All The Fun Of The Fair.

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Ok lovely people, we are starting the week at TRULY EPIC on the wedding spectrum. So get ready…

The details from Russ and Sophie’s vintage circus themed affair have been styled immaculately. If you’re having a themed wedding – this one is a shining example of how to do it properly.

When I looked at the images from Shoot Photography, I was blown away by the stationery, décor and flowers – then I read Sophie’s report and realised the level of involvement she had with EVERYTHING and I was literally astounded.

Sophie ramps wedding décor up a notch so it’s only fair that I let the leading lady herself tell you all about it…

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Only Grays Would Do

Sophie The Bride: It was really important for us that we should celebrate our big day at a venue that meant something to us. On that basis, when it came to choosing a venue there was only ever one contender; Grays Court, in fact we were so sure of this we didn’t ever look at any other options! We live a stone’s throw from Grays and since discovering the beautiful old house a few years ago have always considered it a very special ‘secret local’, enjoying many a peaceful bottle of wine there, tucked behind York Minster away from the city’s many tourist traps.

And, when one summers evening 17 years after we had met, Russ decided the time was right to pop the question, it felt absolutely right that he should arrange for to do it in Grays beautiful walled gardens, complete with a brass quartet playing Lionel Richie from the balcony above!

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Pin Up Girl

When it comes to hair and make-up I have always loved the 40’s and 50’s ‘pin-up’ girl styling and wanted to incorporate key elements of these eras in to my wedding day look. I had a couple of make-up trials to gather some inspiration but decided that I would be happier and look and feel more ‘me’ doing my make-up on the day. I chose to keep my make-up simple and focussed on my eyes, long lashes, black liner and strong brows with a flash of pink Mac lippy.

I was keen to keep my hair looking fairly relaxed and natural and the amazing Abby at Bang Hair managed to create my vision, incorporating a loose victory roll twist which balanced my headpiece perfectly.

By the time the big day came around I had run out of perfume and couldn’t justify buying myself more so I borrowed my Mum’s Stella by Stella McCartney. A scent I used to wear years ago and still a firm favourite and it was lovely that it covered my ‘something borrowed’ too!

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A Simple Bateau Neck Gown

I was determined that wedding dress shopping would not turn in to an arduous task for my mum, bridesmaids or I so did lots of research online and chose my perfect dress shape before I booked any fittings. Since I had also committed the cardinal sin of buying the bridesmaids dresses and my shoes before I had chosen a dress, I knew the dress was going to have to be pretty classic- there were already lots of colours, patterns and textures going on!

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I went to one bridal shop, tried on 6 dresses and with my ideal shape confirmed in my mind I roped my sister in to measuring me and took the plunge ordering a simple bateau neck silk dress online. Just a few weeks later, after some serious pressing to remove the creases and some final tweaking to ensure my perfect fit, my dress was finished and more beautiful than I could have ever imagined!

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The Perfect Pair Of Shoes

As I have mentioned, I bought my shoes before my dress, having searched endlessly for the perfect pair of fun, cute and appropriately coloured heels! When I eventually came across the shoes (Kiki by Kurt Geiger) I was overjoyed… until I realised they were last seasons and had sold out! Luckily after some conscientious eBay hunting I found a brand new pair in my size and snapped them up for just £40.

I trawled Etsy looking for the perfect headpiece and knew the 50’s style silk headpiece with chenille spotted veil was exactly right as soon as I saw it. It was custom made for me by the very clever Agnes Hart who runs her own millinery workshop in London.

I have never particularly been in to sparkly jewellery so when my Dad suggested he would like to buy my earrings for the big day whilst we were perusing a jewellery shop on holiday in France, a simple pair of turquoise studs with a tiny silver and turquoise bracelet fitted the bill perfectly and also ticked my ‘something blue’ box.

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Small But Perfectly Formed

Russ and I were clear from the outset that we wanted to keep the numbers of bridesmaids and ushers small and uncomplicated. I asked my sister and sister in law to be my bridesmaids and my niece and nephew to be our flower girl and page boy. Russ’ ushers and best man were his 3 best friends.

