Stuart and I got married in 2017 at Oaks Farm in Croydon. Don’t knock Croyds! The wedding day itself was brilliant – we had such a great day! Hindsight is always 20/20 though, isn’t it? While we made some great decisions, due to us being on a bit of time crunch, we rushed some decision making, and upon reflection, wish we had more time and didn’t pay deposits so quickly.
Your wedding suppliers will make or break your wedding day. You need to decide:
- Styling / Decor
Not to mention all the random things you won’t think about until you start planning. Do I need a wedding planner? Do I need a 9 tier cake? Will people want entertainment other than a DJ?
As mentioned above, we were married at Oaks Farm. The venue itself was lovely, but it had its pros and cons. The biggest con of all, for us, was how early we had to be out of there. The venue has a very hard 11 pm stop. There is no wiggle room. We would have paid thousands of pounds more just to have an extra 2 hours. The party was only just starting and the lights came on and we had to get off the grounds. When we reflect back on our wedding and the things we would change, we both decided the venue would be one of the things we would change. Cost wise, we paid £5,100 for the venue (which included tables and chairs). We had to use their caterers (ugh) and their bar services. We were provided with a price list for the bar, and I was super happy that Guinness was on the menu. Sadly, at our wedding, the bar had no Guinness.
With Oaks Farm, you have to chose one of their caterers, which we did. We had problems from the minute we paid our non-refundable deposit. I won’t get into it, but essentially, they had a number of employees leave the company, and no one communicated to their replacement what we wanted or what had already been arranged, so we constantly were trying to piece everything together. On the day of the wedding, we had an absolute nightmare as there was yet another new person who turned up who didn’t have any documents outlining what was arranged for our wedding. They screwed up our seating chart, which was a massive ball ache. They bothered me while I was trying to get ready with ridiculous questions that had already been answered in the bloody prep work. If I could make any suggestions when booking caterers, is to do loads of research, find out what you’re entitled to if the event goes to shit, and be a stickler for the details. You’re paying thousands of pounds, so be on them to ensure you’re getting exactly what you want.
Our photographer was bloody amazing. I literally cannot say a bad word about her. She made us both feel so relaxed and at ease. She’s absolutely lovely and I 100% recommend her for all your photo needs. Book her. Beatrici Photography.
Our wedding photos were amazing. When booking a photographer, make sure you have a few chats in advance with them. Get comfortable with them. If you can, book a pre-wedding photo shoot to see how you work together. Alline made us feel so comfortable, it was like we had known her for years.
Like with our photographer, you need to be comfortable with everyone. You need to know you can trust them to understand your vision and preferences. At the end of the day, you only get to do this once (well, 50% of us), and it costs a hell of a lot of money. If you’re not comfortable with a supplier, don’t book them. If problems begin after you’ve already paid your deposit, don’t be afraid to negotiate for your deposit back / sack them / speak to the Citizen’s Advice Bureau.
Our wedding was fab. I loved it. I would plan it entirely different next time though and I would keep about 5% of our suppliers that we booked the first time around.
Who else did we choose?
Venue: Oaks Farm (Shirley, Croydon)
Caterers: I won’t even list them because they are absolute rubbish, but if you are planning a wedding at Oaks Farm or are getting married in Surrey / Kent and are curious as you may be stuck booking them, then shoot me a message and I will provide you with more info.
Photographer: Beatrici Photography (Brighton / London, UK)
Check her out on insta: https://www.instagram.com/beatriciphotography/
Videographer: Andy Bird Wedding Videos
Music: We opted for DJ and went with Brian Mole.
Cake: We booked with a woman we found in an advert on a bridal forum. She was locally based (Crawley), and did it as a side business in addition to her full time job.
We went with a three tiered cake, covered in flowers. We had lemon with lemon curd, vanilla with raspberry coulis and coffee with a rich chocolate / coffee cream.
Stationary was something I struggled to make a decision on. In the end, I would have designed it differently and would have included more information. The woman we worked with has an Etsy shop and she was great to deal with. We did all of our printing on Vistaprint. Below is a sample of the colour scheme and a sneak peak of our invitations.
For flowers we used The Flower Pocket. They were absolutely fab to deal with! Juliet, the owner, listened to me blather on and on about flowers and what I wanted. I really wanted an ethereal, boho kind of feel without losing any of the sense of glam. She nailed it. My flowers were amazing. Exactly what I wanted. They were absolutely stunning and completely within the budget. I wish I could have tripled our budget for flowers and just draped the entire room in them like some sort of magic garden.
My bouquet was a loose, free, naturally arranged bouquet of deep garnet red/burgundy and blush pink with lots of foliage. It was full of blooms: big headed garden roses, peonies and amaranthus. Lots of seasonal foliage including eucyaltpus and olive. It was then wrapped with burgundy ribbon. The guys’ button holes were lots of foliage and black baccara roses.
Styling & Decor: Like my flowers, I really wanted boho meets class. We opted for low centre pieces that oozed greenery & deep burgundy flowers. We accented the room with lots of sparkle, including rose gold table cloths / runners.