Why hello there glitzy bridal frockage with the most glorious back detailing. Amanda chose to say her vows to hubby Jess in the glorious Jenny Packham gown ‘Noa’ at the equally amazing venue Wick Farm near Bath. Their day looked glorious, filled to the brim with bubbles and florals and witty banter (check out their wedding favours for the latter!)
I adore the fact that Amanda who is a designer, actually created her bridesmaids’ dresses and their headpieces too! Don’t they look beautiful in lilac with their trailing ribbons. I can’t not mention the awesome newspapers that the pair had made for their guests too: I’ll leave her to tell you more about this…
Lastly isn’t Amanda’s smile just beautiful; just a wonderful beaming bride. We like those very much indeed.
This afternoon’s shoot is unashamedly pink and fluffy. It’s light hearted, oh-so pretty and sums up the phrase ‘girls just wanna have fun’ to perfection.
There’s the sweetest pink poodle, endless amounts of pink gift wrapped presents, a giant heart shaped balloon and bucket loads of blooms, with hues ranging from the palest blush to the brightest fuchsia.
And I haven’t even mentioned THAT dessert table yet, swelling under the weight of the most delicious looking goodies imaginable.
It really is like a birthday party from your childhood dreams…from the time when your favourite colour was unquestionably pink and you always wanted to wear your best frock, whatever the occasion.
Hmmmm, as far as team RMW is concerned, not much has changed…
My dress was from Perfections in Worcester. They were very helpful and I didn’t feel rushed choosing my dress. I didn’t really want a ‘big’ dress and I had originally come to the shop to look through their Jenny Packham dresses. They were beautiful but when I tried on ‘Tish’ by Augusta Jones my mum gasped and my very philosophical sister said, “If I was going to design a dress for you it would be that one”. I value her opinion on clothes and style more than anyone else in the world so I was sold! I felt it was elegant and not too showy but the train made it formal enough for church.
I had my sister’s veil from Dragonfly in Cheltenham as my something borrowed. I hired the Jenny Packham Accacia III when I fell in love with it in a magazine. It was very sparkly and lifted my simple dress (plus I’m like a magpie, drawn to sparkly things!) but it was too expensive for me to buy. However, I found that Elegant Wedding Creations allowed you to hire head pieces and jewellery. It was an excellent, efficient service that allowed me to wear something that I felt was really beautiful, but usually out of my price range!
I bought my bracelet to match the headpiece from Notonthehighstreet.com, the designer was called ‘Anusha’. Andrew made me cry on the morning of the wedding by sending me an extremely beautiful Tiffany necklace I had spotted in Birmingham months prior to our big day.
The shoes were from Dune and were, again, sparkly! I liked the peep toe style and the silver colour matched all my other accessories.
I used the agency ‘Beauty Call‘. Parminder came and did a hair and make up trial about two months before the wedding and then arrived at the hotel in the morning to do my hair and make up and my bridesmaid’s hair. She used mac make up and I wanted my hair down without too much ‘poof!’
Hessian And Ribbon
The florist was called Sandra and her shop is called Ross Flowerhouse. I don’t know the area that well and visited several florists. Sandra was so enthusiastic and helpful when I was trying to explain the type of English Garden party look I wanted. I knew I was going to do my own lavender centre pieces covered in hessian and wrapped with a ribbon so I wanted the flowers to work alongside this. I wanted soft lilacs and pinks. She helped me pick ‘Memory Lane’ rose and worked some pale pink spray roses and ivy, and a touch of astrantia. I used this rose to attach to my lavender pots. The flowers in my bouquet also made up the flowers in the church and the top table centre piece. I bought my own wheat and lavender from Shropshire Petals and tied them with strings of pearls to the pew ends. My bridesmaid’s bouquet was green hydrangea with the spray roses and astrantia and the button holes were fresh lavender and the green hydrangea. The flower girls had little pretty buckets filed with natural petals to throw and I used sweet peas and hydrangea from my garden and my mum and dad’s garden in welly boots and pots to decorate the outside of the church
The best men were Andrew’s brother, Joe and his best friend, Matt. They had navy blue suits to match the uniform from Marks and Spencer. We bought them a tie and white shirt from Thomas Pink in Birmingham as their present. The staff there were so helpful and wrapped it all beautifully for us as well as demonstrating to Andrew how to tie a tie properly! My sister Jenny was bridesmaid and after two dresses, that just didn’t endup right, she ended up wearing a Ted Baker pale pink, floor length dress.
The flower girls were in pale pink dresses to match the roses too. They were from monsoon as were their little pearly shoes! The one little one had to stuff hers with tissue paper as we thought her feet may grow – she was very good and didn’t complain about it but later sneaked off with her mum and cam back in Peppa Pig slippers! They were pink and still matched perfectly!!