The bridesmaids’ and flower girl dresses were the very first wedding things we bought, I spotted them in our local Joules outlet store and knew the colours, patterns and styles were absolutely perfect for the fun, vibrant ‘vintage circus’ style we had in mind for the day. I found the bridesmaids shoes in the Dorothy Perkins sale and bought the little jackets from Monsoon UK.

The boys’ suits were off the peg from another high street store and their velvet bow ties were made to order by an amazing little company called Mrs Bowtie. Russ’ suit was made to measure and whilst we originally thought about choosing some off the wall fabric combinations we eventually settled for a beautiful black and white herringbone wool with a mustard yellow suit lining and striped waistcoat.

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Artistic Licence

The vintage circus theme came about as a result of a brainstorm we did shortly after getting engaged. Our priority for the day was that it was fun, relaxed and very ‘us’ with an odd surprise thrown in here and there for good measure. I love interior design and our home is an eclectic mix of new and old put together with a sense of humour and these are things that we wanted to get across on our big day.

Regardless of what anyone says I really believe that weddings are a little theatrical, a performance for your nearest and dearest and we decided to embrace and play on this idea though our theme. The bridesmaids and flower girl dresses were the first things we bought and really helped to define the whole colour palette.

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I bought additional dresses for us to cut up and use within the decor so elements of the scheme tied together. I got a little bit obsessed with perfectly round oversized balloons which I sourced via eBay and am glad I did as they proved a brilliant prop for our couple shots. One of the most successful elements of our decor was a custom made sign of our initials which sat on the fireplace in the ceremony room. I bought this almost a year before the wedding and had it tucked away in the loft before unveiling it on the big day. Everyone admired it and it also gave the photos some real wow!

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Bright And Fun Flowers

It was really important to me that I chose a florist I had complete faith in given that this was one of the only details that would not be finished until the day and was completely out of my hands. With a clear style and colour palette in mind I contacted several florists before deciding to entrust the arrangements to Heaven Scent florists in York.

I wanted the flowers to be cute, pom-pom shaped and bright and having spent some time looking at bouquets online had a clear of idea of what I liked and what I didn’t. I had set my heart on pink peonies, little yellow craspedia, hydrangeas in pink and white and dahlias with white freesias. As peonies weren’t in season the florist suggested fuchsia David Austen roses, which despite my reservations were absolutely beautiful.

We also decided to incorporate yellow pinhead proteas to add texture and colour. Russ and I spent many a Saturday morning at a local flea market collecting the many oversized vintage coloured vases we used for the centrepieces which really anchored the eclectic look we were trying to achieve.

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Intimate And Emotional

Despite being given the option of holding the ceremony outdoors we decided to squeeze our 80 guests in to a slightly too small ceremony room on the basis that we wanted the ceremony to be personal and intimate and make everyone feel a part of our vows. It obviously had the desired effect as lots of the guests commented how uncharacteristically emotional it had made them!

We chose a mutual close friend Cheryl to read ‘Marriage Fulfils The Love Two People Share’ by Glenda Wilm and my big brother did an amazing job of reading a poem by Daniel Harris called ‘Blessing Of The Hands’ a beautiful passage that had most of our guests reaching for their hankies! The ceremony was short and sweet and everything we had hoped for.

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You’re So Cool

On a visit to Grays Court we had heard the antique piano being played and decided immediately that we wanted to find a pianist to set the mood for our big day. I booked a lovely guy called Antoine who covers the North of England and who agreed to play from our guests’ arrival until the end of the wedding breakfast- no mean feat! He was amazing and even learnt a classic piano version of Hans Zimmer’s ‘You’re so cool’ for us which I walked down the aisle to.

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Just Ben

We also wanted live music for the evening reception but due to intimate the size of the ‘party’ room thought a big band would be too much. Our amazing photographers Jo and Simon of Shoot Lifestyle Photography actually recommended an acoustic singer called Just Ben to us and after listening to his voice via his website we were convinced he was perfect and got him booked. He did us proud on the night, involving our guests in his rendition of ‘Ho Hey’ by the Lumineers which we had requested he perform for our first dance. It got the party started and was so wonderful to see our friends and family, young and old up on the dance floor!

