Clare the Bride: PapaKata teepees at my parent's house (Harston, Cambridge). I'd seen teepee weddings on Pinterest / Instagram and got in touch with Papakata who were a dream from the beginning and made everything so easy. It's quite difficult to picture it all beforehand but it couldn't have been more perfect. It was more informal but really intimate, sheltered us from the September rain.
I'm a jeans and trainers girl so I was really nervous beforehand because of 1. I don't wear dresses and 2. I was worried Iʼd look ridiculous. We went to one bridal shop and they were pulling out these lacy Cinderella-esque numbers and I just burst out laughing and we left. We stopped for some chocolate crepes (wouldn't advise this actually, particularly bloated) and then went to Angelica's Bridal. I knew roughly what style I was looking for and I knew I'd 'found the one' when my mum started welling up before I'd even looked in the mirror. So the search was pretty easy. The Dress - Martina Liana. My bridesmaids wore multiway dresses in Moonbeam (sounds nicer than lilac?) with a cheeky slit up the side. We ALL ended up in our trainers....For ‘localʼ advice anyone getting married in Cambridge should use Amy Claire Farrington and Joey and Luigi Altomonte from Fratelli Hair I will never look as good again (unless they fancy sorting me out every morning).
Eman didn't want to wear a black suit as he didn't want to 'look like he was going to work' and so we found a lovely navy blue suit from Suit Supply for him and the ushers. He's pretty last minute and when he still hadn't ordered them 7 weeks before I left it to my mum to nag him (because he's scared of her). He went to order them with his best friend and they ordered a completely different suit (in what I refer to a shade of 'dolphin'). Somehow a tie also got lost from London to Cambridge (!) and he had to borrow a tie from a friend on the wedding morning. Luckily, he looked great and I only realised halfway through the ceremony.
My parents gave me some earrings the day before the wedding that theyʼd had made from the diamonds of my great grandmother's engagement ring. It also dropped to 10 degrees for the week of the wedding (do not rely on English weather
and thank you Papakata for the last minute heaters) so I brought a cream Louis Vuitton shawl and told Eman it was a present from my bridesmaids (oops - I have since confessed).
I know nothing about flowers so my instructions were ‘simple, whites and greensʼ and otherwise gave the florists free rain. The Flower House did not disappoint. We brought wooden lanterns (thanks eBay) for the flower arrangements instead of vases and had a different love quote in each.
I wasn't really wowed by any stationery designs and couldn't fathom the cost when they all end up in the bin (slightly pessimistic, sorry…) so I designed and made all of the stationery myself - save the dates, invites, table plan, name places, sweet bags, order of service, the welcome signs you name it! I was stamping envelopes whilst on conference calls (oops) and had my whole family folding the order of service sheets the night before and hand-tying each one! The benefits of having a massive family…
We were married in my familyʼs local parish church, The Church of Our Lady and the English Martyrs, Cambridge. It was the most beautiful service. Big red buses collected the guests from outside the church to take to the reception. We actually beat the guests back so had to drive around the village a few times.
It had just about stopped pouring with rain when we arrived back at the house for the reception. Our guests braved the outdoor champagne and canapé reception and we all huddled under the carport! As a surprise, Iʼd arranged for us all to let off balloons in memory of Emanʼs father and sent the party up to him. In the process, Iʼd also lent on the balcony wall during the announcement and my dress got covered in black moss! The heavens then opened again and we all ran through to the tents to finish the drinks reception. We spread the speeches out - my dad before the starters, and Eman and Jamie (best man) before the main course so they could enjoy their food afterwards! I may be slightly biased but they were the best, funniest speeches ever.
Everyone was howling (at mine and Emanʼs expense of course!)
We had a magician during the drinks reception. My parents had made photo books with mine and Emanʼs ‘storyʼ as a surprise and left them on the tables for people to read. After dinner, we had a break before we cut the (cheese)cake and then we had our first dance to Daryl Hall & John Oates - You make my dreams which was completely improvised and totally not a wedding dance but it was hilarious and so fun despite us dreading it. Goldtrack band played 3 live sets and DJ sets in between each and they were phenomenal! We also had a photo booth and the pictures have provided many many laughs since (very x-rated). (Music
Kat Hill. Absolute legend. I stumbled across her Instagram page and we met for a coffee near my offices and I knew instantly that we had to have her! I just love her style and every single picture she takes and she has the most calming vibe about her. You didn't even notice her on the wedding day yet she was always there, doing her thing, managing EVERYONE. Oh, and she photoshopped my ruined dress (but still saved some photographic evidence!) so I'll be forever grateful. Kat's Instagram @kat_hill_photo)
Stephanie and her husband Ed from Opaline Films were equally as fantastic and such a kind and gentle couple so they were perfect to have around on the morning of the wedding. We are over the moon with the film and speeches.
It doesn't have to be stressful, I loved every minute of the planning. My husband didn't help at all (I lie, I quote his speech " helped cut holes in the corks for the name place cards"….) and laughed at my wedding spreadsheets and folder. I'd tell him my ideas and he'd give input when needed (not very often) but this is how we usually roll. Do what works for you as a couple.
You are the bride and groom. It's your day, your way. Simple.
DIY - absolutely give a go at DIY. We didn't end up particularly saving on cost here (save money and spend elsewhere!) BUT it made our wedding so personal and unique and every time I did some DIY I got genuine 'night before Christmas' excitement.
Donʼt send save the dates - just don't. The crazy initial excitement won't be there in 18 months when you're thinking 'why did I invite them?'
Help - Iʼd planned everything about the day but the best decision I made was having help on the day so I could hand everything over. Our caterers provided wait staff throughout the day and also event planners Lauren Flavell and Rachel Gatehouse who I would love to employee full time to manage my life because they were incredible!
Let it go / ENJOY - if something goes wrong on the day, whatever. You can't do anything now. You are with the most important people in your life. Enjoy the moment.