Cue absolutely epic wedding venue, it’s a church hall. Yep, you won’t believe it when you see it. This wedding is so up my street it’s untrue. There’s lace, kilts, immense flowers, an abundance of cakes and a whole heap of love. Felicity’s Annasul Y gown is divine and how effortlessly cool is Emma Boileau’s photography?
So where to begin with Laura & Howard’s oh so beautiful wedding?? It really is a girly girls dream!
I suppose the theme begins with the dress, and when your dress happens to be Dita by Naomi Neoh – with it’s French corded lace bodice and full silk chiffon skirt infused with a subtle hint of blush pink – you know your wedding is going to be of the soft and romantic variety.
The flowers couldn’t be more pretty either. Just wait until you see Laura’s bouquet! Apparently her florists assistant described it as the prettiest thing she’d ever seen…and I can completely understand why. Fluffy pink peonies surrounded by delicate green foliage and wrapped in vintage lace?! It’s a real beauty.
And then there’s the photography from On Love & Photography, which just seems to have painted a soft, timeless quality over the entire day…
Emmie and Geoff’s pretty pastel wedding had me swooning from the very first image. It’s just bursting with gorgeous details and wonderful ideas that you could definitely recreate yourselves.
The baby pink and blue tin cans used as table centre pieces, the photo frame table plan, the chalkboard sign welcoming guests and the wooden signs directing guests to ceremony were all made by Emmie and Geoff, and their wonderful family and friends.
I think it’s fair to say that at RMW we LOVE shoes and Emmie’s something-blue pair are seriously gorgeous. Her lace, deep V backed gown is stunning too and continues the pretty colour scheme with that beautiful dusky pink bow.
Honestly, I’ll never tire of satin ribbon tied up in a bow.
If you’re inspired to recreate any of Emmie and Geoff’s ideas, then don’t worry – Emmie explains how she did it all below. (And if anyone makes a flying saucer or marshmallow tree – please make an extra to send to RMW HQ).
And if you’re feeling creative don’t forget all of our DIY projects can be found here.
Oh my! I have a sneaking suspicion that you are going to fall in love with this afternoon’s wedding – that of Jacqueline and Joe who married on Lusty Beg Island amidst the backdrop of New Year’s revelries.
For a start Jacqueline is BEAUTIFUL with delicious bridal accessories to match – I mean you just can’t help but gawp at her super sparkly Gucci shoes in awe. But that’s not all!
I adore pretty much EVERYTHING in this wonderful ‘I do’ from the illustrated stationery to the super chic bridesmaid dresses from BHLDN all the way through to the epic portrait shots by the Guinness sign and the dapper men in tweed. And you need to check out the ceiling accessories adorning the pair’s wedding reception – now that’s how to drape paper chains in style.
Take it away you gorgeous pair!
Imagine if you were to combine a shop full of weird and wonderful memorabilia and vintage items, with a sumptuous wedding in a Victorian hotel…well people, that’s exactly how I would describe Jemma and Lee’s big day.
The lovely pair used bits and bobs they had from home for the decor – bell jars, pearls, vintage keys, old books, phrenology heads, fortune telling hands AND pieces of taxidermy all make an appearance. I can only imagine how fun their house is to visit…
Go with it – because I promise you it WORKS. SO. WELL.
I would also go as far to say that Jemma’s winged eyeliner is probably the best I’ve ever seen. The bold look works perfectly behind her demure birdcage veil. And those stacks of vintage pearls work amazingly as a statement necklace.
Today’s wedding also makes me wonder why more Bridesmaids aren’t dressed in black…these ladies look so chic and you can never go wrong with an LBD. Especially a barginous one from the high street with pretty white lace detail!
Every last one of those beautiful paper cranes was folded by today’s Bride Alison.
In Japanese culture, a Bride who finishes this task before her wedding day will be rewarded with a good and happy marriage. And judging by the gorgeous images from Babb Photo, the Bride will also be rewarded with a beautifully decorated reception venue…
Alison’s write up is full of detail, laughter and great advice. And it shows that things will always be alright in the end.
Alison The Bride: I loved the winding lanes to our venue, South Farm, and the surrounding countryside, the farm building, the barn and the grounds. Food and its provenance is important to us, so the fact that the farm is an organic smallholding that supplies much of its own fruit and veg, free-range pork and eggs was a key factor for us too.
We had the full tour including the greenhouses, poly tunnels, the works! Our guide snuck us a couple of delicious tomatoes to taste. When he asked, “Do you want to meet the piglets?” I knew we would be booking the farm.
Sparkly And Fresh
I don’t wear much make-up day to day, I’m not very good at it and I feared that the nerves on the day might make me even more clutzy. Two of my beautiful Bridesmaids booked me a trial with Dina of D & D Make-up as a present. Once I saw what she could do with my make-up and hair I was converted.
She did a wonderful job of making us look like sparkly, fresh versions of ourselves, despite the fact we had all been up laughing, crying and chatting into the early hours the night before. The hair and make-up stayed put all day in a way I could never manage by myself.
She brought Giles to help out with the hair too so we were well looked after. I was thrilled with everything they did. Getting ready with the girls, Dina and Giles was a lovely part of the day. For perfume it had to be Chloe. I don’t know if it is my signature scent yet but one day it will be.
Dithering Over The Dress
I found dress shopping tough. I knew the style I preferred pretty early on. I love lace and sleeves, with a simple silhouette but I am not sure I would ever be lucky enough to have a moment where I found “the one”. I found the shopping experience awkward and, often the assistants seemed insincere in their constant compliments when some dresses were clearly ridiculous.
