I guarantee this bright DIY wedding will have you beaming from ear to ear. Not least because of all the fabulous fashion and florals, but because it is very much a family focused wedding full of little people and love, and when O&C Photography get behind the lens the emotion captured is off the chart adorable.
Along with our gorgeous bride and groom, Helen and George, the star of the show has to be their little flower girl daughter. Looking super cute in a tutu, t-shirt and flower crown, and every bit as stylish as mum in her spagetti strap MiMia bridal gown.
Helen the Bride: George and I met on our first day at university in 2005, he was the very first person I met upon arriving at halls of residence. We had been allocated rooms directly opposite each other. He gave me a huge dazzling grin and simply introduced himself as ‘George from London’ then promptly proceeded to help empty my car for me, he certainly had the ‘how to charm’ life skill down! We were mere kids, just 18 and 20 however as cliche as it sounds I knew from that very first day that he was the man I wanted to grow old with…despite his very questionable long and floppy hairstyle at the time! We welcomed our gorgeous daughter Marnie into the world in 2014 and shortly after moved from Twickenham to the beautiful Hampshire countryside. Fast forward to February 2014 and George took me for a very lovely dinner at Stovells in Chobham, a far posher restaurant than our usual local pub! It was whilst waiting for our desserts that George proposed to me, hiding the ring beneath a silver cloche! We then spent the weekend with a group of our best friends in the Cotswolds celebrating with copious amounts of booze and dancing around the kitchen! We were engaged for 17 months before getting married in July 2017.
We always knew that a traditional formal wedding venue or hotel wasn’t for us. We not only wanted the wedding to be a celebration of us, but to also be a good excuse for a bloody great party with all of our favourite people! We decided on Plas Glansevin as it was not only a beautiful house but was also colourful, quirky and full of character which matched our style and personalities perfectly. With no restrictions what so ever, it offered us the flexibility to decorate however we wanted, use whichever suppliers we wanted and most importantly allow us to accommodate almost all of our guests on site for the entire weekend. This made the whole occasion the most incredible informal, relaxed and fun filled weekend away with our family and friends, where we just so happened to also get married!
I found the whole dress picking process really hard and quite stressful! I had quite a definitive idea of what I thought I wanted and was quite disheartened that that particular style just didn’t really suit me! I initially picked a different dress, however at my first fitting I broke down in a minor panic that it wasn’t the one..I didn’t even consider trying on my MiaMia dress until the gorgeous Anna from BooBridal boutique asked me to try it on shortly after calming my nerves and re-assuring me that there was still time to pick something else! As soon as I put it on, it just felt like the perfect fit and I instantly fell in love with it. The amazing Ben and Adrian from Nortier Shallow dressmakers altered the dress for me to make it exactly how I wanted it.
I wanted to keep my accessories simple so not to distract from the ethereal beauty of my dress. I borrowed my simple veil and Monica Vinader necklace from my sister as my ‘something borrowed’. I tied a vintage silver charm bracelet around the stems of my bouquet. Each charm was a gift from my dad to my mum from his travels around the world in their early twenties. Its something I’ve really treasured since losing my Dad in 2015, so was really important to me that I wore it in some way or other on my big day.
Despite always dreaming of walking down the aisle in Valentino Rockstuds, just like all the cool brides on my pinterest board, I ended up opting for comfort over style in a pair of wedding shoes from Rainbow Club. They were pretty enough, and oh so comfy! I can honestly say I didn’t feel them on my feet all day and night long.
George wore a 3 piece suit from Next, opting for a cream waistcoat and Blue suit. He got so many compliments on his cheerful, flowery tie and pocket square, also from Next.
The bridesmaid dresses were from ASOS and Groomsmen all wore their own suits along with the flowery ties from Next. The flower girls wore t shirts and skirts from Next and the page boys outfits were from Zara.
Decor and Styling
We are both lovers of colour, so we knew we definitely didn’t want a pastel wedding. George’s initial idea was to base the wedding colour palette on the Coldplay Myloxyloto album cover! We ended up toning it down slightly, focusing on vivid pinks and fuchsia’s, corals, teals and metallic gold and bronze as our main colours. The flowers played a huge part in our day. We are incredibly lucky in that one of my closest friends is a very talented florist and understood exactly what I envisioned! I was and still am completely in awe of quite how stunning and breathtaking the flowers were. They were by far the most complemented part of our day! My bouquet was a huge, beautiful mix of peonies, roses, astibes, stocks and eucalyptus amongst others in the most vibrant pinks and corals. The bridesmaids all had slightly smaller versions of my bouquet and we all had gypsophilia, eucalyptus or roses in our hair. We kept the wooden tables bare for a simple and rustic feel, decorating with a mix of candles and votives along with glass jars and bombay sapphire bottles filled with an array of beautiful flowers.
