I should probably begin this beautiful big day with a Pinterest warning, because folks, Charly & Si’s wedding is filled to bursting with oodles of gorgeous details that I can guarantee that you’ll love.
From fragranced, colour-drenched sweet peas to floral arches and flower crowns through to one of the prettiest dresses of silk with lace cap sleeves that I’ve seen all year. And then there’s the 100 year old family heirloom car – just wait until you see Hetty the Humber folks – I promise that you won’t be disappointed.
And I haven’t even gotten started on the village fete games, the sack races and the mammoth round of tug-of-war.
Charly The Bride: I am going to start my blog post with something slightly controversial: I did not love every minute of planning our wedding. I am not the organised, crafty, talented type of girl who seems to grace these pages most days. I can’t sew or paint, we don’t have any friends who are graphic designers, and my now husband doesn’t give two hoots about the clothes he wears. One skill I think I do have is the ability to throw a good party, and that; my Mum would tell you is in my genes.
I read Rock My Wedding religiously in the year preceding our wedding, and always inspired, would go running to my boy spouting enthusiastically about giant lit-up letters, photo booths and bunting. None of which really made it to the actual wedding; although I do have a drawer full of fabric off-cuts and a sewing machine that stared me out every day for 6 months. Despite this, our wedding day was the best day of our lives so far. It was cobbled together with a lot of love, luck and help from our families, and as you can see from the pictures everyone had a fantastic time. My point is you don’t need to be a crafting superstar or uber-organised to make a wedding beautiful. If I can do it anyone can.
St Michaels And All Angels
Before getting engaged, we had given very little thought into where we would get married. However, we were pretty lucky and the answer just dropped into our laps. Si decided he would like to get married in a church, and although neither of us is particularly religious this made the decision super easy. Both my parents and my Aunt and Uncle married in the tiny beautiful church of St. Michaels and All Angels in Cofton Hackett, also my grandparents are buried there. This then set the tone for our entire wedding; a family orientated, close to home, proper party.
I have always loved my Aunt Maxine and Uncle Richard’s house. It is a beautiful, rambly, cosy country cottage with a BEAUTIFUL garden, and when Max offered to host the wedding, that was the easy bit. We then toyed with marquees, which didn’t feel like us at all, far too grown up, and then I found out about giant tipis. They created the perfect atmosphere for our laid back wedding, and are incredibly beautiful structures. The guys at World Inspired Tents were amazing, and even gave us a baby tree as a wedding present.
I am not a girl who wears a lot of make up, I normally wear eyeliner and blusher and nothing else. I had a bridal lesson at MAC, bought quite a lot of their products and then didn’t end up wearing most of it. My Mum hired Natalie Gregg (loveliest person ever), who managed to get some make up onto me (without covering up my freckles) and then proceeded to help my Mum make last minute bouquets for my bridesmaids.
The one thing I will recommend was the Shellac nails, vivid crimson, and lasted for ages. My hair was done by an old school friend, who was lovely, and understood exactly what I wanted straight away. Going to the hairdresser the morning of the wedding was a really nice way for my maids to relax and me to calm my nerves.
The Vintage Wedding Dress Company
I LOVED my wedding dress. I knew I would never end up in a lot of dress, after trying on some very weddingy dresses; including one that weighed more than I did. I came to the conclusion the slinkier the better; however finding beautiful, simple and well cut dresses is easier said than done. I had spent hours on the internet looking at Jenny Packham, Temperly and spectacular Eli Saab dresses, before coming back to earth with a bump and realising that spending upwards of £4000 on a dress was not going to happen.
I came across The Vintage Wedding Dress Company now renamed Charlie Brear at a sample sale, and loved the cut and quality of their own range dresses. But again, was stumped by the cost of them. So I started looking at second hand dress websites. Eventually I found a VWDC dress, in my size, for sale in London. So my bridesmaids and I trekked off to Shepherds Bush to try on the dress. The girl who was selling her dress was lovely. She had put up fairy lights in her bedroom so it was more bridal.
