Amy and Neil's wedding day just has the most lovely vibe. They truly did things their way, which is exactly what we always encourage couples to do. Neil wore his jeans and a tweed waistcoat, Amy rocked a flower crown, a veil AND a pair of clogs, along with the rest of her signature jewellery, and the couple chose the gorgeous Fleece Inn as their wedding venue. If you're looking for a laid back pub venue in the West Midlands, then I'd highly recommend them. We featured another wedding from The Fleece a few months ago, following which I booked it for my MIL's 60th Birthday celebrations. I have to echo this morning's Bride Amy in that the staff have been absolutely brilliant. Amy and Neil's gorgeous cake was made by our very own Lottie, who not only organises all of our advertising and relationships with big brands but also bakes the most incredible cakes. This naked one is an absolute stunner and I can guarantee that they taste just as good as they look. And one final shout out from me - for floral designer Jessica Charlotte Simmonds, who is just SO talented and created the most gorgeous floral displays for today's wedding...right, I'll hand you over to lovely Amy who will tell you all about it!
Amy The Bride: I fell in love with the dress online; it was one of the first ones I had seen. The softness of it just spoke to me! I knew it was ‘THE ONE’. It took a little bit of deliberating, could I really buy a dress I wouldn’t be able to try on? I decided to go for it without even trying on any other dresses, no wedding dress shops at all. I loved the idea of a dress with no fastenings and being able to get dressed by myself in the morning and also not needing assistance when going to the loo!!! Thankfully it paid off and going with my heart on this one worked out perfectly, it was the dream dress for me! I spotted my veil on a blog post. I was unsure if I could wear a veil and a flower crown but obviously wouldn’t know what it would look like until the day because of the fresh flowers of the flower crown. The Bridal Star shop on Esty allowed me to buy a very reasonably priced veil that I wouldn’t have felt guilty about if I had not worn it. As it turned out one of my ‘bridesmates’ suggested I customised the veil with some lace from my late mum’s wedding dress. Luckily I have some sewing skills and it worked out perfectly. I started out with something that I was unsure of and ended up with something I didn’t want to take off! I’m not really a formal shoe kind of girl and could not come to terms with an expensive pair of uncomfortable shoes that I would never wear again. I ended up with a nude pair of Maguba clogs through Lotta from Stockholm, which were so comfy and stayed on my feet all day. I’ve ended up wearing them a lot since the day. My necklace was an antique locket from Mayveda Vintage Jewellery from bought by my Aunty, also one of our witnesses. She is my late mum’s sister and put a picture of my Mum in the locket for me. Two cousins, also bridesmates gifted me sapphire earrings (my something blue). Another aunty bought me a pearl bracelet. I wore lots of my own jewellery, 3 vintage rings and my treasured charm bracelet which Neil bought me for my 21st birthday. I would of felt undressed without them.
Neil really didn’t want to wear a suit, we chose the venue because of the laid back vibe it would allow us to have and he felt wearing a suit would make him feel more formal than it he needed to be. He wanted to feel like himself so instead opted for black Diesel jeans, a white shirt and a waistcoat hired from Duncan James of Walsall. The silk cravat add something a little different so that he wouldn’t feel like he was just wearing his regular clothes but something a little more special on his wedding day.
The Fleece Inn, Bretforton (near Evesham). We chose The Fleece for a few reasons; I had visited it when I was a young girl with my nan. She was based near the pub when she was in the land army and was actually the place she had her first alcoholic drink! Me, my Mum and Dad took her there to meet a lady who she was in the land army with who married a farmer from near the village. As a couple we have visited the pub because of its Cotswold location and wonderful setting. The size was also perfect for us, as we never wanted a large wedding and also because it allowed us to personalise the venue to suit us. They allowed us to really personalise the place and we felt so comfortable there. Nothing was too much trouble and they made us feel at home. They worked so hard for us on the day and we will forever remember what they did for us. We particularly enjoyed our last drink in the empty pub, once all the guests had gone home and sitting there looking at each other thinking “Wow! What’s just happened?!” A special mention to Maddie at The Fleece who looked after everything so well on the day, we had nothing to worry about. We can’t wait to stay there again, in the gyspy caravan at the bottom of the garden, just like our wedding night and feel as comfortable as we did on that day. Thank you for helping us have the best day ever!
