Pin Image

A Vintage Voyage.

As soon as I read Iola’s musings about the sea mending the soul I was hooked. It was almost as if she was reading my mind and I instantly felt a connection even though we’d never met.

And then I cast my peepers over her glorious wedding; my jaw dropped and remained open for the entire time that I looked through her big day photographs. Because lovelies they’re beautiful. Full of love, laughter, passion and soul.

There’s oodles of DIY and amazing wedding decor – just check out the stationery and wedding favours – immense hair and florals, actual dancefloor rules, a monster of a wedding cake and genius centrepieces.

And have I mentioned just how beautiful Iola is? She and Steve are made for one another…

Sea Soul

Iola The Bride: We both live for the beach, it’s where we’re happiest and love the way it mends the soul after life’s stresses. Steve proposed at Kynance Cove, the most beautiful beach in Cornwall and there was only one main criteria for our wedding venue – to be able to see the sea. Boy, did we get lucky on that one! We originally wanted a yurt, high on a headland but we kept looking at Tunnels Beaches and wondering whether this was in fact our yurt/headland reality.

So on a rainy September day, weirdly exactly a year before our wedding date (and yep, it was raining!), we stepped out of the tunnel, and were blown away by what was in front of us. After a few sleepless nights about whether I could handle the worry of rain we just couldn’t say no to our dream venue. It was everything we wanted – to be married outside, overlooking the sea, a bbq dinner, a roof terrace, deckchairs (!), décor we’d want in our home (people thought it was ours!)…the list goes on and on!

Beautiful Braids

I was over the moon with my hair and make-up; in fact my hair was one of the first things Steve commented on at the end of the aisle. I don’t wear my hair up very often but I knew I wanted something loose and ‘pretty’ to show off the dress. I also really wanted a braid and real flowers and used Pinterest to find the perfect style.

I’m lucky enough to have a very talented and lovely friend Amy who runs her own business – Amica – and created the masterpiece exactly how I imagined it. My gorgeous bridesmaid also made a gypsophila and daisy hair comb which finished it off beautifully. Julie from Changing Faces did my makeup on the day and I was so so pleased with it. She also did my mum’s makeup which was simply stunning – I couldn’t get over how lovely my mum looked.

Grace Kelly

My dress was ‘Kelly’ by Stephanie Allin. I had huge dress dilemmas – a 50/50 battle between Kelly and a Jenny Packham number. I did cry over not being able to have both (yep, real tears were shed over that decision). But my dress had pockets! You can’t really beat that can you?!? I loved that it was classic (modelled on Grace Kelly) but had a girl next door twist. Steve loved it, and that was so important for me, I thought about Steve with every dress I tried on. Gayle at The Mews in Bristol made the whole process a joy; I could spend hours in that shop just sighing at all the stunning dresses.

I kept my accessories simple – I wanted the dress to be the statement. I love swallows, and all that they symbolise so I wore a simple bracelet from Not On The High Street. Also some small heart studs from Accessorise to finish the look. My shoes were Mimi by Rachel Simpson, they were a perfect height (I’m not good with heels!) and so so pretty. They looked great under the bell shape of my wedding dress.

True Blue

My three bridesmaids were my besties from university. Hannah and Rachel were the first people I met as I waved my parents goodbye on the first day, all teary eyed. Emma and I bonded over some crazy dance moves during fresher’s week. I searched high and low for duck egg blue dresses and in the end Boden came up good and they suited the venue perfectly. The girls were really comfortable and that was important to me.

Steve’s suit was bought from Lugets Tailors in Exeter and he looked absolutely gorgeous in his blue cotton get up. We bought the best man a two piece suit from House of Fraser and both wore ties from Topman. Steve’s shoes were Banana Republic and got a lot of compliments (I think most people expected him in a pair of Vans!).

Rustic Appeal

I was really indecisive over my flowers, I knew what I liked (hydrangeas, daisies – ‘pretty’) but apart from that I was quite clueless. In the end I gave my lovely florist Sharon Mesher a couple of pictures and said ‘something like these’ and she did her magic.

I wanted something quite big and a bit of a statement you might say and they were perfect. For the table centre we wanted natural pots of daisies which tied in with the natural cliffs and wildflowers surrounding us. These looked great on the hessian runners. Steve and the men had craspedia and daisies for their button holes – very cute!

The bridesmaids and I also spent the afternoon before making lots of pretty jamjars to fill the venue – from the toilets to the aisle!


We found Dominique on Rock My Wedding through another blog post that featured her work. We loved the feel of the photographs and know that even when we show our grandchildren these photos they will be just as beautiful as they are today. Dominique was lovely to work with and having met on our engagement shoot we felt really relaxed when it came to the day.

I Do

We loved being outside to say ‘I do’ and it was by far the best part of the day. I walked in to the ‘arrival of the birds’ by the Cinematic Orchestra and managed to hold it together, much to everyone’s surprise! Our friend Lydia read beautifully ‘A Lovely Love Story’ by Edward Monkton and our three bridesmaids composed a gorgeous reading complete with some Welsh language for my family, some ‘surf speak’ and messages from friends in Australia – truly stunning. We signed the register to Higher Love my James Vincent McMorrow and then walked out the Halls and Oates You make my dreams come true for a bit of fun.

