On the blog today we chat to ultimate Patchwork couple Ali & Richard. They’re from Bucks and Herts originally, and met at a climbing wall seven years ago. Having spent four years living in London, they’ve recently bought a house in the Chilterns that they’re slowly renovating themselves. They planned an AMAZING low-waste, DIY micro wedding with their community chipping in to make it happen in true Patchwork style! They are such a talented and resourceful pair, they even made their own wedding rings, illustrated their own stationery and had Ali’s mum (who is a Vicar) marry them. Read on for some incredible wedding inspo…
How did you get engaged?
We’d been talking about getting married for a while but hadn’t put a timeline on it. I was dead set against the idea of a proposal or an engagement ring, but Richard is a bit more traditional than I am. So, on Christmas day, after we’d had a conversation and decided that we would get married in the coming year, he secretly made an origami ring and proposed at Christmas dinner. Origami is his ‘thing’; he makes me mini origami sculptures instead of birthday cards each year.
What kind of wedding did you plan?
We had a micro-wedding that was DIY, low-waste, relaxed, and very much a community effort. My mum is a Vicar, so she married us in her church, and then we celebrated in the vicarage garden afterwards. In keeping with our low waste and DIY theme we prepared the majority of our wedding ourselves. We made our own wedding rings, arranged the flowers, altered my dress and dried homegrown flower petals for confetti. We also made the garden games, styled the table and the tent, and illustrated the stationery ourselves. Our community helped us so much too, which we were so grateful for. People lent us crockery and cutlery, made confetti, helped with gardening and the arranging the church flowers. We even had two friends come over and help do the washing up on the day!
On our wedding day, there were 19 of us, just our close families. We all met at the vicarage for a drink beforehand and then walked over to church and Richard and I walked in together. The service was live-streamed to friends and family further afield, and we had some local friends join us after the service for the confetti moment.
Back at the vicarage we had a delicious veggie and vegan meal in the garden under a stretch tent, followed by carrot cake, drinks, garden games and a fire pit.
The following day we had extended family and friends over for afternoon tea and drinks, which enabled us to celebrate with more people and it extended the festivities. The Saturday went so quickly!
What was your favourite part of the day?
Obviously apart from the moment we got married, we really enjoyed gathering with our guests before the service. There was so much anticipation and we were all really excited, especially after not being able to have gatherings for so long (we got married the week the pandemic restrictions finally lifted). Coming out of the church was also a great moment. Having friends waiting for us outside with confetti was really lovely and it felt like we could relax and enjoy the celebrations.
What made you choose Patchwork for your gift registry?
I think we were always going to have asked for experiences over physical gifts, which is what we value. We just didn’t want to acquire a bunch of stuff to fill our house and weigh us down. So, we were on the lookout for a platform that could enable us to collect donations rather than gifts.
Patchwork was recommended to us when we had a session with a wedding planner, Rachel Harrison of The Capston Second. We won the session in a competition as part of the Something Green virtual eco wedding fair run by the North London Waste Authority.
What did you invite your guests to help fund?
We initially just wanted contributions to a National Trust Lifetime Membership that we knew we would use for the rest of our lives. After seeing a few examples of other patchworks, we realised that expanding our ‘offering’ would make it more engaging for our family and friends. So we included a few experiences for our honeymoon in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland; a meal out, canoe hire, cocktails, a fancy picnic, a night’s accommodation, etc.
What was the best bit about using Patchwork?
Our page was really easy to share with people and we could manage what people gave us. It was also great to offer a variety of experiences and prices ranges. We really enjoyed seeing all the messages coming in during the run-up to the wedding. I think most people thought it was a really good idea and it was nice for them to be able to contribute to our honeymoon. It really felt like our family and friends were helping us have those experiences. We only had one guest who got a bit confused and managed to end up on an Italian lingerie site by accident!
Oops! We’ve not heard that one before! Would you recommend your trip to other honeymooning couples?
Yes, if you like that sort of trip. We had lots of outdoor activities and we stayed in a luxury cabin in the woods with an outdoor bath and lots of wildlife. It was bliss. Dumfries and Galloway is not often top of the list when visiting Scotland, but it really is very beautiful and had so much going on.
Is there anything else you’d like to share about your wedding planning experience?
Just to say thanks to Patchwork, your service allowed our friends and family to easily contribute to a special time in our lives.
Aw, thank YOU so much Ali and Richard for sharing these really beautiful words and photos of your special day. Congratulations from us all, we’re so glad to have a small part in it!
If you’ve been inspired by Ali & Richard’s wedding day and gift registry, why not get started on your own unique Patchwork page, whether it’s a DIY wedding, a National Trust membership or a honeymoon to Scotland! Or you can have them all and more by starting a page from scratch.
Finally here are some of the amazing suppliers who added the finishing touches to their day:
Photographer: Amanda Ward
Tent: Stretch & Tents
Food: The Food Witch
Cake: The Mad Batter
Planner: Rachel Harrison at Capston Second
Ringmaking workshop: Rosalyn’s Emporium
Dress: Needle & Thread
Honeymoon accommodation in Scotland: Treetop Lodge