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.

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.

Top 10 UK Honeymoon Destination Ideas for 2017

Top UK Honeymoon Destinations

Whether you’re honeymooning on a budget, limited for time, need to take the kids or pets, or just want to celebrate your marriage by exploring the beauty of Britain, we’ve got 10 brilliant UK honeymoon destination ideas for summer 2017.

Find laid-back luxury in London

Our first UK honeymoon destination is our cosmopolitan capital. London has much to offer honeymooners, from must-see sites in the Centre to hip bars in the East. But if you want to relax and enjoy a truly luxurious London honeymoon, head West to stay at the Artist Residence between stylish Belgravia and Chelsea. A chic London bolt-hole with an intimate 10 rooms, its own cocktail bar and an all-day restaurant it has a super lux yet laid-back vibe and is perfectly positioned with the whole of the city on your doorstep.

Things to do:

Visit the beautiful V&A Museum of Art & Design to enjoy their summer exhibitions including ‘Shaping Fashion’ showcasing Spanish couturier Balenciaga, where you can drool over decadent silk gowns. Then dine like royalty with their recreation of Queen Victoria’s Afternoon Tea in the exquisite Morris Room. For a budget-conscious alternative (but still in sight of a real palace) take a picnic in to St. James Park. Set in the heart of ceremonial London, the oldest of London’s Royal Parks is an oasis of peace for newlyweds; with a lake, the Tiffany fountain and its own lovebirds – the famous pelicans.

Hopefully summer in the city will mean sunshine, but a rainy day is the perfect excuse to cosy down together in the beautifully restored Electric Cinema in Notting Hill. Spend an afternoon watching arthouse, classic or mainstream flicks from red velvet-covered double beds while a waiter delivers you cocktails. Then step out onto the Portobello Road and head up to The Dock Kitchen for dinner and a pick-me-up. Located in a stylish Victorian Wharf building this experimental restaurant with rooftop bar overlooks the Grand Union Canal. Perfect for people watching on a balmy summer’s evening with a chilled bottle of wine.

Top UK Honeymoon Destinations

source: artistresidencelondon.co.uk

Enjoy family fun in Norfolk

Cooler than the Cotswolds, quieter than Suffolk – cheaper than both. Norfolk, with its thriving independent scene, quirky festivals, big skies and rolling hills, is also one of the driest areas of the UK. So you might not need your umbrellas on the beach.

Where to stay:

The Victoria Inn and Ancient House at the Holkham Estate are nestled in an especially romantic setting in the windswept Norfolk countryside and boast beautifully appointed en suite rooms. After a brisk walk to flush your cheeks on nearby Holkham Beach, guests can enjoy relaxing in the peaceful and private walled rose garden of the Ancient House, or enjoy a modern British menu at the hotel restaurant which uses seasonal and locally produced ingredients. Children are welcome and dogs can stay in the rooms at the Victoria Inn.

Best place to eat:

For lunch head to The White Horse at Brancaster to enjoy the freshest of locally caught seafood including oysters during the season. Take in the spectacular views across the Norfolk Coastal Path and the tidal marshes and if you’re lucky, you might even catch Cyril or Ben, the next door neighbour ‘mussel men’ cleaning and netting their mussels for delivery to the kitchen door.

Getting around:

Exercise kids and dogs as you wander along beautiful sandy beaches to between five star pub stops along the coast. And if you want an even more more leisurely way to enjoy the scenery, you can take a steam train ride along the Wells Walsingham Railway full of old England charm and eccentricity – with five bridges en route for extra excitement.  

Top UK Honeymoon Destinations

source: holkham.co.uk

Discover True Romance in Margate 

Grab your bucket and spade – Margate has recently put itself back on the map as a desirably hip destination, so much so that it has been renamed by some as ‘Shoreditch-on-Sea’. Perfect for couples that long for salty beach-kisses and some good old fashioned fun, with an ironic twist.

Only two hours from London, Margate has burst back to life with a spruced up version of its famous kitsch past thanks to the sleek new Turner Contemporary Gallery and a wave of independent retailers. You’ll still find striped deckchairs and sticks of rock but you’ll now find ultra-cool Margate born brands like Haeckels, alongside vintage furniture shops and new pizza places like the Great British Pizza Co.

