Two things stand out at this adorable village wedding, and that's the Military suits and beautiful blooms. There is something so fairytale-esque when a groom wears a uniform, and the couples love story will definitely give you all the feels. You will probably fall head over heels for all the florals by Swallows and Damsons too, every bit as gorgeous as their instagram feed, and beautifully decorating the marquee reception, not to mention providing the bridal party with bouquets of pretty to hold. Mike Plunkett's gorgeous photography style captured all the love, light and decor and will have you feeling like you are right there celebrating this lovely union.
Our StoryBeulah the Bride: It was an absolute chance meeting and conversation at a careers fair, held back at one of our universities. I’d returned after graduating, to talk to students about working as vet in a charitable setting and Harvey in a military setting… we were on next-door stands… We got engaged in gorgeous ‘Piran’, Slovenia, after two years together. The process of wedding planning had a slow start, partly because we wanted to enjoy being engaged, in it’s own right but partly because we were waiting to hear when/where for Harvey’s next military posting. Overall, it was approx. thirteen months between ‘getting engaged’ and ‘getting married’.
VenueWe explored a lot of options but were quite determined to organise a day that truly reflected us. We’re both sticklers for detail and quality but we found a lot of what was on offer was too restrictive or too expensive for what it was. We always knew that we wanted a service in our village church, given how welcoming everyone had been when we moved there, only six months prior to our engagement. Finally, we chose to have a marquee reception, in the field next door to the church (made possible by very kind neighbours). It did seem like an over-whelming amount to organise at times but it always felt ‘right’ and I think that’s all the motivation you need.
FashionThe outfits and accessories (actually the theme for the entire day) was born from Harvey’s military uniform. Initially, he wasn’t definite about this choice but it quickly became clear that the colour-way provided a welcome focal point… so helpful when you are bombarded with style ideas! (I’d recom-mend any other frazzled brides ditch the magazines and go with ‘gut in-stinct’- I did exactly this!) We didn’t want the day to feel trendy or stuffy, just somewhere in-between, timeless I guess. My dress was a collaboration between two amazing individuals- Hannah and Victoria. Victoria’s dress collection was absolutely beautiful and Hannah’s creative skills were second to none. The thing I loved most about my dress (apart from the aesthetical factor), was the way in which it had been sourced and created. Spanish crepe, Chantilly lace, two British retailers, one Italian and one Austrian tailor. I loved the dress because it had been such a process of meeting so many fun, talented and energetic people from all over Europe. The bridesmaids’ dresses were chosen for their elegant shape, comfort, col-our and detail.
Decor & StylingWe didn’t want the reception to be overly fussy, visually or otherwise, we hoped it would look smart with an old-fashioned quality that reflected the country setting and Harvey’s military uniform. We wanted people to feel as though they were at a relaxed supper party with some finer touches.
FloristsThe florists were truly exceptional, honestly, the best service I could have ever asked for. Anna and Hannah (another Hannah!) were unbelievably pa-tient when discussing ideas & warm and generous at every communication. I chose ‘Swallows & Damsons’ as I had previously lived in Sheffield and they were my local florists. I was completely won over by their ‘fine art’ ap-proach to floristry and had subsequently followed them on Instagram. I saw a bouquet they had put together previously and explained I would love something similar. They managed to include freesias too, at my request, simply because I adore the scent. It took me a long time to decide how best to spend the money budgeted for flowers, beyond the bouquets. We opted for an asymmetrical arch outside the church doorway- I was really keen for this, as it gave the impression of wild growing flowers- I didn’t want any-thing too ‘set’ in appearance. We couldn’t quite stretch to hanging florals (I still remember having to make this decision about 3 days before the wedding and I thought I might be losing my mind!- Hannah & Anna are the most amazing lateral thinkers, who would work to make anything possible but I was so grateful to Harvey, in that moment, for becoming the voice of reason and making everyone’s day more pleasant!) Ultimately we kept the interior of the church very simple, in keeping with the seriousness of the service and so as not to distract from the beauty of the building but splashed out on the table decorations within the marquee, as they were the main injection of col-our.
