Are you hungry? If you’re not I promise you will be by the time you have finished with this wedding. Seriously. The levels of food immensity have reached new peaks with Ali and Cams ‘Love Feast’.
They both poured so much of themselves into their day and the results are spectacular.
There’s not much else for me to say. I’ll let Ali do the talking.
So Much Pressure
Ali The Bride:I really didn’t enjoy the whole dress shopping experience. I just felt so much pressure to find ‘the one!’ along with the additional pressure of shop owners telling me I had to order before Christmas if I wanted it ready for June.
Early on in my search I’d tried on a dress of a similar style to my final choice and it just stuck in my head. As it was literally the first dress I tried on I felt compelled to keep searching but throughout the process I kept coming back to that style. Eventually I found the one in a little shop down in South London called London Brides by designer Winston near to where I was born and near to a ‘proper’ Pie & Mash shop which my family had been visiting for generations. I did have a little wobbly during my first fitting and wasn’t 100% sure I’d made the right choice although once the alterations had been made it fit like a glove and I felt amazing in it.
I didn’t think that I wanted a veil until they made me try one on with my dress. I felt transformed in to a bride and at that moment knew I wanted one. It had beautiful droplet detailing around the edge that complimented the detailing on my dress. I had been eyeing some Jenny Packham finery but with the wedding budget looming I just couldn’t justify spending a fortune on something I was only going to be wearing once. I purchased the jewelry from John Lewis simply because it was the simple style I was looking for and it complimented my dress.
Skyscrapers! The designer was Benjamin Adams. I’d seen them early on in my search and basically they were super sparkly, peep toe and I love love loved them!
Leaving It To The Professionals
I chose Amanda Marsden Salon in Totnes for my hair and make up. They seemed to be the most up to date and professional down in sleepy Devon. I knew that I wanted a a relaxed look although always normally wear my hair down so wanted either half up or neatly pinned to the side. I was pretty relaxed and just let the professionals do what they thought would work.
I let my bridemaids chose whatever style they wanted on the morning and they both chose lose curls. The make up brief was that I wanted to look like me with a little added glamor.
Old World Glamour
We wanted our flowers to reflect the rest of our wedding, country garden style and super chilled out. The florist we used was Emma Vowles in Tontnes. Our color scheme was pale pink and sage green. My Mum also spent the morning of the wedding picking some extra flowers at dawn! By picking some of the local flowers from the surrounding meadows I felt it really pulled everything together and added a sort of seamless tie to the beautiful Devon countryside. To present the flowers we spent ages collecting old jam jars and perfume bottles to uses as centre pieces and vases. We decorated the bottles with vintage lace given to me by my grandmother. On the centre of each table we laid down a massive slab of English wood collected for us by my brother Chris who is a tree surgeon. We were aiming for a rustic, organic, farm house feel and all the wood and natural colors, old glass and lace really fulfilled our vision with the lace giving a touch of old world glamour.
A Very British Feel
We wanted to tie the colors in, especially when it came to the Bridesmaids. The dresses we bought at Coast and the shoes were from Debenhams. The color of the dresses again tied in with our rustic farmhouse feel and matched the flower arrangements. With the guys we really struggled to find a neutral color that would tie in with Cam’s idea for his blue suit. In the end we hired a neutral grey suit and bought some knitted pale pink ties from a cool independent tailors off of Portobello Road called Adam. The ties meant a lot to us as the shop is very near to where we live in London. The pink tie was so instrumental in bringing all the colour schemes of the wedding party together.
Cam wore a navy blue 3 piece tailored suit that we bought from Reiss. It had a lovely fitted Italian style cut but with the navy blue color adding a very British/60s London feel to it. He had a slightly different pink tie than the other guys but the colors still matched and came together and it gave Cam a slightly different look without standing out. Cam’s shoes were made by the classic English shoemakers Barker’s and were simply a classic brown leather brogue. He offset his brown shows & belt with a set of bright pink socks matching his tie and adding a little flair and personality.
An Opportunistic Eye
We made the amazing discovery of Andy Squires through many hours of on-line blog searching. We liked the look of his photos and the natural style they exuded. You could really tell he had a creative mind and wasn’t just another point and shoot photographer. The last thing we wanted was to just be made to stand still and put on a smile. Andy captured the wedding in a photojournalistic style that encapsulated the day naturally and just the way we wanted. His opportunistic eye was perfect for all those sometimes unforeseen moments you most want to remember. We also indulged in the photo booth option which was loads of fun and laughs. Andy took the time to meet up with us months before the wedding to discuss our ideas and just generally get a feel for us as people. It was this sort of extra special commitment that really came through in the final pictures. We were over the moon!
The Chef Groom
Cam is a chef in London so in the early stages of our wedding planning we made the decision that Cam would do 90 percent of the catering himself. He literally made the cake the night before the wedding and decorated it the morning of! We went for an English original: ‘The Victoria Sponge Cake’ with an amazing vanilla buttercream and a cascade of English strawberries.
Next to the wedding cake he also built a huge ‘CheeseCake‘ surrounded by fresh figs, walnuts, prunes & apples. We had a load of lovely bread for an English master baker who only uses bread recipes that are 100 years old or older! Cam sourced all the ingredients for the ‘Love Feast’ from local English suppliers. He was even specific on the exact breed of pig we roasted.