What to do:

Get your adrenalin pumping on some heart-stopping rides at the newly reopened Dreamland; spend the day on roller-coasters and eating candy floss against a backdrop of vintage cool and modern design. You can’t visit Margate without sharing a traditional vinegar soaked fish ‘n’ chips (grab a large one from Mario’s) then head down to the beach for frolics at sunset and see why Turner described the skies here as ‘the loveliest in Europe’.

Where to stay:

If you’re looking for somewhere super stylish to stay, The Reading Rooms offer the perfect antidote to Margate’s colourful kitsch. Muted colours complement this beautifully restored Georgian townhouse and make this luxury boutique hotel an oasis of calm for couples seeking pared-back grandeur. Top tip: Make sure you book a room with a roll-top bath to enjoy champagne and bubbles.

Top UK Honeymoon Destinations

source: rhymeandribbons.com

Enjoy an outdoor adventure in Cornwall 

Boasting the best surf in the UK, amazing Michelin star restaurants and as much art and culture as you can shake a stick at you’d be pushed to find a soggy pasty in Cornwall these days. But you will find beautiful villages with vibrant communities that welcome all-comers, tons for kids to do and 50 beaches are dog-friendly too!

Cornwall offers great self-catering options such as Treworgey Cottages in the Looe River Valley, where children and dogs are welcome. With picture perfect cottages covered in honeysuckle, a horse riding centre, heated swimming pool, a small petting farm and an indoor beach for rainy days, this is the perfect place for couples honeymooning with kids in tow. 

Things to do:

Take a day trip by boat to the stunning Looe Island Nature Reserve. A one time haunt for smugglers and a sanctuary for sea and woodland birds, this tiny island has a fascinating history and the waters around it teem with marine wildlife.

Book a family surf lesson with the passionate people at award winning Sennen Surf Centre. Crystal clear waters, golden sands and consistent surf make this place a winner. After working up an appetite on the rollers, check out beach side restaurant Benn Tunnicliffe restaurant that promises ‘Good food and family time in beautiful surroundings’. 

Don’t miss a trip to St. Ives; with its cobbled charm, quaint cottages and literary heritage it’s the perfect place to take in some culture including the Tate Modern GalleryBarbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden. And if you’re near Penzance head to the Jubilee Pool, a recently refurbished Art Deco Lido perfect for an invigorating sea water swim.

10 UK Honeymoon Destinations

source: jubileepool.co.uk

Find a family paradise on the Scilly Isles

Stay close to home on a sub-tropical family honeymoon with a large dollop of Enid Blyton time-warp. Uncrowded, unspoilt, and surrounded by golden-sanded beaches, the Scilly Isles archipelago really are a paradise on your doorstep. Located at the most Southwesterly point of the UK and an area of outstanding natural beauty, these islands are rugged, remote and virtually car-free, making this a great holiday for couples who want to escape it all or families who want the freedom of a get-out-there-and-explore holiday without the long haul flight.

Getting around:

Arrive at your island destination by propellor plane or ferry and experience a simpler way of life. Visit www.islesofscilly-travel.co.uk for travel options. Island hopping by boat is a fantastic way to see marine wildlife and explore some of the uninhabited islands. Check out www.islandseasafaris.co.uk for day trips from St. Mary’s; go on their ‘Shipwrecks, Seals and Seabirds’ excursion for the best of the island sights.

Things to do:

The islands, some with as few as 80 inhabitants, are dotted with small farms and farm shops, walking and cycling routes and boast a wealth of ancient remains, castles and towers as well as amazing local produce and seafood. A sub-tropical microclimate make the Scilly Isles a unique place to see flora and fauna not found on the mainland and the gardens at Tresco Abbey are considered to be the UK’s most outstanding horticultural paradise. You might even spot a red squirrel, now almost extinct on the mainland.

Stay at Tresco Sea Garden Cottages with sailing, a beach cafe, swimming pool, tennis courts and a gym to keep everyone happy. All cottages also have wi-fi and satellite TV for when the kids have had enough of playing Enid Blyton style.

Eat at Juliet’s Garden on St. Mary’s  to enjoy seafood, steak or vegetarian dishes and Artisan Cornish cheeses on the beautiful terrace providing breathtaking views across the harbour and the other islands.