I tried on the dress (a very simple cream, silk ,crepe, column dress with lace cap sleeves and a blush satin sash) loved it, made my Maid of Honour cry and bought it there and then. No alterations or fittings necessary. The only difficult bit was not trying it on every 5 minutes whilst it sat in my wardrobe at home. I cannot recommend buying a second hand dress enough. Less than half the price for something that has been worn once and been really well looked after.
Miu Miu Heaven
Saving so much on my dress meant I could splash out a little bit on my shoes; although they were half price too; I do love a bargain. I found my beautiful magenta, suede, glittery soled, Miu Miu shoes on mytheresa.com. I also went to the Vintage Wedding Dress Company boutique and bought a full length lace-edged veil. I felt that with such a simple dress I could get away with slightly more outrageous accessories. My parents had a necklace made for me out of a sapphire, which my Mum had had for her 21st birthday and presented it to me on the morning of the wedding. That was my something new old and blue all in one. I borrowed a cotton hanky from my Aunty, and used it A LOT throughout the day.
The Amazing Ruchi
My Maid of Honour; Ruchi, otherwise know as invitation designer extraordinaire, also chose the bridesmaid dresses. She phoned me one day to say ‘Charly, I have found these dresses I think are perfect’ and sent me a picture, I said ‘lovely, get them’. To which she replied ‘I already have’. That was the easiest part of the whole wedding. I trust Ruch completely and was very lucky to have her help. She also planned ‘The Best Hen Do ever’ to Budapest. The boys wore their own suits, and liberty print bowties to match Si. Our colour scheme was very relaxed; English country garden colours.
Heart Shaped Confetti
I had found a style of invitation I liked, but when I looked them up them I realised that they cost close to a tenner each. Cue my super talented best friend and Maid of Honour Ruchi, who drew the invitations of my dreams, which we then got printed. The orders of service were another last minute job, hastily tied together with garden twine by my father-in-law the day before the wedding.
Si and I also spent hours punching heart shaped confetti out of the complete works of Shakespeare. We had intended just to use the romances, but found that they didn’t go very far, a careful examination of the confetti would have revealed some pretty gruesome passages.
An English Country Garden
Holding a wedding reception, in a tipi, in a country garden in July, in England, pretty much sets the theme for itself. We threw ourselves, whole hog down the English country garden route. With white lace bunting, wicker hearts, a coconut shy, and shed turned into a pub; bottles and jam jars, and a Moroccan BBQ (obviously). The tipis and garden themselves were so beautiful they didn’t take a lot of decorating. And I was far too disorganised to think of things as fundamental as table numbers and a seating plan; resulting in last minute scribbles on a mirror and some bits of pretty paper.
We hired lots of vintage crockery from Constance Wallace, run by Diane, the nicest lady I have ever met, who has a gorgeous shop full of vintage bits a pieces which makes me want to run away and offer her my services for free. Although I’m not sure how much use an A&E nurse would be to her…free first aid maybe.
The car that we used to get to and from the wedding is a family heirloom and her name is Hetty the Humber, 98 years old, and my brother and dad spent months getting her into perfect working order and looking fantastic. One of my favourite moments of the day was; on the way to the church, driving past a little girl who clapped her hands to her face a squealed aloud, as if she had just seen something magical.
Pretty And Wild
Our flowers were from Lili Floral Art, who did a fantastic job of translating my very vague specification of ‘something pretty and wild and not traditional, with herbs’ into the most spectacularly beautiful reality. I was desperate for floral crown, ever since seeing Lolly’s wedding on these pages over a year ago. Although I wasn’t going to let my maids have all the fun.
The flower crowns were as much fun to wear as they were beautiful to look at. I couldn’t possibly tell you what flowers they contained, having paid no attention whatsoever, but they did have rosemary, thyme and lavender in and as a result smelled delicious. My maids also carried bouquets, made by my Mum the morning of the wedding in a mad dash.
