10 Sep Real Weddings… Liz & Pete
Today we have a treat for you – a real wedding! This was one of the first weddings we did this year way back in May. It was a scorching weekend and a lovely location. Liz and Pete had their venue for the whole weekend so extended the celebrations right through Saturday, Sunday and into Monday morning. All images: Tub of Jelly
Over to Pete, to find out all the details…
Who proposed to who – and how?
Lots of planning, lots of complexity, and I’m crap at keeping surprises so it was tough. I got Lizzy’s ring made at Alex Monroe, her favourite jeweller, and wanted to go for something a bit different as she’d always said she didn’t want a diamond. So that was fun. Everything seemed to be going ok when we touched down in Dubrovnik – got through customs ok, and ring was safely with me in my hand luggage as we came into the Old Town.
As you can imagine, I’d found a great little apartment a minute or so from the restaurant where I planned to pop the question – great thinking. So the alarm bells started ringing straight away when our host said that they’d given us the wrong pad. “But don’t worry – this apartment is even nicer.” In any other situation, I’d think ‘nice gesture’, but this just got my worrying! But it wasn’t too bad – probably only a 2 minute ‘jog’ from the place I thought we had, so not all bad.
Anyway, we checked in, put all our stuff away and went out for the afternoon. We had a lovely wander, couple of drinks and a snack on the waterfront, and of course a few games of cards. Cards are a big part of our holidays. Then we strolled back to our apartment to get changed for the (eventful) night ahead. Panic really kicked in when we got to our front door, which it became clear I had not locked when we left. “Shiiiiiiiit.” In we went, and luckily Liz said she’d jump straight in the shower so I could root through the drawers and, to huge relief, found the ring safe and sound under my T-shirts. Liz got a little bit annoyed as she felt I was a bit ‘dressy’ for our first night on holiday, but she sucked it up and dolled herself up to match.
We had a couple more drinks (Aperol Spritz if I remember correctly) and a few more games of Shithead (Liz’s favourite game) and Rummi (which she hates) and then wandered over to Restoran Dubrovnik, the rooftop restaurant that we’d frequented on each previous trip to Dubrovnik. Up the stairs we went, got the small talk out of the way and… “Sorry, Sir. We have no reservation under that name.” Ah. Crap. What the hell… So, we went back down the steps to the street, my heart racing and ad lib brainstorm skills running into overdrive. Only to be confronted with a mad sweaty man, shouting “Mr Alexander! So good to see you! Come, come! We’re just next door.” Very similar restaurants, it turned out. We’re still not sure which one we’d been to before, despite me giving it the big one that Restoran Dubrovnik was our favourite of all time. I somehow convinced Liz that all the fuss was around the fact that I’d emailed the manager and told him we came every year, so to look out for us. The truth was that we had spoken several times over the previous couple of weeks, and he wanted every detail to be perfect.
We had an amazing meal and it was getting on a bit. We were pretty knackered, too, given that we’d pretty much been up at 2.30am to get to the airport for our early flight. Liz was not a happy bunny when I asked if we could see the dessert menu. “You never order pudding!” “Yeah but we’re on our hols, aren’t we?” My plan had always been to have the place to ourselves at the end of the evening and the manager was on top of things, but two pesky tables weren’t having it and were determined to enjoy their evenings to the max. So, dessert ordered, it was time for the business end of my plan. “Just going to pop to the loo,” I said, which Liz correctly heard as ‘time for Facebook – that’s ten minutes he’ll be gone.’ Sure enough, as soon as I got to the top of the stairs, her phone was out and she was engrossed, so much so that she didn’t notice the manager grab me by the arm and ask “When are we doing this??” Was quite fun to see how excited he was.