We also had a brilliant photo booth company from Harrogate which our guests absolutely loved and were fighting to get in to!

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A Yorkshire Feast

We wanted our wedding breakfast to be a slant on a hearty, traditional menu, making the most of some amazing local produce. In the end we settled on a mini Yorkshire ploughmans to start, followed by individual steak and ale pies and a jam roly poly pudding to finish. It was delicious and there were clean plates all round!

We had a simple evening buffet of bacon butties and local cheeses served alongside the amazing rainbow wedding cake my sister in law and bridesmaid Krissy had made for us. Our smartie jar favours doubled up as place names and I tied them in to the theme by decorating them with little animals I had sprayed gold and added pipe cleaner collars to! We also provided the wine and fizz for the reception, meal and toasts, having sourced it during a family holiday from an amazing little vineyard near Bergerac in France.

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A Typography Obsession

I have a bit of an obsession with typography and printed media so our wedding stationery was always going to be my baby! Having covered Graphic Design within my uni course I have a good understanding of photoshop which I put to serious use when it came to designing all things printed for our big day! Russ and I wanted the build up to our wedding to begin from the moment our save the dates dropped on our guests doormats and started as we meant to go on by wrapping these in bright, stripy sweetie bags and sealing them with gold stickers complete with circus animal stamps which I bought on Etsy.

I went on to design little 3D carousels featuring Russ and I to sit within our wedding invitations which my Dad, who runs a printing company printed and die cut for us. I scanned some of the fabric we were using for bunting and applied the floral pattern from this to all of our stationery which worked really well. I probably took on a few too many projects but had a very clear idea of what I wanted and often just couldn’t find what I had in mind ready to buy.

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Details Of My Dreams

So when I decided on bow-backed stripy chair covers, a vintage carousel as a cake topper which coordinated with our theme, gold glitter-covered table numbers, gold animal balloon weights, a stripy spotty, floral cards box or 100 metres of perfectly coordinated bunting incorporating fabrics from the bridesmaids dresses, I had little choice but to get busy and with a committed friend or two make the finishing details of my dreams!

I’m pretty sure Russ thought I’d lost my marbles when I informed him I would be making the perfectly round multi-sized, multi-coloured biodegradable confetti complete with glassine envelopes and hand stamped with balloons but I really loved knowing every detail was just right and seeing all of the hard work being appreciated and enjoyed by our guests really put the icing on the cake of our big day.

My vision for our illuminated table plan was brought to life by my dad who spent several hours drilling through my artwork and poking LED fairy light through hundreds of holes! It might have driven him to distraction but everyone loved it and it is something Russ and I will always display and treasure!

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A Celebration Of Love

Remember your wedding day is all about you, your love for one another, your taste and what makes you happy- your guests will enjoy whatever you choose because they love you! Don’t worry about pleasing or impressing anyone and don’t feel like you ‘should’ do this or that because it is expected of you. Concentrate on enjoying every moment and having an absolute blast.

A wedding is a celebration of love so throw caution to the wind and party! Finally, whatever you do, choose photographers you trust with your life and are completely and utterly comfortable with. Because once the confetti is brushed out of your hair and your dress has gone to the dry cleaners, amazing photos are absolutely the best mementos of your amazing day and all the special people and memories that made it perfect and made it yours.

It goes without saying that we literally can not recommend the incredible Jo and Simon at Shoot Photography strongly enough and thank our lucky stars that after much research and blog searching we found them. It’s fair to say we are in fact a little bit in love with them both. Happy planning all!

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Click here & view all images from this wedding

Brides Shoes – Kiki by Kurt Geiger
Headpiece – Agnes Hart
Bridesmaids Dresses – Joules
Groomsmen’s Bowties – Mrs Bowtie
Hair – Abby at Bang Hair
Circus Marquee Letters – WestVintage Trading Co.
Florist – Heaven Scent Florists
Pianist – Antoine Robinson
Guitarist – Just Ben
Photo Booth – Booth Revolution
Venue – Grays Court, York
Photography – Shoot Photography

SEE????