I Carry Your Heart
The one thing no one warned me about; was how nervous I would be. Word fumbly, upside down tummy, can’t think straight nervous; which then gave way to tears as soon as I started speaking. That said the ceremony was one of the most profound and moving experiences of my life. We had two readings; Corinthians, and my favourite poem of all time ‘I carry your heart, I carry it in my heart’ by E. E. Cummings. Both of which reduced me to tears.
Si’s brothers serenaded us out of the church, playing Simon and Garfunkel’s ‘Flowers Never Bend’. One of his brothers Pete is actually in a Simon and Garfunkel tribute band and I had lots of guests tell us how spellbound they were by their incredible performance.
Rain, Games And A Standing Ovation
Having the reception in Max and Richard’s garden gave us complete freedom. We had village fete games, by far the most successful of which was the tug’o’war. This happened in the pouring rain, which no one seemed to mind and some of my favourite photos show just how much everyone got into it and how competitive it got.
My other favourite bits of the reception were the speeches. Si’s brothers both being super talented musicians wrote and performed the most hilarious song that got a standing ovation from the whole wedding and had everyone in fits of giggles. My dad has a bit of a reputation for making inappropriate jokes, but his speech was wonderful and Si’s had everyone in tears.
My mum and I are pretty noisy women, and both made a speech ourselves. I would definitely recommend not letting the boys do all the talking. Si’s mum and her partner’s band played hours of amazing 60’s tunes that had everyone dancing well into the night.
Champagne Coupes And A Moroccan BBQ
One of my favourite things about the reception was drinking champagne out of vintage champagne coupes. We also had elderflower gin fizz and cloudy lemonade in recycled Sweppes bottles with stripy straws; these were a huge hit with the guests. Later on, several bottle of tequila were conjured up and there was a lots of ‘doing shots out of egg cups’ going on. Not very picturesque, but completely hilarious, and very much taken advantage of by my parents’ friends.
The food as I mentioned was a Moroccan BBQ, and was completely delicious, even if I was far too excited to actually eat much. Later on in the evening we had a Cheesecake and hundreds of incredible local pork pies, many of which ended up in some guests’ handbags to be consumed the following morning. One of my maids Esther, her Mum and I made our ‘naked’ cake the day before the wedding and other yummy cakes and desserts were made by other guest’s village fete style.
Portait Of A Lady
I would like to reiterate the advice to get as many couples portraits as you can. We definitely didn’t do enough of this, and am only comforted by the fact that we were too busy having the most incredible time. Also don’t feel like you have to tick all off the wedding boxes. If you don’t have the time, money or inclination to spend 100 hours making 100 paper cranes or whatever the latest wedding fashion is then don’t. None of the guests at the wedding will notice. Certainly no one noticed the few bits and pieces that glared out at me, as a bit disorganised or not pretty enough. Or at least they were too polite to mention it to a bride on her wedding day.
An Absolute Wonder
Our photographer Rhys Parker was an absolute wonder. He was super friendly and got some really beautiful photographs, everyone commented on how lovely he was and how natural his photos are. I cannot recommend him enough. Also Leanne from Blooming Lovely Films was spectacular; I found her on Rock My Wedding and have only seen the trailer for our video. I cannot wait to see the rest.
Gown – Charlie Brear
Make-up – Natalie Gregg
Hair – Amy
Florist – Lili Floral Art
Tipis – World Inspired Tents
Evening Entertainment – Andy Richards
China Hire – Constance Wallace
Reception Music – The Bookends Show
Videography- Blooming Lovely Films
Photography – Rhys Parker
I think we can safely say that it’s the first time that we’ve had shots of guests ‘doing shots out of egg cups’ on these pages. But I think you’ll agree that it looks pretty awesome.
Congratulations you two.
All my love Lolly xxx