Aliki The Bride:
El had bought the gorgeous engagement ring in Brighton, so while I was there to resize it I booked myself into White Leaf Bridal
for a consultation. It was quite early on in the planning process so I wasn't expecting to make any decisions, but ended up leaving 45mins later with a teary Maid of Honour and the deposit down for a bespoke dress! Blanka and her team were fantastic - from the moment we started chatting she was able to visualise the dress I was after, and put so much effort into making it happen. It was a little nerve-wracking not to have seen what the final dress would look like until a few weeks before the wedding, but so worth it for a unique dress and I felt so special wearing it on the day.
did our make-up and hair - so lovely to have around on the morning and so helpful throughout the entire process, I was so happy to have found her on RMW
. How she managed to get rid of the circles under my eyes after so little sleep was nothing short of magical..!
El looked incredible in his three-piece suit - we'd kept each other's outfits a surprise until the day, so he'd chosen it himself with a bit of advice from parents and the best man. I gave him some cufflinks on the morning of the wedding that he wore on the day, but apart from that accessories were kept simple - the suit spoke for itself...
We were unbelievably lucky that my parents were happy to host the wedding in their beautiful garden. While I hadn't ever given much thought to what our wedding would look like before being engaged, I had always dreamt that it would take place at home - it felt so special and truly personal as a result. It also meant there was no cut-off point for anyone that wanted to carry on into the early hours...
While I wouldn't change a thing, one thing I would say to any brides looking to do the same would be to prepare yourselves for the work that comes with planning a wedding at home - a fantastic experience, but it requires a whole new level of organisation that is difficult to imagine before you get started!
We had two marquees - one for the dinner, one for the ceremony and dancing. This allowed us to decorate each of the spaces differently and avoiding too much moving of furniture on the day itself.
I had been worried about how to fill the space in two huge marquees, but was so happy with how everything turned out. Through a combination of amazing flowers and DIY projects, not to mention time spent gardening by my parents, the whole place looked beautiful - though we were all working overtime in the weeks building up to the day, not to mention a very late night the day before trying to set everything up!
I may have been a bit overzealous in the amount of DIY activity I undertook in the build up to the wedding...I loved every minute of it, but I cannot describe how much time and effort it took. I'd recommend that any brides thinking about incorporating some DIY into their wedding thinks seriously about the time they have available to dedicate to it and how much they will really enjoy it - it's a lovely opportunity to be creative and, in some cases, save a bit of budget, but there is so much to think about in planning a wedding and no-one will judge you if you don't make everything (or anything) yourself!
With the help of RMW
and very patient friends and family, we created some amazing decor and unique touches for the day - thank you to everyone who helped, especially my Dad who made my idea of a giant wooden backdrop happen, whilst making a bar from scratch (amongst other things) at the same time! Endless Prosecco was a key component in the manufacture of all DIY projects...
Flowers were one of the most important things for me, as I knew I would never again have the chance to be surrounded by so many beautiful arrangements and it was one of the key ways we wanted to fill the huge space in the marquees. We were so lucky that a close friend happens to be an extraordinarily talented florist, and we had so much throughout the whole planning process working out which flowers and what style would work best. India worked tirelessly in the run up to the day, creating the most incredible bouquets, buttonholes and arrangements - her ability to understand exactly what we were looking for was amazing, and she went completely overboard in delivering more than we could have dreamt of!
As we were on a budget, India also bought us flowers for the dining tables at cost price (except the top table, for which she created the most amazing floral runner), that we then mixed with foliage from the garden and arranged ourselves - we did the same for the backdrop and the pew ends, and absolutely couldn't have done it without the help of maids of honour/mother in law and good friends the day before!
The Wedding Party
We chose to spoil ourselves with a huge wedding party, so that all of our nearest and dearest could be involved. Because of this, we were on a bit of a budget but still wanted everyone to feel happy in what they wore on the day.
The Bridesmaids looked stunning in a floral printed number from Matalan
, whilst the two Maids of Honour were beautiful in bright strapless dresses from ASOS
- I then made them each a floral sash to complement the Bridesmaids.
The boys looked amazing in a combination of light grey and peach, and Elliot found them each fluorescent socks in different colours to add a bit of fun. He wore bright orange ones to complement the wedding colours (and his gloriously ginger hair)!
The ceremony was one of our favourite moments of the day. Our old friend (and one of the ushers) JP agreed to act as celebrant - we were legally married two days before, but wanted to share our own vows and this special moment with all our loved ones on the day itself. JP was absolutely amazing - his words were beautiful and he really made the ceremony what it was, we will never forget it. We wrote the structure of the ceremony together, each wrote our own vows as a surprise for one another, and had some beautiful music/readings throughout. Our friend Bryden played a beautiful acoustic version of 'And I Love You So' by Don Maclean on the guitar, my oldest friend and bridesmaid Palomi read a poem we had chosen, and my mum sang a traditional Norwegian song ('Solveigs Sang') A Cappella - everyone was in tears by the end, which was exactly what we were aiming for!