Isn’t it AWESOME.

And if this is the effect of being a little ‘theatrical’ with you wedding planning, then I say run with it.

Sophie’s lovely Mum looks very glamorous too.

Congratulations to Sophie and Russ and to all of your family – your wedding was on a whole new level.

Lots of love,
Fern x

46 thoughts on “All The Fun Of The Fair.

  1. WOW! What fun and colour and creativity! I 100% agree about the theatricality- you are essentially ‘putting on a show’ for your guests (I tried to represent that with my festoon lighting ceremony backdrop), and am absolutely astounded by that table plan. I need a close up! A gorgeous couple as well. Congratulations to you both and thank you for sharing your awesome day! X

  2. We absolutely love everything about this wedding! You’ve managed to incorporate so many colours and have them work together so well. Thank you so much for sharing this and inspiring so many brides to be. x

  3. I’m so glad you are all loving this wedding so much!
    Sophie and her family are all really excited to see their special day on RMW – Jo at Shoot Photography tells me they are an amazingly close family and that comes across so clearly in the beautiful photos.
    I also know that they are going through a difficult period at the moment so we are sending lots of RMW love and positivity their way.
    Fern x x x x x x

  4. We feel so blessed to have been a part of such an amazing, amazing wedding. Sophie is completely wonderful, such a creative and inspiring person. She is totally thrilled to be on Rock My Wedding as it was her bible when planning her wedding. I am sure she would have been on here today chatting to you all but needs to be with her family. She really wanted her post to go ahead to cheer them all. xxxx

  5. LOVE everything about this. The cake looks so colourful and delicious! And Grays Court is a fantastic venue with the stunning York Minster in the background. Xxx

    1. Thank you Anna, yes Grays Court is so extremely special. We feel so very lucky to have used the beautiful house for our special day. The team and family at Grays are truly something else x

  6. This is a truly spectacular wedding. Sophie, when you have chance, would you be able to share your contact for the balloons? I have been searching for the exact same shaped ones! Once again, congratulations on pulling off such a beautiful occasion xxx

    1. Hi Alice,

      After much research I sourced our balloons from an eBay seller in America- here’s a link to the yellow ones we bought but we also bought the blue and pink ones from te same seller and they have many other colours available in their eBay shop.

      https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/5-Sun-Yellow-BSA-17-inch-Outdoor-Display-Balloons-Round-Rubber-Latex-in-Big-/370799794221?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item565563d82d

      3ft round latex balloons are farily widely available in the UK but as we wanted to have lots of balloons we needed smaller ones and eBay.com was the only place we could find 17″ balloons available with shipping to the UK. Bear in mind the helium cost of the 3ft balloons too if you decide to go for these.

      We had 60 x 17″ balloons in total and filled them using a hired ‘T’ sized helium canister from click 4 balloons. This cost and had more than enough helium for all the balloons £125 including delivery and collection: https://www.click4balloons.co.uk/t-helium-gas-rental-inc-uk-del–coll-14133-p.asp

      We didn’t use any special valves which are often recommended, just a simple knot to tie the balloons. Ours stayed afloat for just over 24 hours so best to fill them on the morning of the big day if possible.

      Good luck with the planning and hope this helps.

      Sophie x

  7. The wedding looked amazing, but even more amazing is the dress, is it possible to know who it is by/where it is from as i am still struggling to find my perfect gown.

    xx

    1. Hi Vicky,

      Thanks for your lovely comment! I bought my dress online, having found it by ‘googling’ bateau necked wedding dresses. This is a link to the site I bought it from and the listing for my actual dress- https://www.bridaldreamdress.com/catalog/product/view/id/54183/s/32100-ss-beatrice-full-skirt-bateau-sweep-train-wedding-dress/ The company was absolutely amazing, incorporated some chages to the design as per my request and kept me informed with progress etc, even emailing photos of my finished dress before they shipped it.

