I know the fashion of Emily and Pete’s W-day knocked your socks clean off so I’m guessing the reception is going to do exactly the same.
So much effort and time and love has gone into every single pretty detail of this garden affair it literally makes me bow down in admiration. And now the talented bride has her own new little business doing exactly that – making things with love. Go see her gorgeous website at Emily Carlill and see for yourselves….
The flowers. The cakes. The decor. The portraits…….
Looking Like Us
We knew the style of photography we liked so after looking at the photos on Dominique Bader’s website, I contacted her. We had a pre- wedding shoot with Dominique in March which was brilliant! We spend most of the day in various locations around Leeds getting our photo taken. The pre-wedding shoot was so good as it was lovely to meet Dominique and her husband Samuel before the big day, get used to having our photos taken professionally, but also to get an idea of what the photos would come out like – and I was so happy because they were beautiful and gorgeous but still looked like us. After that I had absolutely no worries about the wedding photos (I was actually looking forward to them!) The pre-wedding shoot was featured on RMW!
On the day, Dominique was so good, she started at 9am taking photos in my room, and was non-stop all day until about 8.30pm when we had our first dance. She took over 600 photos and I think they just say it all! Both Dominique and Samuel were professional, polite, friendly, considerate, and made our guest feel at ease when getting their photo taken. You can absolutely tell that Dominique genuinely loves her job and cares about the couple. I had a number of comments actually on the day about how brilliant and nice she was.
As for the photos, they are just perfect, really natural and tell the whole day from start to finish. I think she has captured it how it was completely – the style, the atmosphere, the people, and the feelings. I couldn’t have wished for anything better. Family, friends and colleagues who have seen them have actually said they are the best photos they have ever seen, and I have even told her that words can’t describe how happy I am with them!
I remember also Dominique telling me to try to not be nervous as I walked down the isle as there was no need because everyone who was there was there for us, not judging just really happy for us. I remembered this and it really helped.
Made With Love
When we first got engaged we knew that we wanted a relaxed garden party-style wedding as a glam hotel style venue is just not really us. Also, as a lover of sewing, knew I wanted to make bunting. However, this bunting then turned into bunting, place mats, napkins, cake topper, table clothes and runner, seating plan, place settings, table numbers, seat pad covers, cakes (and cake flags), kids party bags, gift bags, lanterns and pom poms……!
I started just after Christmas, and spent pretty much every evening and weekends (and sometimes mornings before work!) until the wedding cutting, ironing and sewing! For the bunting, we (or more accurately Pete!) did many calculations working out how much fabric and binding we needed to buy based on the size of the marquee. And I used to give a pile of flags to Pete each night to turn the right way round and poke the end out with a pencil while he was watching TV ready for me to iron and sew together.
We decided to also make placemats and napkins for everyone but, as we didn’t have a colour scheme, I just bought a range of fabrics that I liked, deciding on two blue, two pink, and two yellow fabrics that I thought looked nice together for placemats for each table. I also used custom labels sewn into the corner of each placemat to make them a bit more personal. All the napkins were the same fabric but I edged them in ric rac so they looked pretty cute.
I actually made two sets of bunting as the first set was really random, each flag being a totally different fabric; however, once I had made all the placemats, I was worried it looked too crazy and random so decided to make a second set of bunting with the same fabric as the placemats and napkins – I was much happier with this plus it meant we had loads to decorate the garden and the house with!
We even did our own table cloths and runners, getting two whole roles of fabric from Leeds market and working out the lengths for each row of table, cutting them and hemming each piece (which was a nightmare as they were so long!). I painted little wooden people to look like me and Pete for the cake topper and used left over scraps of fabric to make cake bunting, cake flags and table numbers.
We collected and washed loads of glass jars taking some to the florist to use for table flowers, and using the others to make lanterns – which Pete also did on evenings after work. My friend and colleague Rose, who is a graphic designer, made all our invitations which we absolutely loved – again, she got a very vague brief off us which included us saying ‘we like the retro screen print style of design but also maybe something pretty’ and what she came up with were perfect. Rose also did all the wedding stationery including table menus, cake labels and the list of names for me to use on the table plan (which also used left over scraps of fabric!)
