Katie and Andy ~ A Wedding

We’ve talked before about how we don’t do cookie-cutter wedding reports. This blog isn’t about ‘THAT dress’ and ‘THESE shoes’, it’s about you and your lives, your relationships and your weddings. It’s about your choices and the reasons behind them, your triumphs and your dilemmas. Ultimately, it’s about you, our readers. Longtime reader, the lovely Katie, married Andy recently in a homespun, team-effort, all-hands-on-deck, back garden wedding (my kind of wedding!), and it is my absolute pleasure to share her report with you today. Katie is frank and honest, realistic and practical and really very funny- and all of you brilliant lot who helped Katie with her dress dilemma-check out how freakin’ gorgeous she is in that frock.. High five.
Our wedding didn’t have a theme. We had talked about themes, but as our parents were contributing financially we wanted to include their opinions in our decision making and nothing fitted with all of us. (I rather fancied a Midsummer Night’s Dream theme, but don’t think we’d have ever pulled it off!)  Instead we opted for our very own version of country glamour.
We would not have known where to start with matching the flowers, so decided not to concern ourselves with this. We DiYed the majority- the lilies on the tables in the marquee, carnation pew ends, rose archways and pedestals of foliage. We ordered fabulous bouquets from our local florist and the overall effect was beautiful and charming.
Before I had even been dress shopping, I’d envisaged a very plain dress with a ‘V’ neckline and short sleeves, accessorised with a beautiful vintage lace veil. Simples. Upon actually going dress shopping however, I found myself in a dress with an off-the-shoulder neckline and a touch of embroidery and as soon as I saw my reflection in the mirror, I thought ‘it’s me!’ and I was sold. Due to a little dress drama, I ended up tweaking the look of the dress slightly. I was going to have a petticoat made so that the skirt would appear slightly fuller, but after paying for the lace to be added I didn’t think I could justify expense of petticoat. I was also concerned that a petticoat would further shorten the dress. With hindsight, I’d have liked the petticoat! (Editor’s note: I think the dress was completely incredible without the petticoat. So slinky and Hollywood-esque!) The dress was 100% polyester, but I honestly don’t think the fabric mattered. It mightn’t have been the dress I’d originally dreamt of but I felt very happy in it, which was all that mattered.
As far as our budget was concerned, we saved on the flowers by DiYing everything except the bouquets-and had a great time doing them too! We cut back on the cake too-not literally though! I changed my mind on the fancy cake stand that had caught my eye and iced a board instead, bringing us back into budget. We didn’t have favours or live music and kept a tight rein on the spending with regards to decorations and the photographer in order to be able to splurge on a terrific marquee, fabulous food with hearty farmer portions and a free bar!
The church service was my favourite part of the day. The party was good, but I couldn’t totally relax. I was thinking about timings, greeting guests and looking to see if anything was amiss. During the church service, unusually for me, I was completely at ease and loved every moment.

After the service the day is all a blur, and I’m still noticing things when I look at photographs. The preparations, fortunately, are crystal clear to me-I thoroughly enjoyed this part of our wedding. This will sound corny, but it really did make me appreciate how lucky Andy and I are to have such a wonderful family, who all ‘mucked in’. The day before the wedding my aunties came over with ‘toolkits’ containing window cleaner, hoovers and spades to help tidy the house and weed the garden. My cousin’s fiancé is a music technology teacher and he took all the speakers from his school, setting them up in the marquee and garden so that we had background music during the canapés and meal. My cousin, who teaches music, was in charge of the playlist. Various friends and family helped with the wedding flowers, lending us flower pots and garden furniture. Getting the house and garden ready was a true team effort and we loved every second.
To those who are still planning their wedding, my advice would be to not fret on the details. In my dress drama post, I mentioned that we were going to have cow breeds instead of table numbers. Well, we didn’t. My all-time favourite table plan is Kirsty’s-it’s amazing. Unfortunately, I’m not as creative as Kirsty! With a week to go we’d still not got around to doing a table plan. At the last minute I decided to go with table numbers and printed the lists of names onto white card. With some ribbon, I hung the cards onto a plum tree and then hung glittery birds (Christmas decorations I found in the cupboard!) in the tree. It took a maximum of fifteen minutes to do. There was no need to find and print pictures of cows, and I didn’t need any glue. I don’t like glue. Choose the DIY projects that you like doing. Baking and flower arranging, I love. Making invites and table plans involves glue, so a definite no.
We have a biscuit tin full of ‘Thank-You’s’. This may be because we had a lot of guests and they are all very polite, but I like to think it’s because the day was not about putting on a show, but catching up with friends and family. Not one of the ‘Thank-You’s’ refers to any of the details. They all mention how beautiful I looked (I don’t usually), how well the day flowed, that everyone was super friendly and the food delicious.
Funnily enough, not a single perso noticed our lack of theme, favours, fancy stationery or even commented on the plum tree table plan.

