After four years of being engaged, it’s about time we started looking at actually getting married. We have seen friends get together, get engaged and get married all in the time that we’ve been engaged. If we left it much longer then one of us would die of old age, and the other would be left in a legal battle proving financial dependence…

Flowers on a table

(All pictures in this article were taken by me at a wedding last year. Hence copyright and all that crap.)

Choosing a wedding venue

We’ve been all over the place with choosing a wedding venue. I have to admit to Kate doing most of the work here, mostly because she has an eye for it. If she’s happy with it, then I’m happy that she’s happy, and my time to shine will be when we negotiate the price.

Originally we had grand ideas – a big white wedding with everyone we know in attendance, an equal biomass of people and flowers. A thousand white doves being released (alive).

It’s like most major purchases in the average person’s life though (e.g. a house, or a car) and it boils down to compromise – something that I’m sure will cease to exist once we’re actually married. I see it like choosing a snack from the fridge. You have big plans, look at what’s there, lower your standards when you see nothing. Repeat.

Break it down

After careful analysis of our budget (read: we sat down and took turns saying “Shit!” as we crossed items off our list), we decided to be sensible about things. We needed to adjust – to be realistic and look at cheaper alternatives. Unless you’re rich, spending £13,000 on a wedding is ridiculous. I mean, that’s around £1000 an hour, it’s £16.60 a minute!

That’s about £15 to wash your hands after taking a piss which cost you £10 in the first place, and an extra £0.54 to shake your head at the thought. All this before going outside and offering your wet hand to guests to shake because you couldn’t afford to dry them…

You get my point.

Candles on a table

The compromise

Like a faulty thermostat, I think our initial adjustment was way off. We booked a visit at a village hall – one at the cheaper end of the village hall spectrum. Upon arrival we discovered our contact had failed to turn up (I’m picturing Father Jack). We went in unattended and ended up stood in what looked to be a school assembly hall. I tried to hide my grimace, but failed.

The hall was empty, dark and slightly damp. I could smell faint hints of urinal cakes, desperation and crushed dreams – I thought we may have stumbled into Donald Trump’s inauguration party. The ceiling was tobacco brown and had peeling tiles – it wasn’t exactly magical.

What makes this worse is that they wanted a fee of £300 (reasonable, right?), but they wanted the fee on the day, the day before and the day after. So £900 for this shed which looked like it could house the pantomime version of that school scene in Carrie.

After visiting the gent’s (one urinal stuck to a wall) and then having a tinkle of a different kind on the out-of-tune piano with missing keys, we left. Deflated and wondering where to go next, we drove around aimlessly as I committed mortal sin and ate Evelyn’s jelly beans as she slept. Choosing a wedding venue is bloody hard.

Light painting of dancing couple

Let’s take this seriously

That night we (Kate) looked up a lot of venues. There were ridiculous numbers on their websites, all expecting £10k – £15k to be spent. That’s fine, but we can’t do that. Kate called over to me. “Look at this one!” she said for the 15th time that night. I meandered over to see she’d seen a location in Liverpool city centre, minutes away from where I work. I’d walked passed the place countless times and had not given it a second thought.

It looked stunning on the website – but I was sceptical about that. Having spent some time on a dating website once, I knew that with a bit of vague wording and some nifty Photoshop skills I could fool people. I had to see it for myself to make sure this venue wasn’t a metaphorical man in drag wanting to cook me.

We called the place the following Sunday only to discover that they were having a wedding open day that day. Jackpot!

Flower girl

Location, Location, Location

We turned up excited, holding hands as we wandered down the corridor to the venue’s staff. We were given a glass of Prosecco each, and after a quick inappropriate joke about us being siblings and only here for the booze we started our tour.

I absolutely loved the place. It had a perfect balance of intimacy and rustic character, which was at contrast with the city centre location. There was no trickery here – it was all natural light and it was stunning. The huge paintings punctuated the smooth light-coloured walls and the dark carpet gave a sense of real depth.

Listen to me. 25 year old me would kick my ass for talking like that.

There was a bar next door, a room with a piano and an upstairs area with two snooker tables. This was not what I expected, I was pleasantly surprised.

Wedding table setup

Price, Price, Price

We had a quick conversation with the manager, during which she felt the need to reassure me she wasn’t flirting. I made another inappropriate joke that she’d be crying at the back of my wedding service wearing a black arm band, and I regretted it half way through (which showed in my delivery, I think).

It turns out that the venue was within our budget. There are still some things that we had to iron out but it was within our budget!

I think Kate has been disheartened with my enthusiasm on the topic of a wedding. She’s right in a way – I just didn’t think that we could afford it until now. Evelyn was a surprise (an amazing one) but after having her, the cost of a wedding weighed on us greatly.

Speaking of weight – it’s time to shed some now that we have a date in mind. October 24th 2018 people – save the date,  and apply for your press pass now. Maybe if I get my 42AA man-boobs out then Heat magazine will want to publish the event.

I’ll keep you posted.