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Christian Ward Wedding Photography

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Full Disclosure.

The W-day of Em and Jon is without a shadow of a doubt the longest time I have ever spent putting a real wedding post together. Not only is Em’s report on the planning and details insanely beautifully written with more wit and honestly than you can shake a day-full-of-joy stick at it, the affair has more pretty, laughter and originality than I thought possible.

I cried through the entire process. Massive salty Blog Queen tears at the amazing brides we have grace these pages and how I thank my lucky stars each and every minute of every day that this is my job.

Em is a true RMW bride in every sense, an avid reader and the epitome of having her day exactly her way. She rocks a green plastic bracelet. She rocks a short crop. She rocks a red/orange nail. She rocks my entire world and then some.

Em and Jon found their photographers Erica and Christian from Christian Ward Photography on these very pages and I am prouder than a calorific fruity punch that even in some small way, we made this day happen like this.

Get your tissues at the ready folks, it’s going to be a multi-colour roller coaster of immense.

The Cornish Coast

Jon and I got hitched in August 2011 in the gorgeous surroundings of Lantallack Farm in Cornwall. Ours was a small gathering of close friends and family. We planned a light hearted, fuss-free day (or as fuss-free as a wedding can be) and as seems to be evidenced by the amount of shots of us with the giggles, we seem to have been successful in that endeavour! Most of our day was DIY’d and all of it was 100% Jon n’ Em.

Early on in the planning stage I yearned for an informal out-there-in-the-woods wedding, officiated by a friend, perhaps at sunset or a barefoot-in-sand ceremony. Then I woke up and remembered that no amount of Martha Stewart reading can turn an English gal American, and I’d better get with the programme. Jon and I both felt quite strongly that we only wanted the one ceremony, which removed anything Humanist-in-the-woods-with-the-official-bit-down-the-town-hall from the equation, so we set about looking for a venue-with-licence. Not such an easy task as it turned out. As ever, the trusty Alasdair Sawday website came up trumps with Lantallack – we visited, we were smitten and we went for it!

Springy Soles

Sorry girls, I’m not a shoes kinda gal. I have huge, wide feet and am happiest in havianas. That said, I decided I wanted – nay needed – statement shoes in turquoise (my something blue, you see) and spent a brief period trying to hunt down a bold, peep toe with a mid height chunky heel. Nothing I found was very ‘me’ and the silk used for the Rainbow Club-style shoes frankly invited imminent disaster. Purely by chance on my lunch break I stumbled into a little shop in Covent Garden and – lo! – serendipity itself if it weren’t the most fabulous pair of quirky heels IN THE SALE. Made by Terra Plana, they’re fashioned out of recycled saris, wood and full on eco-approved other bits. And, they had a pair left in my size (a whopping 9!). Seriously the most comfortable pair of heels in the history of all heels, and I’m not just saying that – these have springy soles, baby!

Non Traditional Jewels

I have very short hair and feel like a muppet in anything girly. Flowers in the hair look ridiculous on me. Earrings make me look like a toddler with pierced ears. As the whole day was – to quote our dress code on the invitation “garden party formal, if you please, but no ties or hats. We don’t like ties and hats are scary” going a bit more casual worked fine. I ummed and ahhed about necklaces, but again, I don’t think I’ve ever worn a ‘traditional’ necklace in my life, so wasn’t quite sure why I should feel obligated to start on my wedding day! I found a brilliant necklace on Etsy which was essentially a tiny plant pot (with a seedling in it) but realising I may have pushed it just a teensy bit too far, I let fate do the work and it did not disappoint.

I wanted to incorporate things into the day that had significance for Jon and I and the jewellery was no exception. I’ve been knitting for eons and found a lady in Sydney who repurposes vintage bakelite knitting needles into bracelets. I emailed her to see if she could source any in greens, turquoises and oranges and a mere month later I was the proud owner of Em-friendly wrist-wear. I wore a few old beloved silver bracelets, a ring my grandmother gave me and struck gold when I found – two days before the wedding – two long necklaces which I looped round to make shorter in orange and blue. These were from a company called beadsforlife.org and they’re made by women in Africa from recycled magazines. They’re beautiful things and get reworn a lot! Oh how glad I am that I didn’t go down the pearls or diamonds route!

I love our rings. Love ‘em. Jon proposed to me in Croatia, on the rocks at sunset by our tent, after we’d cycled halfway across Europe and he did this WITH A RING HE’D BOUGHT EN ROUTE IN VIENNA. Frankly I’m still amazed I hadn’t twigged as we were living out of tiny bicycle panniers for nigh on three weeks and there’s only so many places you can stash a ring! He completely nailed it: industrial, bomb-proof steel with a diamond set in flush. Its the coolest damn ring I ever did see. Problem was, what on earth could we pair it with?! After contemplating travelling across to Cologne to choose bands from the same brand, we visited a jeweller in Norwich, where we’d lived for the first five years as a couple and there in the very shop we used to wander past and ponder our future nuptials, we found exactly what we were looking for.

