Illustrated wedding map

*Please note this competition is now closed 01/08/12*

Today I have a very exciting competition to share with you my lovely readers – one lucky couple will win a handpainted illustrated map of their wedding day.  Alexandra Mannion is an illustrator currently setting up a new business called Pigeon & Quill to document weddings in the form of beautifully illustrated maps, capturing those unique moments that come together to shape your day.

Alexandra got in touch with me to offer one of her personalised handpainted maps to one lucky bride- and groom-to-be (I’m just a little bit jealous!).  As the winning couple, you will work with Alexandra to detail your wedding day plans, which she will then transform into a beautifully illustrated A3 sized map – the one below is the map she created for her own wedding…

Painted wedding map

I asked Alexandra to tell me a bit more about the maps: “The maps are hand painted and are a visual map of the events of the wedding day.  I made them for my own wedding day and they went down a storm – I got them printed and then folded them up to be presented in tiny envelopes with wax seals, like a treasure map.  They make a lovely keepsake mounted and framed.”

There are all kinds of ways you could use the wedding map, such as copied and printed off to accompany your invitations or simply framed as a lovely keepsake reminder of the day.

Recently Alexandra created an illustrated wedding map for a couple who got married in a Scottish castle, “They had donkeys and gramaphones, all of which are included on the map!”

Handpainted wedding map

If you’ve fallen in-love with Alexandra’s beautiful maps and fancy winning one for your own wedding, then read on to find out how you can enter.

How to enter

*Please note this competition is now closed 01/08/12*

Alexandra is looking for creative couples on a low budget – if that’s you, she wants to know all about your wedding day plans. “I’m looking for a really interesting location with lots of beautiful details to make an eye-catching map.”  To enter, simply leave a message in the comments box below telling us all about your wedding plans – Alexandra is particularly interested in the following:

  • Any particular era you’re try to evoke
  • Beautiful buildings or locations
  • Any quirky details
  • If there are any animals featuring!
  • The kind of food or transport you’re having
  • Colour schemes or a particular style of flowers
  • Any interesting extras that make your wedding individual
You must also include the date of your wedding.  Alexandra will pick the entry that most captures and the winner will be announced on the blog in the coming weeks.  I can’t wait to hear all about your wedding plans!

Terms and Conditions

1. This competition closes at midnight on Wednesday 1st August 2012
2. Only one entry per couple.
3. Entries must be submitted via the comment box on this blog post – please ensure your leave your email address when it asks for it (it won’t be displayed publicly but we’ll need it to contact you if you’re the winner).
4. By entering you agree for Pigeon & Quill to use the final wedding map in promotional material and for The Natural Wedding Company to share it on the blog.
5. Maps usually cost £250.
6. The winning couple will receive one original handpainted A3 map posted to a UK address only. Couples are permitted to then copy the map as they wish.
7. Weddings must be after 31st August 2012 to allow time for Alexandra to create them.


Rosie on 18. July, 2012

These are so beautiful!! I don’t think I am far enough on in the planning stages to have enough to say..but it might just spur me on 🙂

karen on 18. July, 2012

We are getting married in Ilam overlooking Dovedale in the Peak district in September 2013. Our Wedding will take place at a 15th century small private house that only does 1 or 2 weddings a year – the house is decorated based on a dolls house and we get the run of the entire place. We then will have our guests walk across the hills ( where they may be paraded with musicians along the way) to the Eco Farm where we will have our reception. We are planning to arrive on a tandem bike . We are looking at having a fell race once at the farm and the meal will then be a vintage tea party – I will be asking all my friends to bake cakes as we will be having a best in show. I have sourced all crockery myself and will be picking the flowers a few days before. Our friends and family will be heavily involved as we are keen for this to have a really homemade feel to the day. We hope to have an old Ice cream van there and are having a village fete theme for the afternoon – welly wanging / coconut shy etc etc. The music in the evening is still undecided – but we are looking at a Ukalele band to play. The overall feel of the day we want is a relaxed vintage county fete, with lots of things to do and lots of fun!

