Alison the Bride:
When we talked about our wedding day we knew that we wanted a small wedding with an intimate feel to our day, with an emphasis on our family and friends, good food, flowing conversation and wine. We wanted informality to rule and definitely didn’t want to feel as though we were playing a role.
Wedding dress shopping was the one element of planning for our wedding day that I was least forward to. We knew how we wanted the day to be, but I had no idea about what I wanted to wear I was dreading wedding dress shopping. I stumbled across Archive 12
on Instagram and decided that I needed to get to try on some of the dresses as the seemed to suit me more than what traditional wedding dress shops were offering!
My dress was the most delicate Edwardian lace handmade by someone else who was in love and excited about getting married. I loved that the dress had a history to it. That it had been worn by other brides ~ we guessed at least twice as there was lace from a later era added to the sleeves. It needed a small amount of mending but my mum did this and I loved that she had stitched love into it too.
My husband to be knew he was going to get a suit made - he had always talked about how, if he ever got married he wanted to do so in a baby blue corduroy suit. He got this commissioned by a local suit shop and this was made in America.
When we started thinking about where to get married we knew we wanted it to be local to home. Although we met in Belfast we both grew up within five miles from each other in Co Armagh. We had moved back to where we grew up a few months before we got engaged. We wanted to get married locally and we wanted to be able to go back to the house we now called home the night of our wedding. We also wanted it to be local as I wanted my grandmother and great aunt to attend the wedding and they are both in their nineties. The feel of the venue was important to us. We wanted it to be relaxed and informal and it was really important to us to have great food. The moody boar had all these components. It also had a beautiful courtyard which would be exclusively ours on the day and this was such a selling point - we loved the idea of our family and friends sitting outside in the summer evening sun.
The day had to be relaxed and I wanted the decor to reflect this. We also did not want to spend a huge amount of money on decor. We wanted a vintage feel for the day, and I didn't want to go for the same look as a lot of other weddings. There was no specific colour scheme or theme other than I wanted the day to relate back to us and be as personal to us and our families as much as possible.
The courtyard at the moody boar was decorated with flowering plants and bunting from Bunting By Jenny
. This was put up the day before the wedding in lashing rain when we were wondering if there was any chance of anyone being able to go outside on our wedding day.
I wanted to have fresh, locally grown flowers, and for these to be relaxed – I liked the idea of wildflowers, but I really wanted my flowers to look like flower arrangements your granny might have had in her house - wild flowers, haphazard in nature. We didn't get favours for guests, but rather the flowers were all arranged in jam / coffee jars and at the end of the night each lady was able to take away a bunch of flowers. I hated the idea of them only being enjoyed for one day and this seemed like a great solution.
The Wedding Party
The bridesmaid dresses were bought in Next and the sandals also purchased there. Again I wanted a relaxed vibe and I wanted both of the younger bridesmaids to be able to wear the dresses again if they wanted to. My friend Suzanne was chief bridesmaid and she got her dress in Debenhams
. Suzanne had said she would buy her own dress and I wanted her to be comfortable on the day so gave her complete free rein to buy whatever dress she liked the most/felt most comfortable in, The dress she did get in the end I loved - she looked beautiful in it and it fitted perfectly with the rest of the day.
My absolute favourite part of the day was out “first look”. We both knew we wanted to share time alone first before we spent the remainder of the day celebrating with our family and friends. We got to see each other, it centred us back to what this day was all about. After getting a few photographs done we had a glass of champagne together and then invited in our friends and family and greeted them all as they came into the bar area.
We wanted everyone to be relaxed so we had some drinks served and some canapes and this allowed everyone to relax and mingle with each other. As we were having a registry office wedding and therefore were limited in what we
could do during that we had a relaxed pre-ceremony, this involved close family members reading a piece from the bible and spoke about love and relationships and giving an Irish wedding blessing prayer. It felt very relaxed and chilled out and was the perfect atmosphere. We all moved across to the registry office.
We wanted the whole day to be as personal as possible so we had a number of other readings during this part of the day, with the brides mother, chief bridesmaid, the groom’s father, best (wo)man and other good friends doing readings, as well as the groom’s daughter. We had composed our own vows and after the official vows we read these to each other - these were our personal promises to each other. The bride walked into the ceremony to “God Only Knows” by the Beach Boys and we left the ceremony room to Prince’s - "Lets go crazy". We are both big Prince fans and knew his music would have to feature on the day!
We are fortunate to know many people who love great music, so one of our friends made us a playlist for the day of our wedding. This was played at all stages of the day. Initially we had thought we wouldn't get a band but decided to bring the band Manouche along - they describe themselves as a gypsy jazz band and were great on the evening. They provided the perfect backdrop as they played outside in the courtyard whilst everyone sat outside in the late Summer sun.
Food was so important to us for the day. We really wanted to have good, tasty food. It’s one of the main reasons we choose our venue as the food at The Moody Boar
is always amazing. We had canapes before the ceremony and then for the a three course meal for dinner. We served a cheese board with the wedding cake during the evening. All the food was fantastic. The mother of the bride made the wedding cake. This was decorated with fresh flowers and berries and on top sat two handmade flamingos. Again the mother of the bride made these. The flamingos were there to represent where it all started -the first conversation we ever had which was about what flamingos ate and why they were pink.
I started investigating photographers soon after we got engaged and found many of the styles too stuffy. Neither of particularly enjoy getting our photograph taken and we didn't want a series of photos were other guests are wheeled in round us. I found Holly and Lime
on Instagram and loved her photos - the colours, the documentary feel. They feel like real life - exactly what we were looking for. We met Lisa and we both immediately liked her - we had covered all sorts of topics of conversation before we started talking photos - but I knew she was the photographer for us. On the day it didn't feel like we had photographers there - but rather some extra friends joining us.
I love our wedding photos - they capture the day and every single one brings back a memory of the day and transports us right back into the moment. What more could you ask for?
The whole day was a DIY project as such,and there is no doubt that the mother of the bride put so much work and effort into getting the day to be so beautiful. The room where the meal was held and the courtyard was decorated by the family the day before the wedding, old lampshades were hung from the ceiling throughout the room, these were purchased in local charity shops. the windowsills were decorated with memories of our grandparents - they had their wedding photos and other sentimental items which reminded us of them. The flowers were planned to look like wildflowers - haphazard and relaxed in nature. The flowers were all over the room. I wanted as many flowers as I could as I love fresh flowers. The name cards were made using coloured embroidery thread and plain brown luggage tags, the table plan was made again using embroidery items and small wooden hearts - these were given to the guests after the meal and had a message written on the back on them. Each guest had a handmade napkin, courtesy of the brides mother, and these were made with vintage look material and again guests could bring these home with them at the end of the day.
My only advice is to be true to what you want, the feel of the day was so important for us, and every decision was made reflecting on how we wanted the day to feel for us. But I would also advise to take on the advice of others - or at least consider it. We wouldn't have had a band in the evening only the bride's father suggested it would be good for some live music and we were so glad we took on that piece of advice.
Have someone with a thread and needle - my very delicate dress got pulled and a quick fix had to be done - I love the photos of this though! Enjoy every moment - After the wedding - at the start of our honeymoon I journaled the wedding day - every element - the conversations, how I felt. I love going back to re-read that journal - it reminds you of a day that is so absolutely bursting with love that it's hard to remember everything unless you record it soon after your day.