Swoon-Worthy

Jon’s suit was from A Suit That Fits and fit him it did. I’m so pleased he went down this route as apart from looking so darn handsome he’s now got, well, a suit that fits. My brother went with him and also got one made and both refused to share any pertinent details with me before the day! As a little gift Jon ordered domino cufflinks for Luke, his best man and my brother to match their shoes, which definitely deserve mention as the three of them (and Jon’s sister!) ordered customised Chucks. I must admit I was this close to doing the same thing… He also wore a pocket watch that belonged to his grandfather and all I remember was that I got really giggly when I saw him! *swoon*

Clean, Modern and Awesome

On the dress front, I knew going in that I wanted something clean, modern, not fussy, not lacy, not beaded. Actually, truth be told, I was honestly wondering if I could call up Michelle Obama and ask to borrow the Jason Wu dress she wore at the Inaugural Ball…! I was briefly seduced by the idea of wearing a tea-length dress (yes, Charlotte, the very same Justin Alexander number that you too love!), but in the end I realised a strapless, floor-length fitted fifties shape worked best on me. It’s important to realise that there are plenty of beautiful dresses out there, but (home truth time!) they’re not all going to be beautiful on you (yes, Justin Alexander, I’m talking about you, dagnamit!). You’ll go to plenty of other weddings in your life to see women for whom Jenny Packham frocks were just designed to grace so don’t get hung up on what doesn’t work for you, enjoy what does! For me a big part of that was the shop experience: I’m another Mamfii bride and can’t recommend them highly enough!

My frock stood out as being a combination of 50s elegance with casual, substantial twist: what Grace Kelly might have picked had she been a surfer chick, for instance (unlikely, yes, but let’s go with it…). Traditional-ish shape, for sure, but the fabric kind of felt like washi paper and it was all a bit skew-whiff, much like myself. I think we all knew we’d just nailed it.

The Extra Six Minutes

I did my own make up. A lovely (and patient!) friend dragged me into Space NK and sorted me out with Laura Mercier base products and a splendid blush and I then headed on down to Bobbi Brown for the rest. Laura sent me one of our ‘don’t hate me but…’ emails (in which we sheepishly admit to liking things that we think others will mock) and said she’d recently tried false eyelashes and – shock! – they looked cute! Heidi Klum gives a pretty good demonstration of how to do it without getting them everywhere, we followed her instructions to the T and yes, it was totally worth the extra six minutes make-up time!

We were done waaaay early on the morning and sat around for a good while drinking tea…

Foreign Influences

Jon and I spent a number of years living in Japan and so when we designed our invitations we used koinobori (koi carp windsocks) as a central motif. They’re so cheerful, bright and unusual and are said to bring luck (though, admittedly on children’s day….!). From this we started with our theme of turquoise and orange and I found some Amy Butler fabric that was bright and bold without being chinzty. One thing I didn’t want was for the day to start looking too ‘girly’ – it was Jon’s day too and I feel weddings have a tendency to get over-feminized.

Ha! I have to laugh here: right from the word go I was anti marquees. In my [limited] experience they always smelt a bit fusty and you can’t quite ever escape the fact that you’re in a, well, a marquee! When we realised that the giant teepee option we’d both become rather enamoured of was waaaaay out of our budget we came back round to the idea and took on the challenge to de-marquee the marquee!

Again from Etsy I found a pattern for a minature koinobori, so I made some and then I sized up the pattern to make huuuuge windsocks that we staked into the ground. They looked awesome, and when those Cornish gusts of winds got going they really looked amazing!

Obsessed

Mum’s a dab hand with flowers and she was one of the first people we asked to get involved. We hit up St Mellion Flowers (the wholesaler down the road from our venue) a couple of days before and whilst mum worked her magic with the ‘proper’ arrangements, Laura and I whipped up a couple of bouquets and filled jam jars with flowers of the same hue. I was keen to make a bolder statement as the country garden look, though pretty, just isn’t for me. By using more unusual, spikier flowers of the same type in each container, our flowers made a huge impact. I spent quite a lot of time researching in-season flowers and found that even the humble (and budget friendly!) chrysanthemum has a variety for every taste. Ours were stunning!

Jon and his best man Luke are borderline obsessed with growing chilli plants, so we made buttonholes from hosta leaves, rosemary and chillis. We had to have a few gos to get the chillis – ahem – laying right (the process of which got Laura and me started on what would end up being the entire night spent in hysterics), but in the end they looked good and not that suggestive…

Mum and I (though mainly mum) spent the previous year collecting jam jars and making bias tape from the fabric I had collected as my ‘palette’. We sewed these on with some buttons to brighten up the jars. It was a time consuming job, but well worth the effort.

