If our engagement party has taught me anything it’s that if my friends and family were superheroes, shit would just get done. You need a place to host a party? Hey, why not use our garden? You need twenty heavy wooden tables and a bunch of chairs transported to and from the party? Let me get my van. You need another marquee? I’ll call Simon – he’ll be here in ten. You want to move the marquee for the seventh time? Great! This ten centimetres will definitely make all the difference. Your dress needs sewing up 5 minutes before guests arrive? It’s cool I brought my sewing kit. You want hydrangeas? Grab a black sack and your car keys – you’re gonna be my getaway car.
To say that I couldn’t have done it without them all is like saying I probably couldn’t go to Russia with a chimpanzee in my suitcase. Without Tom, my mum, my best friends, my family and my extended family I would still be spinning around in circles scrolling through Pinterest with one hand and looking for a plug socket for my glue-gun with the other.
They made all this happen, and for that I will never be able to thank them enough.
If you’ve spent any time on Pinterest looking for garden party ideas, you’ve probably come across the frame-hanging-in-a-tree photo booth. I knew I wanted to create a fun space for guests to take silly photos, so I upcycled an old frame with artificial flowers and leaves and hung it from a horizontal branch in the garden using organza. Tom and I spent a Sunday making all the props, and the wooden sign was just an old pallet board sanded down and painted.
My mum is responsible for the incredible table decorations, with a little help from the lovely Emma at Me & Mr Jones, a rental company here in Norfolk specialising in decorations for weddings. She was so incredible from offering staying tips to making collection and drop-off so simple. We hired the gorgeous silver candelabras, a selection of lawn games and the rustic tree stump stands that the flower arrangements and candles are sat on.My mum and my granny were helping me collect glass jars for months before the party. We used them for displaying the hydrangeas and for hanging inside one of the marquees. We also included a kids area by designating a table just for painting. All we did was dress the table with a waterproof table cloth and a few wooden bird houses from The Range, which were only around £1.50. It was an inexpensive addition to the party and one that went down so well.
If you saw this post, you’ll know that I made bridesmaid boxes for my besties (and an extra one for my beautiful mum) to ask them to be in our wedding and to let them know how special they are to us! I presented them the gifts at the party by arranging them on a blanket and decorating the area with pink and silver helium balloons! (Thanks again for inflating them whilst I was overreacting about table cloths Lails!) There were also a few little gifts for our page boys and flower girl, each one tied with a balloon. If you missed the DIY bridesmaid boxes post you can find it here.Finally, my mum made us a chalkboard of all our important dates by painting an old piece of wood. She used a chalk pen to write our story and displayed it at the entrance of the party. It was such a special addition to the day and something Tom and I will treasure.
All of our friends brought salads and nibbles, sausage rolls, french bread and the most incredible array of desserts you can imagine. My lovely Grandma brought her signature Kit Kat cake (a family favourite) and one of my best friends Lucy Lu made the tastiest chocolate & raspberry tart in the world. My parents roasted a couple of hams and the rest of the spread was down to friends and family, with a special mention to Laila’s parents, Linda and Sam, who must have spent an entire week making sausage rolls and salads for us.
To everyone who helped make this day a reality for Tom and I, I will be forever grateful. From the loved ones who took days off work to help us set up, to my beautiful mum who stole sourced so many hydrangeas and dressed the tables with such elegance. Celebrating our engagement with friends and family made this whole adventure even more memorable. We can’t wait to see you all at the wedding!