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Mr asked me to marry him with an ethical ring made from fallen Scottish trees.  Saving money and conscience was a theme of our engagement and our wedding.  It reflected the vegan, teetotal, and low drama life we’ve chosen since we met at a vegan event.  What would become a defining feature of our wedding was the many contributions of our intimate group of guests, and my minimal workload.

 

The location was a house large enough to provide 7 guest bedrooms and space for children to play inside.  We also chose the nearest registry office, and dates to suit guests.

 

My dress was designed by ‘star woman’ Cosmic Esoteric.  She did a stellar job.  By now I was pregnant; and so, a key design feature was the expandable waistline, created from a ruffled back and low-slung skirt.  Assorted pink and blue fabrics were combined into a ‘Queen Titania’ fairy tale aesthetic. The top was corset fashioned, but designed for comfort.  The skirt layers overlapped like petals, and a bolero kept me warm. This was a Midsummer Night’s Dream theme dress, for an almost May Day date.

 

Photography duties were taken on by Cosmic Esoteric’s partner.  We invited all our artistic guests to pool their efforts with the app ‘Cluster’.  I explained this plan in detailed email invitations, which I created for free in Mailchimp.    

 

The meals, like our photos were communal in both dining and preparation.  Our chef friend made the main meal.  Everyone chipped in to get it ready and tidy up after.  Pudding was a choice of cakes baked by Mr’s sister. My Mum sourced juices, and free glasses.  

Mr and I weighed out rice into tupperwares at our local low-cost, low- waste, vegan food co-op.  We bought Fairtrade tea and other supplies from the nearby shops.

 

Stepping outside the registry office, we were met by the flurry of a friend’s homemade petal confetti.  Returning to the house, people sat where they wanted on the settees, sun chairs and picnic blankets. We ate and chatted, and children dipped in the pond.

The was no need for decoration, as the venue was pleasant already.  Spotify algorithms provided musical ambience.

 

For entertainment, Mum bought children’s toys in charity shops, and Bananagrams.  There were games of football and boules in the park. Just next-door, it provided a children’s playground, sunset, and festive white cherry blossom.

 

Advice for others

 

Earlier in the day, our mixed gender speakers gave us laughs and marriage guidance.  My Dad, suggested the importance of talking, especially while walking in a park.  A best woman read a poem by Maya Angelou, and mused on the nature of equal and supportive partnerships.  One best man drew attention to his t-shirt slogan, ‘all you need is love’, and sobered this with the (Carol Ann Duffy) poem ‘Onions’.  One amiably took the mick.

 

By Ms.

 
 

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Our wedding, our way

 

The day Mr met Ms’s grandmother, they looked through the photo cabinet.  Children, grandchildren, the Pope, her holy communion, and, oh yes: her wedding.  She fondly recounted the tale of a drunken brawl which led the entire congregation to be evicted from the church hall.  Beef is an Irish English tradition, apparently.

A couple of years later, and Mr planned our wedding while I unknowingly slept (apparently to save me the aggravation).  He found out my opinions with hypothetical questioning. Our wedding was teetotal, vegan, and passed without conflict. It reflected the life we’ve chosen since we met at a ‘Rambling Fox’ vegan Meetup… and selected inspiration from our families.  

 

Low stress, ethical ethos

 

At home in our flat, we’d go to bed, turn the lights out, and then he’d research welcoming reception settings.  The right ‘White Location’ was a house large enough to provide 7 guest bedrooms and space for children to play inside or out.  Chelsea Old Town Hall was the nearest registry office, and the one Mr’s sister used.  

 

I had met Mr’s grandmother at her village home in Hong Kong.  While she played mahjong, Mr and I walked in a happy jetlagged haze past butterflies and bamboo.  We reached a hilltop viewpoint, where the scenery of trees and temples stretched across a lake to China.  Seizing a secluded moment between the frequent tourist group selfies stops, Mr proposed. He then told me the details of my wedding.  