Something Borrowed

Laura, my head cheerleader, decided on her dress about twenty four hours before the wedding. As I only had the one bridesmaid I told her if she was buying a dress she should get something she liked and ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY would wear again, but otherwise perhaps we could put something together between the two of us? I hate the thought of wasted things and there seemed no point in spending for a one-time-wear (unless you’re the bride, that is!). She found a fantastic dress from Patagonia and I threw in a couple of my dresses to the mix. In the end she decided the Patagonia was a little too much on the casual side so opted for a dress I’d picked up in the sale (again, days before!) from Mango! Does it count if the ‘something borrowed’ came from the bride?!

Creative Genius?

Jon had the idea to fold a thousand paper cranes (another Japanese tradition to bring luck), which was fine for the first fifty or so then really did become a labour of love! The boys attached these to a rigged-up chandelier and they looked really dramatic! Mum made yards and yards of bunting in my beloved Amy Butler fabrics and I sourced a hundred or so paper lanterns in our colours which we fastidiously pinned to the marquee lining, one by one! Jon spent ages rigging up little LED lights inside each lantern, so as the sun went down we had the effect of lots of little fireflies flying about in the ceiling as they gently swayed in the wind.

Included in the invitation we put a little cut-it-out-and-stick-it-together model of the pair of us and we asked people to assemble Jon-bot and Em-bot and then take pictures of them in weird and wonderful places. There were prizes for the best entries! Most people got involved and we pinned up all the ‘entries’ for people to look over. Luke, our best man, got really into it and produced a storyboard montage featuring our 3D selves on a camping trip; my uncle managed to take a picture at 10,000 feet over the place where we got engaged; Jon’s cousin photoshopped us into some newspaper footage of the London riots, hawking some stolen electronics and my brother rebuilt the models with animation software giving us bubble space helmets. Creative genius or too much time on some people’s hands? You decide.

Full Disclosure

Full disclosure on the photographer: originally we weren’t going to have one. Quite simply we couldn’t afford it and we’d worked out that with our limited budget our priorities were the venue and the food. As luck would have it we came into a little windfall and decided to get our snaps done professionally. Phew! We found Erica and Christian Ward through these very pages and again it must have been fate as our date was pretty much the only one they had left for the season!

They were amazing and blended in so effortlessly, many of our guests didn’t realise they weren’t just guests as well! Their images are exactly the right blend of whimsical, retro and quirky without venturing too far into any of those categories! What I loved most were all the goofy moments captured on film: silly faces, collapsing into giggles. Our wedding album is full of mirth, merriment and so very us.

We had only a couple of kids at the wedding so we made them ‘press passes’ and gave them the use of digital cameras. It kept them distracted for a good portion of the day and we ended up with some fantastic snaps!

Martha: Eat Your Heart Out

Jon’s sister is a prodigy with all things culinary and baked us the most fantastic cakes (note the plural!) as our wedding gift. I collated all kinds of pictures of cakes (mostly courtesy of Martha) and asked Mim to produce something ‘a bit wonky, rustic, substantial and tasty’. We had a chocolate and raspberry, a carrot cake and a lemon and lime cheesecake-in-a-cake all decorated with fresh fruit and edible flowers. Every now and then I look at our photos and drool ever so slightly… You’ve seen the pictures now, so I’m not wrong, am I?!

Strawberry Delicious

Being of a waste-not-want-not mentality I was adamant that if we had favours they had to be worth bothering with. I decided to make some strawberry jam, and Jon had the idea to use the jars as place settings. Typically, although I make jam ALL THE TIME this batch took bloody ages to set properly. I’d like to say it was made with love, but the language coming out of the kitchen was neither feminine nor appropriate to anything wedding-related! Luckily the end result was yummy! I designed the labels using our koi carp motif from our invitations. They looked lovely and I’m pleased to report that only one was left behind! Result!

A Mix Of Music

A lot of our friends are musicians. For various reasons we decided against having a live band, so we asked the musically inclined to submit a themed playlist of a their choosing. We had all kinds from 60s female icons to 1980s disco to ‘Iron and Wine-ish’ and it worked pretty well! We’re not dancers at all, so music for us just set the scene and provided a superb background to all that chitter-chatter!

We decided to choose more esoteric music for the ceremony including a beautiful song called Baibaba Bimba by a Japanese band called the Tenniscoats, who Jon knew from our time out there. It is one of favourites, but now neither of us can listen to it without getting a bit teary!

Home-Made

We loved the idea of a photo booth, and in the DIY spirit that seemed to have defined the wedding, Jon and my brother built one from old computer parts and a plinth from bits of wood. Jon bought a software package which he customised with our koi carps and the font we’d used. We had people take their pictures, print them out, stick them in our guest book and write us messages. Needless to say the photos got somewhat more ‘loose’ as the evening wore on….!

