Emma and Iain’s big day is the epitome of romantic elegance.
The exquisite colour scheme of pinks, nudes, creams and blush pervades everything in their wedding; it’s present in Emma’s luscious bouquet (that frankly looks good enough to eat), in their music inspired stationery (LOVE the ‘love notes’!) and their beautiful dessert table too…even right down to the dashing outfits sported by the wedding party.
It’s clear from all the gorgeous details that Emma talks about below that the pair of them invested a huge amount of love and thought into their day so it’s an honour to hear that Rock My Wedding was such a major source of inspiration during their planning journey.
Honestly hearing such wonderful feedback makes our blinking week!
I won’t delay you any further; go on check out Emma and Iain’s splendid day for yourselves.
The Crazy Bear
Emma The Bride: We married at the Crazy Bear Stadhampton in Oxfordshire. From the outside it appears to be a cute English country pub, but inside reveals an, eccentric, wholly unique wedding venue.
Here’s the thing, I didn’t choose the venue…the groom did. Yep, that’s right, one of the biggest decisions of the entire day was made by the Boy, but boy, did the Boy do good! While we live in Switzerland, the majority of our friends and family live in the UK and we always knew we would get married on British soil.
I had always imagined getting married somewhere in a traditional stately home with manicured lawns, but when the time came, this ideal just didn’t seem to “fit” us as a couple. Instead we set out to find something a little bit cool with a casual atmosphere that offers great food. I was feeling bewildered after hours of web research, shortly after our engagement. That is when Iain casually picked up his iPad and showed me the Crazy Bear. It is near to his mum’s house in Oxford (“Wedding Planning Basecamp”), has great food and is super quirky. Damn it, he is good.
Make My Eyes Pop
My make up was all due to the wonderful Jodie Hazlewood. In the end I left all the decisions to Jodie. She had a sense of what to do after getting to know me and using the style of my wedding dress as her inspiration. My only direction was; “make my eyes ‘pop’”. What this woman can do with a set of individual false lashes is something to behold!
As for hair, Jodie recommended the lovely Jeni, a stylist she regularly partners with at events. My bridesmaids were free to have their own style and we ended up with a variety of looks. Jeni did such a great job of interpreting what they wanted and each one looked so incredibly pretty! It was a foregone conclusion that I would wear my hair up as it is rarely down. With Jeni’s help, we found a style that was quite simple and elegant – this was the perfect balance as my dress and accessories were incredibly detailed.
Dress shopping didn’t exactly come easily to me. I’m not a dress kind of girl. Weddings are the only time I willingly wear one. That left me with no idea what I wanted, what suited me or where to start. Each shopping trip left me frustrated. I remember standing there in someone else’s idea of “the perfect dress”, squeezed into a corset because “it would make my waist look tiny” and thinking, “How will I sit down? Will I be able to eat? How will I dance in this thing? Most importantly how will I pee?!” These dresses were all a sign that I needed to be me. I needed to pick a dress that made me feel comfortable.
My girlfriends and I went to Copenhagen for a weekend and having seen how frustrating I was finding the whole wedding dress experience, they booked me an appointment at Vintage Bride to prove to me that it could be an enjoyable and fun experience. We found ourselves in the most incredible bridal boutique with Maria, its attentive and sweet owner: I was sold and I hadn’t even tried anything on.
I found love again when I put on the Jenny Packham ‘Esme’. My friends’ reactions confirmed this was the dress for me. Everyone always says to try something you would never imagine yourself in and this dress was the complete opposite of the plain and simple dress I had expected to choose. This dress is ALL about detail. The beading, though heavy, added a sense of elegance and the shape avoided the “princess” silhouette I had feared. Slipping it on felt elegant and yet, strangely comfortable – a combination I hadn’t expected. I also thought it suited our venue, sealing the deal, I bought it there and then without a second thought (sorry, Iain)!
Only I would buy an English dress in Denmark, to then have to take it to Switzerland for alterations before finally taking it to England to walk down the aisle in!
Two Pairs Of Choos
Once I had the dress on, Maria brought out a headdress and the most incredible wrist candy to match, the Jenny Packham Acacia II in Crystal. And the rest, as they say, is history!