Myfanwy Griffiths on 18. July, 2012

This is such a great prize! We’r getting married October 2013, it’s that far away because we’r self employed as we own a coffee/craft shop in north Wales, I’m a textile designer and my to be husband is a potter so we need that length of time to save!
But we have plenty booked and the majority planned! We’r getting married at Penarth Fawr a 14th February medieval house! Our reception is then going to be in the field in front of my in laws house in a wedding tipi from event-in-a-tent looking towards the sea complete with fire pit, lanterns and small chil out tent full of cushions and bean bags 🙂
We’r planning to feed our guests a selection of pies served to each table so they can help themselves to pie, mash, veg and gravey, and the starter is to be pumpkin soup with locally made bread from a woman who supplies cake to our shop. We’r not really wine drinkers so we’r thinking of pitchers of cider at each table 🙂
We’r both a bit quirky so I’m looking at wearing a 1950’s dress and arriving on my grandfathers old red fergi tractor which in the family is known as ‘tractor taid’ (granddads tractor in welsh), we’ll then be leaving the ceremony to the reception on this tractor! Tom is a keen cyclist and is threating to turn up in Lycra… This is yet to be confirmed! We’r thinking of a 1960’sstyle bus to take our guests home after the festivities.
Our dog Arthur (a mini dachshund) will be my ring bearer! And my sister is going to be doing a reading about two sausage dogs who fell in love! Arthur plans on wearing a pretty blue bow tie for the occasion.
Because we’r so creative we’ll be making a lot of the favours etc our selves each chair will have a fabric heart hanging off the back and each guest will receive a small ceramic jug. We both like vintage colours so blue, dusty pink, sage green and ivory are our colours we think (though we’ve got over a year to decided properly.) my mum, mother in law and I are planning on going on a wild flower arranging course so we can do all the flowers ourselves!
The planning is so exciting and we’ve still got a year to go! (sorry for the massive comment! Majorly excited!)

Hannah on 18. July, 2012

We are a young couple who are having a country garden wedding next July, firstly at my childhood church(the first to be married in the congregation for at least a decade!) then we are having the reception in a marquee in my parents garden. We are coming back from the church in an old vintage bus and going through the new forest. Sadly my familys black cat won’t be making an appearance but he is an integral part of life! (as Matt argues his bearded dragon is too….). With a pasty chef for a sister the cakes promise not to fall short! Plus an alternative cake stall for the evening. The day time is relaxed with a BBQ and pimms in the garden and large wooden games! The wedding is the 13th July 2013 xx

Holly on 18. July, 2012

What a lovely competition and GORGEOUS maps – my fiancé is a little bit map obsessed and I would LOVE to be able to give him one of your beautiful maps as a wedding gift.

Our wedding is happening on the 15th September 2012. We are having the ceremony at the beautiful Ludlow Castle in Shropshire – it’s a ruined medieval castle with lots of cool history and pretty views. After the ceremony there’ll be a little glass of Prosecco for everyone in the castle grounds before we head off to the reception. The reception is taking place at the nearby Acton Scott farm – we’re hiring the farmhouse there for the week before the wedding and lots of our closest friends and family are staying in the farmhouse the week before to help with the set up as the reception is a very DIY-ed affair (I have sewn a LOT of bunting in the last 6 months). Acton Scott is a Victorian working farm (you might have seen it on the telly – Ben Fogle presents a TV show that’s based there!) so we’re trying to evoke a slightly vintage and very rustic feel for the day – and because we’re on the farm there may well be some animal lurking around! There will be a marquee on the lawn of the farmhouse, hopefully lots of garden games (if the weather has cheered up by then) and generally a relaxed folk festival vibe. Instead of a formal meal we are planning a giant picnic for everyone with lots of locally sourced food and a hog roast in the evening. There will also be a cake-baking competition and a big tower of cheese instead of a traditional cake. We have been very lucky in that my lovely brother-in- law-to-be has booked us some beautiful vintage ‘Wolsely’ wedding cars as a wedding present so we’ll be travelling in style on the day. In terms of colours and decorations – the bridesmaids will be in a colour that I keep describing as ‘dusty lilac’ so we’ve kept this as one of the colours that runs through everything – but really we’re just going for soft, countryside, vintage tones. I am really excited about our flowers, which will be for local and seasonal – the bouquets are being made by our florist but we’re DIY-ing the rest. We’ve also made what feel like hundreds (in reality it’s about 50) paper flowers from maps (there’s that map obsession again) and book pages to add to the fresh flowers. We also have a folk band who are putting on a ceilidh for us to get everyone dancing and later in the evening we have a fire pit, marshmallows and acoustic guitars (again weather permitting!). I think I have waffled enough – can you tell I’m quite excited?