I almost fell off my chair when I was quoted table linen prices, so I nipped to Ikea to buy their cheapest of the cheap calico from which we made table cloths and Waitrose did us proud with simple napkins and their glass hire service. We put in the labour of love with gingham ribbons and sprigs of rosemary to make it all a bit more interesting, but by the time we’d loaded up the tables with flowers, place settings, cootie-catchers, carafes of wine, bottles of water, flatware and glasses, you couldn’t really see much of the table cloths anyway!

I know from reading all the RMW posts and discussions that food often gets a bit of a back seat, but in our case it was one of the most important aspects of our day and we wanted to get it right. The Round Kitchen were highly recommended and were beyond super. We asked if we were able to have informal sharing platters rather than traditional courses, as again this is something we loved about eating out in Japan. Sarah and Lucy seemed as excited as us about this concept, designed a fantastic menu and lunch was an epic affair! If you’re Cornwall-based, try your luck – they’re culinary wizards!

On the drinks front (which I know has also been a recent discussion on the RMW boards) we sourced everything ourselves. We kept the menu to the basics, but made sure each drink was a good ‘un. We picked Cornish real ale, local still cider, our favourite lager, nostalgic soft drinks and I was incredibly fortunate to get some advice on the wine from a very knowledgeable co-worker. It was his suggestion that we decant the wines into carafes (which both looked nicer, gave the wine a chance to ‘breathe’ and stopped any potential half-bottles all over the place!). We served bottles of water with infusions of lemon verbena and mint and iced rooibos tea.

Make Time

I’ve heard it before, but I’ll say it again – shop around and think outside the box. By asking people in the know, we benefited from better deals and better products! We’re fortunate that our friends and family seem uniquely equipped to organise weddings, so if you have friends with talents, ask them! I’m not exaggerating much when I say that we saved as much as we spent by doing things ourselves: we really did have a limited budget and just grafted for the six months before the big day to get it looking the way we wanted!

Make time to eat, if that’s what you love. Make time to dance, if that’s what you live for. You’ll want to remember the things you love, so take the time to! Enjoy the day, enjoy each other, catch up with your loved ones, celebrate love, life and happiness and don’t sweat the small stuff. That’s the point, right?

As an end note to all this, you’ll notice in the photos there are umbrellas galore. The heavens opened in the morning and we (and by ‘we’ I mean the ever perky Nicky and Lucy, who run Lantallack) had to quickly assemble seating and move flowers from Wisteria Walk (outside) to the Cart Barn (inside) for the ceremony. I haven’t mentioned this before, because it really didn’t matter.

In the end it was magical, comfortable and even romantic with all that driving rain. And, anyway, the clouds cleared in time for lunch and then the only reminder of the bad weather was the mud adorning the bottom of my dress! Who cares, though, right? This is England, after all and at the end of the day all that matters is that we both said ‘I do’ at the appropriate time!

Venue: Lantallack Farm

Caterer: The Round Kitchen

Photographer: Christian Ward

Brides Gown: Mamfii Bridal (Essense D1032)

Cakes: Miriam Nice

Labels, Artwork and Invitations: MoshiBoshi

Rings: www.aurumdesign.co.uk & Teno Rings

Grooms Suit: A Suit That Fits

Grooms shoes: Converse

Mr O’Shea happened to ring me half way through completing this feature, asking me what I fancied from Tesco (Yes, my husband does the vast majority of our supermarket shopping, regards himself as a throughly modern man because of it – I personally think it’s because if I’m not there I can’t fill the trolley with fifty eight glossy magazines…) Ahem, I digress. Anyway, I answered the phone all teary and unable to speak properly:

James: What on earth is the matter?! are you ok?!

Me: Well I’m just doing this wedding…and it’s so beautiful…(sniff, hiccup a bit)…and there’s a swing….can we please please have a swing?

James: Charlotte, you are crying over the fact you want a swing? where do you suggest we put a swing exactly?

Me: Um…in the kitchen? I can swing from the ceiling as you cook the dinner you thoroughly modern man you….

😉

Huge massive unbelievably humble thanks to Em, Jon, Erica and Christian for making my week a particularly gorgeous one.

Big Tears Of Joy Love

Charlotte xxx

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A Real Gypsy Wedding.

Anyone watch “My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding”?

Anyone wonder if the show is actually representative of the traditional Gypsy culture and W-day styling?

I have. And so did Rock My Wedding sponsors Christian and Erica from Christian Ward Photography. So much so in fact that they researched the subject to create a beautiful inspiration shoot based around original Romany traditions and recommendations from real-life travellers themselves.

This is truly a fascinating read as well as a deliciously whimsical dose of pretty, not to mention offering a plethora of ideas for your own Big Day. These are without doubt some of the most delectable vintage-inspired accessories and gowns I have ever seen. And it makes a nice change to feature some gorgeous ideas for your Groom too.

You may have seen a selection of these images in a recent edition of YAYW magazine, congratulations to the team behind the shoot for going all out glossy – you deserve it.

Enjoy lovelies.

