When I first clapped eyes on the gorgeousness that is Tom and Emma’s wedding day, I felt all warm and gooey inside.
It could have been the gorgeous bridesmaid dresses that made me grin or the wonderfully textured bouquet that Emma lovingly clutched in her bridal portraits. The ‘gooeyness’ may even have been inspired by the cheeky sheep that nuzzled its way into one of the photos or the playful order of service that Emma’s sister designed.
But if I’m being really honest then I think Emma’s beautiful brown eyes and the obvious devotion that Tom has for her is the real reason for my beaming smile.
I defy you not to agree.
All of these wonderful images were taken by the rather talented Lisa Carpenter.
Our Favourite Season
Tom proposed when were on holiday in Thailand in October 2011. I’ve always loved the idea of an autumn wedding so within a week of us returning to the UK, our date of 6 October 2012 was booked. It was important for us to marry at Springdale Methodist Church, which is just outside Wolverhampton.
We only really ever considered one venue, The Old Vicarage Hotel in Worfield, Shropshire. Our good friends married there last year, and we loved the way that it’s both traditional and modern, in that it’s an old country house with a really bright and airy Orangery.
We’ve Got A Winner
I have to admit I didn’t love shopping for my dress – not to start with anyway. I knew I didn’t want a strapless dress which, in some shops, left me with only a handful of dresses to go at. I’m also not exactly a skinny minnie, and was worried that my shape would restrict my choice even further.
After a few experiences where, irrespective of my wishes, I was plonked in a strapless dress “because it’ll make you look thinner”, I was feeling fairly disheartened.Then I visited Georgina Scott Bridal near Stourbridge, and gave the biggest sigh of relief. I went from being stuck to being spoiled for choice. When I tried on LB19 by LouLou, I loved the simplicity of the shape with the detail of the lace. And it made my waist look tiny – that thing basically had built in Spanx.
We had a winner.
Once I’d discovered Rachel Simpson, the shoe decision was made. I bought them at the National Wedding Show at the NEC – meaning I got to see the whole range ‘in real life’ and bag a nifty discount. I went for Mimi – really beautiful ivory shoes with a beautiful champagne leather T-bar. They were uber-comfortable.
In the evening though, I switched into some Converse! I’m a Converse girl at heart, so I got some personalised on the website, and had “Mrs V” stitched onto the side.
I chose a Kit Heath silver bracelet to match my dress – it was a very delicate cuff with a similar floral design to my dress. Then, on the morning of the wedding, I got a stunning Tiffany bracelet with a little blue stone from Tom. It was a gorgeous gift and he sorted out my ‘something new’ and ‘something blue’ in one very elegant swoop.
A Holistic Approach
I had my hair done by Beth at Ego, which is where I normally go. This was a very conscious decision, I didn’t want anything that was too “wedding” (I banned curls!). Beth came up with a perfect neat do that resembled more of a construction than a hairstyle given the amount of hair I have, finished with a very sparkly hairpiece from Ivory & Co.
Originally, I was going to do my own make up, but then a friend recommended Claire Green from Get You Gorgeous. Claire’s approach was really refreshing, because it wasn’t just about make up, but my skin too. She came to my house each week in the month before the wedding for a facial; Claire actually made my pores shrink, and my make up stayed put all day.
Colour Pop Girls
The dresses that the bridesmaids wore weren’t actually the first ones that we bought. Back in January, we chose some beautiful French Connection dresses in russet and stone, the colours were spot on. But a few weeks before the wedding, I decided that they were a bit…well, short.
So we started the hunt again, and it was John Lewis to the rescue. We found these gorgeous pleated dresses in the perfect autumn colour from Kaliko. I’m so glad we made the last minute change, the girls looked beautiful, were more comfortable and the colour really pops on the pictures.
Here Come The Boys
We asked the Groomsmen and the Dads to don a dark grey suit, and we got them all dark orange ties (these were quite a nightmare to source, Swagger and Swoon helped us out here). We tried not to be too matchy matchy, just generally go for autumnal colours, but again, because of the strong colour, you could clearly work out who was in “Team Groom”.
Tom decided early on that he would prefer to be more informal and relaxed on the day, so tails were never really an option. He wore a three-piece Ted Baker suit, with Ted Baker shoes, and the same tie as everyone else. He looked so handsome, you could spot him as ‘The Groom’ from a mile off. I bought him some Ray-Ban aviators as a wedding present, and they looked pretty cool too.
A Perfect String Quartet
For the service, we hired the Solo Players String Quartet who were just incredible! They seemed like an extravagance when we started the process searching for musicians. Then we realised that we actually weren’t spending much money on the service and it was the most important part of the day.
