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Mirror Mirror bridal boutique

Entrance
Entrance
Mirror Mirror Boutique | Healey Barn Northumberland | Bridesmaids in Tasseled Skirts | Paulo Santos Photographer & Caroline from The Twins Weddings
Bridesbabes
Bridesbabes
Mirror Mirror Boutique | Healey Barn Northumberland | Bridesmaids in Tasseled Skirts | Paulo Santos Photographer & Caroline from The Twins Weddings
Bride
Bride
Mirror Mirror Boutique | Healey Barn Northumberland | Bridesmaids in Tasseled Skirts | Paulo Santos Photographer & Caroline from The Twins Weddings
Bouquet
Bouquet
Stocks Bouquet | Mirror Mirror Boutique | Healey Barn Northumberland | Bridesmaids in Tasseled Skirts | Paulo Santos Photographer & Caroline from The Twins Weddings
Forest
Forest
Mirror Mirror Boutique | Healey Barn Northumberland | Bridesmaids in Tasseled Skirts | Paulo Santos Photographer & Caroline from The Twins Weddings
Cake
Cake
Wedding Cake | Mirror Mirror Boutique | Healey Barn Northumberland | Bridesmaids in Tasseled Skirts | Paulo Santos Photographer & Caroline from The Twins Weddings
Barn
Barn
Confetti First Dance | Mirror Mirror Boutique | Healey Barn Northumberland | Bridesmaids in Tasseled Skirts | Paulo Santos Photographer & Caroline from The Twins Weddings
greenery
greenery
Greenery Centrepiece | Flower Arch | Mirror Mirror Boutique | Healey Barn Northumberland | Bridesmaids in Tasseled Skirts | Paulo Santos Photographer & Caroline from The Twins Weddings
tassels
tassels
Mirror Mirror Boutique | Healey Barn Northumberland | Bridesmaids in Tasseled Skirts | Paulo Santos Photographer & Caroline from The Twins Weddings
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Amy & Tom

If you are anything like me the moment you see the bridesmaids tassel skirts you are going to wonder what it would be like to wear one so you came shimmy your way around this gorgeous wedding at Healey Barn.

I should probably also prepare you for the epicness of Bride Amy’s gorgeous gown from Mirror Mirror Bridal too. The layers of lace are exquisite and the spaghetti strap back detail is super sexy.

Amy and Tom were so lucky to get not just one of New York ‘Rangefinder’s Rising Star of Wedding Photography’ to photograph their wedding, but two! Both super talented and with an eye for a stunning shoot, Paulo Santos and Caroline from The Twins Weddings photographed their big day. They took Amy & Tom in the deepest forests of Northumberland for some jaw dropping portraits amongst nature. They look super stylish stood between the statuesque trees. What a day.

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Ella & Tom

I’ve been lucky enough to attend an event at Kensington Roof Gardens in the past and can attest to its gloriousness so it’s easy to see why Ella and Tom picked it for their wedding day. Despite the amazing views, it’s easy to forget that you’re in a capital city once you set foot in this urban oasis. And yes there are ACTUAL flamingos.

The pair decided to celebrate their nuptials by paying homage to the venue itself choosing an art deco twist for their decor and using little accents of pink to tie in with the resident flamingos. Cute!! All the action was captured by Fiona Kelly Photography.

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Kissing You.

Sam-And-David

This morning’s wedding contains perhaps the largest wedding bouquet I have seen. Like EVER.

And it is blinking gorgeous to boot, much like bride Sam and her beautifully clad dusky blue maidens also clutching their own daisy bouquets.

David’s groomsmen don’t scrub up too badly either in their blue three-piece suits and beaming grins; I particularly love the fact that David has distinguished himself sartorially with a spotted tie. Oh I do love me a bit of polka dot action.

This dazzling pair also had an awesome wedding cake shaped like a tree trunk and emblazoned with their initials surrounded by a heart…just like proper old skool graffiti. Oh and there’s possibly the best group shot of all the men at the very end that I guarantee will make you want to recreate it for yourselves.

Take it away Sam.

A Rustic Wedding At Gaynes Park With A Jenny Packham 'Eden' Dress And Dusky Blue Bridesmaids Dresses With Foliage Bouquets By Philippa James Photography._0001

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Your Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher.

East London Wedding In A Converted Power Station

It’s always a treat to blog a wedding by photographer extraordinaire Mr Ed Peers but when you add an converted power station, a mirror ball, bespoke CD wedding favours and deck chairs into the mix as Sally and Adam did then I can pretty much say that it was if the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and Santa’s elves had all come bearing gifts at once.

