Yes, I know it’s midsummer, but sometimes we like to mix things up a bit here at RMW, especially considering lots of you lovelies may in fact be planning your very own Christmas themed wedding right now.
Becky and Tristan’s wedding is gloriously cosy and snuggly. They have literally combined all of the BEST things about Christmas…mistletoe, candle light, open fires, family, friends and good food. And of course Mariah.
And, maybe if we are all good this year, Father Christmas will bring us two gorgeous gowns and an amazing feather shrug just like beautiful Becky.
Make sure you read her tale of the dress hunt though and take note. With a bit of dedication, good timing and risk taking perhaps we won’t have to rely on Santa afterall…
Bright And Crisp
Becky The Bride: We got married on 8th December 2012. Aside from the fact I’m a winter junkie (log fires, candles, hot chocolate) an out of season wedding appealed to both of us because it meant there would be no surprises with the weather, it was going to be bad and we would plan accordingly. However as the week of the wedding dawned I couldn’t help but obsessively check the weather app on my phone much to Tristan’s annoyance – ‘Becky it’s December it’s not going to be sunny. I don’t know why you are so bothered about the weather all of a sudden?!’
Anyway the first thing I did when I woke up on the day of the wedding was look out the window. Anyway, turns out we lucked out with the weather. It was bright, crisp and not that chilly, I didn’t feel the cold all day and there was no rain.
Dress shopping was a bit of an anti-climax for me. The one thing I knew was that I definitely didn’t want a strapless dress as it didn’t feel right for December but the first few shops I went had only one or two dresses with straps which were frumpy and urgh. I realised that I needed to try another tact so after much googling I discovered Swoon in Surrey. This shop was a bit of a breakthrough, they had hundreds of dresses from every designer you could think of, loads of dresses with straps and it was all affordable. I would seriously recommend it.
I tried on fishtails, princess skirts and everything in-between. It was here that I tried on Alice by Jenny Packham and fell in love. So I came away from Swoon knowing that I had to have Alice but there was a niggle in my mind about whether she felt weddingy enough so I decided, as you do, that I needed two dresses. Weddingy lace for the day and slinky Alice for the evening. Problem was I needed to get both for £1000.
A week later Alice popped up on Ebay, she was a ten and I was most definitely a good twelve at that point but I bought her anyway as she was a bargain at £500 (this was to become the most stressful decision I made). Another week later I was visiting Tristan’s parents in Reading. I was heading into London later to meet friends and needed some bits so I drove into town early in my joggers with no make-up on looking nothing like a bride-to-be. I noticed a wedding dress shop near the car park and there was a sale sign in the window so thought I’d pop my head in.
Hanging on the sale rack was a dress that ticked all the boxes – sleeves, lace, no sparkle, my size and it was half price. I tried it on (by myself, no mum or bridesmaids and I was in joggers) and fell in love. It was a Benjamin Roberts design with a satin strapless fishtail dress and a lace dress with sleeves that went over the top. It had a really long train (weddingy to the max) and was really like the dress my mum wore on her wedding day. Everyone else in the shop had a gang with them to share in the moment, I was by myself. Cue panicked phone calls to Tristan, my mum, maid of honour who all told me to buy it so I did and dress shopping was done.
I always thought I would wear a veil but when I tried it with my dress it took away from the beauty of the train and it was all a bit much. Instead I hired Jenny Packham’s Acacia II to add a bit of vintage sparkle. I wore a pair of simple drop earrings and my engagement ring. I also borrowed a feather bolero from a friend for around my shoulders.
Two Dress, Two Pairs Of Shoes
Two dresses meant two pairs of shoes! I knew I’d be in the mud for pictures so bought a cheap pair of Wallis shoes for £30 in the sale for the day. They were a rose gold with a low comfortable heel. For the evening I bought a pair of nude Alexander McQueen slingbacks (Ebay again) with a gold skull (complete with diamond eyes) on the front.
