Every single wedding we feature is special but there’s something about this morning’s wedding that has really got me. I think it’s the emotion captured in Sam Gibson’s images combined with the honesty of Chloe’s writing. Putting this blog post together moved me to tears and I know I’m incredibly soppy but I promise you, this one is a total tearjerker – in a big fat happy tears of joy kind of way.
So I’m not going to waffle on, I’m just going to let you enjoy it. Have a beautiful Sunday everybody.
Joanna and Craig’s wedding is a lovely way to round off the week. From Joanna’s gorgeous silk flower crown, to the floral archway, to the antique key table-plan, to the white wooden swing – it’s a wedding day just brimming with pretty details.
I think Joanna has some of the most perfect voluminous curls I’ve ever seen and her and Craig make a very elegant couple. We do love it when a Groom goes for an electric blue suit!!
Joanna and Craig had a very difficult moment in the run up to their wedding day, which meant they had to postpone their date…but thanks to their wonderful suppliers and the support of their friends and family they still had the day they had dreamed of.
Have a great weekend everyone and I’ll hand you over to Joanna to tell her and Craig’s story…
Yes – that’s right…this wedding has horses. I can virtually hear the ooohs and awwws from here. I think Steph and Tom’s venue may be one of the most idyllic I’ve ever seen and luckily the British weather held out for their ceremony. Everything just looks so beautiful bathed in the Spring sunshine.
Steph and Tom seemed to keep the music pumping, the food coming and the drink flowing all day long – they even had a late-night campfire with marshmallow toasting. I know. AMAZING.
I’ll pass you over to Steph who makes a very stylish Bride in her fitted lace gown – which by the way she rocks in the unusual champagne tone. It works so perfectly with her skin tone. AND it was the first dress she tried on!
Winding Country Roads
Steph the Bride: The perfect venue was at Clavelshay Barn, North Petherton near Taunton. Tom and I had spotted it online and thought it was worth a visit and were definitely not disappointed. We knew on the first visit that it would be perfect. Winding country roads, humming birds, sweeping hills, cows and quaint country houses , beautiful gardens … and a chance to make something truly our own. Sue who owns the venue was also a lovely and very genuine host who went above and beyond to help us create our special day.
Hair and makeup wise I was inspired by 1950’s classic glamour as for me it’s timeless and would really compliment my dress. My makeup was very simple, just a simple black eye flick, false lashes and a touch of Bobbi Brown’s Plum Rose lipstick which is a fabulous colour that I would definitely recommend.
Mine and my bridesmaids makeup was done by the very talented Lucy Davis. I had hair extensions for the day to add thickness to my hair which were perfectly coloured matched and put in by my wonderful mother Loraine Williams put in a few weeks before, she is an absolute pro and has her own business from home doing this. To compliment my hair Louise Alway (available through Lucy) beautifully styled and curled my hair to have luscious volume and bouncy waves. I also wore Chanel Chance on the wedding day which was a classic scent.
Classic, Fitted Lace
My dress was from the Carina Baverstock Couture Boutique in Bradford-on-Avon and is named ‘Mystere’ by Claire Pettibone. I’ve always been into fashion and classic lace fitted styles and fell in love with Claire Pettibone’s original designs the moment I spotted them online. I discussed my day and theme with the boutique owner and she just knew. It was the first dress I tried on and I never looked back! My dress was champagne coloured, fitted, had capped short sleeves, features intricate beaded detailing and a stunning vintage lilac flower on the lower back which was absolutely stunning. I loved every minute wearing it and felt extremely glamorous.
Tom looked very dapper on our special day and had his bespoke air force blue three piece suit and white shirt handmade by the very-talented P J Robinson and Sons tailor in Alcester. They are a proper old-school four generation tailors and he knew immediately after meeting Lawrence that this was the place for him. His shoes and socks were from Reiss and the groomsmen’s ties were from TM Lewin.
Cute Kitten Heels
I wore a gorgeous Jenny Packham headpiece that complemented the colours and design of my dress. Otherwise I am pretty tall so couldn’t really go for a high heel but found some cute jewelled kitten heels from Nine West online on sale for a bargain of £19. I was really pleased about that, what bride doesn’t like a bargain?