A Borrowed Belt
The groom was in uniform that was partly his and partly borrowed. He had to wear long johns underneath as the material is so itchy – as you can imagine he had a bit of a sweat on in July! His belt has been worn by several other Army guys now for their weddings and they are talking about all signing it and framing it!
Captured The Day
Our Photographer Chris Barber was absolutely brilliant! We got a lot from the initial meet and then the later engagement shoot. He put us at ease at the shoot and made us felt like we were just having a nice stroll (even though the canal and trading estate were perhaps not so beautiful!). Andrew, who is a five year old trapped in a 31 year olds body (!), loved playing the games and telling the stories that Chris used to get us to relax.
When I felt poorly on the morning of the wedding both photographers made me feel at ease and just got on with it without asking me lots of questions. They even made me look ok when I was feeling particularly green at that moment! They completely captured the day and really listened to what we had wanted.
The cake was from The Cheese Company in Cheltenham. Andrew is a massive cheese fan so we went and tasted and chose three tiers, plus heart shaped cheese, to make our cheese cake. I found a lady in Canada who made wedding toppers from felt and ordered bride and groom mice to go on the top of the cake. My dad bought port to be served with the cheese; a must when serving Army blokes!
The Last Action Heroes
We searched high and low for a good band and I came across the agency Act Sharp. Koser was really helpful and sent us several samples from different bands. We chose ‘The Last Action Heroes‘ in the end and it worked really well as there was a stage that used to be used for village shows that the band were able to perform on.
They were brilliant and didn’t miss a beat when Andrew decided to carry me on stage during our first dance! They got the crowd dancing but were laid back and didn’t stress when our timings went a bit awry.
We are both big Biffy Clyro fans and when we heard their cover of Rihanna’s Umbrella on Radio 1’s live lounge we knew it was a perfect first dance. The words mean a lot to me particularly and it’s a lovely chilled song. The band learned Calvin Harris ‘Feel so Close’ and went straight into that after the first dance to get the crowd going.
We wanted to do something for charities that are important to us so the boys had ‘Help for Heroes’ bands and the women had Alzheimer’s Society pin badges (my Grandad died from the disease a couple of years ago).
Bunting And Butterflies
I hired bunting from Bunting Queen to add my colours to the marquee and found very real looking butterflies on a link from the Martha Stewart website. I used both of these as well as lavender to bring my colours into the marquee (separate from the breakfast room). I kept my English Summer theme going with ice cream served outside from a trike by Churchfield’s. They were great and I think the kids, and me, went back for seconds. I used tea cups I had collected from second hand shops, and my Grandad had collected for me, and Andrew ordered wax and made them into candles. We put three on each table.
Our friend is also a tree surgeon so he gave us discs of wood to put people’s names on as name places. The venue was beautiful anyway and I really liked how you can put your own stamp on it. They gave us lots of advice on caterers, our hog roast etc too.
Some Friendly Advice
Don’t listen too much to other people as you can start questioning what you actually want. Make it a day that will make you happy.
The dress is Justin Alexander style 8530 and it is from Leonie Claire Bridal Boutique in Brighton. It is a lace, satin and silk gown and it was the first dress I tried on. In total I tried on 8 or 9 dresses which I am told isn’t much at all but I kept going back to this one. It was my mum who made me realise this was the one. Each time I put it on she had tears in her eyes.
A Perfect veil
The gown came with a lace veil and as soon as I tried it on I knew I wanted it. It seemed so perfect and completed the look I was going for. In terms of jewellery I was only going to wear my engagement ring and a brooch from my lovely bridesmaid which was attached to the bouquet as my something borrowed. I ended up however wearing a small locket too which was a present from Alex on the morning of our wedding.
I had a silver satin sash added to the dress with crystals sewn onto it in a floral pattern. I knew I wanted to add a little bit of colour to the dress and after a few tries I asked the bridal salon to make the sash and to make it in silver/ light grey shade. The dress took 4 months to make and it was a very exciting 4 months! I couldn’t wait to try it on when it was finally ready and that really was the moment when it all became real to me. I was getting married and this was the dress I was going to wear.
I wore skyscrapers! 4 inch heel and a small platform Badgley Mischka’s Babette slip ons that I first saw on Pinterest and I knew those were the ones. When they arrived they were perfect, dazzling white with satin and suede and a little bit of sparkle!
I found the hair style I wanted on Pinterest. Really I don’t think I could have organised the wedding without Pinterest, it’s full of so much inspiration! Because the wedding was English countryside set in the middle of the Downs I wanted a darling look with plaits and soft waves. The make up was going to be quite simple but with a little bit of glamour and so I asked for false eyelashes and an eyeliner flick on the eye.
It took a few tries to get the look I wanted. The first make up artist and hair stylist made me look completely different to the pictures I showed. I was so disappointed it was really hard to look for someone new and hope that this time they would do what I asked for.
