Black maids dresses… multi-coloured shoes… Chris Barber behind the lens.
Does Laura and Mike’s big day need any more of an introduction than that?
A Family Tradition
Mike and I got married on 21st October at Saint Lukes Church in Cannock, Staffordshire. It is a beautiful church and has been the wedding venue for all of my family for many generations. Mike knew it was the only place I wanted to get married and it was pretty much the only thing that was never up for discussion!
When my Dad and I pulled up at the Church, the sun shining and bells ringing, it seemed as though the town centre had come to a halt to watch our arrival. I could not stop laughing and we both totally milked it!
Into My Arms
We asked our friend Axel to sing as we signed the register and he chose Into My Arms by Nick Cave which was perfect. He lives in Sweden so the first time we heard him sing was on the day itself. It blew us away, especially when he added our favourite verse from Mr Tambourine Man by Bob Dylan on the end. At some point, during one of their many discussion about music, Mike had told Axel how that verse takes us back to a night we spent dancing in the sea at Benicassim Festival many years ago and Axel had made it part of his performance, not knowing that we had written those exact words on the back of our order of service! Only someone who knows and loves you would think of something as meaningful as that and it made for one of the most moving moments of our day.
Strapless And Figure Hugging
My dress was a Benjamin Roberts design from London Bride in Kennington.
I was seriously struggling to imagine myself as a bride and approached the whole situation in fear and with low expectations. The ladies at London Bride were amazing. They were so kind and enthustic and totally looked after me, I would recommend them to anyone!
My dress was the third dress I tried on. Apart from the fact it was lace, it was pretty much everything I had not wanted (strapless and figure Hugging) but, as they say, true love knows no bounds. I immediately felt like I was a bride. I turned to my best friend, we both had tears in our eyes, I knew it was the one. And that, was that.
I didn’t think I would wear a veil, but at my first dress fitting the ever enthusiastic ladies at London Bride fixed one to my head, exclaiming “this has to be worn with that dress” Of course they were right. It was a beautiful double-tiered veil, trimmed with intricate lace that matched my dress perfectly.
I wore an Arianna head band in pearl and mocha tones, with crystal flowers for a hint of sparkle. My outfit was finished off with an amazing vintage fur shrug lent to me by my darling Great Aunt.
Shoes were a bit more of an issue as heels and I inherently do not get on! I brought and returned about 5 pairs before finding a simple, open toed, gold high heel from Dune. They were perfect and to my surprise stayed on my feet the whole day without being banished to a corner – the power of adrenaline!
A One Way Street
I have short hair which can be styled one way and one way only, giving me one less thing to worry about. My make-up was done by the lovely Charlene whose great skills totally put me at ease about my less than perfect skin. She is quite clearly a wizard with a make-up wand! I would recommend to any bride that you get yourself a professional when it comes to the slap. Not only do you get brilliant results but it means that you can just sit back, relax and drink copious amounts of tea.
Purple Dots And Gold Stars
Mike bought his morning suit from New & Lingwood, a fabulous shop on Jermyn Street. It is wonderfully traditional with a dash of eccentricity thrown in!
Much to the dismay of the elderly shop assistant who insisted the waistcoat was too thick to wear under a Morning Suit, the moment Mike tried on his petrol blue felt waistcoat with striped silk back we both knew he had to have it! Mike finished his outfit off with a purple tie dotted with gold stars, a skull and cross bone silk handkerchief in his top pocket, a pair of Barker calfskin Chelsea boots and his Grandpa Georges old pocket watch.
Mike was such a handsome groom, He rocked his Morning Suit, making it his with his own individual style. He completely bowled me over. When I got to the top of the aisle I wanted to hug him so badly, I held back and just gave his leg a cheeky squeeze… only to find he had a harmonica in his pocket… I have always said that he doesn’t go anywhere without one!
The Groomsmen wore Morning Suits hired from Moss Bros. We bought them each a tie from New & Lingwood (THE best tie shop I have ever been too!!) Having no colour scheme we had great fun choosing ties that we thought best suited the guys – skull and cross bones, space invaders, knitted silk with polka dots and, for the best man, a Liberty print paisley, the brightest tie we could find!
The bridesmaid dresses sneaked up on us when i was keeping myself entertained during a shopping trip and decided to try on a beautiful, black lace dress from Ted Baker. The lace of the fitted bodice matched my dress and the full skirt gave a WOW factor.
The minute I saw it on I knew that it had to be the dress for my bridesmaids. I was with two (of the four) girls and the next thing you know we are all stood in matching dresses jumping up and down in excitement. Being told that only a limited number has been made I took the risk and brought all four there and then. I LOVE those dresses so much and my girls all looked absolutely amazing.
After months of searching for shoes to go with the dresses, I almost gave up on my idea of having four different colours – and then Dune came up trumps yet again! I let the girls choose the colour and style they wanted because I wanted them to be comfortable. On the morning of the wedding I gave them each a heart necklace from Coco Ribbon which looked totally cute and told them how much I love them!
