So, I’m no wedding planner, and I’ve never had the honour of planning a wedding – my own or someone else’s – but I understand that the first thing to do in planning your wedding is work out a budget and what it is you both, as a couple, would like for your big day – church or registry office, big or small event, traditional or ‘different’.
So, first things first. Where do we want the nuptials to take place? I know a fair few people for who this would be a non-question. Options would be: Christ Church, St Peter’s Church, St Mary’s Church, and so on. Jeffrey was brought up a Catholic, being sent to Catholic primary and secondary schools, regularly serving mass at Corpus Christi Church in Brixton (above right) and regularly praying. He continues to be spiritual, but doesn’t really practice Catholicism. I, on the other hand, was christened into the Den Danske Folkekirke, the Lutheran (Protestant) Church of Denmark, but have never really managed to buy in to Christianity. While I appreciate the merits of religion – Christianity or otherwise – believing it can provide comfort and support to many people and that Christianity has created a good moral code on which British society is built, I just don’t believe in God, creationism, the virgin birth of God on earth, etc. It therefore just doesn’t sit right with me to get married in a church, and certainly not in a Catholic church. I can’t stand there and reaffirm a belief in God and promise to bring up my children into Catholicism whilst in the same breath promising to be loyal to Jeffrey for the rest of my life.
Therefore the options for us involves where to hold a civil ceremony – Registry Office, Town Hall (Islington Town Hall, above left) or another venue registered for civil ceremonies, Hull or London. Luckily there are plenty of options on that front, so this shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Alternatively, of course, we could get married abroad, but this doesn’t really appeal to us.
Once the betrothed have decided how they would like to tie the knot I believe it’s time to decide on the…
I think this is were the first problems can start.
Jeffrey and I are pretty much funding this day all by ourselves and would like a small (and relatively inexpensive as I’m loathe to spend thousands and thousands of pounds on one day) wedding with those that matter most to us present. This isn’t a problem for us, I guess what we’re worried about is upsetting friends and family if we don’t invite them, or having family members try to insist on certain people being invited. And we have already come across family and friends telling us there may be problems if some people aren’t invited.
Most of my friends and family are in East Yorkshire and Denmark, while most of Jeffrey’s are in London and Ghana. This rules a fair number out – we know Jeff’s two Grandmas, three uncles and one aunt in Ghana won’t be able to make it, nor will my Grandma or an aunt in Denmark. This, rather sadly, reduces the numbers of people we would like there somewhat. However, I can see how easy it is for the guest list to expand beyond the couple’s ideals. If we invite so-and-so then we must invite so-and-so, and so-and-so, and so-and-so. And on it can go. We’re having to be ruthless. If we don’t regularly see or speak to them they don’t need to be there. This is our day and we would like everyone to play a part in it. And if that means some people get offended, then so be it. We have therefore set a provisional limit at 50 guests and are looking for reception venues that accommodate that. Which brings us neatly onto…
Now this is the part that is starting to annoy me. We’ve a couple of dates in mind and have cleared it with the civil ceremony venue, but are seriously struggling to find a reception venue to coincide. I guess this is where the idea of a ‘theme’ would come in. Neither Jeffrey nor I are ones for themes, as you could maybe tell from our flat, Christmas decorations, etc. but I guess if we were to theme our wedding it would be ‘us’. Luckily Jeffrey and I are on the same page with this and would like a small wedding that reflects us, our taste, interests etc. Sadly, this isn’t easy.
We’re planning on having our wedding in London. It doesn’t really make sense to have it in Hull seeing as our lives are in London and there are, you’d think, many more ‘different’ venues to choose from in the capital. If we were having our wedding in the Hull and East Yorkshire area reception venues seem to be very limited, with hotels being the most common option. Examples include Cave Castle, Country Park Inn, and Rowley Manor, which, while nice and rural, just don’t shout Jeffrey and Sophie.
But it seems London isn’t much better. I’ve been scouring the internet for a few weeks since our engagement to find a venue in London that appeals and reflects ‘us’. And it is not easy let me tell you! We identified a few places we like (in brackets below) but have lost hope that a good number of venues exist which either:
- don’t charge upwards of £350 per hour just for venue hire (Jerwood Space)
- don’t require a minimum of 100 people at £140 per head (Kensington Roof Gardens)
- don’t have a minimum spend of at least £7500 (Empress of India, Victoria Park)
And don’t even get me started on décor. Now, those of you who now us would probably say our taste is quite contemporary, unfussy, home made, with Danish and Ghanaian influences (see here). The tendency for reception venues to provide fussy wedding receptions, enlisting the happy couple and their guests to step back 100 years to enjoy limited natural light, chandeliers, fabric and ribbon covered chairs, over the top centrepieces, gilt mirrors, fussy table settings, naff paintings, and chintzy carpets and curtains, is just too much.
So, we struggle on. We have a couple of reception venues up our sleeves, but these mean we have to postpone the wedding. One is much cheaper than the other, but we’re looking into full costs and are hoping to be able to get it in our diaries and send out set the date notes to those we would like there. Watch this space for progress.