Dom and Elizabeth married in June with a ceremony at Normanton Church Museum, Rutland Water and a reception held at Elizabeth’s parents home in Broughton Cambridgeshire.
Pictures today are taken by the supremely talented Dottie Photography.
So many things I love about this wedding… But let’s start with an outrageously gratuitous picture of the shoes… by who else other than McQueen.
Loving The Low Back
The dress is Darling by Jenny Packham from The Taylors Cat, Cambridge. I actually set out looking for a lace fishtail dress, and thought I knew exactly what I wanted, but after trying on loads it just wasn’t me. I’ve always loved Jenny Packhams designs but didn’t think they would suit me… but in the shop I couldn’t help but try on at least half of the Jenny packhams they stocked… I loved the low back of the dress and the timeless shape, I just didn’t want to take it off.
I also brought the Valencia Stole from Hope and Grace its vintage glamour went perfectly with both the dress and the theme of the day. It also came in very handy as it was freezing on the shore of Rutland Water.
I’m not big into sparkle so as the dress had a detailed waistband I wanted to keep the rest to a minimum. I wore simple pearl drop earrings and a vintage 1920’s Rolex that has been passed down to me (my something old)
Sage And Gold
I love my shoes!! Alexander McQueen 14cm heels in Sage Green with gold skulls… I’m not a fan of “normal” wedding shoes that won’t get worn again, plus I’m short so the height came in handy for photos. The reception was in a field so it did dawn on me when I was buying them that they possibly weren’t the most practical but they turned out to be very comfortable and kept them on until the dancing (and drinking) made it a little unsafe!
Nothing Too Formal
I did my make-up myself; I didn’t practice before hand although I had planned to (!) but just went with it on the day.
My hair was done by Becky from David William Hair, St Ives, Cambridgeshire, I didn’t want anything too formal or what I feel is typical wedding hair.
I like the simple elegance that comes from using one flower on mass so for everything other than my bouquet we used gypsophilia, I love the cloud-like nature of the large bunches. My bouquet was made of entirely white peonies, as they have been my favorite flower for as long as I can remember.
We did all the flowers ourselves from bouquets to buttonholes and centerpieces. All the flowers were brought from an online wholesaler called Nursery Fresh Wholesale FLowers and on Friday afternoon my bridesmaids and I got arranging with the 40 or so bunches that had been delivered. On the Sunday we sent lots of guests home with bunches of gypsophilia and the rest is still alive and decorating my mums porch.
I wanted complete control of styling the day and didn’t feel that what I envisioned was hard enough to require a florist, and after all they wouldn’t have been able to raid the barns for the last minute addition of old milk churns like I did!
I wanted to keep the colour scheme as white and neutral as possible.
The bridesmaids’ dresses were all from Mango and brought for £28 on sale. After we found them I found the cardigans by accident when walking past New Look and they added the perfect pop of colour against the neutral backdrop.
All the suits including the grooms were hired from Cadge Menswear St Ives Cambridgeshire. We had a very fun afternoon playing dress up Dom where I made him try on every possible suit and tie there was and then settled on these suits as they where the right shade of unshiny grey! I had never wanted the boys to be too formal I wanted them to be comfortable… and as you can see by some photos a couple fell asleep in them on the bus! Mission accomplished!
Working as a chef I rarely see Dom in anything other than whites and I had never seen him in a suit until our wedding, which made it all the more memorable. His suit was the same as all the others but we brought him shoes from Ted Baker, and he wore his great grandfathers pocket watch, which went perfectly with the day.
We wanted the photographs to capture the fun of the day, keeping formal shots to an absolute minimum. After meeting Mandy from Dottie Photography (and ken the pug), eating custard creams and talking about vintage dresses I knew she would suit us perfectly. The pre-wedding shoot was great as it allowed us to get to know her and get past any awkwardness; we left feeling 100% confident about using her and couldn’t wait for the results. I would recommend everyone tries to do a pre-wedding shoot as it really puts your mind at ease. On the day Mandy and Julie fitted in perfectly as if they were our friends and have captured the smallest details perfectly.
I knew I wanted a dessert table from day one but it was what was going on it that I couldn’t decide on! Looking through all the examples on American blogs just kept making my list bigger! I love the buzz they create, especially as they aren’t very common over here yet and there is literally something for everyone. We also added a cheese station onto one end of ours, which proved very popular.
We had four cakes baked by a local coffee shop (Johnsons Butchers Old Hurst Cambridgeshire), as I am obsessed with their carrot cake. Carrot, Cappuccino, Lemon Drizzle and Victoria Sponge. We also had macaroons, fondant fancies, vanilla cupcakes and strawberry cupcakes from Waitrose entertain… at one stage we were going to make all the cupcakes but about 2 weeks before we realized we didn’t have any time to and although Dom’s a chef and I bake a lot the pressure was too much and we gave in and brought them… I’m so glad we did this as we were so busy the two days before I have no idea how we would have done it all to a standard we were happy with.
