We met Laura one day this summer when we heard a loud “Oh my god! It’s Patchwork!” outside our studio. It had come from Laura, who’d just realised she’d stumbled across the company she’d used for her honeymoon fund the year before. She was very surprised to find a real-life-brick-and-mortar space with actual humans working away at their desks inside it. We made her a cup of tea, offered her little girl a biscuit, and asked her all about how she’d used our website. It turns out Laura and Julian are design lovers through-and-through. That’s why they chose us. And why they chose to ask for contributions towards their honeymoon to the land of beautiful, simple design – Japan. This is their Patchwork story.
Why did you decide on Japan for your honeymoon?
Julian and I have always appreciated the simplicity of Japanese design and were especially keen to explore the different areas in Tokyo. Ideally during the infamous cherry blossom season. We both travel for work – beyond Europe to the US and China – and are lucky enough to have holidayed in various places worldwide too. But, at the time of booking, we had both not made it to Japan. This was our chance!
Why did you choose Patchwork for your honeymoon fund?
My husband stumbled upon it when we were planning our wedding. I say stumbled… Julian is a fastidious researcher (I’m the mildly impulsive one!) so spent hours trawling the internet for a decent alternative gift-list platform for us to use as our honeymoon piggy bank. We both work in design so Patchwork’s aesthetic really appealed, and the simplicity of setting it up while doing a million other stressful wedding related things pleased us both too.
What made you ask for contributions towards your honeymoon?
Having been together for 9 years, Julian and I had already amassed everything we needed for the house. As we were blowing all of our money on the wedding itself, however, we knew we wouldn’t have any leftover for a honeymoon, so decided to ask guests to contribute towards a trip of a lifetime to Japan. We felt a bit cheeky asking people to bring money to the wedding and thought of adding our bank details to the website we had made. Instead, thankfully, Julian discovered Patchwork – it meant we could better explain to guests what we intended to do with the money and gave them a chance to contribute to something physical, like a bullet train ride or a night in a traditional Ryokan.
How did you go about planning your trip?
We booked everything ourselves, a short while after the wedding. We got married at the end of October so had a good few months to plan our Japanese adventure before the blossom season in April. It was good to have the funds from the Patchwork in-waiting, so we could dip into them as and when we found Airbnb accommodation and the best flights. The funds were only marginally reduced by our minimoon to the Lake District, an immediate post-wedding treat to escape all the madness, avoid returning to work and revel in the amazing day we had spent with all our favourite people. Oh and make a baby!
What did your wedding guests think about Patchwork?
We heard nothing but good things – people thought it was very novel! Obviously we received a few cheques from the older generations, and a couple of unexpected real life gifts (we especially appreciated the huge slab of Mast Brothers chocolate!). We have also experienced Patchwork from a wedding guest perspective and can say it felt very inclusive and much more personal to be able to choose what treats to buy the bride and groom.
How did you feel when you set off on your honeymoon knowing friends and family had helped fund it?
It was very special. We would never have saved up enough money to completely spoil ourselves the way we were able to with everyone’s help. We probably would have been too sensible to even book it at all! By the time the trip came about I was almost 6 months pregnant, so we clubbed together with our air miles and flew business class, stopping off in Hong Kong on the way there and back to break up the journey. We promised everyone a photo session on our return, to show people what they had contributed to. Mainly pictures of Julian finishing off all the Sake! That in itself is a reason to return to Japan when Hazel is older, to show her the sights that she missed, and so I can tuck into some Japanese beer and sushi.
Thank you Laura & Julian for sharing your patchwork story with us. And a huge congratulations from Team Patchwork!
Wedding photography by Matt Penberthy