If there was ever a perfect wedding to cure the Monday morning blues – Lorna and Will’s big day would definitely be it.
Honestly, by the time you’ve finished looking at the lovely images from David Long and read the report from Lorna, you’ll be smiling.
The brightly coloured details are perfect for a Summer marquee wedding – retro children’s party balloons, multicoloured pinwheels, floral garlands and an abundance of blooms create such a happy atmosphere. I also particularly love the table plan made from a sunshine yellow vintage door.
Lorna looks beautiful in a printed dress from Beyond Retro – we do like it when ‘the one’ is something unusual and a bit different.
I was gradually thinking I’d have one made at a great little place in Arlesey, where she designs the dress you want, but was still nervous about the budget. Then one day in TK Maxx, I spotted a white party dress. It was really simple but pretty, and only £25, so I bought it! At that price, I couldn’t say no! I showed my family and they all agreed the same, and that with a couple of minor alterations it would be perfect.
Then, before I started getting any alterations done, I popped into Beyond Retro in Brighton to find a shrug to go with the dress, and a ‘50s party dress randomly caught my eye. It was too small, but I knew I had a few months to work on that – plus I knew a very good dressmaker just around the corner! I took both dresses to Lin at Asi Cosi and told her what I liked about each, and we looked at what alterations would be needed.
We decided together that the Beyond Retro dress had the best potential and she spent the next few months working to get it right – it was quite a trial because of the fine fabric and the structure of the dress. Lin is a perfectionist and she wanted me to be happy that it was perfect, and it really was in the end. Everybody loved it and it felt just right for a garden party wedding!
I did my own makeup, as I decided it was a better investment to do a tutorial and then buy the brushes and makeup, which I’d get to keep. I did tutorials with MAC and Bobbi Brown, and that was a good idea as they each gave me different tips I could use and I could pick the makeup I preferred from each.
My Mum took me shopping for underwear at What Katie Did, in Notting Hill. It was a fun trip and the girl there really looked after us, with great suggestions of what would work best. It was tricky choosing the underwear without the dress to try on over it, but in the end it worked out well. I chose a ‘torsolette’ – which I’d never heard of before, but was pretty and gave me great structure and support without the restriction of a full-on corset.
As Will isn’t keen on shopping, this was fairly straightforward. We did one trip for the suit, another for the shirt, and then his parents took him shopping for shoes. We spent quite a bit of time online looking for a tie and socks in the right colour green, and also for braces – he almost gave in to my request for silly braces, but I’m glad he didn’t in the end!
This was a no-brainer, as my Mum and Sister run a gorgeous pub in Sandy, with a lovely big garden. We knew the pub itself wouldn’t be big enough for a sit-down meal, and decided to take the risk that in June the weather ought to be good enough for a marquee wedding. Another regular customer of the pub supplied the marquee.
I copped out a bit on making a decision about ‘theme’, by saying I wanted everything to be ‘colourful’ and floral. There was a slightly ‘vintage’ feel to things, but without it being a theme as such. If anything had to be a single colour, then I went for green. I bought most of the paper decorations in Tiger, as they had a range that was multicoloured. I am so glad I got those big pinwheels, they had such an impact!
I bought a floral image from istock.com, to use as the background for the table plan, menus etc, which I designed myself (based on Matt’s invitation design with green circles and the same fonts).
I got a lot of inspiration from wedding websites (including RMW!), and of course Pinterest. The ribbon wall and the hanging bottles with flowers I had spotted online and loved.
Our favourite part was the place cards. Will wasn’t convinced about doing them all ourselves to start with, as he’s not into arts and crafts like I am. But once he got going he enjoyed himself, and we laughed a lot trying to find the right pictures or phrases for each person. Although occasionally when it was a guest we didn’t know so well, we found it more difficult.