Oh and then there’s the amazing short 3D film of Sally and Adam floating in space together.Yes an actual 3D film where you have to wear the funny glasses and everything. Honestly the images of the guests staring at the ceiling (where it was projected onto) in their red and blue specs are some of the best wedding evening photos I’ve seen.

Just wait until you see the four poster bed!

I should also warn you folks that there is a smidgen of nudity in this post. Just a smidgen mind and there’s a funny story behind it too which Sally reveals below.

I for one found it hilarious so I think you folks will too.

Let’s power on then…

A hip city wedding held at an power station art gallery in East London with a Cymbeline 1930s inspired dress and a white rose bouquet with photography by Ed Peers._0002

Take One Hydroelectric Power Station

Sally The Bride:We’ve always loved our venue, a restaurant and art gallery in East London, housed in a converted hydroelectric power station. I used to live nearby with friends, and we’d been to a number of exhibitions there, so having it as our reception was a dream! It’s an amazing space; the tables in the restaurant are dotted among the original machinery.

A hip city wedding held at an power station art gallery in East London with a Cymbeline 1930s inspired dress and a white rose bouquet with photography by Ed Peers._0003

We held the evening party in the gallery space – a huge, dramatic, cavern. We knew that the party would have to fit around whatever installation was in place, but we were really fortunate that the exhibit was a video installation – we had a huge screen on the ceiling to play with! The venue has so much style and personality there just wasn’t any point creating a theme or adding lots of décor – the building looks amazing just as it is!

A Little Bit Grecian

My dress was from Cymbeline and had with a cowl neck and low back. It felt a bit Grecian but also glamorous in an old-Hollywood way. I’d tried lots of different styles but was completely sold on this dress when the lovely people in Mirror Mirror suggested I pair it with a dramatic silver beaded belt. I had been quite hesitant to go for anything too sparkly, but with the belt, the dress suddenly felt very ‘me’!

A hip city wedding held at an power station art gallery in East London with a Cymbeline 1930s inspired dress and a white rose bouquet with photography by Ed Peers._0004

A Talented Make-up Artist

I didn’t have an overall look in mind for hair and make-up. Fortunately I found Elbie Van Eeden who was the perfect person to spend your wedding morning with – wonderfully calm and sweet. I showed her lots of pictures of loose, textured, hairstyles and she perfectly translated it into an asymmetric mass of pinned curls, which complemented the 1930s-ish style of my dress without looking like I was dressed for a themed party. I wanted quite natural make-up, and Elbie achieved the near-impossible by making sure it lasted through to the evening on one of the hottest days of the year!

A hip city wedding held at an power station art gallery in East London with a Cymbeline 1930s inspired dress and a white rose bouquet with photography by Ed Peers._0005

Flame Shoes

The shoes were one (two?) of my favourite things! I was looking for something with a tougher edge than classic satin shoes, and I was so happy when I found the amazing flame-shoes by designer Minna Parikka! It’s a good job we weren’t too strict a particular theme – one of my bridesmaids commented that they were like something out of the movie ‘Grease’ than matching my ‘Grecian’ dress!

A hip city wedding held at an power station art gallery in East London with a Cymbeline 1930s inspired dress and a white rose bouquet with photography by Ed Peers._0006

My hair accessories were made from the spare ends of my belt – Dolcheka made a beautiful comb and pins from the offcuts. The veil was a piece of net, which Elbie pinned in to my hair.

For jewellery I wore earrings that my parents had bought for my 21st birthday and a diamante cuff that was my Grandma’s – something old for sure!

A hip city wedding held at an power station art gallery in East London with a Cymbeline 1930s inspired dress and a white rose bouquet with photography by Ed Peers._0007

A Little Black Dress

When Adam picked his suit everything fell into place! I’d dragged my mum and bridesmaids to see so many dresses, but Adam chose and bought his teal Ozwald Boateng suit in about 20 minutes flat! We’d already decided we weren’t aiming for a traditional look, but at that point I knew the bridesmaids would look awesome in the rock’n’roll black dresses we’d all fallen in love with in All Saints. The girls wore colour pop turquoise shoes from Debenhams and (miraculously matching!) belts from Oasis. The boys rented grey suits with teal ties from Burton.

A hip city wedding held at an power station art gallery in East London with a Cymbeline 1930s inspired dress and a white rose bouquet with photography by Ed Peers._0008

White Roses

Our flowers were done by Kilburn Flowers, who were fantastically helpful and gave me lots of advice on what colour to put with turquoise! We all had round bouquets of tightly packed roses. Mine was made from three different types of white rose – it smelt gorgeous. We chose a mixture of soft pink and hot pink for the bridesmaids – if they’re wearing black dresses – you may as well go for drama! We also had an arrangement for the church, and one for the back window of the car.