The inspiration for our menu choices were the seasons and a laid back, organic, slightly retro style of food, cake & snacks. When it came to the big day Cam utilised all his chef mates to plate up all the food buffet style on massive retro platters which we spent months collecting from second hand shops and car boot sales. He even planned a ‘do it yourself’ starter that could be laid out on the table before everybody sat down giving a real family style to the Love Feast, which meant everybody had to dig in and pass the food around. Cam used old floor boards and massive cutting boards elevated onto old tin cans. On the boards he put home made terrines, pates, English butter, and other goodies. He also got a hold of a load of pheasant eggs and soft boiled them in the shells then put them into little easter baskets full of hay with a little sign that read, ‘pick me, peel me, eat me’ celery salt and mayonnaise on the side of course.
The Secret Cinema
Cam’s best man is a filmmaker so as we stayed at Worden House for the week leading up to the wedding setting up, cooking, hanging out, organising and everything else under the sun. Adam documented it all on his camera. The plan was to film all the preparations so those guest who couldn’t be there for the build up to the wedding could still be part of the experience and also see what exactly we had been up to (working!). We then had faux cinema tickets printed and handed them out to guests as they arrived to spark a little interest. Inside Worden House we were privilaged enough to have a cinema room which we decorated with popcorn in popcorn boxes and penny sweets. After the ceremony we invited ‘ticket holders’ into the cinema to view our journey and hard graft leading up to the big day. It was a way of sharing the special week with the guests that couldn’t be there to share what an amazing time we had. The best man also added a few of his own embarrassing flourishes and everybody was just in stitches!
Original And Sweet And Lovely
Our first dance was probably one of the hardest decisions we had to make. As two faithful festival goers and huge music fans we both had such strong opinions on the subject. Cam wanted Tom Waits for example and I can’t stand him! In the end we were on youtube in bed together and we listened to Ellie Goulding: Your Song. We just felt this soft version of a classic song was original and sweet and lovely and in the end we just felt it made us feel good when we listened to it and that was enough.
On the tables we had toy foam retro aeroplanes that everybody put together themselves and we had a massive aeroplane throwing fight in the middle of the marquee! I also but a basket of flip flops down by the dance floor for all the girls so they could get out of those heels. This proved to be an absolute life saver seeing as our last guests left at 9am!
Luxury House Party
The general decor of the venue was so unique that it fit in with our ideas. We were the first couple to be married at Worden House and literally found it as a potential venue when Cam googled ‘luxury house party”. Before we approached them they didn’t even have a wedding license. We travelled down to Devon and took a look at the house and realised straight away that it fit our brief and would be super original! All we had to do was fill in the blanks…
We spent hours of our lives sourcing out old school serving plates from charity shops to serve Cam’s food on. We got hold of a load of old material prints and made 100 meters of bunting in our little London flat. We went to wedding fayres, car boot sales & charity shops for over a year collecting anything and everything we thought would add to the feel of the wedding. Our artist friend Tom Hovey sketched our invites based on our vision and we worked with him until the design was perfect. A printer friend helped us decide on the card and printed them off.
My brother Chris spent months collecting old wood that he could carve into presentation pieces for us and collected the old floor boards that Cam used for his buffet. My other brother Mark made for us the now infamous ‘Love Box’ which was basically a hollowed out painted box with the word ‘Love’ carved out of it, then stuffed with loads of funky lights, being the coolest non disco ball, disco ball, ever! He also made a massive wooden sign post that we used to direct our guests around the property upon their arrival. The sign covered all bases: Loo, Ceremony, BAR, Love Feast & Wrong Way!
A Labour Of Love
What made it all so special other than the obvious reasons was the fact that it became a monster labour of love. All the organisation and work we put in shocks even us when we look back on it. BUT, we just did it because we had to! Simple as really! We had a really defined vision and we kept pushing on. In the end, we are so proud with what we achieved and that adds another dimension to the whole experience. When we look back on it all we just smile and think of all the ‘layers‘ of preparation, the actual day itself and even planning the honeymoon. Such massive achievements akin to running a small business!
It really was an expression of who we are as people. Of course we would want all our loved ones to experience that. We both work in the luxury hospitality industry so luckily we had a lot of experience & contacts to help us along the way. The final push and the hard graft of setting up a wedding is immense and luckily we were surrounded by our close friends and families to help us endlessly. They have all said since, that being part of such an undertaking really added to the experience for them as well, enhancing the whole thing and adding a lot of emotional heavyweight involvement in a super good way. As well, by doing so many things ourselves we saved a lot of cash and got exactly what we wanted.
You can’t really put a price on that.
Such an honest account of wedding dress shopping. It’s wonderful to hear when brides thoroughly enjoy every second of it but it can be daunting for some so its nice to hear that you may not be alone in this area right? But look how well it all turned out in the end *inserts happy smiley face*.
How about the food peeps?? Epic or what? What are you doing about food for your day? Sticking to more traditional sit down 3 courser or are you putting on a spread similar to this extravaganza? The cakes look amazing as well don’t they? What a clever Groom!
There’s just so much to love about this day. The aeroplane fight – win. The film showing the run up to the wedding – win. The centre pieces – win. I could go on for quite a while.
Please look through the gallery for more couples shots and food gloriousness.
Fabulous day and massive congratulations on all of your hard work and effort. Truly worth it.
I’m off to eat some sort of delicious homemade grub to satisfy my now rumbling tummy.