Ballroom Glamour In Rye.

Emma and Paul got married at The George in Rye in April 2012. The George was the first venue they saw and both fell in love with the bulding and the staff instantly.

Once they had their perfect venue, their theme and other decisions about the day all started to fall into place.

Photography today is by Jacqui McSweeney.

No Bling

I knew I wanted something with a vintage feel to it and it was recommended I look at White Mischief Bridal in Henfield. I tried on about 30 dresses but as soon as I had tried my first Jenny Packham I knew that was it. I had to have one of hers. I must of tried on her whole range and actually dismissed my Saskia dress first of all due to the bows on the shoulders. On my second visit this new dress appeared and was just right. It was the same Saskia dress minus the bows. It was perfect. I had clearly said no bling and as you can see from the dress I went against my initial judgements but the detail is of birds kissing which matched perfectly with some of my details and the Georges wallpaper.

The Whole Hog

As I was trying on the Packham dresses I thought I might as well go for the whole hog and try on all of her beautiful accessories. A visit up to her bridal shop allowed me to see the whole range but I eventually ended up with acacia ii and the bracelet to match. They were beautiful alongside the dress and topped off the whole wedding. I often find myself sitting in the house with them on now.

Nude Satin

I went for complete skyscrapers, I don’t do heels but got my shoes before the dress. Beautiful nude satin peep toes from Kurt Geiger. I did also have some Irregular Choice white and silver kitten heels for the evening, they were eBay finds and unfortunately one was shiny and one was matte… Oops.

Relaxed And Pampered

I really wanted my hair on one side and with a 40s hollywood style, my hair is not good long but I grew it as I am sure many brides do. I wanted a vintage theme and came across the wonderful Truffle hair salon in Rye. Their whole salon is in a vintage theme and Sarah the owner came up with a wonderful updo. She also came and did makeup and my bridesmaids hair on the day, giving me a relaxed and pampered start to the day. I felt so glamorous. and Sarah and her assistant were wonderful.

Vintage Lace

Cafe Des Fleur in Rye did my flowers, I knew I wanted antique style roses and Hydrangeas as my main flowers but wanted to keep a English garden feel about them. The bridesmaids were in sage green and so Lucy added sage and other herbs throughout the flowers. Our bouquets were green and pink in keeping with the colour scheme and mine were wrapped in vintage lace I had picked up at a fair months ago for the occasion.

The boys wore similar flowers. Every table was dotted with large cut glass vases of mixed flowers with the roses and Hydrangeas and then 3 cups and saucers filled with flowers on each table. I had been collecting these too for months. On the beautiful fire places stood a collection of vintage vases, and jars of flowers (which again I had collected) and on the top table were bird cages to keep with the bird theme (from the wallpaper) filled again with the same flowers.

Green And Grey

We hired the groom’s and boys grey suits, but kept with a sage green theme to match the bridesmaids dresses in the ties and hankies. The girls dresses were from Coast. I had those about a year before the wedding and before I got my own!

Paul wore a grey suit and waistcoat. He looks incredible in a suit and looked wonderful. He wore the cufflinks I had made for him at Christmas too.

High Standards

Jacqui McSweeney was incredible. I am a photographer and photography teacher so my standards were high. I looked around the Brighton area and came across her almost straight away. Her laid back images and beautiful lighting drew me to her and when we met her she put us both at ease. It was wonderful having her there it felt like a friend taking photos.

Cupcake Capers

We both love cupcakes so went for those. They were from the Angel Food Bakery in Brighton. We decided on a number of buttercream covered cakes, some in cream with little pink roses, others with green buttercream or pink with little pearls to decorate. We also went for a topper cake, a giant Cupcake which we had great fun trying to keep still when driving to Rye the day before the wedding. The cake didn’t do well thanks to Paul’s driving and he spent a good part of the day of the wedding trying to beautify it. Thanks to our chef no one noticed its bumps and bruises. I had also found beautiful floral cases which we decorated each cake with.

Cheese Please

We were lucky to have a DJ provided as part of our package at the George but made sure that the music was an eclectic mix of cheese, current and old school tunes. During the speeches I had whistles and clappers, even kazoos for the tables. That caused some entertainment (and frustration) for the two best men (Pauls brothers) when they were trying to speak.

Greatest Day

I am a huge Take That fan as are many of my closest friends (stems from teenage-hood) and Paul has kind of inherited them as a band due to me. We love The Circus album and Greatest day has to be our best singalong song. I think we spent most of the first dance singing rather than being at all romantic.

Fruit Picking Favours

I knew what I wanted for favours from the word go. I started them actually rather early on in the planning. I made lots of handmade jam and filled and covered each mini jar with vintage and found fabric, ribbon, a button and a little tag printed with our initials.

What was lovely was the support we had in getting the fruit for the jam. My bridesmaid Vicki, my Mum and Stepdad and bridesmaid Kirsty and her two sons all helped pick the fruit. Callum one of the little boys in particular loved the picking and probably ate as much as went into the baskets.