Don’t miss: Troytown Farm on St. Agnes for their spectacular ice-cream made from their small herd of 9 dairy cows.

Top UK honeymoon destinations

source: smithandfamily.co.uk

Celebrate your love-story on the Yorkshire Moors

Live out your own Gothic love story in our next UK honeymoon destination – the rugged and romantic Yorkshire dales. Take a blustery walk in the Bronte sisters’ footsteps and discover the atmospheric ruins, dramatic skies, and windswept moorland that inspired them. Then look forward to cosy evenings snuggled up with a glass of red in front of a roaring fire.

Things to do:

Embrace your rebellious spirit and stay in a bright red Gypsy van, ‘Carmen’, set in a peaceful glade at historic Markington Hall in North Yorkshire with bountiful welcome hampers, your own campfire, a nearby river to fish and frolic in and the moors at your doorstep.

For long walks, breathtaking scenery and dramatic views, Bronte Falls at Haworth, Sutton Bank on the North York Moors, Aysgarth Falls in the Yorkshire Dales, and Hardcastle Crags at Hebden Bridge are all must-dos. Then for a real treat, book a table at the michelin-starred Black Swan at Oldstead. With a mix of traditional Yorkshire warmth and a dynamic and creative menu, this not-to-be-missed restaurant is perfectly located on the edge of the North York Moors National Park.

Top UK Honeymoon Destinations

source: markingtonhall.co.uk

Go free wheeling in Wales

Be the envy of everyone else on the road behind the wheel of your very own classic original VW Campervan like ‘Lily’ from Pembrokeshire Classic Campers. Lovingly restored and ready to take you on your honeymoon adventure. Then it’s just you two and the open road, with the wind in your hair and Wales at your feet.

With activities in the area ranging from canoeing and surfing, to hang-gliding and golf you’ll find adventure awaits at every stop-off.

Things to do:

Highlights include Caerphilly Castle, the stunning coastlines of the Mumbles and the Gower peninsula. If your honeymooning in May – June you can catch the Literary festival at Hay-on-Wye and if you’re headed to Wales in August don’t miss the annual Jazz festival in the Brecon Beacons National Park. Long drives require constant supplies of Welsh rarebit (the world’s finest cheese on toast) so make sure you’re well stocked up.

10 UK Honeymoon Destinations

source: pembrokeshireclassiccampers.co.uk

Explore Connemara on horseback

Always wished you lived in a castle? Pretend you do for a week at luxurious Ballynahinch Castle in Ireland. Situated in the heart of Connemara, this stunning castle hotel is set in 450 acres so it’s easy to wander through the woodland together imagining it’s all yours.

Things to do:

Located along the wild Atlantic Way, set against the stunning backdrop of the 12 Bens mountain range, Ballynahinch is the perfect base for exploring the area either by car, on foot, or even on horseback.

Riding school Erislannan Manor close to the castle can organise riding and trekking on Connemara ponies for which the region is known. For guided walks, island trips and general advice on exploring this stunning part of Ireland, contact Walk Connemara.

If you’re feeling adventurous, explore the fairytale-like Kylemore Abbey and take a walk hand-in-hand around the woodland and lakes in this1,000 acre estate. And if you’re feeling lazy, enjoy a pint (or two) in a typical Irish village, such as Cong, famous as the location shoot for the 1951 John Wayne film ‘The Quiet Man’.

10 UK Honeymoon Destinations

source: kylemoreabbey.com

Live like kings in a Scottish Castle

Rich in history, with stunning cities, mysterious lochs and delicious whiskey to discover, Scotland is the perfect place for a honeymoon fling. And if you really want a honeymoon fit for Kings why not stay in a real Scottish castle? Just 8 miles from Edinburgh Dalhousie Castle  is a 13th century fortress on the picturesque banks of the river Esk. This castle hotel and spa has traditional decor and uses a lot of tartan so won’t necessarily win any design awards. But it’s interior style is certainly warm and welcoming. And you get to sleep in a four-poster bed, in a castle! 