I was a bit spoilt as far as shoes went, as I actually had two pairs of Jimmy Choos! I don’t wear them often as I am 5ft 11” but I knew I wanted some heels for the day, if you can’t stand tall and proud on your wedding day when can you?! Iain took me shopping and treated me to a gorgeous pair of metallic Jimmy Choo heels that he gave to me on the day of the wedding. What he didn’t know is that I had been a little sneaky and bought myself a rather equally fabulous pair of dancing shoes… Jimmy Choo hightops!
I kept the rest of my jewellery very simple; with a pair of pearl stud earrings Iain had bought me as a Christmas present one year and my late Grandmothers ring. It was really important to me that I had something of hers with me on the day, and her beautiful ring became my ‘something old and borrowed’.
I completely forgot about my ‘something blue’ that was rescued by my ever-resourceful mum running out to buy me some thin blue ribbon that we tied in a small bow to the heel strap on my shoes. Phew!
I did get one other rather cheeky little accessory about a week before the wedding; a small wrist tattoo. Tattoos are for life after all, as I hope our marriage will be. We both got one which was such a cool thing to do together (Iain’s was not a cute heart just to be clear; it was much more manly of course)!
I had three gorgeous bridesmaids: my best friend Jools who was my maid of honour (the self named “Honourable Chief”), my cousin Laura and my soon to be sister-in-law Fiona. They all wore Twobirds maxi dresses in Rosewater. All the girls have such different looks so these dresses really gave them the flexibility to choose the style they most felt comfortable in.
For accessories I let them pick their own but I did surprise them all with a personalised perspex clutch bag to use on the day. These were by MNO.logie and came all the way from Bali – they are so cool because you can just switch the inserts inside to match your outfit! Each was personalised with their name and the date of our wedding – I even treated myself to one with a white insert and “Mrs Downie” engraved on the clasp!
A Flash Of Pink
The groomsmen (don’t they make a handsome bunch?!) wore a grey three piece suit, white shirt and black tie all from Marks and Spencers to tie in with the grey and pink theme. We also bought them all bright pink socks from Ralph Lauren to add a flash of colour.
As for the delicious groom, I can’t go without mentioning his wedding day attire. I’d like to claim his outfit was down to me, but it was 100% him! He picked a gorgeous Hugo Boss suit and tie, a white shirt from Reiss and a rather fabulous pair of suede brogues from Church’s. For accessories he wore his late Grandfather’s braces and a tiepin from Lanvin (unfortunately he forgot his tiepin for the best part of the day, only remembering to put it on during dinner!). Ladies I know I am biased but the boy looked FIT!
I was the bride who didn’t think she was bothered about the details and I swore I wouldn’t have pink… a few months later my inner girl had been released (who knew?!) and my blush pink, ivory and pale grey wedding with all those little details was coming together. It all started when “The Honourable Chief” introduced me to Rock My Wedding, I was instantly hooked by the pages of prettiness, the effort some of these brides were going to was phenomenal and I wanted in on the action! I then started a board on Pinterest and just added pictures of things I liked and from there I was able to pick out what colour schemes most appealed to me.
The Crazy Bear’s décor is predominantly black and gold, so I decided on more subtle light pastels to keep things classy and simple. The venue is already quite uniquely decorated, so I let it speak for itself and just tried to add hints of grey, pink, black or gold here and there to tie everything together.
There was a very loose music theme to our day as Iain and I actually got together at Glastonbury. Our table names were songs from artists we had seen together, and our orders of services were made to look like festival programs.
One of my favourite pieces of décor was the fab “Love” sign from Vowed and Amazed. This was another sneaky purchase from me to surprise Iain with, it looked awesome lit up on the dancefloor in the evening!
When it came to wedding flowers we knew exactly who we wanted to ask. Helen is the mum of one of Iain’s close school friends and runs a small floristry business ‘Passion for Flowers” with her business partner Liz. She’s also one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. Helen has known Iain since he was 13 and we knew she’d be thrilled to be involved. So one night over a bottle of wine, I popped my Pinterest board in front of her and we picked the flowers. I believe the word “sumptuous” was used to describe what I wanted… wine will do that to you.
My flowers were a mix of ‘Upper Secret’,'Sweet Avalanche’,'Avalanche’ and ‘Akito’ roses, ‘White Lady’ spray roses, Eustoma, Gypsophila, Astrantia, Astilbe, Amaranthus, Hydrangea, Eucalyptus and lots of foliages.