I also struggled to come to terms with the idea of a dress more expensive than my car. I wanted to run around, explore the farm with my new husband and my loved ones and hug everyone in sight, regardless of whether they were holding a glass of red wine, without worrying about staining a dress. I wanted to be present, not pre-occupied. I looked at the overseas online shops and got scared of the bad reviews. I dithered.
Inspiration via RMW
When I saw the piece about Kitty and Dulcie on RMW, I began to think there was a genuine alternative. With a bridesmaid by my side, I took my measurements, then took them again, ordered my size and about 3 days later a giant pink box arrived at my desk at work! I had to wait all day to try it; it was agony.
The fit was almost perfect and precisely as it was advertised. I had some alterations done by a local seamstress to take it in and I got my full length, lacey, fishtail dress for a fraction of the cost in a shop. Overall I was exceptionally pleased with my dress and the service. I have one caveat. There was a mark on it, and I had some back and forth with the company and we never really ironed out this problem. If I sent it back, they couldn’t guarantee a replacement in time, but I couldn’t risk not finding another dress.
They wouldn’t pay for cleaning without seeing the mark and I couldn’t take a picture of it as it was on the underlayer and my camera could not be persuaded to focus on it. It went on and on. In the end I chalked it up to experience, kept the dress and wore my late-grandmother’s brooch over it. It was nice to have it as my something old, so I was content in the end after all.
Like A Rock Star
Along the road to planning the wedding I found out I was expecting a new arrival. I also found out that it was likely to be the hottest day of the year. I couldn’t try my dress on again and I wasn’t sure it would go over the tiny but expanding bump (particularly as I had it taken in before this news came to light!)
On the Sunday before the wedding, in a sudden burst of energy, I ordered a dress from Monsoon UK as a second option. It was the matching dress to go with my bridesmaids, but had only just been released, it was like a sign. It arrived 3 days before the wedding. It was all pretty casual.
Even if dress one fitted I thought I might need something light and flowing to be able to move around in the evening and avoid fainting. In the end they both fitted and I got to feel like a rockstar with a costume change part way through the day. Even my two dresses came to less than half of the average shop-bought dress. My advice would be to consider all the options as buying online totally worked for me.
Last Minute Accessories
I am not particularly traditional and whenever the proprietors of bridal shops plonked a veil on my head it made me feel like a little girl dressing up rather than a real bride. They just weren’t for me. I didn’t think of accessories until the Thursday before the wedding, when I ran to town after work to try and pick something up during late night shopping. I couldn’t have left it later if I tried.
I grabbed a pair of earrings, a very simple necklace and a statement cuff from Accessorize UK and ran home to finish my epic DIY projects and packing to leave the house at 8.30 am the next morning to begin my wedding adventure.
Style First, Colour Second
I had three bridesmaids, two very old school friends and Neil’s sister. Their outfits were the first things we bought for the wedding. I didn’t have a colour scheme in mind and decided to be guided by the dresses the girls liked rather than being stuck with a colour and then having a limited choice of dresses. I would thoroughly recommend this approach.
We did a few short trips to get dress ideas and browsed a little online before spotting a pretty teal cocktail dress in Monsoon UK. It had a flattering cut, it had the right amount of sparkle and it suited all of them beautifully. The dresses were Grecian-inspired silk, with a beaded belt cinching in the waist.
They were very much involved in choosing the dresses so I felt confident that they would feel happy and pretty on the day. We teamed the dresses with silver peep-toe shoes from Jones the Bootmaker, which were beautifully comfortable with a little heel. Dressing my girls was the easiest part of the whole affair.
Navy Blue And Golden Yellow
Neil asked my brother and his best friend to be best men, and his sister’s fiancé to be an usher. Team Groom and the Dads all wore navy blue three-piece suits from the high street, some from Marks and Spencer and some from Next depending on their preferred cut. Neil had his suit made at Suit Supply. He chose a brighter blue teamed with a cream waistcoat to make him stand out amongst the boys. He looked especially handsome.
We made several desperate attempts to find ties in the same shade of teal before we realised that we didn’t care about matching. We decided we wanted the overall look to be bright, colourful and inspired by summer and eventually chose golden yellow ties. We gave the boys goody bags on the day with the tie, plain white pocket square and a pair of bright socks each.
A Summer Picnic Mini Festival Mash Up
Once we had decided that we weren’t having a matching colour scheme it got a whole lot easier. We had a vague theme of teal and yellow to link with the ties and dresses but overall the scheme was summery and chaotic. The venue gardens are a riot of colour in July and we wanted to embrace the wonderful English country garden.
The venue is quietly eccentric and we wanted to embrace that. Our friends camped in the field, and some were lucky enough to stay in the restored gypsy caravans on site. The venue didn’t need much help to look stunning and the fact it was the most glorious day of the summer helped too. It felt like a summer picnic and a mini-festival all rolled into one.
A Whoosh Of Fragrance
We had a meeting with a wonderful florist, Liz of Tilia Flowers, and we knew she immediately understood our ideas. Our preference was for bright, colourful English flowers with a variety of shapes, sizes and textures. We gave her the freedom to pick whatever looked brightest and best on the day. We asked for fragrant flowers and herbs to be included in the bouquets and buttonholes so every time we had a bear-hug with someone (which happened approximately every 25 seconds) the scrunched flowers let off a whoosh of fragrance. She included blue and yellow flowers to tie in the bridesmaids and groomsmen.
I explained that I loved peonies but I did understand that they may not be at their prime so something similar would make me happy. I don’t know how she did it. I don’t know who she bribed. When she arrived with the bouquets I could not believe the monster hulk peonies exploding out of each bunch. I thought my flowers looked a bit like something from a Tim Burton film and I loved them.