Thank you again for running this lovely competition and please do let me know if you have a website for your new business because as I said – this would be a rather perfect gift for my fiancé.
H x x

kimrheen on 18. July, 2012

WOW, sweeet.

tara on 18. July, 2012

What Ho and Chin-Chin, it’s going to be a marvellous party! December 22nd 2012 is the date for our 1930s country house party themed woodland wedding. My fiancé and I have always been mad about vintage. In fact we even run our own vintage furniture business! After discovering our beautiful venue- Scorrier House in Cornwall and inspired by a trip to National Trust art deco property Coleton Fishacre, we decided upon a 1930s theme of glamour and jolly, wholesome country pursuits.

Our ceremony will take place at the beautiful St Budock’s church which is situated in my fiancés parish. In deepest, darkest midwinter, the church will be lit by candle light and bedecked in mistletoe and ivy. We are toying with the idea of booking a Cornish Celtic harpist to add to the atmosphere. After photographs in the churchyard and down at our local, windswept beach, we will head to Scorrier in our 1960s silver jaguar to be greeted by winter Pimms, mince pies and music from the jazz age. The venue is amazing, there is also a stud farm situated within the estate where the horses roam free along with wild rabbits which are to be spotted racing across the sweeping drive.

The motif for our day is the stag- my favourite animal which also featured on our home made Save the Dates. A lot of the day will be DIY including my home made spiced apple chutney and Cornish clotted cream fudge. For food we are serving rustic beef bourguignon and champagne syllabub with Cornish cheeses and local scrumpy in the evening! For our favours, we are going on a mistletoe hunt, each guest will receive a bunch to take home to get them in the Christmas spirit. The venue will also have a giant Christmas tree in the entrance hall and will be candle lit and festooned with seasonal foliage and purple sea holly.

I will be wearing an art deco vintage style dress in gold lace and my fiancé will be sporting a brown tweed suit, looking quite the country gent!

To keep guests entertained as it gets dark, we have arranged vintage board games by the roaring log fire, a dress up box and to round off the evening jazz music from The Swing Empire. We are sure that our 50 guests will have an amazing time and we can’t wait for the day to come ourselves!

We absolutely love your illustrations Alexandra and the maps are such a wonderful momento of the day. Good luck with your business!
Tara and Ben

Laura Cutress on 19. July, 2012

These are so beautiful – honestly so wonderful.I would love to include these in our wedding stationary.
We are getting married next April, and are DIY-ing nearly everything. I’m a PhD student and the Mr lives away currently for work, so we’ve turned into a long distance couple trying to plan on a student budget! Eek! I’ve got stuck into making, well, everything – cake, invites, paper flowers, knitted buttonholes,bunting, bridemaids dresses, groomsmen ties, etc.
Our day is being held at an old Georgian farmhouse towards the peak district in Sheffield, with a Tipi in the garden and an outdoor ceremony if the weather holds out! Our colour scheme is less of a scheme, and more of a mis-match of pretty prints and colours we love – loosely green and grey. Very natural, relaxed and a with a ‘boho’ vibe. Many of the details are hand sewn or knitted by myself, including sewing together the invites and I’ve folded 1000 paper cranes to hang on the day to bring us luck. My dad is driving me to the venue in his grey Mercedes – I don’t have any budget to hire a car- and the groomsmen are taking the tram with the photographer! We’ve hired a vintage jukebox to dance the night away, and feeding our guests a BBQ in the Tipi. I’m looking forward to my perfect day – a relaxed party with all my nearest and dearest.