You Are The Best Thing

Our friend Al Jones kept the good times alive for the evening with an acoustic sunset session as the evening guests arrived, followed by a more upbeat set later on. He did a sterling job a judging the lunge contest too. Everyone was up on the dance floor – we love you Al! We also had a DJ for the later part of the evening – we chickened out of the iPod session after hearing so many different stories from other couples.

Our first dance was on the roof terrace in the last orange wisps of sun. We don’t really have a ‘song’ and if we’d been braver we would have danced to something we could have crazy danced to but in the end chose Ray LaMontagne You are the Best Thing – not too slow and with beautiful meaning.

A Victoria Sponge Monster

Steve and I love to travel so we used ‘vintage voyage’ as a loose theme; using blues and yellows and naturals to complement the sea and surroundings. We had vintage postcards of Devon and Cornwall as well as a world map for our seating plan. Table names were places we visited on our year away in 2010. I took a lot of inspiration from these very pages as well as Pinterest but I can’t say I stuck to an exact theme, just tried to make sure things looked good together.

The cake was something we both chose pretty early on. A Victoria sponge monster was the only cake ever in the picture. YUM! We decided to double it up as desert too which helped save money and we served it with extra berries and cream. The talented Creative Baker did an amazing job and everyone commented on how tasty it was.

Steve’s a designer and also runs a tea business so he designed a gorgeous and fun tea towel which we gave guests as a wedding favour. I love using it at home now and having flash backs of our day.

It’s The Little Things

Steve designed all our stationery – save the date luggage tags, our invites, quizzes for the tables plus lots of little details for the day. I was really keen to completely DIY the day but kept reminding myself that the venue was stunning just as it was, so we chose the most important things to concentrate on – bunting, photos, sweeties and the little extras.

People say that the little things aren’t noticed but everyone loved the flip flops (including the guys), the girls thought the hair clips and plasters in the toilets were amazing and the dance floor rules were adhered to!). Do what you want and people who care about you will notice the effort you’ve gone to.

We had a Polaroid camera plus props for our guest book and everyone loved it. We have a bundle of photos from the end of the night that look like something from the credits of The Hangover! Such good memories.

Don’t Rush It

Enjoy the aisle, don’t rush it. You will never get that moment again. Although I think my dad and I ‘handled’ it well I remember being at the end, standing in front of Steve and not really remembering how I got there!! Don’t feel bad about not seeing everyone. I was upset for a couple of days after for feeling like I didn’t get enough time with everyone, especially those that travelled a long way to be with us. They understand, and they don’t think badly of you, so don’t beat yourself up. If you like to dance (guilty) then dance, it’s your day and people will love seeing how happy you are.

Photography by Dominique Bader
Author: Lauren Gautier-Ollerenshaw
Lolly is a self-professed frustrated florist and styling maven with an endless passion for all things pretty.

35 thoughts on “A Vintage Voyage.

  1. Oooo it’s not often that I come across another ‘iola’ 🙂 What a beautiful wedding. That venue is amazing!!! This has been the first wedding I’ve read on this that I can truly say “I’d love to have been a guest at that wedding”. Your fun, laid-back vibe comes through in these beautiful photos.
    Major loves:
    Iola’s hair
    Iola’s dress
    Steve’s buttonhole
    Your choice of first dance!! I love Ray Lamontagne!


  2. A few things:

    The sparkler image?! Simply immense.

    I LOVE the stationery. Absolutely perfect to set the tone for their day.

    And thirdly, that’s my next wedding dress. If I do it again that’s the one I’m wearing.

    Ruddy gorgeous day x

  3. Love, Love, LOVE!

    So relaxed, so beautiful! Just love the look of this wedding. Oh to look and feel so serene on the day! Also loving the dance floor rules.
    Those shots on the rocks are to die for!! I hope I get some light like that!! Please! And a tea towel. I would like one of those too please.

  4. LOVE! Fantastic photos capturing a BEAUTIFUL day!

    They are so gorgeous (damn them!!) and that last image with the sparklers? I die! Stunning! xx
    Ps. Tea towel favours? Gonna remember that one!!

  5. @Stef we’re partial to a tea towel or two here at RMW HQ – we don’t see them enough in my opinion! And yes the shots on the rocks are sublime!

    @Iola – totally loving the hair too – think I might have to try recreating it at home.

  6. This is my favourite wedding I have seen on RMW. Not just because of the amazing venue, the stunning couple and the thoughtful details but because Iola’s whole view and attitude. You are right; this wedding definitely has soul!

  7. Wow where to start with the list of loves…
    Gorgeous dress on a gorgeous bride, amazing flowers, fab stationery & tea towels and the BIGGEST naked wedding cake I have ever seen! And of course great photography…
    Beautiful wedding…

  8. What a beautiful wedding! Such gorgeous pictures, i’m so jealous that ours is not by the sea. It looks like a wedding you’d loved to have been at. Congrats guys x

  9. Dancing rules…..genius. You can see how genius they are by how much they have been shared on our Facebook page!!!

    What a beautiful couple – and location.