As a bonus the florist was very familiar with the venue and gave us great suggestions on how to re-use our ceremony flowers later in the day so we got lots of blooms for our buck. It felt like there was an abundance of flowers around all day.
Clear Eyes And Full Hearts
I usually cry at absolutely anything but I was too excited to feel nervous or negative in anyway. As we waited to step out of the farmhouse into the garden for the ceremony, all three bridesmaids got teary instead. My lovely cousin, Katherine played a piano version of “Your Hand in Mine” by Explosions in the Sky as I walked down the lawn with Dad, trying desperately to spot Neil.
Most people were on the chairs, but some people were sitting out on blankets on the lawn in the shade as it was the hottest day of 2013. I found him at the top of the aisle looking a little shell-shocked (or suffering heat-exhaustion). We walked round into the summerhouse together and every now and then he whispered to me “Can you believe this is happening?” Somehow we got through the vows with clear eyes and full hearts. My Mum and Neil’s Sister did wonderful readings and we held hands right the way through.
Every now and then I could spot our wonderful photographer, Laura Babb, or Bee and Mark from Yay Films zipping around to get a different angle, but it felt like a very personal, almost private ceremony.
Stealthily Capturing The Day
Photography was an important part of the day for us. We found Laura Babb on the RMW Love Lust List. Her portfolio spoke for itself and her responses to emails were quick and friendly. We booked pretty sharpish when we found out she was available without waiting for a meeting. There was no need and I am so glad we got her. She gave a great personal service, she is super-friendly but totally professional. I cannot stop recommending her. Her tutorial on carrying bouquets was exceptionally helpful when my butterfly brain was zipping around everywhere before the ceremony too!
Lovely Mark and Bee from Yay! Films were there to capture the day in motion. I didn’t really notice them when I wasn’t trying to spot them, which I think is a good sign. I suspect they may have struggled to persuade our old-school crowd of family to keep moving and not pose because these new-fangled video cameras are so small they look like they are taking stills, but if this became a chore they never let on! I love their highly edited style and the modern approach of interpretation rather than transparent reporting.
Von Trapp Family Style
After the ceremony we had an open-mic session in the garden to let our wonderful, talented friends do all the hard work. I was especially nervous about this part of the day as it really relied upon everyone getting involved. My mind was officially blown by the effort everyone made to put amazing songs together.
It meant that even though I spent hours planning the wedding, there was a two hour section of the day filled with surprises. I absolutely loved it. The highlight of the entire day was when I saw Neil go up on stage to sing an acoustic cover of “Teenage Dream” by Katy Perry, dedicated to me, with his best man and an old friend on guitar.
I managed to avoid crying right up until my brand new husband sang for me in front of all of our guests. I also played a little bass while my Dad played a Fleetwood Mac blues track which was a wonderful, surreal moment. My Cousins and Aunts and Uncles all played and sang, we had two singing bridesmaids and some lovely star-turns from friends.
Our first dance was the song “Perfect One” by a band called Lit that we have both loved since we first got together in sixth form. This song was on the first mix tape (on a genuine cassette) that Neil gave to me when we were both 17. It seemed right to dance to it at our wedding 13 years later after growing up together.
We decided that a band was the best way to get people dancing in the evening. I was so glad we found Pressure on Alive Network. As a lot of our friends are musical, we knew a tight band was essential and we were thrilled with these guys. They played a great mix of tunes, their Daft Punk cover was brilliant and they kept everyone dancing to the end. Neil and his sister were pulled up on stage to sing the last song of the night then we all collapsed on to picnic chairs outside to cool off until midnight.
A Glorious Feast Of Home Grown Produce
We picked the venue partly due to the amazing fresh, home-grown produce and we were not disappointed. We had canapés throughout the open-mic reception, including tuna sashimi, risotto and cheese bon-bons, mini chorizo with mash and brie croustades. We also had the South Farm vintage ice-cream bike serving home-made ice cream in delicious flavours like cherry, toffee-pecan and bread-and-butter pudding. Everyone appreciated it in the gorgeous sunny weather.
For our wedding breakfast we chose a squash ravioli for everyone, then a choice of slow-cooked pork, cod with wild mushrooms, or chard and gruyere tart. The dessert was an assiete of dark chocolate and cointreau tort, crème brulee and lemon posset. Several people have said it was the best pork they have eaten.
In keeping with the informal, summer-garden theme, the cake was a three-tier un-iced Victoria sponge decorated with an abundance of English soft fruit. It was made by my multi-talented cousin Katherine. I was lucky enough to get many trial cakes, each as delicious as the last, before the wedding day arrived.
My dad made me a beautiful wooden cake stand, out of a big slice of tree, smoothed and polished to a deep warm brown. My mum knitted two incredibly cute blue-birds from an archaic pattern I unearthed from an archive on the internet and we used them as cake toppers.
DIY Successes And Failures
I tried to make my own invitations and they were horrible. Owen, our talented, designer/web-design geek friend offered to take a look and tidy them up, or have a go at putting something together. I sent him the bones of what I wanted to include. A couple of days later a PDF popped into my inbox with a glorious personal invitation, with lots of lovely touches sprinkled here and there. He took every bit of stress and strain out of it. I got the finished prints and sewed them up with colourful embroidery thread into little booklets to post out to everyone.
I love photobooths, but the budget was stretched tight, so I made one using a vintage suitcase from my nan’s house, an instamatic camera, some really scary animal masks from the internet, some military style hats and silly glasses. I got a beautiful handmade photo album from Kate Bowles Books on Folksy and supplied markers and asked everyone to stick a photo in the book with a message as an alternative to a guestbook. The result is wonderful. As a bonus, I have a box of horrible masks to scare my new husband if he decided to come home late.
