Although our beautiful couple married in Autumn there is a magical Christmas feel to their wedding. It could be Bride Charmaine’s glamorous Justin Alexander wedding dress, fur stole and red lip combo or maybe her Bridesmaids fancy black lace No.1 by Jenny Packham frocks. But I also think the super luxe mercury glass votives with overflowing white blooms, succulents and simple yet stunning gypsophila that looks like snow drops add to the pure magic and sparkle too.
Charmaine & Ed were so super savvy when it came to creating their overall look on a budget. They’ve got a wealth of handy DIY tips, crafts and places to shop so you too can achieve your dream day whilst holding on to more of your hard earned pennies.
Charmaine The Bride: Ed and I fell in love with Hampton Manor a couple of years ago when we stayed there for a night away. I think we secretly knew then this would make a perfect wedding venue. It has a very quirky sophisticated interior, and the outside has all the character and charm we wanted for our vintage glamour style wedding. With it being an Autumn wedding we were blessed with the gorgeous colours of the trees within the grounds.
I knew pretty early on what kind of look I wanted to go for and have always adored the Hollywood glamour look of red nails, red lips and a sophisticated hair do. Katy Bird MUA created the look perfectly with a flawless base, black lashes and red lipstick. My makeup stayed in place right until the early hours! My lipstick was MAC Rubywoo which I still adore wearing now. Natalie from Bridal Hair Specialists understood the look I wanted immediately and created a stunning marcel wave. She also did the Bridesmaids hair and the Mother of the Bride which all looked stunning and stayed in place all day and night. Both Natalie and Katy were invaluable on the morning, even helping get me into my dress and making the morning really fun. Both my hair and makeup trials were wonderful and I immediately had confidence that I had made the right choice.
Photographer and Video
We initially saw the work of the super talented Anna Clarke Photography on RMW, and bonus – it turned out she was fairly local! We instantly fell in love with her style of photography all smouldery and magical, and we knew she was the one to capture our day. We initially decided a film would be out of our budget, but many of our already married friends said we might regret not having one. We made savings elsewhere enabling us to have a video, and we are sooooo glad that we did!! We decided that there was no one else for the job but Simon Clarke Films – who turns out to be Annas also very talented husband. The pair work seamlessly together and this made the day and the prior e-shoot so much fun. The style of their work compliments each other perfectly, and to us the photos and film were a major decision of the day as these are the things you keep and cherish forever.
My dress was by Justin Alexander (8609). I found choosing the dress the hardest part of the wedding planning. I had an idea in my head about what I wanted, but 11 boutiques in and hundreds of dresses later I still hadn’t found ‘the one’. I had envisaged a strapless A-line dress in organza or chiffon with minimal detail and something that encompassed all things vintage glamour. When I finally tried on my Justin Alexander dress in boutique number 12 I knew I had found exactly what I had been looking for – just didn’t realise it would take quite so long. It was a strapless A-line gown with a long train with beautiful button and pearl detail.
Ed had always wanted to wear blue on the day, and after a successful shopping trip in Selfridges we found the perfect 3 piece suit from Paul Smith in cobalt blue. He paired this with a white shirt, floral bowtie from Mrs Bowtie, tan brogues from Kurt Geiger all finished off with a silver pocket watch. Very dashing he looked too!
I love accessorising everything, so this part of the wedding was so much fun. I knew that a long veil was not for me (despite my Mothers resistance) and opted for a shorter tulle birdcage veil. I found this on Etsy, which has since become a favourite website! My headpiece was a vintage style side headband by Richard Designs which sat beautifully underneath the birdcage veil. My earrings were from John Lewis and fairly inexpensive. I fell in love with Rachel Simpson shoes at the National Wedding Show, and knew these would complement my dress perfectly. I chose Mimosa in Pale Green to pick out the green in Eds bowtie. I also knew that for the evening I would want some flat shoes to dance the night away in and opted for a pair of Rainbow Club Silver Hayley shoes which were like wearing slippers. I was very lucky to receive a pair of Vivienne Westwood Lady Dragon Shoes on the morning of the wedding from my parents. I had been torn between these and the Rachel Simpsons, so got to wear both on the day which was fabulous for a shoe lover like me.
The Wedding Party
We had 3 Bridesmaids all wearing black vintage style Jenny Packham No.1 dresses from Debenhams. We knew right from the start that we did not want a strong colour scheme and thought black dresses would look sophisticated and glamorous. The dresses where accessorised with black jewelled side headbands also by Jenny Packham No.1, the Bridesmaids also had pretty up-do’s done by Natalie of Bridal Hair Specialists.
The 3 Groomsmen wore 3 piece cobalt blue suits from Next which complimented Eds suit. They also wore white shirts, burgundy bowties from Mrs Bowtie and tan brogues.
The theme for our wedding was Vintage Glamour and we wanted to make the décor and clothing stylish and sophisticated. There was never any particular colour scheme for the wedding; we chose to keep things fairly neutral. There were hints of black with the bridesmaid dresses, cake ribbon, jar ribbon and chalkboards, then lots of white and green with the flowers. The only real colour was the burgundy Groomsmen bowties and Eds floral bowtie.
We sourced light up marquee letters from Glow Love Lights spelling out L O V E which were an amazing backdrop to our wedding breakfast / evening reception room and created a really good focal point.