I actually brought the bridesmaid dresses before I had brought my own which was risky, but we were having a Spring wedding and I thought the colour and style would suit everyone’s body shapes and skin tones perfectly. All the bridesmaids wore a nude / pink dress from Fever Designs and accessorised as they liked with beautiful headbands and netted underskirts. The flower girl Elsie’s (my niece) dress was from Monsoon whilst the pageboy’s suit was from Marks and Spencer’s.
A Country Tea Party
Once our venue was sorted everything else sort of came together. We did most of our research on Pinterest and fell in love with the idea of a country tea party style wedding. The colour scheme naturally progressed after purchasing the bridesmaid dresses and my own.
Decor-wise we knew we were having a marquee so wanted to spruce it up a bit and make it a bit country glam. We had fantastic hand-made table-clothes by Tom’s mum Barbara with lace runners hand-stitched along them; old bottles and jam jars lined the table centres, whilst shattered glass and gold tea lights set the mode. We also had beautiful splashes of colour in our flower displays and home-made jam with luggage labels as our guest’s favours.
A Perfect Splash Of Colour
My flowers were absolutely stunning and beautifully arranged by one of my best friends and very talented florist Christiane Simmons. The flowers were the perfect splash of colour for our country themed day and were vintage lilac, purple, pastel pink, cream, blue and yellow. I had English garden roses, roses, peonies, muscari and ranunculus in my bouquet.
On the day we also had beautiful bright bouquets lining the chairs down the aisle, finishing with two olive trees tied with lilac ribbon. Tripods dotted around the garden, whilst other cute arrangements filled jam jars and bottles down the centres of all the tables.
A Very Moving Ceremony
Tom and I had a humanist ceremony outside as our venue wasn’t licensed for our big day. The ceremony was conducted by Jennifer Constant at Tailor Made Ceremonies and felt really special for the both of us as we had a lot of personal input. Jennifer had asked us to fill in a questionnaire about the two of us, how we met and why we loved each other and brought it all together in a very moving ceremony. I had two of my dearest friends Bryony and Nat do a reading which they very kindly wrote for us and was touching to the point of tears. Tom’s friend Darren also read a reading about Relativity from Albert Einstein which was beautiful.
Music For Everyone
We had two bands for the day. During guests arrival, my entrance and the afternoon tea reception we had a funky three-piece gypsy jazz band called Barnone play which really set the mood for the day. During dinner we just had motown songs from our iPod playing until our first dance which was my dad’s song Wonderful Wonderful by The Tymes (He was in this famous motown band in the 60s and passed away 9 years ago). It was beautiful and extremely sentimental.
This followed by live music from our evening band Snappa and some fun DJ sets. Their live music was incredible and would definitely be recommended for any wedding! They had everyone including my granddad up on the floor dancing the night away!
Locally Sourced Food
All the food barring the cake was lovingly cooked up and created in house at Clavelshay Barn. Tom and I are big into locally sourced foods and were delighted that Clavelshay take such pride in where they source their food and the high quality they provide. Reception was a bite size take on afternoon tea, cucumber sandwiches, cheese bites, scones and jam, éclairs and smoked salmon blinis served with Pimms. This was followed by a huge hog roast buffet with served with stuffing, braised red cabbage, seasonal vegetables, dauphinoise potatoes and scrumpy sauce. After there was fresh fruit and cream, coffee, a selection of loose leaf teas and heart shaped chocolates. In the evening the yummy five tiered Victoria sponge cake was served with a selection of cheeses, bread, grapes and chutneys. The cake was made by Kate at Living Pretty a local tea shop in Somerset.
A Helping Hand
What would I do without my best friend Gem? She designed everything from the cute forget-me-not Save the Date seed envelopes, to the invites and the seating plan. We told her about our day and she created this whole tea thing which completely stuck with us for the whole day. The colours were in keeping with the day, creams, lilacs, pinks, blues and pale greens.
We also had a lot of help from Tom’s sister Al and his mum Barbara. Allison hand wrote all the name places on the favours and lined the old suitcase (for cards) in old vintage map paper which looked fabulous. She also wrote the menu for the evening meal and painted the wooden Wedding sign we had at the venue entrance.
