One of our more ‘off the wall’ titles for an RMW real wedding, but when I saw the picture frame I couldn’t think of anything more fitting.
You are in for a treat today, tradition meets modernity in the Cotswolds and the result? A colour pop-tastic inspiration filled explosion.
God we’re good to you people!
Enjoy all the delicious imagery that today has been provided by the magnificent David Long.
Cup of tea? Biscuit?
Yes? In that case we shall begin…
A Short Stroll
We got married at St Mary’s, Cowley, Gloucestershire with the wedding reception at Cowley Manor. We always knew we wanted to be able to walk from the church to reception, plus ideally we wanted somewhere that would be exclusively ours for the day with room for people to stay.
We came across Cowley Manor and it was perfect for us – traditional and modern design mixed together. I must also say that I would thoroughly recommend the venue to anyone, the staff (especially Elliott) were incredibly conscientious and helpful throughout the wedding planning and really went out of their way to ensure we had a really special day.
A Bit Of Sparkle
My dress was Alice from Pronovias – I then added a Pronovias belt to it as I felt it needed some sparkle to the dress. I always thought I wanted a lace dress and knew I wanted something with straps. It was about the third dress I tried on in the first shop and I did love it immediately.
However, for any brides who struggle to make a decision… I did end up buying the dress and cancelling it twice before I bought it the third time! I bought it on the first day we went shopping, then felt I hadn’t tried on enough dresses and was worried there was something better out there, so rang and cancelled before payment was processed. I had another day shopping booked but it got cancelled due to heavy snow, so worried about the VAT increase, rang and bought it again. However, the previous panic set in again and I cancelled the purchase. Eventually I bought the dress from the lovely Windsor and Eton brides who were infinitely patient with my inability to make a decision!
So I would say, don’t worry if you can’t make a decision, but try and trust your instincts on what you like in the first place!
A Vintage Touch
I wanted a vintage style hair slide to wear in the back of my hair, I had an idea of what I wanted and managed to find it on Etsy. For the ceremony I had a full length veil which matched my dress – I loved it!
Shoes To Dye For
A Loose Bun
I knew I wanted to wear my hair up, something that would suit my dress but not too severe. I decided on a loose large side bun with my slide in the back. A friend of my aunt, who does hair and make-up for films, kindly did my hair and make up on the day. We had a trial before the wedding which was fab, I was totally relaxed on the day as I knew Tamsin would make me look great. Tamsin was generally wonderful on the day, very relaxing and made sure I had something to eat and drink (champagne) so I wasn’t too nervous.
Well Planned Blooms
I think the flowers were one of my favourite parts of the whole wedding planning process. We met with Sue Barnes of Lavender Green and went through our thoughts of the impression we wanted to create with the wedding, what the venue was like and some mood boards I had created of flowers and general decorations for the day (being a marketing manager means that there were quite a few mood boards involved in the wedding planning!)
She then sketched out table centres and other floral arrangements we were going to have on the day. Then, after banishing James, I described my wedding dress to her, which she also sketched with her proposal for my bouquet. Seeing everything come to life how I imagined was so exciting and I knew they were the florist for us.
The final flowers were Vanda Orchids, Sweet Avalanche Roses, hot pink Freesias, hot pink Ranunculas and larger, hot pink roses in the larger designs. The colours were purple, nude pink and hot pink to fit in with our overall colours of the day. I’m not a fan of ivory generally, so my bouquet was completed with a purple ribbon and the bridesmaids had dusky pink ribbons around theirs.
The flowers on the day were just perfect, I honestly couldn’t have asked for anything more. They make me so happy every time I see them in the photographs or video. My only regret is that they couldn’t be a permanent arrangement around the house!
Pink, Purple And Pistachio
I always wanted a brightly coloured wedding and love purple, so when we came across Cowley with its bright colour scheme of pink, purple and pistachio (even the flowers in the grounds fit with the scheme), it was another reason it was the venue for us! Rather than try and introduce new colours into the mix, we then decided to use all three colours throughout the wedding with accents of gold in places. We went for an English Country Garden theme for the general décor as this is a general look and feel we quite like at home and we felt it was a good reflection of our tastes
We had 6 bridesmaids, my little sister and best friends from home and university. Having 6 bridesmaids meant I wasn’t keen on having one colour for the dresses as I thought it could be quite over powering and felt two colours would be much the same. We then decided to use all three colours and have two girls in each! This decision did mean a lot of driving round the country to see the right fabric in the right colour and seeing a couple of examples together as I was worried about clashing. It was a good job we did this as the first set of colours I like online would have been way too bright – the girls would have looked like Power Rangers! I would definitely recommend seeing the colours in real life if possible. However it’s up to you how involved the groom gets with the decision – in our best man’s speech he did mention that he never wanted to have a conversation with James again that included the words ‘Dessy’, ‘Pistachio’ or ‘Begonia’!
We bought the dresses for the girls – we went for knee length dessy dresses in a 1950’s style to suit the day. I then added cream ribbons to the waists to tie in with my belt, plus I also didn’t want the girls to look like they’d all randomly turned up in the same dress!
We hired grey suits for the groomsmen from the Marlow Wedding Centre. I liked the place as it was reasonable plus they had a good range, but James assures me that he enjoyed the experience as the Centre has complimentary Marlow Brewery Beer! I then bought pocket squares and cravats from dessy to match the pistachio bridesmaids and they had vanda orchids for buttonholes.
