One of the loveliest things about planning our wedding is having an excuse to read plenty of wedding blogs and gather inspiration for our own big day. (I’ll pretend I hadn’t already been reading them for years...). The beauty of weddings today is that every one is different, beautiful in its own unique way, and (hopefully) perfect for the couple that planned it. The difficulty has been whittling down the millions of ideas out there into the ones that really work for us. From the start, we wanted our wedding to be very personal and, as we’re admittedly incredibly fussy, we knew we’d be very picky about who we wanted to hire to make it all happen.
We viewed a few venues at the beginning that had a set-in-stone list of suppliers and it just put us on edge - we didn’t want to have our suppliers chosen for us, we wanted to have a real say in everything, so that our wedding feels like an extension of us as a couple. We wanted our favourite foods, favourite flowers, cake that we wouldn’t want to share (but we will, I promise!) and our favourite music to dance the night away to.
So, the only option was to hunt down our own personalised roster of suppliers to create our dream day - and I think we’ve done a pretty good job!
The best thing about booking indie suppliers is that they just get it. They want you to have your day, your way too, and the best suppliers will give you inspiration, ideas and advice on how to do that for your budget. Every supplier we’ve booked is enabling us to have a truly tailor-made wedding, and I’m so excited to see the results of their hard work and general wizardry.
I wanted to talk you through our personal dream team in case you’re hoping for a similar vibe. I’m going to spare some details until after the big day, as I want our guests to be surprised (and I know a few of them read this!), and I’ve already written about our photographer and videographer in this post, but I know I would have loved a list like this in the early days, so I hope some of you find it helpful...
I’ve spoken about why we chose The Engine Works before, but in a nutshell - it’s the only place that we found that ticked the important boxes for us: accessible, affordable, flexible, and an amazing, open space. Add to that a private garden and a choice of any date we wanted (perks of being first to book!) and we pretty much have scored everything we hoped to find in a venue.
One of the best things about The Engine Works is the flexibility that it offers, meaning we’ve been able to handpick all of our suppliers without any restrictions.
When it came to the food, we really didn’t like the idea of picking from package A, B or C. We love food, we love cooking and we love going out for dinner, so it was important to us that we actually felt passionate about the food, and that it wouldn’t just be the same-old that our guests have had at every other wedding they’ve been to. But we didn’t imagine that we’d be able to find a caterer that could help us do that, especially not on a budget.
And then we found Bespoke Catering, who really do live up to their name. Working with our event manager, Kirsty, we’ve created a menu from scratch that really feels like us, with our favourite foods, dishes that have special memories for us and even the same crockery that we have at home! Everything has been tailored to our budget, and at the tasting back in November, everything was tailored to our exact liking too. The chefs are amazing, the food’s amazing and Kirsty has been amazing, helping us to pull together the details and make sure we’re totally happy with our choices.
I didn’t think I had particularly strong opinions on the wedding cake - until we started looking into it. We knew what we didn’t want, but we also didn’t want to go overboard; cake is one of those things that a lot of guests can miss (I didn’t even see the cake at the last two weddings we went to!). We just wanted a cake that would look beautiful and taste delicious, without breaking the budget. Which is actually a lot harder to find than you’d think.
We were feeling pretty flat; we’d made enquiries with bakeries, and lots were charging hundreds of pounds for their most basic option, whilst the others were making us feel like nuisances for wanting them for our smaller Saturday wedding.
But then, thanks to Braw Brides and its directory of amazing suppliers, we found Moonbow Bakery, run by the lovely Katie. From the first emails we exchanged, I felt excited about what she could do for us - she was enthusiastic, totally got our vision and was up for helping however she could (she even made us a tasting cake in a flavour that wasn’t on her website). Her cakes are delicious, her ideas are exactly what we were hoping for, and her prices are reasonable - she’s the Holy Trinity!
Flowers were always important to me (are we sensing a theme?). Having the right flowers was actually one of the main reasons that we didn’t want to go with a packaged wedding venue. With one venue we seriously considered, we were restricted to using their florist, and her style was absolutely not our style, so it completely put us off booking. See, I told you it was a big deal...
After a lot of research, we found our gal - Natalie Dalziel. She’s actually another Braw Brides recommended supplier, but I’m claiming it, I found her first (sorry Heather!). We booked Natalie back in August, after our friends recommended her. She was booked for their wedding in December, but the fact that they were recommending her ahead of that spoke highly to me. And I can totally see why they did - Natalie’s enthusiasm and passion for our day is literally unrivalled, it’s so lovely having someone being so excited, especially when they’re such a big part of the day.
From the first call with Natalie I knew she was the one - we were chatting away for well over an hour! Her wedding anniversary is on the same day as our wedding, but she still wanted to do our flowers, which I just loved - it feels meant to be! Her style is gorgeous and exactly what we were hoping for. It’s so exciting to be working with someone who totally gets what you’re going for and can make it happen, even better than you imagined. We’ve got our first planning meeting with Natalie in a few weeks, so I can update you on the plans after that. So exciting!
Styling and Setup
If you haven’t seen it - The Engine Works is a big venue. We knew we’d need some help in personalising it, making it cosy and bringing it to life, so after a lot of research and pinning and planning, we’ve booked The Little White Cow to bring along some beautiful furniture and props, to turn the space into a glam/boho industrial haven.
And to pull it all together, I got a recommendation from the lovely Cat at Fin Flükra, for The Green Cockatoo. We’re planning to dress the space ourselves the day before, but the GC team have been booked to take it all back down for us, which is a huge weight off my mind! The logistics of planning are the bits that really bother me and stress me out, but thankfully I know that at least this part, the day after the wedding, will all be taken care of and I won’t need to worry about a thing.
For now, that’s our list - there are other fantastic people who are all part of our squad too, but I’ll talk more about them as we get nearer to the wedding. In the meantime, I hope at least some of you find my recommendations helpful - these guys really are fantastic!