My Grandma found the idea of putting flowers in teacups and said that if I liked the idea then she would do them. How could I say no?! I tried to grow a supply of flowers on my allotment, but it’s very difficult because the weather is the ultimate decider of when things bloom. So I brought a few flowers along, but Grandma and I had a great time buying flowers in the local wholesaler. I’m sure a proper florist would have done a more professional job of the arrangements that my friend Mel and I put together (luckily I was aiming for the informal look) – but Grandma’s teacups were absolutely fabulous!
I took a risk with the bouquets – simply for budget reasons. I know that GoBotanica have amazing bouquets made up daily, so on the Wednesday, I chose one bouquet I liked and got another made up to compliment it – I never mentioned they were for a wedding, just that they had to last well until the weekend! It cost much much less (£30 in total) than if I’d ordered ‘bridal’ bouquets months ahead. But I appreciate it was easier because I only had one Bridesmaid, and it’s a risk others might not want to take! I made the buttonholes myself using an online tutorial.
We chose not to have big bridal parties. My sister was my maid of honour, and I told her she was free to find her own dress, that would be good if it was green. I just wanted her to feel comfortable and happy. In the end she wore a dress of mine that I’d worn to a wedding a few years before – it just happened to be the right green colour and really suited her!
For readings, my Grandma read an excerpt from Richard Bach’s Bridge Across Forever. Will’s sister read the lyrics to Patrick Wolf’s The Magic Position, which is a song we both love and that we were listening to a lot when we first got together.
A regular customer at The Queen’s Head very kindly offered to drive us to and from the ceremony in his beautifully-restored VW camper van. We were so grateful for his generosity, as it’s something we would have skipped to bring the budget down, but it really did add something special to the day – especially outside after the ceremony for the photos, as I forgot my home-made confetti!
Will was in charge of music, as he’s got very strong ideas about what he likes and doesn’t like. He chose the DJ and what a great decision – Dom from DiscoWed was brilliant! Will also put together amazing, personal playlists for the daytime and dinner, and friends added their requests via our wedding website.
We bought, borrowed and made games for the guests to play outdoors and they were a real winner. They broke the ice and kept people amused while we were having our photos taken and giving last minute instructions to the caterers etc. We had a wheelbarrow filled with sports-themed fancy dress and equipment, alongside a Polaroid camera. People got really into that and we got some brilliant instant photos. We also filled a piñata but it got forgotten about in the end!
The World Cup stickers as favours were popular too – they amused everyone while they were waiting for dinner and got people sharing and laughing.
We chose classic English picnic food for our canapés, as it’s a bit of a running joke that Will and his friends love scotch eggs.
We decided on a hog roast for the meal, and the pub supplied the accompanying buffet. For vegetarians, we had quiches, plus the side salads were very filling. We had a dessert and cheese ‘buffet’ afterwards, which went down really well. People loved having the choice of so many things, and it looked so pretty too.
We weren’t going to have a wedding cake, as it seemed an easy thing to cut from the budget, but I’m glad we did; it was beautiful! We are very lucky that my mother-in-law is a great baker, and that my friend Emma has decorated wedding cakes before – and is brilliant at it!
We had decided, on the advice of married friends, that the photographer would be something we were prepared to spend a bit more on. After all, when the day is over, aside from dress and rings, the photographs are the only thing you actually keep from the day, and are the memories you keep forever.
I was amazed by David’s photos, because, once the group photos were over, I pretty much forgot he was there. He wasn’t intrusive, he had a great sense of humour, and he caught some fantastic moments – even risking being hit by tennis balls, just to get that perfect shot of the games! I’m so pleased that he wasn’t phased by the idea of getting all the guests together in one shot, because it’s one of my favourite photos from the whole day, but it wasn’t an easy thing to manage.
At the beginning, I really thought we would do things a bit differently, as I like to think of myself as not a very traditional person. But, when it comes to it, people actually expect and enjoy all those things, and a lot of them (cake, wedding car, speeches etc) added that extra splash of ceremony that made it stand out from being just another party.
We were very lucky to have friends who gave up their time and did so much for us. I never expected it, and it was hard to give up control of some things, but it made it so much easier to relax on the morning, knowing that things were safe in their hands.