Oh I LOVE this wedding.
For so many reasons that it’s near on impossible to count them all on one hand…but I’m going to at least attempt to do so.
Firstly preppy, beachside soirees are to die for and Annabel and Darren completely and wholeheartedly embraced this theme with bells on. And it looks EPIC… just wait until you see the table settings and the cake.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen bridesmaids quite as happy as these blue and floral clad ladies, but then, when you look as good as they do you can totally understand why they’re beaming from ear to ear. Which brings me onto the colour scheme – blues and pinks and whites – just perfect for what Annabel describes as ‘a beach picnic with champagne’.
I know! Immense, right?
And then I can’t quite help feeling more than a little bit proud that this beautiful twosome used recommended suppliers from RMW’s very own directory – The List. From their wonderful venue – The Gallivant, to their florist – Café des Fleurs and even front page sponsor photographer Jake Morley, it’s like RMW were actually there on the day.
Come on let’s take a look.
Annabel The Bride:We got married at The Town Hall in Rye, East Sussex. We had spent a very special weekend in Rye a few years previously and not only did we fall in love with Rye, we fell in love with each other! Rye is a historic town set on a hill and it’s so pretty and unspoilt; as such we felt it was the perfect romantic venue for our wedding service. Plus my husband was born in East Sussex – down the road in Brighton so it made sense to us to get married in East Sussex where we spent so much our time courting!
After the ceremony, we made our way back to The Gallivant in Camber Sands, a ten minute drive away in a Morris Minor called ‘Molly’ from Premier Wedding Cars. The Gallivant is a boutique hotel which lies at the base of the sand dunes in Camber. We loved its chic coastal inspired interior and the fact it had a really laid back beach vibe; we didn’t want anything too formal. Plus we only threw a small wedding so the size was perfect.
But the primary reason for us choosing the venue was the fact that you could have the reception on the beach which we thought was really unique thing for a wedding in the UK! They have recently won ‘Best Wedding Venue – London and the South East’ which was no surprise to us as the team there are brilliant; lovely efficient staff, amazing food; great décor.
Just Like Marilyn
My inspiration was Marilyn Monroe who I’ve always loved as she has a curvy figure like me! I wanted to feel glamorous and pretty and I felt Marilyn summed that up. My hair was styled by my hairdresser Ian that had done my hair in London for about five years. I didn’t trust anyone else on my big day!
I trained as a make up artist so I did my own make up. Like most brides I wanted to be natural plus it was the summer so I wanted it to be very light. I use MAC make up primarily as it’s got great staying power. On the day I used Lancome Teint Miracle which is really light but gives great coverage. I also use Clarins Beauty Flash (amazing base and gives great glow!) and Yves Saint-Laurent Touche Eclat for under the eyes and spots etc. Things were fairly stressful in the run up to the big day (especially thinking about the weather!) and so these were greatly needed!
I used Essie nail polish which has got so many great colours; I stuck with a natural colour on my nails as I didn’t want anything too distracting and a pink on my toes to match my flowers. I actually took my own nail varnish when I went for a manicure which I think is a good tip as they don’t always have the colour you want and the polish is fresher too.
I chose Timeless Couture, designer and makers of vintage inspired wedding dresses. They are based in Derbyshire where I’m from originally and it was really nice to wear a bit of ‘home’ on my wedding day! I looked everywhere for a dress including boutiques in London. I could not find anything I really loved plus I was looking for a short dress and at that time there were not many about (although this year I think it would be a lot easier as they seem to be more popular now).
I wanted a short 50’s style dress as firstly it tied in my Marilyn inspired look but also because I didn’t want to worry about it on the beach. I also wanted to have a good dance and I didn’t want to be bogged down in a long dress! I had a strong idea on what I wanted and Timeless Couture did an amazing job of turning my ideas into a reality. So much so that I nominated them for ‘Best Regional Wedding Dress Designer – East Midlands’ and they won! I was delighted as they are lovely talented ladies who made the whole process so wonderful.
Mixing It Up
I pretty much got everything from Timeless Couture; I had a bespoke corset made which made me feel amazing. I am a 32F so getting a strapless bra that was supportive enough was impossible. Also it sucked me in and took inches off my waist so that was a major plus point too!
I also bought Rachel Simpson shoes from Timeless Couture. They were very plain and to fit in with my beach theme I commissioned a shoe clip made up of shells brought back by my Mum from holiday. Again the shoe clip was made by the ladies at Timeless Couture.
I also bought a short veil from them, again in a 50’s style to match the dress. I didn’t think I would have a veil but I felt it gave the civil ceremony more of a sense of occasion and I thought I’ll only wear a veil once so why not just go for it!
Finally for the evening, I changed out of my detachable lace top and into a cream cardigan from L.K. Bennett and added a diamond/sapphire necklace borrowed from my Mum. I wanted to change into something a little sexier for the evening and I felt this was a bit different.
The bridesmaids wore dresses by Monsoon. I really liked the blue and white ‘bone china’ print which I felt fitted into our beach theme but also had an ‘Englishness’ about which seemed to marry with the whole location of the day. Plus the cut was quite 50’s too and again that connected to the style of my dress. The white pointed shoes (very in for summer 2012!) were from Next and my Mum made the belts.
My husband wore a gorgeous blue suit from Reiss which had a lovely summery vibe about it and made him look very handsome! In fact everything was from Reiss except the Ray Ban sunglasses and nautical themed cufflinks I bought him for him as a wedding present.
