Katie And David had one of the most atmospheric weddings I’ve seen in a long time. In fact it’s so awe-inspiring that I had goosebumps as I was putting this delicious wedding together and you’ll completely see why in just a moment…
For a start, their rustic homespun wedding was hosted at The Cairn of Old Kilgobbin in South Africa. If that doesn’t sound like something straight out of The Hobbit then I don’t know what does and it looks every bit as amazing as it sounds. Think New England colonial houses crossed with an American style ranch.
And then there’s the appearance of the little Jack Russell half way through their church service, the wild ponies roaming freely in their portrait shots and the mist. Yes folks, MIST and by heck it’s sexy.
But you don’t want to sit here listening to me witter on…go and have a look for yourselves…
Today we’re off to Valentines Mansion to revel in the intimate affair that is Suzannah and Dan’s wedding and by golly have you got a treat in store.
Suzannah wore not one but two beautiful vintage dresses for her big day – one of which was Chanel and both of which were inspired by her effortlessly stylish mum who turned up to her own wedding day in a lace mini dress and fur coat. I know; it totally rocked my world too.
But Suzannah was nearly upstaged on her own day by her adorable daughter Pearl who looks the sweetest little thing in her pink tutu. I’ll leave it to Suzannah to tell you the tale of what Pearl did when she saw her mum walking up the aisle.
And lastly the florals – so luscious, so bright, so absolutely perfect for a wedding in a venue called Valentines Mansion.
Most of the décor from today’s rustic farm wedding came from car boot sales. Laura and Patch seem to have a bit of an obsession with them as you’ll see…
The inspiration for their colour scheme actually came from a piece of painted, rusting metal and their brilliant DIY photo booth was made by Laura and her Dad from rescued bits and bobs. Their efforts look perfect in the gorgeous barn at Herons Farm.
Laura’s Dad has been slowly restoring a vintage Austin A40 since she was little and so Laura chose one as her wedding car especially for him. Isn’t that lovely?
A Touch Of English Elegance
Laura The Bride: Hello 🙂 our Venue was Herons Farm in Pangbourne. We fell in love with this location as it had everything that we were looking for. A touch of English elegance with its beautiful courtyard and gardens to the Rustic look and feel of the Barn.
Enjoy The Girly Time
I am a bit rubbish at being a girl so luckily my cousin and mum came to my rescue. My mum booked me a pedicure and manicure by a lovely lady round the corner a few nights before the big day. I must say I thoroughly enjoyed this as it was good to take some time out for myself, especially as I got to spend that time with someone I love. Thanks to Teresa Clark Beauty. I may even be ever so slightly more aware of how to make the best of myself for it.
My cousin Sam used to do bridal makeup and hair professionally so I obviously took full advantage of this 😉 I was so happy with what she did, Especially as my direction was pretty poor, with statements such as tight but loose and up but down! Luckily pinterest was one of my closest pals throughout my planning so I could try to explain with pictures of what I meant.
Patrick’s cousin did a brilliant job with my bridesmaids hair I only wish I could do my own hair like this on a daily basis.
Love At First Sight
Normally I am a bit of a nightmare to go shopping with, so I’m pretty sure my Mum was probably deep down prepping herself! However much to everyone’s amazement the dress was the first one I saw in the first shop we looked at.
Yes there were many beautiful gowns which I would have loved but I fell dangerously close to marrying the dress. I was so comfortable in this dress and loved every second of being in it, extra plus it had pockets!
I was convinced that I wanted the flapper vintage style dancing shoes and I did come dangerously close to getting some Rachel Simpson shoes, but they were still not quite what I had in mind. I bought vintage shoes from ASOS Boutique which were also cute but not quite right. Then I saw them like a beacon of shinning light through my depths of despair – a pair called Trip to the Light from Seychelles Footwear.
The only problem was that they were from America and did not ship to the UK. I hunted on Ebay but could still not find them. Luckily I finally just used my brain and just asked if they would ship to the UK and low and behold my dream came true. They are the best shoes I have ever owned!