Categories: Wedding Planning, Wedding Pretty, Wedding Reports
19 interesting thoughts on this


  1. Posted September 22, 2011 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    Screw the petticoat, Katie, you look amazing! I love the dress and I love how you look so happy in every picture. Nobody who matters will care about favours, table plans and all those bells and whistles. Sam and I love a bit of PVA so our wedding was a great opp to make all that and a whole load of other stuff, probably too much, and inevitably only a handful of people noticed on the day! I also found the evening party stressful, which I wasn't prepared for! (Why does nobody warn you about that??)


  2. Posted September 22, 2011 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    Your dress is just DIVINE. I loves.

    Also loving the everyone muck in vibe, makes the whole day mean so much more when your guests are involved too – I am torn at the moment between keeping some things as a surprise and getting everyone to muck in, and the more I think about it the mucking in sounds much more fun!!!

    I also love the plum tree idea, I think that's incredibly creative :)

  3. Mahj
    Posted September 22, 2011 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    "I don't like glue". Hee.

    Katie, you looked so beautiful and happy. Sod the petticoat indeed. You look like old-school Hollywood glamour, and I loves it.
    I have to admit that I obsessed/sweated/panicked over all the small stuff like favours and table plans, but on the day, I didnt give a flying monkeys. I just wanted to be Martin's wife, drink some wine and eat some teeny tiny canapes (seriously, do they have to be that small?!)

    And like you and Penny, why was I also not warned about the evening reception??


  4. Esme
    Posted September 22, 2011 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    Petticoat? Not necessary – you look fabulous. You are seriously rocking that veil! Great post.

    I am so with you on the choosing which DIY projects to bother with. I couldn't have cared less about flowers, but my sister took that on so on the day the flowers were stunning.

    As for the not warning you about the evening stress – I think that comes down to bridal magazines telling us that our wedding days should be the most perfect days of our lives. To a certain extent this is true, but we also live in the world of power failures, stress-inducing relatives and drunken friends.


  5. Posted September 22, 2011 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    Considering myself warned about the evening do! Thanks Katie!

    Also, ADORE the dress, how beautiful?! Your day looks just what a wedding day should, full of joy and laughter and love. Details are just that, details!


  6. Posted September 22, 2011 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    You're so right – you have to choose what's right for you and only do DIY that you will enjoy. I went through three bottles of glue, so clearly I don't have a problem with that – although three bottles is probably a bit excessive – but there was no way on God's earth I was going to be sewing anything, at risk of having a mental breakdown. So yes, you have to pick your battles.

    Thank you for your sweet comments about my table plan! But you might be interested to know that nobody commented on mine either ;) It really is the joy and the love that people notice, and your wedding clearly had this in abundance. Congratulations! x

  7. Posted September 22, 2011 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    Mahj, I laughed at exactly the same point!

    Katie, your writing has gone down a storm! I agree, details schmetails. Did anyone notice my quotes from owls and cats in literature that I sweated over for weeks? Did they hell. It almost makes me want to write a fake entry in my own guest book, complimenting them.

    Can someone write about how they found the evening reception stressful, please? Let's rewrite the wedding rule book!