James looked fab on the day – he also wore a 3 piece grey suit to match the groomsmen, with a purple cravat and pocket square. He went for some lovely grey-blue shoes from Ted Baker that had purple laces. We even managed to find some cufflinks from Ted Baker with pink, purple and green to match the wedding – it was obviously the shop for us!
James had a white orchid buttonhole, which was beautiful.
Put At Ease
David Long was our photographer on the day and it was one of the best decisions we made for the whole wedding. We saw about 3 or 4 photographers before we chose David – we knew we wanted reportage style but there are so many variations on this you need to find the photographer that suits your tastes best.
Once we met David we knew he was the photographer for us – there was simply not a photo he took that we didn’t like. Plus David is such a lovely guy, we knew he would fit in perfectly with all our guests at the wedding and put people at ease.
I was nervous before receiving our photos, I knew a few people who had got married just before us who said they only liked a small selection of their wedding photos, but I am happy to report I love every single photo David have given us. The only issue we have now is narrowing the selection for our album!
A special mention must also go to our videographers on the day for being incredibly lovely and real troopers – Aaron and Andrea at Reel Weddings. Organising a videographer was a relatively last minute decision, but a fantastic one, it captures the feeling and atmosphere of the wedding in such a dynamic way. Reel Weddings also provide a trailer and a short highlights film, both of which are fab to share with people that you don’t want to bore to death with a full film!
Forget About The Price Tag
I fell in love with a cake from choccywoccydoodah originally, but didn’t love the price tag to match. We then luckily found an incredibly lovely and talented lady locally who managed to create the type of cake we wanted.
We had a three tier cake, the bottom was Victoria Sponge, middle was Lemon Cake and the top was a Chocolate and Cherry Black Forest flavoured cake. It was decorated to fit with the Country Garden theme, with two love birds, butterflies and flowers to match the bouquets.
The Gospel Truth
James and I love gospel choirs (I suspect from watching too much Sister Act/Last Choir Standing), so we knew that we wanted one for the wedding. We booked Vocal Works Gospel Choir to perform at the church – we managed to keep it a secret from all our guests so we could surprise them on the day. The choir sung ‘I knew you were waiting’ by Aretha Franklin and George Michael once all the guests had entered the church, then ‘Kissing You’ by Des’ree as the Bridal Entrance. The music as I entered the church was so beautiful, it created such a magical romantic feel.
Mitch Matthews was our marvellous DJ for the evening – he kept the dance floor packed and the atmosphere going all evening. I don’t think James or I stopped dancing all night!
After Mitch finished, we organised for a karaoke machine to be bought out for those guests who wanted to carry on partying. We both love karaoke and it was a great way to end the day that was truly ‘us’.
We chose Ellie Golding’s version of ‘Your Song’, simply because we heard it the Christmas before the wedding and both loved it. We didn’t really have ‘a song’ beforehand, but this felt right for us.
Purple And Green
We both love macaroons so knew from the start that we would like to have them as our favours. We had a great day deciding as we went to Lauderee in London and tried every single flavour in our chosen colours! We went for apple and blackcurrant violet (bright green and purple respectively) – our guests had one of each colour in a small box sealed with a pink ribbon and our heart design stamped out on the top.
Rose Studded Décor
We tied in all the décor on the day into the English Country Garden theme. Outside the church we had two bay trees that were studded with pink roses, then inside the church entrance we hung confetti cones for people to help themselves.
Our table plan was a large willow tree with pink roses planted in the base. From this we hung long purple ribbons for each table which had people’s stamped onto.
Each table had a purple runner to break up the white table cloth, then the centrepieces were birdcages with 3d numbers placed inside, surrounded and covered by trailing flowers. I was really pleased with the final look and it tied in to the day beautifully. The numbers were really cost effective as they came from hobbycraft – we just spray painted them gold. I also spent quite a long time looking for birdcage hire that didn’t cost the earth – Do Yourself a Favour were really well priced and Jackie was incredibly helpful, taking pictures of the birdcages for me so I could judge the sizes etc. I hired medium cages for the table centres, then a larger one for people to put cards in.
Carrying on the styling, the place names were cream love birds and we made individual gold embossed menus on pink card for our guests, which James designed a bird and flowers laser cut for the top to match the rest of our wedding stationery.
A Piece Of Pretty
Early on in the wedding planning we found a heart stamp of a couple under a tree that encompassed the look and feel we wanted for the wedding day, so we used this wherever relevant in our decorations, from the confetti cones to favours, which helped make everything more personal to our day.
We tried to make everything personal to our day if possible – for the wedding breakfast room, James made a wooden (Mr & Mrs) sign as our married surname is Brackett, which we spray painted gold and placed on the mantlepiece. We also did things like have a few photos of us from our engagement shoot by our guest book.
My main advice to any bride is to please yourself (and your groom) in what you want first and worry about other people second. We put a massive amount of effort into how things looked on the day and to be honest, there was probably a lot of detail that guests may not have appreciated, but we noticed it all and it made the day even more special to see everything come together how we imagined it. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day!
And now you can even have a little peek of the day, as documented by the completely fantastical Reel Weddings.
I told you we were good to you!
Venue Cowley Manor
Boutique Windsor and Eton brides
Shoes Harriet Wilde
Blooms Lavender Green
Photography David Long
Videography Reel Weddings
Gospel Choir Vocal Works Gospel Choir
I love that scrum style invasion of the first dance.. There is a whole lot of love on that dance floor
I am seriously loving the colour pop stationery, and the couple shots on the swing… that is simply what it’s all about folks. Serious love.
Ok, I’ve said ‘love’ too much now… Aside from that – what about those blooming great confetti cones? I’m a little lost for words…