We had a large table to accessorise in the reception room which we decorated ourselves. I sourced a 1950’s white leather vanity case from eBay which became our card box. We collected vintage silver photo frames from places like Dunelm and Matalan and put black and white photos of our parents weddings in and also photos of us from our Engagement Photo-shoot. We also sourced some candle sticks and birdcages (which our florist filled with flowers) from John Lewis. We opted to have a signing photo frame for our guests to sign rather than a guest book, and will be something we can put up on the wall and treasure.
We used the super talented Ava Event Styling. From the very first consultation they grasped exactly what we were trying to achieve in the look and theme of the wedding. The bouquet was simple greens and whites and made up of white roses, gypsophila, eucalyptus, succulents, tassel flower, green carnations, and more. The Bridesmaid dresses had a lot of lace detail so we opted for a simple solid gypsophila bouquet wrapped in trailing black ribbon to complement their dresses. The Groomsmens button holes where a selection of succulents, gypsophila and eucalyptus making them slightly more masculine.
Ava lined the aisle with hurricane lamps with candles inside. The ceremony table had an informal arrangement of separate vintage silver containers with floral arrangements and tea lights. All of this was then transferred to the top table for the wedding breakfast. Each table for the wedding breakfast had a large silver candelabra, having a highball with a mixture of all the above flowers all in white and green.
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Our ceremony was conducted in an outside barn in the grounds of the venue. This had already been styled beautifully by Hampton Manor. We opted for white seat covers and white ribbons. We had a string quartet called Nero who entertained the guests upon arrival with songs we had handpicked, none of them being classical. I walked down the aisle to Aerosmith – I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing played by Nero as Ed is a die-hard Aerosmith fan (someone has to be!!). We walked out as husband and wife to Elbow – One Day Like This as we both love this song. We even managed to sneak the Beach Boys song ‘God Only Knows’ into our register signing.
Music is really important to the both of us and we found this a particularly hard area of the wedding to plan. Do you please yourself? Or do you cater to every guest of all ages? We had an amazing recommendation of a band called Plastic Pantomime and we were so thrilled when we found out they were available. The band were so much fun on the evening and some pretty impressive shapes were thrown on the dance floor, us included!
Our first dance was A Thousand Years by Christina Perri. We both love the lyrics in this song and it seemed to fit the bill perfectly. We learnt some basic Waltz steps courtesy of YouTube (albeit about 1 hours practice) and just about managed to pull off a passable choreographed dance! This was followed by Pharrell Williams – Happy, to get everybody up and on the dance floor.
Food, Drink & Treats
Our stunning cake was provided by The Red Cake Company. It was an elegant white 4 tiered cake with white rose and black ribbon detailing. Each tier was a different flavour, and we kept the small top tier just for ourselves. Yummy!!
We provided a sweety buffet as our favours to the guests made up of all our favourite childhood sweets. The jars were sourced mainly from Home Sense and Dunelm and we tied black ribbon around the top to complement the cake ribbon and other black details. The brown paper ‘Mr & Mrs’ sweet bags were sourced from Etsy.
Stationery & DIY
The invitations, particulars and RSVP cards were from a fabulous company called Project Pretty. We found a perfect vintage design with black writing on kraft card. We tied these up with black bakers twine to complement the black in our theme.
For the menu, we sourced a black freestanding chalkboard from eBay and used chalk pens to write on this rather than having individual printed menu cards on each table which saved on cost.
The table plan was very DIY and made from a silver guilted mirror purchased from The Range. I glued a piece of black chalkboard card to the mirror and again we wrote the table plan on this using chalk pens. Nice to have the mirror to use afterwards in the house (with the table plan removed).
The place names were also a kind of favour for the guests. We purchased heart shaped chalkboards from Not on the High Street. We wrote each guests name on each heart again using a chalk pen, and it was something they could take away as a keepsake.
The table names were chalk pen on black cardboard which we then put inside silver guilted photo frames from Wilkinsons. These looked so elegant on the day and were very inexpensive – plus we now have the frames to use around the house. Our table names consisted of our favourite pubs and restaurants – sums us up!
Our advice would be to track as much as possible on one spread sheet, it made the budgeting and planning so much easier having everything in one file. I would say enjoy every minute of the planning as you miss it so much afterwards. Things always turn out perfectly on the day, by the morning of the wedding all of the small detail goes out of the window. Nobody will know if you have missed something – only you will. One of the best bits of advice someone gave us was to take time out with each other and take it all in. We made sure we grabbed time alone to soak it all up; it seriously was the BEST DAY EVER!!! xx
Photography by WE ARE // THE CLARKES
- Videographer Simon Clarke Films
- Dress Designer Justin Alexander – 8609
- Bridal Boutique Occassion by Design
- Bridal Shoes Rachel Simpson – Mimosa
- Vivienne Westwood – Lady Dragon
- Rainbow Club – Silver Hayley
- Birdcage Veil Etsy – Flortini Designs
- Hair Stylist Bridal Hair Specialist
- Makeup Artist Katy Bird MUA
- Grooms Suit Paul Smith
- Grooms Shoes Kurt Geiger
- Bow Ties Mrs Bow Tie
- Groomsmen Suits Next
- Bridesmaid Dresses No.1 by Jenny Packham at Debenhams
- Venue Hampton Manor
- Florist Ava Event Styling
- Cake The Red Cake Company
- LOVE Letters Glow Love Lights
- Stationery Project Pretty
- Band Plastic Pantomime
- String Quartet Nero