A wedding weekend? An entire weekend dedicated to sharing love and laughter with your friends and family. That’s pretty much the best idea ever isn’t it?! Emma and John headed off to France with their nearest and dearest and did just that. With Jenny Packham, peonies and pretty decor to boot, this wedding is simply gorgeous. Emma transports you to her ceremony in her description of it. It sounds so perfect.
What To Wear
It’s no secret that I’m a little bit of a shopaholic so naturally I really enjoyed the process of choosing my dress. A huge part of this for me was buying every single wedding magazine going and of course spending hours on RMW! I knew from the start that I wanted something floaty, pretty and a little bit boho. Visiting the Bridal Collection in Harrogate was like walking into bridal heaven! I immediately fell in love with Jenny Packham Dentelle and knew that it was THE dress. I had lusted over Jenny Packham dresses for a long time and it was an absolute dream to be able to wear one on my wedding day. The Jenny Packham Wonderland headband and the tulle veil really completed the look.
Choosing the bridesmaids dresses ended up being one of the most difficult parts of the planning! I really wanted to find a dress that all three of my bridesmaids loved. I didn’t really have a specific colour in mind – which probably made the search more difficult. We did a lot of ordering dresses online and sending them back! Three weeks before the wedding we still had no dresses. Panic had almost started to hit when we came across Girl Meets Dress where you can hire designer dresses. The lilac dresses by Diva Sophia were perfect.
I’m An Addict
I have a confession. During the planning I became a Pinterest addict! I literally spent days on it! (How did people plan weddings before Pinterest?!) Our vision for the day was rustic and pretty. Initially, we didn’t really have a specific colour theme in mind. I knew that I wanted to incorporate white with pastels and lace and hessian. One tip that I would give to brides-to-be is to have different boards for each aspect of the day. I initially had just one ‘wedding’ board and it soon became really overwhelming. Creating individual boards really helped to narrow down our choices and vision for the day. Lavender ended up being a key colour of our day and it’s a colour that really reminds me of that region of France. The barn where we had our evening meal looked so pretty with the fairy lights, bunting and paper pom poms – it really felt like our vision for the day had come together.
My mum’s dining room table turned into DIY central in the run up to the wedding. It was like something from Blue Peter! We hand stamped and decorated all the luggage labels for the table plan and my mum and grandma made all the beautiful hessian cutlery pockets. I had a lot of fun designing the order of service and the wedding weekend itinerary. I got a bit carried away at one point and spent a whole weekend downloading different free fonts! Who knew that free fonts could be so much fun! We put the itineraries in the guests’ rooms for when they arrived along with a little box of Macaroons that had ‘Eat Me’ labels attached to them that my mum and I stamped.
I had pink peonies for my bouquet; the bridesmaids had gypsophila along with my dad and best man for their buttonholes. John also had gypsophila for his but mixed with lavender. Our flower budget ended up being rather small, but our planner Kate worked miracles to create gorgeous arrangements for our tables using peonies, hydrangeas and gypsophila.
The ceremony was one of my favourite parts of the day. I think sometimes in the planning process this part of the day can get overlooked, with so many aspects to think about you can easily lose sight of what the day is about. I walked down the aisle to Sweet Disposition by The Temper Trap. Listening to it now immediately brings all the memories and emotions flooding back. Getting to say our vows in the sunshine underneath the trees felt really special. My sister read I Carry Your Heart by EE. Cummings and John’s twin sister ready A Lovely Love Story by Edward Monkton – both readings felt so personal and quite a few tears were shed! Our celebrant, Jean, was absolutely fantastic. We had completed bride and groom questionnaires beforehand and on the day she was able to talk about us as if she had known us for a long time. So many of our guests spoke about how personal and touching the ceremony was and a huge part of that was down to Jean. We signed the register to Venice by the Lighthouse and the Whaler and I just remember seeing everyone look so happy and feeling so much love! We walked back up the aisle to the You and Me Song by The Wannadies with our guests blowing bubbles – a really magical almost surreal moment!
We wanted to keep with the French theme for the food. Our caterers recommend the locally produced confit of duck which was incredible! We couldn’t decide on a dessert so went for a trio of mini creme brule, tarte au citron and chocolate cloud cake. In the evening we served our beautiful ‘naked’ wedding cake followed by lots of yummy French cheese!
Kate from Marry me in France was an absolute godsend from start to finish! She is the person who made our wedding dreams into a reality! She made planning a wedding abroad feel easy and when we went out to France in February for a wedding planning weekend we felt like we were going out to meet an old friend. On the wedding morning she made me feel so calm and relaxed and her coordination on the day was incredible. We really can’t thank her enough. She’s a star! Merci beaucoup Kate!
Our Photographers were Studio A+Q, a fabulous husband and wife team – Alessio and Marta. We were blown away by how their beautiful photos perfectly capture our special day. They are based in Provence but will travel far and wide and have shot weddings all over the world. We feel incredibly lucky to have had them as our photographers. Their photos really capture the essence of our day and looking at them feels like being transported back in time.
Planning a wedding is such an amazing and exciting experience. Yes – there will be stressful moments (a few doors were slammed in the weeks running up to the wedding!) but my advice would be to try to enjoy every minute of the planning and make it personal to you. I would give anything to be able to go back in time and do it all again, even those door slamming moments! Also, try not to get too stressed, planning a wedding should be fun – I really thought I was going to be a bridezilla but surprised my friends and family (and myself!) by turning out to be pretty chilled out during the planning! John really got involved too. I have lovely memories of us sitting on our living room floor eating tapas, drinking wine and going over table plans!
The wedding day itself flies by in a flash so take it all in. There were a few moments throughout the day when John and I looked at each other and said ‘I can’t believe this is our wedding!’. We snuck off at the end of the night and climbed up to the top of the barn and just sat together not wanting it all to end. The day completely exceeded our expectations and as cheesy as it sounds almost felt dreamlike. The love and happiness we felt from our family and friends was simply overwhelming. Literally the best day ever!