Tag: honeymoon inspiration

Patchwork Couple: An Intimate Wedding & Honeymoon in Mexico

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Alex and Sophie have been together for ten years. They met at university in 2007 and were put in the same house (with five other people!). It took a year of living together for either of them to make a move, but thank goodness they did and they’ve been inseparable ever since. The couple planned an intimate wedding and then set off to their dream honeymoon destination – Mexico. We asked Sophie all about it.

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How did you get engaged?

Alex proposed at our home that we renovated together, I’d just come back from a friend’s baby shower and he surprised me with an indoor picnic, complete with all my favourites (we’re big foodies!). He got down on one knee and said the most lovely things but I don’t remember any of it because I was smiling so much and wanting him to get up to have a big hug!

What kind of wedding did you plan?

We’re both quiet people so the idea of walking down the aisle with lots of people watching filled me with anxiety. We were set on having an intimate, low key and relaxed wedding. I have a pretty big family and we wanted to celebrate with everyone so we had 30 close friends and family to the ceremony, followed by a relaxed picnic lunch just like our engagement. Then we invited the rest of our lovely family and friends to celebrate late afternoon into the evening for a slow and low style barbecue.

What was your first dance?

We love to watch films, hate romantic comedies, and enjoy something a bit different. ‘You and Me’ by Penny and the Quarters is a song that means a lot to us, both because of the film connection and the beautiful lyrics with a vintage vibe.

What was your favourite part of the day?

We were both very nervous about the ceremony because all eyes would be on us. Every time I heard the song I would walk down the aisle to (‘Heartbeats’ by Jose Gonzalez) I would cry thinking about the whole experience. This built up and up until the day we got married. I was so shaky when I walked down that I was just focused on not tripping up and felt calm seeing Alex there smiling from ear to ear. I didn’t cry, thank god and we both loved the whole thing. What seemed like it was going to be the scariest part was actually the best!

Why did you decide to make a Patchwork honeymoon fund?

We wanted to create a visual mood board of our hopes and dreams for our honeymoon. Patchwork allowed us to compile everything and create a photo album to get excited about on the lead up to our wedding and honeymoon.

We knew we wanted to have our honeymoon in Tulum, Mexico and wanted our friends and families to see what we’d planned to do. We weren’t expecting anything and just wanted to enjoy the experience together. People were so keen to see what we planned to do and wanted to help us have the trip of a lifetime.

Our family and friends liked the ease of logging on and choosing what they were putting money towards. People were able to choose experiences that they wanted to be a part of and this opened up talking points at our wedding, and ever since!

How did you feel when you set off on your honeymoon?

We were a little overwhelmed with everyone’s generosity. It was so exciting that we were able to go and experience everything we’d dreamed of doing. Swimming with wild turtles in the ocean, visiting beautiful cenotes, exploring an underwater cave, having an authentic Mexican cooking lesson, drinking far too many margaritas and eating incredible tacos!

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Patchwork made it really easy to see everything we wanted to do, identify how much we had to spend and who had bought us each particular experience. We were able to send tailored thank you cards and people really appreciated knowing what we were spending the money on and how they had helped make it happen.

Would you recommend Mexico to other honeymooners?

We absolutely loved our trip to Tulum, Mexico. Mexico was somewhere that we’d always dreamed of going but never thought we’d be able to experience. As soon as we arrived in Mexico, we said we needed to come back again and again! We experienced the jungle, the bustling town and the beautiful boho beaches. We loved every minute, thank you Patchwork!


 

Thank you Sophie & Alex for sharing your patchwork story with us. And a big congratulations from Team Patchwork!

Wedding photography by Angela Ward Brown.

If this has inspired you to make your own patchwork, just customise one of our readymade patchworks or create one from scratch.

P.s Listen to Alex & Sophie’s first dance song in our new Spotify playlist, made up of lots of our Patchwork Couple’s first dances.

The Best Honeymoon Funds Make Giving Money Meaningful

patchwork honeymoon fund displayed in iPad

Want to ask your guests for cash towards your honeymoon instead of gifts? Research into the most successful honeymoon funds on Patchwork has highlighted some pretty interesting (although maybe not so surprising) facts. So here are our tips on how to raise the most money for your honeymoon fund while at the same time making the experience as much fun for your guests as possible.

Show everyone what you really, really want

Your guests want to get you what you really REALLY want – so the first thing you need to do is let them know what that is.

And we don’t mean just saying ‘money towards our honeymoon fund please’. That’s a good start, but the more precise you can make the request in your patchwork description the better. Tell people where you’re going, when and why. If you don’t know yet that’s fine, but say so: “We’re not sure exactly where yet, but we’ll be heading off for some winter sun somewhere with great food and good wine. So all recommendations welcome!”

Make your patchwork unique to you

Whether you create your patchwork from scratch or customise one of our templates, it helps if you can make your honeymoon fund unique to you. Describe the individual experiences you are asking your guests to fund in as much detail as possible as this really helps to bring each activity to life and allows everyone to connect with you and your trip. We know that your friends and family feel strongly about knowing how their gift will be spent and this is the best way of ensuring that they feel happy, involved and valued.

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Be specific  – it’s all in the detail!

