Wedding planning advice, ideas & inspiration from real couples
Jade & Karla got married back in September 2018, but their wedding still stands out as being one of my favourites. There wasn’t a lot of tradition in Jade & Karla’s wedding and I absolutely loved it! So I wanted to find out what advice they had for couples who are planning their wedding now and are wanting to break a few traditions themselves.
But before we get to the wedding planning advice here’s a quick summary…
Multiple proposals, dark industrial warehouse, Manchester pub band, surprise drag queen act, two brides getting ready together and zero formal photos…
Jade & Karla’s Victoria Warehouse Wedding
- Can you tell everyone a little about yourself?
We are both from Manchester but have lived in Amsterdam, NL for the last four years. We met officially at Manchester Pride in 2009, but Karla had worked with my sister previously so we were already on each others radar and being honest, I very much already had a crush on Karla. Once we’d crossed paths on Canal Street, the rest was history. We both now work in the travel industry, Karla on clever finance stuff and I work in sustainability and inclusion/diversity. We’ve been together now for almost eleven years, and married for two!
- Well, how did they ask?
We had a string of proposals. Weird right? The first one was one year in, when Karla proposed at the top of the Eiffel Tower (before almost being blown off by the wind). This was extremely romantic and lovely, but we both knew it was too soon. So, we decided that we would practice 4 proposals, and that when we reached the fourth, it was for real. The second proposal was written in the sand on a Dublin beach, the third on the boating lake in Central Park, NYC, and the fourth and final one was a “shall we do just it?” conversation on our sofa in Amsterdam.
- How long were you engaged?
Technically engaged since 2010, but if you count from the fourth and final proposal, 2 years.
- What were you most looking forward to about your wedding?
We always knew we’d come back home to Manchester to tie the knot, and we most looked forward to that moment happening in front of our most loved friends and family.
- Did you have a specific theme, style or colour palette?
We tried to combine all of our loves to make a theme; Manchester, travelling, sunflowers and alcohol. We had the whole wedding day/night in Victoria Warehouse (very industrial) and had a Manchester band playing a great set in the evening. We slipped in travel with a world map table plan, table names and stories based on our favourite trips. We had sunflowers in lots of alcohol bottles (it was quite an enjoyable challenge drinking all of the alcohol in the year before the wedding – what diet?), and we also had sunflowers as our wedding flowers and on the cake. Finally, we decided to have two fabulous drag queens sing a few numbers during the wedding breakfast, because why not.
- Where did you find inspiration when planning your wedding?
For the travel theme, we found some ideas on Pinterest and then adapted to our own taste. Everything else just came from our imaginations. Thankfully we have similar taste, so we were able to agree on themes quite easily.
- Did you do anything to make your wedding unique to you or your story as a couple?
It was important to us that the wedding had a very personal feel, and reflected who we were as a couple. We decided to keep it fairly small and only invited people who we had strong relationships or memories with (this caused a bit of controversy at times but it was worth it. We had Karlas dad walk us both down the aisle, one on either arm – he’s always been present and supportive throughout our relationship. My sister was my ‘side girl’ and our best friend, Adam, was our ‘side guy’. We had no top table, and we didn’t really follow an agenda – we just danced and laughed and celebrated.
- Did you enjoy the planning process?
I enjoyed the planning process, Karla perhaps not so much. I personally like to know that everything is all in order well in advance, whereas Karla is as laid back as they come. Overall, it was fine and exciting. In hindsight, I wish I wouldn’t have been SO stressed about organisation in the run up to the day.
- How did you choose your wedding venue?
As we live overseas, we scoured all of the Manchester venues online multiple times. We knew that Victoria Warehouse was the one for us because it had everything we were looking for – dark, industrial feel that looked pretty epic with twinkly lights. We flew over, viewed it, signed the contract and flew back to Amsterdam.
- What advice would you give to couples looking for a wedding venue?
Do what feels right for you both. Don’t book a venue because it will look nice for the eyes of others, go with the style most representative of you.
- What was your biggest worry or concern when choosing a photographer?
We were initially worried that we would end up with traditional photos – the whole standing in a line generic photo thing wasn’t really calling out to us. We knew as soon as we found Chris that he was our photographer.
- What advice would you give to couples who are looking for a photographer?
Of course it has to feel right for the style you wish to have, but if capturing true and authentic moments is your bag, book Chris Morse. We also realised afterwards just how easy it was to have Chris as a photographer – we’d only talked over Skype and met him in person for the first time on the wedding day, but by the end it felt like he was a friend who had volunteered to take great photos.
- What was the best thing you spent money on for your wedding?
Good shoes. Your toes will thank you the day after. The best value for money would either be our hairdresser/make up artist Grace Marriott, or Woodyatt Warner who provided us with lots of fairy lights, a back drop and hundreds of floating candles (they even sliced hundreds of lemons to put in the candle jars at our request), all for a great price.
- Would you like to give a shout out to anyone in particular?
Chris Morse, obviously. The photos and silent movie will always remind us of the best day of our lives to date. The staff at Victoria Warehouse were also great – couldn’t have been more accommodating.
- Where did you get ready in the morning?
We got ready in a not so classy warehouse room in the venue. Breaking norms, we got ready together and sat in a small room sinking probably too much Prosecco, with Karlas dad, my sister and Adam.
- How did you feel walking down the aisle?
This is a funny one because we woke up together, styled the venue together and then walked down the aisle together. Being together made it so much better… but walking down the aisle filled me with a lot of sudden nerves. I think I was close to passing out just before we entered the room. Karla was annoyingly calm and easy go lucky. No surprise there.
- Was there any part of the day you were particularly nervous about?
There were no nerves until just before walking down the aisle when I suddenly felt overwhelmed. Once we were at the alter and I was facing Karla, everything was okay again.
- What was your favourite part of your day?
Looking around and realising that we had been dancing for so long that we didn’t see a lot of people leave. We had our shoes off and were dancing with a small group of people, while others were walking away with a lot of wedding cake and even stealing our alcohol bottles and sunflowers – cheeky.
“Go easy on yourself and don’t forget what getting married is truly about.”
– Jade & Karla
I’d like to say a massive thank you to Jade & Karla, not just for choosing me to be their wedding photographer, but taking the time to share their wedding planning advice with us all. They really made their wedding day their own by saying no to traditions and doing what they wanted to do.
You can see more photos from their wedding here – Victoria Warehouse Wedding Photographer
Wedding Planning Q&A
Hopefully, you found this post helpful? It had to be better than me waffling on about how awesome their wedding was, right? If you enjoyed this one, then you might like to see other Wedding Planning Q&As, where I speak to past couples and quiz them on how they planned their wedding, where they got their inspiration and what they did to personalise their day.
I have been a full-time professional Documentary Wedding Photographer since 2014. So I’ve been to a few weddings now! I’ve combined those years of experience with genuine advice from real couples as well as industry experts to create my ever-expanding Alternative Wedding Planning Guide. So feel free to check that out too 😬