  8. katiegtobe
    Posted September 22, 2011 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    Oh WOW, you looked stunning Katie. I actually felt my eyes bounce when I scrolled down to your first pic. Your dress so didnt need a petticoat and the veil…sigh.

    And what wise words on this thing called "theme" with its best wedding friend "detail" which peppers every damn bridal blog /magazine /suppliers website you set eyes on …

    We're getting married in just over 5 months in South Africa my home country, although we currently live in London, my lovely Mr G is a Kiwi and in 10 days time we will be emigrating to Sydney.

    Our "theme" thanks to these pesky worldwide logistial issues has evolved to "Please Can I Actually Get Our Wedding To Happen" ! "Details" include hoping that our favourite people in the word can make it to our day; and that our guests have a good enough time to make their journey from whichever continent worthwhile. (theres that bit of party stress!)

    Sadly, one of my things is detail. Im a raving perfectionist in the things I care about, and Im just a little bit sad that im not going to really be able to get stuck in making/creating/gluing/sewing/baking and detailing things up; I just know there will not be
    a) place in the luggage to carry all the bits; and the bits I did attempt to stuff into my luggage take would break
    b)If I did try to make the cake/s,table decorations at the last minute I would not only miss out on spending precious time with my family and friends, but the cakes would flop, the icing would melt, the table runners would be fit for roping off the carpark only and oh, would I be grumpy. And stressed. Ok make that a stark raving Bitchstressmonster. Not ideal, considering.

    Hearing your thank you's didnt mention your plum tree but instead how wonderful the day was, makes me remember just how (hopefully) perfect the day will be as is, the "theme" being us and the "detials"; love and friendship.

  9. Anonymous
    Posted September 22, 2011 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    Katie here. Somebody else's computer, and can't log on. Should be working to, so need to be super quick. Thanks so much for your super lovely comments. :)

    Yes, the day is stressful. I was like a swan, looking all elegant on the surface but paddling like hell underneath!!

    When Andy and I are on our way home from weddings, and discuss the day. My practical man never notices a single detail, he does notice whether the seats were comfy (went to a wedding where we sat on hard benches for three course meal, and unlike me he does not have the big bottom for padding), food tasty, if it is cold in hotel/marquee, everybody friendly, and how the day flows (he will notice if bride and groom disappear for four hour photoshoot, and after arriving for 12 noon service not eating till 7pm). Flowers, table plans, dresses, bunting – it all goes over his head.

    I love all weddings, whether we are sat on rustic benches, eating meal in our coats, less than fabulous food – really doesn't matter, I just love sharing the wedding day joy. I always notice the details, and love anything a bit unusual. I just think I may be in the minority over noticing details.

    Anna – I had love quotations on menu, and order of service – nobody said a word on it… I spent ages on this detail too.

    Katiegglobe – I'm sure your wedding will be amazing, its the people that matter, not the details. The magazines are too busy selling tat, to tell us this.


  10. Fee
    Posted September 22, 2011 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    Like Anna K, I too would love a bit of detail about what can potentially make the evening stressful… forewarned is forearmed and all that!

    Katie- if I had been at your wedding, I would have noticed and remembered a) your bee-yoo-ti-ful dress and b) that dessert. Looks YUMMERS.

  11. Anonymous
    Posted September 22, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    Me (Katie) again. Thank you Fee. So pleased everyone loves the dress. Like a lot of brides, the doubts set in right after we'd paid the deposit.

    We didn't have a wedding coordinator, perhaps if we'd had this, it'd have been less stressful? Also we had an extra 80 guests at night, perhaps if we'd had less it would have been less stressful again? Also, the DJ wasn't very good, and kept playing that American group, errr, Black Eyed Peas I think they are called. Once we took over and got him to play Kenny Chesney She Thinks my Tractors Sexy, along with Dolly Parton, the dancing picked up.

    I should add my husband enjoys weddings too, its just he's very practical minded, and thinks the most important thing after the service is the food. He wouldn't appreciate a beautiful country house or harpist.

