Patchwork Couple: Childhood Sweethearts Amelia & Lee’s Wedding Day

Amelia and Lee are proper childhood sweethearts. They’ve been together since they were 14 and 15, when Lee was in a band at school and Amelia was a loyal groupie. She’d wait for him at the bus stop every morning and they’d walk to school together. They even spent their days writing little notes and letters to each other. See – proper childhood sweethearts. They were smitten with each other, and they still are. On the day they married they’d been together for 11 years, 1 month, 1 week and 1 day. We asked Lee lots of nosy questions about their wedding and their Patchworked honeymoon to Mexico and New Orleans…

How did you get engaged?

We got engaged on our 10 year anniversary, in bed. I presented Amelia with a photo album of our ten years together, and once she had finished looking at the book I proposed with my Nan’s engagement ring, which had been passed down to me – adjusted to Amelia’s size secretly by my mum years before.

What kind of wedding did you plan?

Amelia planned what some have described as ‘relaxed’, ‘not traditional’, ‘intimate’ and ‘romantic’ wedding. Our ceremony was in the church next to our school where Amelia’s parents were married. Our reception was at ‘Poplars Hall’ – a beautiful old orphanage in Brentwood, Essex.

We had a buffet style dinner, in which we had our friends cater in the style of a jerk-pan BBQ, some meats and beautiful salads. Myself and my best man served our guests. Amelia had arranged benches for people to sit at with no seating plans which encouraged a free and easy system where guests could move around and mingle easily. Our cake table was made up of home baked cakes from family members, and the two wedding cakes were made by Amelia and her bridesmaid Joanna. Amelia made the decorations herself with the help of friends and family and the flowers were also all arranged ourselves the day before the wedding.

What was your first dance?

Our first dance was ‘Leon bridges – Coming Home’ – this was a last minute decision, as we were actually set on having only having a ‘last dance’ as something Amelia had really wanted, which was ‘St Vincent – Stars Aligned’.

What was your favourite part of the day?

My favourite part of the day – (obviously this is a difficult one) – was our ceremony, when it sunk in that we were actually married! I was crying, laughing, jumping in the air – it was pretty overwhelming.

Amelia’s – Our first dance, it was lots of fun especially as I was so against people watching me badly dance until a few days before, so we made sure we had 30 seconds of planned dancing before everyone ran onto the dance floor to join us!

Why did you decide to use Patchwork for your wedding registry?

We had previously used patchwork a couple of years before for Amelia’s brothers wedding gifts, we found it such a fun and easy way to give people exactly what they want!

What did you decide to ask your wedding guests for?

We wanted to fund our honeymoon – an incredible trip to Mexico and New Orleans. Amelia and I hadn’t been on a holiday together for what seems like such a long time! So we planned a ridiculous adventure which included paradise beaches and street parties.

It was so fun to create the patchwork and actually really helped in planning our honeymoon, finding all the fun things we could experience on our trip! It’s so so easy to use, I loved that you can even adjust it after it goes live, we didn’t realise items would ‘sell out’ so fast so it was ideal that it only took a few moments to up the quantities people could buy. It’s also great that you can look back to see who got what when writing thank you cards!

We had really positive feedback from our guests about how easy and fun it was to use! I have recommended it to so many people since.

How did you feel setting off on your honeymoon?

We felt so lucky and so special that people had been supportive of our gift selection, and extremely excited to go off and actually experience the things we had planned. The Patchwork was a great way for people to visualise our holiday and we mixed up the prices so much so that people could buy us something small and fun like 1 donut, or part of a flight!

Would you recommend your trip to other honeymooners?

Our honeymoon was absolutely incredible! We were so lucky to be able to go to 2 places, we went to Mexico in October which is known as off season however this meant we had the whole of Tulum beach to ourselves! It was incredibly hot so we were so so lucky it felt like a private paradise! New Orleans is the most amazing city we’ve been to, it’s southern hospitality at its finest! It’s so fun and vibrant, we didn’t want to leave, the food and cultures of both places are amazing and we couldn’t recommend them enough.


 

Thank you Lee & Amelia for sharing your patchwork story with us. And 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.

All wedding photography by threeflowersphotography.co.uk

A Q&A with Bloom & Wild – Our Favourite Flower Delivery Service

We think Bloom & Wild’s flower deliveries make the best gifts, for any occasion. So we teamed up with them to create a Bloom & Wild patchwork that makes it super simple to share the cost of one of their subscriptions as a present for a loved one. It’s group gifting made easy. We wanted to know more from them about how they’re changing the flower delivery service and why they think flowers make such a wonderful gift, so we had a chat with Bloom & Wild’s Brand Director, Sara Gordon.

How has Bloom & Wild redefined the flower delivery service?

Bloom & Wild exists to make sending and receiving flowers the joy that it should be. We’ve all had bad flower delivery experiences in the past and our mission is to change that for good. We enable people to turn emotions into action from their phone or computer simply, and recipients to experience quality, fresh, creative flowers from bud to bloom.