For place names, we managed to get photos of everyone (mostly silly photos) which Pete converted into polaroids, printed on photo paper, and spent a few evenings guillotining. These were placed on top of the napkins and tied with twine. About a month before the wedding, I saw another wedding featured on RMW where the bride had made her own seat covers – I thought this looked brilliant and, having only a few weeks to go, emailed her to see if she would hire them to me. Unfortunately, she had to remove all the covers when she returned the seat pads to the hire company. So, even though Pete thought I was mental, found 100 pieces of foam on ebay, which I made covers for using spare bits of fabric I had at home, and any I could get from friends (even bed covers and unworn clothes!).
I did think at one point ‘what am I doing?’ but I’m so glad I did as they, surprisingly, took a lot less time than I thought, looked great and were much more comfortable for our guest’s bums! A few guests also took a matching set home for their own kitchen or garden chairs.
As mentioned above I made gift bags to put little presents in for friends and family who had helped with the wedding. As well as these, I also made similar style party bags for the kids and my sister bought a few little toys, sweets and bubbles to go inside them.
The final thing we made in the week of the wedding were the pom poms. I had found a tutorial for these on the internet and was so surprised to find how easy there were to make but how effective they looked. My sister and I spent an evening preparing them, and my dad (risking his life on the dodgy ladder!) hung them up the day before the wedding using nylon thread so it looked like they were floating – I think everyone loved these!
Other things we bought were candles which came in blue and yellow glass holders – they are same often used in bars so were pretty cheap but nice and colourful, and table trivia to keep our guest entertained throughout dinner. Making all the decorations took a lot of time, effort, and was at some times stressful, not knowing whether I was going to get things finished in time or if it would all look nice, but it was so worth it! I was so happy with how the marquee looked, and felt proud that it was a real homemade wedding with help from our friends and family, and everyone got to keep a piece of our wedding.
I have loads of requests since the wedding to hire our bunting or to make bunting and various other bits, which is brilliant. I love making things and it would be great to help other brides so I have decided to start up a little craft business – if any brides to be would like anything making or have a question about how I went about it, I would be love to help!
Good Enough To Eat
My mum made our cake. Fruit cake, it seems, is not the number one choice for wedding cakes these days, but I love it, especially my mum’s. She bought an 11 inch round tin (which is pretty massive) to make them in, and did a test run at Christmas, making two different types so we could taste test for the best one. As it happens, she ended up making two anyway, one for spare!
It was just a simple one layer round cake. I painted the little cake topper people and made cake bunting out of left over fabric scraps. We then asked the Leafy Couture girls to make a garland to go around the cake. I think it looked good enough to eat (literally).
Games And Treats
One thing we were certain about when starting to plan the wedding at the very beginning was making sure everyone had a really brilliant time. So, adding to the garden-party style wedding it was turning into with the marquee and bunting, we decided to get some garden games, and Pete’s dad also set up some inflatable games for the kids…which seemed to be loved by all!
Our catering ladies, Rubydoo who did a brilliant BBQ (those homemade sausages will be a talking point for years to come!) also recommended Indie Ices a local man, Mike Tattersal, who makes and sells ice cream from his trike, usually seen at farmers markets around Leeds. Not only is he a lovely man, he make the most amazing, award- winning, ice cream I (and I think our guests would agree) have ever tasted. He had even gone to special effort of making little E&P labels for the ice cream tubs.
We also hired a cask of ale from a local brewery; everyone loved the novelty of pulling their own pints! With Pete and his friends all being quite musical, we had one of the best men, Dave and his other friend Sam playing together in the early evening. They play country/folk/bluegrass style and are brilliant, and were totally fitting for our wedding. I think everyone really enjoyed it too – from the little ones to the grandparents. They even recorded a couple of songs especially for Dominique to add to our wedding photo slide show.
After Dave and Sam, we had TC & The Swingcats play. Being friends of ours, we have seen them a number of times, and are, not only lovely people but are the most fun and brilliant musicians who play western swing. As soon as we were engaged I was absolutely certain I wanted to ask them to play at our wedding, and they went down a storm.