If you know what hotel you’re staying in, tell your guests why you’ve chosen it – what makes it so special. If you don’t know yet, that’s fine, you can still describe the type of place you’re dreaming of – an Airbnb with a view over New York, a bamboo hut in Ubud or a boutique hotel on the beach in Tulum. Adding details like the what, where and why makes your patchwork more engaging for your guests and will inspire them to treat you to more of your chosen experiences!

Let your friends get in on the action!

While you’ll probably spend most of your honeymoon eating, sleeping and enjoying time together we’ve noticed people love to fund the fun/crazy/out-of-the-ordinary stuff like bungee jumps, scuba dives, swimming with sharks. So make sure you include some action in your honeymoon fund even if that means taking the lift to the top of the Eiffel Tower, riding on the bullet train from Tokyo to Kyoto or watching the bull running (from a safe distance) in Pamplona.

skydiving experience patchwork honeymoon fund

Remember – people love giving gifts they’d like to receive

Your dad probably won’t want to pay for tattoos in Thailand. Although your mates might. Giving gifts is super personal and a really meaningful way for people to not only show their love for you, but say something about themselves too. Classic car enthusiasts will choose to hire you a Cadillac for a day, dancers will fund flamenco lessons and party people will want to treat you to all the cocktails! People want you to experience the things they already enjoy. It’s a way for them to connect and means you can spend an evening comparing your experiences over dinner on your return.

Ensure there’s something for everyone

Obviously you should only include things in your patchwork that you genuinely want to experience yourself. But while you’re creating your honeymoon fund it’s worth considering the range of your guests’ interests too. If your friends are foodies, animal lovers or culture junkies including gastronomical experiences, wildlife activities and/or historical tours will make obvious choices for them. If you make gift-giving personal and joyful for your friends they’ll give more generously!

When it comes to gift options – the more the merrier!

Generally people want to give a gift that will put a smile on your face (or scare the life out of you). They want to give a gift that will create a memory that you’ll treasure forever. So don’t deprive them of the chance by limiting the number of exciting experiences you put on your list. It really doesn’t matter if 10 people choose to treat you to a couple’s salsa lesson and you only have time for one. You can thank all ten people for the experience – sending each one a personal message and photo of you on the dance floor. They’ll all feel good that they helped make it happen. And with the extra cash left over you can always treat yourselves to a few more tequilas in the bar. Everyone’s happy!

Think romance, logistics and don’t forget the turtles!

In general, luxury, unique and romantic experiences are funded more often than functional and everyday ones, so make sure you include plenty of special treats in your Patchwork honeymoon fund – champagne breakfasts, couples massages and the ‘love upgrade’ at your hotel.

However to keep everyone happy it makes sense to include some sensible items that Nan will understand and be happy to take care of for you – the taxis from the airport, a night in a nice hotel, a travel guide or a flight upgrade.

And finally, we’ve noticed a bit of an obsession among guests with turtles. It doesn’t seem to matter how many turtle-watching patches are on a list, or how much they cost, they are always top-funded experiences so our tip is: ‘DON’T FORGET THE TURTLES! Clearly this might be tricky if you’re off to Iceland or Canada in which case substitute turtles for other super cool animals like huskies or bears.

patchwork honeymoon fund turtle experience

If you go low, guests go high

Lastly, it’s a good idea to include little treats – bottles of beers, ice-creams, or fresh coconuts on the beach. You can set the prices of gift items and experiences within your patchwork to as much as £500. But you can also set them to as low as £1 and we definitely encourage you to do so. Including lower priced treats not only means everyone can afford to buy you something. But, although it sounds counter intuitive, it also encourages people to spend more.

Setting all of your patchwork items to £50 plus because you want people to spend at least this much will not work in your favour. Not only will it exclude some people altogether but setting the bar in this way goes against the spirit of giving and makes people feel resentful. The assumption that people should spend at least a certain amount generally results in people spending this and no more. Whereas deliberately presenting lower priced gifts inspires good will and generally encourages people to spend more – with people topping up their gifts with ‘little extras’, buying multiples of one thing or a selection of different gifts.

With Patchwork guests give more

The national average spent on a wedding gift is £60. With Patchwork the average gift spend is £65. We believe this is because the experience is more personal, fun and meaningful that buying from a traditional gift list or giving cash direct. It’s also because most patchworks are priced in a way that enables everyone to contribute something and inspires, those who can afford, to give more.

You can find more ideas on how to create your honeymoon patchwork here, and browse through our gorgeous templates here.

Patchwork Couple: Emily & Dan’s Honeymoon to Bora Bora

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Dan & Emily live together in the Oxfordshire countryside with their two ragdoll cats, Charlie & Leo. Dan is a record producer and musician (DJ Fresh!). Emily is a photographer and a passionate home cook. They met briefly through mutual friends in 2013, a few days before Dan had leave the UK to tour Asia, they exchanged contact details and the two of them spent the entire time talking on the phone and on Skype. They talked all day, every day, often falling asleep on the laptop because of the 7 hour time difference. The couple arranged to meet again in person on the day Dan returned. At that point it was very obvious that they were already in love – it seemed impossible that they had known each other for just a few weeks. Since that day, the two of them have never spent more than a couple of days apart. We spoke to Emily all about their wedding and honeymoon.

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How did you and Dan get engaged?