We desperately wanted a day that would reflect our style and interests. We didn’t want anything to big or “fancy” as it would’ve pushed us out of our comfort zone and wouldn’t have felt like our day. We let the pub setting do the talking and decided early on that we wouldn’t over decorate the barn, other than for flowers, as it was already beautifully decorated with hops and wall hangings. The dress also helped set the tone of the day. The relaxed boho vibe of my Grace Loves Lace dress helped with the ideas of styling for the day. Our incredible florist, Jessie Charlotte Simmonds helped with sourcing some of my favourite colours in the flowers, I preferred deep tones to complement the venue, so lots of burgundy flowers where used along with cream and ivory of roses and my favourite flower the café au lait dahlia with one big request of “lots of green” being granted. As said previously we didn’t feel the venue needed much decoration other than the flowers, beautiful swags above the barn door and the top table. We also decorated a small marquee in the garden. We used the marquee as a live lounge for our acoustic entertainment and decorated it with pom pom garlands, bunting that I made out of paper doilies and hay bales with blankets.
My incredible flower crown made me feel like a woodland fairly and was made by my florist Jessie Charlotte Simmonds. We were lucky enough to have her look after our flowers. During our first discussion of flowers I used the words; green, loose and wild. Jessie took those few words and turned the flowers into a dream like reality. It was as if she had looked into my mind and knew exactly what I would like, picking up on my favourite flowers and including the Queen of dahlia’s, café au lait. We collected lots of beer and wine bottles over the 11 months of planning to use on the tables and around the venue. Jessie decided to theme the flowers with the pub in mind using wine crates and bottles to display the flowers. She helped us to choose a colour scheme that complimented the venue. Lots of deeper tones worked with the 15th century building rather than against them. The displays ended up looking as if they were always there, so much so the pub asked for any leftover flowers to be left for them to dot around the lounge and the bar the next day they loved them so much. She worked so incredibly hard to get them just so but somehow they ended up looking effortless. The bridal bouquet was stunning, I couldn’t believe I was lucky enough to carry it around with me all day; it got a lot of compliments and I was very overwhelmed when it arrived at my house in the morning. She honestly made me feel like I was a woodland fairy!
Our stationery designer Gemma provided a lot for us. From our wedding invites, menus, table plans, signage and our stunning newspaper thank you’s, she went above and beyond what was expected and helped bring all the elements of the day together. Another one to look into my mind, listen to my millions of ideas and bring it all together beautifully. When we got engaged we announced the news via postcards, so Gemma took that a designed the invites in a postcard style. We also ended up with a black and white theme running through the designs with black and white bakers twine, which was a bit of a tribute to our most favourite place in the world...Cornwall.
The Wedding Party
My bridesmaids were coined as bridesmates, a more informal version of a bridesmaid. No matching dresses or shoes. There were 8 of them and they were all very unique, matching dresses would’ve looked odder than mismatched dresses. Our best man wore the same outfit as Neil. The two users were asked to wear their own outfit that they felt comfortable in and suited the style of the wedding. The father of the bride wore the full three piece suit to match Neil and the best man’s waistcoat.
My (very emotional) Dad accompanied me down the aisle to songbird by Fleetwood Mac. We decided to tailor our vows where possible and were able to say our own words during the exchange of the rings. As we made our rings we started our vows with the words “With this ring that I made for you, I give you these promises...” It was a very emotional part of the service and although it required a bit of thought I am so pleased we decided to do it. It seems to be a part of the ceremony that people remember. Our friend Alison, who travelled from Australia to be with us, read ‘I am in you clay’ and our friend David read Edward Monkton’s ‘A lovely love story’ with his own little personal spin on it. We didn’t know what they were reading as we had asked them to pick them themselves as a little treat to us and a surprise on the day.
