Jemma and James married at St Peter’s Church, Alton, Staffordshire with a reception at home on Fairfield Farm.
A visual treat is in store for you today, and I am not just refering to the men in uniform. The florals pop beautifully and will put a shine on even the dreariest of November mornings, the maids dresses are simple pastel perfection and Jemma looks stunning in her fish tail dress accessorised with an intricate head peice.
I Burst Into Tears
My dress was by La Sposa and had a lace bodice with a fishtail tulle skirt and a small amount of detailing on the bust. I’d seen a La Sposa campaign online and loved their designs so tracked down a local supplier (The Bridal Lounge – Newcastle-under-Lyme)
I put it on and burst into tears! I knew it was how I wanted to feel on my wedding day.
I’m not into a huge amount of ‘bling’ so my bought a vintage inspired hair vine from Ivory and Co Tiaras. I also bought my cathedral length veil from there also.
My jewellery on the day was very simple, diamond studs, a diamond tennis bracelet which was a gift from my Mum and a diamond solitaire necklace which my lovely hubby gave to me on the morning of the wedding!
I have an absolute shoe fetish so my wedding shoes were by Christian Louboutin. The heel was mid-height as I didn’t want to be in agony by our first dance! They were complete princess shoes, silver/gold and glittery!
I’m a trained Bridal make-up artist (London College of Fashion) so did my own make-up. However I had my hair styled. I love Vintage inspired styles so tracked down the very talented Bethany Jane Davies to do my hair. She’s a Vintage hair and make-up artist and did a cracking job of giving me a perfect 50’s Hollywood wave. My hair stayed in so well it still looked great the day after!
The flowers for our wedding were a mixture of country garden flowers, English roses, dahlias, sweet peas, (plus a few others I can’t remember the names of!)
I found our Floral Designer, Juliet of Thoughtful Flowers, at the National Wedding Show at the NEC. I put my complete trust in her as I was overwhelmed by her portfolio. I knew that our flowers would be grown especially, so whilst I had a rough idea of colours and varieties, the bouquets and displays were a lovely surprise on the morning of the wedding!
The flowers were the main decoration at the reception as they were so beautiful anything else would have detracted from them. The table centres were a combination of tall displays on mirrors, smaller arrangements in vintage crystal vases and individual stems in smaller crystal vases.
A Full Military Affair
The bridesmaids wore oyster pink prom style dresses that I bought from Coast that I had adapted slightly (I had a tulle skirt sewn in to match my dress) and oyster pink lace shoes that I found in New Look and were an absolute bargain.
As the wedding was a full military affair most of the groomsmen were in uniform. The Best man’s suit along with both the Father of the Bride and Groom’s were hired from Cameron Ross formal wear.
Complete With Sword
My husband is an officer in the Royal Navy so he was in full dress uniform, complete with sword! He was also in floods of tears which completely set me off.
We Were On The Same Page
Our photographer was Jo Hastings – I met Jo at the NEC National Wedding Show and loved her portfolio. After chatting our day through with her on the phone I knew we were on the same page so looked no further.
My lovely mother-in-law made our cake. It was a 3-tiered, heart shaped jam and buttercream sponge and was absolutely gorgeous.
I’d seen a few heart shaped cakes in wedding magazines (which I became slightly addicted to!) that I gave to her as inspiration.
During the reception and meal our DJ played songs by Ella Fitzgerald who I adore. It created a really lovely atmosphere. After our first dance the entertainment was kicked off by the 7 piece swing band we hired, The Jazz Cannons.
After that our DJ, Chris Bevans, kept us partying until the early hours. I put a song request on our RSVP’s so everyone had something played that they loved.
Our first dance was to At Last by Beyonce (from the Dream Girl’s soundtrack) The words of the song were really significant to the both of us. When I first played it to James he welled up! I insisted we have the Beyonce version as I’m a huge fan.
Plum And Damson
As the wedding was held at the family home I wanted as many personal touches as possible. We have a plum and damson orchard so after a fantastic harvest in 2011, we made plum jam and damson gin which constituted our favours. They were a labour of love as bottling it all took an eternity!
Candles And Trees
The flowers made up the majority of the decoration as they were so gorgeous we didn’t need anything else. We also hired bay trees to line the entrance of the marquee and had hundreds of candles throughout the venue.
A Stich Up
Because it was a full military wedding, touches like the sword arch, Naval toasts, the Naval flag flying at the church and the fact we cut our cake with my husband’s sword made it really special. Also, most of the women weren’t complaining that there were 20+ officers in uniform!!
I kept all the details I’d planned as a surprise so our guests were over-joyed to find a specialist Gin bar, free flowing champagne, restaurant quality food, fantastic wine, a reveal area that housed the club-style dance floor and stage, the 7 piece swing band, a photo-booth and a fish and chip van that arrived at 10,30pm! I also completely stitched my hubby up by arranging for him to sing a song with the band… He had no idea but was fantastic!
My advice to other Brides would be sweat the small stuff but don’t drive yourself crazy. I felt it was the little, personal touches I did that really got people talking. For example everyone really appreciated the basket of flip-flops and toiletries I put in the ladies bathroom especially when their feet were hurting and their make-up had worn off from so much dancing.
If you have time to organise things like this, definitely do it!
I’d also say try and make time on the day to have 10 minutes with your new husband. It all goes so quickly it’s great to just have some time to take it all in.
Dress – La Sposa
Boutique – The Bridal Lounge
Hair Vine – Ivory and Co Tiaras
Shoes – Christian Louboutin
Photographer – Jo Hastings
Band – Jazz Cannons
DJ – Chris Bevans
Florist – Thoughtful Flowers
Jemma and James provided lots of things to entertain their guests, but Jemma is spot on when she says it’s the little personal touches that really make your guests feel special and sometimes that can be a budget saver too. A bit of home made jam (or gin in this case!) will always be remembered and it won’t necessarily break the bank either.