When thinking about songs that we both liked it came about that we actually only liked songs which had sad lyrics, or in Pete’s case country songs which are more often than not about heartbreak – not appropriate for a wedding first dance! Earlier this year, we went to a 1950s’ night where TC & The Swingcats were playing. We had already asked these guys to play at our wedding but they had recently recruited a new band member, Em Brulee , to sing with them. Wowee does she have a voice! And such a brilliant personality. As soon as she started singing the beautiful words of Etta James’ ‘At Last’ we knew we had our first dance, and Em sang it on the day too!
As part of the decorations, I made place settings and napkins, these kind of doubled as favours as we told everyone to take them away if they wanted. Although there were six different fabric patterns, I made sure I use the same fabric for the reverse so families could have a matching set to use at home if they wanted.
For friends and families who had helped in the creation of our wedding i.e. reading at the ceremony, giving a speech, or making cakes, I made little fabric gift bags with a special gift inside so for all the girls who made cakes, I gave them some painted measuring spoons from Anthropologie, or for my best friends who organised the hen do, read at the ceremony and gave speeches I got them necklaces which had a nice message that came with them all about friends.
Making It Ours
I loved our wedding as, even though it wasn’t really traditional, or grand, or conform to how people usually expect a wedding to be, it was brilliant and gorgeous in every way. I remember just after we got engaged trying to describe to my mum and dad the type of wedding we were wanting, and could tell they were not too impressed – just because they only weddings they were used to had all been quite traditional or similar so they couldn’t imagine what we were describing or thought we should have something more than a ‘garden party’ or ‘BBQ’ as we had mentioned. I remember my mum even sending me links to manor houses, or dad saying he thought we should hire matching suits. It wasn’t until I sent them links to other real weddings of similar styles till they began to get it and come around to the idea. In the end, mum and dad loved the day as much as I did and are still going on about how good it was now! So, I would recommend not let anyone influence you on how you want your day to be, or feel like you have to conform to a certain ‘type’ of wedding or what others will expect, it needs to be right for the couple.
I love crafting anyway, but even if you don’t and want to have more of a home-made style wedding there is loads of brilliant people and companies who can help with this, bunting hire or vintage china hire etc. Also, ask around – you may have friends who have hidden talents who would like to help, or who may know people who are in a great band etc.
I recommend doing research – there are lots of different options out there – wedding blogs are the best tool! Looking at other people’s weddings can help you see the colours you might like or the style of wedding, or direct you to various other websites to buy accessories, decorations etc. I also found looking at real weddings featured on blogs really helped me to discover the type of photography I liked. We were so lucky to have found Dominique as she has really helped to capture exactly the look and feel of our wedding, and through the photos we can remember it always.
Advice for brides to be would also be – don’t do it all alone! I am really indecisive so always needed second opinions. For me too, Pete was brilliant, not only did he reassure me constantly, I couldn’t have got all the decorations done without him, he also sorted out the bookings of the main stuff too like the ceremony, marquee, bus hire, and drinks. There is a lot to do and think about, and there will always be friends and family who want to help. Doing it all yourselves, instead of with help from a venue or company, is hard work, and you have to think of silly details like table cloths or what size and number of glasses to order, or work out how much you think people with drink! But I would recommend it – this way, it can really be personal to you. Our wedding was so special to me as it was all planned, hosted and handmade by us and helped by people who we know and love. It was everything we wanted it to be: relaxed, fun, informal, and was all about sharing our day with family and friends.
I also think it really reflected us as who are. It was just perfect.
Blooms – Leafy Couture
Catering – Rubydoo
Stationery – Rose Mountague
Live Band –TC & The Swingcats
Photographer – Dominique Bader
Crafts And Decor – Emily Carlill
My sentiments exactly. Just perfect.
I have loved putting this wedding together… and Emily and Pete? I mean seriously, words can’t describe just how ridiculously stylish and talented you guys are.
May you have many years of happiness and love in the future.
Big Made With Love