Milli and Josh's Christmas wedding - 19.12.20

Milli and Josh

19th December 2020 | Cawthorne Church



For this budget wedding feature I'm very pleased to bring you Milli and Josh's Christmas micro wedding. This couple defied all lockdown odds to get married just before Christmas which I think is absolutely amazing. I think you'll all agree that their wedding looks lovely and so full of love and happiness despite only having 13 guests. They also had an extra cute ringbearer in the form of their dog, Finn. Here's Milli to tell us all about their special day and their budget.


Milli and Josh's woodland engagement shoot has also featured on here so I highly recommend checking that out too. 



Where it all began

Our story began in December 2016 when we both swiped right and went out for a lunch date. Unfortunately the timing wasn’t right and we decided to remain friends, skip forwards 9 months and a failed relationship each, Josh slid into my DM’s on social media (romantic I know) and asked me on a do-over first date. Sparks flew instantly and it was game over when Finn, my overprotective fur baby fell in love with Josh. Within a few months we had moved in together and a year and a half later Josh was down on one knee at the top of Main St USA in Disney World asking me to be his wife.



COVID kicks in

We had originally planned to have a big 200 person wedding at our local church with a beautiful reception at a local barn (who we will not name as I would recommend everyone to not have their weddings there). Josh has a huge family with 6 siblings all of whom (except his little sister) have partners/kids. I have 3 step sisters and 2 step-parents and lots of extended family. Unfortunately COVID had other plans, on the 19th December 2019, exactly 1 year before our wedding day we got a call that my Grandma had been taken into hospital and was hooked up to a ventilator with an unknown respiratory problem a week after coming home from a cruise and we had to go and say our final goodbyes. Looking back knowing what we know now she had a severe case of COVID-19. By some miracle she pulled through and we spent the Christmas break at the hospital with my family before she finally went home in January with nobody any closer to knowing what had caused her to be so ill.

 


When the U.K. went into lockdown in March 2020 we were optimistic that our wedding was safe, it was 9 months away after all. As time went on we made contingency plans for a cut down 150, 100, 75 person wedding as Boris maintained that mass testing and normality would resume by Christmas. Obviously this didn’t happen and in the summer we had “the postponement conversation”, both of us were resolute that postponing was not something we wanted to do. Our deal breaker in postponing was our desire to start a family, personally we can’t do that until after we’d tied the knot and pushing back our baby plans until 2021/22 was a none negotiable so we stuck to our guns and put our minds to making our 2020 date as special as possible. We contacted our reverend to get our banns read as early as possible incase the UK went into another lockdown between summer and December. Thank God we did as our banns readings were completed only a few days before the November lockdown.
 

November was tense with the constant feeling of unknown as to whether the lockdown would end and if it ended what the new rules were going to be for weddings. Our local area was in tier 3 from almost day 1 of the tier system and didn’t look likely to be downgraded but when Boris confirmed weddings were going ahead in December in all tiers we felt a sense of absolute euphoria that our wedding was happening and it was full steam ahead cramming hair and makeup trials, dress fittings and all the good stuff into the 2 weekends between lockdown ending and the wedding.


The big day

Now for the good bit, the big day! After a week of rain the sun came out and we were blessed with clear blue skies and temperatures just above freezing. My incredible makeup and hair ladies came to my mums house where I was staying the night before. They were in full PPE and got me, my mum and maid of honour fully glammed up. One part of the wedding that we splurged on was having 2 photographers so that we could have one capturing Josh and his brother getting ready at their house and one photographer capturing the girls getting ready at my mums (totally worth it by the way).

We also had our lovely videographer splitting time between the two houses capturing footage which we’re super excited to get back in a month or two.


The morning of the wedding at the girls house was amazing. Being unable to have bridesmaids due to the 13 guest limit meant we got a lie in rather than the 5am wakeup time that was originally planned. Everything ran perfectly on time and my amazing stepsisters and close friend who would’ve been my bridesmaids drove by the house to see me in my dress. Unfortunately the boys house was slightly less relaxed with one groomsmen forgetting to pack his trousers, driving 20 minutes home to retrieve them only to realise he had left his house key at our house and his spare key was locked inside his house. 2 trips from Barnsley to Wakefield later the boys were ready to go and even had time for a relaxing game on the PlayStation.