The biggest and craziest DIY task was my decision to fold 1000 origami cranes. I read the myth that a bride who finishes this task, called ‘senbazuru’, before her wedding day will be rewarded with a good and happy marriage. I got two giant packs of paper and folded cranes, every evening, in my lunch-break at work, sometimes when I was stuck on hold on the phone I would finish a couple. I had shoe boxes full of cranes all over the house. Friends helped enormously. We were occasionally found folding cranes in the local pub, with each crane looking less and less crane-like than the last.
Even after they were all folded, I still had to figure out what to do with them. Eventually, with the help of several friends, I strung them on beading wire, separating each one with a bead and hung these strings of birds all over my house to avoid horrible tangles. They were spread out across the back wall of the barn behind the top table as a rainbow backdrop to the evening reception. I recommend that you do not start this unless you mean to finish. It will take hours. It will become boring. I gave myself plenty of time and it was still a rush to finish the last few strings of birds half an hour before I had to leave for the wedding weekend!
I sent a couple of tiny cranes to our florist to pop one in my bouquet and one in Neil’s buttonhole but the post didn’t work out so she didn’t get them. On the morning of the wedding, I made two absolutely tiny cranes for her to use. It was quite a meditative moment, sitting there folding the final two birds quietly while everyone ran around prepping the venue and blow-drying hair.
Mad, Bright And Colourful
Although we didn’t plan a theme, the cranes helped tie everything together in a mad, bright, colourful way. True to form, we left the table plan to the last minute. Then Neil had a vision of how it should be. He spent a sunny afternoon in my parents’ garden making a giant picture frame with my dad and staining it teal. I made big origami birds in 7 colours to decorate the tables. We strung the guest names in long lines, interspersed with cranes of the appropriate colour to show which table they should go to. It was visually stunning and I think everyone got the message, as everyone ended up with a seat!
We printed the place tags at home on paper dotted with dried flowers and bee-friendly wildflower seeds. On the back they had planting instructions and they doubled as favours for the guests.
The bunting around the barn and garden was made by friends and family, including a special string of bunting where each flag was made by one of the hens who came to my hen night. It is a keepsake I will treasure. There was also a special one made by my dad that made me cry when I first saw it.
Give Up Control
My beautiful Bridesmaids organised a spa day the day before the wedding. It meant I had to pack for the wedding, pack for the honeymoon, finish any last DIY bits and then leave the world’s longest list for Neil to organise and swan out of the house at 8.30 am on Friday. The wedding was on Saturday and we zipped off on honeymoon straight after. I relaxed, I swam, I had my nails done and I let all the rest of it go. If you can bear to give up that last bit of control, I would really recommend it. It meant that I wasn’t a frazzled, quivering mess on the morning of the wedding.
After I ran out to get jewellery on the Thursday before the wedding, I wasn’t totally thrilled with my choices. I needn’t have bothered. While I was stuffing my face with pizza in my Bridesmaid’s garden on the wedding eve, my husband-to-be arranged a secret parcel to be delivered to the house without me having a clue it was happening.
On the morning of the wedding, before I had any make-up on to ruin, my girls huddled round me with gift bags and cameras. He had snuck out and bought me the most beautiful Tiffany necklace and earrings as a surprise. I couldn’t believe it when I saw the signature turquoise boxes. He also got me some teal Rayban sunnies so I could look cool in the photos and match my Bridesmaids and then take them on honeymoon. It made me realise all over again what a sweet, crazy, extravagant, thoughtful man I was about to marry.
My advice is to plan and make and create to your heart’s content but also rely on your friends and especially your partner to be involved and to surprise you. It was all the little (and amazingly huge) things that everyone brought to the wedding that made it so special.
Bride’s Gown – Kitty And Dulcie and Monsoon UK
Accessories – Accessorize UK and Tiffany
Bridesmaid’s Gowns – Monsoon UK
Hair And Make Up – D&D Make Up
Groom – Suit Supply
Groomsmen – Marks and Spencer and Next
Invitations – Owen Lewis Design
Florist – Liz at Tilia Wedding Flowers
Band – Pressure from the Alive Network
Venue – South Farm
Videography – Yay! Films
Photography – Babb Photo
I actually think it would be very therapeutic to fold cranes in the run up to your wedding.
It must have been very satisfying for Alison when she folded the final one.
They do look truly spectacular in all of their rainbow glory against the barn wall.
Lots of love,
There is something magical about an outdoor ceremony in the english countryside. Throw in some classic VW’s and some top notch pompom action and I am one happy wedding blogger.
The beautiful setting for Danielle and Jamie’s big day is Preston Court, near Canterbury.
Elvis The Horse
Danielle The Bride: The minute I saw the website for Preston Court I fell in love and didn’t want to look at any other venues. Jamie and I went with my Mum and Dad and our children Josh and Poppy to take a look. Jenny showed us everything the venue had to offer, unfortunately for Jamie the carousel was on site, from that point on there was no going back. Josh and Poppy were introduced to Elvis the horse, the resident peacocks, the chickens and the cockerel.
Thankfully Jamie was really taken with the island in the middle of the lake and loved the idea of getting married there; it was very romantic to walk over the lovely iron bridge to meet him.
Jenny and Anna, from Preston Court were great, they allowed us to do our own decorations and when we visited on a cold spring day for our wine tasting Jenny had the fire in the Kentish barn going with hot coffee ready..It was freezing cold outside but the venue was still beautiful!!
