This afternoons wedding is a true D.I.Y masterpiece. As well as decor made by Duncan and Ailsa’s family and friends we have Ailsa’s sister on make-up duty, her aunt and uncle on baking and cake decorating detail and her mother acting as florist.
The wedding mass took place at St Thomas of Canterbury church where Ailsa’s Uncle is the parish priest. A real family affair then, with stunning photography taken by Australian photographer Jonathan Ong.
It Was My Dress
I bought my dress from the lovely Julie Bergmans of FabGabs on etsy. It is a romantic vintage 1960’s ivory lace confection with ruffs at the neck and sleeves. I chose it because as soon as I saw it, I knew it was my dress.
I wore a 1960’s style ivory chapel length veil which I found by chance in a wedding shop in the town I live in. My mother made my wreath and bouquet. My sister, who was my maid of honour, gave me the most wonderful gift just before I walked down the aisle. Inside a great big brown box were my somethings old (an embroidered handkerchief from my grandma), new (stunning chrysanthemum earrings), borrowed (a broach from my mum), and blue (a sweet vintage lace garter). I wore my engagement ring on my right hand, together with a vintage pearl bracelet.
My bridesmaids and I wore the same shoes, flat almond toed ivory pumps to which my mother added ivory grosgrain bows. We also all carried matching ivory oyster clutch bags.
Wanting to keep my makeup simple and understated I opted to do it myself. My sister, having practiced a few times before the big day, gave my hair a soft curl.
Clouds Of Colour
My husband and I wanted the flowers to be simple but ethereal. We chose baby’s breath for its delicate bloom and gentle clouds of colour. Luckily, my mother is extremely talented, very patient, and more than willing to learn a dozen new skills to make my dreams come true – she made my wreath, my bouquet, my bridesmaid’s bouquets, my bridesmaid’s hairpieces and the buttonholes using armfuls and armfuls of baby’s breath. The table centres, aisle decorations and flowers in the church were arranged by my mother, my sister, the lovely church organist, and I. We filled more than two hundred and fifty jars and bottles with flowers a couple of days before the wedding.
Soft And Romantic
The groomsmen, our fathers and my step-father wore their own suits with buttonholes made by my mother. There wasn’t a colour scheme as such, we chose soft, romantic colours that complemented the church and the hall. The bridesmaid’s dresses were from Cath Kidston – my sister and I fell in love with the old fashioned cut and print. Both bridesmaids wore tiny heart shaped pendants that were my thank-you gift to them. Our page boy wore a grey waistcoat and trouser suit with a tiny tartan tie, and our flower girl wore an ivory crochet-lace dress.
Duncan’s parents bought him a made-to-measure three-piece suit for the wedding which allowed him to choose two beautiful fabrics – a brown and black birdseye wool with a lovely cream floral lining. His ivory shirt had a very dapper collar bar and he wore his father’s black knitted tie. He also wore my grandad’s handkerchief in his top pocket and my father gave him a beautiful watch as a wedding present. He looked so handsome waiting for me at the end of the aisle.
On Line Love
Choosing our photographer was one of the biggest, but ultimately easiest, decisions we made…we saw Jonathan Ong‘s photographs online and fell in love with his work. He completely understood our vision of the day and it was a pleasure to have him with us. We adore our wedding photographs.
When my parents married, my Aunty Mary and Uncle Tony made their cake. As the wedding was in Holland the cake had traditional blue and white delft tiles painted on it. As a little girl I would look at my parents’ wedding photos and admire their cake. When Duncan and I announced our engagement my Aunty and Uncle asked if there was anything they could help with…Well, my lovely Aunty Mary baked and iced our three-tier fruit cake which was then hand-painted by my Uncle Tony.
As we didn’t have a theme for the wedding it was a little tricky trying to explain the kind of design we imagined, so we suggested flowers, birds and William Morris as inspiration. At the wedding I found out that my Aunty and Uncle had spent months researching Morris, colours and techniques to create our wedding cake. They even included the Scottish thistle as a reminder of where Duncan and I were both born. It was definitely the most beautiful cake I’ve ever seen.