A hip city wedding held at an power station art gallery in East London with a Cymbeline 1930s inspired dress and a white rose bouquet with photography by Ed Peers._0009

Sunshine And Strings

We had a string quartet, recommended to us by the Church, comprising of local music students from Trinity Laban. They were fantastic and took requests for the exact music we wanted. I walked down the aisle to the end of the 5th Region of Musique a Grande Vitesse by Michael Nyman. It’s a beautiful, powerful and uplifting piece of music (even if it is about a train journey!) and will remain very personal to us.

A hip city wedding held at an power station art gallery in East London with a Cymbeline 1930s inspired dress and a white rose bouquet with photography by Ed Peers._0010

We were lucky enough to have picked the hottest day of the year to get married, so having the sun streaming through the glass back of the church and being surrounded by all of our family and friends was magical. Having them all answer the question about promising to uphold us in our lives together by bellowing out “We will!” was a wonderful way of reminding us how much support there is behind the day and our relationship. I think we spent most of the ceremony just grinning at each other!

A hip city wedding held at an power station art gallery in East London with a Cymbeline 1930s inspired dress and a white rose bouquet with photography by Ed Peers._0011

Big Girls Blues Band

We really wanted to have a live band and music that would get people dancing. With that in mind, we booked the Big Girls Blues Band who were absolutely wonderful. We met before to discuss how to best handle the acoustics of the venue and on the evening they managed to get pretty much everyone up and dancing, which is no mean feat given how hot it was! For our first dance we went for (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher & Higher by Jackie Wilson. We wanted something that would be fun to dance to so we could minimise the risk of awkward swaying!

A hip city wedding held at an power station art gallery in East London with a Cymbeline 1930s inspired dress and a white rose bouquet with photography by Ed Peers._0012

It was a very hot evening, so people drifted between dancing and sitting outside in the fresh air. There were also cushions and deckchairs scattered around the edge of the dancefloor so people could sit and chat when they needed to! We had a tray service for drinks, which was brilliant because it stopped people congregating at the bar and kept them in the middle of the party!

A hip city wedding held at an power station art gallery in East London with a Cymbeline 1930s inspired dress and a white rose bouquet with photography by Ed Peers._0013

Cheese And Cocktails

The venue has a wonderful restaurant, so we were very lucky that they took care of all of the delicious food and drink. Guests were greeted with selection of cocktails and canapés. The cocktails certainly went down very quickly on such a hot day, and we think this contributed to how enthusiastically everyone danced later!
For the meal we had big platters of food to share – a rack of lamb with loads of different vegetables for the main. It made the whole atmosphere a bit more convivial with people sharing food and talking to everyone around the table.

A hip city wedding held at an power station art gallery in East London with a Cymbeline 1930s inspired dress and a white rose bouquet with photography by Ed Peers._0014

After the main course, the evening guests arrived and we had speeches in the restaurant. It was lovely and informal with people sat on the old machinery to get a better view! We headed downstairs post-speeches and everyone helped themselves to dessert. It meant that the evening guests felt part of the party straight away. Our ‘cake’ was a stack of cheeses decorated with grapes. Later in the evening these cheeses were carved up and served with chutneys and fruit as our evening snack.

A hip city wedding held at an power station art gallery in East London with a Cymbeline 1930s inspired dress and a white rose bouquet with photography by Ed Peers._0015

Musical Favours

We used a series of photos taken from our holidays as table centres. We framed them and stuck the name of the place at the top in scrabble tiles ordered from eBay. Even though it’s been done quite a lot of times as a plan for table names, the photos add a nice personal touch, and the act of making them together was a fun part of the preparation.

A hip city wedding held at an power station art gallery in East London with a Cymbeline 1930s inspired dress and a white rose bouquet with photography by Ed Peers._0016

We were very lucky in having a lot of talented friends who helped out with anything creative and artistic to make up for our own lack of skill! For our invitations, a friend of ours who is a keen photographer took the photos, which were then turned into our gorgeous invitation by another friend who is a graphic designer. The printing of the invitations and orders of service was then done by another one of our friends, Tim at South Bucks Business Products. Our favours were a series of CDs with our favourite music on them, printed by my dad. One of our bridesmaids designed a stamp, which we used to decorate plain CD cases. We wrote the guests’ names on the cases, and they doubled up as place cards.