Things to do:

Once you’ve been properly pampered in the spa, have explored the castle grounds and the water-y wilderness beyond head to Edinburgh. Wander around the Grassmarket and Victoria Street to browse bustling independent shops, artisan stores and take your pick from the excellent range of lunch options in this vibrant al fresco setting. Then visit the magnificent Edinburgh castle for afternoon tea. Spend an elegant evening starting with cocktails at Panda & Sons on Queen Street, then take a stroll back up towards the castle to dine at the lavish and decadent Gothic institution The Witchery by the Castle

Top 10 UK Honeymoon Destinations

source: dalhousiecastle.co.uk

Fall madly in love in Manchester

Our final UK honeymoon destination is Manchester. Whether you were there back in the day – or just wish you had been – go all-out with a love fuelled Manchester weekender. The best bit? Now you’re grown ups you can dance together till dawn, then sink into a luxury king size bed rather than crash on your mate’s saggy sofa.

Check out The Red Door in Deansgate for cocktails and classic tunes – open till 4.00am on Fridays and Saturdays. For a more chilled out night, get yourselves to the Soup Kitchen, award winning canteen and bar with communal tables, vegan food and a great selection of cask ales. Located in Manchester’s Northern Quarter District, this is your go-to destination for live music, film nights, comedy events and art exhibitions. Or head to Matt & Phred’s Jazz Club in the Northern Quarter. Showcasing the hottest jazz talent, as well as a host of other genres, this place also doubles as a restaurant with great pizzas and sharing plates and has a fantastic selection of wines and a great cocktail list.

Where to stay:

If you want to avoid disapproving glances from hotel receptionists when you rock up at 6am, book yourself an apartment so you can come and go as you please. To experience stunning loft living in an historic 200 year old building a stone’s throw away from the city’s bars and clubs check out the Old Mill on Airbnb.

10 UK Honeymoon Destinations

source: visitmanchester.com

Tips for Creating a Honeymoon Fund with Patchwork

Patchwork Honeymoon Fund

If you’re planning to use Patchwork to ask for money towards your honeymoon, check out our top tips before you get started:

Keep it simple

Although honeymoon funds are increasingly popular, not all of your guests will be familiar with the concept and some may be expecting a traditional gift list. So when welcoming people to your page make sure you’re clear about what you’d like people to contribute towards and why. Including ‘Honeymoon fund’ in your title always helps. Then you can use your description to share your plans and add a simple set of instructions (so even your 90 year old Nan will know what to do). Something like:

“Having lived together for 5 years we’ve already got a toaster and all the crockery we’ll ever need. So instead of traditional gifts we’d really appreciate a contribution towards an amazing honeymoon that we’ll treasure forever. Just click around our patchwork to choose which experience you’d like to treat us to. With love and thanks.”

Patchwork Honeymoon Fund

Make it personal

Your friends and family know and love you and will want to hear about your plans for your first adventure as a married couple. So don’t be afraid to make your honeymoon registry personal. Use your images and words to share not just what you want but also something about you both as a couple.

This doesn’t have to mean creating a patchwork from scratch. If you know where you are going on honeymoon you can customise one of our readymade patchworks of your chosen destination. Or use our ‘Beautiful Island of Somewhere’ patchwork if you haven’t decided yet. Then simply tweak a few words to personalise it and add or delete patches to suit your likes and dislikes.

You can also add a banner image of you both, a profile photo or even include photos of you within your patchwork. So there are lots of opportunities for your friends to see your happy faces, remember how much they love you, and then give generously!

Spread the cost

The best way to raise the most money for your honeymoon fund is to make it possible for everyone to contribute something – no matter how little. If the cost of all your honeymoon experiences are £50 upwards, you’re in danger of excluding people who will then give you nothing. So it makes sense to offer a range of prices across your patchwork – from £1 for a bottle of beer to £500 for a night in a hotel. This way the people who can afford to can add multiple gifts to their cart – to a maximum spend of £1300 per transaction. And those on a budget can still treat to you a meaningful experience for a fiver and leave a message along with their gift.

Remember people are attracted to beautiful things

They just are. And whilst beauty is in the eye of the beholder, no-one likes a pixelated image. We’ve got a gorgeous image gallery, so whether you’re customising one of our honeymoon templates or creating your patchwork from scratch we’ve got lots of high quality photos for you to use. But if you want to use your own images check they don’t pixelate when you add them to your patchwork. It might sound weird, but people will choose to click on quality images (and give more generously) if it looks like you’ve made an effort to make your patchwork appeal to them.

