It took Steven and Kahleen ten whole years to even start dating, but thankfully, with a little help from their cat, they got it together. Now they’re newly married and Kahleen’s here to tell us all about their big day, and why they decided to forgo traditional wedding gifts.
How long have you two been together?
We have been together for around 2 and a half years. We met through work around a decade ago, but never got to know each other as more than passing acquaintances. We had a meeting at the end of 2013 which was work for around 25 mins, but ended up going on for about 2 hours! Anyway, a couple of months later Steven plucked up the courage to ask if he could take me out.
How did you get engaged?
Fair warning here – the proposal story either makes people go ‘awwwwww!’ or roll their eyes! We have an indoor cat that I got from the Cat’s Protection League about 4 and a half years ago, and because she doesn’t go out, she doesn’t wear a collar. Steven bought her one and hung the ring from it, and when I got home from work he kept going on at me to look at this collar. I thought he had completely lost his marbles! Eventually, he persuaded to me to look (which I only did to stop him banging on about it!), and I found the ring. I was so surprised I couldn’t stop laughing, and when I turned around, Steven was on one knee. Then all he had to do then had to get the ring back from Hushpuppy!
What kind of wedding did you plan?
We knew we wanted a relaxed atmosphere, good food, good drinks, good music, and as many of our friends and family as humanly possible! We couldn’t have hoped for a more incredible day – our friends and family were on wonderful form, and we laughed (and cried!) our way through the entire day.
What was your first dance?
We don’t have ‘a song’, but for our first dance we had ‘Lucky’ by Jason Mraz and Colbie Caillat. We loved that it was a duet, and the lyrics fit how we feel perfectly. We learned a dance, but I can’t tell you how wrong it went – it was a farce! But no one cared!
What was your favourite part of the day?
It’s hard to choose a favourite part, but probably the massive cheer that went up when our Humanist Celebrant, Jen, announced we were husband and wife. It was hooligan-like, and kept going for ages!
Also, and this isn’t a specific part of the day, but both of us loved seeing friends and family mixing. It blew my mind seeing all these totally separate parts of my life coming together. People made such an effort to get to know each other, and it was very special.
Why did you choose Patchwork as your gift registry?
We struggled to work out what to do about a wedding list. For a time we weren’t going to have one, but as soon as we got engaged, people started asking our parents about gifts. We quickly realised it’s important to a lot of people that they give you something to help you on your way. As we are both in our mid-30s and have so much stuff already, we became a bit worried about getting boxed gifts we didn’t need or wouldn’t use. Also, given our flat in London is tiny, we actually just can’t fit any more in! We knew that what we truly needed was help buying our first place, and that meant asking for money. But how on earth do you do that politely?
We looked at quite a few sites, and signed up for more than one, but when I read an article in a newspaper about Patchwork, I thought it sounded perfect. When I went onto the site I knew I’d cracked it, and I thought it would be best to show Steven the site in action. I spent an hour or so creating a patchwork for us and showed it to him that night – he absolutely loved it. We then showed our parents – they are from a generation when things were done differently, and it can be sensitive when you’re asking family and friends for monetary gifts, so we wanted their advice – and they thought it was wonderful.
What was the best bit about using Patchwork?
Patchwork takes the stress out of organising, has the security of online gifting, and frankly, gives you a classy and personal way to ask for help.
We were utterly stunned by how generous our friends and family have been – it sounds like a cliché, but it’s true. I can’t even express how grateful we feel (there have been tears!). The amazing thing about Patchwork is the detail you can go into, the control you have over the elements such as what you ask for and how much it costs – it was really important to us to have gifts from £2, and we went no higher than £75 for an individual item – and also how much fun people can have personalising their own gift to you. Some people would spend a certain amount on “white goods”, and others would spend the same amount, but choose to go for “10 bricks”, “a patch of grass”, “a window”. It was totally up to them, and people told us they really enjoyed putting their gift together.
Our friends and family loved Patchwork too! We got some lovely messages, and various compliments about what a lovely idea it was, and how much people enjoyed using the site.
How will you feel when you put your deposit down on your home, knowing everyone has chipped in?
Amazing. We’ve been married for 6 weeks now and we are going to see some specific areas this weekend. We know it might take a while to find something, but we can’t wait until we can finally tell everyone that we’ve done it. Then all that will be left will be to invite them all round.. That’ll be a full house!
Photography by Craig & Eva Sanders.