Cue absolutely epic wedding venue, it’s a church hall. Yep, you won’t believe it when you see it. This wedding is so up my street it’s untrue. There’s lace, kilts, immense flowers, an abundance of cakes and a whole heap of love. Felicity’s Annasul Y gown is divine and how effortlessly cool is Emma Boileau’s photography?
Felicity The Bride: When looking for my wedding dress I was pretty sure I knew exactly what I wanted – lace, slim fitting and long sleeves. Sadly, this really didn’t suit me! Luckily, I did quite a lot of research in to designers I liked and only booked appointments with shops that I knew stocked them. This meant that even though what I was looking for wasn’t right I actually liked nearly everything in the shop. I only looked in two boutiques before I found the perfect dress, an Annasul Y gown from Ava Rose Hamilton. This is such a gorgeous shop and all the staff are brilliant, they made the whole process of buying a wedding dress a really enjoyable one.
I don’t think I really had that moment where I thought this is ‘the one’ – I don’t think everybody is wired to have that feeling and waiting for that to happen can make you feel quite a lot of pressure as a bride to be. I loved two Annasul Y gowns and really struggled to choose between them, having to have a long think about which one (if either) I wanted to buy. Once I’d made my decision, however, I never regretted it and by the day I was confident I had chosen ‘the one’. Before my accessories appointment I was pretty sure that I wanted a flower crown/headband and a veil with some lace detailing but, once again, I completely changed my mind. I felt that the trimmed veils were too much with my dress and fell in love with a lace headband that looked like it was made for my gown. I really think keeping an open mind when dress and accessories shopping is important – I feel like I ended up with something nicer than I actually set out to get.
Everything I thought I wanted but didn’t have I then wanted for my bridesmaids! They had full lace, long sleeves and flowers in their hair. I saw a photo of a gorgeous ivory lace, 1950s style prom dress on Pinterest and absolutely loved it. I looked at other dresses but couldn’t really stop thinking about the one I’d seen but I couldn’t find any details for it. I decided then to have them made by a dressmaker, Susan Whitham. She did the most fantastic job and we really couldn’t have been more pleased with the final result, they were exactly as we had imagined and fitted my sisters perfectly. Our flower girl, Jocelyn, wore an ivory dress from Monsoon. They had so many gorgeous dresses so we sent Jocelyn a few photos (she lives in Canada) and let her choose which one she liked best. She absolutely loved choosing her own dress and it made the whole experience of being a flower girl more exciting for her.
We knew that we wanted to buy Joe a suit rather than hire one and we were willing to spend quite a lot of money on it – it seems unfair for the bride to have everything! I saw a Vivienne Westwood suit whilst shopping in Manchester but Joe wasn’t sure he wanted to spend quite that much. Whilst on a shopping trip we decided to pop in to the Vivienne Westwood shop and have a look – Joe loved it! It was also half price in the sale so we could not have been more pleased. We then bought a pair of Russell and Bromley double monk brogues which are gorgeous and looked perfect with the suit. My mum has always loved Liberty print and had the idea (one of her many!) for Joe and the groomsmen all to have liberty print ties. I didn’t take much convincing and set about trying to find some. We ordered them from Etsy and a store called Stag Handmade who operate in America, the service was fantastic. Both the ties and pocket squares were gorgeous and looked fantastic on the day.
For our page boy, Edwin, we ordered a Liberty print bow tie which was seriously cute. The groomsmen all had suits from Next in a blue/grey colour that matched Joe’s suit. Next do so many colours and styles for really reasonable prices so we only looked there but found exactly what we wanted.
There was never any doubt in my mind where I wanted the ceremony and that was in my local church just a few doors down from my parent’s house. We really wanted the ceremony to be a joyous and happy event, after all it is what the whole day is about. We decided to have the organist and the choir in the hope that it would encourage everyone to join in with the singing. We also chose upbeat hymns that we both have fond memories of singing as children. The plan seemed to work and our guests were all singing along. Our choir and organist were absolutely brilliant and I would definitely recommend booking a choir/organist to anyone having a church wedding, it really does make it that bit more special and enjoyable. I was surprised by how relaxed we both were during the ceremony, we absolutely loved it. I really think savouring that part of the day is important, it’s the reason you and all your friends and family are there – try to enjoy it.
We knew that we wanted a venue where we could do exactly what we wanted with decoration, caterers and entertainment. We decided to look at a church hall very close to where we live. It’s absolutely gorgeous from the outside but the inside was always going to need work. It isn’t set up to be a wedding venue at all; during the week it is home to brownies, youth club and Zumba classes. However, it does have gorgeous windows, a fantastic domed ceiling and a lovely parquet floor. It took quite a lot of resolve to stick with the venue, especially after a caterer pointed out its many flaws and repeatedly asked “why don’t you just have it in a marquee?”. I am so glad that we had the confidence to stick with it because it was, without a doubt, the perfect venue. The hall itself is just one big room with a kitchen and toilets so we decided to hire a small marquee and have that at the back of the hall on the grass as a bar area. This worked really well and it was great to have an extra space for anyone who didn’t want to dance later on.