Enjoy playing around

You can customise and publish a readymade honeymoon patchwork in less than 5 minutes by adding a title and linking it to your PayPal account. But if you’ve got half an hour with a cup or tea or a glass of wine it can be fun to play around. Whether you’re creating a patchwork from scratch or using a readymade template it’s easy to crop, rotate and replace images within your patches, add new patches or delete ones you don’t want. And if you’re a Pinterest addict you’ll love the ability to resize patches and move them around your page until you’re happy with your layout. Just drag and drop them wherever you like and use the pink corners to resize and reshape.

Don’t limit the choice of gifts for your guests

You can set a quantity for each item or experience within a patch. So if you want two return flights, seven nights in a hotel and one tandem skydive you can set these quantities once you’ve set your prices. Just click to answer the question ‘How many do you want?’ and enter the number. Then, once this number of items or experiences have been bought, the patches will say ‘Sold out’.

This makes sense for one-off items or experiences, so that the people who choose to give these gifts know that they have paid for a particular trip or treat. But overall we recommend you leave most patch items ‘unlimited’. Particularly things you plan to have a lot of – like meals, ice-creams, cocktails or glasses of wine! If someone buys you 100 beers it doesn’t mean you have to drink them all – you can just use the excess money towards something more wholesome like a massage. And if six people chose to fund a single boat trip that’s also okay. When you’re on the boat you can take a photo and upload it to your Patchwork account. Then just choose to ‘Thank by patch’ to send the photo along with a message to all of the individuals who contributed to the trip.

Leaving the majority of your patch items ‘unlimited’ enables you to collect the maximum funds and also ensures latecomers don’t try to buy you a gift on the morning of your wedding to find that all the options have ‘sold out’.

Don’t forget to say thank you

You can prepare an automatic thank you before you publish your patchwork so that your friends and family can see your message (and a photo if you’d like to add one) as soon as they’ve contributed. This is this easiest way to immediately show appreciation of your guest’s gifts. But with details of contributors’ names and emails (postal addresses are optional) in your account, along with a record of what they bought, how much they spent and the message they left, it’s easy to thank friends properly on return from your honeymoon, with photos of you enjoying your experience.

You can thank friends via your Patchwork account (individually, by patch or as a group) with an image and a message in an email. And if you’d like to post thank you cards you can download a CSV spreadsheet of everyone’s details from your account, then send thank you cards using our 20% discount with Patchwork print partner MOO.

Ready to start your patchwork? Browse our customisable honeymoon fund templates here.

Tips for Organising a Party with Patchwork

organise a party with patchwork

If you’re planning to use Patchwork to organise a party, check out our top tips before you get started:

Keep it simple

The secret to getting people to help with a party is to be clear about the plan, set out a range of specific ways they can help and then allow them to decide what they’d like to do.

Whilst people don’t respond well to vague pleas for help, they also don’t like to be assigned tasks that may not suit their skills, available time or interest. So clarity and choice is key.

Start out by clearly setting out the plan for the party, who it’s for and why. It helps if you can summarise all of this in your patchwork title e.g. ‘Ben’s surprise 30th party’, ‘Kate’s hen do in Copenhagen’, ‘Elise’s baby shower’. Then use the patchwork description to explain exactly what it is you want people to do i.e:

‘To celebrate [insert name] [insert occasion] we want to organise the best party ever. And we’re hoping you can all help. Please click around the patchwork below and show your love for [insert name] by choosing something to fund, make or do. Love and thanks, [your name].’

patchwork party

Make it personal

Don’t be afraid to make your patchwork personal. Use your images and words to share more about what is it you want and who it’s for. If you’re organising a party for a friend, remind everyone how much they love him with pictures of him and an anecdote or two.

This doesn’t have to mean creating a patchwork from scratch. You can customise one of our readymade party patchworks, then simply tweak a few words to personalise it and add or delete patches to suit your needs.

You can also add a banner image and a profile photo. So there are lots of opportunities for your friends to see the giftee’s happy face, remember how much they love them, and then give generously!

Give options to fund, make or do

While some people will be cash rich and time poor, others will be the opposite. One friend might have a couple of hours to bake a cake but not much money to buy a gift. Another might want to flex their creative skills to show their love. And someone else might just prefer to pay towards a barrel of beer. There are times in our lives when we are more interested and able to contribute cash, time or skills to help make a party happen – so make sure all the options are available.