A hip city wedding held at an power station art gallery in East London with a Cymbeline 1930s inspired dress and a white rose bouquet with photography by Ed Peers._0017

Surprise Surprise

We didn’t want to do anything too contrived, but still wanted to have the odd surprise up our sleeve. We were fortunate to be introduced to a 3D artist by the venue. He put together an amazing short 3D film of us floating in space together. It was great to see everyone’s bemusement on being handed 3D glasses turn into gasps and smiles when the film played and it looked like our heads popped out of the ceiling!

A hip city wedding held at an power station art gallery in East London with a Cymbeline 1930s inspired dress and a white rose bouquet with photography by Ed Peers._0018

We also wanted a dramatic exit to the day rather than having a long series of goodbyes. Everyone was gathered upstairs under the pretext of a ‘survivors’ photo only to see our wedding car, a beautiful old Jaguar-Daimler hired with lovely chauffeur from the Classic Car Club in Old Street (http://www.classiccarclub.co.uk/home.asp), reverse through a giant cargo door into the middle of the room. We quickly jumped inside and waved our goodbyes out the window!

A hip city wedding held at an power station art gallery in East London with a Cymbeline 1930s inspired dress and a white rose bouquet with photography by Ed Peers._0019

Aside from what we had planned, a few other surprises just happened along the course of the day! Perhaps the most amusing was when we were having photos taken with the wedding party just by the Thames – a topless swimmer, complete with inflatable dolphin, jumped out of the river and photobombed one of our pictures! She then shouted out “congratulations!” and ran back to the river. The photo still shocks people looking through the wedding album!

It’s a massive cliché, but the day really does go by remarkably quickly. It’s worth trying to take a bit of time out together just to relax and chat. We found it impossible to speak to everyone that came, but were just so happy that all our friends and family are there and having a good time!

A hip city wedding held at an power station art gallery in East London with a Cymbeline 1930s inspired dress and a white rose bouquet with photography by Ed Peers._0020

The Talented Mr Peers

We were incredibly lucky to have the fantastically talented Ed Peers as our photographer. Ed has incredible vision, managing to unobtrusively document key moments as well as being extremely friendly and fun to have around. He immediately understood what we wanted – minimum fuss with the official photos and lots of pics of our guests enjoying the day – and he managed to capture everything, including a few things we missed! Having Ed there from the morning preparations all the way through until when we left was fantastic, and he caught all the special moments of the day from start to finish.

A hip city wedding held at an power station art gallery in East London with a Cymbeline 1930s inspired dress and a white rose bouquet with photography by Ed Peers._0021

Click here & view all images from this wedding

Boutique – Mirror Mirror
Dress – Cymbeline
Make-up and Hair – Elbie van Eeden
Florist – Kilburn Flowers
Band – Big Girls Blues Band
Car Classic Car Club
Photography – Ed Peers Photography

So how many of you are sitting with your mouths agape at the sheer blinking coolness of this wedding. Hang on, is ‘coolness’ even a word?

Hell who cares.

All I know is that I want my very own 3D film, Sally’s gorgeous Rose bouquet and a vintage Jaguar-Daimler in my possession.

Like now already.

Congratulations you two – you most definitely rocked it!

All my love Lolly xxx

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Out Of Africa.

In terms of destination wedding choices, I doubt many of you are considering Sierra Leone… but I guess that is what makes today’s wedding so different and so very interesting…

Birmingham based photographer Lee Allen spoke to me about his trip out to Africa a few weeks before he went in December 2011.

Since hearing of his impending adventure I had been itching to get a look at the results and when I saw them I knew we had to feature it.

Before I pass you over to the bride I think it’s worth hearing a bit from Lee himself…

Lee Allen: When Khadijat and Hammed asked me to document their wedding there was no way on this earth I was going to say no – wedding in Africa the first week of 2012? Yes please!

Having never travelled to an African country I had no idea what to expect and when I told people I was going to Freetown in Sierra Leone most reactions were one of shock as its safe to say it has a fairly (unfairly) negative reputation in the western world. What I found though was an amazing country full of friendly inquisitive people and breathtaking scenery.

I was lucky enough to experience a full on African engagement ceremony as well as full on western style wedding complete with 1100 guests for dinner. Khadijat and Hammad treated me like family and particularly Khadijats bridesmaids looked after me better than I could have ever expected.

Shooting both ceremonies was hot and confusing but so loud and colourful with so much dancing and singing every second was full of experiences hard to take in. I may sound a bit like a student who has been backpacking but I found the whole experience life changing and made me appreciate everything I have back home a lot more. If you are offered the chance to go Sierra Leone GO GO GO!

