We’ve shared some gorgeous weddings with bright colour schemes this week – and this afternoon’s marquee reception follows a similar vein. It’s not often you see a palette of red, white and blue, but it works beautifully. Helena has kept it from looking Wintery or Patriotic by throwing in lots of different shades of red, from soft pinks to corals and using gorgeous blue glass to lift the table settings. The wild, meadow picked blooms also soften everything and the whole effect is just lovely.
There are lots of genius DIY ideas to borrow too, the pin board table plan is very sweet and the photo booth with a hanging ribbon back drop is pretty awesome too! The couple were lucky enough to hold their reception at Simon’s family home, which meant guests could crash after the party in gorgeous bell tents. If you like this wedding, make sure you check out Jess & Sam’s wedding and Kate & Jack’s wedding featured earlier in the week, which had similar laid back festival style vibes. And the relaxed and fun photography comes from Dorset wedding photographer Paul Underhill.
Helena The Bride: I chose Fur Coat No Knickers as the girls who run the shop Emma and Laura are incredibly approachable, and they design the dresses so it feels like a unique experience being in their shop – you are talking directly to the people who make the dresses and amends. I tried on all their lovely vintage inspired dresses, from short to long, but I just fell in love with the Martini Fizz dress with the long tulle. It felt like I was floating and nipped in at the waist which worked for my hourglass figure.
The girls were fantastic at working with me and my ideas – which kept changing! I wanted long lace sleeves so that I would feel covered up and make the most of the lovely fabric. I also asked them to make me a dress with a lower scooped back – which they did make for me, although in retrospect I should have probably listened to them as I kept worrying my bra would show at the back, which I think it did! I opted out of a traditional veil as the dress had lots of tulle and it felt a bit much, instead the girls at FCNK made me a small headpiece which incorporated some of the lace from my dress. I pinned this to my hair with fresh wax flowers on the day to match my bridesmaids.
The girls at FCNK had some Rachel Simpson shoes on display but I wanted some chunkier heels as I knew I would be in the garden all day, so I went on her website and got the Gardenia Ivory Leather shoes which weren’t too high and so comfortable. My amazing Mum (Wedding Trappings) made me a kid silk haze shrug which she designed with tiny pearl buttons- it was super duper warm and looked gorgeous on top of my dress. For later I had a French Connection faux fur coat which kept me warm and looked very cosy. Simon and I also love polar bears so it was quite apt!
Simon had bought my engagement ring from Berganza so I asked them to make me a custom made wedding band so that the diamond would fit nicely. Rachel Woodger is a jeweller friend of ours and made Simon’s gold ring and a mini gold ring for a necklace for me with the left over gold.
Simon already had a lovely navy blue Reiss Suit and waistcoat and some nice brown leather shoes from Italy so he wore this! We did look at other suits but I loved the way he looked in it, nothing else compared. All the groomsmen bought their own navy suits to match from various places. We then got hand made coral silk ties made for all the groomsmen and dads in Vietnam when we went on a pre-wedding holiday.
The venue was Simon’s garden at his family home in Child Okeford, Dorset. We got married in the local church – St Nicolas and most people got lifts or walked from the church down to the reception. We used a marquee from DP Marquees who were amazing and sorted out all the tables, the catering tent, the dance floor and pinned up the bunting. We then hired some gorgeous bell tents from Honey Bells which we used for guest accommodation – they supplied bunting and blow up beds which was fab. It felt like a little festival!
I love the colour red but I kept looking at white and red weddings on Pinterest and they all seemed to be held around Christmas or winter time so I decided to add some peachy coral colours into the mix to soften the palette for summer. My sister who was maid of honour was seven months pregnant and couldn’t find a coral bridesmaid dress so instead she got navy to match the groomsmen. In the end with the double quilted bunting (made my my Mum) and the decorations and flowers it ended up being coral, red and navy which worked really well I thought!
Our invites were little polaroid photographs so we made little polaroids for each tables of flowers I had photographed around the venue and named each table after the flower. My table plan was an old corkboard scrap book with loads of old photos, negatives and some of the nice RSVPs we had received from guests. We then used polaroids in our photobooth outside too and had a pair to take photos of our guests! Simon designed all the stationery including the map to the village, the order of service, the treasure map around the garden, the menus and the cake topper. It was so nice to have someone creative on board to help out with that side of things and meant I could think about the organisational side. Everything I tried to make by hand went a bit wonky…the almond favours and the table plan was a little less slick that Simon’s creations.
We were so lucky to have Simon’s amazing aunt Patricia and her daughter Josephine work their socks off getting flowers from Bristol market and arranging them in jam jars that the family had collected and in the garden urn (the most amazing flower arrangement I have ever seen!) I also used old Neal’s Yard bottles for some flowers dotted about the marquee. We also had the help of my brilliant mum who sewed 100 metres of double quilted bunting in our colours and even made napkins for us. The bouquet was by Rustic Rose a lovely local company who also made the headpieces for the two bridesmaids and flower girl, the posy for the flower girl and all the coral rose button holes.
The Wedding Party
We let everyone choose their own clothes and just gave them the colour palette which made our lives much easier! No angry bridesmaids wearing clothes that didn’t fit or suit them!
Planning the music and the readings was really exciting for me – it was like organising a beautiful concert and we had a lovely choir and local organist who brought it all to life wonderfully! I entered to Henry Purcell’s Canon in D on the organ which sounded lovely and we followed by singing Lord of the Dance, All Things Bright & Beautiful and Jerusalem – classics that I though everyone would know and that my Italian family could hum along to! The readings were Song of Solomon, The Owl and the Pussycat (my brother’s choice!) and an Italian poem by Franco Marcoaldi which my best friend Francesca read (I have known her since I was two and living in Italy!) My step brother Fabrizio Campanelli who is a big composer in Italy wrote the music for the signing of the register and it was really special.
When we arrived at the reception we had a lovely harpist, Lydia Lowndes-Northcott playing – it really uplifted the vibe and entertained the children who were mesmerised by her. We served all the guests pimms and bubbly and had canapes to keep them going before the BBQ. We also had rounders and a treasure hunt which was designed by the groom Simon for those who wanted to run around a bit. The treasure hunt took guests around the garden and lead them back to the party. I had made a little photo booth which was really fun and produced some silly pictures that we shared with guests after the wedding. I don’t think you need too much – we had a croquet lawn and boules but I think that lots of guests were happy to catch up and have a few drinks and canapés! In the evening we hired the John Langan Band who are a fab Scottish trio – they have some incredible tunes and it got people dancing immediately and ferociously. After which my brother set up a Spotify premium playlist which he had spent DAYS making in advance!
We wanted to keep it simple – BBQ with lots of summer food and a nice cheese table for later in the night. Some of my girlfriends made yummy treats for afterwards too. Tessa Tory who ran the BBQ hired in Al from Holebrooks butchers who supplied all the local meat which was delicious. We asked for salads and sides which were served to the table in bowls for guests to help themselves to!
You can make a really easy photobooth backdrop by buying lovely ribbon from a haberdashery in your colours and stapling them to some thick string and hanging it between two trees or poles. We then set up a camera on a tripod and bought a remote which people could operate themselves! We had a big box of fancy dress which made some ridiculously brilliant photos!
We had used polaroids in our decorations and invites so we cut out a huge polaroid in card and printed Helena and Simon 1 August 2015 on the front which matched our invites.
Lovely Paul Underhill who not only did a terrific job during our rehearsal shoot in Poole, but continued to be brilliant with communication up to and during the day. The end results were fantastic – a huge selection and I have made an album with the pics!
My friends Matt and Georgia from Last Village filmed the day and captured the best moments!