CharlieB on 19. July, 2012

Thanks for all the lovely entries so far, all you’re beautiful wedding plans and ideas make me want to do it all over again! Charlie x

Jenny on 19. July, 2012

Love the maps – have been thinking of getting one done to go in our invitations and these look perfect! We are getting married on 11th May next year, at a very pretty local village church followed by a marquee reception in the field of a nearby farm, which has fantastic views across a large river to Wales. The wedding will be bursting with family and friends with a mix of tradition and plenty of fun! I will be arriving with my dad in my red mini! The church service will be quite traditional, followed by homemade ice-creams served in the church yard, tons of beautiful natural meadow/country garden flowers everywhere. The farm has lots of animals and being Spring there will be baby lambs etc, there is a tractor ride for all the kiddies around the farm. Afternoon tea of finger sandwiches, mini yorkshire puds, sausages and mini scones with fizz and pimms. Dinner will then be two choices of main course on each table in ‘help yourself’ family-style large dishes with seasonal Spring veg and potatoes. Speeches, cake cutting, dancing and lots more fizz… should round off a pretty fab day!

Becky on 19. July, 2012

These maps are just gorgeous! Love the idea of making copies and popping them in with our invites – especially as our wedding location is unfamiliar with most of our guests!
We are getting married on 7th June 2013 in a beautiful little whitewashed 16th century church in Newlands Valley near Keswick in the Lake District. It is the church i was christened in 28 years ago and my grandad is buried there so has a lot of personal meaning to me. It’s not definite yet but i hope to travel to the church on a tractor! We will then be having our reception in a marquee in the yard at Littletown Farm (The Farmhouse is nestled at the foot of Catbells and was the inspiration behind Beatrix Potters Mrs Tiggy Winkle stories). It will be a short walk (uphill!) for our guests while myself and my new husband will be taking a drive in a little “MGB Roadster” which has just been restored and sprayed a lovely gunmetal silver by the best man before arriving to greet our guests at the farm! While the photo’s are being taken our guests will be treated to “afternoon tea style canape’s” including homemade scones and finger sandwiches washed down with tea and Pimms/Prosecco and served on vintage crockery. I would love to have an ice cream van too! We will then be having an informal Hog Roast for dinner followed by lots more fizz, music, dancing and fun! I am hoping to DIY most of the little touches to the day for a personal feel including stationary and table decorations and we are going for a rustic, country feel with lots of hessian and lace and the colour scheme will be charcoal, ducky pink and cream 🙂 I would love peonies, David Austen roses, gypsophilia, sweet peas and hydrangea’s with some lovely green foliage for our flowers 🙂 Cannot wait!!!!

Rhian Davitt on 19. July, 2012

Loving these maps! Would so love to include these with my invites for guests to get excited about before our big day!
Paul and I are getting married on 25th March 2013, which will hopefully be a lovely hot sunny day, and is the start of the Easter school holidays so my Mum is off work.
We’re getting married first at St Wilfrid’s church in Mobberley, Cheshire which is a gorgeous church, complete with lych gate and surrounded by open countryside, the village cricket pitch and local village pub next door!
We then plan to walk through the country lanes and onto our local pub – The Bulls Head which is frequented by the local peacocks and is a short walk away from our lovely white cottage on a dairy farm (complete with cows, calves and wild rabbits!). We’ll have canapes and some bubbly at the local and then go onto Peover Golf Club for the main reception.
The main themes for the day will be Easter (I’m even thinking of creating an easter/wish tree to wow guests on arrival, and potentially an easter egg hunt for both small guests and adults alike), plenty of gorgeous spring flowers – including bright yellow daffs, and to incorporate the woodland in and around our local area, bringing in moss layered jam jars complete with tiny tealights, blocks of tree trunks for table numbers and a sage green/pastel colour scheme.
To complete our special day we’re hoping to have a ceilidh to celebrate my irish roots as well as a band which will play on into the night.
The key thing to make our day magical will be our family and friends and to ensure it is a small, intimate affair with lots of fun!