Whether you want to customise one of our readymade party patchworks or create your own from scratch you’ll see that you have the ability to assign an action to each patch. Automatically set to ‘Fund’, you can set a patch to ask people to ‘Make’ or ‘Do’.

Asking people upfront to fund a wedding party or baby shower might feel a bit uncomfortable. So including make and do options in a patchwork removes any awkwardness around the money side of things. While most people will opt for the ease of giving money, they will be grateful for having been given the choice.

patchwork party

Be specific about quantities

If you need 10 cakes made for the dessert table, add an image of a cake to a patch, set it to ‘Make’ and then set your quantity to 10. Then one person can choose to bake ten or 10 people can choose to bake one. Either way, once you’ve got 10 cakes being made this patch will say ‘Sold out’ for future contributors.

In your account you’ll then be able to see the person(s) who has pledged to bake your cakes so you can send individual or group messages to all bakers to discuss the details.

This same principle applies to the 2 people you need to help with decorations, the 5 hours of DJ-ing required, the 15 dishes you need making, the 5 embarrassing hen do games that need organising or the 1 new-baby playlist that needs putting together.

Use your patchwork as an invite

You can add an event date in your patchwork and include venue address, contact email and any other event details. This means your page can act as an invite/event page as well as a DIY party planning tool. Handy, not just to keep all the party info in one place, but because people visiting your page to find out the plan will be inspired to help while they are there.

Gift your party patchwork

If you’re organising a party for a friend, you can ‘Gift’ them their patchwork once the party’s over so that they can read everyone’s messages and send thanks when they’re ready.

All you need to do is ‘Gift’ the patchwork from your account by adding their email address and a message, then they’ll be sent a unique login and instructions to see their gift page. A gifted Patchwork page will show your title, description and all the patch images and descriptions – which you can edit if you like. But it wont show prices or give the option to fund anymore, as this page is presented to the person receiving the gift. This person will be able to see all the messages from friends at the bottom of the patchwork (along with their happy faces if they choose to upload photos too). And then they can click to ‘Send thanks’ when they are ready.

Ready to start your patchwork? Browse our customisable party templates here.

Tips for Organising a Group Gift with Patchwork

If you’re planning to use Patchwork to organise a group gift for a loved one check out our top tips before you get started:

Make it obvious

Most people have chipped in towards a gift for a friend, work colleague or family member before, so the principle behind Patchwork won’t be a new concept. Your friends will be grateful for an easy and secure way to contribute towards a present without having to do a bank transfer or dig out some cash to chuck in a hat. All you need to do is show them the gift you’re asking them to contribute towards and tell them who it’s for and why.

It helps if you can summarise the plan in your patchwork title e.g. ‘A cot for the new baby’, ‘Holly’s Christmas Handbag’ or ‘A bee hive for mum’s 60th’.  Then use the patchwork description to explain exactly what it is you want people to do, i.e:

‘There’s really only one thing [insert name] really wants/needs for their [insert occasion] and so instead of buying surprise gifts I thought it’d be nice if we could all chip in towards one. Just click around the patchwork to contribute whatever you can and leave a message with your gift at the end. Love and thanks, [your name].’

patchwork group gift

Make it personal

You’re inviting friends to chip in towards a gift for someone they know and love, so make sure your request feels personal. Use your words to share not just an idea for a group gift but also to say something about the person you all care about.

You can add a banner image, a profile image and include your own photos within your patchwork. So there are lots of opportunities for all those people contributing to see the face of the person you’ll celebrating, remember how much they love them – and then give generously!

Break it down

If you’re looking for inspiration for a group gift we’ve got tons of templates for you to choose from. So whether it’s a new bike, a work of art, a new tattoo, a cookery course, a vegetable patch or a weekend in Paris, you’ll find a readymade patchwork to customise – already broken down into a range of individually priced pieces.