What would become a defining feature was the many contributions of our intimate group of guests, and my minimal workload.  Mr had chosen an ethical ring made from fallen Scottish trees.  Saving money and conscience was another wedding theme.      

 

Colourful, custom dress

 

Back home, I took a girly shopping trip to affordable Southall.  My dress was designed by ‘star woman’ Cosmic Esoteric. She would call by our flat and sketch me, taking measurements and pinning cloth.  We bought the materials together, but I left creative direction to her discretion. She did a stellar job.  

By now I was pregnant; and so, a key design feature was the expandable waistline, created from a ruffled back and low-slung skirt.  My weight was not something to hide, but to celebrate, and there was little point in the pretence of a virginal white dress. Assorted pink and blue fabrics were combined into a ‘Queen Titania’ fairy tale aesthetic.  The top was corset fashioned, but designed for comfort. The skirt layers overlapped like petals, and a bolero kept me warm. This was a Mid-Summer Night’s Dream theme dress, for an almost May Day date. Cosmic Esoteric- the essential look for star crossed lovers!  

 

Supportive people

 

Photography duties were taken on by Cosmic Esoteric’s partner.  We invited all our artistic friends to pool their efforts with (the secret group photo sharing app and website) ‘Cluster’.  I explained this plan in detailed email invitations.  I created a design with (the free business mailing list service) Mailchimp.  I then emailed a copy to myself, removed the Mailchimp address, and forwarded it to guests.   

 

The meals, like our photos were communal in both dining and preparation.  Our chef friend made the main meal, and it was collected by my brother and sister in law.  Friends warmed it on the day, set the table and tidied up. Pudding was a choice of cakes baked by Mr’s sister.  My Mum sourced crockery, cutlery and glasses.  Hummus and Eastwood Farm apple juice were provided by her friends.

Mr and I weighed out rice into tupperwares at our local low-cost, low- waste, vegan food co-op.  We bought Fairtrade tea, breakfast, snacks and other quality stodge from the wholefood shop and market.  Over the course of our stay we also had vegan takeaway curry, and pizza delivery (of which the cheese was plant based, but mistaken by a guest for cheese of cow origin).

 

Outdoor, festival feel

 

For the ‘big day’, I wore cosy shoes, jewellery from my mother in law, and no make-up.  I did my own hair with accessories to match Cosmic Esoteric’s. A best girl would carry a matching bag to distribute bubbles.  Mr wore a work suit, shoes, collarless shirt and surfer necklace combo.  His ‘old, borrowed and blue’ socks came courtesy of a best man.

 

When we arrived at the venue, a friend surprised me with a bouquet of flowers.  Mr and I walked one another to the tunes of Billy Bragg, ‘an English singer, songwriter and left-wing activist’.  Stepping outside, we were met by the flurry of a friend’s homemade petal confetti.  It made me giggle.

Returning to the house, people sat where they wanted on the settees, sun chairs and picnic blankets.  We ate and chatted, and children dipped in the pond. The open plan living room, dining room and kitchen area opened onto the garden, meaning people could disperse while feeling involved.  

The was no need for decoration, as the venue was pleasant already, being used for recipe book photoshoots.  Spotify algorithms provided non-offensive musical ambience in the form of ‘70’s American Folk’, and ‘Alt 80s’.  It was available through the house television.

 

For entertainment, Mum bought children’s toys in charity shops, and Bananagrams.  There were games of football and boules in the park. Just next-door, it provided a children’s playground, sunset, and festive white cherry blossom.

 

Advice for others

 

Earlier in the day, our mixed gender speakers gave us laughs and marriage guidance.  My Dad, suggested the importance of talking, especially while walking in a park.  A best woman read a poem by Maya Angelou, and mused on the nature of equal and supportive partnerships.  One best man drew attention to his t-shirt slogan, ‘all you need is love’, and sobered this with the (Carol Ann Duffy) poem ‘Onions’.  One amiably took the piss. One friend complained that no one said anything embarrassing about me; patriarchy hasn’t fallen yet.

 

By Ms.