Meet Jess and Joel. Both from Sheffield, our latest Patchwork couple have been together since 2014. They both love the outdoors, and spend most of their free time walking in the Peak District or visiting National Parks further afield.
Jess tells us they first met as teens in the Air Cadets but love didn’t blossom until their first term of university when Joel, who was studying in Birmingham, went to visit Jess in York for a couple of days. “By the end of the weekend, we had declared ourselves ‘boyfriend and girlfriend’ but were both so shy about it that we didn’t tell our families for several months… Following that, we spent most of our three years of uni on CrossCountry trains going backwards and forwards to see each other! After we graduated, we started our life together in Sheffield and wouldn’t change it for the world.”
How did you get engaged?
Jess: We got engaged in March 2020 on a trip to New York (just before the first UK Covid lockdown!). We got a train out of NYC into the Hudson Highlands State Park and went for walk on a wooded mountain trail overlooking the Hudson river, which was absolutely beautiful. Joel had a rather suspicious ring box-shaped bulge in the pocket of his skinny jeans, so I had a feeling he was going to pop the question when we reached the scenic viewpoint at the top of Mt Taurus. He did and it was so special. We celebrated that evening by going to a jazz club back in the city.
What kind of wedding did you plan?
Jess: When we got engaged, we agreed on two things straight away: firstly, we wanted to get married in the Peak District and secondly, we knew we wanted to throw a big party in the evening and have a night to remember with our family and friends. We certainly got both of those things!
We got married at The Maynard, a hotel nestled in the Peak District with beautiful views across the Hope Valley. Our wedding coordinator, Soraya, was absolutely fantastic and the day felt really personal to us – we even had our favourite foods on the menu (hello arancini and sticky toffee pudding!) The ceremony and garden reception, soundtracked by a string duo, felt so magical!
In the evening, a local indie rock band, the Front Runners, played for us and kept the dancefloor packed all night. There were also sparklers, a photo booth, impromptu karaoke and crowd-surfing! At the end of the night, the guests who made it to the end took a survivor’s photo. (N.B. The Maid of Honour, Jess’s sister, did not make it!)
Did you have a first dance?
Joel: We did – the indie rock band who played at our evening reception played an incredible cover of Taylor Swift’s ‘Holy Ground’, which is one of our favourite songs. Jess is a big Taylor Swift fan and had planted several Taylor easter eggs throughout the wedding!
What was your favourite part of the day?
Joel: We really enjoyed our quick trip to Froggatt Edge (a scenic location in the Peak District, just a stone’s throw away from our venue) where we went to have some photographs and videos taken during golden hour. It was lovely to have a chance to be alone together for a little bit and reflect on how the day was going.
It was also special because we drove to Froggatt Edge in a Series One Land Rover that Jess’s Grandad had restored for her. Sadly, Grandad passed away a couple of months before the wedding, so it was a nice way to remember him and feel like he was a part of the day.
What did you choose Patchwork for your wedding registry?
Jess: Very soon after we got engaged, family and friends were asking, “What would you like as a wedding gift? Are you going on a honeymoon?” We were always clear that we didn’t expect gifts and that their presence on our special day would be the best present we could ask for, but we knew many of our loved ones wanted to contribute to our honeymoon – our first adventure as a married couple! We stumbled across Patchwork when we were scouring through wedding websites researching registry options and we loved how personal and customisable it was.
What did you invite guests to contribute towards?
Jess: Patchwork allowed our family and friends to contribute directly to an experience on our honeymoon, which we set off for straight after the wedding. We went on a road-trip in a Ford Mustang across California and our guests contributed to so many different fun experiences, including whale-watching in Monterey Bay, stargazing in Yosemite, and a trip to Alcatraz!
What was the best bit about using Patchwork?
Jess: It was so fun creating our Patchwork and it definitely made us extra excited for our honeymoon! Aside from it being a great registry, it also meant we were able to share our plans with our family and friends which prompted so many conversations about our itinerary. Whilst we were on the honeymoon, we loved sending the digital postcards to our guests to thank them for their gift! Everyone was really complimentary about our Patchwork and several people commented how much fun they had going through each of the patches and picking out the experience they wanted to contribute to.
Where did you go on your honeymoon and what were some of the highlights?
Jess: We started our road-trip in San Francisco and travelled down the coast to Los Angeles, stopping at Monterey Bay, Big Sur, Santa Barbara and Malibu. We then travelled up to Sequoia National Park and Yosemite National Park, before heading back to San Francisco. It was a busy trip!
Our favourite memory is seeing a mother black bear with two cubs in Sequoia National Park on Joel’s birthday. We had been on a long hike to a beautiful waterfall and were on the final leg of our return journey when we saw the bears! They were happily tearing bark off a tree, completely disinterested in us.
We also went to see our favourite band, Haim, play at the Hollywood Bowl, which was a true once-in-a-lifetime experience.
How did it feel knowing your family and friends helped make it happen?
Joel: Our honeymoon was extra special knowing that our family and friends had treated us to so many of the wonderful experiences we had. It’s the best present they could have given us because the memories will last a lifetime – they really are the best!
What’s your no.1 wedding planning tip?
Jess: Enjoy it – your wedding day really is the best day of your life and, when it’s over, you’ll miss your evenings and weekends spent doing ‘wedmin’!
Also, try and carve out some time for just the two of you at some point during the day, even if that’s just ten minutes whilst you’re getting your photographs taken or some stolen moments following the ceremony.
Thank you so much Jess and Joel for sharing these lovely words and gorgeous memories from your wedding day and California honeymoon! We’re so glad that you had the wonderful day you wanted and that Patchwork could help your honeymoon dreams come true 🙂
If you’ve been inspired to set up your own California honeymoon fund, check out our easy to customise template that you can edit to make your own. At Patchwork we’re giving 50% of our sign up fee to your choice of environmental charity so you can have fun and do good too!
Here are some of the suppliers who made Jess and Joel’s day extra amazing:
Venue: The Maynard
Photographer: Sharon Trees Photography
Videographer: Rather Lovely Films
Wedding band: Front Runners
String Duo: Southdene Strings
Flowers: Flourish Florists
Décor: Glamourpuss Events
Bride’s Dress: Love Spell Design
Alterations: Leann Marie Design
Groom’s suit: Master Debonair
Photo booth: Bliss Booth
Wedding cake: The Pink Cake Box
p.s. you can listen to Jess and Joel’s first dance song on our Spotify playlist, made up of lots of our Patchwork Couples’ first dances.