Helen constantly reviewed my Pinterest board and from there put together her interpretation of what I wanted; they were so incredibly beautiful! In the ceremony room there was the most amazing arrangement on top of the fireplace with all this tumbling foliage and four alphabet mugs from Anthropologie that spelt the word L.O.V.E with small arrangements in them on the registrars table. These were all later transferred into the reception room where we had the stunning candelabra and hurricane vase arrangements, Helen also made me two adorable heart shaped wreaths that hung on the back of mine and Iain’s chairs.
Yes I’ll Marry You
Before our wedding, I was most anxious about reading my vows. I’m not an openly emotional person so I was terrified to say something so personal in front of all my friends and family! I shouldn’t have worried. There is something so special about standing in front of the person you love and making those promises; in that moment you truly are the only two people in the room. Iain and I both wrote our own vows and didn’t share them with each other until that day, and as I stumbled over every single word choked by tears, I can categorically say I have never ever been happier.
We had two readings during our ceremony; the first was “Yes I’ll Marry You” by Pam Ayres. I chose this reading because it’s a poem that my late grandmother and I used to read together when I was young; it’s always been one of my favourites and was another small tribute to her on the day. The second reading was “He’s not Perfect” by Bob Marley; I love the honesty of it, reminding us not to live up to an idealism of love but just to appreciate it in it simplest and truest form.
A Shared Love
Music is one of our shared loves and I guess how Iain and I finally came together as a couple. We are known amongst our friends for being the couple that will always give it everything on the dancefloor – we knew we had to throw a pretty epic party to remain true to form!
Cue the Wedding Smashers. From start to finish our dancefloor was completely packed, with us witnessing some of the most “enthusiastic” dancing we have ever seen from our friends and family. The music was so good that I quickly went from elegant bride to bouncing, twirling, gyrating mistress of the dancefloor. Even my 84-year-old Grandparents were there until the last song! More impressive was that they took our rather eclectic list of requests and somehow made them sound like they always belonged to be played side by side. I honestly can’t recommend them enough – every wedding should be smashed!
Our first dance was to “Ho Hey” by The Lumineers. I have to say it ended up being our favourite part of the day, surrounded by all our friends and family singing along at the top of their voices before mobbing us on the dancefloor – it was a brilliant feeling!!
Roast Beef And Yorkshire Pudding
Food was always quite high on our priorities for the day and the Crazy Bear is pretty well known for its grub! For starter we had oak smoked Scottish salmon served with brioche, crushed quails’ eggs, and a caviar & dill dressing. For main it was roasted rib of Aberdeen Angus beef and Yorkshire pudding. Now, you may think this choice is a little unoriginal, but when you are a Yorkshire lass living in Switzerland, roast beef and Yorkshire pudding is not something you come by often! There was no question in my mind about what I wanted to eat on my wedding day! For dessert we finished up with white peach jelly layered with champagne poached peaches, vanilla cream, pink champagne sorbet and raspberries.
My gorgeous naked wedding cake and dessert table was created by Lauren, the owner of French Made. Neither of us are a fan of icing, or of the traditional fruit cake, so Lauren created us this beautiful three-tiered raspberry sponge – it was delicious! I’d mentioned Iain’s favourite dessert was cheesecake and on the day there was the cutest mini cheesecake slices for him! We also had my favourite – macarons, provided by the lovely Anges De Sucre.
But this is not where we stopped with the food. We also had a cheese tower from Neals Yard in London. I’d like to say it’s because I was thinking of the gluten-free members of our wedding party, but that would be lying – I just LOVE cheese. I left my Mum and Aunt in charge of creating the cheese table and I have to say they did such an amazing job!
Oh, and don’t forget the sweetie table…. I mean no wedding is complete without sweeties right?!
For favours we wanted to bring a touch of Switzerland to the wedding and so down at “Wedding Planning Basecamp” my mum, mother in law and I spent hours patiently filling little glass bottles with Swiss Schnapps. I stamped each “thank you” heart label and tag by hand with our monogram, a task that was painstaking but I was so thrilled with the results! Lets just say this little gift certainly helped to loosen up a few of our guests and get conversation flowing!