CakeAnna & Hannah also worked alongside, Lucy, our cake maker, to make the most beautiful edible creation. Lucy was an absolute joy to work with- un-complicated and friendly in her approach, seriously good with communica-tion and had an astonishing ability to realise ideas.
CeremonyWe had the standard C of E service, with the modern vow option. We spent a lot of time selecting the readings and the hymns as we wanted the words to reflect our thoughts and for our friends and family to feel comfortable read-ing them. We chose, ‘To Love is Not to Possess’ by James Kavanaugh and Romans 12: 9-16 & Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12. We wanted the service to feel as though it flowed. We were extremely lucky to have good friends able to guide us with our music choices and personally fill the church with a beauti-ful sound - that’s something we shall never forget.
PhotographyWe chose to book with Mike after seeing his work from a friend’s wedding. There was no comparison, the images were mesmirising. We felt it was im-portant that we chose someone who wasn’t focused on ‘posed’ photographs, as this wasn’t something we were both comfortable with. We absolutely adore how natural the photos are and his clever use of light. Book with Mike if you want the most down-to-earth, unassuming, friendly photographer, you’ll probably ever meet- we had so much positive feedback from guests. He’s also more than capable at navigating different situations on the day, as they arise, without compromising the finished product.
First DanceOur ‘first dance’ song was, Nat King Cole, ‘Let There Be Love’. We chose this song as it transpired we had co-incidentally both listened to this on the radio, when driving to our first date. We struggled to know how to make the inscription on our rings more individual but the lyrics provided inspiration. Harvey’s has, ‘a lark’ and mine, ‘a dove’.
EntertainmentWe kept the entertainment options straightforward and simple. We had a fan-tastic band (like a scaled down big band) play for most of the evening fol-lowing the meal. This seemed to work well for all age ranges- we wanted everyone to feel able to get up and dance.
Memorable MomentsAhhh, this is so easy to answer, absolutely 100% walking into church. The music (the trumpet was particularly wonderful), the smiling faces of friends and family & Harvey standing at the front, looking slightly over-whelmed. We both still feel emotional when we re-play the entrance music.
AdviceFirstly, if your budget allows, take a holiday during your engagement to re-member who each other are! and escape from planning. We opted to go to Champagne, France, to collect our wedding fizz and wine and it remains one of our favourite memories from that time. For a do-it-yourself marquee wedding, I’d suggest having two full days (i.e. after the marquee has been assembled) to sort the interior. We had just one day and felt this was too rushed. Have a back up plan for poor weather (our May wedding was indecently cold and grey for that time of year and although I was disappointed, it actu-ally worked in our favour, because guests gathered in the heated marquee and really mixed together, which gave it the most wonderful atmosphere- this is the thing I remember most clearly about the reception). We opted for quite a short time frame from church service to sitting down for our meal. We chose this to ensure guests did not feel they were waiting too long for the day to play out, although in retrospect I think we could have had an extra hour for photos/mingling time. The night before the wedding, have a cut off time from duties, consciously detach from the the ‘to do list’. This was the best thing I could have done and helped me to go into the day feeling relaxed and happy. Your friends and family will support you at the end. Specifically, for brides- absolutely make sure the dress is easy to wear so you don’t give it a second thought on the day and ask a bridesmaid or friend/family member to help you stay hydrated on the big day! If you are sourcing everything yourselves, don’t forget to supply cigarette trays… we forgot and the low point had to be walking around the field the following day, collecting the butts to bin…
Final ThoughtsOverall, expect a full on journey with lots of surprises, find suppliers that you really connect with, be kind to each other and always work as a team, trust the process and it will undoubtedly be the best day of your lives (cliched I know, but so true).
Dress Designer: Jesus Peiro | Noble & Wright Atelier | Bridal Boutique: Cicily Bridal | Bridal Shoes: Rainbow | Venue: Preston, Rutland. | Florist: Swallows and Damsons | Cake Maker: Lucy Burton Cakes | Catering: Kemp and Kemp Catering | Stationery : Strawberry Sorbet | Papier | Entertainment: DG Music | Bridesmaid Dresses: Monsoon | Marquee: Big Top Marquees | Confetti: Shropshire Petals | Ring Makers: Top Set Jewellery