I walked down the aisle to one of my oldest friends Nikki singing ‘Stand by Me’ by Ben.E.King. She has the most beautiful, soulful voice so it was the perfect start to the ceremony and made for a very emotional entrance with not a dry eye in the house. We really struggled to pick readings that weren’t too cheesy or cringeworthy. We settled on an anonymous reading called ‘on your wedding day’ and ‘Blessing of hands’ by Daniel L Harris. They were read by my mum and George’s sister, it was really special that we were able to include them within the ceremony. We kept our vows short and sweet which was in reality was a good thing as we both ended up overcome with emotion, blubbing (happy) tears all the way through our vows! We danced back down the aisle with our daughter Marnie to ‘you are the best thing’ by Ray LaMontagne.
Picking a photographer we were inspired by was our first priority and was the first thing we researched and booked after settling on the venue. As soon as we found O&C’s website we knew that they were the right photographers for us. They capture beauty in everything they shoot and can turn even the most basic of subjects into a thing of pure beauty. It was evident that they would be able to capture the pure love, joy and fun of our big day in the most beautiful way. From the first Skype call right up to receiving our beautiful photos we have felt like Owen and Charis are just another couple of our mates who happen to also be incredibly talented photographers!
They are both incredibly relaxed and personable proving to be a somewhat calming presence on our day. They fit in perfectly with our friends and family. They were fast and efficient with Charis proving particularly effective at getting everyone to stand exactly where they needed to in the shortest possible amount of time so not to tear everyone away from the drinks reception for too long! Most importantly they made us both feel completely relaxed and at ease which resulted in photos that I can only describe as perfectly beautiful, timeless and real, showing the true joy and fun we all shared on the day. We cant thank you enough for providing us with these memories that we will look back on and treasure forever.
Like the readings, we found it really hard to pick a first dance song that wasn’t cheesy, cliche or already used by many of our friends! After deliberating for what felt like forever, George suggested ‘Girl next door’ by The Mystery Jets. It wasn’t a typical first dance song choice, but it was the perfect choice for us considering how we met. George used to cheekily sing it to me during our uni days!
It was really important to us that our young guests also had the time of their lives and weren’t at all bored or restricted in what they were allowed to do. So we hired specialist wedding childminders who came fully equipped with all manner of toys, games, crafts and even a bouncy castle! It meant the kids could run free safely and their parents could let their hair down and enjoy the drinks reception, speeches and wedding breakfast sans kids! The childminders finished up around 8pm and we all joined forces to throw down some serious moves on the dance floor!
We went back and forth on whether to hire a band or just do a spotify playlist ourselves. With our limited budget, a band was a big expense. However hiring ‘Silver Souled’ was one of the best decisions we made, they were awesome and had everyone up on the dance floor from the second they started to the second they finished. They played a mix of classic soul hits, mixed in with some of our personal favourite songs from Earth, Wind and Fire, Jamiroquai and Fleetwood Mac, even banging out some classic Disney hits which went down a treat with the kids!
After the bands final set the party continued with a carefully crafted spotify playlist lovingly created by George. As a self confessed ‘lover of a party’, getting the music just right was crucial for him and he did an awesome job! the dance floor was full until the bitter end…it was 4am before we finally hung up our dancing shoes!
One of our favourite parts of the day has to be the speeches. All three speeches were full of emotion, love and laughter. Our best man Patrick topped off a trio of fantastic speeches by sending the entire room of wedding guests into fits of laughter by outing George as a secret ‘topless Just Seventeen’ model, complete with photographic evidence that hadn’t seen the light of day for over 15 years! There is something to be said about looking around a room full of all your most favourite people laughing, smiling and having fun. It really was the most incredible feeling in the world.
Words of Wisdom
If we were to do it all again, I would try not to spend so much time getting het up on the tiny decorative details. At the time they feel SO important, but when it actually gets to the day you realise that they really don’t matter. What really matters is that you, your husband and your loved ones are having the very best day possible. We did almost everything possibly imaginable ourselves; from designing the stationery, making the wedding cake, desserts and evening food, picking berries to make our own sloe gin favours and building a bar. It was incredible being able to put our own touch on everything and it really helped to keep the costs down however there was no denying that it was blimmin hard work and occupied a LOT of our spare time! So definitely enlist the help from your friends and family where you can. We were overwhelmed by the creativity, the support and the willingness to help we received from so many of our friends and family. Turns out my sister has some incredible hidden talents at doing wedding hair and her calligraphy and sign writing skills were immense!