Laugh All The Time
Our paper goods were created by Berin Made, I’m a bit of a sucker for some beautifully crafted lettering and so fell in love with Erin’s designs the second I came across her website – they are just so pretty!
As well as creating the tableplan, menus, table name labels and placecards, she also made me the cutest “Love is Sweet” sign for the dessert table and my “Love Notes” where guests could leave their “Words of wisdom for a triumphant marriage”. We read through these on our way to our honeymoon the next day, some of them are pure gold! My favourite was from my Uncle who simply wrote: “Laugh all the time. Except when Iain takes his underpants off” – brilliant!
Erin also made me a stamp of the monogram of our two names, which I used to tie in other elements of the wedding.
I made each of the female guests a little Wedding Survival kit, which I left on their seats. This contained painkillers (for the morning after), chewing gum (for sweet breath), stain remover (because anything could fall in their lap), plasters (to patch up their dancing feet) and tissues (in case they got something in their eye).
As a nod to where Iain and I got together I made our Order of Service to look like festival programs. I was so pleased with how these turned out and it was so great to see guests of all ages walking around with them hanging around their necks.
Plan And Delegate
My advice is to do as much as you can in advance – and if you can’t, delegate. Due to circumstances of living abroad, I had a lot to do in a very limited time. This meant the morning was incredibly hectic and it wasn’t until about 30 minutes before I was due to walk down the aisle that it finally hit me that it was my wedding day! So take some time to step back and really enjoy, it’s your big day after all, and honestly all those details really don’t matter in the end.
Pinterest is really great for pulling ideas together for your day, I found it so useful when planning I could refer suppliers I wasn’t able to meet personally to my boards and from there they could understand the look I was trying to achieve.
RMW was a major, no scrap that, THE major influence in my wedding planning, it led me to my amazing suppliers (#dreamteam), on a mad hunt to find pale grey candles “just like Lolly’s” (yes that really happened) and was a constant source of ideas and inspiration. Even though my wedding day has been and gone I’m still addicted and check in on the blog everyday!
Making New Friends
By far our best decision regarding the wedding was booking our photographer Ann-Kathrin Koch. I stumbled across a wedding she’d shot on RMW’s pages and instantly fell in love, she just gives such a dreamy, romantic quality to all her photos. The first time we met Ann was for our engagement shoot, up a mountain, in Austria. What we had envisaged was clear blue skies, breathtaking views and crisp white snow. What we got was the most horrendous weather conditions for a photoshoot – a complete white out! Ann was great for even agreeing to meet us up a mountain in the first place, then she braved the freezing conditions with a massive grin on her face and coaxed an extremely camera shy couple out of their shells to produce some of my now, most prized photographs. In short, she is awesome.
On our wedding day Ann, and her number two for the day Marco, were so great to have around. They are both so fun and easy going that we felt more like we were hanging out with two friends for the day. Marco gets special thanks for saving me multiple times from a rather aggressive and persistent wasp during our portrait shots! I am so thrilled with our wedding photos and still look at them every day.
Jodie Hazlewood was an absolute gem and so great to have around in the morning. Besides the make-up, she helped my girls to figure out their timings for walking down the aisle and gave me a couple of well-needed pep talks to calm my nerves! Thanks Jodie!
Another great decision was choosing to hire a photobooth for the evening. Supplied by the awesomely named Blue Steel Booths, the pictures that were taken throughout the evening are nothing short of hilarious and gave our guests a great memento to take home with them. Blue Steel were brilliant and even got our guests to stick copies of their photos along with a message into an album, which they presented to us as a guestbook at the end of the evening!
Venue – The Crazy Bear, Stadhampton
Gown – Jenny Packham ‘Esme’
Headpiece – Jenny Packham ‘Acacia II’
Make-up – Jodie Hazlewood
Maids – Twobirds Bridesmaid
Cake – French Made
Florist – Passion 4 Flowers
Groom’s Suit – Hugo Boss
Photobooth – Blue Steel Booths
Stationery – Berin Made
DJ – Wedding Smashers
Light Up Letters – Vowed And Amazed
Photography – Ann-Kathrin Koch
Absolutely beautiful right folks?! See I knew you’d agree.
And who else wants one of the customised clutches that Emma bought for her maids? You’ll have to fight me for them…
Congratulations you two…here’s to an amazing adventure ahead of you.
All my love Lolly xxx