave temples and the giant stone walls of Kuthodaw in Mandalay.

  

And once you’re all pagoda’d-out, there is still much to see of local life. So spend some time cruising through Inle Lake and discover small wooden huts on stilts that form the basis of many villages. You can see the traditional leg rowing boats as they collect plants to build the floating gardens. Alternatively, hire a bike and cycle through beautiful Old Bagan. A horizon of temples lies over the desert-like land, transporting you to a different time. Or, hike through the mountains of Kalow and take in the views.

  

When it comes to the evening, Myanmar is fairly sleepy. As tourism increases, so does the emergence of hipster-style venues. There’s the Rangoon tea house in Burma and The French Touch in Nyaungshwe, where you can eat Myanmar French fusion food and catch an art house documentary or film.

Better yet, the local restaurants offer up BBQ style dining, where you chose your skewers with accompanying rice and veg. Or in the cities, the street food such as Indian chapatti and curries found on 82nd street in Mandalay come highly recommended.

Sofia’s Myanmar Top 5:

  • Wake up early and watch the sunrise on top of a temple in Old Bagan. Even better, splash out and catch a hot air balloon ride over the hundreds of scattered temples with a glass of champagne in hand!
  • Take a long boat and explore Inle Lake. Stop off at the silk makers, blacksmiths, silver workshop and floating markets.
  • Spend a night on a stilt house on the lake at the Bagan-Myaing community lodge. Hire some bikes and visits the local villages. See how the locals really live.
  • Explore the Pindaya caves, get lost in thousands of Buddhas.
  • Go to the teak monastery in Mandalay. Walk around and watch the monks meditate. Feel free to sit and practise yourself.

 

Thank you Sofia! Next time, Sofia’s in the Philippines.

Is This the Most Useful Honeymoon Planning Tool Out There?

If you were to write a list of requirements for your perfect honeymoon, chances are it would vary wildly from your friends’ – you might want to spend your days lazing on golden beaches while they’d rather white water raft or head to a hectic city. But there will always be one thing on that list that will crop up again and again – good weather. We all want to find that ideal honeymoon weather – hot, but not too hot. No rainy days. A light breeze wouldn’t go amiss.

Until now people have had to rely on that ever-popular Google search ‘What is the best time to visit [insert-destination]?’, which, with general temperature ranges and a few anecdotes, can give you a vague idea of the weather in the area. But it leaves a lot to be desired in terms of specifics. When you’re trying to plan the trip of a lifetime, you’re going to want to know exactly what you can expect.

Decision Data

Now, thanks to this handy tool created by digital data expert Ryan Whitaker, you can find out the temperature in any place in the world on any given week. So whether you’ve got time booked off and need to find out where in the world will give you those blue skies, or if you have a dream destination in mind and want to figure out the best time to go, this tool will help. Hooray.

Just enter your ideal mean temperature, low temperature, and high temperature, as well as a preferred amount of rain (none, surely?). Then little pink dots will pop up showing you where in the world those conditions exist.

To build the map, Ryan downloaded 10 years worth of weather data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, from more than 10,000 weather stations around the world.

So go on – have a go – find your perfect honeymoon weather. And if you’re still looking for honeymoon inspiration, check out the Lonely Planet Honeymoon Handbook, co-written by Patchwork founder Olivia.

Discovered via Lonely Planet.

Patchwork Couple: Nareni & Paul’s Sri Lanka and India Honeymoon Fund

India honeymoon

Paul and Nareni have been together for 5 years and they share the same passion: travelling. They’re happiest when they’re exploring, seeing the world through each other’s eyes and learning from different people and cultures. Nareni says ‘the world is just too big to stop looking at.’ And although the couple were living in different parts of the world when they met and neither were particularly looking for love, fate brought them together. Nareni tells us all about their wedding and honeymoon – made possible with gifts from friends.

How did you get engaged?

Paul got extra excited once he had gotten my dad’s blessing and planned the proposal right away in the lakes of Mexico city. We went there to see the sunset for one of our famous walks and whilst he was talking to me about all that we have achieved together and everything we meant to each other, he proposed. It was the best day of our lives – until our wedding day!