Christian and Erica: We’d been looking to carry out a creative shoot for some time, though we were wanting to create something based on an original theme where there would be a story. We admit to having watched a few episodes of My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, and for me that was the spark that set light to the idea of a creative shoot inspired by a gypsy theme.

I had always thought that the picture painted by the TV show was most likely far-fetched and not representative of the gypsy culture, and so I began to research gypsy weddings not of the Big Fat type but of times gone by. The idea for the shoot for me always centred on being able to find an original Romany gypsy wagon, and this proved difficult as did finding much information about old-fashioned gypsy weddings.

Eventually we managed to locate 2 or 3 wagons across the UK, but in each case there was something that wasn’t ideal about each of them and didn’t quite match up to the picture I had in my mind. By chance I stumbled across a website for a gypsy wagon restorer, and I sent them a quick email to see if they could help us, not really expecting to hear back. A week passed and I had given up on that avenue when an email came through late one Saturday night just saying that they could help and to give them a call. I called them back straight away, and the following morning we were setting off at 8am for the 2 hour drive to Blackpool to see Walter – the real, bone fide gypsy- and the 2 wagons he had in mind.

It transpired that Walter and his family are the most revered restorers of Romany wagons internationally, and as we sat over a cup of tea in their kitchen we looked through photos of him with Ronnie Wood (who is actually descended from Romany blood) who had just bought a restored wagon from him.

We also took the opportunity to talk to Walter and his wife Mary about traditional gypsy weddings, and within minutes they’d found a fascinating old leather-bound album full of black and white family photos from gypsy weddings, and so we began to form a picture of what a REAL gypsy wedding would’ve looked like. Walter took us though to his barn, and it was an exciting moment to come face to face with what would become the centrepiece of our shoot- a gorgeous, original ‘Doors & Windows’ Romany caravan, hand-carved and covered in gold leaf.

We finished the day by strolling across the land that Walter and his family owned, as he had agreed that when the time was right for us we could carry the shoot out anywhere on his land and they would set us up with everything we needed. A special mention must go to Walter and Mary for being so welcoming and helpful, despite their initial reservations given the perception of gypsy weddings created by the TV show.

With the main ‘prop’ arranged, we then set about properly forming the theme. Gypsy, Romantic, Country, Folk, and Whimsical were at the top of our list of what wanted to achieve with our styling. The next few weeks were spent researching and liaising with suppliers across the UK who we felt fitted with our theme and who we would be interested in working with on the shoot.

I have to say that without fail all the suppliers we worked with were absolutely brilliant and we feel really lucky that we managed to assemble such a great list of suppliers who fitted so well with what we wanted to achieve, and who trusted us to look after their valuable stock (and in some cases one-off, irreplaceable pieces) and to create something worthwhile. We would happily recommend any of them to brides and grooms planning their wedding.

While bringing together the many different articles of original vintage clothing and props, we also had to set about finding 2 models. For us, despite many creative shoots being only ‘bridal’, we knew we always wanted to go the ‘whole hog’ and have both a model bride and groom to complete our picture. For the bride to be in-keeping with the Romany look we needed somebody with dark hair and a light complexion, whilst for the groom, our main criterion was for hair not cropped too short. This actually proved quite difficult as the majority of male models we came across had short hair cropped in a very modern style that would’ve been difficult to create something convincing with on the day.

We eventually found two amazing models who were perfect for our theme. The only problem we came across was trying to find vintage clothing to fit a male model standing 6ft 3″ tall…most vintage clothing is of fairly small proportions, but Denise at Vintage Whistles was great at finding what we needed!

Flo and Percy designed and created original pieces to match the vintage dresses that Helena from Heavenly Vintage Brides had kindly agreed to supply us with, and once our shoot team was complete with make-up and hair stylists, we set about a styling session to bring together every item and decide on the final ‘looks’ that we’d be using on the day.

The day of the shoot finally came and we could not have asked for better weather. It was a pretty cold day in March but with gorgeous early Spring light and we all worked together brilliantly as a team…definitely a day to remember!

And if you lovelies have been admiring the Flo and Percy headpieces here are the finer details should you fancy making a purchase for W-day:

Authentic gypsy wagon – adzlee@btinternet.com

Vintage Wedding Dresses – Heavenly Vintage Brides

Vintage Headpieces – Flo and Percy

Crockery – Felicity’s Vintage Tea Party

Blooms – The Blossom Tree

Make-up Artist – Gemma Lees

Hair Stylist – Emma Buck

Boutonnieres – D C Bouquets

Cakes – Rachel Edwards

Vintage Suitcases – Fountain Pen Emporium

Bridal Knitwear – Makepiece at Evangeline Rose

Groom’s Vintage Suits – Vintage Whistles

Stationery – Tim Ward Design

Wedding Favours – Vintage Twee

Models – Cirila Zorenc and Charles Durnian at Model Mayhem

Photography and Styling – Christian and Erica at Christian Ward Photography

That lace and pearl headband rocks my world…. and the knitwear? so delicate and feminine.