Carrie Lucas was recommended to me by a family friend and having recently got married at Packington Moor herself it seemed a no brainer! When I met with Carrie I had a vision of what I wanted but not much knowledge on how to pull it off. I wanted a simple, white bouquet for myself and I wanted the bride maids bouquets to match the individual colours of their shoes. As for the church and venue, both Mike and I are fans of the just picked from the ground, natural look rather than formal arrangements and we knew this would suit Packington Moor perfectly. We did not have a colour theme and were not concerned about particular blooms. With the help of family and friends we had collected hundereds of glass jars for the flowers to go in, but the rest was left up to Carrie, The Professional!
Carrie far surpassed any expectations I had and created something truly beautiful. My bouqet was everything I coud have hoped for and the bridesmaids bouquets matched their shoes perfectly. A special shout out to the blue roses needs to be given right now. They blew my mind!!! Walking into Packington Moor and seeing what Carrie had done with the hundereds of jars we had accumulated was just one more special moment in my day.
Laugh Like A Loon
I love photographs and Mike loves photography so it was always going to be a hugely important part of our wedding. I had looked at many a website before stumbling across Chris Barber and It was not long before I had looked through every wedding featured on his website. I was blown away by the photographs and found myself giggling and getting emotions in equal measure… I had not seen wedding photography quite like it before. There was no question that he was the photographer that we both wanted and when we met with them we were even more pleased with our decision.
Being photographed by Chris was easy, relaxing and most importantly for us FUN! I love our wedding photographs, they capture every aspect and emotion of the day and I don’t think I will ever tire of gawping at them!
Chris also brought Silly Space into our lives. This is a MUST. All of our wedding guests loved it, it got everyone to let their hair down and show off the pesky side that most people hide in normal photographs. The pictures of my Grandad as the happiest sunflower I have ever seen will never fail to make me laugh like a loon.
My Mother-in-Law is an excellent cook so when she asked if we would like her to make our wedding cake I said yes straight away. I wanted as many personal touches as possible to our day and so we let her have free reign to do whatever she wanted. Once again, trusting in someone we love to do something for us completely paid off and having kept her ideas secret it gave us another lovely surprise on the day.
Anne created a beautiful, 3-tiered, square shaped, ivory cake topped with a chocolate Sacha Torte drum kit (for Mike, the drummer) and a book that had been filled with messages from the family (for me, the bookworm ) hidden round the back was a beautiful marzipan replica of Dylan, our cat and best bud!
Mr Tambourine Man
Music is a huge part of our lives and something we are both passionate about but when it came to our first dance as husband and wife there was only one man fit for the job and that was Bob Dylan and it had to be Mr Tambourine Man. We didn’t really think about the dancing element of our first dance, it was about that song being the first one we wanted to hear together as husband and wife.
The Love Boat Captains
Our friend Tom recommended The Love Boat Captains to us as our wedding band as he has seen them numerous times in his hometown of Lincoln. Knowing Tom’s great taste and knowing how well he knows us we trusted him completely and booked them!
The Love Boat Captains were amazing. They covered all the genres of music that we love and had everyone on the dancefloor. One of the highlights of our entire wedding was Our “last dance” There is nothing quite like seeing your family and friends in a frenzied mosh pit to Smells Like Teen Spirit whilst you jump up and down holding onto the train of your beloved wedding dress. Captains, we owe you one!
Packington Moor was the first and only wedding venue we looked at.
We knew immediately that it was the perfect place for us. A rural barn venue with exposed brickwork and oak beams. The cozy bar area was full of nooks and crannies looked out onto a beautiful courtyard. We wanted out guests to feel comfortable, whether they were ripping up the dance floor, having a cosy chat, propping up the bar or sitting it in the courtyard. We knew that if our guests were relaxed and felt free to do as they wished then we would too!
We kept things simple and colourful and the backdrop of Packington Moor set off our colourful mixture of jars filled with flowers and tea lights. We used letterstamps and multi-coloured inks to make individual place cards for our guests, backed on bright card . I wanted to keep things bright and fun. The table numbers were written on luggage tags, tied around wine bottles that had also been filled with flowers.
Filled With Dread
When Mike and I started planning our wedding I felt completely out of my comfort zone. Saying “yes” to becoming Mike’s wife was the easiest decision I have ever made but the thought of becoming a bride and planning a wedding filled we with dread. With Mike by my side, amazing support from family and friends and all the kindness and enthusiasm of the people we met, it ended up being an experience I will never forget.
I laughed, cheered and whooped my way through our wedding day. We followed the wedding traditions that were important to us and our family but did it all our own way and always kept true to who we are.
Remember that the small things only matter if they matter to you. Be comfortable. Ask for help and input from the people you love, they know you best and it is here where the little surprises will lie. Trust in the professionals you choose. Relax. Follow your gut, it will never let you down.
And remember, whatever happens, you are going to be marrying the man you love, surrounded by all of the people you love. Anything on top of that is a bonus!
Venue – Packington Moor
Flowers – Carrie Lucas
Make-up – Charlene
Photography – Chris Barber
Band – The Love Boat Captains
Dress – Benjamin Roberts
Shoes – Dune
Maids – Ted Baker
Groom – New & Lingwood
Groomsmen – Moss Bros
In my introduction I should probably have also mentioned the amazing cake made by the Mother-in-law… The total riot on the dance floor and hinted that these were perhaps some of the funniest photo booth images ever shot. EVER.
But then I guess that’s what this bit is for
Thank you to Laura and Mike for sharing there big day on these polka dotted pages.