Barbara with the help of her husband Martin made all the tablecloths as well as all the jam favours which were delicious. We’d also like to thank David and Richard for making the easel for the seating plan and the wooden sign, it looked great!
Everything Will Fall Into Place
My advice to Brides is to relax, enjoy and make the most of every second. The last days before the wedding are so stressful organising all those last minute touches but your wedding day is just about you and your husband to be and how much you love each other, everything will fall into place.
Also make sure you book time off after the wedding even if you’re not going on honeymoon straight away as you’ll be shattered and will be grateful for the time together to reflect on your special day.
We would also like to thank the fabulous and ridiculously talented Rachel Hudson our photographer. She captured our day so beautifully and was an absolute pleasure to work with. Our photos our stunning and something we know we’ll cherish forever!
I still can’t believe that Mystere was the first dress Steph tried on.
Great advice from Steph too about post-wedding time off. Even if you’re not going on honeymoon straight away, I think time together to chill out and reflect would be exactly what the doctor ordered.
When I was little I dreamed of being a Princess when I grew up. Things probably haven’t changed to be honest – the images of the beautiful Princess Maxima of the Netherlands from the recent Dutch inauguration made my eyes light up. The stunning Valentino gown worn by Princess Madeleine of Sweden for her wedding day made me swoon with envy. And today’s images of Bride Anna are equally as gorgeous. She looks like what I dreamt a Bride should look like. Anna looks like a Princess. And if there is any day of your life when you deserve to look and feel like a Princess – your wedding day is most definitely it.
Today’s fairytale affair took place in the glorious Essex sunshine and was captured forever by the fabulous M&J Photography.
A Breathtaking Driveway
Going up the driveway to Braxted Park really took our breath away; so we knew straight away we’d love to get married there. Laura, who showed us round was so lovely and really filled us with confidence. All the staff there made the whole process so easy and they were always really quick to reply to our many e-mails!
Beehives And Black Eyeliner
I went for a 60’s inspired look for myself and my bridesmaids with beehives and black eyeliner. I was inspired by the Louis Vuitton SS13 catwalk! My make-up artist, Katie Gulley was amazing and really enthusiastic about creating our looks. I was advised to buy a new perfume for the wedding so that the scent would always remind me of the day. I chose Jo Malone’s Lime Basil and Mandarin (and I bought travel candles in the same scent as little presents for the bridesmaids). My mum and I went for a manicure the day before the wedding, which was a nice treat and a good way to unwind.
Heart Set On Kelly
My dress was Kelly by Stephanie Allin. I’d actually seen it a few years ago when my sister-in-law was looking at wedding dresses at The Bride in St. Alban’s and was hoping it would still be available when I got engaged. It was so unusual and flattering – I loved it and didn’t want to take it off!
Jackie Kennedy Gloves
I always wear a pearl necklace so I wouldn’t have felt like myself without one. I matched it with some pearl earrings from Thomas Sabo and a pearl tiara. I also wore an old sapphire ring that belonged to a great-grandmother as my something old, borrowed and blue! My yellow shoes were from L K Bennett and were the first thing I bought for the wedding. The bridesmaids and I wore “Jackie Kennedy” ivory gloves from as they seemed to match our dresses and hair.
The bridesmaid’s dresses were from Alfred Sung at Dessy and we bought them at Les Trois Soeurs in Canary Wharf. The bright yellow really suited Shazia and Liz. Their accessories were ivory: shoes from Rainbow Club; pearl jewellery from Ayedo; and headbands which were £5 from Boots! Dan and the ushers and fathers had ties to match the bridesmaid’s dresses from Dessy and traditional morning suits, which were rented from Moss Bros. Dan also bought them all silver tie pins as gifts.
Our mums looked beautiful in bright turquoise (mine) and black and white (Dan’s). Our gorgeous 2 year old twin nephews were page boys in yellow converse and yellow tank tops knitted by their grandmother, Mary. Our gift list was donations to a fund for one of the twins, George, who has Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type 2 and our guests were so generous.
Rose Petals And Tulips
Our colour scheme was yellow and ivory, which looked lovely in the photos on such a sunny day. We had yellow and cream dried rose petal confetti from shropshirepetals.com. I filled a yellow basket with yellow toiletries and put it in the ladies’ toilet, which was really useful for preening during the disco!