We got engaged during a bomb scare in Gibraltar airport! We landed there for a festival Dan was playing at and he had it all planned out (besides the potential terrorist threat part). He wanted to propose on the runway, which has an incredible backdrop, but we were stuck stationary for over an hour while the suspect item was removed. Finally, as we disembarked he asked our dear friend Jamie to take a photo of the two of us in front of The Rock of Gibraltar and as he did Dan got down on one knee and proposed! The cabin crew were in on it, Jamie was in on it, all of my family and his knew and I had no idea.

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What kind of wedding did you plan?

We wanted to have loads of handmade touches. The wedding cake was made by myself and my mother-in-law Jil, the place cards were origami which our friends pitched in to help create, we designed the invitations from scratch. It really made the run up to the wedding so much fun. It gave us an excuse to get together with our loved ones before the big day to create something beautiful that everyone could be a part of.  

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Did you have a first dance?

No, we just hit the dance floor with everybody as the music got going. As we did a great big rainbow appeared in the sky (according the smokers outside!)

What’s your advice for other couples on their wedding day?

Hire a videographer. For us it really captured the spirit of the day in a way pictures can’t.

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Why did you choose Patchwork for your honeymoon fund?

We wanted to fund our honeymoon in Bora Bora, which was definitely a bucket list trip – a dream come true, and somewhere we had always wanted to go. Using Patchwork for our gift registry was completely suited to our idea of the perfect wedding gift, an amazing experience for the both of us. Patchworking our honeymoon also made us really think about the experiences we could have on our trip, we did things we wouldn’t normally have done like a traditional polynesian lunch and a fishing excursion!

Since friends of ours had already used Patchwork over the years we had an idea of how well it would work for us – the slick interface, room for creativity and ease of use put it above any other website we were considering.

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It was immensely humbling for us to receive so much love and generosity from our friends and family, who, by the way, were thrilled that they could buy our wedding gift without having to leave the house! It was lovely for them to feel as though they could contribute to our honeymoon in such a simple but meaningful way.  

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So you didn’t want to go down the traditional gift list route?

No, we’d lived together for 3 years before getting married so we really didn’t need anything for our house. Patchwork enabled us to create something easily online for people to gift as little or as much as they wanted with a fun personal touch. Even older family members had no problem figuring out how to send us a wedding gift!

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Would you recommend your trip to other honeymooners?

Absolutely, it was paradise on earth. The most beautiful thing either of us had ever seen by far. We spent it scuba diving with manta rays and biking around an extinct volcano. We were so lucky to experience something like that in our lifetime.

 


 

Thank you so much lovely Emily & Dan for sharing your sweet Patchwork story with us. And a huge congratulations from Team Patchwork!

If this has inspired you to make your own honeymoon fund patchwork, just customise one of our readymade patchworks or create one from scratch.

Patchwork Couple: Chris & Kirsty’s Scenic Scottish Wedding

wedding party throwing confetti over man and woman

Chris and Kirsty first met each other in 2009, when Kirsty responded to a room advert in London and moved into a flat share with Chris and his mate Phil. Kirsty says they were very much functional flatmates during they time living together – rarely speaking as they passed in the hallways. It wasn’t until a few years later – when they found themselves single and training for a triathlon – that the bonding experience of trudging through boggy lakes finally brought them together.

newlywed couple walking down steps and laughing

How did you get engaged?

It turns out Chris had asked my Dad for permission back in February whilst we were up in Scotland – they were sitting with Ben Nevis in the background, roaring fire and whisky in hand – so it was the perfect setting! I think my Dad was beginning to think he changed his mind as it was 3 months until he eventually popped the question! We got engaged in May 2016 in the New Forest. We’ve spent several weekends there in the past and always loved it. Chris chose a beautiful ring after a few months of secret plotting.

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What kind of wedding did you plan?

We knew that we wanted to make a full weekend of our wedding celebrations, have somewhere the whole family could stay, which was informal, relaxed and had lots of personal touches.  Chris stumbled across the Lodge of Loch Goil whilst we were searching for venues online – despite the rainy, grey day when we visited we knew it would be perfect for us – we knew we wanted a Scottish wedding and a unique setting.

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As it turns out, we got married on one of the warmest days of the year in Scotland – we ended up changing out plans last minute, and got married outside, the guests needed their sunglasses on and I got burnt! Chris and the groom party all wore kilts too – which was particularly novel for them as they are all English!

We both loved the whole day from start to finish – we couldn’t have asked for it to go better. We had written most of the ceremony ourselves so it told the story of us and our friend wrote a beautiful speech from songs of our favourite bands. My mum made a beautiful cake and Chris’s parents made the table plan. We also loved the little personal touches like the gin bar, cake topper and smore station over the fire pit which went down a treat – and the band were also awesome so there was plenty dancing!

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What was your first dance?

We both already knew what our first dance would be – Birds of Prey by Editors – so that was really easy! We’re pretty aligned in terms of approach and what we like – which made the whole planning process fun and stress free.

Why did you choose Patchwork for your honeymoon fund?

We chose Patchwork as we wanted a site where our guests could contribute to our honeymoon in South Africa. The best thing is really being able to personalise the content and build the patchwork yourselves. It also seemed really easy for our guests to use which was important to us. We had a number of people comment on how great the site was!

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Would you recommend your trip to other honeymooners?