Nicola Y on 20. July, 2012

Love the idea of a map, as none of our guests are from where we are getting married. My partner and I are getting married on 14th September 2013. Like everyone at the moment we are on a tight budget, that with two huge families to keep happy means we have to be imaginative.
We are getting married in Buxton, Derbyshire which is half way between my parents and matts. The idea of a peak district wedding is also something special to us both as when we were first dating we would go for dates here whatever the weather.
Our ceremony is going to be small with a few close family and friends at the pavilion gardens, in the bandstand so fingers crossed for sunshine. I work in rivers and the river why runs passed the bandstand so I may be tempted to wear Welles under my dress. After the intimate ceremony we are going across the road to the Buxton dome. This is an amazing venue as it started out as grand stables, then became the hospital and is now owned by derby university. Here we will be joined by our extended families and friends to celebrate into the night.
What makes the dome special is that we can do everything all in one big room. Half will be where we eat and later dace. One section is going to be an outside inside bar area, and another section is now fondly known as kids (and adults) corner. This will have a bouncy castle as well as other activities to keep everyone amused.
Upon arrival our guests are going to be served pimms or pedigree, Matt works for marstons so wanted to incorporate that In to our day.
Our main theme is travel, as we like to see and do as much as we can, so our tables are named after places we have been. My dad is making a sign post like a lands end sign to show our guest where to go. I have made the favours my stitching hearts out of worlld map fabric, so everyone can have a place they love. I am also making our tale center pieces out of old jam jars. These will be like memory jars with objects in them that remind us of the places we have been. Our guest book is going to be a box with postcards on for people to leave us messages.

We both just want a day where everyone can relax and have fun. Families sometimes don’t get so many of these times. So we really want it to be a family filled day.


Shannon & Steven on 23. July, 2012

What beautiful artwork! I was instantly mesmerized and just had to enter my fiance and I in the competition!

A little about us:

I’m SHANNON. I’m a writer and musician. I am currently planning for a wedding date of OCTOBER 5th 2013!

My fiance, STEVEN, is from Scotland and has family there (so we *do* have a UK address for our map to be sent, if we happen to win!) He is an artist and works in customer service here in the US.

Our wedding will be in the US…. In a little, eccentric river city where we currently reside– Peoria, IL. Peoria is very old fashioned. It’s the town time forgot. We have a steamboat and everything! In fact, our wedding shower will be a brunch on that beautiful, old steamboat!

The ceremony is private– just us, our closest witnesses and the sunrise on the roof of our big, historic apartment building. There is a 4th floor balcony that looks out over our strange little city. We will exchange vows there while a single cellist (and good friend) serenades us with instrumental tunes by the Mountain Goats.

After the private ceremony, Steven and I will ride our bicycles in a gang of closest friends down to the reception location to start preparing for the big night!

I am 3rd generation Scottish American myself, so it seemed fitting for Steven and I to have our big hoopla of a wedding reception at the Scottish Rite Cathedral of Peoria. The building is Gothic and dark. It’s a bit spooky, but gorgeous. We will have a 1930s speakeasy wedding in it’s basement ballroom.

A sspeakeasy-themed wedding is perfect for our location. You see, Peoria was built on whiskey. There are incredible mansions up on the bluffs of this city where old whiskey barons lived. And during prohibition, Peoria was a shining star of bootlegging. Al Capone even ran around with this town’s ne’er-do-wells.

We want to pay homage to this history by throwing a raucous, colorful underground soire with a live band, a vintage photobooth and a small, cherry oak bar with a lone barkeep, making only oldtimer’s whiskey drinks!

Our decor will be simple like a dust bowl era neighborhood bash– no frills! Times were rough, after all! We will decorate with string lights and bunting flags. We do not have a color scheme as much as a ‘cinematic aesthetic,’ an array of rich tones, desaturated to create the feel of a vintage photograph. We are pulling on Wes Anderson’s palette of vintage neutrals for inspiration!

