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Jen & Chris Married at West Bridgford Hall, followed by a garden party in Jen’s parents back garden before heading on to Lubenham Village Hall to Lindy-Hop the night away.

I’m going to hand it over to Jen & Chris to tell the story:

How did you meet? On Tinder! We each swiped right. Chris didn’t have good signal where he lived. Every time he messaged me he had to go out onto the street for reception. We met on 27th December, in  bar I’d been quite ill over Christmas and almost cancelled. So glad I didn’t!

Tell us about the proposal I’d just got back from a couple of weeks in South Africa for work. Chris has planned it all. He based it on our first three dates. We had diet coke – the drink we ordered the day we first met. He had learned how to cook Turkish food and made me a beautiful meal (we went to a Turkish restaurant on our second date). We sat on the floor in my living room and ate it picnic-style by the fire, just like we did on our third date. I could hardly answer for crying. But somehow I managed to squeak out the word ‘yes’.

What was the inspiration for your wedding? We knew we wanted to keep it low-key, natural, and not buy-in to the traditional wedding circuit. We discussed what was important to each of us, and went from there. For Chris, it was that we provided lots of food, and all the alcohol. For me, it was that it looked beautiful. We both swing dance and wanted a good party. We thought briefly about just having a small Ceremony and keeping it really simple, but we decided that this was our chance to bring everyone we knew and loved together. We found the hall, a local Community Hall, and went from there – my parents offered their garden for after the Wedding itself. I love making things, and had a picture in my head of how it would look. There wasn’t an ‘inspiration’ as such, I just went with what I found and made it up as I went along!

How would you describe your wedding theme? Home-made! I described it as ‘Garden’ in the end – with a vintage flavour.

Do you have any particularly significant, funny or important stories about something that happened surrounding your wedding? Originally we were going to get married in September. But one of my brother’s lives in Japan with his wife and my two nephews. He’s a teacher and can only visit in the summer. This was the only day  we could get my whole family, and Chris’ family, in one place! Summer wedding it was then.

What was your favourite part of the wedding? The people. For both of us, the process of planning a wedding really made us realise just how many wonderful people we have in our lives – this was a chance to reconnect with people we’d lost touch with, and to see those who lived further afield. My friend Anne flew over all the way from Australia to be there. In the end, we had British, German (Chris is German!), Japanese, Australian, American, Norwegian and Irish. It was a wonderful mix of wonderful people .Chris’ mum made my bouquet… My mum organised the ‘Garden Party’, some of my friends baked cakes for desserts, others brought alcohol – people helped set-up the hall, and clear up the hall the next day. It was us, and our friends. It was real, and it was fun!

What did you choose for readings and music? Why? James Kavanaugh — ‘To love is not to possess‘. Why? So many wedding readings are so cliche, about roses, waterfalls, and summer days. ‘To love is not to possess’ is about real, durable love. The kind of stuff that lasts. It was the perfect reading for our day.

What was your wedding budget? Free! We soon realised that wasn’t possible, aimed for £5,000 and then decided that £10,000 was more realistic. I think we came in just under!

How did you allocate your budget? We had a whole spreadsheet! We ticked off the important things first: Dress, suit, venue, food, alcohol, accomodation and then guestimated everything else. I set myself a ‘decoration’ budget, and am proud that I managed to stick to it.

In retrospect, was there anything you would have done differently? Actually, no. For us the whole day was just what we wanted – better in fact. the only thing I (and Chris) would say, is that I wish I worried less about the little things. But then, that’s who I am and who I’ll always be!

Is there anything else you would like to add? Given our budget, we were reluctant to spend on a photographer, but we also knew we would regret it if we didn’t have a good set of photos. Simon was a recommendation from another guy that we approached. We had a shortlist of two, but his style of photos swung it in the end. We wanted natural photos, not posed stiff ones, and Simon’s portfolio looked beautifully quirky. I can’t tell you how glad we are that we chose him. He was worth every penny and more. Neither of us expected such an array of beautiful photo, it’s impossible to choose our favourites, there are just so many! He is a nice, professional guy and clearly loves what he does – it was great to see how he enjoyed taking photos of our day.Not only has he captured every moment, he’s captured every feeling. Every time I look at our photos I smile. They are perfect.  

Suppliers: Massive thanks to Lubenham Village Hall and of course to Emmerson & Wests – of everything I worried about that day, I knew the food and bar were well taken care of. I couldn’t recommend them highly enough!

They’re a super-lovely international couple – with lots of great friends and family. The day took in garden games, lots of emotional moments and a lot of great dancing . It’s such a smorgasbord of events and stories that I think it’s best presented in a totally random fashion… so here goes.