Nat and Dan’s colourful Brighton Music Hall wedding was planned in a short space of time (8 months) and Nat says that having a clear, focused idea of what they wanted helped to keep their wedding fun and within their £10K budget. They avoided unnecessary costs by not going to wedding fairs and being tempted to buy things they didn’t need! Read on for their story…
How did you guys meet?
Dan and I have been together eight and a half years; we first met whilst working together in London. Dan’s originally from Bolton and was only in London on a temporary contract and I had managed to get a job with the same company after volunteering at various places for over a year. We basically lived in each other’s pockets for the duration of our contracts and when it was time for him to go back to Bolton he didn’t! And we’ve been together ever since, pretty much joined at the hip!
Tell us about your proposal…
We got engaged last year at Christmas on a trip to Kew Gardens for Christmas at Kew. We have been every year for the last five years for my birthday and it is just the most magical place. We were on a bridge across a pond which was lit up with hundreds of multicoloured paper boats and he asked me to close my eyes. He whispered in my ear – “will you marry me?” and I burst into tears – without a doubt the single most happiest moment of my life!
Where did you get married and why did you choose your venue?
Brighton Music Hall – We knew we didn’t want an overly formal venue, and we wanted to get married at the seaside. Where we live in Southsea there is a great beach bar that does receptions, but we would have had to have the ceremony at the local registry office which Dan wasn’t keen on. We researched venues in Brighton and when we saw this we went to visit and knew it was perfect for us. We spend a lot of time in Brighton anyway, it was where Dan took me for a weekend for my birthday when we were first together, and we visit a lot for live music. The fact that there would be live music throughout the day and we would have a relaxed outdoor space was perfect!
Who was your photographer and how did you choose them?
Teddy Pig Photography – we found out about Kerry from another photographer which was a stroke of pure luck as when she came to meet us in Brighton in February we just felt like we already knew her from somewhere. We love her street photography style and I’m still pretty sure we must have crossed paths back in East London at some point.
Kerry was absolutely fab – she was like one of the guests and everyone has said since how great she was – not only her presence at the wedding but the gallery too. It just felt like we had another guest with us all day which was perfect for us as we think she’s brilliant. She really understood our laid-back approach, and we felt completely comfortable with her all day. We also trusted her completely to get amazing shots from the day and she didn’t disappoint. Our guests clocked on soon that she was taking a non-posed approach to photos so whenever anyone saw her, everyone put on their best #actnatural faces….We love the photos. We couldn’t have asked for anything more.
How did you ‘keep it real’ and true to you guys?
We love going to see the flaming lips – the colour and pure joy of those gigs is magical and we wanted to emulate it as much as possible! I used the obvious channels (pinterest and instagram) to research colourful weddings and found some inspiration. We were on a budget so had to veto a few things, but I knew we wanted brightly coloured flowers, which were and still are one of my favourite things about the day, our florist was and is amazing!!! They were just so colourful!!! We didn’t have much other decoration apart from what the venue supplied but the flowers and a selection of colourful napkins and candles did the trick!
We wanted to keep the wedding as environmentally friendly as possible so balloons were unfortunately out of the question, and we bought dried flower confetti as bright as we could. We didn’t want to spend money on junk for wedding favours for the sake of it, so instead ordered nature themed pin badges from the RSPB and wildflower seeds from Friends of the Earth, so all the money we spent on favours went to a good cause and reflected our love of nature. We’re both vegan so the venue did us a full vegan menu which was enjoyed by all of our guests and a fab vegan buffet for the evenings. We had our local coffee shop in Southsea make our vegan cakes which we had instead of a formal wedding cake, and had afternoon cake and prosecco to break the day up.
We wanted the day to be as relaxed as possible so no heavy timetables and expectations of our guests, just a perfect day having drinks on Brighton beach with our loved ones. The musicians at the venue were fantastic and the atmosphere was amazing all day filled with live music. Wedding dress shopping nearly destroyed me!! I went to a traditional bridal shop and hated everything, but after further online research found Lucy Can’t Dance and fell in love with her dresses and that was one of the things that people have commented on the most. We also hired someone to glitter our guests in the evening to add a bit of sparkle – vegan and biodegradable of course!
