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Emma & Dean

This morning’s wedding is very close to our hearts. Our lovely real bride Emma got married over the summer and it was such a treat to share her planning journey with you all. Emma is truly a beautiful person inside and out who has been a RMW reader since the very, very beginning. Like me, she’s wedding mad and is genuinely just all about the love, which makes her wedding even more special.

As you’d imagine, like a true RMW couple, Emma and Dean’s wedding day is full of details that are personal and special to them. Their DIY gin bar is just the best idea. Guests were asked to create a bottle of flavoured gin to bring along, these were then added to their pretty display cabinet and guests could sample them, before voting for their favourite. This needs to become a wedding thing – let’s make it happen people! Not only does it get guests involved in a bit of healthy competition, but it’s also a great way of saving a little bit of money on the bar tab too 😉

So without further ado, let’s enjoy Emma and Dean’s wedding day. It’s an absolute cracker of a day so get comfy, start scrolling and leave some love for this gorgeous pair at the bottom of the post…

Emma The Bride: After nearly a year of planning, months of real bride blogging, endless hours of pinning, and all of the DIY that we said we would never do, I literally can’t believe I am sitting here writing our final wedding report for you lovely lot.

I can tell you that the view from the other side is pretty darn amazing. I love being a Mrs to my lovely Mr. So keep ploughing through that wedmin, even when it feels tougher than you think it should, and try and enjoy every minute. I absolutely promise you it will be worth it.

The Day

Those that have followed my planning journey from the start might remember that I predicted that we’d have a wet wedding day, despite our midsummer date. It seems like Mother Nature was in agreement with my prophecy. The rain did hold off for most of the key parts of the day: the drizzle stopped just before I set off for church, stayed away for long enough for us to leave church to nothing more than a shower of {homemade} confetti, and even kept a lid on it while we snapped our photographs and enjoyed some drinks outside.

But the blue skies that I had hoped and prayed for didn’t make an appearance. Despite that, I was so wrong to think that a lack of sunshine would ruin our day. In fact, it turned out perfectly for us. If someone had told me before the wedding that I’d say that, I’d have scoffed at them. Loudly and angrily, in fact. But the Great British weather created dramatic pictures, a cozy atmosphere with everyone together in the marquee, and a sense of camaraderie as people pottered to-and-fro with the funky white umbrellas I bagged from Primark at the last minute.

The few things that the weather did put a stop to (garden games and sparklers) really didn’t matter to us one bit on the day, and actually we are planning to make use of them at other celebrations this year, so they definitely won’t go to waste.

The Dress

After pining after an Anna Campbell dress, I eventually had to admit that to look my best self, and for me to get that ‘bride’ feeling, I needed a dress with a bit more structure. {Though, I haven’t given up on one day rocking Anna Campbell…vow renewal}?!

After an epic battle of my mind between two very different structured dresses, it became clear that the corsetry of a Suzanne Neville gave me exactly the shape I was looking for. But it was the lovely Jacqui at Serendipity Brides that made me fall in love with my dress, by showing me how to adorn the elegant canvas of Aria with gorgeous sparkly embellishments from Love It So Much.

It meant that with just a few small changes, the dress was completely unique to me. There can be some potential pitfalls to this approach; there were some stressful last minute moments {resulting in no less than 5 fittings} as we tried to get the dress exactly right, but the fabulous ladies at Serendipity, particularly the owner Lisa, guided me through to make sure the dress was exactly as I imagined and I felt amazing in it on the day.

The Accessories

I am a bit of a magpie with the sparkles {it’s not that obvious, right?!} but even I could recognise that lacing my hair with more crystals could leave me looking more like a glitter ball than a bride.

As an alternative, I actually yearned for a full-on flower crown after lusting after Folky Dokey’s Instagram feed on what became a daily basis, but I was worried it didn’t quite fit with my otherwise classic look. When I noticed that Gez also did beautiful hair wires it seemed like the perfect compromise.