Thanks Lee, and now let’s hand over to Khadijat for her account of the day, and of course more fantastic images from Lee Allen photography.

All of these images are from Khadijat and Hammed’s western style wedding, we have put together a gallery from the African engagement ceremony at the end of the feature for anyone who is interested in seeing them… And they really are worth a gander.

Mirror Mirror

I had a Pronovias dress called Alcanar, which I bought from Mirror Mirror Bridal Boutique in Islington. It was the last dress I tried on after 10 dresses and I just knew it was the one when I put it on. It was off white, very simple, but impactful, for me anyway! It had a sweetheart neckline with a structured bodice, flowing into full skirt, lots of tulle and lace layers and a long train… A proper princess dress.

No Silver Bling

I also had a lace edged veil which absolutely beautiful and very long. Just short of cathedral length. I had decided I didn’t want any silver bling looking wedding jewellery. We had gold threaded into a lot of our décor and Hammed was wearing a sand coloured suit, so I knew silver was a no no straight away.

I wore a gold and citrine necklace and earring set from Tiffany’s that Hammed bought me a few years back and on my wrist I wore my mum’s aquamarine gold cuff, to match my shoes. I had a hair brooch made for me to match my jewellery from Crystal Bridal Accessories.

It was very important to me to keep thing understated, but elegant. I can’t do drama dresses.

Mui Mui Shoes

Apart from engagement rings, my shoes were the first wedding related item we bought. It was very important for me to have shoes that I would be able to wear again, not just for the wedding. They were turquoise suede peep toe pumps from Mui Mui. Very high!

Polished And Radiant

Seeing as I’m a beauty therapist, I did my own nails. Nude on fingers and red on toes. My hair was done by a local hairdresser and I had a classic side bun. I drew the line at doing my own make up and that was done by MAC make up artist Stacy Okafor who flew in for the occasion. Her brief was to make me look polished and radiant – keeping in line with the understated elegance theme.

Faux Flowers

Because of the heat, we choose artificial flowers which we picked out from Atelier Abigail Ahern in Islington. She is known as the ‘Chanel of faux flowers’.

I had a dusty pink/champagne rose and peony bouquet. The bridesmaids had white/green hydrangeas and Hammed and the guys had stems of gelda which were specially made into button holes by Ying from The Willow Florists in Shoreditch. He attached them to leaves and twigs which he had sprayed in gold.

Navy Blue And Gold

The bridesmaids dresses were made in Lagos by a designer called Miriam Ilaka. As the ceremony was in a mosque they needed long dresses and we wanted it quite relaxed so we went for flowy chiffon in deep navy blue. They had gold cuffs from Oliver Bonas and gold/citrine coloured earrings from Top Shop.

In the mosque, they had to wear long white scarves over their head and shoulders. To tie the theme in, they all wore bronze/gold shoes. The grooms men wore navy suits from Moss Bros which they bought. This was complimented with gold ties, cufflinks and pocket squares.

A Change For Tradition

Hammed suit was made for him by Marc Wallace in Chelsea. It was a sand colour 3 piece suit which made him look very dapper. Tie from Marc Wallace too. Classic brown brogues from Fratteli Rosetti, cufflinks from Lanvin and pocket square from a selection at Selfridges.

In the evening we both changed into a green and cream outfits, made specially for us. Hammed wore his as a tradition ‘agbada’ and I had mine designed into a one shoulder mermaid dress. Its tradition for the couple to get changed into traditional outfits before the dancing really starts. I was supposed to wear some nude Louboutins with it, but my feet were so sore and knowing the amount of dancing I was going to do, I wore my trusted purple platforms from Office instead. Bit of a colour clash, but at the stage, I didn’t really care!

Cool, Calm And Collected

When we met Lee, we knew he was the right person straight person away. He was cool, calm and collected. He was also up for the challenge of going to Sierra Leone which was a very good thing!

How Many Cakes?

I wanted the cake to be a feature, but at the same time I didn’t want it to be fussy. So I designed it myself. I had 14 cakes in total, all arranged into a few sets of tiers. It was ivory icing with a cascade of roses spilling down the sides. It was a mixture of sponge and fruit.

Local Entertainment

We had some local artists to entertain our guests. A dancer, comedian and an acrobat. My family chose the entertainment and we were happy to go along with it.

At Last

Our first dance was to Etta James – At Last – we wanted something classic and seeing as we’ve been together 9 years, at last we were getting married 🙂

An Assortment Of Favours

Favours are very important in an African weddings and they are presented by both families. We had special carrier bags made with one of pictures from our pre wedding shoot. They were filled with personalised notebooks, pens, hankies, hand fans and bottle openers. We had no choice in the favours, but we were happy with them as they were done to a good standard.