Yes definitely. We went to South Africa 5 months after we got married – everyone had been so generous and we knew we had a trip of a lifetime ahead of us. We had a great variety of experiences to enjoy including safari, wine tasting, kayaking and lots of delicious food. Our trip started off with safari which instantly immersed us in a completely different world – and over 4 game drives we saw all of the Big 5 which was amazing! Then we ventured to Camps Bay in Cape Town, took in amazing views from Table Mountain, enjoyed the beaches and incredible food. Then we moved to Franschhoek and the winelands. From there we then drove along the Garden Route, exploring different towns along the coast.

South Africa is a beautiful country, with hugely diverse landscapes, amazing experiences and gave us a great mixture of experience and relaxation time during our honeymoon!

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Thank you Kirsty & Chris for sharing your Patchwork story with us. And a big congratulations from Team Patchwork!

If this has inspired you to make your own patchwork, just customise one of our readymade patchworks or create one from scratch.

Patchwork Couple: Chris & Harriet’s Manchester Wedding and Californian Road Trip

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Harriet and Chris met six years ago in a chip shop at the end of a night out in Sheffield, where Chris was studying. They overheard each other’s Brummy accents, started chatting and hit it off instantly. They’ve since moved to Manchester together and married this summer in a humanist ceremony. We asked Harriet all about their wedding day and the road trip honeymoon that followed.

How did you get engaged?

We got engaged in New York, it was always very important for me to get married, but for Chris it was never really a big thing. When Chris bought me a holiday in New York for Christmas I honestly thought it was his way of buying himself more time! We’d been away for 4 days before he popped the question in the most beautiful candlelit bar in the East Village, with a ring made by one of my best friends, Naomi Jago – we decided not to tell anyone until we got home which meant we were in the most perfect love bubble – it was really lovely.

What kind of wedding did you plan?

We planned a city centre party, with our friends and family as the main focus – we really just wanted everyone to have the nicest of days, lots of booze, great food and dancing. We had a very personal humanist wedding ceremony in the People’s History Museum in Manchester, followed by a party in an old cotton mill in Ancoats – it was important for us to get married in the city we live in and both the venues were so laid back, so we really could do anything we wanted.

What was your first dance?

We had the Villagers cover of Elvis The Wonder of You – the words said everything that we felt about each other.

What advice would you give to other couples on their wedding day?

The one thing I’d say is to do whatever you want – weddings are great when they reflect you as a couple. We love having people round to our house for dinner so really wanted it to feel like a big dinner party. That’s how I ended up serving our guests my home made desserts and since the wedding so many of our guests have commented how nice that was – so just do whatever reflects you as a couple!

Why did you choose Patchwork for your honeymoon fund?

Of all our wedding decisions Patchwork is up there as one of the best ones – for us it was a no brainer. We have lived together for 5 years and have recently renovated our first home, so we have everything we need. All we wanted were lots of memories that we would treasure forever, and with Patchwork our guests could help us have the BEST summer.

Everything about using Patchwork was incredibly easy – from making the Patchwork to the gift giving itself. It also made it very exciting as we planned our honeymoon so far in advance, so people could buy us very specific things.

We were originally worried about how the older members of our family would feel about us asking for money as well as the technology side of Patchwork – but they all loved it – they loved knowing what they were buying for us and loved how simple it was. Our friends loved it – a few of them are now planning on using it for their weddings next year.

What did you ask your wedding guests to contribute towards?

Our Patchwork funded our Californian road trip from San Francisco to LA. We picked this as although we have had many brilliant holidays before, we really wanted our honeymoon to be the dream holiday – and we would never have been able to fund a holiday like that on our own. We started in San Francisco for 5 days, then travelled down the Pacific Coast Highway stopping at Monterey, Santa Barbara and then we arrived in LA, stayed in Santa Monica and then finished off in West Hollywood.

Knowing that all of our friends and family had paid for us to do certain things made me so much more emotional about everything. We took pictures of ourselves cycling down Venice Beach and eating posh dinners and sent them to the friends that had bought us that gift. It was so lovely to thank everyone in that way.

Harriet and Chris’s top 5 tips for a Californian road trip: 

  1. Spend a day at a winery
  2. Walk the Golden Gate Bridge
  3. Head to Jon and Vinny’s in West Hollywood for pizza
  4. Go shopping in Santa Barbara
  5. Hire bikes and go for a picnic on Santa Monica Pier

Would you recommend your Californian road trip to other honeymooners?

Our trip was the perfect mix of busy city life and dreamy hotel relaxation – one day we were celebrating with a posh dinner and champagne after a day of sightseeing – the next we were having room service in a lovely comfy hotel after lying by the pool. Also – if you love wine it’s the most perfect trip for beautiful vineyards!

Babb Photo – www.babbphoto.com


 

Thank you Harriet & Chris for sharing your patchwork story with us. And a big congratulations from Team Patchwork!

If this has inspired you to make your own patchwork, just customise one of our readymade patchworks or create one from scratch.

All wedding photography by the brilliant Babb Photo – www.babbphoto.com

P.s Listen to Harriet & Chris’s first dance song in our new Spotify playlist, made up of lots of Patchwork Couple’s first dances.

