CJ The Bride: It started with a surprise Engagement on a rainy afternoon in London in October 2013, after a grueling year starting a business and raising a newborn. We’d escaped to the city for long weekend free of parental responsibility to refuel on coffee and gin. We established, there and then, we didn’t want a long engagement… It did however to take three years to decide how and when we were going to do it! Lincolnshire is neutral ground for the both of us, I was born and raised in Devon, and James in Lancashire. We have grown roots and built foundations in the beautiful city of Lincoln, so the decision was made.
The word I just kept repeating to everyone when they asked about the wedding was R E L A X E D. I wanted zero stress, and for the whole day to just emulate us, and the life we had built together. I think the choices we made reflect that perfectly.
My dress started life as a Pinterest dream. I spent hours looking, as before heading to any boutiques I wanted an idea of what I was looking for. I came across Portland Designer, Elizabeth Dye when another of her designs caught my eye. After some searching I found one UK stockiest, Heart a Flutter in Hackney. After some more searching, I realised another dress that I had been obsessing over was one of hers, I had stumbled across it on Pinterest and I knew that it would be perfect. I wanted something minimalist, sleek non fussy, but at the same time, with a little bit of drama, that plunging neck line definitely made up for it. I went and tried it on, and I knew that was it. I thought it would take me months, maybe years to find it, but it was the first dress I put on. I think that then set the pace for the rest of the wedding. My gorgeous embroidered shoes were ASOS, and I later changed into a trusty pair of Swedish Hasbeens for the outdoor shots. My belt came from Something Ivory (Etsy) I wore minimal Jewellery as I wanted the dress to do all the work!
My Bridesmaids were trickier. Three gorgeous women, my sister, and my two closest friends, all very very different, it seemed unfair to stick them all in the same dress. I was also adamant I wanted them in white. It seems bridesmaids in white isn’t overly the done thing, so finding a dress in the usual places was hard. Until a chance dash around Manchester and found exactly what we were looking for in MANGO. Summer bohemian fashion had come up trumps with gorgeous flowy white cheesecloth gowns. We found a third by chance on ASOS, and as a trio, they looked incredible. These were finished off by the bridesmaids own jewellery and gorgeous silver bracelets from local designer Daniella Draper. (The grooms Handmade wedding ring also came from here) Edith, our daughter and flower girl wore a custom tuille skirt, handmade by a friend. The material for which came from the Wedding Veil of my Mums dress. It was a lovely nod to my mum, and a great way of recycling something sentimental to her. The flower girl body suit with lace sleeve was another great etsy find.
My hair was done by my incredibly talented friend, Rachel Haddock (& also wife of the Photographer) She’s been my hairdresser for years & years and I wouldn’t have considered anyone else for the job. Her vision is always enviable, and like any good friend, she will talk me out of questionable hair choices!! The bridesmaids again, all had slightly different styles, and Rachel was meticulous in working around my floral crown. Make Up was completed by Jade Lunn of Bennetts Hair and Beauty. Like Rachel, Jade is someone I trust whole heartedly, so having her their was a no brainer.
After much searching went with suits from Mark Darcey in Salford. We wanted something less formal, and most importantly, comfortable for the guys. The mix of braces and waistcoats worked well and they were topped off beautifully by bow ties and pocket squares from Mrs Bow Tie in Liberty Print.
Flowers came from the quaint Arbour Florist, which is situated on Lincoln’s infamous Steep Hill. Anne & Elizabeth were fantastic, they helped me translate my many ideas/pictures/pins to reality, allowing me to indulge in wild ideas, and reining me in when necessary! I knew exactly what I wanted in my head, but converting those ideas into real life I found quite challenging. I wanted green, lots of green, foliage and leaves with very little flowers. Eucalyptus played a big part in the stunning table runner and all of the bouquets. Table pieces were adorned with sprigs of rosemary and lavender, hedonistic was the only way to describe the smell of the tipis when you walked in. The finished bridal bouquets were so true to what I had envisioned, I couldn’t have asked for anything as perfect. The floral crown took my breath away and for me, was the piece that tied everything else together.