Thicker, Shinier And Better Behaved
I toyed with the idea of having my hair up for about two seconds but realised I wouldn’t feel like me. I always wear it down when I want to feel nice so wanted it to be like my hair but if it was thicker, shiner and always did what I wanted. I used the same hair and make-up artist, Becks and Sarah as my best friend had when she got married as I really liked them and they were tried and trusted. Becks gave me big curls with a shampoo and set with a few clip in extensions to make it nice and thick and Sarah made me look like a super glossy and shiny version of myself. They were both lovely people to have around and really made me feel at ease.
I remember feeling so calm while we were all getting ready that I felt like I was watching myself. It was only when I started walking down the aisle and I saw Tristan that the emotion took over and I basically cried pretty much the whole way through the service. Sarah’s make up did not move though and for that alone it was worth every penny!
David Austin Roses And Gypsophila
Being a winter wedding I wanted it to feel warm and cosy so fires and candles were a massive priority. Originally a family friend (who is a florist) was going to do the flowers for us but she found out she was expecting twins and the due date was scarily close to the wedding. So we recruited a florist to do a few complicated bits for us and with Claire’s expert help did the rest ourselves.
At Forde Abbey we had a beautiful display of gold candlesticks (all from Ebay) with white David Austin roses and gyp woven amongst them. We borrowed zinc buckets from Claire and she ordered a load of gyp for us to fill them.
At The Lord Poulett Arms we didn’t have traditional table centres but jam jars with gyp places on tables and services all around the pub.
My bouquet was David Austin roses, eucalyptus, freesias and other white flowers and the bridesmaids all had a big puff of gyp. The buttonholes were a white rose with pheasant feather and a sprig of eucalyptus.
Tristan was very emphatic he didn’t want to wear tails and as the wedding was a pretty relaxed affair this felt like the right choice. Instead he wore a three piece Navy suit from Reiss with a white shirt and a knitted blue bow tie. We asked the boys to wear a grey suit and provide them with knitted ties, white pocket squares and spotty socks to pull it all together. They all looked very dapper!
When we started planning the wedding I had a vision of Tristan in a tweed suit and we even went to try one on. Unfortunately it just didn’t look right and he wasn’t comfortable so we opted for a three piece navy number from Reiss with a fitted white shirt and a knitted bow tie. He looked so happy and handsome waiting at the end of the aisle and I think that’s what pushed me over the edge and made the waterworks start!
Originally we wanted a humanist ceremony but when we found out that it would mean we’d need to get legally married before we had second thoughts. Instead we wrote the whole ceremony ourselves weaving in personal memories, the reasons why we love each other and promises and vows for the future. The ceremony was so intimate and pretty much everyone cried at some point. You could really feel the love and warmth in the room and I will remember it forever.
We had a brass band play as we thought the sound was more wintery and a bit different than strings. I walked in to some classical music but we decided to mix it up a bit and planned to walk out to Crazy in Love. Just as the music started I turned and saw my dad stand up and start playing the trumpet – Love Actually style! He had played the trumpet as a child and I found out after that he’d been practicing for months and had even been to rehearse on the sly with the band. He then sauntered up the aisle took a seat with the band and played till the end. It was a truly tear inducing moment and everyone absolutely loved it. I was going to dance with my dad after the first dance to something a bit calmer but we quickly changed it to Crazy in Love and did Beyoncé dancing together, my dad had one hand around me and another on the trumpet for the dah dah dah bits. I can’t wait to see this in the video!
Treasure The Pictures Forever
This was one of the easiest decisions we made. Pen and Cam had photographed my friends Claire and Nick and Tristan and I were blown away by the pictures. They put us at ease and all our guests loved them. We will treasure the pictures forever.
My mum’s cakes would have Mary Berry quaking in her boots so I asked her to make us a darkly decadent chocolate cake which was absolutely yummy and Tristan and I enjoyed a slice in the taxi back to the hotel. We loved it so much she made us a mini version for when we got back from honeymoon.