However if we don’t have a template for the gift you want to fund you can do one of two things:

Create your own from scratch:

The easiest and quickest way to do this is to add a single image to your patchwork page and give it an affordable price – say £10. Then people who visit your page can simply press ‘Fund’ and then adjust the item quantity in the basket to increase their contribution i.e. 5 x £10 = £50 total. However breaking down a big ticket item or experience into a patchwork of component parts makes for a much more fun and engaging experience for contributors – allowing them to choose which piece of the gift to fund according to their budget and interest.

Tell us:

Our readymade patchworks are inspired by our users, so if you tell us what you want to fund, and we think it might be popular, we will create a new readymade patchwork for you and others to use made up of copyright-free imagery. Alternatively, if you have a particular image that you’d like us to ‘patchwork’ for you – you can email hello@patchworkit.com and we’ll split it into 2, 4, 6 or 8 pieces for you.

Spread the cost

All of our readymade group gift patchworks contain a number of different priced patches. You can adjust these set prices when you customise one of our templates. But we do recommend that you retain a range of prices across your patchwork, whether you customise or create from scratch, so everyone can afford to contribute something. Each patch can be priced between £1 – £500 and the maximum one person can contribute in one transaction is £1300.

group gift

Don’t limit your guests choice of gifts

You can set a quantity for each item or experience within a patch. So if you’re organising a surprise trip to Paris for your mum and dad’s anniversary you might want to include 2 return Eurostar tickets, 3 nights in a hotel and 1 dinner for two at the Moulin Rouge. To do this just click to answer the question ‘How many do you want?’ after you’ve set the price for each patch, then enter the number you want. Then, once this number of items or experiences have been bought, the patches will say ‘Sold out’.

This makes sense for one-off items or experiences, so that the people who choose to give these gifts know that they have paid for a particular trip or treat. But overall we recommend you leave most patch items ‘unlimited’. Particularly things people will want a lot of – like meals or metro tickets, baguettes or glasses of wine.

And remember you don’t have to be too literal. Creating a patchwork is a fun and practical way to breakdown the cost of a big ticket item. But you don’t need to be too precise. For example, everyone knows a bike has two wheels, one saddle and a bell. But if you want to customise our children’s bike for a birthday present, it makes sense to leave all the patches unlimited. It really doesn’t matter if 10 people contribute towards the basket. Once you’ve collected all the cash gifts, bought the bike and your child is happily riding along with their teddy in the basket, you can take a photo and upload it to your Patchwork account. Then just choose to ‘Thank by patch’ to send the photo along with a message to all of the individuals who bought this gift.

Leaving the majority of your patch items ‘unlimited’ enables you to collect the maximum funds and ensure people don’t arrive at the patchwork to find everything has ‘sold out’.

Gift your patchwork

Once you’re ready, you can present your Patchwork page to the person receiving your group gift so they can see the digital version of their gift or experience, read everyone’s messages and send thanks when they are ready.

All you need to do is ‘Gift’ the patchwork from your account by adding their email address and a message and they’ll be sent a unique login and instructions to see their gift page. A gifted Patchwork page will show your title, description and all the patch images and descriptions – which you can edit if you like. But it wont show prices or give the option to fund anymore as this page is presented to the person receiving the gift. This person will be able to see all the messages from friends at the bottom of the patchwork (along with their happy faces if they choose to upload photos too). And then they can click to ‘Send thanks’ when they’re ready.

Don’t forget to say thank you

You can prepare an automatic thank you before you publish your patchwork so that people contributing can see a message (and a photo of the person you’re celebrating) as soon as they’ve contributed. This is this easiest way to immediately show appreciation to those giving a gift. But with details of contributors’ names and emails (postal addresses are optional) in the Patchwork account, along with a record of what people have bought, how much they’ve spent and the message they left, it’s easy for you and/or the person receiving the gift to thank everyone properly later.

Patchwork creators and those who are gifted a patchwork can thank their friends via their Patchwork account. You can do this individually, by patch or as a group with an image and a message in an email. And if you’d like to post thank you cards you can download a CSV spreadsheet of everyone’s details from your account, then send thank you cards using our 20% discount with our print partner MOO.

Ready to start your patchwork? Browse customisable templates here.

Rosie & Barry’s Honeymoon in Bali – Funded by Friends

bali honeymoon fund

Barry and Rosie lived in the same halls at Uni and Rosie plucked up the courage to ask Barry out after spotting him in the bar she worked in. He said yes and the couple will have been together for ten years this month. We asked Rosie about their wedding day and the couple’s Bali honeymoon fund.