Then he proposed again in Eastbourne, when he took me by surprise on a weekend trip and whilst we were going for a hike in the cliffs next to the sea, he popped the question again. Yes, I have two rings and I wear them both!

The fact that Paul proposed first in Mexico gave me the opportunity to celebrate with my family, including my grandparents, who are very important to me. I will always be thankful to him for thinking about this when he was planning it.

What kind of wedding did you plan?

We wanted a wedding with great music and plenty of surprises. We wanted everyone there – all of our friends and family, and we were truly blessed to see that on the day – everybody came, people flew from all over to be with us on our special day. It was the best day of our lives.

The theme took inspiration from rustic temples in the middle of the rainforest, we wanted lots of green (which the venue had already) with flowers and candles everywhere. We wanted ice-cream and Batucada dancing, and a band and yes, of course Mariachi. Plus Irish music as Paul is Irish. We wanted to merge our two cultures together, and we got a great result, just like in our partnership!

What was your first dance?

Ma Cherie Amour by Stevie Wonder and You Are The First, The Last, My Everything by Barry White. And Paul really wanted us to dance to Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell – Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing, so he asked the band to play the song later for us.

Why did you choose Patchwork for your honeymoon fund?

We loved the idea of people being able to gift us with an experience. And then to later show them pictures of that experience and say, look! This is thanks to you!

Also, we wanted to give people the freedom of giving us whatever they could, as we appreciated the fact that they were all making the effort of either flying or driving for hours to come to meet us on the day.

The best gift for us was our honeymoon experiences. So facilitating that through Patchwork was brilliant. We chose to fund a trip to India and Sri Lanka because we had always wanted to go there – we also thought India was a country that would cherish marriage, so what best time to do this trip but on our honeymoon. And being so close to Sri Lanka we didn’t want to miss it, it was the best!

We were so excited when we set off for our honeymoon and pumped up to do it all – to experience everything to the fullest, as people had trusted and wished we would.

What was your favourite thing about using Patchwork?

We loved that you can build up your page with everything you want – it’s flexible so you can add all of the experiences you want or trips you want to do but you can also cater to all budgets. Also, because our friends and family were able to leave us messages and wishes for the day, trip and life, it made the full cycle really cute and enjoyable. Our friends and family thought it looked beautiful and they loved the phrases and creativity we put into it.

Would you recommend your trip to other honeymooners?

OMG, yes, it was such an amazing experience, Sri Lanka is such a magical country and India is crazy! We got the best combination, from the mountains and sea in Sri Lanka, with their great animals – the leopards, the whales, elephants, and adventures of the safaris, their people are incredible and so caring, they definitely tried their best to make every day on our honeymoon the best day ever. And in India, going to the Taj Mahal, experiencing the festival of colour and the parties by the beach, going for cooking lessons and then enjoying the feast.

The sunsets and sunrises were beautiful, and the way you can do as much or as little in both countries as you want each day, giving you the perfect atmosphere for spontaneity. It was absolutely amazing!


 

Thank you Nareni & Paul for sharing your story with us. And a huge congratulations from Team Patchwork.

If this has inspired you to make your own patchwork, just customise one of our readymade patchworks or create one from scratch.

Sofia’s Career Break Photo Diary: Nepal

Sofia is taking a break from London and from working life, and has been sharing her incredible journey around India and Southeast Asia with us here on the Patchwork blog. So far she’s showed us the hustle and bustle of Rajasthan, the majesty of the Taj Mahal, and the ever changing landscapes of South India – from the rugged cliffs to the tropical jungles. Now, she’s exploring Nepal. Over to Sofia to share her thoughts, feelings and photos from this beautiful place.

Nepal, home to some of the world’s most breathtaking mountain ranges – the Himalayas – is a place to discover, explore and reflect.

Unlike Nepal’s neighbour India, there is a distinct calmness to the country, a softness to the people, a serene tranquility in the mountains and chants of buddhist prayer echoing through the air. Nepal has an earthy, natural palette – from the silhouetted blue mountains, crashing white waves of rivers in the valleys, scattered gold and white of the temples in the cities, and the piles of earthy rubble and bricks where people continue to rebuild after the earthquake in 2015.