Getting married in the Spring meant we could have tulips – my favourite flower. My lovely florist Jo put them with freesia and ranunculus flowers for our bouquets, pew ends and table flowers, which were all yellow and white. The mothers had yellow orchids as corsages.
Not A Cloud In The Sky
We were so jammy with the weather on the day (given the heavy rain the week before) – there wasn’t a cloud in the sky! This meant we could have the outdoor ceremony we’d hoped for, which was really unusual and special.
Our readings were ‘Love is Friendship Caught Fire’ by Laura Hendricks and ‘A Lovely Love Story’ by Edward Monkton (which worked really well being read by a couple). I walked up the aisle to the wedding march from the ballet, Sleeping Beauty. I also managed to talk Dan into letting me have a piano version of Justin Bieber’s ‘Baby’ playing whilst we signed the register!
We had a small mini golf course from urbancrazy.com for the drinks reception, which the guests enjoyed. We could personalise the obstacles and the best thing about it was that it was yellow! We also had a caricaturist, which went down really well with the guests as they could take their pictures home.
We had a band called The Motorways for our evening reception, who I’d seen at a friend’s wedding and were great! They really read the crowd well and took requests (including Britney for the bride) and the dance floor was full all night.
Our first dance was to ‘One and Only’ by Adele. I love dancing and was keen to do a choreographed dance but Dan had torn his Achilles a few months before the wedding and was still recovering until the week before. We had an ’emergency dance lesson’ with Wedding Day Dance UK and managed to put something together for the day. With some painkillers, Dan even managed a few lifts!
Delicious Seasonal Menu
The lamb was in season for Spring and delicious and the amazing desert went down very well with our chocoholic guests! We also had some canapes for the drinks reception and a cheese and cold meat buffet in the evening. Our caterers were Le Talbooth.
Going to the tasting at their beautiful restaurant was definitely one of my favourite bits of wedmin! Our wedding cupcakes were by Gill at Amelia George Cakes. She seemed really excited about my ideas for them and they looked exactly as I’d imagined – and tasted even better!
Happily Ever After
Our invitations were called Daisy and by the very talented Dottie Creations. They also did us a table plan, table names, place names, menus, a guestbook and favours. As we’d put ‘Happily Ever After’ on our invitations, our table names were different fairytales (all with happy endings). We continued this theme with our favours, which were runner bean seed packets but we called them ‘A Handful of Magic Beans’ so our guests to grow their own beanstalks! The children had fairytale books.
Daily Dose Of RMW
The best bit of advice I can give future brides is to check RMW regularly. I checked it nearly every day I was engaged (and have even checked it since the wedding) – and so did/has my mum, who was also vital in helping us plan our perfect day. I wanted to lose a bit of weight for the wedding to feel better about myself and managed to lose 10kg, which was mainly thanks to a personal trainer, Steve who I highly recommend. Although the nervous energy in the lead up to the day probably helped too!
I thought I would hate walking up the aisle with everyone watching me but it was actually one of my favourite moments, so make sure you take your time and enjoy it. Another highlight was getting back to the bridal cottage after the disco and opening all our cards together. It was so nice to spend some time alone with Dan as the day had rushed by so quickly I felt I’d hardly seen him. Choosing our photographers was easy. Jonny is an old school friend and he and Morgane take such beautiful photographs. We couldn’t be happier with how they portrayed the day.
I think it’s safe to say Anna met her Prince Charming too – Dan strapping up his ankle so he could spin her around on the dance floor is very noble. As is allowing her to walk down the aisle to Justin Bieber!
I love the Sixties hair and make-up too, the girls all look gorgeous. And how cute are the little nephews!!
Every Princess deserves her happy ending. What a lovely way to start the week.
I always knew I wanted to wear something with a vintage feel to it, so initially I bought a beautiful original 1930s dress online. I persuaded myself that the fact that it didn’t actually fit properly wasn’t a problem – I could lose weight in time for the wedding couldn’t I? It would be fine. The nearer it got to the wedding day though, the more I began to realise that, gorgeous as the dress was, it just wasn’t right.