The Groom

Dean looked super dapper in his blue Ted Baker suit, which we picked up for a bargain price in an online sale at Moss Bros – purely by chance as we were perusing to check they still had it in stock.

In fact, his whole outfit was considerably more penny savvy than mine! We also found the perfect liberty print bow tie from Mrs Bow Tie in the sale. It had just the right hint of the raspberry colour scheme, but set him apart from the plain bow ties that the groomsmen wore.

The Styling

We definitely took the definition of a colour palette to its extreme, with shades of raspberry pink, green, blue and gold colliding together in what we think was a beautiful colour explosion.

We wanted the colour pops to thread through all of the details of the day, without it being too matchy-matchy, so, fashion decisions aside, we weren’t too precise on all of the shades. This did make us a bit nervous about whether it would look too busy on the day. But we were really pleased with the finished effect.

The Flowers

It was our fabulous florist that really brought the colour scheme together! We gave little more than a brief of flouncy and vibrant, with lots of foliage, and Rita delivered all that and more. Not to mention the beautiful bouquets and buttonholes that pulled everything together.

The Wedding Party

Originally we wanted to get the girls in different style dresses but with the same raspberry shade, so that they could express their own individual style whilst satisfying my need to splatter beautiful berry tones everywhere.

In the end it became apparent that a multiway was the best way to achieve that, and Victoria Lou had the best range of colours – with a perfect match for the shade I had in my mind – and the beautiful addition of a tulle overlay. We were so pleased with how they looked on the day, and the colour really shines through in the photos.

Our flower girl’s dress came from Marks and Spencer – they had a small but perfectly formed collection, including exactly the style we were looking for. Ella looked lovely in the white lace dress with a pale pink band, which fitted perfectly with the other bridesmaids.

The groomsmen looked sauve in French Connection hire suits from Moss Bros. The team in Northampton were incredible at helping us get the boys suited and booted, after there were a few issues with unexpected price increases and poor advice from another store.

The Ceremony

This was my favourite part of the whole day, seeing Dean welling up as he waited for me at the end of the aisle was just a magical moment. We spent the rest of the ceremony beaming at each other, and I have never felt more content and excited.

I walked down the aisle to I Giorni by Ludovico Einaudi, our talented friend Jon {previously a RMW Groom, actually} serenaded us with Greatest Day by Take That as we signed the register, and we walked out to All You Need is Love by the Beatles {The Beatles were a running theme of the day, as Dean is a big fan}.

My love of words also seeped into our ceremony. Our family friend Vicky read Corinthians for our biblical text, and our sister-in-law {also Vicky} read extracts from Bob Dylan’s The Wedding Song.

There were a couple of other pieces that we had fallen in love with during a trawl for the perfect wedding reading, but we felt they were too short to warrant the climb up the pulpit. So we included That Still and Settled Place by Edward Monkton on the inside cover of our order of service {In that still and settled place, there’s nobody but you, you’re where I breathe my oxygen, you’re where I see my view. And when the world feels full of noise, my heart knows what to do. It finds that still and settled place, and dances there with you}. And an excerpt from The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White on the inside back cover {And I’d choose you; in a hundred lifetimes, in a hundred worlds, in any version of reality, I’d find you and I’d choose you}.

The Decor

We wanted our day to reflect all of the things we love the most; our favourite people, happy memories, travel, music and inspirational words. It was this desire for the personal details that led us to DIY far more than we originally planned.

There was the huge gold disc table plan, with matching table names; bespoke signage created using the beautiful artwork from our invitations; and a personal photo memory and accompanying quote for every single guest. There were failures and success along the way. Particularly notable was my endeavour not to leave DIY tasks to the last minute by punching out all 120 quotes using a label maker…well three label makers actually, because two broke along the way…and then realising, despite having tested it previously, that they looked rubbish when the light shone through them. So I started again with a printed version that looked far more professional! #fail.

But the painstaking lengths that we went through to add these personal details really paid off. Most of our guests took their polaroid pictures with them, and it truly fills our hearts with joy when we see them displayed in friends and families’ homes.

