…And Nordic honeymoon – made possible with a little help from their friends.
Phoebe and Stuart have been together over 9 years and have been living together for the majority of that time too. They met when they were both working at a music venue and became close friends almost instantly. They curated their own club night which ran for over 5 years – Phoebe says this was an amazing outlet for their shared creative ideas, and it was this that really cemented the couple as a unit. “As cheesy as it sounds, we both feel incredibly lucky to have fallen in love with a best friend!”. Ahhh! Cheesy but lovely. Phoebe told us all about their wedding and the ‘Patchworked’ honeymoon that followed.
How did you get engaged?
We always wanted to explore Scotland together so Stu planned a surprise week away on the very north coast in a secluded retreat called Croft 103, on the banks of Loch Eriboll. Stu always wanted it to be just us two when he proposed so he did it while we were on a walk along Balnakeil Beach, which couldn’t really have been more remote or special.
What kind of wedding did you plan?
It took us a couple of years before we properly started planning the wedding and it was really important for us that it felt like a really casual get together of friends and family. We were more bothered about having good people, good food and good music around us rather than table plans and formality. We found a space in London called NT Bar in East London and felt like it had everything we wanted from the venue, in a hidden city centre location. They hadn’t really had a wedding there before so we worked with them to find out how it could work best in the space and used their in-house catering partners who were awesome.
We had an official ceremony/legal part the day before at Islington Town Hall with literally 12 close family members. Then the next day was friends and extended family altogether at NT Bar for a slow breakfast followed by a short blessing performed by a close friend of ours and basically a big party! I guess we chose this because we wanted everyone to feel relaxed and not have to fuss about getting from one place to another. Food-wise we had big help-yourself buffet dishes inspired by our love of greek food, coffee and doughnuts from our local bakery for after and then late night cheese toasties for when everyone had the proper munchies after dancing for ages! We DJ’ed as did a load of our mates so it really felt more personal than any paid wedding DJ could make it.
Did you have a first dance? What was it?
We actually struggled to find a song that we both felt was right but eventually went for ‘I Really Need Love’ by The Bees. Which turned out to be literally the most awkward rhythm in a song to dance to, haha! So we recommend actually trying to dance together to a song before settling on a track. Seems obvious now when we think about it… duh.
What advice would you give to other couples on their wedding day?
We had a limited budget (as most normal people do!) so I think it’s just about breaking it down and making a list of things that really, genuinely mattered to us. Make sure that you spend the most on the things right at the top of that list. It seems really obvious I know, but it’s so easy to get sidetracked with what other people have done or what you think should be the big thing, when actually if you’re honest with yourselves and give weight to the things that really matter you will come away from the whole day with such a positive experience.
Also, just take a moment on the day to look around at the room when everything is in full swing. Seeing everyone you care about in one room dancing, eating, drinking and chatting is a massively humbling experience and something that doesn’t happen often in your life, so it’s definitely worth taking a mental snapshot of that moment for yourselves.
What made you choose to do a Patchwork honeymoon fund?
Having been together for so long we had built up a good supply of what I suppose people would consider the ‘classic’ wedding gifts (ie. kitchen gadgets, furniture etc.) so we thought it would make more sense to give friends and family the option to contribute towards life-long memories made on our honeymoon instead. I mean how many treasured memories will you get from a food mixer?! I guess it all just comes back to that more personal experience again and knowing that memories will last longer than anything you can buy from a shop.
A friend of ours had used a similar platform for their wedding so when we did a bit of research we found that Patchwork fitted our needs/taste more. The range of payment options was great and the ways in which you could really shape the page to be more personal to you was far superior to anything else out there.
Did your friends and family like your patchwork?
Yes. They felt it was a really personal way of contributing to our honeymoon trip and was really easy to use. They said it really took the stress out of having to worry about getting a physical gift and presenting it to us. Because we created a real range of different choices from practical things like fuel in our hire car and winter coats to slightly more glamorous things like a boat trip along the fjords and visits to stunning locations. Everything was priced at different levels, from small to large, so it seemed like there was something everyone could choose from and find their favourite one for us.
What did it feel like when you set off for your honeymoon?
We were just really overwhelmed by everyone’s sentiments and generosity. It made us really feel like we truly able to make the most of our trip to Iceland and Norway and stay in amazing places such as Juvet Landscape Hotel, when we might have otherwise had to scale back our plans. We were just so excited as we knew we had so many more possibilities than we ever thought we would.
Would you recommend your trip to other honeymooners?
We would definitely recommend both Iceland and Norway as they are a real get-away, you can not only explore totally unique & breathtaking landscapes and cultures, but you can also find your very own spot to cosy up and spend some time together without distractions. There’s so much to explore, they’re truly vast and you can cover huge distances on foot and by 4×4 without realising it as around each corner you are drawn further in to the surroundings.
Thank you Phoebe & Stuart for sharing your patchwork story with us. And a big congratulations from Team Patchwork.
P.s Listen to Phoebe & Stuart’s first dance song in our Spotify playlist, made up of lots of our Patchwork Couple’s first dances.