One of the most authentically 30s portions of our wedding will be dinner. We are inviting a dozen of our closest friends to come make ‘stone soup’ with us in the big, vintage kitchen of the Cathedral prior to the big party. I can’t wait to feel the warmth of love and friendship in that kitchen as we all make stew together to serve our guests later. Homemade bread as well. … And later we shall wash it all down with vintage cocktails at our little bar (The Whiz Bang! The Rusty Nail! The Manhattan!)

Last but not least, our ‘power animal’….

Steven & I have had many synchronistic moments having to do with Coyotes. Coyotes are very prevalent in this town, and we’ve come across them many times in this year that we’ve met and enjoyed dating. Steven bought me a necklace with a beautiful silver coyote pendant that I will be wearing with my lace wedding dress on the big day. The coyote is our totem– our power animal. And we feel that it is watching over us, guiding us on this day as it has this past year….

Thank you so much for reading our wedding story! We have some time, but plans are underway, and I found this blog whilst searching out DIY reception ideas! I am so taken by your artwork, and would be incredibly honored to frame our wedding map and hang it right above our bed, as a gift to Steven…. The man that made my own life’s map so much more vivid and exciting. I feel your beautiful work would really strike a cord with him as well.

Looking forward to reading the rest of the entries!

All best!

Shannon Moore (& Steven Shepherd)

rachael on 23. July, 2012

Hello,a map would be fab, see what you think of our plans…
Next Sept Saturday 28th Mike and Rachael will be married at Colehayes Park in Devon – a whole weekend extravaganza with friends and family jetting in from around the globe to spend a lovely chilled out weekend in the countryside together, nearly everyone can stay on site, and we expect a fair few campers and campervans!
Mike and Rachael are lovers of the great outdoors and the venue normally hosts school geography field trips – so it seemed rather fitting . Folks will be arriving from Totnes, N. Ireland, Spain, America, London and Newcastle to be greated with either a special van containing a large cob woodfired pizza oven (yum!) for a casual get to know you evening involving lots of flower arranging.. As Mike is a professional gardener and Rachael is an enthusiastic (although amateur) gardener, flowers and greenery will feature heavily, local blooms of many colours all grown in a beautiful walled garden just outside Totnes – Rachael has been buying their fabulous colourful casual bouquets from years from Totnes’ vibrant weekly market. Wallflowers, scabious, sunflowers, stocks, sweatpeas, delphiniums, a jumble of prettiness all over the house – with maulticoloured tissue paper pompoms and paper flowers to add to the colourful decorations.
Colehayes is located on the edge of Dartmoor, so Rachael will be going for hike up Haytor Rocks first thing on the wedding morning with Pinto the crazy (but most sincere) puppy. If the weather is fine, Mike and his mates plan on jumping in the lake at Colehayes for an early morning dip.
Rachael will arrive in style with her dad Geoff in his 1935 Talbot, a special blue car which Geoff and wife Penny completely rebuilt a few years ago before taking it on a round the world rally: from Peking to Paris!
The marriage will take place under a fabulous very ancient Cork Oak tree in the garden, a simple ceremony (with Pinto as ring bearer, he is in training!) followed by the cake made by Penny – who has quite a reputation, and then the party! We will have champagne and special Devon cider with lots of fabulous seasonal canapes (maybe something with crab) while the kids all run around with quizzes, spotting different guests, hats, and all sorts of funny things.
We will have a relaxed feast of a buffet, all sorts of lovely fresh things decorated with edible flowers, followed by fruity fun puddings – blackberries a must at that time of year!
And then cheesey dancing into the small hours – Colehayes doesn’t have rules about bedtime, so we shall stay up til dawn, and then have a few fireworks maybe, sparklers at the very least with marshmallows over a fire in the garden.
The next day everyone will get together for a big old fry up, and another visiting quirky food van – this time it Lemon Jelli, also a Totnes speciality with excellent strong coffes and fruit smoothies which should sort out the hangovers. Then walk in the glorious surrounding countryside to blow away the cobwebs.. and then some games.. a ping pong tournament, table football league, and a creative competition, s yet to be decided but previous parties have featured beach sculptures, painted egg portraits and fancy cakes – judging will be very tight!!
A few pasties and porkpies on the sunday wouldn’t go amiss and then sadly we’ll have to wave goodbye to everyone, hopefully to set up a tradition of gathering the family from near and far in this massive holiday cottage in years to come.

