It’s Friday afternoon and the sun is shining here in the UK! A weekend of BBQs and ice cold wine is definitely in order.
We’re rounding things off today with a gorgeous Autumn wedding, featuring our favourite Autumn wedding accessory – a faux fur jacket. Bride Ann-Marie just looks so snug and stylish.
I’m also coveting her glittery Miu Miu’s which she managed to find on eBay…I know!! What a bargain.
Ann-Marie and David travelled in a vintage Jag for their big day, which makes for some great photos. As does their gorgeous page boy Marcus in his oversized suit. Such a cutie!
So here’s our final bit of pretty for you for the week. Have a lovely weekend everyone and if you’re getting married in the morning…enjoy every second and breathe a sigh of relief, because the sun has got his hat on!
The first thing we did was venture down to the tiny family church in the village where Dave grew up and where his mum still lives. I felt that it was important to get married in church but hadn’t been for years and wanted to check that we were doing it for the right reasons, and not out of some romantic preference for the beautiful building (blue and gold ceiling, gorgeous). William the lovely vicar and the congregation couldn’t have been more welcoming and the decision was made.
We then found Shottle Hall only two miles from our house, a beautiful country house big enough for all our friends and family but small enough that we could swan around pretending it was ours for the day; venues all sorted.
First on my list was a notebook – I LOVE stationery – cue lots of scrapbooking. I wasn’t a girl who had her wedding all planned out – I had catching up to do!! The dress came next and although we were getting married in a church, a traditional pouffy dress didn’t appeal to me, and I had in my head something vaguely vintage-looking, lacy and very fitted. I wanted to wiggle my way up the aisle.
At our first shop a fab lady called Amy picked it out – and that was it. Essense of Australia DJ1367 – catchy, hey. After trying and failing to explain what I wanted to various well-meaning but eminently sensible ladies, we went back and, after approval from Bridesmaid (and sister-in-law) Leanne, and a few tears, we signed up.
My tiara was also an easy choice – I had my heart set on a giant quiff (my hair is generally uncontrollable but a quiff is something it holds pretty well) but then on a we-have-to-go-you-only-get-married-once visit to Birmingham for a giant wedding fair Leanne and I saw Amanda Caroline’s stall, and were hooked. She took the design I chose, mixed gold and silver wire to tone it down a bit, added extra bits to match the height of my bouffe and then mixed brown and black thread to match my hair colour. It arrived at work wrapped in tissue paper with a bonus bracelet and I cried and then wore it for the rest of the day.
Shoes were a difficulty for me. I wanted height but no platform, something pointy so my feet didn’t look huge, wide enough, and definitely not classic white. I ordered five pairs of shoes, sent them all back (including one which I meant to keep, oops) but my heart just wasn’t in it. Then, on a random eBay trawl, I saw them: Miu Miu Dianas. Gold, sparkly, love love love – and a bargain. What’s not to like. They arrived, they fitted, I wasn’t taller than Dave – perfect!
Dave thought about getting a suit made for quite some time but then settled on a three-piece dark blue suit from Ted Baker. He has a lot of really good friends and ended up with five groomsmen, all with a different job to do, and the five of them had dark blue suits hired from a local company. We also hired a three-piece suit for Marcus, our nephew, which was huge but super-cute. All the boys had ties from Hawes & Curtis, and I also ordered a pair of cufflinks for Dave which were resin with bits of my wedding dress set into them (causing huge stress when my dress was late!) which he loved and will treasure for always (from Kate Selene).
HBA Photography were recommended to us by a friend of a friend, and they were fabulous. We went to see them for a chat and Hannah had baked cupcakes – perfect! Hannah and Ben were completely brilliant on the day too, omnipresent without us realising, and they got some fantastic shots of two fairly camera-shy people.
The other person I would totally recommend is our florist Kerry (and her assistant Avie) at Tineke. Kerry completely understood, and her excitement is infectious. She made me the most beautiful giant bouquet (it was so heavy!!), it smelled fabulous and I LOVED it.
Shottle could be quite a modern venue but it’s also a gorgeous old house with a lot of traditional features and that’s the way we decided to go. Here steps in Natalie, vintage queen, who trawled the antique fairs and charity shops with me, finding beautiful things to pile up in the middle of each table – Ashbourne vintage fair was our favourite.
Each table had beautiful cream lace tablecloths, bashed old bits of silver, old pearls, mercury glass, a heap of books chosen to suit the people on each table, and paper pom poms. These are really easy to make, even for someone with little patience – I made ours with sewing pattern paper (as Mum used to make my clothes when I was little) and also sheet music patterned paper (as Dave’s Mum loves singing) which didn’t work quite as well!
Our “guestbook” was also table-based, with each person having a postcard under their napkin so they could write us a message in between courses. I tried to choose them for specific people, and I love the photos of the moment someone lifted their napkin and saw what was underneath. We tried to make the rest of the hall our own, with family photos, old bits of crockery, a vanity case for cards and also a poem about marriage that Dave’s parents had bought for him; his dad passed away ten years ago and it was so special to have that displayed in the hallway. On the day it really felt like our home with all our friends and family around us.
On the day itself my family, including Leanne and my nieces, all piled up to Shottle to get ready. My brother had arrived the night before from teaching in Cambodia which was amazing, he was so calm and I’m so glad he could come (but sorry that my sister-in-law Becky couldn’t make it). He brought a story that his pupils had written which was hilarious! I had a lovely morning getting ready; I wasn’t nervous at all, just relaxed and really excited.
With half an hour to go a gorgeous old classic Jag arrived, booked by Dave – it was a total surprise and was fabulous. Dad and I got into the car, the girls got into a taxi that I’d forgotten to order, and we arrived only a moment or so late at the church which was packed. I walked up the aisle to Pachelbel’s Canon but I don’t remember any of it – just Dave standing at the front waiting for me (and Marcus announcing “there’s Mimi, David, look!”).
At Shottle we had lovely canapés and mulled wine (you’ll have to dry clean your dress anyway, if you want mulled wine then go for it!) Our fabulous cake was made by my super-talented friend Rachel, we also had very last-minute mini earl grey macarons from Anges de Sucre (thank you to Reshmi for pulling out all the stops!)
The speeches were all amazing: my Dad’s was brilliant, I managed not to cry during Dave’s, and Dave’s friend Jono was hilarious. I love fancy dress and wanted a photo booth but they were so expensive, and in the end I bought a big old suitcase from a fair, Dave made some signs for people to hold up and we filled it with fancy dress that I already owned: total cost about £14.
We both love a live band and Dave found a brilliant band called Children of the Revolution. We went to see them at a gig (after booking them!) and they were so good, and even better on the day.
So what snippets of advice would I offer with the benefit of hindsight…mainly, focus on the bits that are really important to you. This applies to your time (things take much more time than you think, and if you work long hours doing a stressful job then it isn’t a good idea to design all your own stationery, take it from me – spend your time wisely and offload everything else).
Also, money – weddings are expensive, no doubt about it, but you can save money by focussing on what’s important and relaxing about the rest (good photographers, check; bargain eBay £5 furry shrug, also check). Next, look at RMW every day – for ideas, but mainly for moral support. You are not alone.
Most importantly though, do what is right for you. We spent our wedding eve together, woke up with an excited “see you later” and had an amazing day with a lot of friends, a good band and a really, really good time. Fab x