In the city of Kathmandu, you can get lost through the winding passages, stepping over cracked pavements and avoiding mounds of construction dirt. Passing temples at every turn, you can light a candle for a loved one or even attach a coin to the tooth temple (this will ensure you keep your full set of gnashers!). At night you can wander the main strip of late-night bars, listen to live bands and watch the locals do karaoke (with full boyband moves to accompany their wailing).

For more adventure, head to Pokhara, which is set against distant mountain ranges on the lake and has a really relaxed vibe. Coffee shops and North Face apparel line the streets. You can spend the day looking out to the lake with an iced coffee, take out a boat or climb up to the peace pagoda. There’s all sorts of evening entertainment here, from an outdoor cinema to lots of live music sets. But if you’re up for some adventure, set your alarm early and set out on a trek, where you’ll discover life on the mountain, seeing the people who spend their days hiking back and forth between villages, women delivering food, men herding donkeys, porters lifting what looks like the weight of the world!

Sofia’s Nepal Top 5

Push yourself out of your comfort zone with a new challenge – be it water rafting, bungee jumping or trekking.

  • Enjoy a drink at Purple Haze in Kathmandu, nod away to some rock covers and watch the local lads singing their hearts out to many a ballad
  • Do a trek, take in the breathtaking views of the Himalayas and experience local mountain life
  • Eat some momos – Nepalese dumplings
  • If you have time, do a bit of volunteering to help rebuild after the devastation of the earthquake. I met so many people who formed really close communities with locals and travellers alike working together on projects.

Next time, Sofia’s in Burma.

Patchwork Couple: Sam & Charlotte’s Whitstable Wedding and Sri Lankan Honeymoon

Sam and Charlotte had known each other for years – Sam went to school with Charlotte’s brother and sister. According to Charlotte he was a prolific flirt (actually, she called him a tart!) and she even used to warn her friends not to get involved with him. Years later, they bumped into each other while they were both visiting family in the Easter holidays. Sam asked Charlotte to go for a drink, Charlotte said no. He asked again, and she thought about it. Eventually, they went out. And the rest, as they say, is history!

How did you get engaged?

Sam took me to Paris for my 30th birthday. Having never been before, Sam took me round all the typical touristy spots so I could tick them off my list. That evening, the last stop was the Eiffel tower before dinner. As we were crossing the road by the Trocadero, he made me walk right into the middle of the road to take a photo of the tower lit up ‘so I would get a clear shot’. After taking the photo – I turned round and Sam was stood with a ring in his hands. I was so taken by surprise, I can’t remember a word of what he said. Thinking he was taking the piss, I very unromantically asked, ‘is this a f**king joke?!’… Before obviously saying Yes!

What kind of wedding did you plan?

We both knew we wanted a wedding that felt more like a giant party than a formal occasion, and so traditional wedding venues were never going to fit the bill for us. We found the amazing East Quay venue in Whitstable, Kent which was right on the beach and happened to be a place we would visit when we first started dating. It was a former sea food restaurant that had been converted into a venue – it was quirky and fun and the perfect setting to celebrate with our loved ones. It was the first place we visited and we booked it immediately!

The inspiration for the rest of our wedding would be the venue itself – it has a real industrial feel to it and we wanted everything to feel relaxed. To reflect the industrial look, we decided to trawl junk shops and antique fairs in order to find props to decorate. We then asked our florist to offset all the junky bits and pieces with some vibrant rich flowers spilling out of everything! We spent ages personalising all the little details of the day to reflect each other and our guests.

What was your first dance?

All of me – John Legend.

We struggled to find a song for our first dance as we both have quite different music tastes. We settled on this because of the lyrics; ‘you’re crazy, and I’m out of my mind’.

What was your favourite part of the day?

We loved every minute of the day – but I think we’d both agree that the ceremony surprised us by being our favourite. For such a short part of the day, the excitement and anticipation of that moment when we first saw each other was hard to beat. From that point onwards the day continued to be so much fun – such a strange word to describe your wedding, but we both laughed and enjoyed every minute.