Shades Of Green
I had quite a few bridesmaids. Originally I wanted all of the bridesmaids in completely different dresses but all the similar colour. Seafoam, aqua, tiffany green and mint were all names that frequently were in my search bar.
The infinity dress from Craftingsg on Etsy allowed me to create different dresses for the older bridesmaids but which still suited each of them and that they could then wear how they wanted.
Patrick proposed on my birthday and we were at the time looking for our first home together. We were obsessed with carboots at this time as the things some people just don’t want any more and with a bit of paint and love can be transformed into something magnificently yours and of course everyone loves a good bargain!
I’ve always loved things that others don’t see the beauty in any more…anyway staying on track…he took me to Portabello road where I spent most of my money on a piece of metal that had been painted and then had rusted over the top – it had the most beutiful colours, we used this as our basis for the colour scheme.
Again carboots all the way – tea pots and old wooden telephone boxes and jugs for vases. Some people even gave them away at the car boots as they thought that I was doing them a favour! We used old books to place table numbers on and photographs from our parents wedding, and added a spot of vintage with suitcases and lace and pearls dotted around the venue.
My friend Amy from Foxglove Designs is the most creative person I know. Amy did an amazing job on my flowers. Seeing that the only flower names I know are daisy and rose she managed to translate what I wanted into my beautiful bouquets and table arrangements.
I love wild flowers I think they are so beautiful.
A Personal Ceremony
Our Church was St James the Less. Such lovely people at the church and made us feel so welcome when we started to attend. My niece did us a lovely reading. We were so proud of her public speaking ability and it just made the reading that extra bit special. It was from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin.
Patrick’s family priest then did a very personal a funny little reading and the address.
If I’m honest what made the service so special was that I had my soul mate waiting for me at the end of the aisle and I couldn’t wait to get by his side.
Old Blue Eyes
Another great moment we will remember forever was when the car took us to the venue and as we pulled into the courtyard our Frank Sinatra singer was performing, it was like the icing on the cake that all of our hard work had paid off and everyone was there to chill and enjoy it with us whilst sipping on some good old pimms. He was a lovely chap.
We had Patrick’s dads friend do the DJ where we sure did bust out some moves. Our first dance was to The Lumineers.
Chocolate Cake For A Chocolate Fiend
My Mum made tasty chutney and marmalade as favors in dinky little farmhouse jars. I was most impressed with the skills she pulled out!
Our cake was from Marks and Spencer as Patch is a bit of a chocolate fiend and our catering was provided by the venue by RS Catering. Everyone loved the food thumbs up from us.
We did want to do a free bar so with the help of Patrick’s cousin who owns a few bars we managed to cater to everyone’s tipples.
Suffering For The Art
My first wedding purchase was from Nooli Bird stamps. This stamp was used on my wedding invitations where I then typed out the address details for church, venue and places to stay on a typewriter. It was a vintage one from the car boot so my fingers were a bit destroyed after finishing.
Table plan inspiration was from pinterest where we wrote on a mirror that we got from the good old car boot. My friend wrote on the cards as she has much prettier writing than me.
The photo booth and sign post was made by me with a bit of hands on help by my Dad.
We’d Relive It Ten Fold
We did find some aspect of planning our day stressful but would go through the stressful times ten fold to relive this day as it was worth it to see our friends and family enjoy it it with us.
It was a day filled with warm emotion because we stuck to what we wanted and ultimately got to marry each other. Stick to your guns with whatever you want to do and ask for help if you need it, as people normally just want to be involved. If things don’t go the way you hoped – roll with it as at the end of the day what matters is you and your partner!
One Piece At A Time
What can I say about Sassy our photographer?! I slightly worried that I was going to get a girl crush on her. She was the best photographer ever, so understanding and always knew what was best, we would trust her implicitly with what she thought and went with what she thought was the best move to get the right shot. As you can see it paid off to do so! She is such a lovely person too and she was such a big part of the day.
I was majorly impressed with how my friends and family pulled together and helped create our magical day which we will remember forever. My friend Vicky even produced the most beautiful video which blew us away I have watched this an unhealthy amount of times.
