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Amy & Alex

Ooof this is an absolute corker! RMW The List member Frances Sales Photography delivers and more in this chilled out family affair. A rustic chic summer wedding at the brides family home in Kent. Complete with modern Glass Marquee, Hanging Foliage, Sax Music, Espresso Martinis and Croque Monsieurs. Heavenly white & greenery decor with our beautiful Bride dressed in a Karen Willis Holmes gown from our friends at Froufrou Bridal Boutique. We will be sad to see Froufrou close in August, if you’re speedy you may still be able to grab yourself a bargain!

We have featured a few family home weddings now and I can totally see the appeal. Jess & Tim,  Vicky & Gordon,   and Sammi & Sam are all couples we have featured this year, opting to use family homes as their venues.

The Bride

Amy the Bride: For my first visit to try on dresses we went to a beautiful little boutique shop in Islington, they had a trunk show featuring a designer I’d been lusting over on Pinterest for months.  However, it wasn’t meant to be and the elaborate designs didn’t do anything for me.  I did get a feel for the lead times though and the panic set in, bolstered by friends getting married the same summer who’d been to 12 different shops before finding ‘the one’!

My Mum suggested we pop into Frou Frou when I was back in Kent for Christmas and after many, many hours trawling Google I thought, why not.  I am so, so grateful we did as I was lucky enough to be helped by the owner and I loved every single dress I tried on.  My favourite stood out immediately though, ‘Beatrice’ by KWH.  It had all the sparkle I was after while still being understated and most importantly, it was really comfortable.  No-one warned how itchy and constricting some dresses are?! 

I had a slightly disastrous meeting with a recommended seamstress who (with 4 months until the wedding) didn’t feel I had enough time and basically warned me there wasn’t much she could do as I wasn’t yet the the exact size I hoped I would be on the day. I struck gold finding Charlotte at Sewn It and I actually think I cried when I walked into her beautiful studio in Wandsworth late one evening after work, where she welcomed me with a huge smile.  I can’t thank her enough for making my dream dress so perfect for me and for putting me so at ease.

The Groom

Alex wore a custom made suit from Suit Supply and his groomsmen all wore navy “Alfred Brown” suits from Charles Tyrwhitt .  Underneath the ushers all wore stripy socks which Alex gifted them on the morning of the wedding along with a cigar and bow tie!

The Bridesmaids

For months I was certain I wanted my bridesmaids to be in mismatching gowns to suit their personalities, spurred on by Carrie’s wedding party -like so many Sex And The City brides who’ve seen the movie.  However, the reality of pulling this all together with bridesmaids in different countries just wasn’t feasible.  Eventually I found the beautiful dark grey gowns we went with  on ASOS and I got really lucky, they were on sale too.

The Venue – Glass Marquee At Home

Even before meeting my now husband I had a vision of getting married at my parents home in Kent.  These loosely thought out daydreams usually included an aisle in the garden and lots of sunshine.  When the wedding became a reality it dawned on us all that I had more of a Californian climate in mind and that a marquee would be an absolute necessity.  Cue panic, with nightmare scenes of draped dark cream fabric and taffeta bows on the backs of chairs.  This was literally all I could find online when searching marquee rental companies but having seen countless Australian wedding blogs I knew there were other options, I just had to find them.  I did, in the form of a ‘glass’ marquee by the fantastic Academy Marquees

Alex and I were sure we wanted small groups of friends and family sat together in a more intimate setting than banquet styles offer but we didn’t have much luck finding tables that could be used without a linen cloth.  Luckily for me Ed at Academy Marquees had just made beautiful wooden tables (from Gordon Ramsey’s old floorboards no less!) which gave me the rustic look I wanted but with the extra width that trestle tables sadly don’t have.

Colour Scheme & Decor

Alex actually made a joke in his speech about learning what ‘rustic chic’ meant throughout the process of planning our wedding, jokes aside though it really conveyed to all our suppliers what we were going for. I knew I wanted it to feel relaxed and effortless but not too rustic as we had giant vintage chandeliers hanging in the marquee. 

To help create the feeling of the whole party being outside I envisioned festoon lights strung over the dancefloor and initially thought we could save some of the budget by doing it ourselves.  We all had a good laugh when Doug at Stressfree Hire turned up the day before the wedding and started setting up the elaborate wiring system needed to make casual festoons actually look good stretched across a 15 metre wide area.