Patchwork Couple: Stace & Rosie’s Super Colourful Wedding Day

Stace and Rosie met twelve and a half years ago in secondary school when they both studied music for GCSE. Rosie had switched class to be with her friends – lucky she did, or the couple may never have met. It was fate! Since then they’ve been to University, lived in other countries and travelled the world together, and as Stace says, ‘it just works’. We asked Stace about their wedding day and what they decided to patchwork.

How did you and Rosie get engaged?

We went travelling a few years ago and by this point had been together around ten years, so I decided that it was finally the right time to propose. I had a bit of a hard time deciding where to do it (Peru, Brazil, Mexico etc.) but eventually settled on Machu Picchu. I waited until most of the crowds had gone at the end of the day and proposed on the edge of an Incan Terrace overlooking the main part of the site. I carried the ring around in my belt for 3 months!

When it came to the wedding day, what did you plan?

We wanted a wedding with a traditional structure but a relaxed, familiar and fun feel. The “theme” of the wedding was Latin America inspired by our engagement and travels. We used very vibrant colours for the flowers, decoration and ties. Our venue was actually a walled garden, as we both wanted an outdoor ceremony, and the garden was really great for our guests to enjoy into the evening on a warm summer’s day. The food was on sharing platters, because we wanted to try and avoid awkward moments on those tables where people had never met one another before.

What piece of advice would you give to other couples?

Be a team, take your time, don’t sweat the small stuff. Something will always go wrong but it will still be the best day of your life. Don’t worry too much about everyone else’s opinions – do what feels right for you.

What was your first dance?

Our first dance was “Sunday Morning” by Maroon 5. We chose it because it’s a song that we’ve both been listening to together for a long time. We actually got a lesson in to funk the dancing up a little, but unfortunately when it came down to it, Rosie’s dress was too big to do it!  

What was your favourite part of the day?

We wanted to make sure that our cockapoo, Leo, could be a part of our big day. It was great when Carla from Dogvision brought him in to mingle with everyone and have photos taken – he was very well-behaved. It’s as though he knew! Exchanging our vows – we kept our vows a secret from one another and it was worth the wait to hear each other’s promises. Walking out of the garden after the ceremony and coming back through the wrong door – it gave us a long walk all the way round the venue and some time to ourselves between the ceremony and the drinks reception. We came back in through the back doorway. With all the guests waiting to throw confetti – everyone was very confused, but it all worked out!

What made you choose Patchwork rather than a traditional gift list?

We chose Patchwork because we were already living together in a little cottage, and had everything that we need, but it seemed like a nice and personal way for people to contribute towards a shared present, that was an experience rather than anything material. It also meant that we could afford to have some extra luxuries while we were away, that we may not have been able to otherwise.

The best bit about Patchwork was how easy it was to set up and use. We really liked the visual aspect as well – like piecing together your holiday. Once it was complete, it was really nice to look at.

Where did you go on your honeymoon?

We planned a mini-moon to Andalucia in the south of Spain. We’d been to Andalucia in 2011 but had a bit of an accident with our hire car, which meant that we missed out Cordoba, one of the most important cities that we’d planned to visit. Despite this, we’d both really enjoyed our trip there and wanted to go back and finish it. This time we went to Malaga, Ronda, Cordoba and Cadíz. We drove again this time and thankfully everything went to plan!

Would you recommend your trip to other honeymooners?

We both really enjoyed our time away in Andalucia, partly because each place that we stayed was so different, but the drive times weren’t that long – it was the perfect balance between relaxing and seeing new places. It’s also a great area to combine beach with city sightseeing.

We started in Malaga – due to the flights, it made sense for us to stay there for the first night. We had our doubts about Malaga, because of its reputation, but the city is actually very charming and when we checked out, we walked up the old fort and castle that overlook the city and coastline, before heading to Cordoba in the afternoon.

We stayed at the most amazing little boutique posada in Cordoba (Patio del Posadero), inspired by the Moors. There were just 4 rooms, each with a different style – ours was styled around the colour blue (Laceur). The breakfast was handmade by the owner – Jose, every day and each day was slightly different and almost like a tasting menu with a shot of kefir to start, followed by a trio of desserts and then the traditional bread with the family’s very own olive oil, fresh tomato puree and sea salt.

Although it was really hot in Cordoba, it was great because we could split our day up, so we would go out in the morning and visit the sites, come back in the afternoon to our cool room, or hang out by the pool on the terrace and go back out in the evening when it had cooled down. Cordoba is a beautiful city, with so much to see and lots of great places to eat.

Ronda was next on the itinerary and had some amazing scenery – we stayed at the Mirador, which had a very impressive view over the valleys below.

We went to Jerez on our way to Cadiz, which is the home of sherry, if that’s your thing.  

Cadiz is a lovely old city – great for sunsets, seafood and long walks on the beach. We enjoyed the junior suite at Hotel Argantonio which even had his and hers showers!

It was really great to be able to think of each experience or dinner we had while we were away as a gift, and in a way, this made the joy of the gifts last longer.

What did your wedding guests think of your honeymoon fund?

They really liked that they could contribute towards something, and that it gave them an insight into what we might be visiting or doing whilst we were away. A lot of people commented on how sweet it was that they could buy our dog, Leo, a ball and bone, to keep him busy during our time away.


 

Thank you Stace & Rosie for sharing your patchwork story with us. And a huge congratulations from Team Patchwork!

If this has inspired you to make your own patchwork, just customise one of our readymade patchworks or create one from scratch.

