Jen The Bride:
After being together for nearly 11 years Andrew and I found planning a wedding really hard. However there were two ‘musts’ for the big day.
It MUST be a party
It MUST be ‘US’.
Our venue was one of the easiest decisions. I grew up in Dorset and wanted to leave from my family home on the wedding day. Andrew and I spent a few weekends popping back from Croydon, where we now live. We both fell in love with another venue and were about to sign on the dotted line when I decided to ‘pop’ to the Larmer Tree Gardens
with my sister, just to be nosey. I fell instantly in love with the gardens, the buildings and the amazing wedding co-ordinator Gail Stevens. Andrew came the next weekend and loved it just as much, even in the pouring rain. We could both see our families here.
Shortly after getting engaged I decided to go to Chameleon Bridal store as a bit of a birthday treat for my Gran. I took my Auntie, Gran, Sister and Mum. It was an excuse to get excited! Having tried on most of the dresses in the store, one of the assistance suggested I tried on this dress by Alan Hannah and I knew it was the one. Unfortunately my Gran passed away before the wedding so when it came to buying a dress it was always going to be this one. The dress made me feel amazing but I felt that I still looked like me.
The Groom & Groomsmen
The suits were from Jack Bunneys
who offered an amazing service and tailored these hired suits to suit the varying sizes of Grooms party. Andrew wore his uncle Nick’s pocket watch who sadly passed away. Each member of the Groom’s party had a Pewter animal pin.
The flowers were an amazing wedding present from Andrew’s Auntie Nicky. They really were stunning. Having got stuck in traffic for nearly 5 hours the day before Nicky and Andrew’s family did an amazing job dressing the space very late in the evening!
Larmer Tree is such a beautiful venue inside and outside, we did not want over decorate. Our main themes were ‘an English Garden’ and ‘travel’. We have been fortunate and been to many amazing places. We wanted to bring this into our wedding. Hessian was used throughout our wedding planning, save the dates, invites and the chair sashes and labels. My surname is ‘Wood’ so I loved the idea of having wooden centre pieces. My friend Will, a tree surgeon, donated the wood and my Dad cleaned them up. The jars were made for months by myself. I then gave myself blisters making hundreds of paper planes out of old atlas’ a few days before the wedding...a last minute project that I really love. There is a great picture of my uncle Douglas throwing a plane.
Instead of wedding favours we made a donation to Cancer Research. This is a charity close to both of our families hearts. All of the printing was done by Wonder-Print
who took my crazy ideas and made them reality. We now have the giant map that was used as a seating plan hanging in our house after being signed.
We got married in the Jubilee Hall which was decorated with petals, hessian sashes and bits and pieces from home, along with lots of beautiful flowers. I was sung down the aisle by our good friend Amit, singing Etta James - ‘At Last’. Razia has beautifully captured the moment where my Dad and Andrew nearly bump head as they both go to kiss me at the same time at the end of the aisle. There is also a great picture of my parents holding hands. Apparently my Dad whispered to her ‘hold my hand or I may just break’. My sister (Michelle) read an extract from ‘Les Miserables’ by Victor Hugo.
One of the reasons we got married in the Jubilee Hall was so that the amazing gardens were left as a surprise for the guests. As they followed us around and into the gardens ‘The Stour Valley Stompers’, a local Jazz band, began to play. The lawn had a range of lawn games and a photo booth made by Wonder-Print.
The food was non-stop...and the alcohol flowed. This was really important to us. We had amazing canapes and drinks on the lawn. We actually had speeches outside with our guests sitting on deck chairs. This was great and made this element of the day a lot less formal. There are pictures of my Nephew (Euan) holding up Rainbow Brite, my favourite doll from my childhood, during my Dad’s speech. One of my favourite picture is during Andrew’s speech where I am covering my face. He was telling the awkward story of me ‘declaring’ my love for him at University.
The table plan was a giant map with tables named after our favourite places. The travel themed continued with our custom made map table names and named luggage tags. Our wedding breakfast was a Steak Platter which meant our guests shared. This was lovely and again added to the informal feel as paper aeroplanes flew round.
After dinner we burnt off the trio of desserts with a gigantic game of rounders (boys vs girls - Girls won!!). Followed by the cutting of our cake made by Alix Fauvel
. We went for a naked cake as neither of us like icing. It also suited the theme beautiful. Alix accessorised with our flowers and ones from her own garden.
The evening was hilarious with BB3
getting the party going. I don’t know what was better their ‘Will Smith Megamix’ or their acapella version of ‘Little Respect’ by Wheetus. In the evening guests could help themselves to bacon sarnies or smore’s on the fire pit.
was incredible. She captured the day perfectly. One of the reasons we choose Razia was one of the things she wrote in her first email to us ‘My wedding photography style is all about capturing emotive images that tell the story of the day. This is so important to me because images are not just for the people who are present in them but also for those that are absent from them. They will one day tell a story to your children and children’s children; giving them a glimpse of who you were!’ This idea of capturing us, we loved. For two people that hate having our pictures taken she made it fun and we have so many lovely pictures. We now just argue about which ones to have up at home ☺
Keep it simple and true to you. It is very easy to go Pinterest crazy and begin going a bit OTT. Ensure that ‘you’ can still be seen on the day. Also everyone says it but take a moment with your other half and look at all your friends and family having fun, celebrating your love. It really is an incredible moment. Also make sure you get a bridesmaid or groomsman on the food and drink run!