This is a truly beautifully styled shoot and I would love to see a W-day with similar design aspects and muted colour scheme grace these pages one day.

So if you’re planning on a gypsy-esque affair make sure you send it in ok?

Big Romany Love

Charlotte xxx

P.S I know I’m married and all but I’m allowed to say how much the groom has (ahem) brightened up my Monday afternoon right?

😉

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Can’t Take My Eyes Off You….part 2

If there is such a thing as heaven and I am lucky enough to be invited in, I imagine the gardens would look very much like this…..Kensington Roof Gardens.

Lucy and Chris said “I do” 7 floors up in what can only be described as a perfect slice of paradise, right in the middle of the Big Smoke.

With an abundance of vintage-inspired details and some truly beautiful couple portraits this W-day is sure to make your Wednesday even sunnier. Promise.

A Higher Love

We picked the Roof Gardens as our venue because we loved the fact that you are in central London but up on the 7th floor with amazing views and in a lovely garden with flamingoes! We were really lucky to have a bright sunny day so we could make the most of being in the garden during the day.

D.I.Y Bride

We had silver vintage looking frames for our table plan. Our favours were vintage brooches for the ladies and chocolates for the men. We decorated each box with a diamante buckle on a velvet ribbon and different black and white paper patterns with a velvet ribbon on top. I was surprised how much I loved making everything!

Capturing The Fun

Christian and Erica our photographers were fantastic. We loved their style of photography and they captured how much fun we had on the day. We could not have asked for more.

Delicious Treats

We had a small wedding which meant we could eat outside in the beautiful Tudor Garden with our close family and friends. Food is really important to both of us and having a small wedding also meant we could have delicious food and cocktails! We planned the wedding in 5 months which was perfect for us, not too much time for indecision and it stayed really exciting!

Cake Love

I am a big fan of cake so we did extensive cupcake research! We picked Bea’s of Bloomsbury’s cupcakes in vanilla and chocolate with 4 different flavoured icings and fruits on top. They looked great and most importantly tasted soooo good!

My Mum made our cake toppers which people found hilarious she also did our bridesmaids. She had never made them before and did a fantastic job. We also love cheese so had a cheesecake too.

On Your Feet

We had a steel band for our reception in the Spanish Garden for a fun relaxed atmosphere. In the evening we had a jazz band ‘the Ben Matthews Trio‘. They were so much fun and got everyone up dancing. The singer Ben did a brilliant job of learning our first dance music at the last minute.

Can’t Take My Eyes Off You

We had ‘Can’t take my eyes off you’ by Frankie Valli for our first dance, it was a song we both loved and had a good laugh dancing to it.

Remember What’s Important

My advice would be to pick the things which are really important to you and stick with them. For us they were a small intimate wedding, live music to create a fun relaxed atmosphere for our guests, the food and my dress…… of course!

Venue – Kensington Roof Gardens

Photography – Christian Ward

Cakes – Bea’s Of Bloomsbury

Entertainment – The Ben Matthews Trio

I don’t say this often but…….

If I were to do it again?

Kensington Roof Gardens would be a definite contender for choice of venue.

Off to dream about swishing around in sequinned Jenny Packham 😉

Big Piece Of Paradise Love

Charlotte xxx

P.s It’s 3 post Wednesday… woo!

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Can’t Take My Eyes Off You…..part 1

Each of the RMW team will pick out something entirely different from each real wedding we feature as their “favourite detail” or their “favourite moment”, I 100% guarantee it. That’s not a bad thing of course, it simply goes to show that we are all individuals with varying requirements for what makes us tick. Much like you gorgeous lot in fact, and why we endeavour to showcase as much variety as we possibly can.

When I first saw Lucy and Chris’s Big Day it was the dress that first caught my attention, so swishy, so elegant, so glamorous. And then it was the blooms. Peach, pink, lilac and spring green, a ray of sunshine all tied up in one ribbon wrapped bouquet.

Of course all that pretty is easy to admire, and as much as I love the obvious aesthetics, my favourite part of this London soiree has got to be when Lucy is walking up the ailse. The way Chris is looking at her. The anticipation of Lucy looking at him. The way they look at each other …..

Perfection.

All of the beautiful images are courtesy of Christian and Erica at Christian Ward Photography.

A 1930’s inspired Natural Look

For my hen party ‘Emma Dennis’ did all my friends hair and make-up for a 1930s themed evening. She did a fab job so I asked her to do my wedding hair and make-up. I went for a fairly natural look so I looked like an improved version of ‘me’ it was definitely worth having a make-up artist because it stayed on all day and night!

I looked at Jenny Packham head pieces but I decided it would have been a bit too much with all the detail in the dress so I decided on a simple cream flower with wavy hair for a soft look.