Let Loose On The Decks
Being on a small budget we had to make concessions and we decided we’d forego a band but tried to build fun into the day in other ways. While we were at the Abbey finishing our pictures our guests travelled to the pub where they were greeted with mulled cider and winter pimms and sat down for a pub quiz with a general knowledge round, a Christmas round and a Mr and Mrs Broomfield round. The winning table won a bottle of fizz.
After the first dance two of my friends took to the decks for a warm up set that got everyone on the floor. They aren’t professional DJs and they don’t actually spin (you can do a lot with iTunes mixer!) but they dance, sing and are generally hilarious. I gave them both pheasant feather head dresses and let them loose. After this we had a local wedding DJ who played a mix of old favourites and some new stuff and the dance floor was full all night.
All I Want For Christmas Is You
We wanted a Christmas wedding not a winter wedding so the Christmas influence was small. However, the first dance was the exception. We didn’t want to do anything romantic as we knew we’d get embarrassed so decided to go for full on cheese. All I want for Christmas (not the Bieber version) is my favourite Christmas song and it seemed totally appropriate. We meant to at least plan the first ten seconds but never got round to it but we had a total ball and laughed the whole way though. Pen even told us it was the best first dance they had even seen (Pen were you lying?!)
In another nod to the season we made CDs of our favourite Christmas songs for guests to listen to on the way home (using a RMW template, thank you Adam!) And Tristan’s mum painstakingly baked us some deer ginger biscuits.
Roasting Open Fires
Fire and candle light was the décor mainstay of the wedding. Candles and roaring fires were everywhere from the huge open fire at Forde Abbey to the warming embers around the pub. We used blue Ikea lanterns in the pub, tea lights and silver jars filled with gyp to bring it all together.
We chose old family pictures of our parents and grandparents to display in the pub and made triangle shaped frames which we popped a battery operated tea light inside so they glowed, it was a subtle nod to those who will always be special to us but are sadly no longer with us.
Cosy, Warm And Fun
Our ethos for the wedding was cosy, warm and fun and we tried to make sure everything reflected this. Instead of a formal table plan or guest book we had a washing line around the bar with Polaroid’s of all our guests, find your face, find your table! Instead of a guest book we commissioned a lovely lady on Etsy to make us a Mr and Mrs Broomfield crochet that guests signed around.
We made little welcome cards for the hotels we knew our guests were staying at letting them know what time the fun bus would pick them up and how much we were looking forward to celebrating with them.
We bought some vintage hankies from Ebay and had these with the programs so guests could take one ready for it to get a bit emotional, I only wish I’d picked one up as my mum and I shared the same hankie all the way through the service. We also made up little gift bags for our bridal party with personal gifts and cards to let them know how much we appreciated them and thank them for all their support. I think sharing these with my bridesmaids and parents the night before the wedding will be one of my lasting memories.
Reflect On The Day
I am so pleased I got two dresses. Controversial as it may be I really appreciated the time to go and have a 15 minute refresh and take a moment to reflect on the day. My mum and bridesmaids all came with me (my mum had a costume change too) and it was a lovely moment to reflect on the day.
Similarly Tristan and I snuck upstairs for ten minutes to chat through our favourite bits so far. Brides to be, make sure you do this! It was really lovely to take a deep breath together before the dancing started.
Bride’s Dress – Jenny Packham and Benjamin Roberts
Head Piece – Jenny Packham
Shoes – Wallis and Alexander McQueen
Hair – Thairapy
Make up – Sarah B Make Up
Groom’s Suit – Reiss
Brass Band – Phoenix Brass
Venue – Forde Abbey
Reception – Lord Poulett Arms
Photography – Mckinley Rodgers
See – don’t despair that the nights are drawing in!!
Christmas is AWESOME.
Especially when you are let loose with a pheasant feather head dress and a trumpet.
Lots of love,