    Charlotte xxx

  10. how’s that for a backdrop? oof!!

    @Stef – I’ll be flogging my leftover tea towels over in QBB soon enough 🙂

    LOVE the dancing rules!!

  11. @Karen – bagsy one of those!!!! 😀

    Wow! what a stunning location! And that dress………..just gorgeous!
    Looks like it was a truly stunning day

  12. This is so pretty! The texture of that beaut of a Stephanie Allin, just makes me want to jump into the picture and touch it!
    Myself and my hubster walked out man and wife to Hall and Oates, loved it! Such a fun song.
    Can we all go to the beach now please?!?

  13. What a beautiful wedding, literally love love love all of it!!!!! Particular favourites …. the gorgeous flowers, the lovely photo board (am planning something very similar myself!), the stationery is fab, just love all of it!!!

    Now very sad that I’m not having a seaside wedding – boo to living in a totally land locked county!!!!


  14. If I wasn’t bring such a wimp about weather in September this is exactly what I would do. Absolutely beautiful.. Out of interest I’m really struggling to find flip flops for my guests does anyone have any reccomemdations where I could get grey ones? Xxx

  15. This gave me goose bumps as this is where I’m getting married next year! I chose The Tunnels for exactly the same reason this bride did and was so blown away the day that I visited that I put my handbag down and didn’t miss it for over an hour!! (luckily someone handed it in to the kind staff for me…)
    The daisy table centre pieces in pots and the gorgeous simple style is scarily similar to my own wish list for my wedding. The venues style is exactly the kind of thing you’d see in my home and I intend to enhance and work with the way The Tunnels is already styled. Thanks for sharing this, it’s got me all giddy and so happy to see that the things I’m thinking will look good in my head also look good in reality!! Congrats you two.

  16. Such a wonderful day. I was lucky enough to be one of the guests at this beautiful wedding. It was utterly amazing and Iola looked incredible. Now planning my own wedding I am fortunate to have Iola as a brilliantly helpful wedding planning friend 🙂 Loved seeing these photos again. Well done Iola and Steve on such a perfect day xx

  17. Oh wow, what an amazing wedding, I love it all… daisies in jam jars, sunshine, dancing rules, tea towel favours, the beach and oh… the massive big gorgeous cake, wowee! But my favourite thing – the super cool bride & groom in their sunglasses!

  18. I love love love this wedding! It made me excited looking at this one as its so similar to what we have planned….in the countryside not by the sea though! Even have the same florist! Beautiful day and a gorgeous bride. Can I ask what make the suit was…we were planning to go to Exeter to look soon for my grooms soon and it’s the perfect Air Force blue that we have been searching for! Congratulation guys! <3

  19. This is quite possibly my favourite wedding! I would be quite happy to turn up blindfolded and have this presented to me as my very own big day. I adore beaches and the seaside and would most definitely get married near the sea if only I hadn’t been born and raised as far from it as possible…Birmingham!! Far too many lovely details to mention so I’m just going to rave over the tea towels – what a fab idea….where’s my notebook! Congratulations you two on a fab job and a lovely wedding day xx

  20. Wow, totally overwhelmed by all your comments! Thank you so so much 🙂 Having our wedding on here has been such a highlight as I was a daily visitor to the blog in the year planning our wedding, and still make time to put my feet up with a cup of tea and sigh lots looking at other gorgeous weddings 🙂 Having it up here has bought so many memories, and indeed tears of joy (mostly in all your lovely comments), – something I’ll always treasure 🙂
    @AshleyB – suit is by Magee – just so happened to be the colour Steve wanted – bit of luck I think. Lugets is a lovely shop.
    @Charlotte – we got our white flip flops from Primark – could try there? Had grey last year so fingers crossed 🙂
    @Betsy – twinge of jealousy you’re getting married there – it’s just so so so so stunning! Enjoy every second

  21. Such a gorgeous wedding with amazing little details. We have so many BIG decisions still yet to make but I just can’t help think of all the small details like what pamper packs I will leave in the bathrooms and stuff. So many gorgeous and thoughtful details in here – there is no way a guest couldn’t have not felt utterly spoilt and loved being a part of your wedding, Iola!

    A quick question, would you be able to send me the wording on your invites? We are in the researching stage of invites (need to speed this up a little as we need to get them out soon) and the way you write and the tone of your day is so similar to what we are hoping to achieve. If you don’t want to write it in the comments box (although i am sure it will be super helpful for all the RMW readers!) please could you email me on

    Thanks so so much and congrats again

  22. I love everything about this wedding!! Where/how did you get your map like that for the table plan?
    Many thanks for any help!!
    Rebecca x xx

  23. What a beautiful wedding! I have been looking at Tunnels beaches longingly since I got engaged! Where was the barn venue?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.