How did you pick your stunning flowers?
Bettie Rose Flowers. I LOVED THEM!! So bright and colourful and better than I could ever have expected. Multicoloured and full of wildflowers! She was just amazing. Venue was decorated with vintage bottles filled with loose wildflowers and we have cute button holes for the male guests too. Just the best.
What song was playing when you walked down the aisle?
I had a classical version of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros ‘Home’ playing. It’s a really special song for us and we were lucky enough to see them play it live a few years ago in Lewes.
Did you have any readings?
No , we kept everything informal. We didn’t even have traditional speeches. My dad did a short speech and my husband is not great with crowds so I did a speech as I wanted everyone to know just how bloody amazing he is!!!
What was your first dance?
We didn’t have one!
How did you choose to decorate your venue?
The venue did some simple draping so we went for that. Because it was an early start we didn’t want to be up any earlier in the morning decorating so kept it simple!
Tell me about your catering. Was it done in-house or did you bring outside caterers in?
In-house but they created a special vegan menu for us. We kept it simple and it was amazing! Cherry tomato soup, Battered Banana blossom & chips, chocolate brownie.
How did you get everyone up on the dancefloor?
The venue always have live music depending on the weather, so in case of rain we hired a DJ to start from 7pm. They didn’t need to in the end, but by a certain point we had music inside and out and people were able to move between as they felt. The DJ was fab – we knew we didn’t want anything cheesy and they ticked that box, without being afraid to drop in the occasional pop song!
How much did your wedding cost?
I think it came in just under £10k. It was over what we had originally planned but I splurged a bit on my dress which tipped us over.
Any tips for saving money?
The venue had no hire fee!! We had it all day from 10am until 12am and we only had to cover a minimum spend of £5k which was easily done when we paid for all food, lots of drink and then a bar tab. I literally cannot believe they don’t charge as the staff on the day were incredible and the support in planning the wedding was outstanding. We didn’t pay for a traditional wedding cake and instead paid for a selection of cakes from our local coffee shop which saved us money, and the florist was extremely reasonable and worked to our budget. We designed the invitations and save the dates ourselves and ordered them from vistaprint which again saved a significant amount of money. The bridesmaids had dresses from asos. Also, we didn’t buy anything unnecessary – we were pretty practical about it. I think that was partly due to us getting it organised in a relatively short space of time and we didn’t attend any wedding fairs and get carried away with excessive decoration.
Would you do anything differently?
Absolutely not. It was perfect!
- Nearly falling up the stairs and dragging my dad along the aisle after he had surgery on his ankle a couple of weeks before. I didn’t realise I was walking so fast until people told me afterwards and I saw the pics – my poor dad!
- The pure love we felt for all of our family and friends, they made the day absolutely perfect. We were overwhelmed with love all throughout the day and it was just so good to have everyone we love in one place. And everyone got on so well – we have several separate friendship groups (London, Portsmouth, The North, Kent to name a few) and you wouldn’t have known they had never met before – everyone got on like a house on fire!
- The actual ceremony, I was so nervous, I was physically shaking and had to stop myself from crying. Dan just held my hands the whole way through and kept me calm.
- Piggy back riding down the beach so that I wouldn’t have to walk on the stones! This was during our final set of photos with Kerry just with us two and we were pretty hammered by this time and covered in glitter!
Anything you’d like to add?
I just think that we got engaged in December then were married in August – it is do-able on a short time frame, and without breaking the bank!
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Photographer: Teddy Pig Photography | Venue: Brighton Music Hall | Bride’s dress: Lucy Can’t Dance | Shoes: Faith Bag: Irregular Choice | Jacket: Pretty Little Thing | Flower Crown: Bettie Rose Flowers | Bridesmaid dresses: Maya from ASOS | Bridesmaid shoes: ASOS | Bridesmaid hair accessories: Crown and Glory | Hair & Make up: Kitty Boo Creative | Groom’s suit: Moss Bros | Groom’s tie: Wood’s of Shropshire | Florist: Bettie Rose Flowers | Cake: Southsea Coffee| Catering: Brighton Music Hall | DJ: Disco Shed | Glitter bar: Head Blush Glitta | Favours: RSPB pin badges & Friends of the Earth flower seeds