The church ceremony was incredible, even though we only had 13 people in a 200 person church the room was filled with love. Our guests wore clear facemasks (with the exception of 2 vulnerable guests) so we could see their big smiles and honestly I didn’t even notice they were wearing masks. We live streamed the ceremony on YouTube for guests to attend virtually and printed ouT photographs of our original 200 guests, attached them to bunting and hung it on the ends of pews so I could see everyone's smiling faces as I walked down the aisle to Josh. Our beautiful dog was the ring bearer and somehow made it through the entire ceremony without crying or barking. The ceremony flew by and before I knew it the reverend was declaring us husband and wife, as we walked out of the church some of our relatives and friends who live in the neighbouring villages were stood outside with confetti and signs congratulating us from a safe distance which was incredible. One bonus of a tier 3 wedding was the fact we weren’t allowed a reception so had more time for photographs around our lovely local village. We’ve lived in the village for a while so to hear people we have known for years, and some passing cars filled with people we’ve never met, leaning out of their windows to shout their congratulations was beautiful.


After photos were done we came home and my brother and sister in law surprised us with a video they had organised in secret of video messages from our original guests sending us their love, joy and best wishes for our big day. It was the perfect way to have all our guests be with us in spirit and it is a video we will treasure forever. By 5pm everyone had gone home so we did what any other couple would do on the evening of their wedding…put on comfy clothes, ordered takeout, snuggled with our fur baby, opened wedding cards and Zoom called some of our closest friends and family. As much as I thought having no reception might feel like our special day had been cut short it was truly wonderful, we had more than enough time after the ceremony, outside the church to speak to all our guests and it was incredible to see my grandparents in person for the first time since March. 2020 made us so grateful that we could just get married, we didn’t have chance to sweat the small stuff because we’d spent so long worried if we could even get married so when the day came it was overwhelming joy and relief rather than nerves and worry. The pressure to pull off a “perfect” day was gone and every person attending whether it was in person or virtually was so happy just to celebrate with us and end 2020 on a high.


I’ve heard a lot of brides questioning if they should still have all the “big” wedding expenses like photographers, videographers, their big wedding dress etc if they’re only having a ceremony and no reception, or are having a micro wedding and I would personally say absolutely DO IT. This was our big day, our main event, our I do day because its the day we became Mr and Mrs Jones. We’ll probably have one photographer at our vow renewal/belated reception event in 2022 and if I’m not pregnant I’ll probably wear my dress again but who knows. In 50 years we’ll want to look back on the photos and video of the day we became man and wife rather than brushing it under the rug and saying it was “just the legal bit” in favour of photos of our big party. Its a personal preference and I know for lots of couples the big celebration is the wedding and for the first 9 months of our engagement it was for us too but 2020 gave us a reality check and forced us to really dig into what was most important for us as a couple and that was being legally married in church in front of our parents, my grandparents and our best friends. 

Sending love to all the COVID brides and grooms, your special day will come and it'll be amazing 

Mr & Mrs Jones

Budget 

(in order of expensiveness with prices rounded to make it easier)

Dress, shawl & shoes including alterations - £1200 +/- from Off The Peg in Denby Dale

Wedding rings - £900 from William & Julia Shaw in Dodworth

Church Fees (including banns, organist, additional licenses etc) - £900 

Photographer - £600 for a half day, 2 photographers and over 400 images via email link - We the Kasas (we defo got a good deal on our photography, i'm not sure if it would have been this cheap if we hadn't been in a pandemic where nobody had got married for 9 months).

Videographer - £500 - Luke Nunns (friend of a friend who does videography as a side job)

Flowers & Decor - £500 Orchid Flowers and Venue Dressing

Cake - my amazing bridesmaid did our cupcakes as a wedding gift to us

Bunting - my lovely mum did this for free but also sells bunting so can custom wedding bunting for any other couples who like the aisle idea

Hair and Makeup - £230 (I paid for my mum and MOH otherwise it would’ve been £110 total including trials)

Cars - we put ribbons on our blue VW polo and doubled it up as a wedding car and my something blue. The ribbons were probably £4 from the range.

Suppliers





Stationary - Summer and Lace

Face masks - Amazon




Now if that didn't warm your heart I don't know what will! Milli and Josh's wedding looked incredible and I have no doubt that Finn was the star of the show. I think what stands out for me here is the love and happiness. Not the number of guests, not the lack of reception but just a beautiful wedding day.

If you would like your small budget wedding featured on the blog then drop me an email at thriftybrideblog@gmail.com

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