Sheila981 on 23. July, 2012

We are not young (44 and 45) and have both escaped failed marriages. Having six children between us and, consequently, a huge mortgage, we have put off getting married as “we can’t afford it”.
Last month my fiancé was diagnosed with cancer.
Suddenly, our priorities changed and we set a date. 3rd May 2013 to be exact – 10 years to the day after our first date. Hopefully, he will be in remission by then, after surgery next week and any subsequent chemotherapy.
It will be a very emotional day and it is important to us that all six children will be closely involved; my son will be giving me away (I lost my father to cancer), one daughter is ring-bearer/best man, two daughters are bridesmaids and two sons are pageboys. Our tiny Yorkshire Terrier, Fifi, will also walk up the aisle with us all.
I am determined that it will be a very special day, regardless of our thousand pound budget. I am cutting out anything that proves to be a source of stress during the planning, so that we have nothing but fond memories of the months ahead. Friends and family are rallying round to help make as much as we can between us to cut costs.
I have made the ‘Save The Date’ cards and am working on Invitations and Order of Service booklets, taking inspiration from The Natural Wedding Company, and all for just a few pounds.
I am making my dress and probably those for the bridesmaids too. On the morning of the wedding we will go into the fields behind our house and pick Cow Parsley as bouquets and Cornflowers for my hair. We will walk to our local church to get married, the pathway lined with homemade bunting, and then walk the short distance back to our village hall for the reception. We are also making bunting to criss-cross the ceiling of the village hall as it is very plain and dated. A local farmer is lending us straw bales for seating so we don’t have to hire chair covers for the ugly hall chairs. We will make an A-frame sign for the lane saying “SLOW – Free Range Wedding”!
We will have afternoon tea with homemade wine, cakes etc. and a gift from my brother of a barrel of cider. My mother is making blackberry jam as favours for our guests, which we will decorate with homemade labels and fabric lid covers tied with string.
A cousin is making a cake – we have given her “carte blanche” as we don’t want to put any pressure on anyone who has kindly offered their help to make this a great day.
Friends are doing a hog roast at cost for us later on.
We have cut out all the ‘extras’ such as cars, smart venue, traditional dresses, flowers, hair/make up artist, caterers, photographer etc. in order to pay for a ‘Thank You’ to everyone who will have made the day possible. This takes the form of an Abba tribute band to which everyone can enjoy dancing the night away.
We don’t know what the future holds for us, but an illustrated map of our wedding would be a perfect memento of what promises to be the most emotional day of our lives.

Rebecca on 25. July, 2012

What an incredible prize! Such a lovely idea, they look beautiful.

Next summer I am marrying the love of my life and I am proper excited! I’m a student still so it’s all going to be low-budget and very DIY. The August 2013 wedding is going to take place in Cawsand, Cornwall – a beautiful part of the world where my grandparents and my dad were born (right in the village!). My granny also got married in the village so there was no second option in terms of location: Rame church wedding overlooking the bay, Village Hall reception for Cornish lunch and a evening recpetion at a pub on the beach’s edge (with fireworks and pasties!).

My mum and I are making my dress and the bridesmaids’ dresses. My lovely florist friend is doing the bouquets, another mate is making the cake, and a whole host of friends have offered their services; we’ve been so lucky. It began as a budget thing – but now I can’t imagine it being any other way as the wedding is going to have the ‘stamp’ of all of our friends and family on it.

I’ve never really had the ‘princess-bride’ obsession, so the thing I am most looking forward to is saying those vows with our closest people as witnesses – and then hosting the best party we ever have, afterwards! Xx

Robyn on 30. July, 2012

Hi Alexandra,

My partner Mike and I are getting married on a tight budget next July.

We’re going to be getting married at a little church next to a zoo in the wilds of the east of England countryside. The zoo, Thrigby Wildlife Park, is set in the grounds of a manor house and has a beautiful white summerhouse nestled amidst gibbons and snow leopards’ enclosures.