Twinkles And Lanterns

We had lots of fairy lights, as we wanted lots of twinkles. We did try having candles, but it was way too windy and they kept blowing out! My sister hung lots of white Chinese lanterns over the high table, which looked lovely.

A World Wide Celebration

Our wedding was unique because of the love we felt all around us. Loads of people took time out of their busy schedules to fly in from all over the world and celebrate with us.

We had so much support, it was over whelming. My advice to other brides would be – stress does nothing for you! Go with the flow and concentrate on the important bits that matter. Its having all your family and friends share the day with you that’s important.

Photography – Lee Allen photography

Brides dress – Pronovias

Boutique – Mirror Mirror

Brides earrings and necklace – Tiffany’s

Brides brooch – Crystal Bridal Accessories

Brides shoes – Miu Miu

Make-up – Stacy Okafor

Grooms suit – Marc Wallace

Flowers – Atelier Abigail Ahern

Wow, well you don’t see a wedding like this one every day. 14 cakes! It may be worth mentioning again at this point that there were 1100 guests for dinner, so that only works out as 1 cake for every 78 and a half people, so it’s not so crazy!

It sounds like a logistic nightmare from start to finish but what an amazing event to have pulled off. I am so jealous that Lee Allen managed to get out there… I think maybe next time you go half way around the world Lee, you should take a wedding blogger or two with you…

Adam.

P.S below as promised is a gallery of images from the African engagement ceremony. Enjoy!

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Rustic Garden Beauty.

Right you lovely people, it’s the first wedding of 2012 and boy have I got a corker for you…

That crazily talented chap Mister Phill shot my favourite wedding of last year, so what better way to start this year than with another tremendous Mister Phill affair? This time he is shooting with Nichola Rogers, and we find ourselves in the beautiful countryside setting of Oxfordshire.

Our first newly weds of the new year are Hannah and Damian, I’m going to pass you over to Hannah right now.

A Rare Moment.

We got married at Friars Court, Clanfield in September 2011. We had seen a few wedding venues but wanted somewhere that reflected what we wanted from our day – a place that was personal, informal and intimate. We instantly fell in love with Friars Court, a beautiful 17th-century stone farmhouse with gorgeous, sprawling gardens surrounded by a moat in the Oxfordshire countryside. It wasn’t just its rustic beauty that attracted us, but the potential to make it unique and special to us.

With so many nooks and crannies, there were many options for how and where to get married, but I had always wanted to get married outside and the rose arbour provided the perfect setting. It also meant a very long walk, across two bridges in heels(!) but this gave me time to take everything in and appreciate the moment – it was pretty amazing seeing everyone’s reactions, including Damian’s smile when I came into view from across the moat!

We were aware that we would be spending a long time in one place, as we had both our ceremony and reception at Friars Court, so we made full use of the venue, emerging from the house to confetti and cheers, having games and drinks on the lawns, and using the marquee and cosy Garden Room as indoor areas in the evening. With so much scope for personalising and transforming we initially felt a little overwhelmed by the task of planning the day, but this helped us to focus on the aspects that were important to us – being creative, surprising our guests, and having a rare moment of being centre of attention as a couple – and doing it all together definitely made it even more meaningful and memorable!

Understated.

I had lots of fun trying on many different dresses – from big meringues to slinky, sparkly gowns – dresses that I knew wouldn’t suit me and I never intended to wear! It was a lot harder to make a serious choice, especially for someone who is renowned for her inability to make decisions – but I did know I wanted to wear something that I’d feel comfortable in and that reflected my character. So, I looked for dresses that were understated, slightly different to the norm, and subtly elegant.

Friends and family recommended bridal shops and I browsed online, looking both in London and back where I grew up in Bucks. The experience of finding a dress was also important to me – I wanted to enjoy this once in a lifetime shopping trip with my mum and sister, so the decision I made was also influenced by where I looked. Mirror Mirror, with shops in Angel and Crouch End – provided really fantastic, personal service helping me to think about the style of my wedding from atmosphere to accessories. In the end (after trying on numerous lace dresses!), I went for a simple but beautifully-fitted chiffon dress, Abaco by Pronovias. I loved the elegant neckline and the natural feel to it, but it was my mum’s reaction that really let me know it was ‘the one’!

Something Borrowed.