So with a month to go, I started looking for another one! Leigh had already mentioned that he’d walked past Cocoa Couture, a wedding dress boutique in Cheltenham, and thought I might like it. So I gave them a ring. Cara, who owns the business and designs and makes all the gowns, was wonderful. Seemingly undeterred by my scarily short timescales she invited me to her shop, where I chose the fabric for the dress (including the most amazing cream antique lace) and talked through styles.
Just 2 fittings and 3 weeks later I picked up my dress.
Silk And Vintage
As there was lots of detail on the dress I didn’t really need many accessories. My friend lent me a gold bracelet and my mum bought me a gorgeous vintage pearl necklace. I found Charlie, who runs The House of Istria, on Etsy and she made the silk flower I wore in my hair.
I really only needed simple shoes, and I actually found the perfect ones in Next. It was probably just as well that I didn’t spend a lot on them, because by the end of the day they were absolutely filthy!
We wanted flowers that reflected the setting of the wedding and were as sustainable as possible so we contacted Jo at The Walled Garden at Mells, who uses seasonal British flowers to create her bouquets and displays, and talked through our ideas. She created the bouquets, buttonholes and corsages for us and delivered them along with buckets of flowers, which we arranged in vases and jars for the aisle and the tables. We were so impressed with how she interpreted my rambling ideas – the flowers looked amazing and were just what we wanted.
We bought Leigh’s chocolate brown suit from House of Fraser. It was one of those serendipitous moments – he walked into the shop, saw the suit and liked it, realised there were only a few left and one was in his size, and that it was even in the sale. He looked dead cute in it too!
Photography was actually one of the first things we sorted out – we found Emma and Ian from Big Bouquet online and loved the style and quality of their wedding photography. When we met up and described what we had in mind (natural, informal photos with a romantic feel) we realised that they were on our wavelength completely and we felt really confident about working with them. They were consummate professionals on the day, unobtrusive and generally great to have around. Plus, the resulting photos were absolutely beautiful and captured the day perfectly.
The Perfect Cake
Leigh isn’t overly keen on fruit cake, and as the wedding was going to be quite a small informal affair, we didn’t feel that a big ornate iced number was really in keeping. We looked online for inspiration and found the perfect cake on Maisie Fantasie’s website – a vanilla sponge with a buttercream and raspberry filling and fresh fruit. Yum.
Blues Soul And Rock N Roll
We both love music, so we were really keen to have a live band in the evening. The Supershakers can appear as either a two, three or four piece, with the option of an added horn section if you fancy it. We asked them to play as an acoustic three piece, which worked out really well for our small wedding as their sound wasn’t too overwhelming but they still managed to get everyone dancing. They performed a varied set of Blues, Soul and Rock’n’Roll and we loved them!
Initially I really wanted to make French macarons for favours. But as it got closer to the wedding I realised that I was probably giving myself too hard a job, so we decided to go for fudge instead. I made four different flavours (vanilla, white chocolate, caramel and chocolate, and peanut butter), and it worked really well. We used recycled boxes for the containers, and used bird and alphabet stamps to decorate them (papernation.co.uk is great for stationery).
We were very lucky as the venue was already beautiful, so we didn’t need to add too much in the way of extra decoration. There was a gorgeous willow tree in the garden, which we added ribbon and paper lanterns to. Apart from that we just put up a bit of bunting and dotted some candles and lanterns around the patio.
Do It Your Way
The one thing we’d say to anyone planning their wedding is don’t worry about going away from tradition or doing things differently. If you want things to be a certain way do it, your family and friends will love it as it reflects who you are!
Since I first saw this wedding I have wanted it. Coveted it.
For months we waited patiently while Cara and Nye bonded with their new arrivals. They knew it was perfectly us. We knew it was perfectly them. And for no-one was it more perfect than Sophie and Glenn.
Sophie and Glenn were married on 17th August 2010 at Crear, in Argyll Scotland.
I think this is the most perfect wedding I have ever laid my eyes upon.
I didn’t want a traditional white wedding dress as although I did try some traditional white ones on, none felt right-so I scoured the internet for an evening dress (Glenn and I met on an internet dating site, I sourced most of my wedding from the internet!)