How did you get engaged?

Barry surprised me with a trip to Budapest in December 2014. He got hold of my grandmother’s engagement ring from my mum, that my grandad and dad had proposed with.  He took me to the highest spot in the city, got down on one knee (in a puddle) and asked me to be his wife.  He had even made a photo collage of pictures of us with the words ‘Will you marry me?’ written across it.

What kind of wedding did you plan?

A summer wedding in the Cotswolds village where my mum lives. We got married in the local church, then the procession walked down the lane to the reception, which was held in a flower garden and marquee, with beautiful views across the countryside. My mum grew all the wedding flowers, sewed all the bunting and made our cake. Barry and I put a lot of work into the wedding, including hand-making each favour and brewing our own beer.

bali honeymoon fund

What was your first dance?

It was supposed to be Penny and the Quarters – You and Me; but we were enjoying ourselves so much we missed our cue and ended up dancing to Estelle – American Boy first instead!

Why did you choose Patchwork for your gift registry?

We have lived together for many years and have everything we need for our home. We wanted an easy way for guests to give a gift if they wanted to. We thought Patchwork had a great design and it was really simple to customise.

As a couple we have been on plenty of city breaks but have never been further afield than Croatia before. So we set up a honeymoon fund for a two week trip to Bali – our dream honeymoon.

We felt grateful, loved & lucky knowing all of our friends and family had chipped in towards our dream trip, and they thought it was a novel way to give a wedding gift.

bali honeymoon fund

Would you recommend your trip to other honeymooners?

We had a fantastic time in Bali – we travelled to three different parts of the country and found each one exciting and unique. We wouldn’t hesitate to recommend our honeymoon to others looking for a mixture of adventure and relaxation.


Thank you Barry and Rosie for sharing your sweet 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.

Photography by www.millarcole.com

Sofia’s Career Break in India: A Photo Diary

We’ve written about the fear, joy and many rewards that come with taking a career break. And although we hope everyone at Patchwork will sit still for the next few years we’re very happy that the lovely Sofia has packed her bags and taken six months off for a once in a lifetime adventure. And the best bit? She’s going to chart her journey through India and Southeast Asia, checking in every now and then to share her photo diary and five top tips for each place she visits. Over to you Sofia…

First stop, Northern India:

 

If you plan to explore Rajasthan be prepared to experience an assault on your senses – the sounds of beeping cars, calling birds and chants of prayers. Vivid colours painted across the walls, woven through the silks of the saris and displayed in the array of fruits, jewels and trinkets. The constant smell of mud, dirt and cow dung mixed with delicious spices and curries, the sweet scent of sugary desserts and sharp tangy chutneys. Around every corner, a new experience awaits you.

With a civilisation dating back to 3000BC India has a rich oral history, so wherever you go you’ll hear stories of ancient rulers, fables from the gods and reasons behind local superstitions and social rituals.

Rajasthan, filled with palaces, forts and temples, has a majestic charm that transports you back to a different era. Also, being more traditional than other parts of the country, you can see how other areas are undergoing a cultural transformation in comparison. During my time here I shared a meal with the local Sikh community in the Gurudwaras, walked with rats in a temple, rode camels through the desert, haggled in the markets, explored many ancient ruin and had my fortune told (all looking good. Phew).

Travelling through the north of the country is by no means a laid back journey, so to love it requires time and patience. But once you get used to the pace, it’s somewhere you can become completely absorbed, surrounded by friendly faces and with so much to see and do.  

 

Sofia’s Northern India Top Five:

  1. Get a sleeper train: a squashed and hot experience but a great chance to meet people and appreciate the stunning scenery from sunrise to sunset.
  2. Take a guided tour around the Taj Fort: the architecture alone is amazing but the stories behind the fort give crucial context and bring the experience to life.
  3. Visit Udaipur: Soak up the artistic vibes against the beautiful backdrop of the lake.
  4. Enjoy ‘fast food’ in Kanha, Jaipur: Really cheap and you can try a massive selection of  street foods.
  5. Get a boat in Varanasi at the Ghats: Watch the sunset ceremony and learn about the Hindu approach to death.

Next up: Sofia’s photos from Southern India.

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