Hair The bridesmaids and I all got ready in the bridal suit, Holly and Elena made it a really enjoyable experience for us all. I didn’t want to look like I was wearing too much makeup but equally I didn’t want it to have worn off by the end of the day. They worked great together and made sure everyone was 100% happy, Holly doing the make-up and Elena the bridesmaid’s hair.
Apart from Holly and Elena I was lucky enough to have my heavily pregnant friend Emma murray. do my hair, thankfully baby Ruby waited until after the wedding to make an appearance.
Even the Groom and his Usher Tony (who just happened to be married to the lovely beautician) were treated to a few hours preening before the big day. Jaime Rowbury at Earth Purely then went on to make sure I was feeling relaxed with my own facial, pedicure and manicure along with perfectly painted OPI French gel nails.
I visited a small boutique called The Bridal Way in Warlingham, Surrey on a friend’s recommendation to look for my dress. I had an idea of what I wanted and happily it didn’t take long to find the perfect one. It was Atlanta B San Patrick by Pronovias.
I wanted to keep my jewellery plain, so for something borrowed I wore my Mums silver Tiffany’s heart bracelet, for new, diamond earrings that my Dad surprised me with before he gave me away.
My Grandma pinned a wedding ring into my dress that belonged to my Great Great Auntie Edie; that was my something old.
I wasn’t really shopping for wedding shoes but as luck would have it I came across one pair of satin shoes in my size in the Faith sale, they had perfect sparkly bows and were so comfortable.
I had my Sister, my Auntie, my Sister in Law and two of my best friends as bridesmaids. We couldn’t decide which dresses we liked best so the girls picked their favourites, both Debenhams Debut and we went with both of them.
The pastel pink tied in with the decorations and the blue with the Next suits the Ushers and Josh wore. The Groom, Best Man and both Dads wore suits and ties from TM Lewin. Our daughter Poppy who was our flower girl wore a dress from Monsoon.
I wanted to keep to pastel pinks and creams, I loved the vintage cottage look and we spent lots of time making the decorations ourselves. We ordered flat packed pom poms from decopompoms, which arrived really quickly. The day before the wedding our Parents, my Grandma and Jay and Jodie, two of the bridesmaids spent the whole afternoon opening them up and decorating the barn. For weeks leading up to the wedding we collected material/lace/ribbon and jars to decorate the tables; who would have known empty mayonnaise jars would come in so handy. We ordered the jars on eBay and sweets online from Handy Candy and made our own wedding favours, Jamie spent ages cutting out the circles of material for the tops and stamping the little labels with our wedding date. We ordered hessian in one continuous strip for the table runners and my Grandma cut it to size on our lawn.
All the table names were hand stamped by Jamie and my Mum too.
Soft Shabby Chic
I met Lisa at Heather & Wood at a wedding fair in Kent, her stall was by far the prettiest I had seen and she agreed to come to our home and talk to us about our day. She was great and translated our conversation perfectly into a soft vintage shabby Chic look for the bouquets and table decorations that were exactly what we had hoped for.
All the family stayed at the Bell Hotel in Sandwich and then we travelled to the wedding venue in Delilah… In a fabulous convertible VW Beetle belonging to Kent Beetles and the bridesmaids followed in style in Betty the lovely red retro camper van.
We were married in the folly on Juliana’s medieval island, another lovely part of Preston Court.
Poetry In Motion
Jamie’s Sister Claire, who was one of our bridesmaids, did the first reading followed by Usher Tony who read “I wandered lonely as a cloud” by William Wordsworth. He had known this off by heart since he and Jamie were young and the Registrar was most impressed. Unfortunately the sound of the wind did spoil this for guests on the other side of the Island so Tony was kind enough to do a repeat performance during the speeches, accompanied by mime courtesy of Jamie’s best man Darren much to the audience’s amusement.
We had the most fantastic band, Groove Instinct. We found them online and went to see them perform as a 7 piece band at Dover Street Wine Bar, they didn’t disappoint. Charlie was really helpful answering all our questions in the run up to the wedding and on the night they were great, an amazing atmosphere and they really got the crowd going.
We met our lovely photographer Dasha Caffery over coffee, her style was exactly what we had been looking for. Neither of us like posing for photographs so we were really happy when Dasha took some lovely natural photographs of us with the children for our pre-wedding shoot in Bushy Park.
Dasha was great on the day, she blended in seamlessly with the guests so much so that when the photos arrived we hadn’t remembered seeing her taking them. Now we have some amazing pictures to remind us of what a lovely day we had.
Preston Court provides a list of their preferred caterers to choose from, we chose Scott Anderson after the ceremony they served Pimm’s and canapés on the lawn outside Preston Court then onto the long barn for our wedding breakfast. We gave the guests a choice of two starters and main meal with a delicious Eton Mess for pudding.
In the evening we had a fish and chip van that went down a storm with our guests, the portions were huge and freshly cooked by Susan and Gary in their van. It was getting very chilly by this stage so they were very much appreciated.
Our wedding cake came from a very lovely lady called Laura Milner owner of The Laura May Cake Company; initially I didn’t have any plans for a traditional cake and wanted to go with our own home made offerings. My sister and Mum took me to the wedding fair at Earls Court and it was on the way out that I saw the most beautiful cake. If I hadn’t already been smitten Laura invited Jamie and I along with my Mum and Dad for the cake tasting. We arrived to find two beautifully decorated cakes in each flavour with little sugar flowers. Needless to say they tasted delicious too. Laura made sure our celiac guests were catered for too with their own lovely cupcakes.