After many attempts I eventually found the Tadashi feathery Gown on the Bloomingdales Website in America, and loved it at first sight- But as nowhere in England stocks Tadashi Shoji (A Japanese Designer) I had to have it shipped from a store in Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, slightly risky but luckily it was a risk worth taking! (It also went on a round-the-world trip after getting caught up in the Ash Cloud but luckily arrived in time to get it altered to fit!)
I searched Etsy, the online craft/arts store, and discovered Melanie in Massachusetts , who trades under the name ‘LittleLuxury Boutique‘ she handcrafts unique jewellery using beautiful gemstones.
She handmade me a bracelet and matching drop earrings which she describes as ‘soft brown, champagne and beige gemstones, with metallic-lustered teal peacock freshwater pearls for a bold and beautiful accent of color against a neutral backdrop. Gemstones include: andalusite ,champagne citrine, gold rutilated quartz and green topaz’.
I also wore a Pearl and Ivy vintage inspired feathered headband, which had vibrant blue and green tones, offsetting t the neutral champagne colour of the dress.
My shoes were a pair of Vivienne Westwood Melissa Globe Shoes, neutral/champagne colour with an oversize bright blue globe balanced on the top!
(Heeled slingback shoes featuring peep toe design).Very comfortable, scented rubber-good enough to eat,fun, reasonable cost, can wear again and wow factor all rolled into one!
I did my own makeup, using Bobbi Brown products.
I booked the hairdresser over the phone She was a local girl, who I hadn’t met, (but who had been recommended!) However… she turned up with green festival dreadlocks, a hangover and had obviously trained at the Edward Scissorhand School of Hairdressing… All I can say, is I’m very grateful it was a windy day and the ceremony was outside as my hair was atrocious! (Oh and the satin ribbon blew off my dress in the wind too but c’est la vie!)
Eyes like the Sea
Glenn wore a soft brown suit with off-white shirt and silk champagne tie. He wore the buttonhole I made for him (champagne ostrich feathers and a peacock feather) complimented perfectly by his eyes.
(Bit cheesy I know – but he has eyes the colour of a stormy Irish sea, which was the first thing I noticed about him when we met – awwww.)
The young bridesmaids (who were my daughter Poppy and Glenn’s daughter Leah), fared slightly better! Despite the hairdresser being possibly the worst hairdresser in Scotland, I remained remarkably calm-probably because I knew there was no-one in a thirty mile radius who could have stepped in to help, so just had an extra glass of sangria (or two!)
The young bridesmaids (flower girl?) dresses were Nicole Farhi prom dresses, which a local dressmaker miniaturized for me to fit our two young daughters. (I found them on Ebay for 50 pounds the pair though originally they were 500 pounds each!!) I didn’t have a traditional colour scheme- as in one or two colours, instead, I chose a neutral base- champagne/ bronze/, cappuccino/ vintage coffee, and added complimentary hues/tones in teals/ purple/lavenders.
It was more about tones, soft hues with flashes of colour –actually inspired from the landscape/seascape in Argyll –the first time we saw Crear for the first time the year previously in Autumn, the sea, the heather, the hills.
Groomsmen (my brother Hamish gave me away, and Glenn’s brother John was best-man) wore suits/ties of their choice and wore one of the feathered buttonholes I had made to tie them in.
Creating at Crear
The venue is called ‘Crear, space to create. If we couldn’t create it ourselves we sourced it from an artist who could!
We hung up over 40 paper pompoms in the venue (which I sourced from Etsy, (Portland Oregon this time!) I had spent the day before the wedding making them up as they all arrived flat packed and needed frilly-ing up!
Fantastical, Unique Photography
Cara and Nye, aka Lillian and Leonard were our Photographers. We saw photographs they had taken at a previous wedding at Crear, so hunted out their website and just knew that they were perfect for us. Also their reportage style of photography was ideal, as neither of us like posed formal shots, and were trying to avoid the typical wedding photos.
On the Wedding day itself (and subsequently) Glenn and I were bowled over by Cara and Nye; their delightful company, honesty, (diplomacy and tact!), sincerity, talent, calming influence, professionalism, creativity, hard work and effort. We are both overjoyed with the photo’s needless to say!