India and Mark had it all…rain, sunshine, hail, thunder and even lightening. They also had glorious flowers, fields, ducks and dogs!
They got married in the same church as Marks parents did 30 years previous. They memorised their vows and their beloved Katie (the Dalmation) watched on lovingly from the front row.
And India rocked the most enormous bouquet and the story of her dress is a first for RMW. It melted my heart a little.
India The Bride: Our reception was held at the fabulously rustic Cold Harbour Barn in Ginge, Oxfordshire. We loved it from the moment we clapped eyes on it. We wanted a completely do-it-yourself venue, somewhere down to earth that we could really put our own stamp on. And we got it. Mark even had to make the bar out of a couple of old railway sleepers and some big wooden barrels. The owners, Steph and Richard, were wonderful, they let us have free-range on the barn for a full 5 days, and nothing was too much trouble. After the wedding, they bought the bar from us! It’s still there, with our initials and wedding date scratched into the wood!
I never thought I’d say this, but despite checking the forecasts obsessively during the week running up to the wedding, I would not swap the weather we had for anything. Watching the rain and the lightening from the big doors at the front of the barn, surrounded by our friends and family was really fun – like an alternative fireworks display just for us.
From One RMW Bride To Another
I had originally planned to make my wedding dress. Everyone I know thought I was insane, and about a month or two into my project, I realised they were right. Maybe I gave up too soon but the mock up made from an old bed sheet and covered in measurements and scribbles wasn’t inspiring me. It just wasn’t right.
This is where Rock My Wedding literally saved the day. I was browsing the day’s posts one morning and came across the gorgeous Laura wearing ‘Marnie’ by Stephanie Allin. There it was – the dress I had been trying to create! And, would you believe it… Laura was selling her dress on Undress. We emailed each other frantically for a week, and I decided I really, really wanted to give Laura’s dress another day out.
Laura and I live miles from each other (I in Winchester and she in Birmingham), and trying on the dress was difficult. So we both took a leap of faith and she posted the dress out to me. She also kindly gifted her veil to me as well, as she forgot to wear it on her wedding day and wanted it to be worn at least once. The fact that my dress was worn before is one of my favourite things about it and I would say to anyone thinking of going second hand – do it! It was one of the best decisions I made and Laura and I still keep in touch from time to time.
I accessorised with a lace top I made myself from a very see-through, knee length nightie I found in Topshop. I bought two of them in the largest size they had and got to work with the scissors. It saved me a fortune – the designer one I had seen in a bridal shop and fallen in love with was way, way out of our budget.
Bare Foot Bride
I used to run my own (small) handmade tiara company for a living, so I think many of our friends and family were expecting me to don the Mother Of All Tiaras. However… if I’m honest, I don’t really like them. I wanted to keep things simple, so I wore two small, bronze leaf hairpins from dreamsbythesea on Etsy. My necklace, a piece of rough quartz wrapped in gold wire, was also an Etsy find from WrennJewelry. I wanted items I could wear again after the wedding. My something borrowed was Mark’s mum’s wedding band, that I wore on my index finger for the ceremony.
I’ve never really been a shoe girl, but I still ended up buying 3 pairs! I just couldn’t decide what I actually wanted – colourful and funky? Blingy fabulous? Safe, ivory and very bridal? The shoes I wore in the end were a sparkly, beaded pair from Dune. Even after buying three pairs, I still wouldn’t say I was in love with them. I also quickly realised that wet grass + heels = sinking bride syndrome, and so I did spend a lot of the reception bare foot!
Less Of The Bridal Please
My hair was done by the very lovely Michelle at Segais in Didcot. I’m not known for my organisational skills (it’s amazing the wedding happened at all in fact) and I left sorting out my hair to the very last minute. Michelle was a star – doing my hair trial two days before the wedding, and rearranging her appointments to do my hair at my sister-in-law’s house on the morning of the wedding. I wasn’t a very secretive bride and told a few people that I wanted a side swept fishtail plait – nearly everyone I spoke to told me not too, that it was far too casual, and that I needed something ‘bridal’. I stuck with my guns and I’m so pleased I did – I loved my fishtail!
I also opted to do my own make-up which I’m so glad I did as it gave me the opportunity to have an hour to myself in the morning, and to get away from all the hustle and bustle downstairs. I went for a slightly heavier version of my daytime make-up, but added a bit of winged eye-liner. I also had semi-permanent eyelashes applied a few days before…amazing!!
Look At My Flowers!