Becky from Beauty Call responded to my email in 3 minutes late one evening. I was so impressed I knew I was onto something good. She was an absolute diamond and I could not believe how beautiful she made me look and that was just the trial. On the day of the wedding she was fantastic again making the bridesmaids look gorgeous and being completely calm. She was great to have around because you really need someone to calm your nerves! Once again she made me feel beautiful and was so much more than I could have ever asked for!
A Rustic Look
Ali Ball from Gobotanica was the wonderful florist behind the brides and bridesmaid’s bouquet’s and groom’s and groomsmen buttonholes. I asked for peonies and ranunculus and she delivered them beautifully.
The church and reception venue were decorated with flowers by the groom’s mum and her friend. They even went to a wedding flower arranging course a few months before the wedding. We went shopping together at flower markets in Brighton 3 days before the wedding aiming for pink and purple blooms.
They did an amazing job! We also spent hours making the flower jars, sticking on lace, hessian and string to make them look rustic.
Grey And Purple
Alex’s brothers were his joint best men. They both wore their own grey suits and purple ties which were part of our pink, purple and grey colour theme.
The bridesmaids chose their own dresses from Karen Millen and Dorothy Perkins following in the theme and matched them with stunning hot pink Carvela open toe stilettos. I wanted them to choose their own dresses to make sure they felt fabulous!
Crisp White Shirt
The groom’s suit was Ted Baker. Alex knew he wanted a grey suit and a crisp white shirt. The shirt was Italian and Alex wore his granddads cufflinks with it. I tried to sneakily get him to buy a silver tie that would match my sash on the dress without reviling the secret of what I was going to wear. The first time Alex saw my dress was when I walked down the aisle to him. We kept it a complete secret wanting to make the moment as magical as possible.
A Valentines Shoot
As soon as we got engaged I was researching a photographer. We knew that it was going to be very important because the day would go by in a flash and we would have the pictures forever to relive the moment. I started following Jo Brown’s blog and a few weeks later I noticed she was doing a Valentines photo shoot for couples. I emailed immediately and we got in (woohoo, spaces were limited!).
Alex was a little nervous about having his pictures taken so this was a perfect opportunity for him to break the ice before the wedding so to speak. Jo turned out to be wonderful the minute we met her! She made us laugh and giggle so much and she even managed to make us do perhaps a little peculiar things like lie down in a corn field in February (haha!) but the pictures turned out great! We knew her style of photography would suit us and our venue completely and she was such a pleasure to be around. We couldn’t imagine asking anyone else.
Gorgeous And Personal
Our gorgeous and talented friend Clare from Little Bear Cakery made the cake as a gift to us! The top tier was a fruit cake which we’ll keep for the christening of our first baby (one day!) and the bottom tier was a vanilla sponge with vanilla icing and jam. We wanted a classic white cake and Clare matched the lace on the cake to the lace on my dress exactly! She is so talented; the cake was gorgeous and personal and tasted delicious!
We looked at band after band on the internet but couldn’t find anything we really liked – lots made us laugh but none were exciting! In the end we stumbled upon a chap called Nick Lipton at a friend’s party, he plays sax and clarinet beautifully. He played whilst we had our meal and afterwards we had a jukebox.
The jukebox was hired from Jukebox On The Night and was a fantastic Wurlitzer! The little children at the wedding loved the bubbles and lights in the side which was an added bonus. We were allowed to add our own CDs and even had the index cards printed up so that our guests could pick some of our favourite tunes in addition to the classics the jukebox already came with.
Falling In Love
Our first dance was to Florence and The Machine – Cosmic Love.
We looked for ages as our “falling in love songs” were all from The XX which is a little too chilled out for a first dance. We chose this song because the lyrics are beautiful and the song is quite dramatic and atmospheric.
Homemade jams were our favours. We collected jars for months and the groom’s mum and dad made raspberry and plum jams to give to the guests. Happily everyone has told us that they are absolutely delicious.
Pretty much everything was homemade. We ordered pink and purple paper lanterns to decorate the venue and hung them with lots and lots of fairly lights. Twigs were collected and bunting was made. Table runners were sewn and place tags hand stamped and punched with a little heart hole puncher. The entire wedding was a family affair with friends and family chipping in and crafting together. Our friend Kat prepared the lovely Italian feast and she and her husband Nick were making the chunky boards to serve the antipasti on two days before the wedding. Guests who wanted to contribute to the wedding brought desserts. We had the most amazing selection of crème brulee, tiramisu, heart shaped brownies, cheesecake and lots more. They were all delicious and very personal!
We are planning on selling lots of bits and bobs from the wedding and even offering to hand make luggage tag place names for people – our Etsy store is nearly open.
A Final Thought
Follow your heart is the best advice I can give to any bride. Use wedding blogs and sites such as Pinterest for inspiration. There are lots of beautifully talented people out there who will inspire you no end.