The other good thing to come out of the Earls Court wedding was finding Amelia Lane Paper. Again I had planned to go with my own invitations but the samples we ordered were so lovely that it made sense. They provided day and night invitations, an order of service, table numbers, really lovely table plan and menus all to match at a reasonable price. Not only that but Chanel was really patient and accommodating with the printing of our table plan that seemed to take forever.
We made crate paper bunting and little pink hearts for the lawn; all made using a heart cutter from Hobby craft and stuck onto kebab skewers, another family DIY day.
Venue Preston Court
Makeup Holly Kathleen
Hair Elena Thompson
Beauty Earth Purely
Boutique The Bridal Way
Maids Debenhams Debut
Flower Girl Monsoon
Ties TM Lewin
Blooms Heather & Wood
Band Groove Instinct
Photographer Dasha Caffery
Catering Scott Anderson
Chip Van Village Chippy
Cake The Laura May Cake Company
Stationery Amelia Lane Paper
All of the little touches… The test tube florals, the poms, the stationery and the signage (to name just a few) really pull together to create a very polished yet natural theme. Parts of Danielle and Jamie’s wedding almost feel transatlantic while other features are quintessentially english… But everything blends together so perfectly, it’s a real pleasure to sit here looking through all of these beauttiful images.
Maeve and Geoff’s sunshine filled wedding is the perfect antidote to this cold and dreary October Monday.
Maeve chose white flowers and simple elegant décor making the final effect very clean and fresh. Perfect for her beautiful venues – the magical Ness Botanic Gardens and the spectacular Sheldrake Restaurant.
The images, full of light and laughter, come from Rivington Photography.
An Outdoor Ceremony
Maeve the Bride:Our ceremony was held at Ness Botanic Gardens as apart from being stunningly beautiful it’s one of the few places on the Wirral that holds ceremonies outside (weather permitting of course!) and our reception was held at Sheldrakes, a lovely little beach side restaurant with beautiful views.
We decided on both venues quite late into planning as we made some pretty drastic changes to our day. We’d initially planned to have a marquee wedding, but soon realised that it just wasn’t the wedding we’d envisaged. The venues we picked were absolutely perfect for us.
Natural And Soft Make Up
I can be a bit of a fussy thing when it comes to hair and make up, but enlisting the help of professionals on the day was without a doubt a great decision. I wanted something very natural and soft and was so happy that Hollie my makeup artist ‘got me’! She was totally wonderful!
I’m not normally a ‘lippy’ girl, but the lip colour Hollie used (MAC Ample Pink) finished the look off perfectly. My hair…….well, it wasn’t until a week (yes, a week!) before the wedding that I actually decided to find some help! Samantha from Majestic saved me and I was absolutely delighted with what she did!
The Most Romantic Little Place
I found my dress Blue by Enzoani, Champagne, in the beautiful Bellissima Brides in Brimstage. The boutique alone is the most romantic little place!! My very heavily pregnant friend and I went to ‘just go and have a nose’ and the next thing I knew I was parading around the shop saying ‘I feel like a real woman!’ – it was safe the say it was ‘The One’. The style I thought I’d go for just didn’t suit me and as soon as I saw all of that beautiful lace, I was sold!
My Most Treasured Possession
I was a little torn on whether to go for a veil, but after some deliberation (and some Aunty Viv advice!) I decided it would be a real shame not to being a Bride and all! I wore a beautiful hair slide, a gift from lovely friend Hannah and a pair of vintage earrings. I found a perfect little pair of silver glittery shoes from Aldo called ‘Corrinne’ and I borrowed my Aunty’s silver bracelet (extra special as it was my Mum’s).
But the most important piece – my Mum’s wedding ring. Simon from Fraser Bell Jewellers did the most fantastic job on slightly redesigning it to fit with my engagement ring. It’s my most treasured possession.
One of the most important things to both of us was that we didn’t feel pressured to follow ‘the rules’. Our wedding party was everyone!! Geoff has a ridiculously large group of friends and I have a small group of my best girls! I had my four ‘honorary’ bridesmaids who all wore whatever they wanted (I didn’t fancy my chances telling four very different, fully grown women what to wear…) and our nieces and nephews were our fabulous flower girls and page boys. Geoff, his two best men and our Dad’s wore grey suits and green ties (Geoff’s favourite colour!)
A White Obsession
I didn’t have a ‘theme’ as such. I have a rather worrying obsession with white so there was never any doubt that there’d be a lot of it. I love the fresh, clean, classic elegance you get from it and although I was often tempted to go for something totally different, I stuck to my what I know I love – and I’m glad I did. I seemed to be drawn to polka dots when I was planning, so they popped up every so often. Ness Gardens is a natural beauty so there was no need for anything decorative!
Jars, Jars, Jars
When Geoff proposed in 2011 (which by the way was the biggest shock of my LIFE!!) I started collecting glass jars. There were absolutely no wedding plans in place, but one thing I knew was that I wanted jars – and lots of them! I used them as little vases on our tables with white hydrangea and white dahlia and tea light holders scattered between.
Our amazing florist Julie knew exactly the look I was going for and created the most beautiful bridal bouquet for me made up of heaps of my favourite flowers – big white peonies! I really wanted an oversized bouquet and she nailed it!! The ‘bridesmaids’ and flower girls had a peony wrist corsage each.
The Happiest I’ve Ever Felt
The entire ceremony was just amazing! It was the happiest I’ve ever felt in my entire life and if you could bottle that feeling, I’d be hooked! Apart from actually saying ‘I do’, my favourite part of the ceremony has to be the surprise I’d organized for Geoff. My amazing friend Chrissie (who has the voice of an angel) sang one of our favourite songs ‘There’s A Place’ by The Beatles accompanied by a violinist as I walked down the aisle (or over the bridge!).
