Aaron and Rachel’s friends knew they would get together before they did. After lots of house parties, motorbike rides and anticipation, they finally gave Aaron the extra push he needed to ask Rachel out during a group camping trip to Newquay. Little did anyone know this sixth form romance would go the distance and five years later they’d be getting engaged. We asked Rachel all about their wedding day and super adventurous honeymoon.
How did you get engaged?
Aaron had planned to take my grandparents’ engagement ring (which they gave to me on my 18th birthday) off my right had and onto my left while on a family holiday. Unfortunately, I’d taken it off at home for safe keeping and not told him! So I had to make do with a two Euro ring from a Spanish market… and will never live it down! I had no idea he was going to propose, we just went for a walk by the sea at night and he got down on one knee. I was so stunned I forgot to say yes, and needed a bit of prompting.
What kind of wedding did you plan?
We didn’t really know what we wanted, apart from having a relaxed vibe. The first thing we fell in love with was the idea of tipis – which kind of shaped the whole wedding as we needed a venue which would fit them in! We only looked at one venue – it was stunning and we could have the ceremony outdoors and the setting was perfect for the tipis. Everything else just fell into place – it was very ‘us’, with lots of motorbike and car references, sewing paraphernalia, bunting, simple decorations and our homemade playlist with all our favourite tunes. Everything just reflected us as individuals and a couple.
What was your first dance?
As I’ve danced all my life, I wanted to do something a little bit special for our first dance. I still can’t believe Aaron agreed, as he is the most un-dancey person ever! A friend who I studied dance with at uni choreographed us a version of ‘Time of My Life’ from the film Dirty Dancing. The girls and I did a little number to ‘Do You Love Me’ from the film, leaving me on the dance floor for my very own Patrick Swayze to sweep me off my feet. Aaron was amazing and THE lift went perfectly, we had so much fun! I have never seen Aaron so nervous though – he swears he will never dance again!
What was the best part of your day?
We can’t really narrow our favourite part down to one, sorry!
• The ‘I do’s’, of course – the bit all the planning had led up to – was just perfect. The sun literally came out from behind the clouds as we said our vows in front of our friends and family, with my aunt leading the ceremony.
• The Lift. A mixture of relief that I didn’t end up on the floor/knock myself out on a tipi pole, love for Aaron for actually learning to dance and joy from our family and friends cheering and whooping us on. Gives me shivers!
• The evening. Just seeing friends and family who we hadn’t seen in ages turn up, and having a proper good party with everyone!
Why did you choose Patchwork as your gift registry?
I saw Patchwork on a wedding blog, and there and then knew it would be the perfect way to ask guests to contribute to our honeymoon adventure. It just seemed to make the awkward asking-for-money thing a whole lot more personal – people would be able to see what they were getting us, there would be plenty of choice, and we could make it really unique to whatever we wanted.
What did you decide to Patchwork?
We wanted to fund our two-week honeymoon motorbike adventure around Europe. From Oxford, to Bordeaux, through the Pyrenees, up the south coast of France, into the Alps, stop off at the Geneva Festival, into Switzerland, up through Germany and the Black Forest, lap of the Nurburgring on the bike, last night in a fancy hotel in Brussels, then home to Warrington! It wasn’t your usual honeymoon – we camped for most of it, planned the whole route ourselves and met up with family and friends on the way. It was extra special and bittersweet as we scattered my dad’s ashes up a mountain overlooking Geneva – a spot close to his heart. Dad died suddenly in 2013 and it meant a lot to find a way of having him with us too – he was so missed at the wedding.
What was the best bit about using Patchwork?
The trip felt like it meant so much more than just having people donate money. We’d asked for lots of little things, from cups of tea (the most important!) to campsite breakfasts and train tickets, beer tokens and posh dinners for two, so each time we bought something we knew it came from someone we loved.
The flexibility of it was great – it was like a gift list but for an adventure; not something you could buy in a shop but perfect for everyone to help out in a personalised way, for something that we really wanted to do. It was great being able to see everyone’s messages that linked to their donations too.
Our friends loved it and thought it was really novel to be able to buy us a night at a campsite and an ice cream for our honeymoon. We had lots of small items, so people weren’t pressured into buying anything expensive, but they would buy us more than one thing and knew we would enjoy/need it.
And finally if/why you’d recommend your trip to other honeymooners?
We wouldn’t have had our honeymoon any other way and would recommend everyone having their honeymoon exactly as they want it – and if that happens to be a two-up motorbike tour around Europe in 30 degree heat with all your bike gear on, up and down mountains, across stunning lakes, along twisty mountain passes, pitching up your 2 man tent and meeting up with friends and family along the way… then go for it!
Thank you, Rachel & Aaron, for telling us all about your incredible adventure. It sounds amazing, and we couldn’t agree more with your honeymoon advice.