Mrs Williams

Thrifty Thursday – A Wedding Special

So, as mentioned yesterday, this week is mine and Matt’s wedding anniversary. It is crazy to think that a year has passed, and we have had TONS of fun!! We actually have two wedding anniversaries, as we got married twice (as you do)…so Monday just gone we celebrated our LEGAL anniversary, but next Monday is a year since our actual wedding. I love having two excuses to celebrate.

Anyway, our wedding was one of my best ever efforts in terms of thrift and creativity, and as its getting into wedding season, I thought I would use this week as a chance to share some of what I tried and learned, what worked and a little of what didnt…and a chance to show off some of my beautiful pictures! My parents are Salvation Army officers and despite their incredibly low income, they worked hard to save money since I was born to pay for our wedding, so we really wanted to make sure that the way we spent that money in a way that honoured how hard they had worked both to earn and save the money. So here’s what we did…

1) The Dress

I went dress shopping two weeks after we got engaged in a wedding shop in Brisbane. I was over visiting my parents for Christmas, spending a week at their home in Papua New Guinea and then a week in Brisbane. The dress was beautiful, and the fact that I found it with my Mum (bearing in mind that she wasnt able to be involved in any of the rest of the planning) made it ‘the one.’ The dress was AU$2200 and by a brand called ‘Essense of Australia’ so I wasnt sure that I’d be able to have it or get it. However, after some online research, I found that it was available in the UK and that a place in Basingstoke had it for £1200. That still seemed like a lot.

My very lovely friend Sarah got her dress second hand online and really pleaded with me to look around before spending that kind of money…literally the same day, shopping on I found the dress in this shop, it was a shop sample so had been tried on a couple of times, and it was a size bigger than I needed, but it cost me £500!!! One of my bridesmaids found me a friend of a friend who did the alterations for £50, and I ended up selling the dress, again on preloved for £300 after the wedding, so my total spend was £250…a far cry from the original $2200.


The Centrepieces

We spent SO many hours trawling charity shops, but we managed to collect enough teapots to have one on every table filled with flowers.  We had different cream coloured flowers on every table. Another friend of a friend helped us with the flowers, so it really didnt cost us very much at all, and they looked wonderful. I have friends who have spent SO much on centrepieces, so this was a thrifty and cute option, and my Grandma reckons we can auction all the teapots now and make some money back!


The Favours

These were the best and worst bit of the wedding planning effort. Instead of a cake, Matt and I had three tiers of cheese, so I decided to hand make individual jars of chutney for every guest (100). A friend of my Grandma’s saved her baby food jars for me, and then my bridesmaid, Anna and I took over her Mum’s kitchen on three different weekends to sterilise the jars and make the chutney. We had 5 flavours. Apple and Ginger pickle was NOT GOOD…I mean, apparently it tasted ok by the wedding, but on the day we made it it just smelled awful and even after some time to mature, the smell was too similar and brought back memories that just made it impossible to like. We also made rhubarb chutney, caramelised red onion chutney and, the favourite, curried rhubarb chutney (its honestly one of the best things i’ve ever tasted). Then we covered them in Gingham, wrapped some parcel string around and added cardboard tags. The just looked awesome and totally added to our vintage country fayre type feel. And so quirky 🙂

The decorations

So Anna and I also made bunting using scraps of fabric we collected in the lead up to the wedding, we cut out the triangles, and her wonderful Mum stitched it all onto ‘bias binding’ to make it into bunting.

We then used Matt’s Mum’s old uni trunk for our table plan, and I made 60 cupcakes for our evening reception…that was actually the only bit I wished I hadnt done. Two days before the wedding, that was really just one thing too many for me!!


So there you have it. Our little handmade, thrifty wedding. A year on!

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What Love looks like: A family that prays together, stays together

I just watched this very cute video from this years Britain’s Got Talent and had me a little cry because I love these videos, the ones where what you think of someone to look at them is way off the mark, the ones that remind us that there is so much more to someone than first impressions, and the ones where people refuse to ditch their partners because Simon Cowell says they should!!

However, having not written one of these posts for a while, this video is also of the couple singing the music I walked down the aisle to. I suspect it’s been used for that purpose a lot, and was perhaps even viewed as cheesy by some, but for me it was so important to make those first steps into our marriage remembering that we cant do it without the support and guidance of God.

In the past weeks, we have faced new situations that have moved us to prayer, both as a couple, and with some of our friends, and with some of our family, including one very special prayer time in the corner of our kitchen with my little brother.  I think we are more aware than ever of the need we have for a God who knows better than we do and that unless we keep offering ourselves back both individually and as a couple, we will mess up.

Matt and I dont find praying together to be the easiest thing in the world, talking out loud in a room with your eyes closed is foreign and a little embarassing at times, but we are working hard to find ways of doing this that work for us. One thing we have found really useful is to say ‘God, we’re gonna pray now, listen up’ (in an entirely respectful manner!!) and then just talk, talk about people we love and people we’re worried about. Talk about the things we hope will happen for those people and how hard we find it to be powerless to help them sometimes. We dont start with ‘dear Lord Jesus’ or end with ‘Amen’ but we just chat together through the things we care about, offering those conversations to God. We also pray for each other separately. Matt knows that I thank God for him daily, and that I talk to God about my hopes, fears and concerns in our marriage. Praying for Matt helps me to love him more, I think!

