I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I do love an at-home marquee wedding – there’s just something so lovely about having complete freedom to celebrate exactly as you please. Annabelle and Iain opted for a sperry tent from RMW favourites, PapaKata to hold their reception in, and my goodness doesn’t it look beautiful? Both during the day and lit up at nighttime!
Look at for the cake created by Hannah Hickman too, you may well recognise it from our guide to wedding cakes post from the other week. If you missed it, do check it out. Our handpicked wedding supplier directory, The Love Lust List, sent us some gorgeous inspiration and we’ve put together a handy pinnable portion size chart too.
But first, let’s enjoy Annabelle and Iain’s gorgeous wedding…
Annabelle The Bride: I didn’t have my heart set on any type of dress when I started shopping so I decided to start by trying on the biggest gown I could find in the shop and working my way through to the slinkiest, not only was this really fun but gave me an idea of what I wanted and what cuts looked best on me as well as a really good idea of what didn’t. As it happens I wasn’t immediately taken with my final choice it when I saw it on on the hanger but I said to Mum I would try it on for her, as I put it on, I fell in love with it as the zip was being done up!
The belt was originally attached to the dress but I thought the sparkle was a bit much for the church and I was also keen to have my shoulders covered. The lovely ladies at JS Couture were great in helping me design a lace boloreo and made the belt separate to the dress, meaning I had sleeves for the church and reception and then lost the sleeves and added sparkle for a party look in the evening.
Since I started day dreaming about my wedding as a girl, I’d always dreamt of wearing Jimmy Choos so this was a no brainer. The veil is a family heirloom that has been worn by many different brides, in my family starting with my great great grandmother around 140 years ago and has been worn by many women in my family since then. It was really special to wear this on my wedding day. I inherited my bracelet from my grandmother and have been saving it as my something blue for my wedding day for years, I loved finally wearing it. My garter was borrowed from my sister in law and it was made for her by her auntie and so it was great to another piece of my outfit made up by members of my family.
Iain went to a tailor to have his morning suit made for the wedding which was an experience that he really enjoyed. He decided he would like to incorporate tartan from his Scottish heritage with the ties and pocket squares. He did a great job and it was a relief to me that it included the blue/grey that I had chosen for the colour scheme.
We got married at my family home where I grew up from birth and Mum did a really fantastic job in making it look fantastic; it was so special to spend the day in such a personal environment. I was determined to have a marquee that was a bit different; when I spotted the sperry tent on Pinterest I instantly knew the search was over. Iain was great and agreed to travel up to York from London with me during the Six Nations Rugby final so we could see it for ourselves, this earnt him mega wedding points and when he fell for the awesome circular bar I couldn’t say no and it looked awesome on the day, really adding to the party vibe in the evening.
Our favourite colour is blue so it was a pretty easy decision to include that and inspired by a washed out navy blue rugby shirt we decided on a blue/grey, to contrast this and to go with the English garden setting we complimented it with light pinks, light silvery greys and creams. I used personalised slate hearts as place names which could then be taken home as a wedding favour and it’s so nice to go round to friends houses and see the hearts on display in their homes.
The table names were inspired from the film Top Gun, being the call signs of the different fighter pilots, it’s mine and Iain’s favourite movie and one that I often watched with my father and so it was a fun acknowledgement of his memory.
I loved the festoon lights both on the walkway and inside the marquee and it only seemed right to have more lights in a big set of LOVE letters. The letters worked well next the sperry tent and were lots of fun as a great backdrop for guest photos!
I fell in love with the candlabras with glass votives and wouldn’t rest until I found some. Dawn at Memories to Remember was really great in helping me find as many as she could and then a friend of my auntie Lynn by chance had some stands which complimented them really well to provide enough centrepieces for the tables, auntie Lynn then worked her floral magic on them to provide a perfect result.
Following early morning visits to Covent Garden flower market for inspiration and trialling ideas on centrepieces we decided to use roses for the light pinks and the creams and added in thistles to bring in the blue grey colour (and they also complimented the tartan) these were broken up with silvery greens such as eucalyptus and small springs of baby’s breath. The floral trellising was a dream come true, all realised by my auntie Lynn’s clear vision and awesome floral skills. I felt they bought the english garden theme into the marquee and provided a great backdrop.
Hydrangeas were ideal their large volume so they were really able to stand out on the trellising, roses were included to add variation, I couldn’t have been happier with the amazing job my auntie Lynn (and uncle Da!) did on these!
Another one of my aunties, Pip was able to do the bouquets. She used similar flowers to the centre pieces however I also want to include succulents in bouquets as I thought they were pretty unusual and worked well with the silvery grey colouring. The potted flowers were grown by Iain’s mother in Shropshire and driven down to really add to the walkway into the sperry tent and it created a great impression on entry!
