As soon as I read Iola’s musings about the sea mending the soul I was hooked. It was almost as if she was reading my mind and I instantly felt a connection even though we’d never met.
And then I cast my peepers over her glorious wedding; my jaw dropped and remained open for the entire time that I looked through her big day photographs. Because lovelies they’re beautiful. Full of love, laughter, passion and soul.
There’s oodles of DIY and amazing wedding decor – just check out the stationery and wedding favours – immense hair and florals, actual dancefloor rules, a monster of a wedding cake and genius centrepieces.
And have I mentioned just how beautiful Iola is? She and Steve are made for one another…
Iola The Bride: We both live for the beach, it’s where we’re happiest and love the way it mends the soul after life’s stresses. Steve proposed at Kynance Cove, the most beautiful beach in Cornwall and there was only one main criteria for our wedding venue – to be able to see the sea. Boy, did we get lucky on that one! We originally wanted a yurt, high on a headland but we kept looking at Tunnels Beaches and wondering whether this was in fact our yurt/headland reality.
So on a rainy September day, weirdly exactly a year before our wedding date (and yep, it was raining!), we stepped out of the tunnel, and were blown away by what was in front of us. After a few sleepless nights about whether I could handle the worry of rain we just couldn’t say no to our dream venue. It was everything we wanted – to be married outside, overlooking the sea, a bbq dinner, a roof terrace, deckchairs (!), décor we’d want in our home (people thought it was ours!)…the list goes on and on!
I was over the moon with my hair and make-up; in fact my hair was one of the first things Steve commented on at the end of the aisle. I don’t wear my hair up very often but I knew I wanted something loose and ‘pretty’ to show off the dress. I also really wanted a braid and real flowers and used Pinterest to find the perfect style.
I’m lucky enough to have a very talented and lovely friend Amy who runs her own business – Amica – and created the masterpiece exactly how I imagined it. My gorgeous bridesmaid also made a gypsophila and daisy hair comb which finished it off beautifully. Julie from Changing Faces did my makeup on the day and I was so so pleased with it. She also did my mum’s makeup which was simply stunning – I couldn’t get over how lovely my mum looked.
My dress was ‘Kelly’ by Stephanie Allin. I had huge dress dilemmas – a 50/50 battle between Kelly and a Jenny Packham number. I did cry over not being able to have both (yep, real tears were shed over that decision). But my dress had pockets! You can’t really beat that can you?!? I loved that it was classic (modelled on Grace Kelly) but had a girl next door twist. Steve loved it, and that was so important for me, I thought about Steve with every dress I tried on. Gayle at The Mews in Bristol made the whole process a joy; I could spend hours in that shop just sighing at all the stunning dresses.
I kept my accessories simple – I wanted the dress to be the statement. I love swallows, and all that they symbolise so I wore a simple bracelet from Not On The High Street. Also some small heart studs from Accessorise to finish the look. My shoes were Mimi by Rachel Simpson, they were a perfect height (I’m not good with heels!) and so so pretty. They looked great under the bell shape of my wedding dress.
My three bridesmaids were my besties from university. Hannah and Rachel were the first people I met as I waved my parents goodbye on the first day, all teary eyed. Emma and I bonded over some crazy dance moves during fresher’s week. I searched high and low for duck egg blue dresses and in the end Boden came up good and they suited the venue perfectly. The girls were really comfortable and that was important to me.
Steve’s suit was bought from Lugets Tailors in Exeter and he looked absolutely gorgeous in his blue cotton get up. We bought the best man a two piece suit from House of Fraser and both wore ties from Topman. Steve’s shoes were Banana Republic and got a lot of compliments (I think most people expected him in a pair of Vans!).
I was really indecisive over my flowers, I knew what I liked (hydrangeas, daisies – ‘pretty’) but apart from that I was quite clueless. In the end I gave my lovely florist Sharon Mesher a couple of pictures and said ‘something like these’ and she did her magic.
I wanted something quite big and a bit of a statement you might say and they were perfect. For the table centre we wanted natural pots of daisies which tied in with the natural cliffs and wildflowers surrounding us. These looked great on the hessian runners. Steve and the men had craspedia and daisies for their button holes – very cute!
