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How We Bought Our Whole Wedding Online* Part 1

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Our reception venue, the Union Club in Soho, London

So, nearly 2 years after getting married, I’ve finally got round to blogging about our wedding planning. Maybe it was because we did it all in four months, but we found wedding planning … stressful. Sure, some of it is fun. I LOVED my hen nights – both of them – and you get to look at pretty pictures on Pinterest and play dress-up and obviously, wonderfully, you’re getting married and that’s really exciting. But then you get insecure from staring at photos of endless flawless brides, and sticker shock when you see that adorable rustic home-made looking bouquet costs about £200, and the wedding industrial complex is out to get you, and your third cousin wants to know if she can bring her 10 kids, and there’s an endless list of decisions and they all involve money, family, friends, your relationship and tablecloths and aaaagh. And breathe.

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The thing that saved us was … firstly, our venue, the Union Club in Soho, did all the catering so we didn’t have to worry about fridge sizes, washing-up, chairs or glasses – they just magically appeared (see below). I’d highly recommend using an all-in venue if you want to avoid hassle; my friends who went most nuts over their weddings were the ones who had to deal with caterers, and they also didn’t find it that much cheaper.

Secondly, we bought everything we possibly could online. Like:

My engagement and wedding rings

My wedding dress, shoes and accessories

The cake

The flowers (see below)

The invitations

The music.

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It made life so much easier. And in case you think were destroying all the livelihoods of little artisans (because that’s the kind of paranoid thinking wedding planning can induce) it was totally the reverse: thanks to the magic of the internet we were able to deal directly with loads of small businesses that we would otherwise never have heard of. Starting with …

My engagement ring

I helped A choose an engagement ring. Thank God, because otherwise he might have done something nuts like spend three months’ salary on it (which by the way is, like so many things about diamonds, a myth invented by De Beers in the 1930s). Diamonds are beautiful, but I liked the idea of a coloured stone, and I also wanted something affordable. We did a bit of browsing and found some gorgeous rings on Etsy which is an online home for lots of small jewellers and vintage sellers.

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It took just a few hours until I found one I loved: a peach sapphire set in rose gold (pictured above). We bought it from Rene, who’s in Sri Lanka, home of the world’s best sapphires. He has lots of elaborate pave rings which weren’t for me but also some very simple beauties (with gorgeous sapphires of all colours – he also does requests). Rene answered all our questions incredibly promptly, sent the ring ASAP and even took back the original ring and sent me a new one when I’d (gulp) made a mistake with the size … So yes, it was a bit of a risk buying sight unseen, but I adore my ring. As you can see from one of the many many photos I took while I was meant to be working.

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Top tip: whether you or your beloved is choosing the engagement ring, think of getting a wedding ring made at the same time to go with it. If all goes well you probably will be getting married, so you may as well. And not all rings will sit happily on a finger together; hence I had to hit Rene up for a wedding ring a month or so later. Just sayin’.

On Monday I’ll be posting about: invitations and flowers!

*nearly

All photographs (except the last two of the ring) taken by the brilliant Andrew Colvin

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