The Dream Dress

My dress was from Morgan Davies in Islington. It was Papillon by Jenny Packham. I had thought I would pick a very simple grecian style dress but I fell in love with the detail, sequins, beading and beautiful 1930s style of Papillon. It felt amazing when I tried it on. After one day of dress shopping I knew I had found my dream dress.

Budget Bling

My engagement ring is an antique Edwardian cluster ring. I wanted to fing some earrings to match but on a budget! I found exactly what I wanted on Etsy.

My shoes were peep toe heels from Monsoon. They had some beading at the front and matched the dress perfectly. For a girl who is not usually drawn to jewels and beading I had turned into a magpie!

An Honourable Maid

My maid of honour was a trooper and we went dress shopping on Oxford Street when she had given birth only three weeks before! We picked a long navy dress from Coast to match the grooms suit, she looked stunning. Our flowergirls were our three year old nieces they looked very cute in pretty Ivory dresses from John Lewis with big net skirts which they loved and matching handbags.

A Subtle Vintage Theme

Juliet from Kensington Flowers did an amazing job. I described to her that I wanted a soft vintage look using pink, peach, cream and different greens. She came up with exactly what I hoped for.

My Mum provided lots of different glass cake stands for the table arrangements and small glass vases for the ceremony table they fitted the vintage theme perfectly.

In The Navy

Chris picked a lovely three piece navy suit with a fine pinstripe from Ted Baker. His Best Man also had a navy suit from Ted Baker with a slightly different pinstripe.

Photography – Christian Ward

Brides Gown – Jenny Packham at Morgan Davies

Shoes – Monsoon

Bridesmaid – Coast

Florist – Juliet at Kensington Flowers

Grooms Suit – Ted Baker

A bit of a tear jerker no?

And just wait to you see part 2 lovelies, a whole heap of W-day ideas to steal!

Do tell us what your favourite bit was…

Big Jenny Packham Love

Charlotte xxx

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A Rural Romance…. Part 2

There was a lot of love yesterday for the gorgeous Polly and Ralph and I’m not suprised, the so-in-love pair held a pretty, colourful and relaxed garden soiree that was filled with love, laughter and spectacular blooms.

Oh the blooms…..lots of gratuitous images of those lovelies!

I’m so having a purple and yellow moment right now.

And I can’t not mention Polly’s female guests, what a fantastically dressed lot they were – I want their ENTIRE wardrobe.

Iris And Ivy

I always knew I wanted sunflowers and iris at my wedding and I wanted my flowers to look quite natural and not too prissy. We therefore just found a local florist in Eye in Suffolk and she was brilliant at helping us choose what would go with them. In the end the bouquets were sunflowers, iris, gyp and ivy. For the button holes I found a picture on line of some button holes made with purple asters which have both purple and yellow on them and I emailed this to the florist and she agreed to make them up.

The bridesmaids and mothers had purple lisianthus in their hair. For the church we ordered two big pedastools from the florist of sunflowers, iris, gyp, daisies, ivy and lisianthus then we brought some more of these flowers not made up and my kind auntie and bridesmaids put four more flower displays together. Ralph’s mum kindly offered to help with the table decorations and she did a fantastic job with some old milk bottles, sunflowers, daisies and corn from the next door field.

Seeing is Believing

My cousin got married last year ( infact they were on RMW… Fran and David!!) and we were really impressed with her photographer. We asked for their details and were so lucky they were still free (we only took 5 months to plan the wedding) and we booked Christian Ward straight away. We have been so impressed with their service from start to finish and could not rave about them enough.

From the edgy pics from the pre wedding shoot to our gorgeous wedding ones, we feel they captured each moment so well we would recommend them to everyone!

Glamping

We borrowed some hay bails from the local farmer and, as well as the main marquee, kind friends lent us a champagne tent and some gazebos in case of rain. We didn’t want people to get bored so we also set up some games around the field such a table tennis, croquet and a coconut shy.

We wanted the whole thing to have a relaxed feel and so most of our guests camped in the field next door.

Dancing ‘Till Dawn

My family is starting to get kind of a family wedding band as this is the third time we have used “Payback” for a family wedding. That is because they are SO good! Considering we only had a few months to plan we were really lucky they were free and we had seen them twice before so knew they were good.

They did not fail to impress and there was never an empty dance floor!

Lucky 13

Mmmm the cake! Two of my bridesmaids are very close family friends and their mum has been making us the best chocolate cake since we were born! We therefore approached her to ask if she would make our wedding cake and she said yes! We wanted to stick to the country theme so had the cake displayed on slate on 3 trunks of wood. We cut the cake and then our amazing caterers Penni Black served it as desert (there were about 13 more cakes waiting out the back – thanks Jude!) with creme freche and tropical fruit skewers.

A Song For Sweethearts

Our first dance song was “Up Above the Clouds” by Turin Brakes. We met at university and this was one of the first songs Ralph played to me. It was very significant and yet not mainstream or too cheesy!

Those Closest

What made our wedding special was that all of our friends and family were there to celebrate with us. We are so grateful to our families for making the day possible. Oh and my advice? Just enjoy it!

