Justin and Mark met at a formal dinner for the Gay & Lesbian Association of Doctors and Dentists (GLADD) back in 2012, and have been pretty much inseparable ever since. Their shared love of friends, music, travel and cookery shows soon led them to realise that life was better as a pair. We had a chat to Justin about their wedding, and honeymoon patchwork:
How did you get engaged?
I’d said that I would marry Mark when I was ready but it was up to Mark to choose the time. On a trip to California, having brought an engagement ring from Tiffany, Mark tried several times to set up the perfect proposal moment – a walk across the golden gate bridge (interrupted by other tourists wanting help with their cameras), a romantic lunch on the harbour (spoilt by a horrendous parking experience) – each time he went to get on one knee something went wrong.
So we came back to England un-engaged and Mark booked us dinner at our favourite restaurant – unfortunately the chef had changed and the food was truly awful…so that didn’t work either, the second night we went out to dinner again, this time I was getting suspicious, and after a beautiful meal of ornate sushi Mark finally popped the question!
What kind of wedding did you plan?
The hardest thing about planning the wedding was keeping the numbers down, We’re serious entertainers – our annual fancy dress halloween party is a major social event! But once the venue was secured, the gorgeous Royal College of General Practitioners, 30 Euston Square, it was reasonably down hill from there….
The wedding was beautiful with a rainbow theme playing out in the spectacular flowers by Liz at Blue Sky Flowers and a rainbow of cupcakes from Crumbs & Doilies, there was a colourful theme that fitted with our wedding programmes and theme designed by our close friend Shane Lukas.
Our wedding march was played by a close friend and we were sung to by an a cappella choir of university friends, after the ceremony we left the ceremony to the Pink Singers who sung us out to A Million Love Songs. We were really blessed to be joined by Sister Glo Euro’N Wei, sister of perpetual indulgence from Seattle, who gave us a blessing after the ceremony and our dear friend Misty Eyez from Florida who was our Matron of Ceremony.
We had around 100 guests for the ceremony and meal and then a further 40 in the evening who joined us for a delicious cheese board and sweet table, and danced the night away to fabulous music by Black and Gold. Photographs are a key part of any wedding and we were lucky to have Chiron Cole and her husband with us for the day and evening.
Why did you choose Patchwork for your gift list?
We’re fortunate to have lots of stuff already and we really didn’t want another china dinner service, Patchwork gave us a way for friends and loved ones to contribute towards our honeymoon experience and helped them feel they were really part of something unique.
What did you decide to fund?
We asked guests to contribute through patchwork to our honeymoons – we had a three stage honeymoon – a mini moon in Edinburgh straight after the wedding, then a midi-moon in Chicago and then for the main honeymoon we flew into Washington DC and then drove over ten days down to Fort Lauderdale where we joined a cruise of the Caribbean with AlandChuck Travel and 40 drag queens from the iconic RuPaul’s Drag Race. Because I’m an extreme planner, we had the honeymoons and road-trips mapped out with lots of restaurants we wanted to try and food tours and other fun things, and the cruise was full of opportunities, so we were able to create a really rich patchwork of options for people to choose from.
What was the best thing about using Patchwork?
It was great to be able to truly enjoy our honeymoons and experiencing things that honestly after the expense of the wedding we wouldn’t have been able to afford. As we travelled we sent postcards from the places we visited to the people who had contributed through patchwork. It was a great way to keep track of who had contributed to each experience, so we were able to make the postcards a little bit more personal than the normal ‘hi, sun’s shining, wish you were here!’ type card. Our friends also loved the variation of options, and it gave them a more intimate understanding of our honeymoon plans.
Would you recommend your trip to other honeymooners?
Definitely, road trips are a great way to see a country and explore. We got to see very different sides of the US as we drove down the coast and across different states and explore different towns and cities.
Thank you for sharing your lovely story with us, Justin & Mark. And a huge congratulations from Team Patchwork.