The car was picked not only because it went quite nicely with our theme and colours but also as my Dad is a sheet metal worker and has had this car as a shell in the garage since I was a little girl, he does a little bit by little bit into restoring it but is a slow process. It was lovely to get a ride in the same model with him.
Lorna and Paul hold Miami South Beach in Florida very close to their hearts. For one, they love the architecture of the place, the Art Deco vibe and Old Hollywood influences but it’s also where they first holidayed together as a couple.
It’s also where they chose to get married too – at the beautiful Spanish Monastery with the most wonderful gardens. Apparently it was love at first sight.
And that’s not all…they partied on down at The Tides, South Beach – an iconic 1930’s building that screams Hollywood glamour. Beginning with a Cocktail hour complete with signature pink concoctions and a gorgeous meal they then danced the night away on the rooftop of The Tides until the early hours.
Lorna The Bride: I always knew I wanted a shorter styled, vintage dress. After visiting a couple of bridal shops I realised they weren’t quite what I’d had in mind. I thought about having a dress made for me but didn’t know where to start. Then I went to a vintage wedding fayre with a friend and stumbled upon two lovely designers from Timeless Couture. I actually began to feel excited while talking to them about my ideas. Like it was meant to be.
I loved the idea of having a dress that was the 1950’s full skirt that I loved, but with something extra. The idea of being able to have a train which I could then put up later on really appealed to me. We went a tad mad with the details!
I also decided on a lace jacket, which again, would be taken off later on in the day – it all had the feel of old Hollywood Glamour. I took some inspiration for the jacket from Marilyn Monroe’s Wedding dress top. The cut out at the front, down to a really flattering sweet heart neck. I LOVED my wedding dress. We even managed to add in a huge over the top sized bow – which again I fell in love with, for another look later on in the evening.
The plan was, train down, lace jacket on and no jewellery for the service – very demure and glam. Then afterwards once back in the hotel, the jacket would come off making it a strapless gown. The train would also be pinned up so it was bustled at the back and accessorised with the oversized bow and my gorgeous 3 strand pearl necklace, which I’d had my heart set on since Paul asked me to get married.
After the design process with the dress, a veil was just too much, and I knew the kind of vintage hair up I wanted, so went for a vintage style hair comb from Glitzy Secrets.
I really wanted a three strand pearl necklace, the style with an off centred old brooch on the side. I looked and looked, but struggled to find one that was just right. Then Rachael and Astra from Timeless Couture offered to make one for me, it was perfect. Once I took the jacket off, with the strapless dress and hair up look, the statement necklace worked brilliantly. As a wedding gift, Paul brought me some beautiful small pearl earrings, which again, just set everything off.
I opted for Rachel Simpson shoes in the ‘Carmen’ style; it was like they had been designed just for ME! Art Deco inspired and shaped at the front, T-bar, peep toe, and to make it all the more perfect, dusky pink colour side panels on the front design!
I knew I wanted to go for a statement up-do, with lots of height, but something a bit different to a classic chignon. The hairdressing salon in Miami I used was Van Michael; this was for me, and the four bridesmaids. The make-up artist who understood completely the style I was striving for was Lee Murray.
The Flower Bazaar
I wanted the flowers to really reflect the theme. All along, I wanted Hydrangeas, massive open tea Roses in colours of dusky pink and antique buff pinks. I did some research and found The Flower Bazaar; Leo helped make the whole process wonderfully creative. It was great to have such freedom to choose, and we went to meet him the day before the wedding and actually picked the blooms ourselves.
I wanted all the women to have wrist corsages, again evoking an vintage glamorous theme. The men wore buttonholes of roses and the bridesmaids had Rose pomanders for that 50’s kind of feel which were beautiful.
A Slim-Suited Groom
Paul looked SO handsome standing waiting for me at the Monastery. He knew he wanted to go for a slim Italian 1960’s style suit and after having looked around, fell for a Ben Sherman vintage cut slim fit suit in grey. He wore the same tie as all the other men and his dad’s pocket watch.
