Jessica and Claudia met two years ago on a social app for lesbians and were together for just 4 months before they got engaged. Jessica is a deaf and disabled blogger, and says that when she met Claudia she’d just graduated from university and was feeling a little bit uncertain about her future. Then Claudia came along and not only gave her confidence in her abilities, but became her partner in crime. We asked Jessica lots of super-nosy questions about their beautiful wedding and unconventional wedding registry.
Tell us more about how you met…
When we met, Claudia had recently lost her mother so she, like me, had a greater appreciation of grabbing happiness as soon as it comes along. Getting engaged quickly seemed like the most natural thing to do! Together we face quite a few challenges, but happiness and fun can be found even at 2am in A&E as long as we are together. For years I never thought it would be possible for anyone to love me, even though it was my greatest hope (mushy but true!).
How did you get engaged?
We got engaged in Rome, after Claudia proposed to me as as surprise for my 26th birthday. She carried a massive box with her all day, which I thought was my birthday present, when I unwrapped it, it was a box in the shape of a book and the card read “Although this book may not have pages, inside is the start of our story”.
What kind of wedding did you plan?
Having a Quaker wedding was important to both of us, not only because I’m a Quaker and was raised in the Society of Friends, but because the ceremony is such a special way of bringing two people together. Not only is it the only religious option open to us as two brides but the keystone of Quakerism – equality – means that during a Quaker Meeting for Marriage there is no minister to marry the couple and no fathers giving their daughters away – instead we give ourselves to the other and everyone in the room takes part in a ceremony of silent worship that binds us together. We were delighted to be able to come together at Frenchay Quaker Meeting House, my childhood Meeting and a beautiful building that reflected the simplicity and warmth of the ceremony. In keeping with there not being a dry eye in the house, it rained heavily – making entrances and exits in long white dresses quite a challenge!
Where did you have your reception?
Our reception was held at Kings Weston House, an elegant early 18th century country house that I grew up in the grounds of and have loved since childhood. The house retains the charm of a lived-in and loved family home as, whilst the ground floor can be used for weddings and functions, the top two floors are lived in by owner Norman and his family. Norman and his staff were incredible on the day and in the run up – exceptionally friendly and helpful.
One of the best parts of using Kings Weston House as our wedding venue was that it is already so beautiful we didn’t need to add much other than the beautiful table decorations.
Since we live in Brighton and weren’t able to travel to Bristol much before the big day it was vital to have help putting everything together. Kings Weston House put us in contact with Liz Wong at Elizabeth Weddings, a venue styler and designer who was invaluable in the run up to the big day, liaised with suppliers, amazingly put everything together in record time on the morning AND took everything down. We also had a great time with our friends DIYing various little bits for the tables but didn’t get too worried about things being perfect as we know from attending so many weddings in the past few years that guests often don’t even notice!
Did you have a colour scheme?
Our scheme originally involved much darker purples but became much pinker as we bought bridesmaids dresses and chose the flowers! In the end the light pink worked well with our classic look and we loved it – though it is the girliest wedding!
What was your first dance?
Our first dance was a slow rendition of Cheerleader by OMI, because Claudia always says that I am her cheerleader.
What was your favourite part of the day?
My favourite part of the day was in the actual ceremony, when we both said our vows to each other. Since we have no priest at Quaker weddings, we had to memorise them, and we nailed it!
Why did you choose Patchwork as your wedding registry?
We saw Patchwork at the National Wedding Show in London and we were really excited, because not only do I love putting together Pinterest boards (and it’s very similar) but we have enough stuff in our house already.
What did you decide to fund?
We wanted to fund our Honeymoon in Venice – it felt wonderful being there knowing everyone was part of it. We also asked for contributions towards our new puppy Matilda. We call her Tilly, she is a Pomapoo and she is the most wonderful adorable thing. We thought Patchwork was so easy to use. Our friends and family agreed, and they loved the idea of funding our honeymoon (and Tilly!).
Would you recommend Venice to other honeymooners?
There are no words to describe the beauty. It’s a city you can do loads of things in, but at the same time, it’s so easy to sit and relax with your new wife. The best way I can convince you to go to Venice is to visit my instagram.
Thank you so much Jessica & Claudia for telling us all about your gorgeous wedding day and honeymoon, and a huge congratulations from Team Patchwork.
Wedding photography by Holly Bobbins Photography