Our florist was the incredibly talented Samantha Swift of Little Buds in Oxfordshire. I gave her some of my vague ideas; I knew I wanted multi-coloured hydrangea for my bridesmaids to hold, a la Mrs O’Shea, and an ivory puff including some double headed carnations for me, but pretty much the rest was just a jumbled picture in my head. Sam, her husband Rich, Mark and I piled into her car at 3am, 3 days before the wedding, and visited Covent Garden’s flower market together. We pointed to what we liked, and Sam did the rest! Just before the ceremony, when I was waiting outside the Church with my Dad and bridesmaids, all I kept saying was “Have you seen my flowers? Look at my flowers!”. They completely blew me away and Sam did such a wonderful job.
After seeing Charlotte’s wedding, I became a bit obsessed with the ivory dresses and I searched high and low for the right dresses. I think they looked fab, although I can’t take any of the credit for them… thank you Charlotte! In the end, I found the perfect ones in TKMaxx – an total bargain at £30 each. I think my bridesmaids were a little… apprehensive about my choice of dress. I had forgotten to remind them about the colour, and all except one tried them on the night before the wedding. Let’s just say not everyone had realised they would need nude coloured underwear! As everyone had a pair of nude heels at home, we decided to go nude on the shoe front – is there anything they don’t go with?! (PS. Patent is brilliant for weddings on a lawn – practically wipe clean!)
Polka Dots And Stripes
The boys wore beige linen suits, and we mixed and matched with different coloured ties in sherbert shades. They all wore pale blue shirts, which matched Mark’s.
Mark wore a gorgeous brown linen suit from Hackett. He decided that he wanted to avoid the whole shiny waistcoat/cravat thing quite early on. We decided on brown linen from the start to remain in keeping with the casual feel of the day, but quickly realised brown suits are really hard to find! He also wore a pale blue shirt with a subtle stripe, a tan belt from Ted Baker and pale brown polka dotted tie from Paul Smith. His tan shoes were from Jones the Bootmaker.
Lost for Words
We found our completely amazing photographer, Rachel Hudson, on – again – Rock My Wedding. I searched for weeks online, and saw a post featuring Rachel’s work and was blown away. We arranged to meet her in London, and we couldn’t believe how lucky we were to find someone so lovely and so on our wavelength. Neither of us are very comfortable in front of a camera, so it was really important to us that we had someone who we were able to relax with and have a laugh. Having Rachel and her second shooter, Vikki photograph us was like having old friends around. I just can’t find the words to say how excellent they were.
In the afternoon, we wanted to do something fun and memorable that suited the country feel to the day. I got the crazy notion that Duck Herding would be fun, after finding The Quack Pack online. It took me a few days to convince Mark, but once he came round to the idea it became one of our favourite parts of the day. It was hilarious watching our guests chasing ducks and trying to speak ‘farmer’ with the Border Collies around a field in their welly boots! Rachel captured it brilliantly.
A Trio Of Pies
I decided early on in the planning that I really wanted to make my wedding cake. Mark wanted traditional wedding cake, I wanted chocolate cake… so we avoided both and went for our joint second favourite, a Victoria Sponge covered in cream and strawberries. We sat it on a couple of old apple crates we found at a country show.
Our caterer Talia, from Cotswold Cooks, was another gem we found online. We wanted a caterer who could take our slightly vague ideas and create something that would work with the rustic theme of the day. Talia and her lovely team arrived in the most fabulous baking pinnies, and crafted us a feast of Samphire (my favourite as a child), followed by a trio of pies to suit all, and roasted veg. They served dinky little cream tea scones from vintage china mugs in the afternoon to those who didn’t fancy getting muddy herding ducks!
Paper Poms And Lights
My mum spent months growing 100 lemon thyme plants in her garden, which she potted up for us. We presented them in hessian, tied with an ivory bow. My mum also made little round place names from black card and kebab sticks, which we stuck into the plant pots to make place names for the tables.
A few days before the wedding, Mark and the men in his family spent the day putting up hundreds of colourful paper poms in the rafters of the barn and a string of festoon lights. We also found a grimy old sash window in a local reclamation yard that became our table plan with a chalk marker pen. Mark also made the most fabulous lemonade stand which we set up on the grass outside the barn where our guests could help themselves to homemade lemonade while we were having our photos taken.
My advice to others would be to stick to your guns during the planning – don’t let anyone tell you what you SHOULD have. If you think it’s awesome – then go for it. When it all comes together, it’ll make sense, even if not everything matches.
Duck herding?! Is this wedding serious…I LOVE it! What a brilliant idea and a great way to keep your guests entertained.
And did you love the bouquet? Epic or what!
The thing I love most about India’s story is the wedding dress part. We’re so glad we are here connecting brides and making dreams come true. And how clever is she making the lacey overlay? Talented bridey right there.
I want to know if anyone else is making their own bar for their big day? Serious props to Mark!