I also brought him silver mother of pearl cufflinks for the wedding present. He brought shoes from Dune, which had a grey panelling in the front in a Brogue kind of style.
The Perfect Fit
Photographs are SO important to Paul and I; we are ALWAYS snapping away. We knew we wouldn’t be able to have our camera going and taking our own snaps on our wedding day, so we wanted someone who could take the kinds of pictures we’d want to see (if that makes sense).
Sassy of Assassynation – what can I say- if ever there were a photographer that was just the ‘perfect fit’ this would have been it. Her images were brilliant, and she just ‘got it’. We met Sassy a few months before the wedding for a mini photoshoot with Tegan our 2 year daughter and we all clicked. Then when it came to the actual day in Miami, she made us feel so confident, and the whole process was fun. (Even walking onto the beach, in my beautiful, clean dress, which I really wasn’t sure I wanted to do – now I’m so pleased we did!)
The Cheesecake Factory
Paul is a huge chocolate fan… and cake fan! Over in America they have The Cheesecake Factory! Literally Paul’s favourite place, ever! We knew we’d be having a traditional wedding cake here at the UK party. So for the Miami wedding we opted for two cheesecakes from The Cheesecake Factory. We placed the cakes on a two tiered wedding stand we got from Ebay which we took out there with us. It was huge, and packing it was a mission, but I’m glad we did. The cheesecakes went down really well too!
Get On Your Dancing Shoes
We knew we were having a band at the UK wedding party, but we LOVE to dance; it’s not a party until you have your dancing shoes on. For the Miami rooftop terrace, Paul and I collated all of our favourite songs on his iPod which we played to our guest. It worked brilliantly, and we were still up with a few of our friends dancing until 4am – which is always a good sign of a party!
We booked a Harpist to play at the Monastery, for when the guests arrived, and for the service. We sourced the brillant harpist – Nam Wam from The Master Musicians. We chose ‘Here comes the Sun’ for the walk down the aisle, and this brought tears to my eyes. Our two year old daughter walked me down the aisle and it really felt like Paul was at the bottom of the aisle waiting for his two girls to come to meet him to complete our family and become ‘The Websters’.
American Inspired Favours
We got all of the men the slim ties as favours, but these were to wear on the day. So we also brought them fat cigars, to have on the roof top terrace with after dinner cocktails. The ladies received a really cute mirror from Not On The High Street and a champagne flavoured lip balm tin. The kids all got New Era American Baseball caps – which seemed appropriate given the destination USA wedding. On top of this we also bought Marvel comics for the boys and Disney Princess Wedding colouring books for the girls.
The Final Touch
We had Mason jars with pink Hydrangeas in for the pew ends in the Monastery and the same style for the table top in the restaurant. We also took china tea cups with candles in with us from the UK, and placed them along the table. There were also large glass hurricane lanterns with candles all around the restaurant and up on the roof top terrace. I also hired pink up lighters to be dotted around the roof top, as it was dark when we went up there, I need some atmospheric lighting. The soft hues of the pink worked really well.
Our wedding theme was ‘Old glamour / Old vintage in all shades of pink, blush, dusky rose, deepest dark pink, raspberry. We didn’t have a set decade really as we took inspiration from a few decades including the 30’s, 40’s & 50’s. I really wanted the theme of the wedding to be carried through into the guests, and due to it being such a small group of really close friends and family; it seemed like a great idea to include everyone in the wedding party. I asked, in a nice way, for all the women to wear shades of blush, dusky pink, wine, raspberry, etc – any style they wanted and in any way, but these kinds of tonal colours.
It was such an intimate wedding, with only twenty-seven guests. I really wanted the bridesmaids to wear the same colour as me leaving the wedding guests to create the ‘colour’ for the day. I wanted the bridesmaids to wear mini versions of my dress really, minus the train, but they didn’t exist. Finally I visited a bridal shop called Wedding House Walsall, looking for the younger girls dresses. Once I’d explained what I was looking for, the assistant disappeared out the back and brought me an original 1950’s dress pattern. She said she had had it for ages, and was planning on making it at some point, but that she had nothing for me to see, just the pattern, which she’d make for my two eleven year old bridesmaids if I wanted her too. We went for it, altering the neck line slightly to be more ‘Audrey Hepburn slash neck’ and adding in some piping under the bust. They worked amazingly well.