Wedding photography: jennifersmithphotography.co.uk

Sofia’s Photo Diary: Bolivia Bound

Sofia has been exploring the world and has kindly taken us along with her on her travels. So far she’s showed us RajasthanSouth IndiaNepalMyanmar, the PhilippinesJapan, Cuba, and Peru. Now it’s over to Sofia to share her photos and tips from the final stop on her epic journey – Bolivia.

bolivia photo diary

At times Bolivia feels like it’s in a bubble, separated from the rest of the world. The country has such a strong culture and traditional dress that speaks of years gone by. And the landscapes seem to belong to another planet.

Throughout Bolivia you will find cholitas – women with long dark hair in plaits with beaded tassels attached to the ends. They wear black hats and large petticoats with huge Cinderella-style skirts, and on their feet they have schoolgirl-style socks and sandals. Unlike in parts of India, where things seem to be evolving to adopt western ways, Bolivia feels like it still very much embraces its culture, through the local dress, the food or the many band parades. There is an authenticity to the country even throughout the big cities.

When I arrived in La Paz, the first thing that struck me were the women lining the streets between the high rise buildings, each one selling her beautiful wares. Every turn you make reveals a new square and as you look out you can see the valley, scattered with square brick houses in uniform rows. Parades fill the streets with women twirling their skirts and men playing trombones. Everything here feels a little offbeat and everyone moves at their own pace.

The strangest experience I had in Bolivia was the San Pedro prison tour. Our guide walked with us around the prison walls, explaining that the prisoners have their families living with them inside and that they buy their own cell. The more money you have, the better your cell will be. There are no guards, justice is doled out by the criminals themselves. The prisoners run a cocaine operation – producing it, selling it to outsiders and apparently giving a cut to the prison. It was the craziest tour I’ve ever been on, that’s for sure.

Beyond the crazy though, are the beautiful landscapes. Copacabana and Lake Titicaca offer stunning mountain views at altitude – the most tranquil backdrops you can imagine. Take a trip through Uyuni and you’ll come to the world’s largest salt flats, which are an enormous white expanse that reflect like mirrors during the wet season. You’ll see flocks of pink flamingos, and beautifully colourful lagoons in shades of red, blue and green. The hidden marshlands and streams in the middle of the desert feel like something from Lord of the Rings – each new setting transports you somewhere new – somewhere magical and quite surreal.

From the Andean highlands to the Amazonian lowlands, Bolivia is so climatically diverse and incredibly interesting. Take the time to go and explore this beautiful country. Appreciate all of its charms and quirks and allow yourself to be amazed.

Sofia’s Top 5 Tips for Bolivia:

  • Get those layers on and venture to the salt flats of Salar de Uyuni. I would recommend doing one of the longer 3/4 day tours to see all the ‘National Geographic’ landscapes.
  • Go wild at one of the many parties in La Paz.
  • Rummage through the never ending lanes off La Paz’s flea market where you’ll find yourself many a bargain, I picked up an 80s festival swimsuit and ‘spice girls’ style bomber jacket, both under £1!
  • Spend an afternoon at the Mirador Cafe in Sucre. Enjoy the tranquil laid back vibes of the city, whilst indulging in the panoramic view and one or, go on, two bottles of great red wine!
  • Catch a boat across Lake Titicaca to the tranquil island of Isla Rosa. Watch the Cholita women herding goats across the mountains and take in the beautiful scenery of the mountains sat against the sparkling lake.

 


 

Thank you Sofia! Don’t forget to catch up with the rest of Sofia’s journey here.

Sofia’s Photo Diary: True Adventures in Peru

Sofia is travelling the world and has taken us along with her on her incredible trip. So far she’s showed us Rajasthan, South India, NepalMyanmar, the Philippines, Japan and Cuba. Now it’s over to Sofia to share her photos and tips from her latest destination – Peru.

From the tribes who live within the Amazon to the ancient Inca civilisations, Peru is steeped in history. It’s a traditional land and the people in it praise the pachamama (Mother Earth). You can definitely relax and admire the beauty of Mother Earth in this country, but you can also be challenged by it and revel in the new experiences you’re bound to have.

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Throughout Peru there are tons of beautiful spots to hike and explore, like Colca Canyon – the second deepest canyon in South America, just off from Arequipa or Hauraz. Or of course, the most famous of all Peru’s incredible sights – Machu Picchu. I decided to opt for the jungle trek when I booked my trip, which was four days of pure adventure. We mountain biked through the towering mountains, sailing above the clouds. We whitewater-rafted through the valleys and zip-lined through the jungle. We walked the path of the Incas and learned how they built a city that would still be standing 500 years later.

From Cusco you can also discover the layered wonder of the colourful Rainbow Mountain. Or if you’re super brave, you can try your hand at cycling ‘Death Road’. Call me crazy but I wasn’t feeling quite that brave. Cusco itself has a clear Spanish influence, the cobbled streets of San Blas and the churches in San Francisco Square are distinctly colonial. It’s here you’ll find amazing flea markets with retro sports apparel for your inner 90s kid, and street food aplenty!

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In fact ceviche may just be a reason to travel to Peru alone. Peru, and more specifically Lima, is a culinary feast. Earning itself multiple Michelin stars, the city has endless high quality restaurants for you to sample. However, head to the streets for lunch and you’ll be equally impressed.

