Carla and James’ wedding day combined all of the things they love into one beautiful, colourful package. The incredible flowers were grown by James’ Dad and florists Green and Gorgeous. I’m in love with Carla’s delicate flower crown and veil combination, plus her fringe is giving me serious hair envy.
The gorgeous pair cleverly incorporated Barcelona, the city where they got engaged, into their wedding by choosing Pronovias as Carla’s dress designer. Images come from Kate Gray, who has captured the essence of the day perfectly.
Carla The Bride: I visited a few bridal shops and always had an elegant, Audrey Hepburn inspired look in mind. I was willing to try on all kinds of styles and had a fantastic experience at Windsor & Eton Brides. I narrowed down to three favourites and asked my Mum, Sister (MOH) & bridesmaids to select their favourite on the spot! The majority chose my favourite! My dress was Pronovias and its biggest selling point to me was no one else has bought it. I also loved that it was made in Barcelona which is where we got engaged. My Mum bought my dress and veil which was so special.
I kept my jewellery simple to not detract from the dress. James’ Mum bought me pearl earrings to match the pearl detail on my dress and my sister bought me a beautiful delicate bracelet from Tiffany which she gave to me the evening before. James wedding present to me was the matching earrings which was so thoughtful they planned that together! I kept those to wear on honeymoon.
My make up was by Adele Colby MUA. I met her at my sister’s wedding the year before and couldn’t want to book her for mine. She’s incredibly talented and has a beautiful bridal style. We went for a slightly rocky edge to my eyes. I can’t recommend her highly enough! A friend Kara did my hair and the bridesmaids. I love a bouffant so I think I was an easy customer for her! Adele and Kara have worked together on lots of weddings and are a true glam team. I trusted them both which is so important.
I’ve never been really into shoes and I knew they wouldn’t be seen under my dress. I ended up buying a cute lace pair from Schuh with the main criteria of being able to dance all night! James & I officially met at a mini festival called Broadstock where he performed with his band. I was wearing a flower hairband so I wanted to continue that through to our wedding day. The flower hairband was stunning using delicate flowers from the flower farm, Green & Gorgeous to match the bouquets.
James’ suit was from Moss Bros. He knew he wanted a burgundy three piece slim fit suit. We also bought his shirt, tie and pocket square from there. His shoes were from Topman. He accessorised with the Ray Ban’s I had bought him for his wedding present for the small amount of sun in the wedding morning!
We wanted to be able to DIY as much as possible which naturally ruled out a lot of wedding venues. James’ parents live in a small village called Stoke Row (just outside Henley on Thames) which is beautiful. James’ dad suggested we asked their local pub about having our reception there and they agreed to take the catering on and to have exclusive use of the pub with a marquee in the front garden. Baytree Events are a local family marquee company and helped us create our own bespoke marquee equipped with a wooden floor, huge drapes, a stage & dancefloor, ceiling lanterns & plenty of fairy lights. Watching this come to life the day before the wedding, with a team of family & friends helping decorate was amazing. We got married in the church in Checkendon which was the next village along and meant less time for guests to travel.
The colour scheme started off with one of my Bridesmaids Row who designed our save the dates, invites, menus, guestbook signage & the order of services. We liked the cool calligraphy style and Row created us a J&C logo in a heart which we used to pull everything together including stickers onto the wedding breakfast napkins! With James’ suit being the bold burgundy we chose a complimentary palette of pastels including pale pink & cream/champagne to compliment this. The décor was one of my favourite things to plan and to see a vision come to life! We spoke to Simply Borrowed Hire where Aleiah showed us how to make our own pastel paper bunting (so much cheaper!) & hearts to create a top table backdrop. My creative bridesmaids helped me to wire this together. Aleiah made the bunting for Cake, Cards, Welcome & Mr & Mrs for the top table.
We hired the welcome bike and Mr & Mrs light up letters from Simply Borrowed Hire. We wanted a cake back drop for the cake and card tables which Aleiah made & set up on the wedding morning. She also set up our table plan which we had prepped with Row to include our favourite bands & the people on that table onto the old music vinyls. Their help was amazing as they helped pull all the finishing touches together which as a bride you have no time for!
With James being a musician and because we met at a festival we wanted music to be involved but not the overriding theme which is why we went for bands as the table names and we used James’ guitar case to collect the cards in.
On the tables themselves we bought mirrored bases to hold the jam jars with flowers and wrapped tea lights in washi tape. The table names were also printed onto the vinyls and sat in a photo holder. We gave mini jagers to the party people and heart candles as an alternative favour. James’ sister made packs for the children and personalised teddy bears for the babies.