We also turned to the experts to provide some of the beautiful details that pulled together the overall look.

To add a touch of colour to the blank canvas of our marquee, we bought in what seemed like a lifetimes supply of hanging paper lanterns, accenting every shade of the colour palette. They looked so effective, and we got a few to hang outside as well – just as well we opted for the weather cautious nylon option for the outdoor ones!

The fabulous Charlene Buckland, who produced the artwork for our stationery, also created three beautiful signs to decorate the marquee.

We opted for an alternative guest book, sneaking in a touch of the wanderlust vibe with a bespoke Globe from Loobie Design, which we complemented with a bucket list jar. It’s great to have a list of adventures to plan for in the future, recommended by our nearest and dearest {though some of the inevitable drunken contributions were edited from the final list}.

The Fun

There were two particular elements that really helped introduce the party vibe for the evening reception. I mentioned them both in my final pre-wedding post, but we love them so much that I’m going to rabbit on about them again.

The Gin Bar. We asked our guests to make a flavoured gin to feature on a special bar in the evening. Of course, we allowed other spirit variations for the crazy few with a gin aversion. It was a later addition in our planning, so we could only socialise the idea online and with those we saw, using a little recipe card for hints and tips, These would have been perfect to include in invites if we had considered the idea sooner! We were so delighted with how many of our guests got involved, and the gin bar had a real buzz around it all night with everyone trying lots of different flavours and voting on their favourite.

The Glitter Bar. This was a super last minute addition, with glitter pots being purchased just days before the wedding, but it was my absolute favourite thing, and an abiding memory for so many of our guests! Some of our younger guests, our flower girl and my friend’s girls, took charge of glittering everyone up. It kept them entertained all evening, and barely anyone left the tent without some form of sparkle! So. Much. Fun.

{Watch The Film}

The Food

Dean and I both love nothing more than trying lots of different flavours, and we wanted to spend as long as possible talking to our guests before we sat down, so we opted for ample canapés instead of a starter.

The main course is something that I’d boldly demanded many moons ago, as I waitressed at another wedding, so it’s just as well Dean was fully onboard with my Beef Wellington diva demands.

And for pudd, in keeping with our foodie greed, we had an assiette of puddings – lemon posset, wicked chocolate pudding {it’s as decadent as it sounds} and raspberry meringue. My Mum is a caterer, so luckily the fantastic team at Great Tasting were happy to serve her puddings. I’ve served them so many times at other peoples’ weddings that we knew they had to be included in ours.

Being the super Mum she is, the cake was also a labour of love for my Mum. She made it and helped my Uncle to decorate it, and then we used another beautiful creation from Folky Dokey and a Beatles themed cake topper to decorate.

The Photography

I really don’t know how to put into words how utterly incredible Michelle Wood was, and how pleased we were that we found her. {Or rather, my wedding photographer brother found her when we realised he couldn’t prop up the bar AND take our wedding photos}.

She was an absolute pleasure to have there, putting us at ease throughout the day, and blending in seamlessly so that we didn’t even notice her snapping away. We couldn’t be happier with the photos. I was worried that the lack of blue skies just wouldn’t look as beautiful on the pictures, but the moody greys that Michelle captured are even better than we could have imagined.

She’s captured everything we wanted: the love, the laughter, the fun. And most importantly, the glitter. You NEED to book her now, trust me. 


The Videography

Although Dean took some convincing, I was adamant that we had a videographer on the day because I wanted to be able to replay the motion of the day in all its glory.

We are both so pleased that we did.

We barely even knew the Minty Slippers team were there, which is great because we were pretty daunted about a crew of two. But most of the moments they capture are from a distance, which means they get the pure emotion down to a tee.

The Band

My best friend’s husband is a musician, so he was our first port of call when we were looking for a band. He recommended The Distractions, with the added bonus that he could play a few numbers with them {my friends and I are his biggest fan girls at gigs}.