Photographer – Christian Ward

Caterers – Penni Black

Entertainment – Payback

Yes I know. A billowing veil in a corn field, what’s not to love?

The black and white landscape of Polly and Ralph holding hands is my favourite though, so very very cool.

Big I fancy 13 cakes Love

Charlotte xxx

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A Rural Romance……part 1

You may remember the uber photogenic Polly and Ralph from their colourful and urban skateboard chic engagement shoot that we featured last year.

It will come as no surprise to you all that the couple kept to a bright and sunny palette for their Big Day too, however, the gritty pre-marriage landscape was exchanged for a distinctly more rustic aesthetic. And my, wasn’t it pretty lovelies, delicious and summery with a relaxed rural garden vibe.

And I can’t imagine a dress that would suit Polly better, a dream in princess frothy tulle…. not to mention the maids, those ladies were working the royal Issa-esque frocks well before Madam Middleton even got engaged.

With thanks to Christian and Erica from Christian Ward Photography for submitting the eye candy.

Garden Gorgeous

The venue for the reception meant a great deal to us both, firstly because it is Ralph’s home, secondly we spent our first valentines day there and thirdly because it is where Ralph proposed! We loved that it is so rural and not overly neat or prissy. Ralph’s parents worked so hard to make the garden look amazing and Ralph’s mum made hundreds of metres of bunting in our wedding colours of purple, green and yellow!

Decisive Decisions

I must have been in a decisive mood at Teokath because I also brought my shoes from there which were Benjamin Adams. They had a medium heel and were so comfortable I wore them all night.

They had to be died white to match the colour of my dress and had a diamanté decoration on the toe.

The Princess Within

My dress was from Teokath in Wimbledon and was Gilda by Alan Hannah. I changed the dress slightly – it came with a diamante brooch on the hip which I didn’t like so I had that removed and chose a silk flower to be sewn on instead. I found it really hard to choose my dress – I had a really clear idea about what I wanted which was something kind of grecian – like lots of the Jenny Packham dresses. But then I started trying on bigger skirts and I think my inner princess came out! To be honest I was scared by dress was too big until I walked down the aisle! I even had nightmares the week before my dress would knock all of the pew ends off!

On the day and looking back I could not imagine myself in anything different and I’m so glad I let the princess side of me win!

Something New Something Old

I had a really long veil which was also from Teokath. I loved it! It was sooo windy on the day of our wedding that the veil created some great pics – even if I did feel like I was taking off! I wore some gold, pearl, flower stud earrings that belonged to my Gran. She passed away a couple of years ago so it was so nice to be able to remember her on the day by wearing some of her jewellery as my something old.

My bridesmaids gave me a silver ring with a blue stone in which was my something blue and I also wore a simple gold and pearl hair band which I brought online.

Purple Reign

I knew exactly what kind of dresses I wanted for the older three bridesmaids – something purple and grecian – and on our first shopping trip for the dresses we walked into Monsoon and there they were! They all tried them on and loved them! For my god daughter – the younger bridesmaid I wanted to get her a dress she would get a lot of use out of so I took one of the long dresses and matched it to a shorter purple dress from Coast. They were exactly the same colour!

For their shoes we had to look around for something not too high as three of the girls don’t like high heels. We ended up buying some cute gold sandals from office with just a small heel. On the day the taller one actually looked better in flip flops though so ended up wearing them instead!

The Groomsman hired their tails and waistcoats from Moss Bros and wore purple ties to match the bridesmaids.

A Call For Beauty

We live in London but got married in a tiny hamlet in the middle of Suffolk so I found it hard to find a hairdresser I liked near by. My local hair dresser in London was really helpful and tried various styles with me and eventually I found one I liked. I then found the brilliant Jenny from Beauty Call online.

I had a trial in Suffolk and told her what my local hairdresser and I had decided on. She was then able to recreate this for me. I wanted waves but I have quite thin hair so GHD waves end up making me look like I have four curls! Instead Jenny cliped by hair into rolls then let it down to create loose, natural waves – just what I wanted! For make up I had a trial at Bobby Brown in Harrods but did not like the amount of make up they caked on my face. I therefore decided to buy all of their products they used and just do it myself. On the day I actually ended up doing my own make up and my four bridesmaids!

Perfect Paisley

My husband did quite a lot of research into buying a suit then decided it was not worth the extra cost so all the suits were hired from Moss Bros.

He wore a light purple paisley tie so that he stood out from the groomsmen.

Brides Gown – Alan Hannah at Teokath

Shoes – Benjamin Adams at Teokath

Veil – Teokath

Maids Dresses – Monsoon

Grooms Suit – Moss Bros

My Best Friend wore Alan Hannah for her W-day and I will certainly say this, the dresses always fit so beautifully, the perfect princess silhouette.

Plenty more romance coming your way soon folks!

Big Rural Love

Charlotte xxx