What do you think makes receiving flowers so special?

Whether they’re sent as a thank you, an apology or simply just because, receiving flowers is a beautiful symbol that someone is thinking of you. Because our bouquets are sent in bud, the recipient sees their gift go from bud to bloom and enjoys the full life of the flower. We also make the process a true experience, so that our recipients get to become the florist themselves.

Who picks the flowers that go into the bouquets each month?

Our in-house flower team, including our Lead Floral Designers Rowan and Caroline, are the ones behind the designs. We’re always inspired by trends we see around us, whether it’s in the world of fashion, interiors or our own travels and we interpret these with in-season blooms to ensure that the recipient only gets the freshest flowers.

What’s your favourite ever Bloom & Wild bouquet and which flowers did it have in it?

I’ve had quite a few favourites, but currently it’s The Daisy. The blue delphinium flowers also add height and visual interest and are one of my favourite flowers at the moment.

What makes a Bloom & Wild flower delivery such a great group gift?

We often see families coming together to give their mums or grandmothers a year of blooms or friends coming together to gift a three month bundle for new homeowners or newlyweds. It’s great to be able to give someone something they might not necessarily treat themselves to, like a year of flower delivery, and coming together with a group makes it easy for everyone to pitch in on a gift that gives joy all year long.


 

Thank you Sara and Bloom & Wild! If you want to organise a flower delivery for someone you love, just customise our Bloom & Wild patchwork and send it to friends to fund, then your loved one can enjoy the gift of beautiful flowers through their door every month.

Sofia’s Photo Diary: Pure Beauty in the Philippines

Sofia is taking a career break, exploring parts of the world she’s never seen before, and has been sharing her journey with us here on the Patchwork blog. So far she’s showed us bustling Rajasthan, the beautiful landscapes of South India, the tranquility of Nepal, and the mystery of Myanmar. Now it’s over to Sofia to share her photos and tips from her latest destination – the Philippines.

  

Luscious green vegetation and sparkling blue seas contrast with the pristine white sands of the Philippines – a place of natural beauty, paradise on earth. Once you’ve entered the home of the blue lagoon and discovered its many hidden treasures, you may never want to leave.

The mainland of Manila has a familiar vibe to many south Asian cities. An abundance of street food, busy roads, lots of noise. But don’t be fooled – it’s filled with plenty of its own unique quirks. From the Wacky Races-style tricycles, to obscure coffee shops (like the Harry Potter bar that I stumbled upon), or over-the-top karaoke, there’s plenty to keep you entertained. But the main event are the islands – island hopping is an absolute must. Just be aware when planning your trip that flights and boats are often delayed, so do account for a full day of travel when getting from one island to the next.

With so much to see and do in the Philippines, you can really feel your surroundings and ‘holiday mode’ change as you jump from one island to the next. One minute you’re chilling out in the luxury resort of Bohol, with infinity pools and cocktails aplenty. Then you’re in full adventure mode – canyoneering in Cebu or diving in Coron, or partying the night away in Boracay on its famous white beaches, lined with bars and clubs.

Whichever island you go to, you’re sure to find many boat trips offering you the chance to snorkel, visit private islands and hidden lagoons and take in everything nature has to offer.

Personally, I could have stayed in El Nido forever – there are several beaches to choose from, each with a different vibe – beach bums chilling to music with a beer, quiet empty spaces or the perfect surf. It has the most serene surroundings and smaller islands and lagoons to visit. At night you can either relax watching the sunset or you can be sure to see some familiar faces at its one and only late night beach club.

Sofia’s Philippines Top 5:

  • Go diving in Coron! Swim through sunken shipwrecks, find Nemo in one of the many beautiful coral reefs
  • Fly yourself to the Birds Nest in El Nido and unravel the love story of Camilla and Mark, who set up this incredible glamping spot at the end of their honeymoon. Wake up to views of the mountains and seas and read a book in their swinging chair, sniffing the sweet aromas of home-baked treats that await you
  • Go to the floating bar at Snake Island in El Nido, sip on a fresh piña colada and dip your toes in the crystal clear water
  • If partying is your thing, shake your hips to the beats of Boracay’s Rasta drum circle on Station 1 beach.
  • Go to the stunning twin lagoon in El Nido. If you’re able to, find a boat tour that sets off a bit later avoid the crowds, so you can make the most of this incredible setting. Crack open a beer, kayak through the narrow passageways of the rocks and enjoy the cool waters

 


 

Thank you Sofia! Next time, Sofia’s in Japan.

Enter Patchwork’s £500 Cash Giveaway

£500 cash giveaway
Patchwork is all about people power. It’s about friends and family getting together to organise and fund a special gift or event. So this month, to say thanks to all the amazing people who use our platform, we’re giving you the chance to win £500 towards your celebration. Whatever that may be.

How do I enter?

Just create your patchwork between 1/7/17 and 31/7/17 and we’ll let you know if you’re the lucky winner on the 2/8/17.

So what are you waiting for? Start making a Patchwork!

Patchwork Couple: 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.

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