We involved all the children in wedding roles, as pageboys, ushers and ring bearers and brought them all grey fitted suit trousers and waistcoats. It was important for there to be a real family feel to the ceremony, so children being able to move and partake was important.
Isn’t the light in Miami delicious. I just love the idea of dancing the night away on the top of a rooftop looking over a dazzling city.
I think what I love most though is the way that Lorna really involved her nearest and dearest in her big day. From designating each kid their very own special role in the running of the day to creating her colour theme through her guest’s outfits, this is a bride that wants to include everybody.
Rock My Wedding readers Helen and James have had a wedding they can be proud of. Not Just becasue they pretty much did it all themselves.. but because it is so clear to see that everyone they invited had the time of their lives.
They married on September 24th 2011. The ceremony was at St James the Less Church in Dorney and the reception was in a field at the back of Helen’s parents house. The eye candy today is the fine work of Assassynation.
The Biggest In The Shop.
My dress was Benjamin Roberts 2058a, I knew I wanted a lace dress but thought I’d have a smaller dress due to my reception being in a field however I ended up falling in love with the biggest dress in the shop! That’s probably why the bottom is all black and torn now!! I ended up buying it from another bride off Ebay who had fallen pregnant so wouldn’t be able to wear it for their day.
I also wore a lace shrug which I bought very last minute from The Wedding Warehouse in Ascot which went perfectly with the dress.
As Pretty As A Princess.
I didn’t think I’d have a veil but the girl I bought my dress off gave me a veil with it as it matched the dress and I’m so glad I did as I felt like a princess! I wore the Tiffany necklace James bought us for our 1 year anniversary and a bracelet of his Mum’s which was my something borrowed!
I don’t do heels and as my reception was also in a field I wasn’t about to start! I ended up buying embellished ivory pumps from Barrats of all places! They were so comfy and perfect for dancing the night away.
Keeping It Simple.
I decided early on I would do my own hair and make-up not only to keep costs down so we could spend on more important things (alcohol and food!) I knew I wanted to keep it simple as our day was quite relaxed and simple. My bridesmaids and flower girl were on hand to make sure I looked my best.
Sprigs And Plumes.
Our colours were sage and lavender so I decided I wanted a bridal bouquet purely of lavender sprigs and I wanted the bridesmaids to have plumes of babies breath as it looks so romantic and simple. The buttonholes were sprigs of lavender and babies breath and looked so natural like everyone had just picked them fresh out of the ground on the way in! The bouquets and buttonholes were made by Simply Flowers a mobile florist.
The pew ends were just plumes of babies breath tied with sage ribbon that I made myself the day before. My mum cut some fresh lavender sprigs from her garden and we added one to each plume. There were fresh hops hanging from the balcony in the church which added to the relaxed feel to our ceremony.
I made the table centres myself, I didn’t want massive fussy floral displays as that’s not our style so I filled some cream planters from Ikea with some purple bedding plants.
Searching For Sage.
From the word go I wanted my Bridesmaids in sage green, finding suitable dresses in this colour ended up being a nightmare! Coast did a full length and short length sage dress but they were just out of my price range. I very nearly gave up on my colour choice when I found the perfect dresses in Linea at House of Fraser. The little shrugs were in Wallis. The flower girl dress was from Next and her headband from Monsoon, I wanted her dress to be similar to my own and it was perfect with the tulle and flower belt.
The Grooms choice.
I left the Groomsmen completely up to James. He wanted to be reasonably casual, vintage style and decided early on not to have a jacket. He found the prefect grey waistcoat and matching trousers in Topman which he bought for himself and his two best men. The best men wore them with a pale blue shirt and lavender skinny tie. The page boys wore similar waistcoat and trousers from Next.
