Cormac Friel, 26, married Steven de Kauwe, 29, at East Riddlesden Hall in West Yorkshire on 9th April 2017. He says:
When it came to choosing our wedding venue, as you might expect of gay men, we thought size mattered. Given we both have large families and because we wanted to invite so many of our friends, we needed to find a venue in West Yorkshire that could accommodate a large party. That narrowed our options down substantially and the National Trust's East Riddlesden Hall was an easy choice from there.
We chose to decorate with woodwork and candles, which we hired from Add Vintage, who provided some very nice pieces, including troughs, tealight holders and cut wood at very affordable prices. We kept flowers to a minimum but provided bouquets for our groomsmaids. The gypsophila for these was purchased online for just £55! Steven and some friends worked their magic on them in the run up to the wedding and they got many compliments on the day.
We found dresses online for our five groomsmaids, opting to dress them in white (given there would be no bride from which to steal thunder). Steven and I wore in tweed waistcoats and jackets and dressed our groomsmen in suits, which were all provided by HIRE5.
While engaged, Steven and I went from meat-eaters to vegans, so our menu needed sizeable revisions, which the delightful and culinarily talented James Brown was happy to accommodate. This was easily our largest expense on the day, which is to be expected given the number of guests (and the fact that there was no wedding dress to purchase or florist to pay), but James' reasonable prices have meant we've had the luxury of being able to afford to eat since then, too.
Steve and I aren't much into cake so we opted to go without one. We also changed up a few other traditions that we felt didn't suit us. We met each other at the bottom of the aisle rather than be given away and opted for a first fight rather than a first dance (I hate dancing and we fight all the time, so why not?!). We also had what we called a centre table rather than a top table. And our hilarious female friends were MCs during the speeches.
We knew we didn't have the budget for our wedding to be the fanciest of all time, so used our funds to make it one of the most fun instead. We followed the holy trinity of party planning, spending most of our money on food, drink and entertainment. The latter was exceptional. We had lawn games, a sumo fight and we can't praise highly enough Back Chat Brass, who performed live for us.
I can't discuss our wedding without mentioning the best money we spent on it. Our photographer was super professional and worked through the night to edit our photos. He had 100 images available and online as early as 3pm the very next day! He works nationwide, so if you're getting married and haven't booked your photographer yet, you should snap him up!
Photographs by Hamish Irvine