Why did you chose Patchwork for your honeymoon fund?

Having lived together for a while, we didn’t feel like we wanted traditional wedding gifts – but we really wanted to treat ourselves to an amazing honeymoon. I found Patchwork as I was googling honeymoon fund websites and loved the whole concept!

What did you decide to fund?

We really wanted to go to Sri Lanka for our honeymoon and didn’t want to hold back on things we could do when we were there because we were saving money. Using the patchwork to fund different trips and activities on our travels meant that we could do everything we planned to without worrying about over spending – everything we did felt like a special treat because it was a gift from someone. 

I remember sitting in the airport before we flew, writing a list of all the things people had bought us to do while we were away. We couldn’t believe how generous people had been and we could finally start plotting the various things we wanted to do. We bought a camera at the airport so we could take some amazing photos of everything we did to send to the people that had treated us to them! We’d have never done half the things we did had people not contributed to our honeymoon, which enabled us to have the holiday of a lifetime.

Our friends and family loved the convenience of the website – and give me someone that doesn’t enjoy a bit of online shopping? They loved getting a bit of a say in shaping our honeymoon and the things we did.

And finally would you recommend your trip to other honeymooners?

Sri Lanka is quite possibly the most beautiful place to visit – the people, the wildlife, not least the food and the weather!! It was a holiday of a lifetime and we couldn’t recommend it highly enough! Who knows – maybe we’ll return for a special anniversary in the future?

 


 

Thank you Charlotte & Sam for sharing your lovely wedding and honeymoon with us. And a huge congratulations from Team Patchwork.

If this has inspired you to make your own patchwork, just customise one of our readymade patchworks or create one from scratch.

Wedding photography by Ross Hurley: www.rosshurley.com

Sofia’s Career Break: South India Photo Diary

south india

Patchwork pal Sofia is taking a career break. She’s taking 6 months out to travel the world and she’s sharing her incredible journey with us here on our blog. Last time, we shared her top tips for Northern India. This time, she’s travelling through the ever changing landscapes of the south. Over to you to tell us all about it, Sofia…

From tropical jungles and deep mountain valleys to expanses of beautiful beaches, rugged cliffs and meandering canals, the south of India has so much to offer. It’s the perfect escape for soaking up culture and stunning landscapes, mixed in with a few good cocktails, sipped on the beach whilst watching the sun set over the sea.

One of the most beautiful things about India is how much each state varies from the next. Take Kerala, with it’s distinct tropical feel, still embracing much of their Indian traditions. In Alleppey, the ‘Venice of the East’ you can explore the backwaters and the small villages that line the waters. Stop and have a toddy – a coconut fermented home brewed beer. Then just 2 hours down the road you can be in Kochi, wandering the streets and taking in the Portuguese and Dutch architecture. Go two hours in the other direction and you can be in Varkala for all the hippie-backpacker vibes.

One thing to note about Kerala is that it’s a dry state, so most places don’t have an alcohol license. Though this won’t stop lots of places sending out a waiter on a moped, who’ll later return to your table with a wink and a teapot discreetly filled with beer! Though if letting your hair down with a drink in the sunshine is more your thing, Goa is calling. With endless stretches of beautiful beaches, one after the other, ranging from the classic nightclub strip to calmer, more tranquil beaches in the south, you’re sure to find your space.

Sofia’s Southern India Top 5:

  • Do a homestay with a local family, Susana and Paul at the Wayanad homestay have a beautiful family and they will welcome you with open arms.
  • Get a kayak in Allepey and explore the back canals. Organise this through your guesthouse rather than the main operators to save 2,000+ rupees
  • Enjoy a local fish thali. Fisherman’s in Palolem is great, or even better take a cooking class and learn how to make it yourself
  • Treat yourself to a night on Big Cola beach, near Palolem in South Goa. A quiet beach with its own natural fresh water lagoon and huts that sit in the hill overlooking the sea.
  • If you’re on Kochi, set your alarm and watch the sun rise at the Chinese fishing nets. Have a go at reeling in the fish and watch the boats come in as the daily haggle over the catch of the day commences.

Thanks Sofia. Next time, Sofia’s in Nepal.

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