  12. Fee
    Posted September 22, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    Anna K – I just noticed your 'write a fake entry in guest book' comment – hee hee!

  13. Posted September 22, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    Oh I see, loads more guests = evening stress. I was starting to wonder why I was the weird one who didn't get stressed for the evening reception, we only had between 10 and 15 extra people in the evening and they were all my husband's work friends so I left him to entertain them and carried on dancing with my bridesmaids! :)

    Katie, you look absolutely stunning! I love your dress and think you made the right choice about lace and veil (I had to read the dress post first to catch up). Your wedding sounds fab and I love that it was on your parent's farm!

    I went detail crazy for our wedding just because I love the details, but I don't think many other people noticed. And like Mahj I didn't fuss about them on the day like I thought I might.

    Anna, I love your idea of writing your own comment in your guest book for some recognition! My friend who is an events organiser said all the details were great so I felt they were worth it to get her approval!


  14. Posted September 22, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    Katie – thank you so much for writing this for us – partly because it means we get to see the final outfit in its full glory – I think we all kind of felt invested in it, so I'm so pleased it turned out so utterly beautifully.

    But mainly, thank you for writing this because you make such valid points – we all stress and worry about the details, and if that's your thing? Great. But don't think that everyone will notice all of the time and effort you spent – some will, definitely. But not all. They are there to see you and your beloved, and will be much happier to see you smiling so much it hurts, than to see your hard worked on favours.

    Kirsty, Bella and Esme – wise words – pick your battles – do what you want to do because you enjoy it – the rest will sort itself out – and you'll be surprised about people want to chip in with.

    Anna K and Mahj – I laughed at exactly the same point too – Katie we love you.

    Katiegtobe – believe me, I know all about planning a wedding from a different country – my tights are with you at this difficult time! Could you do me a favour and drop me an email sometime?

  15. Posted September 22, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    Ummm…katiegtobe – my thoughts are with you, as well as my tights. Sorry about that.

    Also? I love that we've all come clean about the evening reception feeling – it seems like most of us had some sort of stress with it one way or another – it will DEFINITELY be something we will be posting about on these peachy pages soon – anyone want to volunteer?

  16. Anonymous
    Posted September 22, 2011 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    Katie again. Looking forward to the post on wedding anxiety. Thanks again for the comments.

    Fee you mentioned the dessert, well we had a choice of three deserts. Along with cheese and biscuits, with the cheese being from the company my husband and dad supply their milk to. We put a huge amount of time and effort into choosing our caterer, and putting together the menu for both day and night. Along with tasting lots of wines and real ales. We also had the dilemma of to buy wine when on offer, or leave till nearer the time to buy sale and return? Also, my mum wanted the caterer to take out a bottle of port for each table, with the cheese board, a great idea, but we were concered this would get our guests lathered.

    We supported small local company with our ale and cider, but this was because they could deliver on money and taste, rather than any moral highground of buying local. Its a tradition among our friends that if its beef or lamb at the wedding, its an animal reared on family farm. We're dairy farmers, so never had to follow this.

    Food and drink was one of the areas where everyone had an opinion.

    I don't think food and drink is talked about on blogs or magazines, and everybody has different ideas on this, but if I'm honest for us it was top priority, so I'm glad you'd have remembered the dessert!!! xx

  17. Fee
    Posted September 22, 2011 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

    I'm now thinking that if I had been at your wedding I would be remembered for eating every different kind of dessert, scarfing down a whole cheeseboard AND falling over after too many ciders….. mmmmmm!

  18. Posted September 23, 2011 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    oh Fee, that's what we wanted, misbehaving guests. I wanted everyone to let their hair down, be rowdy and very silly. You'd have got away with all three desserts, and falling down, and trust me when I say you'd have fitted in a treat, and nobody would have blinked an eyelid. xx

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  • By The great evening party myth on February 29, 2012 at 12:14 am

    [...] while back now we posted Katie’s gorgeous wedding report. In the comments we got talking about evening dos and those of you who are not yet married wanted [...]

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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