Lorna and Chris planned their beautiful rustic-styled farm W-day together. And I mean really together – the groom having just as much input into the planning as the bride.
I love Lorna’s elegant lace adorned “day time” look and equally her quick change for the evening, Lorna swapped her ivory sandals for some hot pink Vivienne Weswood peep toes, whipped off her sleeves and adorned herself with some serious statement neck candy. Awesome.
Not deterred by the mornings torrential rain the sun put his hat on and came out blazing for the receptions festivities which included a coconut shy, bowling for a pig (!) riding a bicycle made for two and general outdoorsy merriment.
I so wanted to be a guest at this wedding.
Pretty in Plaits
Karly Shead was my hair and make-up artist. We decided to keep my hair quite natural, in two French plaits. My make-up was an accentuated version of my every-day style. Although I wanted less of it Karly had to keep reminding me about the photos – I’m so glad she did as it paid off! My bridesmaids had the pleasure (!) of getting me ready in the morning. You could see they went to every effort to make sure I looked as beautiful as possible. Quite a feat.
Custom Made In Wales
My dress was from designer Stephanie Allin. A mix of Chantilly lace and duchess satin the dress and designer were particularly special to me as it was made (by Stephanie) in their shop in The Mumbles where my mum grew up.
I was very fortunate to be able to have a custom made gown and throughout the process worked with the girls in the shop to make it just perfect. Everything from the sweetheart neckline to the buttons on the back. The bow detail and the lace jacket were what made it for me, it added that little bit of vintage without being completely lace – the type of dress I thought I wanted but they didn’t suit me at all, always the way!
I knew it was the one when my mum and sister burst in to tears as I left the dressing room! We went back 3 times that day and on the 3rd time we bought it.
I had the pleasure of meeting Stephanie during one of my visits, I guess I thought ‘designers’ were always arrogant (I’ve worked with a few in a previous life) but Stefanie was far from this, really lovely and down to earth.
Not A Shoe Girl
I didn’t think I was the shoe type of girl but apparently I am when it comes to my wedding day. Because of the church and farm combo we needed to be prepared (of course I used this excuse when it came to the budget and the questioning as to why I needed three pairs). I had an ivory pair of heels for the church, with a diamante vintage clasp detail. Then when we arrived at the farm I changed into my super fun pair…a pair of pinky/red Vivienne Westwood rubber shoes with a large silver heart on the front. Both gorgeous and practical. My mum chose them and even treated me to them!
The third pair of ‘shoes’ were a pair of bird print Tom Joules wellies. Birds were a running theme of the wedding (a long held joke among friends that I am a twitcher – I’m not, not that there’s anything wrong with being one either of course) Luckily I didn’t have to wear the wellies during the day but I did showcase them at the after-party bonfire.
Lipstick Pink And Steel Grey
The bridal party’s attire was bought. The accent colour of the day needed to be a little bold to stand out among the creams and greens so we chose a cerise/lipstick pink to tie them together. Christophers three-piece suit was a steel grey so we complemented this with the best men in pale grey and pale pink ties and the bridesmaids in satin lipstick pink cocktail dresses.
We had three best men: John, Hollins and Bracey. My sister Natalie and best friend Clare as bridesmaids and my niece Nia as a flower girl and my nephew Benjamin as page boy, kitted out in their very own mini dress and suit. Nia carried a heart of bells and flowers and Benjamin a buttonhole.
What a handsome groom Christopher was! He received SO many comments on just how amazing he looked (erm… stealing the limelight?!).
Christopher chose a steel grey Ted Baker three-piece pinstripe suit. We accented this with a vintage, floral shirt and a tie to match the colour of the bridesmaids dresses. He also had the pleasure of donning a new Omega watch, a wedding present from his beloved wife!
The flowers were a really important part of the day for me (I’ve always wanted to be a florist). We themed them around the farm – country/vintage.
We were so blessed to have a close family friend arrange the flowers for us. Dicke did an amazing job with the very dedicated help of Christopher’s mum and sister (and even Christopher’s father and Dicke’s husband Barry had to help out I believe!). They looked stunning. The church flowers we kept quite simple with pew ends and two altar displays.
For the reception we had the flowers arranged in antique tea, tobacco, coffee and biscuit tins. The tins were the focal point of the table décor. We had our families hunting them down across the country for about a year before the wedding! Not a day went by when my mum didn’t text me a picture of one she had found. She even sourced them online and I carried seven across the Pacific following a very succesful shopping trip in NY and Brooklyn with my friend Lindsay. It really did keep us busy.
The bridal party flowers were created by Stem by Stem, I wanted quite a delicate posy of flowers for both me and the bridesmaids. Filled with stocks, roses, lily of the valley (a family tradition), sweet peas and loads more. The button holes were a simple rose and greenary. The groom wore ivory and the groomsmen pale pink. Each of the bridal parties flowers had a couple of hand chosen buttons from Tender Buttons in NYC.
We wanted to capture the Button name in there somewhere!
An Evening Change
I wore the Chantilly lace jacket and veil (also from Stephanie Allin) for the church and first part of the reception then at about 4pm, just before we began to be seated for dinner, I removed the jacket and veil and added a vintage style pearl necklace with a Swarovski crystal tear drop and bow detail. It added that little bit of sparkle when I wasn’t wearing the lace jacket.
Living The Dream
Our photographers were no less than Source Images. We met the pair (a rather cool husband and wife – living the dream) at the National Wedding Fair and I was also familiar with them having shot other weddings that have become iconic on the wedding blog scene. We went to meet them in their studio and they instantly put us at ease. We trusted them from day one. The style of photography they take does an amazing job of really capturing the feel of the day.
