We are about to go on a journey… A journey into a time gone by. Think picturesque rural english countryside with a slightly darker more gritty edge. It’s a little less “Pride and Prejudice” and a little more “Great Expectations”.
Eleanor and Stephen are both complete bookworms so a wedding with a theme that pulled inspiration from classic literature suited them perfectly. Let’s get this Dickensian glamour-fest on the road then.
Tumbledown Faded Elegance
We found Thrumpton Hall the same accidental, meant-to-be way that the rest of the wedding fell into place. We’d been looking at another venue, it was nice, but not very…us. We were with Stephen’s parents and I think we all felt we wanted a bit more adventure, so I suggested that Thrumpton wasn’t far away, perhaps we could have a drive past, just to nose. It really wasn’t what we expected, to get there we went through the most perfect and picturesque village and drove down a little track with beautiful brick arches over.
The tumbledown, faded elegance was just perfect, Stephen and I couldn’t help but want to get out and look at the little lake at the front of the house. At that moment a lady came out and asked if she could help us, we were mortified! We didn’t realise someone actually lived there! However, Miranda was wonderfully welcoming and interrupted her Sunday to show us round. As we went round the house, Stephen and I just fell in love, we wanted somewhere where we could have the venue for the whole day and feel a little like the lord and lady of the manor and, being bibliophiles, it absolutely HAD to have a library. Thrumpton was more than we could ever have hoped for.
I really wasn’t sure what hair and makeup I wanted for the wedding, and after one total disaster of a trial (all victory rolls and clown makeup, so inappropriate) I was more confused than ever. I was also running out of time. Luckily I found Elizabeth Peat, her current take on the vintage look gave me hope and at the trial she got straight to business and constructed a wonderful look for me when all I’d really given her was “Downton Abbey running through the woods”. I couldn’t recommend her more, during the morning getting ready she kept my maids and me to a strict running time, calming us down and making sure I was ok. An utter star! In addition to Liz’s wonderful work, I bought Chanel Illuminating Powder and a Chanel lipstick, the powder has an amazing shimmer!
I had a dress shopping trip that ended in disappointment, including one shop that wouldn’t let me try a single dress on (So curvy girls buy dresses by just looking at them do they? Hmmm.) After that I knew I had to go back to the drawing board, I hadn’t seen anything even approaching what I wanted. I didn’t want a “fat girl dress” all rouching and spangles and cover ups. I wanted something dramatic and old looking, something with acres of tulle and lace dripping off it, something stunning. Then, flicking through blogs to try and find a dress maker who could conjure my dream dress I found it! Already designed and made and beautiful! So, off to Birmingham I went, to the Couture Company for my perfect Miss Havisham dress. The first fitting I was just shell shocked, I hadn’t realised one dress could make you feel so… much! I cried all the way home I was so happy. I cried again, seeing Stephen’s face as I walked down the aisle. It was completely worth it.
For footwear I went with boots. It was February, in the middle of the countryside, it felt right, plus I didn’t want heels as I’m quite tall and don’t wear them the rest of the time. I replaced the laces with ribbons to make them more “weddingy”!
The Grand Tiara I got at a wedding fair from the wonderful Sheena Holland. I searched high and low for jewellery to match it, before realising the antique pearl necklace Stephen had given me for my 30th matched like a dream.
I wanted the maids to look more like house party guests in our grand party, so I got the bridesmaid dresses from Etsy, it was a bit of a committee decision and pretty much the only one of my suggestions my 15 year old sister would accept! I sourced real furs through Ebay.
Stephen’s suit was from Asos, and so inexpensive that the groomsmen were able to get the same suit so they could all be in matching tweed! Brogues and ties from Etsy finished the look. They all looked very dashing sipping their whiskies in the evening!
Green, Ivory & Peach
We didn’t really have a set colour scheme, we just wanted it to be things we liked, however, my favourite colour is green so for things where colour was important we went with greens, ivories and hints of peach. Our original idea was to have taxidermy, but unfortunately our budget just couldn’t stretch to that, instead we got antlers from the deer farm down the road from my parents and my father leant us Frank, the family deer skull. We got skull candles to edge it out a bit, Steve’s a huge metal fan and neither of us are particularly twee, we wanted to show that. We also brought bits and pieces from home, including Emily the bust and Hugo the owl, so it felt like a bit of us on the top table.
