James and Lucy met at University and got together in their final year. 16 years later and they’re newly married and living in Brockley, London. They’re a seriously creative couple – James is a fantastic wordsmith and Lucy is a super talented designer and illustrator (her beautifully illustrated patchwork really caught our eye). Their love for all things creative plays a huge part in their lives, and influenced their wedding in a big way. We asked them all about their day, and the unconventional honeymoon that followed.
How did you get engaged?
James originally asked me in a fairly casual way during a lovely evening out at the theatre. It was so casual in fact that I didn’t realise he was asking me and a few days later he asked me again. I had a few reasons why I wasn’t sure if I could go ahead with a wedding so I said I needed to think. (None of these reasons were to do with James or our relationship!) James said he would wait and I was under no pressure to say yes. He gave me a ring to put on if I ever felt I was ready.
A few weeks later on New Year’s Eve I was cooking us a meal and decided it was what I wanted and we could have a wedding no matter what anybody thought. Nothing mattered but us. So we ate our meal and then went up to Hilly Fields park to watch the fireworks at midnight. James didn’t know I had sneaked the ring onto my finger! At midnight I took my hand out of my pocket and I emotionally said to James “I’m ready!” Not the conventional proposal at all but it always makes me smile.
Perfect. What kind of wedding did you want?
We knew we wanted a small, intimate wedding and only had 25 guests. We wanted to be able to chat to everyone properly during the day and we’re quite private people really so a big wedding really didn’t appeal. 60 more guests joined us in the evening.
How did the wedding planning go?
We kept it really simple, I’m not a massive wedding person really and we didn’t want to spend years agonising over little details so we kind of decided to strip it back. We honestly just wanted everyone we cared about under one roof and that was all that mattered. I designed all the invites and made all the simple things things we chose to have like the favours, some signs and envelopes containing Oyster cards for our guests.
Tell us about the day.
After getting married at Camden Town Hall we all got the tube one stop to our wedding reception and it was honestly one of the highlights of the day. All the guests thought it was a novelty and we had so many strangers wishing us well, including one old man who said he and his wife did the same thing years ago! We didn’t want to be too conventional so I did a speech, along with my new mother in law!
What was your first dance?
(I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons / You Send Me by Willie Hightower
Why did you choose Patchwork for your gift list?
Originally (and trying to break with convention again!) we weren’t going to ask for wedding presents because we felt that wasn’t why we were getting married and we didn’t want people to have that extra expense. But so many people asked us what we wanted that we gave in!
Living in Brockley I had seen the Patchwork studio but didn’t know what it was all about. James told me and I thought it was just perfect for our wedding gift list.
As well as it being a great concept, we were really keen to support a local business. (To the point that when my dad said “Can’t I just give you the cash so they don’t take a cut?” I firmly explained that Patchwork is a local business and to please give through the website!) Being a freelance designer myself I was particularly insistent on this – if everyone said that then there wouldn’t be a business at all!
That is brilliant, thank you. So what did you decide to fund?
We wanted to fund our honeymoon to Slovenia as even a smallish wedding is rather pricey! Our main expense was staying in a tree house by Lake Bled, and the flights. We were conscious of the fact that guests would have very different budgets so we included things of low prices too. It was important that people felt they were involved in helping us fund activities regardless of the amount they contributed.
It was very touching to read people’s wedding messages to us on the website. People were very generous and we were able to enjoy the honeymoon without worrying at all about money. It was lovely knowing all those friends and family cared about us.
And our friends thought it was great, quick and simple to use, and nice to know what they were putting their money towards.
Why did you choose Slovenia for your honeymoon?
Neither of us are sunbathers and we like to get away from it all as we live in hectic London. Slovenia had it all in terms of gorgeous scenery, forests, turquoise lakes and rivers, and tranquility. Oh, and it was within my less-than-three-hours flight time as I am terrified of flying!
We’d definitely recommend it – it was absolutely stunning and there was plenty of time to contemplate and plan our new, married lives!
Hooray. Thanks for chatting to us and a huge congratulations from Team Patchwork.