      I paid a little extra- around £200 I think- to have the dress made in 100% silk satin (as opposed to a cheaper polyester mix) and it was definitely worth it as the material was stunning. I also had to have the dress professionally altered by a seamstress when it arrived to ensure it was a perfect fit and then sent it to be proessionally pressed as it arrived so creased. Even with the alterations etc it only took 3 months from the date I ordered the dress for it to make it just right!

      Good luck with your search for the perfect gown!

      Sophie xx

  8. OK, so……WOW!
    Just love all the colour in this wedding – what a gorgeous visual feast for a Monday!
    Huge congrats guys! 🙂 xx

    ps. Sophie your shoes are EPIC! Love them!

  9. What a perfect dress – it suits Sophie perfectly and she looks so comfortable and happy! Looks like an amazing day! Positive thoughts to the bride and her family 🙂 xo

    1. Hi Vicky,

      Thanks for your lovely comment! I bought my dress online, having found it by ‘googling’ bateau necked wedding dresses. This is a link to the site I bought it from and the listing for my actual dress- https://www.bridaldreamdress.com/catalog/product/view/id/54183/s/32100-ss-beatrice-full-skirt-bateau-sweep-train-wedding-dress/ The company was absolutely amazing, incorporated some chages to the design as per my request and kept me informed with progress etc, even emailing photos of my finished dress before they shipped it.

      I paid a little extra- around £200 I think- to have the dress made in 100% silk satin (as opposed to a cheaper polyester mix) and it was definitely worth it as the material was stunning. I also had to have the dress professionally altered by a seamstress when it arrived to ensure it was a perfect fit and then sent it to be proessionally pressed as it arrived so creased. Even with the alterations etc it only took 3 months from the date I ordered the dress for it to make it just right!

      Good luck with your search for the perfect gown!

      Sophie xx

  10. Gosh, so many lovely comments, thank you all so much 🙂 And thank you especially for all the words of encouragement to my amazing family who are absolutely to thank for making our big day so special.

    I promise to come back to answer the individual supplier detail queries as soon as I can but please excuse me if it takes a day or two.

    In the meantime thank you again for being so utterly lovely.

    Sophie xx

  11. Wowsas – i echo the sentiments – amazing styling and girl, do you have a talent!!

    Congratulations on a beautiful day and on a beautiful start to married life

    xxx

  12. Love the colour in this wedding! Sophie, all of the effort you put into those little details bring real personality to your celebrations. (Love those little animals-may I ask where you sourced them from?!) Many Congratulations, looks like you had an absolute ball! X

    1. Hi Sarah,

      Thank you for your comment, really lovely of you.

      I sourced the little animals from eBay:

      https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Safari-LTD-42-Pack-Jungle-Bulk-Bag-/400404171314?pt=UK_Collectables_AnimalCollectables_SM&hash=item5d39f2ca32

      I then spray painted them gold and added pipe cleaner collars to them to ensure they looked more circus than safari.

      They were secured to the jar lids using a glue gun but superglue would have worked just as well if not better.

      Happy planning!

      Sophie x

  13. My daughter and I are looking at this fabulous wedding at work (dont tell the boss), oh sorry I am the boss!!!!
    Anyway, we are both very tearful (in a good way.) Everything is stunning, Camilla is now planning her wedding based on some of your wonderful ideas. I will have to dust off the sewing machine!!! Sophie you look beautiful xx

    1. Hi Christine,

      Thank you so much for your lovely message and I love that you and Camilla were sneaking off work to do some planning! If there is anything I can do to help with your planning (recommending suppliers etc) please let me know.

      Also, if Camilla would like to borrow any of my own wedding decorations (chair covers, bunting etc) I’m planning on hiring these out as I’ve had lots of requests already and it seems a shame for everything to be in a box in my loft rather than being reused and enjoyed by more people.

      Have a lovely time planning together and a wonderful day Camilla.

      Sophie xx

  14. Beautiful wedding!!! Where did you find that great cake topper carosel? I’m having a circus theme party for my daughters 1st birthday and love that topper!:) Thanks!

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