As much as I didn’t have a clear idea of how I wanted to look, I strongly held on to what I knew I didn’t want – anything fussy, glitzy or bling! I had intended to just wear a few fresh flowers in my hair, but the dress needed a veil. I chose to wear the veil my mum wore at her wedding (cut and simplified to one long length at the base of my neck), and was very happy – both with the final look and the sentiment of wearing something given to you by someone you love. On that note… I also wore a pair of pearl earrings that my husband-to-be had given me for my birthday a few days before our wedding.

The Footwear Challenge.

Unfortunately, I’m not a shoe fan so finding wedding shoes that both looked good, felt good and allowed me to clamber over a bridge and down the grass aisle was quite a challenge! I went for classic Rainbow kitten heels in Ivory – and can now dye them green to match the grass stains I acquired! They didn’t last all night though, and I happily changed into a pair of cream flip-flops when all that mattered was being on the dancefloor with my friends.

Natural And Simple.

I was originally planning to do my own make-up, but was very happy to hand over to someone with far more expertise than me! Amanda Head is a professional stylist and make-up artist who has recently set-up independently, and offers excellent service and value for money.

She travelled to our hotel on the morning of the wedding to make everyone from my sister to my grandma looked beautiful, and was a very patient and reassuring presence – despite having glandular fever! I had a hair and make-up trial a few weeks before the wedding and Amanda listened to my request to stay natural and simple, whilst letting me know clearly what would work and what definitely wouldn’t! For my make-up she used light, rosy colours, that I wouldn’t have thought of trying, but that made me look fresh and radiant. My hair was pinned back in low, loose curls with a few cream roses at each side.

The Blooms.

There are so many options, from the flowers themselves, to the colours, arrangements and styles, it was hard to know where to begin. Luckily we had Cindy Warne, a local florist who also got married at Friars Court, to help us decide. She was able to let us know what worked well at the venue, whilst encouraging us to let her know what we wanted.

Sticking to the natural, rustic style of our wedding I asked her to mix cream roses with garden flowers and foliage, in warm yellows and oranges. Cindy created stunning, delicately hand-tied bridal and bridesmaid’s bouquets – I loved the sprinkling of daisies she added for a unique twist! She also arranged yellow and cream garden flowers in small, hanging jam-jars to line the aisle – subtle yet gorgeous touches. Cindy also provided us with simple, cream rose button-holes and wired rosebuds for my hair.

We didn’t want to spend a fortune on flowers and didn’t feel we needed to, given we got married in a garden, but we did want to use flowers as centerpieces on tables and bring the outdoors inside to decorate our marquee for the reception. Cindy was brilliant in providing us with cut flowers and foliage to arrange ourselves on the day (well, my very lovely friends and family arranged on the day!) Small posies of flowers in jam-jars were placed in birdcages, and a neighbour’s generous offering of ivy cut the day before to drape around the cages finished the look.

Traditional Tails.

Choosing the suits was probably one of the easiest and quickest decisions we made (such a contrast to choosing a wedding dress!) We both liked traditional tails in charcoal grey; Damian wore an ivory waistcoat and cravat and his best men wore grey waistcoats with green cravats, hiring everything from Moss Bros.

My lovely little sister was the only person I needed beside me as a bridesmaid, and this made choosing her dress a far easier task as we could focus on what she liked and suited her. Green was an obvious choice, in-keeping with the setting and feel of our garden wedding, and she looked stunning in strapless Grecian-style chiffon dress from Dessy. We used this green as a central colour to match to flowers, decorations and the men’s cravats.

Legendary Status.

Mister Phill is now a bit of a legend amongst our friends… he was Damian’s lecturer in cinematography at university, and is now a renowned photographer with a big business in ‘ex-students’ weddings that is rapidly expanding! It was lovely to already have a connection to someone who will share the most intimate moments of your day; however, Phill took the time to get to know us as a couple, meeting us for a pre-wedding photo ‘de-sensitisation’ shoot! Over breakfast, he asked us not just about our hopes for the wedding, but also about our interests, characters and lives together. This thoughtfulness and understanding translates through his photos, which provide not just beautiful images of the wedding, but document the story and process of the day – from solitary moments of morning nervousness, to the uninhibited joy on the dancefloor at the end of the night!

Phill was assisted by Nichola Rogers providing us with another perspective of the day and making choosing photos to print a very hard task! Having two photographers made it possible to record both Damian and I getting ready; Phill and Nicola synchronized their cameras so we could literally watch the day’s events unfold simultaneously – a really fascinating insight into that final morning!

Double Trouble.

