Emily the Bride:
My dress was from White Dresses and Tiaras
in Crawley, I thought I’d cry when I found my dress because I cry at pretty much every wedding programme going, but I didn’t! It was just everything I wanted and made me feel like myself but also like a bride. I thought that was really important because I didn’t want to feel like I was playing dress up.
Paul’s suit and the groomsmen’s trousers were from Next
. Braces were Topman
and socks Ralph Lauren
. Bow ties and pocket squares are from Tie Room
. We wanted them to match the flowers but because our flowers were grown seasonally we had no idea what we were getting until the Saturday before! Luckily they matched pretty much perfectly.
Our venue was Southend Barns
in Chichester and I cannot rave about them enough. It was the first venue we looked at and we didn’t need to look anywhere else. The entire day ran so smoothly because of the staff there. The ceremony barn was small, intimate and bright which is exactly what we wanted. There was also a beautiful courtyard with fire pits and benches, this gave the guests somewhere to hang out rather than being stuck inside all day. Luckily we pretty much won the weather lottery which put everyone in a good mood. The entire venue was styled just to our taste which meant we didn’t have to shell out on decor. Don’t even get me started on the bridal suite. I’d move in tomorrow if I could.
Because our flowers were seasonally grown, we decided to have no colour scheme. We used the flowers as a focal point and kind of worked everything else around them. The bridesmaids dresses were a muted grey/lavender colour which fitted in perfectly. We felt the same decor wise, just let the flowers do the talking. The last thing you’re looking at on the day is tiny little details and frilly decor, so save the money because they just don’t matter.
We had Shelley from Sussex Flower Farm
grow our flowers for us. It was so much cheaper this way but it also felt really good to be paying someone who loves their job to grow the flowers for us instead of importing in out of season blooms. We then had a local florist who was a contact of Shelley’s to hand tie the bouquets. Myself, my mum and my bridesmaids spent the morning of the wedding arranging the flowers for the tables which was really lovely and relaxing (and smelt amazing too). We set the flowers on top of chopped wood slices. The decoration was in no way original but I loved it all the same. For these, we went to a local tree surgeon and then dried them out in our airing cupboard for 3 months! We saved a lot of money by doing our flowers and centrepieces this way but I couldn’t have been happier with the outcome.
My bridesmaids were in ASOS
dresses. I was really laid back about it and let them choose something they’d be comfortable in. I think places like ASOS have really opened up the options for bridesmaid fashion in a really affordable way. Our daughter was our flower girl and she was in a Monsoon
dress and ballet pumps, we wanted her to be able to run around without being uncomfortable. Groomsmen had trousers from Next with braces from Topman and bowties from Tie Room. No jackets meant everyone felt pretty relaxed as they’re so not the kind of boys to be in suits!
Our ceremony was small, quick and full of tears and laughs. I didn’t think I was going to cry but the minute I saw my brothers waiting for me to walk me halfway down towards my dad; I lost it! One of my favourite moments of the whole ceremony was the comic relief provided by our 2 year old. We’re not very good in serious situations and get a little bit silly so her running down the aisle with a bowl full of snacks definitely broke the tension! It was just perfect and very us. We would’t have had it any other way.
Paul and I put together playlists to play throughout the whole day while people were milling around having canapés and chatting which created a chilled atmosphere. We also had lawn games which the venue provided so everyone tried their hand at croquet and giant jenga. I didn’t want any set entertainment, I wanted people to be able to move around freely and hang out. So we had some photo booth props and our caterers handed out some marshmallows for people to toast over the fire pits in the evening - people loved that! In the evening we had Resident Heroes
. The band were Paul’s responsibility so I had no idea hat to expect! Luckily they were a huge hit and their acoustic rendition of Shaggy’s “It Wasn’t Me” is still being talked about now!
We used in house caterers Field and Fork
who turned out to be more than just caterers. They pretty much made sure everyone knew where they were meant to be and when. If something went wrong, we had no idea about it! I didn’t realise we hadn’t packed enough favours until I sat down and didn’t recognise some of the sweets in my maid of honours bag! Not only that, the food was a-mazing. We had various canapés such pork belly and goats cheese choux. For our wedding breakfast we kept along the relaxed and fairly informal vibe with a BBQ which included house made burgers, BBQ chicken, sausages and caramelised onions with a selection of salads and rices. The compliments on the food were non stop, I wish I’d eaten more of it! Dessert were a selection of brownies, pear and almond tarts and seasonal fruit tarts. In the evening we had salt beef baps which just writing about makes my mouth water and goats cheese tarts.
Our photographer was Dale Weeks
who I found on Instagram before I was even engaged and loved his work. I cannot rave about him enough, the photos are absolutely gorgeous and captured everything perfectly. We didn’t want loads of posed, cheesy stereotypical wedding photos; we wanted everyone to have an amazing time and for Dale to capture every emotion that came along with that. And he did it so seamlessly and made everyone feel so at ease. Even if Paul did start to blue steel every time he noticed the camera. I can’t recommend him enough.
Our videographer was a good friend of ours called Tom O’Dwyer who has made a few of his own films. We haven’t seen the finished video yet but I’m so excited to relive it all.