The array of colours and blooms at this classic wedding are absolutely delicious, featuring my all-time favourite flowers bluey/purple hydrangeas. From the bridesmaids' flower crowns to the pew ends, bouquets and centrepieces every floral arrangement will have you smiling from ear to ear. As will the adorable baby blue VW Beetle wedding car. Bride Alex looked super stylish in her Belle and Bunty Bridal separates and I simply adore the image captured by Laura Debourde Photography of her strolling through the ruined garden of the Grade II listed wedding venue alone and with her beau.
Alex The Bride: Dan and I knew we wanted an informal, relaxed and intimate wedding and so wanted to find a venue that would give us enough of a blank canvas to bring all our ideas together. It was total luck that led us to find Whitbourne Hall but we’ll never forget the moment we drove up the drive together and instinctively knew it was ‘the one’. With total freedom to bring in our own caterers, supply our own booze (with no corkage fee) and decorate as we wanted to, it ticked every box. It all fell into place when the local Reverend agreed to marry us at nearby Whitbourne church.
We were very fortunate in that one of Dan’s life-long friends, Geoff, agreed to take on the responsibility of getting me to the church on time in his vintage baby blue Beetle. Geoff’s wife, Lucy, did an incredible job of sprucing it up for its wedding car debut!
Laura was one of our first RMW finds. We fell in love with her relaxed and natural style of photography that focuses on capturing the moment rather than a pose. Dan and I hate having our photo taken and we were both feeling apprehensive about the prospect of being photographed. We needn’t have worried as Laura’s easy and affable nature completely put us at ease and to top it all off, Laura is incredibly funny!
Dress & Accessories
As with everything, I started off with a very laid back approach to the whole wedding dress search, convincing myself I’d be able to find something on the high street. Oh how wrong I was! 5 bridal boutiques and what felt like a million dresses later, I still hadn’t found anything that felt like ‘me’ and was completely disheartened with the whole experience. Fortunately, I visited Rachel at The White Room in Mitchinhampton with my Mum and bridesmaid, Cat. Rachel was incredible at lifting my spirits and in the best way possible, was totally genuine in her thoughts on what did and didn’t suit me. It was Rachel who convinced me to try on some separates from Belle and Bunty and as soon as I put them on I just felt so comfortable! It seems ridiculous to use such a word but the combination really felt like ‘me’. The ladies created a bespoke silk cami for me to give me a more flattering neckline for my shape. I accessorised with gold pumps from French Sole, matching earrings and necklace from Alexis Dove and head piece from Jennifer Behr. The veil was custom made for me by Sarah at Britten Weddings.
The gorgeous Charlotte from Bryony Dalton created my wedding make-up for the day, creating a bronze/golden eye, glowing skin and a rose coloured lip. For my hair, the achingly cool Aaron from The Bridal Hair Specialists created a relaxed vintage curl to my hair to complement the overall look. I’d recommend both Charlotte and Aaron in a heartbeat, they were such great characters to have with us during the morning festivities.
When it came to bridesmaids' dresses, the most important thing for me was that the girls were all comfortable in what they were wearing. Other than that, I was pretty relaxed about colour, length and style, as long as they all complemented one another! I decided to have a look on ASOS as they had a depth of styles I knew we’d never find in a department store. One long dark blue dress, three happy ladies and one chuffed bride later and we were all sorted. The girls then chose their own shoes and accessorised with Kate Spade ‘one in a million’ necklaces that I had gifted them that morning.
Dan wanted to find a suit that he could wear again after the wedding and, despite my best efforts, I couldn’t persuade him to buy a designer one! He chose a John Lewis Kin suit for himself and his two best men and paired them with contrasting knitted Reiss ties. We simply asked our ushers to wear navy suits of their choosing so that they complemented each other.
Once we knew we were going to be able to choose our own caterers, Dan set his heart on pie and mash from Pieminister. We had a delicious variety of starters for our guests to enjoy outside when the first arrived at the reception, along with a ‘pimp your own prosecco’ stand using rhubarb, blackberry and raspberry liquors from Chase. Our wedding breakfast began with sharing boards of cheese, ham, pickles, pates and bread followed, of course, by pie and mash! Dessert was a sharing platter of cakes, followed by our cheese wedding cake. The Pieminister team were incredible on the day and all the guests commented on their friendliness and attentiveness. With no corkage fees to worry about, we bought copious amounts of wine, beer and cider for our guests to help themselves to within the beautiful atrium of the hall.
We knew that we would try and make as many of the decorations as we could ourselves but there were some items that I knew would be too expensive for us to buy. I came across Another Story Studio on RMW and hired their enamel bath and butchers trolley to use as our drinks bar. All the signs we had both inside and outside the venue were lovingly created by Dan and painted with the help of our friends using Annie Sloan chalk paint. We bought a polaroid camera and borrowed a stand from a friend to create a makeshift photo booth area. Guests were supplied with washi tape and pens so that they could get creative with their Guest Book messages. I would’ve loved to have filled the venue with flowers but with a limited budget, I sourced some additional flowers from a local wholesaler and with the help of my sister and Mum had these dotted around the venue. Driven by one too many late-night Pinterest binges, I had a far-fetched idea for our table plan, which involved a tree and some copper hoops (but didn’t take into account the English weather). With the rain forecast, one of my bridesmaids and I got creative with a pair of ladders she had lent us and we came up with our best alternative. With a few decorative touches and some flowers added, it turned out better than I had envisioned.
We had no idea it would be so hard to find a band for the wedding that didn’t sound incredibly cheesy (and not in a good way!) As an avid reader of RMW, I looked up every single band mentioned by real brides and FINALLY found a contender in ‘The Soundcasters’. I still remember excitedly playing their samples to Dan and the immediate smile on his face told me all I needed to know. On the day, we’ll always remember our friends running past us saying: “quick, they’re back on, get to the dance floor!” We think that pretty much sums up the chaps and their ability to start a party!
Where do I even begin with our flowers? I was overjoyed when I met Louise at The Herefordshire Flower Studio and knew from the beginning that she would be able to bring my vision to life. Louise was so patient with me as I tweaked last-minute details and on the day I was absolutely blown away by what she’d created for us. Blue hydrangeas and eucalyptus formed our table centres, with single stem hydrangeas used as our pew ends. My bouquet was a heady mixture of hydrangeas, astilbe, lisianthus, wax flowers and peonies, whilst our bridesmaids had complementary bouquets and their fabulous flower crowns.
I read all about Chloe and Tom’s wedding on RMW and was thrilled to see that they had started their own wedding stationery business called Made by Wood and Wood. They were considerate of our budget and created templates for our orders of service, table plan and menus that allowed us to easily print our stationery ourselves, whilst still achieving the aesthetic we wanted.
Words of Advice
It's incredibly easy for us to say this (but SO hard to keep sight of in the throws of your wedding planning!)...it's your day and your day alone. We were astounded by how many people would give you their opinion even if you didn't ask for it or it clearly wasn't what you wanted to hear but our mantra was: "it's our day and we'll do it our way". Having said that, we loved having all our friends and family's support in the run-up to the day. Don't be afraid to ask for help, your loved ones will really enjoy contributing to your day. Most importantly...enjoy every moment, it'll be the best day of your life.