The wedding cake was quite far down on our list of priorities, although we were looking forward to making decisions about the flavours!! We were very lucky as one of our best friends, Nyk Huxley, just so happens to be a patisserie-chef-in-training, and offered to make our cake as a wedding present! She did a fantastic job making us a beautiful, three-tiered, white-iced glory of a cake… comprising vanilla sponge, carrot and walnut cake, and a crowning tier of fruit cake – delicious! She also provided us with and constructed a phenomenal cheese tower, which was cut and eaten in the evening… who says you can’t have your (two) cakes and eat them?!

Strings Attached.

We looked into lots of different options for music and entertainment, and were overwhelmed by the number of choices! In the end we asked a string quartet from Oxford University to play during the wedding and drinks reception. They were absolutely wonderful, both in the lead-up to the wedding and on the day, arranging the songs we wanted during the ceremony and playing a mix of modern and classical music in the gardens. A beautiful accompaniment to the serenity of the day!

We wanted the evening entertainment to have a different feel, reflecting the atmosphere in the marquee as we focused on celebrating with friends and family. We had heard The Wedding Smashers DJ at a number of events before, and liked their energy and passion, as well as their old-school sounds! We gave them a playlist of music we enjoyed, but wanted them to do what they do best by judging the atmosphere and shaping the mood of the night – we were not disappointed! From dancing-with-dad cheesiness to a full-on mash-up, some of our greatest memories are dancing with our friends and family after the happiest day of our lives!

A Song that Defines You.

Damian and I have a few meaningful, yet highly embarrassing songs that punctuate our relationship over the last ten years – but none that we were willing to use for our first dance! It seemed like a big decision to make – a song that defines you as a couple – and we admittedly left it till the last minute to pick a song! However, we needn’t have worried…. the song that we did choose, ‘Tonight, Tonight’ by The Smashing Pumpkins, fitted the moment perfectly reminding us of growing up together, enjoying love and life, and not caring what anyone else thought!

Home Made Favours.

Practically we didn’t want to spend lots of money on a token gift, and it felt more important to spend time and effort creating something that we enjoyed and that would make our guests smile. Simple… we love food! We made jars of caramelised red onion chutney, and apple and tarragon jelly, which fitted with the English country-garden feel of our wedding and made for a tasty reminder of the day!

Rustic Touches.

We decorated the venue ourselves, with the help of some very special friends, who helped us to add small, but personal touches to our wedding… home-made bunting, wicker hearts hanging from ribbon in the trees, a trellis of photos of our adventures together, and a ‘wish-tree’ on which to hang our wedding wishes! Jeffrey, from Friars Court, was also fantastic in helping us transform his venue into our own creation, whilst also providing endless reassurance and encouragement throughout the process.

Compromise And Sacrafice.

Organising a wedding was far more stressful than I anticipated, but this reflected how much it meant to us to have a day that everyone we cared about enjoyed and remembered us by. We quickly learnt that not everyone shares your ideas or expectations of the day, and whilst some compromise and sacrifice is inevitable (weddings are magical – your budget, for example, will disappear rapidly!), it is really important to hold on to what is important to you. For us, it was about the atmosphere and creativity of the day, rather than the quality or finish – although making things and seeing the effect when they all come together was really enjoyable!

As much as we were focused on everyone else having fun, we were also very aware that it was our day and we made sure we spent some moments together to take it all in, and excitedly say to each other ‘is this really happening?!’ We also prepared ourselves to be the centre of attention, which was quite a daunting task, but we enjoyed the day so much more for letting go of any last-minute worries or expectations. As a result we have really happy memories of our wedding, of the surprises and mishaps, as well as the bits that went to plan!

Of everything that we encountered, the most important part of the wedding for me was planning it with my husband – not only did I learn a few new things about him along the way (he is scarily skilled with a sewing machine!), but it reminded me of all the reasons we chose to get married!

Venue Friars Court, Clanfield

Boutique Mirror Mirror

Dress Abaco by Pronovias

Shoes Rainbow Club

Hair and Make-up Amanda Head

Flowers Cindy Warne

Photography Mister Phill and Nichola Rogers

DJ The Wedding Smashers

A good start to the year no?

There are lots of nice little home made pieces of inspiration here to help you lot kick start a super creative 2012. We have got a perfect outdoor venue which helps remind me that I love England as I sit here in the dark January drizzle and of course some of the most perfect photography in Weddingdom.

Hannah mentions at the end there that the most important thing for her was being able to plan every step of the way with Damian, who was involved from the start. I’d loved to have seen a little behind the scenes shot of our groom sat slaving over the old Singer… I guess sometimes Mister Phill doesn’t get every shot!

Adam.

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