For a change of scenery, try Huacachina – a natural oasis in the desert. Get out on the dune buggies and explore, or try sandboarding and go sliding head first down the steep slopes, it’s a quick adrenaline rush! By night you can climb the towering dunes and look down across the land. Marvel at the curving structures as the shadows fall across the dunes at sunset.

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For even more jaw-dropping nature, make your way into the Amazon jungle from Iquitos, in the North of Peru. The town itself can’t be reached by cars, so you’ll find plenty of tricycles buzzing around. Around Belem market you can see witch potions, BBQ’d maggots on sticks, furs and animal teeth. You definitely have a feeling that you’re entering somewhere different, of different values and customs. Most restaurants will even offer an ayahuasca menu as this is one of the most popular places to try the traditional healing ceremonies.

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I spent 4 days at a retreat, La Luna del Amazonas, learning the ways of the shaman and having a total out of body experience. You can jump in a boat for several hours, float down the river and stay in one of jungle cabins, listen to the orchestra of creatures as they sing the songs of the jungle. There are birds calling, frogs ribbiting and insects buzzing. The fireflies flicker as little fish leap in and out of the water. You’ll see sloths, monkeys and dolphins. If you want you can even hold a tarantula or catch some piranhas for lunch!

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I spent 4 weeks in Peru, but only just scratched the surface. I’d love to see the surf and beaches in the north, do plenty more treks and explore many more small cultural treasures.

Sofia’s Top 5 Peru Tips:

  • Learn how to make ceviche. I did a lesson with in Lima, which I would very much recommend, Lima Gourmet.Whilst I didn’t find Colca Canyon the most rewarding trek, the town of Cabanaconde where you finish is really interesting to see. We were there over a festival weekend and watched women swirling in local dresses, whilst the men marched in the band with drums and trombones. Taking the time to see a village, slightly off the beaten track is well worthwhile to see how the Peruvians live outside of the modern cities.
  • Challenge yourself to the 2,500 steps to get to Machu Picchu. Be there to see the sunrise over the impressive ruins.
  • Try sandboarding in Huacachina, find yourself screaming as you fly through the dunes on the buggies!
  • If you are open to new experiences, head to an ayahuasca retreat in either the Amazon or Sacred Valley

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Thank you Sofia! Don’t forget to catch up with the rest of Sofia’s journey here. 

Patchwork Couple: Josh & Victoria’s South Africa Honeymoon Fund

Victoria and Josh have had a modern-day romance – they met on Tinder, no less! Victoria had just about given up when she finally swiped right for Josh one day in 2014. They’re a low-key couple and planned a wedding to match, then, with a bit of help from Patchwork and their wedding guests, jetted off to South Africa on an incredible adventure. We asked Victoria all about it.

How did you get engaged?

Josh actually proposed to be on my Birthday the year after we met. I kind of ruined it – he had a lovely day planned, and was planning on proposing on a bridge in our favourite park near our house, but I’d been to an interview in York and got back late! He ended up proposing to me on the sofa. It was still the most amazing proposal ever – I don’t think it needs to be fancy, or over the top. It’s a special moment no matter where/when/how.

Agreed! What kind of wedding did you want?

We knew we wanted something low key. We don’t have huge families, and we didn’t want to spend a lot. We also didn’t want the “traditional” wedding. We didn’t spend money on favours or flowers – me and mum actually went to M&S on the morning of the wedding to pick up some white roses, and then my friend Katherine arranged them with Lavender from her garden, and feathers that had been donated to us. They looked stunning! For the decor, we bought Terrariums from Etsy, and filled them with white stones, candles from The White Company and some green vine leaves. It was all very simple, but beautiful. It was a really cosy autumnal vibe.

Sounds amazing. What kind of music did you have?

We added a real personal touch with my sister Lex, brother-in-law Moss and friend Craig (who are all musicians) play on the day. We chose a few really special songs for the day including ‘When The Stars Go Blue’ by Ryan Adams to walk down the aisle to, and then ‘All I Want Is You’ by Barry Louis Polisar (including an epic harmonica performance from my sister) and then ‘Breathless’ by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds as we left. We also didn’t want a typical wedding photographer with staged photos taking up most of the day, so my friend Liam Henry came along for part of the day to take some shots, and they turned out beautiful! Because we didn’t have a wedding photographer, we hired a Photobooth which was a great laugh and relatively inexpensive.

What was your venue like?

After going to see a few venues and deciding they were all too ‘weddingy’ we decided on Hotel Du Vin in Harrogate. We decided to get married at Harrogate Registry Office late afternoon and then have dinner and a party at Hotel Du Vin. We also planned it for Bonfire Night (the night before my birthday) so that we could have free firework displays across the town!

Did you have a first dance?

We didn’t! We didn’t want to be the centre of attention. We wanted to have dinner and a party with our closest friends and family, and not make the whole day be centred around us.  Me and my sister sang after dinner as a  bit of a surprise. I suppose that could be classed as our alternative ‘first dance’.

What was your favourite part of the day?

Honestly, I don’t know! Seeing Josh as I walked down the aisle was probably my favourite.  But the whole day was just amazing – it was so intimate and special, and was just loads of fun. I think the music throughout the day really made it though – so many people commented on how amazing and special it was. Having musicians as friends and family is definitely a bonus! It has to be said that my sister Lex arranged an amazing playlist for the party after dinner – everyone was up dancing until the early hours and it was just such a laugh.