They were incredible. They got the party started, and carried it right on through to the end. Their first hit went down a storm with an Olly Mur’s tune, in memory of my bride’s angel Lou. And one of my favourite moments of the day came courtesy of a dance-off that they orchestrated. Ladies to one side, and gents to the other, they created an incredible moment of pure joy, including two guests doing the worm across the dance floor, roaring laughter, and some of the best moves delivered courtesy of my Dad and brother. The male contingency of my family definitely have better moves than me!

Advice

If you can’t already tell from the write-up, we simply had the best day. But there are a couple of nuggets of advice that I wanted to share with you to help your planning journey.

With any suppliers that will be there on the day, make sure you are really clear between you on when they are arriving and how long they will be there. Although it didn’t cloud the day itself, my one disappointment was that my hair and make-up artist left 2 hours before I needed to be ready {and three hours before the ceremony}. It meant that I have no pictures or video footage of us being pampered getting ready, and more importantly, that my bridesmaids had to do last minute touch-ups with a very limited supply of make-up or hair sprucing tools, as we weren’t expecting to need them. Our prep did start super early, so at that point I should probably have questioned duration, but I assumed based on past experiences at other weddings that someone would be there to do the finishing touches before we left. Make sure you have the conversations before the day itself, just to be sure you are on the same page.

Don’t feel that you need to stick to tradition. In reality, this was a rule I didn’t follow myself as much as I should. I worried so much about what Dean would think about my dress choice, that I wish I’d bucked tradition and taken him with me to save the stress. The prospect of doing a first dance in front of our 120 guests, not to mention the evening arrivals, was also a source of some anxiety for this attention-adverse bride – and although it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be on the day, we could have easily eschewed the tradition with everyone taking to the floor for the entirety of the first tune. But one way that I did waiver from tradition, that I am so pleased about, was inviting friends over before the ceremony. I have a big group of best friends and couldn’t have them all in my entourage, but I knew seeing everyone before the ceremony would really calm my nerves. So I invited them over an hour beforehand to say hello. It was so lovely to have the chance to see them properly before it all started!

We all know how expensive weddings can get, if you let them, and we perhaps weren’t as thrifty with the pennies as we could have been. But the splurges we will never regret are the details that we treated ourselves to that serve as prominent reminders of our day. Our globe guest book will be on daily display, and we are going to find a home for the cake wreath {though no longer on a cake, of course} and the beautiful quote signs, as soon as we find ourselves a new house to call home. {Yep, we are already cruising into our next big life event}. They might seem small details at first glance, but they are things we will keep forever that will conjure up memories for years to come.

If you are going to DIY anything, do it as soon as possible. We started collecting pictures and quotes for the polaroids even before we had all of our RSVPs. The time that we spent sourcing them for people that weren’t able to come in the end was definitely outweighed by the stress that we saved by not leaving them until the final few months.

Don’t sweat the stuff you can’t change. Be it the weather, or other situations that become beyond your control in the planning stages. You won’t believe me until your day comes, but they will pale into insignificance when you become enveloped in the sheer joy of marrying your best friend.

I feel like I have subjected you to the War and Peace version of our wedding day {in length only, obviously, excuse the otherwise inappropriate literary analogy}. Hopefully the lovely Fern will have waved her magic editing wand to save you all from the full extent of my waffle.

But I hope that I have been able to impart some inspiration and advice that will help you plan your own day, your way. I’m going to keep sneaking back here to see how you are all getting on with your planning – I’m not ready to give up the wedding world yet {who am I kidding, I’m forever going to be wedding obsessed, I definitely need to find a way to make wedding blog reading my job}!

Lots of wedding love,

Emma {Year of the Yes}

Photography by Michelle Wood Photographer
Author: Fern Godfrey
Fern spends most of her time dreaming about weddings and trying to convince her long-suffering boyfriend to propose. Lucky enough to live in sunny Cornwall, if you need her – you’ll find her at beach.

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