The Perfect Band
As our wedding gift my wonderful sister Annika and her boyfriend Colin hired an incredible three-piece band, Gypsies of Bohemia. We hadn’t planned to have live music as it was a little outside our budget but Annika and Colin secretly searched for, found and booked the band as a surprise. They let us know about our gift a little bit before the wedding (so we could finalise times!) and we are still so touched at how well Annika and Colin know us – Duncan and I couldn’t have imagined a more perfect band to play at our wedding.
Our first dance was a big surprise! We had chosen a song, What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong, when we started planning but eventually decided that we wouldn’t have dancing at the wedding. This was partly because we needed to squeeze dinner seating for one hundred and fifty people into the church hall and partly because we aren’t the wedding disco type. However, unbeknownst to me my sister and Duncan had hatched a secret plan and just before dinner, when all our guests were seated, my sister stood up and announced our first dance. The band played What a Wonderful World and we danced next to them on the stage. It was utterly romantic and I loved every second – it’s one of my favorite memories of our day.
Being wildflower lovers, we decided to give our guests native British wild flower seeds to plant in their gardens. We loved the idea that the flowers would be growing long after our wedding. Duncan, having drawn our invitations and order of service, drew a design for a custom rubber stamp which we applied to little brown paper envelopes. We then wrote each guest’s name on the top of the envelope and used them as place settings.
Home Made Decor
My Uncle David worked so hard to organise the presbytery, the gardens and the hall before we arrived – it was the most lovely venue. All our decorations were handmade and arranged by family, friends and us. My mother made two hundred metres of torn-strip bunting which she then hand dyed lemon and baby pink. It took us a whole day to hang it in the hall. My mother also dyed some crochet mats to add to my collection (bought from a whole host of charity shops) which, together with the flowers, formed the centrepieces.
The jars of flowers were arranged by my mother, my sister, our organist and I – the trickiest bit was tying pieces of ribbon and lace around tiny jars. I made the giant pinwheels that acted as the seating plan. My mother and father in law, my mother, my sister and some friends helped Duncan and I to set up the tables, put out the table cloths, lay the cutlery, put out bubbles, organise favours and set out the centrepieces the day before the wedding. The balloons and outside seating were arranged by friends on the morning of the wedding. It was a lot of work doing it all ourselves but we had so much fun in the process.
I would advise future brides and bridegrooms to plan their wedding to be as personal as possible. For us that meant making everything we could and having a relaxed day filled with family and friends. One of the most fun parts of our day was when, immediately after the ceremony, our guests were served ice cream from a trike in the church garden. The photos of all the children with ice-creamed faces are wonderful and it meant our guests weren’t too hungry before we served the canapes. We spent a long time choosing our caterer and Darren and his team from Cheshire Hog Roast put on an incredible spread – even Darren’s granny helped out. I wanted a little home cooking at our wedding so my mother made my favourite nut roast as the vegetarian main course, which Darren served alongside the hog! Organising drinks was a little tricky but luckily for us, members of the congregation volunteered to run the bar with all the proceeds going to the church.
From the outset we gratefully accepted all the help that was offered. Our wedding couldn’t have taken place without the people who planned, cleaned, created, organised, painted, decorated, cooked and generally pitched in. Even the day after our wedding a whole army of family turned up to help us take down decorations and clean the hall. It was this incredible dedication and kindness shown to us by our family and friends that made our wedding truly perfect.
Dress – FabGabs
Maids – Cath Kidston
Photography – Jonathan Ong
Band – Gypsies of Bohemia
Catering – Cheshire Hog Roast
The torn strip bunting is super cool – I’m not sure that I have ever seen bunting like that before… I love the village fete / garden party feel that this wedding has and the fact that so many of Duncan and Ailsa’s friends and family mucked and and leant a helping hand makes it extra special.
We love Jonathan Ong‘s work here at Rock My Wedding, you may remember the stunning destination wedding we showcased early this year. An Australian wedding complete with beer bottle decor, if you missed it check it out.
And if you want Jonathan to shoot your wedding then he is back in London throughout July and August in 2013.
Thanks to Duncan and Ailsa for sharing their big day.