The fact that our venue needed work provided us with a year long craft project – it was brilliant! I spent lots of time browsing Pinterest and Rock My Wedding looking for inspiration, both of which were priceless in helping with planning. We decided as we were having a church hall we should fully embrace that theme with bunting, wildflowers and wooden folding chairs. We made all the bunting ourselves (with help from my family and Joe’s Auntie) which took hours and hours. It was definitely worth it though as it really did help transform the room, looking back we’re pretty impressed with what we made.
We wanted lots of flowers on the tables and we spent a whole year collecting glass vases, jugs, cups, decanters and demijohns which fit perfectly with the theme and looked amazing on the tables. The afternoon tea was served on vintage china provided by For The Love Of Vintage. All the crockery was lovely and it made the tables look gorgeous. I was so happy when I walked in to the hall, it was exactly how I had imagined. Sharon from the company was brilliant; she really did do an amazing job on the day and was so helpful in the lead up to the wedding.
The hall had a number of large filing cabinets that couldn’t be moved and so needed covering up somehow. We found some bamboo screens in a garden centre which we painted white, we then made paper cranes to hang over the top. The overall effect was good and as it was at the back of the hall made a nice feature. One of the screens was at the opposite end of the room and we used this for our seating plan. We pegged brown name cards on to twine that was attached to the screen – it took a lot longer than planned but was worth it in the end.
We made all the stationary ourselves which, again, was something we really enjoyed. It was all printed on brown recycled card from a company called Ecocraft who have every kind of card in every size you could need. We stuck with a bunting and flowers theme for the invitations. We stitched mini bunting to the front cover and designed the inside with flower clip art downloaded from Etsy. We also included an RSVP postcard and a map, hand drawn by Joe – this got rave reviews and Joe was very pleased with himself! We made the order of service to fit the same theme as the invitations and included a hand drawn picture of the church, again drawn by Joe. We both enjoyed making all the stationary so much and I was really sad when we were printing out the last order of service. I made Joe promise we would still have craft weekends after the wedding – what a weirdo!
We knew that we wanted a lot of flowers as part of the decoration and that we didn’t want anything too rigid. My mum found our florist at a farmers market when she bought a gorgeous bouquet from them. Field and Garden Flowers are a mother and daughter team, Louise and Tilly. Louise grows the flowers in a field across the road from her house and Tilly is a florist so she creates the arrangements. They grow British, seasonal flowers which they arrange in a natural style. We seemed to be on exactly the same wavelength and I felt they knew exactly the effect we were trying to create. We weren’t too prescriptive with how we wanted the flowers arranging or in fact which flowers they should use, we wanted them to do what they thought would be best with the flowers they had in the field at that time. We trusted them completely and were not disappointed, the flowers for the reception venue were absolutely gorgeous and I could not have been happier with the bouquets. Joe also loved the buttonholes and tried to keep hold of his for as long as possible – we came back to it still on the fireplace after the honeymoon!
We considered so many different food options before settling on afternoon tea. We didn’t want a formal three course meal, often the food is disappointing and I’m normally still hungry! We thought afternoon tea suited the venue and the general theme of the day. We found And the Dish Ran Away with the Spoon online and once we’d visited them we were convinced. Their cakes are beautiful and they were absolutely brilliant in helping us plan the day, really thoughtful and so accommodating. As the day got closer we did start to worry that it might not be enough food and that people would be hungry but we shouldn’t have, we were absolutely stuffed and there was so much cake left over. In the evening we had sausage dogs from Lakeland Picnic, these were a massive success. They offer huge sausages made in their own Cumbrian butchery in amazing flavours like chilli and lime. They then offer toppings including cheese, onions and black pudding. The rolls are gorgeous too!
The wedding cake was a joint family effort; we enjoy baking and really wanted to do it ourselves. My sister and I made 3 tiers of fruit cake, Joe iced it and my mum decorated it with flowers from our garden. We were really happy with the end result, although the top tier did start to slide off later in the day!
Joe found Emma on the internet and as soon as he showed me her work I knew she was the right photographer for us. Her photos are beautiful and have such a natural, relaxed style which is exactly what we wanted. I was a little apprehensive about being photographed but after the pre shoot with Emma any nerves were settled. I originally wasn’t really bothered about having a pre shoot but would definitely recommend it to any camera shy brides/grooms. Emma made us feel so comfortable and it is easy to act natural around her. She is so enthusiastic and her attention to detail is amazing, she helps make the lead up to the big day extra special with her lovely emails. On the day she was so inconspicuous, she just blended in with the guests and everybody loved her. We could not be happier with the photographs, she has completely captured the essence of the day and I really think the joy we all felt that day is clear.