James dad grew our wedding flowers in his garden which we used in jam jars that everyone collected up & my sister & a friend helped me decorate with different ribbons. These were used for the table centrepieces & placed around the marquee by the cake & guestbook. Family and friends helped us put style these into the jam jars the day before and walk them up to the marquee. James’ Dad also put together a flower display for either side of the entrance to the marquee.
The personal flowers (bouquets, corsages & buttonholes) and the church main display and candlestick arrangements were all done by a flower farm called Green & Gorgeous. I met with Rachel and talked through the style we were looking for with a hint of burgundy but mostly pastels and a wild country style to tie in with the homegrown flowers. We walked around the farm & agreed on the beautiful flowers to include. I was blown away when the bouquets were delivered, I was completely in love with them, they were stunning.
The Wedding Party
The bridesmaid dresses involved a lot of research to find affordable maxi dresses as we wanted to buy the dresses for the girls. I came across Matchimony online who had maxi dresses in pale pink and champagne. 3 bridesmaids were in each colour. The two flowergirls were in cute white dresses from Debenhams. The 2 x best men and 5 x ushers we bought black waistcoats from H&M and gave them a burgundy tie and pocket square from Moss Bros to match James. We asked them to wear black trousers and a white shirt. Due to having such a big wedding party we had to be mindful of cost!
James got ready in one of the rooms at the pub. I got ready at James’ parents home and had a beautiful 1952 Bentley from Charismatic Cars take the bridesmaids & flowergirls to the church. They then took my Mum, sister & me to the church. My Mum and I walked in to Canon in D by Pachelbel which was so beautiful. That moment of walking into the church I found incredible- everyone you love in one place! The reverend Kevin was fantastic at guiding us on the order of service. We asked family to help choose our hymns. We asked my brother and his girlfriend to do one reading and a close family friend to do another. James sister & my brother in law signed the register. Two of my bridesmaids had helped me create confetti cones which the ushers gave out as guests were leaving the church. Another DIY project which worked out so well.
During the reception we had a magician booked which was gifted to us a wedding present. Alex was incredible and you could hear the round of applauses from the tables he was at every 5 minutes! It kept the younger children happy and entertained. In the evening we hired a band. As the music man James chose a Beatles cover band which was perfect as all generations know their songs. It was so important to us for everyone to party and the dancefloor was buzzing. We loved it! In between the Beatles set we had two friends be the DJ’s with a set each. We chose different music genres to ensure everyone could have fun but they were all songs we loved so we danced all night!
Our wedding cake was made by a family friend. He put so much thought and effort into it which made is so special. We had a cake tasting session with family and chose a fruit layer & a Victorian sponge layer. As a cake topper we bought ‘just married’ bunting and he made two penguins (my favourite animals!) to be a bit different. He also made icing roses were to match the main colour palette – burgundy, pale pink and champagne and we bought matching napkins to co-ordinate! We worked with the pub to create a completely bespoke menu. Inspired by our Spanish engagement we chose tapas style canapes to circulate as guests arrived, once sat down we had tapas dishes as starters and paella as the main. The dessert was churros with chocolate dipping sauce. The food was absolutely delicious, the pub did a fantastic job.
Kate & Jon were an easy decision to make. We could tell from their website intro and real wedding phots they were exactly the style we were looking for, capturing lots of the moments throughout the day. Having them both there to share our big day was lovely, they were very discreet and so smiley. We loved Kate’s suggestion of having photos in the woods, they looked so dramatic. Kate kept helping place my dress ready for the photos. I can’t recommend them highly enough! Kate & Jon also filmed moments of the day to put together into a short, 60’s vintage type film.
James sang an acoustic song on his guitar to me as part of his speech which was a very emotional moment in the room! Our 1st dance was to a Bruce Springsteen song – his family are huge Bruce fans so this was so special. All of the speeches were so thoughtful. My Mum giving me away, she was so proud. My 4 best friends being bridesmaids with my sister as MOH & James’ youngest cousin as a bridesmaid too was so lovely on the wedding morning. It meant a lot to be surrounded by loved ones when getting ready. I couldn’t resist our matching pj’s! On our wedding evening we stayed at the Hotel du Vin in Henley on Thames which was gorgeous.
Don’t be shy to ask for help. I had great catch up sessions with the girls over all the DIY sessions! Everyone is more than happy to be involved so if they offer then do take them up on it! If you DIY make sure you leave enough time, it’s so much more tine consuming than I ever realised. Have a make up trial, it’s so important to feel comfortable with your make up.