Keeping Things Local
We chose a local florist in Rye called Café des Fleurs. We wanted an informal look to the flowers to fit in with the laid back vibe of the wedding and we wanted seasonal flowers which you could find on the coast at that time of year to create a really natural look. We chose blue, whites and pinks to fit in with the theme and we also added a splash of yellow as to bring a little bit of sunshine into things! We knew nothing about flowers so they suggested all the flowers and we were thrilled with the end result.
We did not have any flowers at The Town Hall as that was very historic building; it was beautiful in its own way and we felt it did not need any additional decorating (lots of portraits and guilt everywhere!).
At The Gallivant, we had lovely jars of flowers on the table and big jugs of flowers on the bar etc. My Mum brought down lots of plants so we had Yukkas outside the marquee (they looked like mini palm trees) and some lovely personalised planter boxes outside the hotel entrance which looked great. These were from Bow in Matlock, Derbyshire.
Dance Me To The End Of Love
The best parts of the ceremony were obviously the vows but also the two readings as they really personalised the civil ceremony. We chose ‘Lovely Love Story’ by Edward Monkton; a love story about two dinosaurs which had a lots of parallels to us and got some giggles. We also chose ‘Dance me to the end of Love’ by Leonard Cohen. We chose this as not only were the words very apt and beautiful but also because we used to play the version sung by Madeline Peroux a lot when we first got together. It was very emotional! We had so compliments about the readings.
Among other songs, for the signing of the register we had ‘Beautiful Day’ by Elbow which we felt was quite grand and gave the event a sense of occasion and we walked out to ‘Home’ by Edward and the Magnetic Zeros which again we chose both because of the lyrics and the fact it was a really celebratory upbeat song to finish the ceremony on.
For the beach reception we booked ‘New Orleans Dixie Jazz Band’ from Warble Entertainment. As it was a small wedding (40 or so people) we wanted to add atmosphere and having the band on the beach (and later over our main course) was really wonderful!
For the band later we chose a band from Ear Candy which we highly recommend called ‘The Somebodys’. They totally rocked! We were dancing all night; I don’t think I got off the dance floor! For our first dance we chose ‘Let’s Stay Together’ because we loved the sentiment (‘through the good, the bad, the happy and sad’) and also because Pulp Fiction is one of our favourite films. We were going to do ‘Teenage Wedding’ by Chuck Berry and do the dance that Uma Thurman and John Travolta did but we thought that would be taking things a bit far!!
A Decadent Beach Picnic
The Gallivant does amazing food which is all locally sourced. That was one of the reasons we chose the venue. For the reception (really it was more of a beach picnic all be it with lots of champagne and beach cocktails!) we had delicious ‘canapes’ consisting of lots of yummy things including wild boar sausage rolls (went down well with the men especially!).
For the wedding breakfast, we had a mixture of fish and lamb for the starters and main (from the adjacent Romney Marshes) and for the pudding crème brulee. The food was incredible and many of our guests said it was the best food that’d had a wedding so that was great.
The cake was from M&S so very good value and my Mum and I customised it the day before with blue ribbons and shells. At about 11pm, we had BBQ sausages/hot dogs; that was really fun and also quite vital at that stage to soak up some of the alcohol!
A Dream Theme
Since The Gallivant is a coastal venue, it already possessed so many decorative touches that were in keeping with our theme but we did add a lot of our own personal touches such as bunting (made by Mum!), plants and signage. I really wanted to add pink to the blues and white tones as I felt this was a romantic colour and softened the whole look.
In terms of ‘favours’, we had a traditional sweet display (we spent about six months collecting all the jars from various junk shops and bought all our favourite sweets from when we were kids) as we felt that added to the English seaside vibe. Everyone helped themselves the next day and took some away in cute little stripy paper bags.
The table plan was created out of a map of Rye set onto a cork notice board and then we designed postcards and set them out for each table. The numbers on the board were reflected by the numbers we applied to some mini beach houses which we’d bought on a visit to Hastings. We also bought more candles, bunting and plants.
Just The Two Of Us
My most special moment was after the ceremony. We had about half an hour of photography together. It was just the two of us and it felt so special to enjoy that moment together away from everyone and digest what had just taken place! Also the beach reception was probably be my favourite bit as our nearest and dearest were there and it turned about to be a lovely sunny day so that was a fantastic feeling!
I would say don’t feel you have to do everything by the book. For example we had two speeches; my maid of honour gave a speech and also the best man (it helped that they were married to each other!); why does the best man just have to do a speech?! It was so special and meaningful to have them both do a speech.
Also try not to stress about things on the day. At that stage everything is organised to a T and your venue will take care of everything so just try and enjoy it as much as possible because it goes so quickly. I know that this is easy advice to give not but not so easy to do though!
Venue – The Gallivant
Make-up – Wild Cherry Hair
Boutique – Timeless Couture
Groom – Reiss
Flowers – Café des Fleurs
Cake – Marks And Spencer
Jazz Band – The Somebody’s via Ear Candy
Band – New Orleans Dixie Jazz Band via Warble Entertainment
Transport – Premier Wedding Cars
Photographer – Jake Morley Photography
If it’s even possible to choose, the image of Annabel and Darren cuddling on the beach is my favourite.
It’s raw, it’s intense, it’s up close and personal.
In that moment, it’s all about those two and nobody else. Swear to me folks that you’ll take time to have a private minute or two with your beau – it’s the best feeling in the whole darn world.
All my love Lolly xxx