Never mind Britain’s Got Talent, this family’s got talent, with a supplier list full of creative family and friends who couldn’t do enough to make this day as special as could be for Caroline & James.
Flowers were put together by Aunties, bunting was made by the bride and there’s also a delicious chocolate flake cake made by the mother of the groom. It was a huge group effort with all the little details coming from the heart. Caroline & her mum even managed to lovingly restore her gorgeous Lusan Mandongus fishtail gown, which is simply stunning.
Such a pretty pink palette, amazing dappled sun light and a DIY wedding full of SO much love and laughter to swell the heart.
Caroline The Bride: Unlike many girls I have not been planning my wedding day since I was 5. However, on 18th April 2014 when James asked me the marry him planning started straight away!
The easy decision for us was that we wanted a personal wedding, with as many homemade touches as possible. So our supply list was actually our family and friends.
One of the first people we booked was Alex Tenters, our photographer. He has been a friend of James’ family for years and his style of photography was exactly want we wanted for our big day. The best thing about him is it felt he was as excited as us, if not more at times! We could tell immediately that he would capture the essence of our day perfectly!
James’ mother, Jane, is an amazing baker so it was a no brainer to ask her to make our wedding cake. Although this was a daunting task for her initially we were very lucky she said yes. James being the biggest chocoholic I know, and myself having a strong dislike to fruitcake, it had to be a three tiered chocolate flake cake.
The next talent of the family came from James’ father, David. Handy with a saw and hammer we knew we could make use of him. We sourced the wine for the wedding from the vineyard local to their house in France, Domaine Ancienne Cure. We decided it was far too boring and traditional to have bottles of wine so instead David constructed us two wine bars from old wooden pallets. We supplied each table with empty wine bottle (much to their initial disappointment!) so they could go and choose their colour of choice and drink the night away. He even personally cut down a tree so our flower baskets could tastefully rest on a slice of log.
Even the vicar was in our address book. Reverand Cannon Bryan Knapp has known James and his family for over 20 years and it was always said that one day he would marry James. So he was the second person we had to secure to make sure the day was as personal as we wanted. Getting married in church was important to both of us and our families but to be married by someone who knows us both well made the ceremony so much more personal.
We lived in Farnham, Surrey when we got engaged and had noticed Room Ten as a potential place for James’ suit. We were blown away by the service here and four tailor made suits and three hire suits later we were completely hooked with the place. An off hand comment as I was leaving ‘I don’t suppose you do wedding dresses as well?’ led to me finding my dream dress. Sarah, one of the shop owners had recently closed down her wedding dress shop, The Ivory Boutique, and was selling her dresses off cheap. Now anyone who knows me will tell you I love a bargain so this was an opportunity I could not pass up. I found a beautiful Lusan Mandongus dress on her Pinterst page and couldn’t wait to try it on.
I went with my mother and one of my bridesmaids excitedly to see Sarah to try on my dream dress. What we were presented with was a very limp looking dress, full of dust with beads falling off all over the place. I loved it! To me there was nothing more romantic about saving this dress and finally walking it down the isle like it was made to do. My mother on the other hand did not feel the same. After some gentle persuasion and four bath tubs of filthy water later, the dress was clean and mum saw my vision after all. Sarah made it fit perfectly and I hope you would agree you would never hand known what it once looked like.
Another happy coincidence was finding our wedding venue. We already knew we would marry at our local church, St Andrews, in Farnham and therefore needed to find a reception venue near by. After an afternoon drive of looking a local barns we came across Groomes. A luxury B&B set in the green rolling hills of Surrey just outside Farnham. We fell in love immediately and Pete, the owner, could not have been more accommodating to everything we dreamt of.
We were recommended by a family friend a local dressmaker, Jane, who lives close to us in Cranleigh. I showed her a picture of the dress that my four bridesmaids had picked out and without any effort she sketched out the design and picked out the materials we needed. I was blown away with her talent in our initial meeting that I felt fully confident she could deliver a very high quality service. And she did!
Lynda, James’ auntie, was the next talented member of the family to be recruited. With a flare for flower arranging she kindly offered to attempt the mammoth task of creating 19 centre pieces, five bouquets and twelve buttonholes. She ordered the flowers from Triangle Nursery which arrived at our cottage two mornings before the wedding. It was at this point that I officially decided we needed a bigger house!
Beauty & Accessories
Lynda’s daughter, James’ cousin, Georgie is a very talented tailor who felt she needed to add ‘my something blue’ to the mass of pink and green and made me a stunning garter. Georgie’s brothers Rob and Tim were both ushers for the wedding and both have very talented girlfriends. The talent goes on! Natalie works in a quirky salon in Shoreditch and once she promised not to give either of us a Shoreditch crop we asked her to do our hair for the day. She cut and coloured my hair before the big day, this was a real treat for me as I have been cutting and dying my own hair for about four years (as I said-bargain lover!) She also styled all my bridesmaid on the day. Zoe is a makeup artist so she joined Natalie with all us girls on the morning of the wedding. It was such great fun being surrounded by people I actually knew on the morning before the big day, wouldn’t have had it any other way.
The day Mum took me shopping for wedding shoes we came across a local craft market. I had decided I wanted to wear a pink and green statement necklace on the day to tie the colour team altogether and we met Dana whose handmade necklaces were beautiful but not quite what I was after. That was no barrier for Dana. I went to visit her a week later and she had made three possible necklaces for me to match our colour theme and had also made four bracelets for my bridesmaids. Another lovely personal touch!
Zuzanna at Ivan Dvorak made our rings. She was the ring maker who made my engagement ring, which James amazing designed himself. Although we did not previously know her, her customer service was impeccable and by the end of the process I felt she knew us anyway.
Now you may have noted by now that all of the talent has come from James’ side of the family! You would be correct there! However my parents knew a band… a wedding band… a wedding band with great reviews. Was this the moment the Stott family would pull through? Our band Mammoth Grooves were amazing! And their rendition of our first dance ‘Love’ by Justin Nozuka was so great that I honestly thought they had put the original on. Matt, the pianist kindly offered to play at the church service as well. And to add to the personal touches, coincidently went to school with one of my bridesmaids!
Now was all the finishing touches. All hands on deck! Myself and James, with a little help from our friends, made all the Save the Dates, invitations, orders of service, wedding favours, table plans, pompoms etc etc. Jane excelled herself so in her spare time from cake making made us all the bunting. Dad is a keen sailor and therefore we name our tables after knots. But that wasn’t enough for our handmade wedding, Dad made every knots to include in our centre pieces.
On the day it was amazing to see our months of hard work all pulled together. The day was perfect and even the sun shone for us. We enjoyed it so much as we knew every tiny detail that had gone into the day. There was nothing that we hadn’t touched, made, glued, chopped, chosen ourselves and it could not have been more personal.