Flowers

Carrie, from Topiary Tree, put my mind at rest on our first phone call but I couldn’t have predicted, in my wildest dreams, just what an incredible job she would do with the flowers.  They left me completely speechless.  Carrie was so calm and confident every time I frantically sent over another mood board in the lead up to the wedding and I think just a week before I was still pestering for reassurance that my chosen colour scheme of dusky lilac and peach wouldn’t look dated.  It’s difficult to justify the cost of flowers but they really are worth every penny.  From the last minute addition of a flower arch at the church to the incredible hanging foliage in the tent to my bouquet, Carrie quite literally brought my Pinterest boards to life.

Ceremony

Our vicar Fiona was a bit of a show stealer, she kept the ceremony light and funny whilst very poignant, as she explained the meanings behind each of the spiritual parts in the Order of Service. 

I was really keen for no photography in the Church and Reverend Fiona announced this before I entered, that I wanted to see ‘faces not phones’ as I walked in.  It was one of the best decisions I made, although people then didn’t really touch their phones for the rest of the evening. I think that’s always a good sign that people are having fun but it meant we didn’t have a huge amount to peek at on Instagram the following day!

All the speeches were incredible, just the right mix of heartfelt and very, very funny.  We all got a surprise though in an untraditional twist when my Mum got up to speak. With an opening line of, ‘you’re my soul and we’ve always been the best of mates but now you’ve found your soulmate to walk through life with’, there wasn’t a dry eye under the marquee, people were sobbing!

Entertainment

We wanted upbeat & modern sax music played throughout the drinks reception.  The setting was an idyllic English country garden but we hoped to create a party atmosphere so this was a really important element and David, The Sax Walker, got it spot on.

Alex and I really went back and forth on subject of whether to hire a band.  In the end we decided against it and hired Rich from Stylish Entertainment and he was absolutely brilliant, the dance floor was full the entire evening and he pitched the mood of the evening perfectly throughout. 

Food

The food was the talk of the night. The canapés were raved about and we were so glad we doubled up on our favourites, the lobster mac and cheese balls.  Caper & Berry were faultless from start to finish, little touches like bringing Alex and I a selection of each of the canapés were so special and the timings of servings and top ups of wine on tables just never failed to amaze us all.  The meal was burrata, artichoke and pesto followed by a deconstructed Beef Wellington and truffle jus.  The trio of dessert pots were made up of Mint Oreo, Eton Mess and chocolate brownie.

After dinner we served Espresso Martinis and Croque Monsieurs to people watching the incredible fireworks on the decking. The fireworks were a real highlight and the display was timed to work with two songs, Your Soul (Holding On) by RHODES  and then a real party starter,  Fat Boy Slim’s ‘Praise You’. 

The cake was a brilliant local find,  I asked for a smooth buttercream  finish and they even hand-painted stripes on one layer with specks of gold leaf to tie in with the rest decorations.

Photographer

I fell in love with a particular wedding on Frances’s, Frances Sales,  site and that was it, I just didn’t find anyone else I liked as much.  When we first met she was so friendly and relaxed, we knew she’d be great to have at a wedding and she really was, she captured everything but I can honestly say we didn’t even know she was there.  The wedding ran ahead of schedule so we squeezed some extra time in with Frances to capture the golden light as the sun set, it was an incredibly special part of our day.

DIY

My Mum, with the help of two close friends, sewed all of our (140!) linen napkins.  It worked out much better value than hiring, was so personal and gifting bundles to friends after the wedding has been really special.

I made the welcome  sign outside the wedding, it’s not perfect by any stretch but I think it was nice having something clearly handmade.

We got loads of fun Polaroids printed of friends and family over the years and pinned them to a big white-washed wooden board we made.  It was placed just before the loos and I think people really enjoyed it!  On the backs of toilet doors (in the ladies) I pinned signs saying, ‘you look beautiful’ just as a little reminder to all my gorgeous friends. 

Photography by Frances Sales
Author: Amy Cooper
Amy works on The List as Rock My Wedding Supplier Development Co-ordinator and she also writes and produces ‘real wedding’ content. Amy lives in Hertfordshire with her husband, three children and two chickens.

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