Michele was the only florist that didn’t flinch when we mentioned the antlers and taxidermy! After a short meeting and me emailing her a couple of pictures, I was amazed at what she created!! It turns out she’d been studying my pinterest board (seriously! How do people plan a wedding without pinterest!?) and it felt like the bouquets and table decorations had been pulled straight out of my brain and on to the tables. My one flower request was for Amnesia roses, their faded beauty was exactly what I wanted for our big day.
The Best Bit
The ceremony was hands down the best bit of the day, in such a cozy venue with a small number of guests, it felt incredibly intimate. We knew that only the people we loved were there to share in our special moment. Stephen and I each chose a reading, my choice was i carry your heart with me (I carry it in by E.E. Cummings and Stephen chose an excerpt from Union by Robert Fulghum. We wrote our own vows:
I promise to love you from now until forever
I will be your shelter in the storm
Your warmth in the cold
And in us, there will always be home
I will always be true to you, whatever comes.
I was crying from the start, but I think by the end of it, judging by the sniffles and amount of hankies out, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
The Registrars were amazing as well, so lovely and warm and funny! And we got to sign our marriage certificate with a Batman pen! What more could you want?
Blinded By Love
We were on a very strict budget, so having a father that was obsessed with disco equipment came in very handy! He managed to set us up with everything we needed and Stephen and I had an amazing day sorting out the playlist!
Our first dance was Seek It by Richard Hawley, the lyrics are soppy and funny so it was the perfect choice.
The catering was provided by Thrumpton Hall and they were so accommodating, we got to choose whatever we wanted for the wedding breakfast, so Stephen and I chose our favourite foods! Confit Duck with white bean puree and a lemon oil to start, Steak and chips for mains and finishing with a beautiful Tarte Tatin! So delicious!
I think one of the best decisions I made was having a cocktail for the drinks reception, we chose an English Mule, which was full of elderflower, vodka and ginger beer, it was so delicious I stuck to them for the rest of the day, well…until the elderflower ran out!
For the evening supper, we had roast pork cobs which went down a treat! Anyone who knows me knows I’m obsessed with popcorn, so we as a favour, we hired a popcorn machine and had bags printed especially, I made some flavourings to go on them.
A Touch Of DIY
Being a bit of a graphic designer in my job, I designed and printed the invites myself, it was fun, but also getting everything together was quite stressful! We kept having to go on emergency runs to John Lewis for ribbon! I decided on parchment envelopes from my favourite shop, Paperchase, and sealed them with green wax. It was a lot of work, but totally worth it!
Pick & Choose
My advice to any future brides is to carefully look through all the traditions and rituals, throw out what you don’t want and keep what you do. I wasn’t “given away”, I was accompanied down the aisle, we didn’t have a greeting line and we kept it small, but we had a beautiful intimate wedding with people we loved.
Also – thistles as button holes may look awesome but you will end up with a face full of prickles any time someone tries to hug you.
Stephen and I knew that we wanted vintage style photos and were really struggling to find someone local to Nottingham that had the reportage style we liked as well as a vintage feel. Then, in another meant-to-be moment, Thrumpton Hall posted a load of photos on their Facebook page from a shoot done by Lee Garland on their grounds in exactly the style we were looking for! They were gorgeous!
We went to see Lee, who turned out to live right next to the Hall, and ended up booking him and his utterly ingenious vintagebooth.me. The vintage photo booth was a huge success with the guests and has contributed to a lot of facebook profile pictures.
Really original and an absolutely stonking wedding… Eleanors Couture Company Miss Havisham inspired gown is seriously jaw dropping and Stephen with his Asos bargain? Seriously, that suit rocks and it is so cool that it’s budget price tag meant that all Stephens groomsmen could get kitted out in the same totes trendy tweed.
Yeah I said totes, deal with it.