So, for today I just pray again:

I pray you’ll be our eyes

and watch us where we go

and help us to be wise

in times when we don’t know.

Let this be our prayer

when we lose our way

‘Lead us to a place

Guide us with your grace

To a place where we’ll be safe’

I pray we’ll find your light

and hold it in our hearts

when stars go out each night

remind us where you are.

Let this be our prayer

when shadows fill our day

‘Lead us to a place

Guide us with your grace

Give us faith so we’ll be safe’

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Getting Married…The bits noone tells you

So, as they are the things freshest in my mind, I thought I’d start by telling you a little about our wedding and honeymoon. We really did have a wonderful time, and feel massively pleased with how everything went. However, i don’t mind telling you, just because we’re friends, that I found the whole experience somewhat surreal and not at all what I had expected.

Matt and I did our wedding on a pretty tight budget, and actually loved it that way. With the help of a few friends, we made a lot of the stuff happen ourselves, sourcing and making decorations, favours, and what seemed like a million cupcakes. This meant that we really felt that the wedding was “our” day, and as we decorated our reception venue, we felt that we had made it very personal and lovely.

Another somewhat unusual thing about our wedding was that we had two!! The venue we fell in love with wasn’t registered for marriages, so on 25th June with just our parents and two friends as witnesses we got legally married and signed the register. Then a week later, in our beautiful mansion house venue, we made the same promises to each other again, but this time with friends, family, bridesmaids, bouquets and, yes, cupcakes!!

So, here are some of the things I discovered and learned during that experience

1. I am a worrier, and for the 6 months we were engaged I worried about every little detail. I dont think I’d ever had such a focussed issue to worry about before, so this highlighted my tendency to fret.

2. I dont sleep well when I am worried

3. I’m not that nice when I dont sleep well

4. No matter how much you worry in the lead up to a wedding, there is no way to fully understand how little the things you are worried about will matter to you on the day. There are some big things (dress, hair, make up, groom turning up) that OF COURSE have the power to affect your day, but those weren’t the main things I was concerned about. I spent so much time worrying about tiny things like what colour to paint my toenails (which couldnt be seen), and whether the shades of green of the bridesmaid dresses matched closely enough with the boys ties, and whether we would have enough food for the guests in the evening, and honestly, when it came down to it a) they didnt matter and b) even if they mattered to anyone else, I certainly didnt notice them or worry about them on the day.

5. On your wedding day, you dont transform into an elegant, refined and softly spoken princess-type bride. If you’re a gangly, gobby, slightly-too-fat-around-the-hips kinda girl, you’ll be a gangly, gobby, slightly-too-fat-around-the-hips kinda bride too. That doesnt mean that it wont be a lovely day, or indeed that being yourself at your wedding is in any way a bad thing, but I think I expected to feel much more bridal. I’m not a girly enough girl for that, and i basically felt and, at times, looked a bit awkward.

6. No matter how tired you are, you wont feel it at the wedding. I hadn’t slept properly for 3 weeks prior to our wedding, but once I got into the dress and saw my gorgeous bridesmaids walking down the aisle ahead of me, and grabbed my Dad’s arm, I had a rush of adrenaline that kept me going until I got on the plane to honeymoon.

7. You wont remember the walk down the aisle…no matter how much you think you will, or you try to take it in, its just a blur in the memory within 5 minutes.

8. Everyone is happy for you!! Someone described it to me as being like Christmas multiplied by a thousand in terms of the good wishes you get from people, and that was spot on. People were so excited, happy and lovely, and that made everything that much better.

9. Getting married, legally, is remarkably easy!! Getting unmarried is a lot more difficult!! (Dont worry, I’m not considering it…) Our legal wedding, including register signing, and a few photos for prosperity, lasted 15 minutes. I signed 3 bits of paper and I was Mrs Williams. As I have married a divorcee, I know that getting “un-married” is a lot more time consuming, costly, and painful. Whilst I am not suggesting for a second that we make it easier to get divorced, it does seem preposterous how easy it is to enter into a lifelong commitment to somebody. Thankfully for us, because we were also having a religious service, we had a lot more guidance to make sure we knew what we were getting into.

10. and thats it. Not just for what I learned, but also for the day. Its over, as quickly as that. All those months of preparation, all the details you spend hours perfecting, all the excitement and nervousness is over so quickly. And then you’re married. Matt and I went on honeymoon very early the morning after the wedding, and we were both exhausted and pretty emotional. But then we woke up on Monday morning, and it was just us, looking at each other and realising that this is the way it will be forever. I know that people always warn about the dangers of being too obsessed with the wedding, and never was that more evident than on that morning. Thankfully, as previously mentioned, I wasnt born to be a bride. We were pretty relieved it was all over and so excited about being married.  We have loved looking at photos and re-reading messages from people, but we’re ready now to put the wedding in the past and the marriage in the future.

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