The Wedding Party
I was lucky that my bridesmaids were up for taking the lead on shopping for the bridesmaids dresses and they did a wonderful job of finding great dresses, especially given that blue/grey isn’t the easiest colour to find! After going through a few options together we all happily agreed on the final dress from Eliza J. My sister and niece did a great job at finding the perfect dress and colour from BHS designer range. I was really pleased with how the colours all looked together in the photos.
All of the men in the wedding party wore traditional morning suits and had the tartan tie and pocket square. Iain also gave matching ties and pocket squares to his father, grandfather, and uncle to acknowledge the special part they play in his life even though they were not in the immediate wedding party.
We are both very close to our families and wanted them to be really involved in our wedding ceremony, Iain’s brother was his best man and his father read an extract from the Song of Solomon. Iain also included my brother in law and my nephew as his ushers which meant a lot. I had my sister in law, my niece and my lifelong friend as bridesmaids, my elder sister opted out of being a bridesmaid so read ‘Instructions for Life in the New Millennium’ by the Dalai Lama and in the absence of my late father my brother walked me down the aisle; I couldn’t have asked any more from him in filling my father’s shoes, he was so brilliant for the entire thing.
I asked my very talented friend Mared to sing during the signing of the register, she sung so beautifully that it momentarily distracted me from the task in hand. It was a really nice way to include another person and special moment as part of our ceremony.
We had Earthlights Boogie Band perform in the evening and they were totally out of this world amazing!! My brother and in sister law had actually had them perform at their wedding the year before and I was slightly hesitant as to using the same band but they are just so good and given the band personalise their sets it was decided that it would just be great to have them again! We knew we had made the right choice when we noticed that every single wedding guest was on the dance floor! We couldn’t recommend them enough!
Hannah went to university with my brother and she came highly recommended from his circle of friends. Her cake was amazing both to look at and to taste. She an amazing job especially as we didn’t give her the easiest of tasks deciding that we wanted it to be a light slivery grey shade and then to have not just any brush embroidery lace but a brush embroidery lace that imitated the vintage lace from my veil and she did an outstanding job!
Olly and his team at Clifford Brown catering did an incredible job with the wedding menu. A favourite part of our wedding planning was the menu tasting, made even more exciting by Olly coming to cook for us at Iain’s brothers house in Brighton.
In order to create our menu we thought about the dishes that either of us will always order if we see it on a menu in a restaurant, for me it’s duck and for Iain it’s chocolate fondant so that was perfect for our main and desert. We decided that it would be best to go with something light and fresh for the starter and the crab was ideal for this, by the time Olly had worked his magic on all of the courses couldn’t have been happier with our wedding breakfast menu.
We chose Helen as Iain was very clear that he wanted colour in lots of our wedding photos and we loved how colourful and genuine Helen’s photos were. Helen was just awesome both at our engagement shoot and on our wedding day, she did such a great job at making everyone feel so relaxed and we all had so much fun taking photos and it was really great to share our day with her.
I think it’s really important to like your photographer as you end up spending a fair amount of time with them on your wedding day and it’s really helpful if you can relax with them quickly and feel comfortable to share any ideas or inspiration for photos either of you have.
I cannot recommend getting a videographer enough! There’s always so much to take in on our wedding day that it would be hard to remember all of the wonderful moments and I absolutely love being able to go back to listen to and watch them again, especially with the bonus of having them set to a personal soundtrack!
Digi Scope did a great job of being so discreet on our day whilst also making a small pocket feature video which is a 5 minute video of our day and then a feature length video that includes our ceremony and our speeches.
Have an event coordinator for on the day. Caroline was amazing at making sure the plan I had spent so much time on putting together ran perfectly allowing us to really just focus on enjoying the day and our guests.
Wherever possible use local/smaller suppliers I found that you get much fairer prices and a much more personal service.
Don’t be afraid to ask. I used to be terrible at asking for things and then I applied the theory that if you don’t ask, your supplier probably won’t guess. If there’s something specific you want ask your supplier if it’s possible…if it’s not, they’ll say no, and if they can then that’s awesome!
Dream big and then scale this down to what is possible and affordable for you. Don’t write something out of your wedding at first instance because it doesn’t instantly seem do-able. After thinking certain things over and ‘breaking them down’ it may be able to be a realistic possibility.
Photography by Helen Cawte Photography
- Bride Ellis Bridals
- Boutique JS Couture
- Shoes Jimmy Choo
- Buttonholes Shaws of Amersham
- Church Missenden Parish Church
- Marquee Papakata
- Light Up Letters Vowed & Amazed
- Centrepieces Memories to Remember
- Cake Hannah Hickman
- Catering Clifford Brown
- Bridesmaids Eliza J
- Wedding Planner – On The Day Perfect Peony
- Invitations Harmsworth
- Band The Lights Inc
- Transport London Legend
- Videography Digi-Scope