Steph and John met 9 years ago when they were both travelling with friends in Australia. After they got chatting on a small Whitsunday island, they realised their parents lived fifteen minutes apart and that they even had a few mutual friends. It really is a small world! They travelled along the East Coast and spent New Year together, but Steph had to get back home to start a job. So far, so holiday romance, right? Wrong! As soon as Steph got home, John called her and they spent the next few months Skyping (thank God for technology) until they could be in each other’s arms again. Aww. Skip forward almost a decade and they’re newlyweds! We asked Steph all about their sunny wedding and Patchworked honeymoon.
How did you get engaged?
John proposed to me during a friend’s 30th birthday weekend. We had gone to a cute forest cabin weekend thing and were all out trying to walk off the amount of alcohol we had consumed the night before. There was an amazing field of flowers so I decided to run through the field in an ethereal way (maybe I was still a bit drunk?!). John came running after me which I thought was weird and then when he caught up with me he was staring at me in a CRAZY way. I asked him if he was ok and then he got down on one knee. I honestly have no idea what he said or what I said, apart from yes of course.
We hear you had an amazing hen do – tell us more!
My bridesmaids are my best mates, Kat, Lex, Carly and Amber. They are the dream team and organised the most amazing hen, focusing on my other true love; Eastenders. It was fancy dress and friends arrived as everyone from Bepe DiMarco to Nancy Carter, 2 Bianca’s and Wellard. My friend Laura came as the River Thames and painted herself blue! I had 3 character changes throughout the evening, Bianca Jackson, Shirley Carter and Peggy Mitchell. There were Eastenders themed games throughout the evening (The Wheel of Walford was a highlight) lots of shots and a cardboard cut-out of Danny Dyer. It was the best night ever.
What kind of wedding did you plan?
We just wanted our wedding to be fun. We wanted everyone to feel like they were on holiday and we wanted it to last for more than one day. John also suggested it should be outside of the UK as he knows I can SOMETIMES get too into the detail and over worry. He suggested if the wedding location wasn’t within arm’s reach it would help me as I could only do so much. While at times this was hard, it was the best decision we made. We planned to visit a few different European cities and try and find somewhere we liked but as soon as we visited Lisbon we fell in love and knew that was where we were going to get married.
We got married at Quinta De Sant’ana, a vineyard location about 30mins outside of central Lisbon. There were 100 guests, mainly friends to be honest and pretty much everyone came for the whole weekend. Our welcome drinks on Thursday was almost as epic as the wedding! Our friends Carly and Tas officiated the ceremony, one of our friends was MoC and we had our friends do DJ sets, it all felt really personal and unique to us.
We had the legal bit in London a few days before we flew to Lisbon. This was at Hackney Town Hall and we invited our family (no friends) to our local pub in the evening to celebrate which truly was a lovely day. I feel so lucky we got to have two weddings with all the people we love.
Did you have a first dance? What was it?
We did. I love dancing one of my number one priorities was to create a wedding situation that ensured the dancefloor was full all night long. That was the main reason we had a first dance, I knew it would ensure everyone was in one place on the dancefloor for when the music started! Our first dance was Everywhere by Fleetwood Mac but to be honest, the second tune was most important as that was the track we wanted to get everyone dancing. That song was Vogue!
What advice would you give to other couples on their wedding day?
Try, try, try to not worry about little things on the day and be in the moment. It’s one day/weekend and it flies by. My dress was a bit big on the day and I have no memory of walking down the aisle or the ceremony really as I was just worried about my dress falling down! And I guess with that in mind my other piece of advice would be make sure your outfit fits you properly! Ha!
How did you decide to use Patchwork?
We wanted to fund our honeymoon to America, starting in New York, flying to Nashville, then driving all the way to the Florida Keys. We really wanted our friends to feel like they helped us do the amazing things we got do on our honeymoon. It made the honeymoon even more special. My friend had used Patchwork for her wedding gift list so we knew how nice it was to feel like you are contributing to your friend’s honeymoon happiness! It’s just so easy and everything is online, even your busiest friends and oldest family members can use it.
What kinds of things did your friends treat you to?
Someone bought us an evening at a New Orleans Jazz night – this was quite possible our favourite evening of the whole honeymoon. Our friend recommended seeing The Soul Rebels who were playing in New Orleans when we were there. They are an eight-piece band who play Jazz but sprinkled with hip-hop, pop, funk and rock. If you ever see them listed anywhere, GO.
We were also given water park tickets – despite being a total wimp and frightened of everything I weirdly love water parks so including this on our patchwork was super exciting! Nothing can beat a Universal Studios water park. The number 1 ride at Volcano Bay involves climbing to the top of said volcano and getting into a plastic capsule with a trapdoor. The floor disappears beneath you and you free fall into a tube that just shoots you out at the bottom of the volcano . The whole thing is over in about 10 seconds. It is AMAZING.
Friends also chipped in towards our hotel in New York – putting this on our patchwork allowed us to stay in a great part of Manhattan. And this hotel had a happy hour that included Whispering Angel – my FAV rosé. Dreamy.
Would you recommend your trip to other honeymooners?
If you are interested in food, music and culture this is the honeymoon for you. Seeing how the food and music changed from place to place was super interesting. And then being big kids in Florida was the perfect end to our epic adventure.
Thank you Steph & John for sharing your Patchwork story with us. And a huge congratulations from Team Patchwork!
P.s Listen to John & Steph’s first dance song(s!) in our ‘First Dance’ Spotify playlist, made up of our lovely Patchwork Couple’s first dances.