As well as playing me in (Pachelbel’s Canon in D) and us out (Whatever, by Oasis), they also played Sigur Ros during the prayers, and the Beatles and Elbow during the signing of the register – which made it all very personal.
The Easiest Decision We Made
Asking Lisa Carpenter to be our photographer was one of the earliest and easiest decisions that we made. My sister knew of Lisa, which prompted us to go and look at her website, where we saw a little introduction video and got very excited about her work.
She told the story of our day just perfectly, and – even better – showed us the bits of everyone else’s day that we missed when we were too busy being the centre of attention (there’s a very cute picture of my mom and dad on the morning of the wedding!). She’s great fun to be around and we loved her ideas, there were sheds, cows, goats, you name it, but she did it all without ever taking us away from the day for too long.
Bold And Beautiful
I knew that I wanted our flowers to be quite bold – they were the best opportunity we had for bringing all of the autumnal colours to life. Lisa from Flowers by Lisa P was great. She used my pictures as inspiration rather than a prescription and added some great ideas of her own.
We used mango cala lilies, proteas, little hypericum berries, oak leaves and Lisa told me about the Leonidas rose which was the perfect colour. My five bridesmaids had ivory roses to provide some contrast, and then, once the photos were over, those five posies became the centrepieces on five of the tables in the Orangery. It was a really neat and clever idea that saved us a few pennies too.
Keeping It In The Family
I am very lucky to have a sister, Claire , who just so happens to be a completely awesome designer. She worked on so much for our day, and it’s those details and design that really made everything come together and work so well. It started when she designed our super-cute Save the Dates to go out with Christmas cards last year.
She then developed the same autumnal design on our invites, menus, table plan, table names, favour cards, place cards and the fingerprint tree. The orders of service she designed really were a work of art, really different, and received so many compliments. Pretty much every piece of paper you looked at on the day, apart from the wedding certificate, was created by her.
Everything was just so cool, classy and different – and I know I’m biased, but we wouldn’t have matched it by going to anyone else. She’s now working on our other sister’s wedding and is hoping to concentrate on wedding stationery more in the future – and so she should, she’s brilliant!
My very talented friend Claire made the cake. I managed to get the cake design to match the dress without Tom finding out! It was extremely yummy lemon cake on the top tier, and jam sponge on the bottom.
First Dance Deliberations
We deliberated about our first dance for a while.. Then, when we were in the car on the way to collect our rings from the Jewellery Quarter, Buona Sera by Louis Prima came on Tom’s iPod. The words just sang to us…
“And by the little jewellery shop we’ll stop and linger, while I buy a wedding ring for your finger,
in the meantime let me tell you that I love you, Buona Sera, Signorina, kiss you goodnight”
We both love the song, it’s romantic, quirky, and gets nice and lively about thirty seconds in which meant everyone joined in pretty quickly!
Save Some Surprises
The church service was the focus of our day and our minister gave us lots of input to make sure that it was tailored to us. Tom’s Dad ‘gave him away’, as well as my Dad giving me away – as we wanted it to be about us creating our own family, rather than me moving from one man to another! We involved so many people, we had a family blessing and music that was important to us.
There are so many different options when you start to plan your wedding, it really is mind-boggling. I’m the kind of person who wants to read reviews and weigh everything up before settling, but I found the best way to not get stressed was just to trust your instincts, make decisions and move on.
And, apart from my little bridal blip with the first bridesmaid dresses, that was a pretty good mantra! There will always be new decisions to make and focus on, you will always feel better for having made one!
I’d also encourage brides to save some surprises. I’m rubbish at secrets, and I think I thought I was being quite a modern bride by showing so many people pictures of my dress before the big day. As it turns out, on the day, my Converse got more comments than my dress! Maybe it was because people genuinely preferred them (I hope not!), but I think it was because I’d kept them a surprise.
On reflection, I think it’s really nice for some things to be kept under wraps, and you get to see them see things for the first time, which is much more fun!
Photographer: Lisa Carpenter
Dress: LouLou Style LB19
Boutique: Georgina Scott Bridal
Accessories: Kit Heath
Shoes: Rachel Simpson
Make-up: Get You Gorgeous
Bridesmaid attire: Kaliko
Groom’s attire: Ted Baker
Entertainment: Solo Players String Quartet
I think it’s really important for any bride (and groom to be) to take Emma’s pearls of wisdom into consideration here. I touched on the dilemmas that are often thrown up by the sheer choice available to modern day brides in my post on Tuesday and the confusion that such choice creates.
Emma intuitively faced this potential problem head on – by trusting her gut and folks believe me when I say it’s a mantra to live by. Clearly Tom and Emma’s gorgeous day is a testament to that.
Congratulations you beautiful pair!
All my love Lolly xxx