A Bride In her Element

I styled every aspect of my decor making a lot and sourcing a lot as I went. I started a mood book from two days into the engagement and had an exact idea of what I wanted and what Paul wanted from day one.

The ballroom where we married and had the wedding breakfast has beautiful silk hand painted wallpaper and this very much dictated the style and look of the wedding. In the Benson room (the bar) I had filled old kilner jars with sweets and made my own vintage button peppermint creams which sat in a crystal glass rose bowl. The jars had hand printed labels on them with little lines to tempt the eaters! In the same room we also had childhood photos of us both and on our gift table an old parisian hat box for cards. There were cut out birds for decoration and pearls and lace. Theere was also a chalkboard (link to me being a teacher) which I had personalised and decorated as our order of service.

In the ballroom, bunting made by a work colleague decorated the balcony whilst the tables were scattered with pearls, birds and lace. Our seating plan was a bird cage with luggage tags tied on, each hand printed and decorated. Our tables were named after one of the many names I call our cat Sammy and I had hand made each table number.

I am a head of art at a secondary school and trained artist so was in my element. Each table also had a photo of the cat.

I made our ring cushion, which was printed with our names and wedding date and had buttons that were my Nans sewn on. Even on the door there was a chalk board covered with my Nans buttons (she was a seamstress) with our names chalked on. Oh and I had made my own invites which I used as decoration during the day.

A sense Of Anticipation

We had a long engagement as we knew we wanted to be able to pay for it and not leave ourselves in debt but the wait added a sense of anticipation to the day. It allowed us to find the perfect venue, for me to make so much of the decor and for us to find people who would help us visualise our dreams. We kept our numbers small, to the people we really wanted to be there, making the day so intimate. Our family, especially my mum, helped me and Paul so much in the preparation of the day which really made the day feel like a group effort.

If you have a vision and know what you want – don’t compromise, stick with it, do your research and don’t be afraid to have a go at doing bits yourself. Establish relationships with your venue and your suppliers and create a moodbook or board!!

I have been so inspired by my day that I am now in the process of setting up a wedding blog and design service called Hearts And Buttons.

I am bursting with creative ideas and have definitely caught the wedding bug. We had such a beautiful day and I am so happy to share it with others.

Venue – The George in Rye

Photographer – Jacqui McSweeney

Dress – Jenny Packham

Boutique – White Mischief Bridal

Shoes – Kurt Geiger

Hair & Make-up – Truffle

Blooms – Cafe Des Fleur

Cake – Angel Food Bakery

Bridesmaid Dresses – Coast

A good idea when planning a theme is to find one single item, object or accessory that you love and then build your theme from there. Emma and Paul loved the silk hand painted wallpaper that was at their venue and as Emma mentioned, this then dictated the whole style and look for their big day.

At Rock My Wedding we call this item a ‘piece of pretty’. So if any of you are unsure on choosing a particular look or theme, perhaps you can think of a ‘piece of pretty’ That will provide you with that starting block and then hopefully everything else will start sliding into place.


12 thoughts on “Ballroom Glamour In Rye.

  1. Gorgeous images of a beautiful wedding….love the light airy feel to the photography, and the bride is clearly in her element with all the pretty details! 🙂

  2. What a beautiful venue – I can see why this inspired so much of the decor. Its obvious an enormous amount of effort has gone into all the tiny details to pull this wedding together – gorgeous 🙂

  3. @Joanne – The details is what this one is all about… You can definitely tell that this D.I.Y bride has a creative streak!

    @Shirley – I totally agree – the decor in the venue is so striking, it would have been hard for it not to influence Emma and Paul’s other decorative choices .They embraced the bird theme perfectly.


  4. Lovely wedding! I’ve been looking at personalised hanky for gifts. Can someone pls tell me where I can get one? xx

  5. I’m loving the hanky too, how cute! Also this post has made me realise that my central ‘piece of pretty’ is….a huge stuffed and mounted moose head. It hangs on the wall in our venue, just outside the ceremony room, and it was basically what sold the venue to me – I’ve already planned how we can incorporate it into the photos! Does this make me a weirdo?x

  6. Lovely bridesmaids dresses and staggeringly beautiful flowers – but what really impressed me was the beauty of the bride’s back! She really chose the right dress to show off her lovely back – I can’t even imagine how one goes about getting a back so gorgeous!

  7. Hello, I am the bride Emma and am really touched reading some of the lovely comments. The personalised hankie was from a supplier on Etsy who was willing to make whatever changes I wanted.
    Thank you for the comment about my back, its the swimming I think.
    We had so much fun on the day, Jacqui did a beautiful job of the Photography and The George is one of the most beautiful places I have been, glad everyone has enjoyed the images thanks so much for showing them on the site. xxx

  8. What a gorgeous wedding filled with so many lovely handmade touches. Love the wallpaper and the birds!

    A piece of pretty is the perfect way to describe the starting point for wedding loveliness.

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