So why did you choose Patchwork for your wedding registry?

Because it enabled us to create something easily for people to gift as little or as much as they wanted. We don’t need things for the house, or anything like that, and giving money felt a bit too ‘transactional’ and impersonal. We knew that using Patchwork would enable our guests to donate towards something that we would hold as special memories, rather than material things.  

What did you ask for contributions towards?

We wanted to fund our honeymoon to South Africa. It was an amazing way of doing it as we got to do some amazing things, like Safari! And stay in a stunning hotel on the beach in Camps Bay.

It was just really special and we are so grateful to everyone who made it happen for us – we were really humbled. It really was a once in a lifetime trip for us. We aren’t fancy people, but we wanted a fancy honeymoon and it was amazing to know our family and friends were part of that experience for us. And they thought it was great! It was so easy and meant that people didn’t have to worry about bringing cash or presents with them on the day.

Using Patchwork was just so easy. And you can make it your own and put your personality into it.

Would you recommend your South Africa trip to other honeymooners?

Absolutely! South Africa is an amazing country. It’s so beautiful – waking up every morning to the sea on one side, and Table Mountain on the other was honestly breathtaking! The people are so friendly, and the fact you can drive 2 hours inland and be on safari with the Big 5 is just awesome. And then the Vineyards! Babylonstoren was the most amazing place I’ve ever stayed. I wish we could go every year!


 

Thank you Victoria & Josh for sharing your patchwork story with us. And a huge congratulations from Team Patchwork!

If this has inspired you to make your own patchwork, just customise one of our readymade patchworks or create one from scratch.

Sofia’s Photo Diary: New Experiences in Japan

Sofia is travelling the world (lucky thing!) and has been sharing her journey with us here on the Patchwork blog. So far she’s showed us bustling Rajasthan, South IndiaNepalMyanmar and the Philippines. Now it’s over to Sofia to share her photos and tips from her latest destination – Japan.

Japan, the land of the future, technology, efficiency. From the hustle and bustle of Tokyo to the quaint picturesque landscapes of Kyoto, Japan has many a hidden treasure.

Starting in Tokyo, one of the first things you notice is the sense of order. People queuing patiently to board the metro. Everything is on time. Everything is slick and clean. The people are well dressed, reserved. Though despite their private nature, you will come across many an oddity – maid cafes, ready to serve you, sir. Manga shops. A clone factory. Love hotels. Onsens where being naked is the norm. One area of Tokyo – Akihabara – in fact feels like it’s been designed by a teenage boy – a gaming shop, next to a sex shop, next to a yoyo store, next to a gadget store followed by comic books and back to a maid cafe! Amongst this though was a realisation that the Japanese had considered how to fulfill your every need in the city. It has everything from amazing shopping districts, to captivating exhibitions, to cat cafes, to capsule hotels for a quick power nap. You name it, you can find it!

One of things I was most excited about for Japan was the food, and boy did it deliver. With an array of options there was always something new to try; the vending machine snacks are on another level – we’re not just talking chocolate bars and crisps – everything you can think of is inside these machines. There are amazing sushi joints for a quick lunchtime bite, Korean BBQs for socialising, all you can eat and drink Japanese tapas for the pre-nightclub fuel up! There are street food vendors often with various iterations of octopus and pancake. And cakes! All of the cakes, light, fluffy, delicious, a culinary treat I hadn’t associated with the country before. Hell, they even have a restaurant where you can fish for your own dinner within the restaurant! Overall the standard of quality of food in Japan is exceptional. Incredible fresh fish and tender meats. Hard to be disappointed even if you’re just grabbing a bite at a train station.

Talking of train stations. Whilst the Japanese rail pass may be expensive, it is well worth the money. The bullet trains are as the name suggests – fast and efficient. Whilst based in Osaka, you can easily get to Naoshima, the stunning art island, pop to Kobe for dinner or be moved by the heartbreaking stories of those who lived through devastating atomic bomb of 1945 in Hiroshima.

Japan, whilst modern and super advanced is a country with a long history of traditions and cultures, which it has not only held onto but is very much proud of. There seems to be a great deal of respect for these values, reflected in their courteous manner and in how the presence of geisha girls, sumos, Onsen houses, tea ceremonies and ryokans remain both relevant and iconic. And with a landscape punctuated by traditional architecture, shrines, temples and castles, Japan manages to feel both old and new all at the same time, always with something to experience and discover.

Sofia’s Top 5 Japan Tips:

Get intimate at a local Onsen. Natural hot springs, where everyone is naked. The interesting part is the cleaning ritual as opposed to the nudity! Very relaxing and quite an experience.

Try Shabu Shabu restaurants serving hot broth, which you can quickly dip raw meat and vegetables in to cook. Delicious and lots of fun.

Spend some time at Naoshima. A tranquil, beautiful island dedicated to art.

Sing your heart out at karaoke, try warming up with some pre-drinks in the Golden Gai in Tokyo first.

Spend a night at 9 Hours hotel, Kyoto. The sleeping capsules will make you feel like you’ve been transported into the future.

 


 

Thank you Sofia. Next up, Sofia’s heading to Cuba!

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