Meet Donna and Darren who originally crossed paths in Bristol, when Darren was doing some work in the apartment block that Donna lived in. She was moving house at the time and needed a strong pair of hands to move furniture! And needless to say, Darren seemed like the perfect candidate. They’ve been together three years and got married last Autumn in a gorgeous celebration at rustic wedding venue Treadam Barn in South Wales.
How did you get engaged?
Donna: Darren took me to a local beauty spot to propose. We’d brought a picnic and a blanket with us, only it was pouring with rain. This normally secluded quiet spot, was particularly busy that day with walkers and runners passing by. In an attempt to ignore the distractions, Darren played a song on his phone and went down on one knee in the mud and held out a ring box.
I said “yes”, and we promptly packed up our things and went home to get dry!
What kind of wedding did you plan?
Originally, we planned a small country hotel wedding, with 3 course meal, overlooking the River Usk. We had the date set, had sent out the invitations, guests had booked their accommodation etc. As with many couples getting married in Covid times, our venue cancelled our wedding due to staff shortages, just 6 weeks before our planned date. Fortunately, we had booked amazing celebrant Jane Grayer who offered some suggestions of alternate venues at short notice. We found a beautiful rustic barn that we were able to customise in our own way. This led to us needing to source tables, chairs and catering, as these would of course have been provided by our original venue. In the end, we had a small wedding ceremony in the barn, followed by a handfasting outside in the grounds, and a sharing feast for dinner.
That sounds perfect – what was your favourite part of the day?
Our favourite part of the day was walking down the aisle to music that we had chosen, hearing our secret letters to each other, and then getting to relax after the ceremony.
Why did you choose Patchwork for your wedding registry?
We found Patchwork through Google. Individuality was key, and we were able to create a gift list that wasn’t based on products already available on the market. The best bit about using Patchwork was the customisable aspect – we were able to set our own prices and use our own images and descriptions. We were also able to divide higher priced experiences into affordable prices for all.
What did you invite guests to contribute towards?
We wanted guests to contribute to experiences rather than material items, because we already lived together and wanted to look forward to planned couple time throughout our first year of marriage.
What did your friends and family think?
Family and friends were on board and were quick to purchase gifts. When we talked to them they found it to be novel and fun. They were also looking forward to hearing about our experiences.
How have you spent the gift money you collected via your Patchwork?
We spent the gift money on several days out / activities, a three day mini moon break, and a seven day shepherd’s hut stay. The gift money also allowed us to purchase some camping equipment and we had a few days away in the summer. We were surprised by how kind and generous people were, and it was interesting to see who chose which gift experience for us.
And finally.. what are your top wedding planning tips?
– We recommend that both partners are involved in the planning and decision making process, this is a great foundation for teamworking in your marriage!!!
– If something doesn’t feel right, look for an alternative, it is ok to say no.
– Keep a spreadsheet / notebook to track your spending and keep an eye on budget.
– Make a note of deposits paid and when final balances are due.
Wow – thank you so much Donna and Darren for sharing your gorgeous wedding day with us and some brilliant advice for couples planning their weddings for next year!
If you’ve been inspired to set up your own Year of Dates gift registry you’ll be joining 1000s of other happy Patchwork couples. If you’d like to browse our other wedding registry ideas you’ll find 100s of registry templates and honeymoon fund templates that are super simple to customise!
Here are some of the amazing wedding suppliers that made Donna and Darren’s celebration even more special:
Celebrant – Jane Grayer
Photographer – Seb JJ Peters
Flowers – Lucy Coco Floristry
Venue – Treadam Barn
Wedding Dress – Surrey Brides
Catering – Turton Catering
Tables – Andrew Jones
Wedding Suits – Sirri