Patrick and Julie are self-proclaimed ‘weirdo/geeks’. So when Patrick decided to propose, he knew he had to do something sufficiently geeky (and romantic!). What followed was an epic sci-fi treasure hunt, a very happy Julie, and a beautiful wedding. Patrick tells us all about their engagement, wedding day and the wonderful honeymoon that their friends and family helped to fund.
How did you get engaged?
This is probably more complicated than it should be. But she is more than worth it. I wanted to marry Julie after about three years of being together. Even though I always told her I never wanted to get married (which she was okay with but secretly wasn’t). So it was a complete surprise when it happened (so sneaky or clever depending).
I wanted to incorporate a bit of ourselves into it so I decided to do a sci-fi treasure hunt. I created illustrations and clues and a guide book to go along with the event which took a year to make and plan. I wanted to tie it in with our four year dating anniversary so Julie wouldn’t suspect it was a proposal, just a really good anniversary present.
I created invites for Julie and two friends to take part in the “mission to find the missing power loop” (wink). On the day I presented her with the book and the first clue which would lead her to the next and so on. Each location were places we had been to on dates and were special to us – seven in total.
(I thought it was going to be a logistical nightmare getting all these businesses to help but I was really surprised and grateful that all of them said yes they would.) The book of illustrations along with a “star map” would help her decipher the clues. Julie and her friends made it round London to all the locations with the last clue leading to me waiting at Opium – one of her favourite cocktail bars. She was instructed to bring all her clues with her.
After a drink I presented her with the eighth clue which was a star constellation chart. What she didn’t realise was that all the clue cards had bits of constellations on them, printed on tracing paper.. And that when stacked up in a certain way on top of the chart they spelled out ‘will you marry me?’. I got down on one knee in the middle of the bar and presented her with the ring. She said yes whilst crying. Ahhhhhh!
What kind of wedding did you plan?
We had to be clever for our wedding due to financial constraints, so we planned it for a year and a half to get it down to what we really wanted. We decided on a simple ceremony with sixty family and friends at Clissold house – a beautiful manor house set in a park in North London. For our reception we wanted an industrial/natural theme at the West Reservoir Centre, an art deco former water pump house on a boating lake just down the road.
We’re big on the organisation (Julie is the best at the spreadsheets, rotas and paraphernalia that goes with it) due to her job as a Health care assistant for disabled children. I try to keep up but mainly I bring the hands on skills as I’m a bookbinder. We did everything ourselves (not for the faint hearted!) from folding 800 origami butterflies to hang from the ceiling, making concrete planters with Maidenhair ferns for the table centrepieces, designing and printing the save the dates and invites. We had complete control over everything that went into it which was nice as it was a complete reflection of us and no-one else!
To bring our geekiness we had the Star Trek enterprise model for our guestbook and Marvel Avengers figures set in concrete for our table numbers. And for the natural elements, besides the origami, our florist (Your London Florist) made Kokedama (Japanese hanging plants) ferns to hang from the double height space. I always think it’s the details that make it special (that and an open bar!) and people will take that with them after the event. It was a lovely day, tiring but lovely.
What was your first dance?
Our first dance was to ‘Do You Wanna’ by the Arctic Monkeys. It was a disaster! I stepped on Julie’s dress so much. That’s one detail we ran out of time to perfect. We tried to do a foxtrot (learned of course through YouTube) as it was a pretty simple step. Yeah… it wasn’t. We have a video which we will never watch again!
Why was Patchwork the best wedding gift list?
We went to the Most Curious wedding show in Brick Lane, saw the Patchwork stand and thought it seemed like a really good idea. I mean it makes sense for modern day couples who already live together and therefore have gravy boats and wine glasses. Pooling individual gifts into a collective is perfect.
What did you decide to fund?
We wanted to fund our honeymoon to Mauritius as we were on a tight budget for the wedding, with nothing left for the honeymoon. Julie’s family is from Mauritius and I had never been so we wanted to do a luxury boutique hotel and then stay at her dad’s and see family – a best of both kind of thing, so the funds went to all kinds of stuff from cocktails to a private boat trip.
We were really grateful to everyone for making it possible. It was a big success. And I think it helped that our friends and family could relate to where we wanted to go. It made it easier for more traditional guests to get on board with that ‘new fandangle interweb’ instead of a physical gift.
And finally, would you recommend your trip to other honeymooners?
Who doesn’t want to go to a tropical island! Mauritius is great and I know we are a bit biased but it does have something for everyone, from luxury to camping and everything in between.
Thank you Patrick & Julie for sharing your story with us. And a huge congratulations from Team Patchwork.