After the speaches and formailites we’re inviting all our guests to join us for a posh picnic lunch with lots of local produce and some tasty home made treats.

To fit in with our wild theme we’ll be using lots of wildflowers for decoration, including thistles, as my partner is Scottish, so look out for lots of tartan and kilts too!

We have family and friends traveling from many places in the UK, France and even Australia. So it will be a day full of culture and emotion as we very rarely get to see these people that we love so very much.

All the best,


Mariam on 31. July, 2012

Absolutely love the maps and was going to apply to win for our wedding (July 2013), but after reading the others, I put my support behind Sheila981 (posted 23 July). What a wonderful gift it would be for her!

CharlieB on 31. July, 2012

Hi Mariam, what a lovely thing to do – I’m sure Shelia will be very touched that you feel that way xXx

Sarah Powell on 1. August, 2012

Hi there! My fiancée and I will tie the knot in Wells in Somerset next July (2013). We’ll marry in a gorgeous church and then have our reception at Kilver Court which is the former mulberry headquarters and is still owned by the Saul’s and has Beautiful gardens and a stunning viaduct. We plan to have a vintage fete inspired wedding day with pimms on arrival, croquet on the lawn, champagne afternoon tea, a bouncy castle to keep little ones (and big ones) entertained. We’ll hopefully have a route master bus to take the guests from church to venue. We’re planning on having a traditional sweetie shop so that people can fill their own bags with pick n mix as favours. We’ll be using my great aunt’s typewriter for people to use to type messages for our wedding book and get everyone dancing with a jazz band. We’ll have s hog riast in the evening and finish off our fab day with fireworks set off from the viaduct!

CEMGS on 1. August, 2012

After such a lovely gesture from Mariam and a tear brought to my eye after reading Sheila981’s post I feel a bit bad about entering this comp! Best of luck Sheila to you and your family.

My fiancee and I are getting married next June (2013). We met at school at the age of 11 on our first day of secondary school and 18 years later I can’t quite believe it but we will be getting hitched! Our parents still live just a mile from one another so it is lovely that we are getting married in a place that means so much to us both. We are getting married in the church attached to my fiancee’s first school – only a mile or so from both our family homes – and the reception will be a few miles down the road. We’re hiring a beautiful old timber barn (not usually rented out for weddings!) and will be decorating it ourselves (although not too much as its beauty speaks for itself!) Being an ecologist I am keen to use native wildflowers grown in mine and our family’s gardens for bouquets and decorations and don’t want anything neat or tidy but a scruffy natural look (a bit like us!).

It is going to be a family affair with everyone mucking in to help! I have bought my dress second hand and my wonderful textiles teacher cousin will be customising it for me. Bridesmaids (my sister, cousin and two best friends) will be finding their own green dresses that are unique to them. My mum is making a lot of the food herself – she is a wonderful cook! – and where it will be too much work (or she can’t make and freeze ahead!) the caterers will be given strict instructions and even recipes to make sure it is perfect (we love our food!). It will be hearty rustic fair – homemade pies and chutneys and the like. My sister is making the wedding cake – I’m leaving it to her as to what she does she is a very talented baker/cake decorator but she knows I won’t want anything prissy but natural and rustic! Wine, champagne and local beer will be provided in vast quantities and to make it cheaper for everyone -rather than a pay bar – they will be asked to ‘bring your own’ if they want anything else. Later in the evening there will be a live band (which is yet to be decided!) and much drinking and dancing until the early hours (there’s no wrap up time thank goodness!) The field next to the barn will be used for camping and my uncle will be cooking bacon butties for those campers nursing their heads the next day.

As for animals featuring – there are no plans as yet but I do volunteer for the Bat Conservation Trust and care for injured and grounded bats so you never know – they may well be given a job like everyone else!?!

All in all it should be a wonderful day but of course the thing I am most looking forward to is walking down that aisle to marry my best friend and the best fella ever!

Thanks for considering us.


Sheila981 on 4. August, 2012

What lovely comments – I am quite taken aback by such kind thoughts, thank you so much!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to blog