It was so lovely and personal. Our flower girls and page boys were stood around us as we said our own vows, which made the whole thing so natural and relaxed. Hannah one of my bridesmaids did a beautiful reading for us – an excerpt from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis De Berniers – ‘Love is a Temporary Madness’
“Love is a temporary madness, it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides, you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being “in love”, which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Those that truly love, have roots that grow towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossom have fallen from their branches, they find that they are one tree and not two.”
Playlists For The Whole Day
Geoff has a brain like a jukebox, he’s a massive music fan (as am I!) so he meticulously sifted through his collection and made playlists for every part of the day. They worked an absolute treat! We’re both big Elvis fans so decided on “Can’t Help Falling In Love With You’ as our first dance which our fantastic duo Afrika Fuentes and drummer did a brilliant cover of – definitely got the party started!
Something For Everyone
Food and drink were important! Our tables were long and because of that, we wanted the food to reflect that ‘sit back and enjoy yourself’ feel. We had sharing platters of antipasti and dips to start, spring lamb and fresh veg followed by a trio of seasonal deserts – something for everyone we hoped!
I made all of our favours myself – the girls each had a Seed Packet of forget-me-nots with ‘Let The Love Grow’ stamped on the front and the boys each had a little bottle of ‘Love Potion’ aka, a shot of Grey Goose!! I made colouring books for the kids and made sure they had crayons and pencils to keep them occupied!
Our amazing cakes were by the truly talented and very lovely Vicky – my friend (and bridesmaid!) who owns a cake decorating business. I really wanted something different and decided that three different size and shaped little cakes would be a great idea!
Embracing The DIY
The best part of the entire planning process was applying a bit of DIY! I loved making everything. I designed our invitations and printed them myself and as a result I’ve just started my own little print design company called Too Wordy (website coming very soon!).
I also found a fab site called Wedding In A Teacup that supplies lots of gorgeous bits and pieces to create your own look. I used luggage tags as a vintage stamp set as place names. Our cake table was also very important to me as I had framed pictures of both mine and Geoff’s parents cutting their cake at their weddings.
Savour Every Moment
Our day was beautiful and we’re both so thankful. Perfect? Well nothing’s perfect is it? I had a huge part of me missing on my day – my Mum. I lost her to cancer 4 years ago and in all honesty there were some pretty tough times during the planning process – I just wanted my Mum there. But, I know she was there on our day – the sun was shining, it was the happiest day of my life and I know she’d be so proud to have Geoff as her new son.
My best advice is to enjoy every minute – planning & the day! I know it’s a common one – but there’s good reason for that! It’s about you and your partner, it’s the joining of families and sharing your happiness with your friends, so lap it up and savor every moment.
Our photographer, well what can I say?! Hollie was an absolute delight! So relaxed, such beautiful style and we’re so happy she captured our day for us. Each and every one of our suppliers went above and beyond to make our day so special and we can’t thank them enough!
Bride’s Gown – Champagne, Blue By Enzoani at Bellissima Brides
Bride’s Shoes – ALDO
Make-Up – Hollie Sadler
Hair – Samantha Gannon at Majestic Hair Boutique
Suits – Cain of Heswall
Groom’s Shoes – Dune
Flower Girls – Pippa & Julie Dresses stocked at TK MAXX
Page Boys – Next
Ring – Simon Hughes at Fraser Bell
Invitation Printers – MOO
Table Supplies – Wedding In A Teacup
Florist – Julie Roberts at Stamens Flowers
Cakes – Vicky Sargent at Lemoncake Studio
Gifts for Bridesmaids – Jungwha on Etsy
Singer – Afrika Fuentes
Ceremony Venue – Ness Botanic Gardens
Reception Venue – Sheldrakes
Photographer – Hollie Rivington-Edwards at Rivington Photography
I love an outdoor ceremony – I’m so pleased Maeve and Geoff had such beautiful weather.
Aren’t the cakes gorgeous too? Really different and perfect for the relaxed feel to the day.
Have a nice Monday everyone,
Lots of love,
Hannah’s Benjamin Roberts gown looks absolutely divine on her – and like her lovely new husband Dom, I would also encourage her to wear figure hugging outfits more often! In fact, if I was her, I’d just wear my lacy fishtail bridal gown EVERY DAY.
Keeping It Local
Hannah The Bride: Being a home bird a local wedding was always part of our plan, I’d forever dreamt of getting married at the church in the village I grew up in so this decision was easy! Dom met up with our guests before the ceremony for a beer at our local pub, a stones throw from the church. The reception was at Prestwold Hall, a stunning stately home in the Leicestershire countryside and a perfect backdrop for our big day.
Figure Hugging Surprise
As is the case for most brides, I braced myself for a long, painstaking search for the perfect dress. Surprisingly I fell in love with the second dress I tried on, an ivory lace fishtail dress from designer Benjamin Roberts at Bradgate Brides wedding boutique.
Dom always moans that I never wear anything to show off my curves so I thought I’d surprise him in this figure hugging frock!
Messy Up Do
With a statement dress and jewellery I needed to keep hair and make up simple – the less is more approach. I went for a simple messy up do with fresh ivory peonies. I scoured Pinterest for hours looking for inspiration and then let my hair dresser – Helen @ Salon 57 work her magic on creating the look.
A talented family friend did our make up which again I kept simple with blush tones from Chanel and Mac.
On the day I got as many compliments about my necklace as I did my dress! I stumbled across my J Crew necklace whilst in New York as soon as I saw it I knew it was the one. It’s true what they say… you fall in love when you least expect it!