As the guests arrived and throughout the day our friend Michael King, the lead singer of Boat To Row, played acoustic guitar and was complimented by a fiddle player. The Fleece Inn’s in house ceilidh band kept us very entertained in the evening before plugging in to our own Spotify playlist to finish off the night. Party games from Pollyanna’s Party Hire was brilliant for keeping guests entertained when we were taken away for photographs. The coconut shy went down particularly well and became a little competitive with a full on girls vs boys tournament taking place. We could hear the shouting going on across the village! A special mention to Pollyanna who was fantastic. She set up and took away the games without us even noticing. Even turning up in the morning and helping a flustered groom and best man hang bunting in the marquee.
For canapes we served bar snacks such as crisps, nuts and olives. We’ve always loved the food at The Fleece and decided early on that we wanted to go for their country picnic buffet menu. That style of food has always been a favourite of ours and we knew the local produce they would serve would be delicious and we were not disappointed by the beautiful selection of cold meats, bread, pickles and salads. All stunning! Our cake was by Lottie at Buttercream & Dreams. We were using our cake as dessert and asked Lottie to create a three tier semi naked cake with three amazing flavours. She worked with our florist to use flowers that had been used throughout the wedding to decorate the cake. It was one of the most delicious cakes I had ever eaten and lots of guests asked us about it after the day. We chose Lottie because we loved that she listened to what we wanted and sent lots of ideas that would work perfectly for our day. We also love the tasting session in her house that was a wonderful afternoon. In the evening we severed Cornish pasties all the way from Cornwall! We unintentionally ended up having a little bit of a Cornish theme running through the day and the pasties were the perfect food for when the late night munchies set in.
The Photography & Videography
Our photographer and videographer were from David Boynton Photography. We were put in touch with them after I pleaded on Facebook for a non cheesy, non posey photographer. An old school friend recommended them. I cannot speak highly enough of David and Chris, they were absolute stars! We were a couple who were very nervous about having our picture taken and didn’t want the day to turn into a photoshoot. After meeting with David and spending the day with him on our engagement shoot we soon realised we had absolutely nothing to worry about. Their style of photography and the manner in which they conducted themselves was just perfect! We ended up feeling like we had two new friends at the wedding and now look forward to seeing them again. They fitted into the day seamlessly, joining in with garden games and our ceilidh band dancing. Our friends ended up thinking they were family members and our family mistook them for our friends. We could not have wished for a better team and are now looking for any excuse to visit them in their studio again.
We made our own wedding rings for each other at The Quarter Workshop with Victoria. I had read about the workshop and liked the idea that we could make the rings ourselves but also being able to do it in the city with live in and love. Victoria was amazing at guiding us through the process and even suggested that our photographer came along to capture the day. It was the most wonderful day and is a very fond memory of ours through the planning process. We both had 9ct white gold d bands, Neil’s a little thicker than mine but the same.
Our first dance was Nick Drake – Northern Sky. It’s just always been our song. It was a very emotional part of the day and something I had been looking forward to for a long time. It was like no one else was in the room. We also had a last dance which was Fleetwood Mac – Everywhere. Our venue was restricted to entertainment ending at 11:00pm due to its village location so we decided to end on a high with a big song that everyone sang along to. I remember standing in the middle of a big circle at the end of the night feeling like we had just had the most incredible day.
Me and Neil are big real ale fans and decided early on in the planning process that it would be a feature of the day. Our favourite ale is Bathams and we decided we would toast with our favourite tipple rather than the traditional champagne. Along with this we decided our wedding favours would be the glasses we toasted with and with the help of Gemma Britten we were able to gift our guests with half pint mugs printed with a little badge with our initials on and the date of the wedding. They went down a treat (so did the beer) and lots of guests still send me pictures of themselves supping out of their new favoured glass.
Both our favourite part of the day was the ceremony, I thought this would be the bit I was most nervous about and not enjoy as much but it ended up feeling really personal and very emotional. I thought it would whizz past in a haze but that was one part of the day I really remember in detail. We also loved the part in between the ceremony and the meal. Everyone seemed to be on a high and so happy, having lots of fun with the garden games and listening to the live music. I think that is when we felt all the love around us most.
Go with your heart. You will have to make lots of decisions and some may not sit comfortably with you, but stick with your way of wanting to do things, it is your day, no one else’s. People will then feel that they are at your wedding, it becomes more personal and you won’t be out of your comfort zone. Oh and it’s a cliché but it really is the best day ever so enjoy every second!