I ran down the steps and trotted back to the apartment – that extra minute or two no doubt adding a bit more stress and a couple more beads of sweat on my brow. But I got to the apartment safely, found the ring, stuck it in the waistband of my shorts and headed back to the restaurant. After sharing dessert, Liz was definitely ready for bed, so I seized the chance and started a cheesy monologue about something or other. Neither of us can remember the words but Liz was convinced I was winding her up. Eventually I went round the side of the table and got down on one knee, and the rest is history. The manager and his staff cheered and brought over a bottle of champagne, as well as a lovely piece of artwork that happily sits at the top of our stairs today. We did all the calls to family and friends – including to Liz’s Nan who was being kept up way past her bedtime – and then went for one more drink at our favourite bar cut into the cliffside. Cracking night had by all!
What were your hopes and vision for your wedding day?
Liz has got a bit of a talent for these sorts of things and the one thing we definitely wanted was our own wedding, so wanted to have the freedom to decide on as many aspects as we could. When we found Ridge Farm, we thought it was perfect as we could bring in our own caterers, set things up how we pleased and, maybe most importantly, they charge nothing for corkage so we could make sure everyone was as merry as possible! We prayed for sun and we got really, really lucky. It made a massive difference to the day, especially with so many of our friends and family camping on site, which meant Sunday was another massive party for everyone!
How did you find and choose your suppliers?
We wanted something a bit different, and so did a lot of Googling and Pinteresting before we settled on our band, food, drinks etc. But everyone was amazing and so it was well worth the effort. In each case, we probably had a bit of a Eureka moment and it felt like a ‘you know when you know’ situation each time. We invited our folks to the food tasting with Vamos Paella in Brighton, and it turned into a great day out.
How did you both find the planning process?
An absolute breeze until it started getting close, and then it turned into the most stressful and testing part of our relationship! We argued more in those two weeks than we have in five years, but in each case made sure we stepped back and got through things! I think you’ve got to accept that things are going to be tough, because there is such a huge amount to do. We had great support from our folks and it would have been impossible to do it without them, but we also took too much on ourselves really, particularly Liz. But we got there in the end, and it really was the perfect day (and weekend). All the planning was worth it – everything went smoothly on the day and we had an amazing time.
What was your favourite moment of the big day?
We’re both agreed on this one. We loved walking into the dining room after being announced as Mr & Mrs Alexander. That was when it all sunk in and the party atmosphere really started!
Who were your caterers? What food did you have?
We chose a Brighton-based company called Vamos Paella. Melissa and her team were great and were used to cooking for big groups. They’d also hosted at our venue before, too, which was a huge help. We went for four different paellas that were cooked outside in front of everyone. It was quite spectacular and it was fair to say that quite a few people went up for seconds! We then had a cheese tower, jamon sandwiches and sausage rolls in the evening, which were delicious too.
How did you find your band for the evening?
We used the Alive Network and listened to quite a few bands through their platform. It’s a good website – lots of content to help you work out which type of music you want. Once we’d heard our chosen band – The Courts – we knew they were they guys we wanted. And they were absolutely brilliant on the day. They knew our first dance song – Dreaming of You by The Coral – which made things extra special.
What advice would you give to brides and grooms-to-be?
As I mentioned before, you need to accept that is going to be really hard work, stressful at time, and will be testing for both of you. Don’t make problems bigger than they are – you’ll always sort them out. But also make sure you support each other in trying to get through everything – I know I could have been far more helpful to Liz at times. And also – do things your way. There are a load of rules and expectations set upon you when you’re planning a wedding, but if you want something specific, go for it. We did a load of things that other couples would have probably questioned, and we forgot a load of things on the day, too. But it was brilliant because the day was set up how we wanted it to be, which meant that we could just relax and enjoy being with all of our favourite people. The day itself was everything we wanted it to be, and amazingly it all went to plan! At one stage we worried it was all going too quickly, but there are so many mini events within the day that it actually goes on for ages. Enjoy every single moment, don’t stress about things, and just have fun. Make sure your other half is either smiling, laughing or crying (happy crying!) throughout and get your loved ones to take a load of pics!
Photographer: Tub of Jelly
Venue: Ridge Farm
Caterers: Vamos Paella
Music: The Courts
Engagement ring: Alex Monroe