It was so lovely to be able to make the ceremony truly personal - I walked down the aisle to 'Doesn't Take A Whole Day' by Foy Vance (who we have seen live together a ridiculous number of times), and we walked/jigged out to 'You Make My Dreams Come True' by Hall & Oates.
We made playlists for the drinks reception and as a background to the dinner, hiring PA systems from a friend Mike who runs a recording studio locally and helped us set everything up on the day. As is Norwegian tradition, we had lots of speeches throughout the dinner - my brother did an amazing job as toastmaster and every single speech was fantastic. We were a little worried that our guests would be bored by the sheer volume of speeches, but everyone was so receptive and there was a LOT of laughter and tears - this was one of our favourite moments of the day.
I had put little 'Madlibs' out on the tables, which were a great source of amusement when read out by the toastmaster later on, and were an easy way to make sure there was something already on the tables that got everyone talking.
We chose Velodrome
as our band after finding them online - Mike was fantastic in the build up to the day, and the guys couldn't have been nicer to have around on the day. That aside, they are all incredible musicians and kept everyone dancing - even learning a song I'd chosen for me to sing as a surprise for Elliot before our first dance (which he ended up singing with me - another highlight for me)! We cannot recommend them enough and hope we will have the chance to see them play again soon.
El had the idea to have a Whiskey and Cigar section, which we named the 'Smoke n' Dram', and also a photobooth with a polaroid camera and dressing up box - these went down really well with our guests and made for some excellent memories.
It took a long time and a lot of research to find the kind of caterer we wanted - once we met with Talia we knew we had found the right team! We wanted to have quite a lot of input into the menu, and for the food to be relaxed, but delicious and still fit for a wedding. We wanted sharing food rather than anything too 'try hard' and stuffy - with Talia, we created our ideal menu. She had so many ideas but was great at incorporating our requirements and we knew from the tasting that we were going to love what she cooked on the day. Talia and her team were absolutely wonderful on the day and in the build up - they took the unusual surroundings and set up in their stride and made sure everyone was happy and everything ran smoothly. We have had so many comments about how delicious the food was, we would recommend Talia to everyone!
As if singing in the ceremony and hosting the wedding wasn't enough, my Mum happily took on the task of making all the wedding desserts and the cake herself...what she created was unbelievable! With a bit of help from a family friend Cath and Angela (Elliot's Mum), she spent months planning and weeks making the most beautiful buffet of elegant puds I have ever seen. Not only did it look incredible, but everything tasted delicious and was all made completely from scratch - there were not many leftovers...
For the evening we put out lots of cheese and a giant ham that we had made the day before, alongside lots of chutneys, fresh bread and crackers.
Menu as follows:
Canapes: Whole Iberico ham, pan con tomate and gravadlax
Starter: Greek-style prawns in a garlicky tomato sauce with feta, served with chunky ciabbatta and olive oil
Main: Italian porchetta (sweet potato filo parcels for the vegetarians), dauphinoise potatoes, green beans with tarragon and mustard - all served to the centre of each table, family style
- Wedding cake (three tiers - lemon, victoria sponge and chocolate, each with different iced fillings)
- Macaron tower (different flavours - chocolate, passion fruit, salted caramel & peanut, pistachio)
- Traditional Norwegian Kransekake
- Blackforest Trifle
- Individual layered chocolate pots and summer fruit pots
- Cupcake tower
What can I say about Claudia
? She is the most talented photographer and wonderful person - we are so grateful for the way she has managed to capture every single emotion we all felt on the day. Each and every one of her images is more than a photograph - it is a work of art and we cannot believe how lucky we are to have found her (thanks to her partner Gary, AKA Marshal Gray
, for the recommendation!). From the moment we first spoke she has gone out of her way to make the entire process as smooth and enjoyable as possible. We knew from the engagement shoot that we had not only found the perfect photographer, but also a friend - we cannot thank her enough and hope we have more occasions to use her in the future...we have already had recently engaged friends ask for her details!
We had been debating whether to invest in a videographer throughout the whole wedding planning process - it felt extravagant based on our budget, but I was worried I wouldn't remember it all if we didn't have it on video. In the final last-minute panic of the wedding week, I booked Danny
5 days before the day itself as a bit of an impulse - I am so unbelievably happy that I did! He was so lovely to have around on the day, and captured everything beautiful - we have all really enjoyed reliving the day and will treasure the video for years to come.