The bridesmaids and I also spent the afternoon before making lots of pretty jamjars to fill the venue – from the toilets to the aisle!
We found Dominique on Rock My Wedding through another blog post that featured her work. We loved the feel of the photographs and know that even when we show our grandchildren these photos they will be just as beautiful as they are today. Dominique was lovely to work with and having met on our engagement shoot we felt really relaxed when it came to the day.
We loved being outside to say ‘I do’ and it was by far the best part of the day. I walked in to the ‘arrival of the birds’ by the Cinematic Orchestra and managed to hold it together, much to everyone’s surprise! Our friend Lydia read beautifully ‘A Lovely Love Story’ by Edward Monkton and our three bridesmaids composed a gorgeous reading complete with some Welsh language for my family, some ‘surf speak’ and messages from friends in Australia – truly stunning. We signed the register to Higher Love my James Vincent McMorrow and then walked out the Halls and Oates You make my dreams come true for a bit of fun.
You Are The Best Thing
Our friend Al Jones kept the good times alive for the evening with an acoustic sunset session as the evening guests arrived, followed by a more upbeat set later on. He did a sterling job a judging the lunge contest too. Everyone was up on the dance floor – we love you Al! We also had a DJ for the later part of the evening – we chickened out of the iPod session after hearing so many different stories from other couples.
Our first dance was on the roof terrace in the last orange wisps of sun. We don’t really have a ‘song’ and if we’d been braver we would have danced to something we could have crazy danced to but in the end chose Ray LaMontagne You are the Best Thing – not too slow and with beautiful meaning.
A Victoria Sponge Monster
Steve and I love to travel so we used ‘vintage voyage’ as a loose theme; using blues and yellows and naturals to complement the sea and surroundings. We had vintage postcards of Devon and Cornwall as well as a world map for our seating plan. Table names were places we visited on our year away in 2010. I took a lot of inspiration from these very pages as well as Pinterest but I can’t say I stuck to an exact theme, just tried to make sure things looked good together.
The cake was something we both chose pretty early on. A Victoria sponge monster was the only cake ever in the picture. YUM! We decided to double it up as desert too which helped save money and we served it with extra berries and cream. The talented Creative Baker did an amazing job and everyone commented on how tasty it was.
Steve’s a designer and also runs a tea business so he designed a gorgeous and fun tea towel which we gave guests as a wedding favour. I love using it at home now and having flash backs of our day.
It’s The Little Things
Steve designed all our stationery – save the date luggage tags, our invites, quizzes for the tables plus lots of little details for the day. I was really keen to completely DIY the day but kept reminding myself that the venue was stunning just as it was, so we chose the most important things to concentrate on – bunting, photos, sweeties and the little extras.
People say that the little things aren’t noticed but everyone loved the flip flops (including the guys), the girls thought the hair clips and plasters in the toilets were amazing and the dance floor rules were adhered to!). Do what you want and people who care about you will notice the effort you’ve gone to.
We had a Polaroid camera plus props for our guest book and everyone loved it. We have a bundle of photos from the end of the night that look like something from the credits of The Hangover! Such good memories.
Don’t Rush It
Enjoy the aisle, don’t rush it. You will never get that moment again. Although I think my dad and I ‘handled’ it well I remember being at the end, standing in front of Steve and not really remembering how I got there!! Don’t feel bad about not seeing everyone. I was upset for a couple of days after for feeling like I didn’t get enough time with everyone, especially those that travelled a long way to be with us. They understand, and they don’t think badly of you, so don’t beat yourself up. If you like to dance (guilty) then dance, it’s your day and people will love seeing how happy you are.
Venue – Tunnels Beaches
Dress – Stephanie Allin
Boutique – The Mews, Bristol
Hair – Amica
Make-up – Changing Faces
Maids – Boden
Favours – Love Tea
Florals – Sharon Mesher
Cake – Creative Baker
Entertainment – Al Jones
Photography – Dominique Bader Photography
That sparkler image right at the end folks brings a lump to my throat.
I mean it’s just gorgeous; a beautiful day finished off with a little bit of sparkle. Frankly I can’t think of a better way to start a new chapter as Mr and Mrs.
Congratulations you two – we loved being along for the ride.
All my love Lolly xxx