My little brother gave me a Tiffany locket the night before the wedding which I wore as a bracelet on the day… What a sweetheart!
Teamed with a pair of killer Jimmy Choo heels my look was complete.
Boy In Blue
Dom wore a navy suit which was tailor made by Moss Bros Bespoke with tan brogues from Bertie at John Lewis and a navy spotted tie from Next – he even had the date of our wedding embroidered inside his suit jacket.
I made the rustic looking feather and pussy willow button holes which are available to buy from Etsy shop The Lanes Lifestyle.
Navy, Tan And Gold
I bought them both beautiful rose gold bracelets from Orelia. They do gorgeous jewellery at really great prices – perfect if you have lots of bridesmaids!
Our Own Wedding Showcase
We created a simple, English country look with a vintage glam twist. We spent months hunting at antique fairs for vintage suitcases, antique typewriters, old books and kilner jars to perfect to the look.
I run an online wedding decoration and stationery boutique The Lanes Lifestyle so I was extremely excited to showcase our products at our own wedding!! The table runners, complimenting chair sashes and bunting were all made from hessian and vintage lace.
Our scented candles in jam jars as favours for the ladies and lottery tickets in vintage envelopes for the men went down treat.
Simple But Vintage Inspired
Dom’s cousin is a talented florist so we were delighted when she offered to do our flowers. I went for a vintage inspired but simple look with Gypsophila hand ties with blush coloured trailing ribbon for the bridesmaids and also for the pew ends in the church, it was so effective.
My bouquet had huge ivory hydrangeas with cream and blush peonies and again the trailing blush ribbon softened the look.
The tables had a mixture of twisted willow and ivory hydrangeas in tall vases and kilner jars with hydrangeas, gypsophila and peonies, the room smelt amazing!
A Traditional Ceremony
We had a traditional ceremony in the church I could see from my bedroom window, it was perfect. My little brother gave me away and did a great job of pulling me together before walking down the aisle, as soon as I saw Dom at the front my nerves just melted away. We had a family friend read a poem called Wedded Bliss by Clouson Macleod.
We added our own personal touches… We arrived in a vintage camper van from VW days – I could hardly ignore Dom’s one request for the day!
We also hired Manor House Music’s string duo they played a mixture of classical and popular music throughout the service – they really were fantastic and I’m so glad we booked them.
The house and grounds at Prestwold were exclusively ours for the day. The sun shone, the cocktails flowed and our faces ached from smiling and laughing – what more could you ask for. Our wedding co ordinator Sarah Hitchcock was brilliant, nothing was too much trouble.
We hired Shine, a Leicestershire band at night. They were fantastic and had everyone up dancing to their mix of indie and mowtown. We chose a more upbeat first dance – temper trap ‘sweet disposition’ as we don’t really do soppy!
The food was just incredible. Head chef Marcus Lockwood put together an amazing menu that had us drooling to moment the canapés were served. On arrival we sipped on gin and elderflower cocktails with lavender and hip hip hurray striped straws (available from The Lanes Lifestyle and we went for bottles of corona to tempt the boys.
Neither of us are fans of fruit cake and have a slight obsession with Krispy Kreme donuts. So it made perfect sense to have two huge donut towers for our guests to fill their face on. We saved so much money by doing this and had guests fighting to to the front to get their favourite flavour! We had a small top tier that we decorated with hessian and lace and a ‘just married’ bunting cake topper.
The Lanes Lifestyle
I chose my favourite design from The Lanes Lifestyle collection for the invites. I also created RSVP postcards which we loved receiving back through the post in the run up to the wedding!
The feather luggage tag name cards again from the lanes looked stunning on the tables. Our menus and table numbers were written in chalk on old books covered in blackboard paint.
I’m forever forgetting confetti at other people’s wedding so our usher gave out confetti made from vintage books in brown paper bags.
Maintain The Buzz
Make time for each other – we had thirty minutes after dinner when Matt took us of for some photos of just us two, it gave us a little time with each other which was perfect. We looked back at the house with all of our closest friends and family enjoying themselves, it’s a moment I will never forget.
Have fun!!! We made a deal with each other that at 9pm we would stop mingling, hit the dance floor and dance the night away.
Maintain the buzz – there was a thirty minute drive between the church and the venue and we wanted our guests to stay on a high…so we did a CD for each car with songs that reminded us of fun times with family and friends that were at the wedding. We introduced each song and they loved it.
We had a bit of fun with out guest book by providing guests with a book and Polaroid camera – they took their own picture, stuck it in the book and wrote their message. It worked brilliantly and it created a second album of funny photos.
Treasure For A Lifetime
Matt Parry our photographer was the first thing we booked after we got engaged and it was the best money we spent throughout the whole day! We hate posing for pictures and his relaxed, reportage style combined with the fact that Matt is such a genuinely nice guy out us at ease and provided us with pictures that we will treasure for a lifetime!
Hair – Helen @ Salon 57
Brides Necklace – J Crew
Brides Dress – Benjamin Roberts at Bradgate Brides
Shoes – Jimmy Choo
Bridesmaid Dresses – French Connection
Flower girl dress – Monsoon
Grooms Outfit – Moss Bros Bespoke
Page boy outfit – Next
Groomsmens outfits – Next
Venue – Prestwold Hall
VW Campervan – VW Days
String Duo – Manor House Music
Evening Band – Shine
Stationery, favours, decorations and button holes – The Lanes Lifestyle
Photographer – Matt Parry
Wasn’t that dress literally made for Hannah??
I love her messy up-do too.
The idea of making CD’s for the journey from the church to the reception venue is genius!
And how gorgeous is the subtle navy, tan and gold colour scheme?
Lots of love,