It was great to spend some time with Jordan and Ines before the wedding at the engagement shoot. They recce’d the church and the reception with both of us and then we got to spend some time posing. Neither Christopher nor I are particularly camera-friendly so it was great to feel more at ease with them before the big day.
Entertaining The Masses
At the church we had the bell ringers, a church choir and a string quartet (played by the Lale String Quartet). The string quartet then followed us to the venue and played for us for a couple of hours while the cricket teas were served. The lead of the string quartet David Lale was an old friend of ours from school – very talented and dedicated to the point of still being there for us when he had just had his first child three weeks before.
During the reception we put on a few games, bowling for a pig and a coconut shy (a la village fete style) which the guests loved. Bowling for a pig became very competitive among our guests. At one point Christopher was in the lead and then was pipped at the post by a good friend of ours Tom.
The overall look, in keeping with the setting, was country vintage. We had family and friends help us with the décor which was a great help to the both of us. My auntie Carol made us metres and metres of bunting which was lovely! She also made us our cake topper – two gorgeous little birds, she’s very talented!
Alongside the tins we had glass jars with candles and vintage ribbon, twine and raffia tied around. We also sourced little ceramic birds as additional decoration, and they doubled up as salt and pepper pots. A family friend Linda made us hand stiched table top runners and we hand made our table planner from a vintage suitcase. To go with this I made also made us a guest book.
Retro Music and A Silent Disco
For the evening entertainment, and given our location in the beautiful Kent countryside, we had to respect the local neighbours so with a little creative thought we hired a retro jukebox (SM Jukeboxes) which played througout dinner and into the evening, in the main barn and then a silent disco (Silent Disco London) started up in another barn a little later on in the evening. Everyone loved the silent disco – the highlight being me dancing with my 80 year old Nana!
Christopher’s Dad and uncle make a great sloe gin and cherry vodka (award winning in fact). We wanted to add as many personal touches to the day as possible so they made us a few litres of each which we had bottled and labeled with the bird design from our wedding invites.
We had two cakes!
My bridesmaid and best friend Clare took on the cake for me. She’s quite a little baker herself so knew exactly what we’d want. Working with a friend (Sammy) they designed and made the perfect wedding cake. The top layer was wheat/gluten free (to accommodate the diets of the bride, brother of the bride and bridesmaid), with a lemon layer and a vanilla sponge layer for the other guests.
The second cake was a cake of cheese. We sourced it from The Cheesebox in Whitstable. We went along for a tasting and some wine one Friday night. The guys there were great, so knowledgeable and they LOVE cheese. Just like us. We went for as many Kent cheeses as possible, even topping the cake off with a heart shapped cheese dipped in sloe gin.
Both went down a storm.
Getting Everyone Involved
Our day was very special to us, not only because it was our wedding day, but because of the involvement of so many of our friends and family. That really made it for us. Some of our family and friends travelled far and wide to be with us.
Just the tip of the iceberg…
Having our wedding hosted at a family friends made it really special. The farm has a couple of barns and an old army tent. It was the perfect location.
Choosing our own food was also something that meant a lot to us – although having the exact pig and lamb pointed out was a new thing to me (not being from a farming background! Christopher is). We had a hog and lamb roast for main with lots of delicious sides, all home made. Dessert was chocolate brownies and merringes with strawberries and cream.
Christopher’s dad drove down his black 1952 Citroen 15-6 all the way from Suffolk to drive me to the church
My mum even added a little surprise on the day. Unbeknown to us she arranged for a man to arrive with two white doves for us to set free. It was lovely to gather everyone around as we set them free and watched them fly off. Of course it escalated the twitcher wise cracks to another level.
Lots of our guests still talk about the evening and our departure at the end of the night. One uncle still gets teary at the thought of it bless him. As the evening came to an end our guests gathered around the lake (decorated with flares) with sparklers and Christopher rowed across it to collect me. With the help of his best men they got me in the boat without a speck of water on the dress (even rolling up their trousers and getting in the water to save the dress). Saying goodbye to family and friends and disappearing into the dark together beneath the moonlight was really special to us both.
A Few Surprises
Christopher and I even added our own little surprises to each other, without realising (!).
-On the wedding morning his dad presented me with a pearl bracelet to wear on the day (from Christopher)
- I too had given him a wedding day present, an Omega watch.
- Christopher restored a tandem and gave it to me on the wedding day. He sourced it from a filmset (rode by none other than Hollywood actor Michael Madsen) and lovingly brought it back to life. A friend of ours Chris brought it down from London for him and he rode it towards me during the afternoon. It was a really lovely surprise and since then we have been riding it around our neighbourhood much to the delight of the locals
- I bought the men in the bridal party a pack of posh cigars to have on the deck of the fishing shack, to sit back and enjoy the view with a drink and a smoke.
My Advice? Ha! – every wedding and bride are different. That said it’s a very important day and preparing for it is a big deal. Advice I have passed on to friends is:
You can’t please everyone, don’t forget your husband to be and yourself in your decisions.
Plan, plan and plan. I was lucky in that Christopher took a keen interest in planning (and keeping the budget in check, hmmm, not always so good) so we had a great time doing this together. I hear all brides arent that lucky.
While it can become stressful at times its good to remember a bit of perspective and that everyone will enjoy themselves and the day will go well – whatever happens. You will end up laughing about it all after – and wondering what all the pre-wedding stress was for.
Brides Gown – Stephanie Allin
Brides Shoes – Vivienne Westwood
Bridal Party Florist – Stem by Stem
Photography – Source Images
Grooms Suit – Ted Baker
Entertainment – Silent Disco London
Cake – The Cheesebox
Do you want to be a guest too? thought so.
Majorly gorgeous items coming up later – and you can win one!
Big Tandem Love