Relaxed and Unfussy.
James wore the same waistcoat and trousers as the best men but with a lavender coloured cravat. James finished his outfit off with wrist accessories and a pocket watch. I loved how casual yet smart he looked, the entire outfit was so his style, especially the rolled sleeves and wrist accessories! I loved how unfussy our outfits were as we’re such relaxed people anyway.
Our photographer was Assassynation and I found her through another bride’s wedding report, the style was exactly what were were looking for, relaxed, fun and incredibly arty. We knew she’d be able to perfectly capture the relaxed feel of our day and of us as a couple. I also knew she had a great eye for details and as I was making a lot of things myself I knew she’s capture them beautifully!
We had massively high hopes for the photos as sassy is super talented and we were not disappointed. Her photos are beautifully shot and really show what a beautiful day it was emotionally as well as aesthetically.
Unfussy And Delicious.
I think I’ve mentioned a few times that we are a relaxed couple! Well for that reason we wanted a cake that was unfussy and delicious but still a little different. We decided on a 3 tier Victoria Sponge as it ticked every box and it fitted perfectly in with the style of our day. It was also absolutely divine! It was made by a local cake maker Ann from Cakes Unlimited.
All our entertainment was provided for us by our friends. We had one of our friends play guitar and sing in the church whilst we signed the register, two more of our friends played guitar and sang songs for us to dance too including our impromptu ‘First Dance’ We were adamant we wouldn’t do a first dance, it just wasn’t our thing to slow dance to love songs however we ended up having a first dance purely as we were the first ones up on the dance floor when our friends started playing! It was the White Stripes’ song Hotel Yorba!. Then we had a friend who DJ’s finish the night off and get everyone up on the dance floor.
Pins For Favours.
Our favours were so personal to us. James battled Hodgkin’s Lymphoma last year which is a cancer of the lymphatic system. We decided to buy their charity pins for each of our guests to help fund research into the disease. I made up little cards to go with them all explaining the charity, what they do and a bit of information about the disease such as it’s the most common cancer in under 30’s.
For the children we did goody bags with colouring books, bubbles and curly straws to keep them happy!
A Mix Of Influence.
Our décor was a mix of country garden party with a little Indian theme running through as we love India and got engaged in Udaipur in Rajasthan and honeymooned in Kerala and Mumbai. The country garden theme was in the ivy running up the marquee, the bunting, haystack seating areas and the location right in the middle of a farmer’s field! The Indian theme was in the table names and signs and the table plan.
I wanted hessian runners on the tables to keep the look rustic and casual and they looked perfect with the ivory linen and white washed chiavari chairs. I bought the hessian from ebay and my mother in law kindly hemmed the hessian for me for all the tables.
We Did It All!
Our wedding was so special to us because we did it all ourselves. As we were holding the reception in a farmer’s field at my parents house we had to sort out every aspect of the day from food and alcohol to toilets! The run up to the wedding was stressful trying to organise delivery and installation of all aspects and at times we wished we’d just gone to a hotel but on the day when it all came together and watching our guests having fun and relaxing on our hale bales we knew we’d made the right decision.
My parents have had their house since the 60’s so I grew up there and it was such a lovely feeling to have my reception there with all my and my families past happy memories mixing in with the ones being made and had right there.
My advice to other brides particularly those who are doing it all themselves is delegate on the run up to the wedding so you’re not doing it all yourself and then on the day if anything happens or comes up assign someone else to deal with it and then forget about it. The toilets stopped working halfway through the meal and were starting to block up, there is no way we were going to be sorting out blocked toilets on our wedding day so we asked my dad to sort it out and then we got back to socialising with our friends and enjoying the evening and the toilets were sorted out in 10 minutes.
Clearly they didn’t spend a million pounds on it, we have here a dress bought off of ebay, high street fashion galore and a wedding reception based at home (ok a ruddy great field near home). But it looks a million dollars.
I’m not sure what the exchange rate is at the moment but I reckon that’s pretty good going.