We hired The Redfords to perform with an acoustic duo during the drinks reception and then full band after the meal; we booked them after watching two YouTube videos of them and never looked back. They were so good and kept us dancing barefoot long into the night.
Not necessarily entertainment, but good fun was the 1960s double decker bus we hired from London Heritage to transport all the guests to and from the ceremony.
Jumping Up And Down
We had planned to have our first dance to Paperweight by Joshua Radin but on the day decided against doing it, as being the center of such silent, camera flashing attention is not us…we have a lovely routine we can always do at home on our anniversary!
Instead the band got everyone on the dance floor surrounding us and our first dance was everyone jumping up and down dancing, it was perfectly in keeping with the aim that it was about family and friends coming together as one, and most importantly much more us.
We went back and forth on favours mainly because I wanted them to be personal and homemade, in the end I found a picture of test tube favors and fell in love with their simplicity. We weren’t sure what to put in them but I wanted something a bit unusual and came across a method for making mint honey. They where so simple and cheap to make and the honey tastes really good. I also wrote a favorite recipe on the back of the tag that the honey could be included in.
A Blank Canvas
I didn’t want the reception in a pre-made venue; I wanted a completely blank canvas. Our marquee was the starting point and who knew there were so many options out there! Luckily I came across Nick from Fairytale Marquees who was really helpful and even came back on the Friday night to make sure all the ropes were tight enough as the wind was especially strong.
Rooms Inside Rooms
I had so many ideas for creating outdoor living spaces (read taking all furniture from my mums house, our house, and anyone else I could think of) but the wettest June in 100 years had other ideas! So I took some of the furniture and created areas in the marquee. I attached ends of fabric behind the furniture to make them feel more like separate rooms.
We also created a photo-booth guestbook in a corner of the marquee using a digital camera, a mini photo printer, a stack of props and a sketchbook. It was so simple to create and cost effective compared to hiring one, another bonus was that it was there all night so there is evidence of the last men standing at 3am and everyone at the picnic we held the following day.
We filled 200 jam jars with candles to line the pathway, folded 2000 paper doilies to make the garlands for the chair backs and I spent many many hours shouting at my printer when making the invitations that were designed by a graphic designer friend of mine Hanna Benjamin. Using the same type and graphics I also designed an I spy game on the back of all the menus to be played with disposable table cameras, these have provided some of the most unexpected and funniest photos as well as acting as an ice breaker along the tables.
We hired all the miniature rose bowls, julep cups, tea light holders and two large candelabras from the lovely ladies at Wedding Day Hire. I spent ages wondering around their Aladdin’s cave of a showroom and they were both incredibly helpful.
Event styling and management is actually what I’m passionate about and I have been following various wedding and event blogs including RMW long before we got engaged, I’m now certain this is what I want to do, even if it’s just part time to start with…watch this space!
A Family Dinner
We wanted to create the atmosphere of a large family dinner which was the reason for 3 long tables, no top table, planned speeches, cake cutting and in the end first dance as we didn’t want to break up the natural momentum of the evening… which ended for us at 1:30 and for the last few standing gin in hand at 3.
We also had a picnic brunch on the Sunday, this meant we could see everyone again, thank people for coming and continue the celebrations. I loved this almost as much as the day before and would suggest that if you can do something the next day it’s well worth it, and takes the pressure off making sure you’ve spoken to everyone enough the night before.
We chose to spend money on food, band and photographer. The food was obvious as Dom’s a chef so we couldn’t not have amazing food! Sam from Cambridge Dining Company did an amazing job looking after us all on the day while Chris and Alex prepared and served the exceptional food from a small catering tent on a hill. People are still commenting on the quality of the food served.
What made our day truly special was that we only invited 70 close family and friends, and by the end of the bus ride and cocktails everyone new everyone else. I was also incredibly touched that 12 members of my family made the journey from Canada.
Our wedding was 100% us and during the planning process we did get a fair few worried looks, confused and unsure faces but on the day everyone loved it and understood why we didn’t want a lot of the traditional ‘wedding’ elements. Doing so much ourselves was time consuming, especially the week of the wedding, but I loved being able to put so much of us into the day and make it as unique as possible.
Photography – Dottie Photography
Dress – Jenny Packham
Stole – Hope and Grace
Shoes – Alexander McQueen
Flowers – Nursery Fresh Wholesale Flowers
Suit Hire – Cadge Menswear
Maids – Mango
Entertainment – The Redfords
Bus – London Heritage
Marquee – Fairytale Marquees
Invitations – Hanna Benjamin
Hire – Wedding Day Hire
Who would like to go first with everything they love about this wedding?
Maybe the maids dresses with the super cool colour pop cardis?
Maybe the ceremony venue surrounded by water?
Maybe the vintage Rolls Royce?
Or maybe the bus, the snazzy stationery, the test-tube cool favours, the serious dose of gyp or perhaps all those lovely vintage items… the list on this one is pretty much endless.