Amy and Will had a relaxed foody wedding in a unique heritage venue Victoria Hall. There was much fun and epic floor-filler dancing. I love the Multi-colour bridesmaid dresses but even better than that I love that Amy and Will went for my favourite dinner arrangements… Family Service where a guest on each table is allocated a chef hat and apron and is enrolled to carve and serve for the table. Love it.
Amy The Bride: I’m not really a girly girl, so I wanted something simple and modern, yet with an elegant silhouette. I chose a gown by After Six (part of the Dessy group) which is actually designed for destination weddings and it fit the bill perfectly. My shoes were Jenny Packham for Debenhams. The bridesmaid dresses were inspired by some that I saw when buying my wedding dress, also by After Six, but for budget reasons I had a dressmaker make them up for me. She sent me a number of bright colour swatches to choose from as I knew I wanted individual dresses to suit the different personalities of my friends. The girls chose their two favourite colours and styles from which I then matched up all the choices to choose the best blend. They found their own shoes to wear for the day. We still laugh about Will’s suit. For his outfit for the day he spent more than me and the bridesmaids put together! Will bought an ‘investment’ suit from Hugo Boss, his shirt and shoes were also Hugo Boss. The groomsmen all bought their own slim fitting suits of their own choice and Will bought Hugo Boss ties for them all.
Will and I live in London now but I grew up in Leicester and my parents, family and many friends still live there. Will’s family are divided between the South and the Northeast so the Midlands made sense. We agreed that we wanted a pretty rural setting, easily reached direct from London by train if possible. Moreover we wanted a location where everything was close by – the ceremony location, a nice pub (in case of inclement weather) and the reception venue. We really wanted the day to flow rather than be disjointed by travel. Looking at train routes we decided to check out Oakham in Rutland. It ticked all the boxes, a beautiful and rural small market town with the stunning historical Oakham Castle as a potential venue. But it was Victoria Hall that helped sell it to me.
Good food was a priority for us and we already had our caterers in mind. We used a cater company run by British Masterchef Andy Gabbitas. We travelled up to his pub The Wortley Arms in Sheffield for a tasting session and to set the menu. It was sublime food. We explained that we wanted a very informal, family orientated feel for the day. We decided on Mediterranean antipasti for the starters as we regularly travel to Italy. Andy suggested the idea of the beef mains carved and served by one of our guests as a ‘chef’ on each table, which we loved. They also provided the table linens and tableware. We can’t recommend them enough. The fairy light trails used to dress the venue ceiling were provided and set up by a local hire company called Rutland Marquees. The rest of the decor and styling was done by friends and family, mainly the bridesmaids and Will’s Uncle Rog and Aunt Joan.
I went with a local florist Pollen Floristry, who designed me a fun and colourful bouquet to match my colourful bridesmaids. We were lucky enough to have the loan of Uncle ‘Big Jon’’s Bentley Continental to drive me from my parents house, where I got ready, to Oakham Hall. I wore simple stud earring from Ernest Jones Jewellers, our wedding rings were by Swiss atelier Furrer-Jacot, purchased from Mark Adam in Tunbridge Wells.
I got ready at my parents’ house in Leicester with all the girls. It was a lovely relaxed long morning of laughing at old photographs (mainly embarrassing ones of my sister and I) and giggling at old stories from our childhoods. Our hair was done by a local mobile hairdresser that my mum uses and my make-up was done by Nicola Honey who really listened to what I wanted. I don’t often wear make-up so it had to look as natural as possible, I was really pleased with the end result.
I walked down the aisle to Beth Orton’s duet with Terry Callier of Lean on Me. It’s a very emotional and uplifting song which is very meaningful to Will and I, so it had to be that. We’re not terribly serious people, so an awkward shuffle to a soppy song would never be our style for first dance. We chose Mumford and Sons’ ‘I will wait’, for our first dance, which involved lots of stomping, jumping and clapping and got everyone in the spirit as we’d hoped. We wanted to throw a real party for all our guests so we hired a Leicester band called The Atlantics. They are a fab party band, they kicked off with some 60s classics that got the dance floor full from the start and kept it that way all the way to the end.
Deciding on the Photographer for our Wedding day was one of our most difficult decisions, we knew that once all the hype and excitement had died down, only our photos and fading memories would remain. We looked for someone who had an impressive portfolio, someone who we really thought we could get along with and someone that would make us feel relaxed in front the camera. After trawling through numerous web pages and speaking to other friends who had recently married we chose Kate Tolson at Lucabella Photography. It turned out to be one of our best decisions. When the photos came through we were blown away. Each one was well thought-out and really captured our day in the most magnificent way. We felt that Kate’s photos brought something special, something genuine, something that is only possible to describe when you flick through them months after the event and you just can’t help smiling.
My Advice would be try not to leave everything until last minute! It became quite stressful as a result in the final run up to the day. Decor was a last minute panic as we hadn’t given it a huge amount of thought in the run up. Get caterers that provide everything if possible, our caterers were great and took a lot of stress off us. Make a plan for all weather. We had hoped that guests would be able to stay and enjoy the grounds of Oakham Castle until it was time to head over to Victoria Hall but the weather thought otherwise, luckily we had a contingency plan of heading to local pub The Admiral Hornblower until the hall was ready. Keep everything nearby if possible, don’t get your guests traipsing around. We really feel that not doing this carried on the celebratory mood, there were no dips which we feel helped make all our guests feel really up for it in the evening. Organise a late night venue or extend your licence/agreement. We had only arranged to have Victoria Hall until 12am but many of our guests wanted to go on a bit later.
Finally everyone says it but don’t stress, it will all come together, and no-one ever notices the finer details that may have been missed. First and foremost your day is about the people that are there.