Our photographer Steve Haddock, we’ve been friends with him and Rachel for many years, I’ve also worked with him in a professional capacity before, he helped, and still continues to, with aspects of my business, website, product photography. We’ve always admired his work, and in the last few years his wedding photos had come to our attention. Asking him was was the tricky part, I knew there was know one else up to the job, but at the same time, he and Rachel would foremost be invited as guests. I wanted him to have the chance to enjoy a wedding rather than spending all day behind a lens. So we gave him first refusal, on the understanding that if he said no, he would help us try and find someone to shoot it for us! Luckily he agreed to it. He put so much heart and soul into our day, from the engagement shoot on a cold blustery winter afternoon, to the morning spent with us getting ready, disappearing onto the roof for some skyline shots of the city, and to THAT incredible photo in the brief rain shower we had, where the three of us ran, through the rain, into the field to capture the moment forever. Why? Well a double rainbow made an appearance, I don’t know who was more made up, us or Steve. A once in a lifetime shot for us all.
We wanted to keep our ceremony small & personal. The White Hart Hotel in Lincoln, is popular with weddings, and houses a huge orangery room, however, it was the smaller room on the first floor, airy and overlooking the bustle of the cobbled street, with its floor to ceiling sash windows and old fireplace, that seemed more fitting. It sat 50 people comfortably, and it just worked. There was a huge mirror at the front of the room, which caused many sleepless nights. We thought it would be hugely off putting, watching our reflections, and the plan was to cover with an elaborate sash or hanging, but in the end, covering it just didn’t sit right with the room. So left it how it was, which actually worked to our advantage. Looking up and seeing the faces of our dearest friends and family, catching smiles and glances of the crowd completely put me at ease. I don’t think a single smile broke the whole time we were there, there was a lot of spontaneous laughter, probably due to my nerves, but the whole thing was so chilled, it was perfect.
We kept décor at the first venue, minimal due to the fact we were only there briefly, and the light bright, airy room needed no dressing in our opinion. We added touches like confetti made from flower petals I had collected over the summer and dried meticulously. Handed out in cones made of paper from an old charity shop botanical reference guide. The music during the ceremony was really important to us also, walking into to James Vincent McMorrows, Higher Love, signing the resgister to Bloc Party’s “so here we are:” and walking out to Weathered, by Jack Garratt. The little things to everyone else, just made the biggest impact to us. After some photos around the historic Cathedral Quarter of Lincoln, (on what can only be described as the windiest day in August on record, storms had initially been forcast!!) We hopped on a double decker bus hired from Local Company, Marshalls,
We made the 30 minute journey to The Pheasantry Brewery, at Markham Moore, where our Tipis where waiting for us (Peak Tipi’s supplied) We’d been fortunate enough to have two days to set them up ourselves and add our own touches. The Brewery for us was the perfect mix of rural outdoor space, combined with the aesthetics of the old barn doors and the industrial feel of the copper vats in the brewhouse. Not to mention, our wedding caterers Black Pepper Mint who at the time were also based there. The caterers helped us develop over a number of tastings, the perfect mix of canepes, sharing platters and a tapas like main course of favourites like, steak & belly pork. They also were superb in catering for our vegan guests. The cake was made by my amazing friend, and mentor and also supplier to my café, Eillen. (Baked by Eileen). For my love of herbs she made us a two tiered orange & rosemary polenta cake. Which looked and smelt stunning.
Evening entertainment was Kicked off with The Newfangled Jesters, a three- piece band from Birmingham who created the perfect mix of barn dance & summer fete!! They also did an amazing cover of Ingrid Michealsons, You & I for our first dance. Aron, from The House of Good, played the most incredible DJ set long into the night, a mix of indie & retro and everything in between, we’d sent out a spreadsheet for guests to create the playlist, and we partied hard!
Our videographer was another friend picked up through my business. Jed Lilley from Black Poncho productions, and the first wedding video he had ever shot, so we took a risk on each other, and it completely paid off. Working with Steve, they just became part of our wedding party, capturing the moments I wanted, not the forced stills, but the movement, the life, and the love and the warmth that surrounded us that day. Jed’s video, was the thread that tied together Steve’s incredible shots.
One of the first major decisions I made. I discovered Ginny & I on an Etsy shop, and contacted her the year before the wedding. She was actually in the process of emigrating to Australia from the UK, so asked if we could re convene when she was up and running in NSW, which we did, 6 months later. After an amazing consultation where we spoke over skype for an hour about all aspects of the wedding, and our relationship. And the invites were born. (linked to images on her site as we didn’t actually have any taken on the day as we forgot!!)