That’s how I would describe the events of Jennie and James wedding day. I’ll let Jennie tell you all about it, but so many hilarious and fun things randomly occurred, making their big day even more special and memorable. And actually, combined with their own quirky choices of decor and details (salt dough goats anyone?!) The whole thing is just such fun.
We’re loving the bright colour palette, the peonies in that bouquet are sending our hearts all-aflutter and the reception decor is fabulous too – so much colour, carefully branded paper goods and lots of candles, which make the medieval Merchant Adventurers Hall in York look very contemporary indeed. It’s basically just a total riot from start to finish and we hope it brightens up your Thursday afternoon…
Jennie The Bride: We wanted everyone to have a blast at our wedding, we wanted colour and noise and humour and I’m so happy that we somehow seemed to pull it off. We just created the environment though lots of unplanned, ridiculous, amazing things happening – Google streetview caught me in my pjs on the morning, there was a proper guard of honour, we stopped traffic, we danced with a band of Hare Krishnas, we ran away, we had selfies with a complete stranger. Most importantly though I learnt that my grandma loves glow sticks, everyone loves rubber Unicorn heads and that Uptown Funk sounds great on Brass.
When I first started dress shopping I was strictly no train, no veil and definitely no tiara. I ended up with all three, I realised this was once in a lifetime stuff and I may as well grab it with both hands. Most dresses I tried on swamped me until a Pronovias sample dress (I am never this lucky) was recommended by the lovely ladies at Laura Day and I finally felt as if I was wearing a wedding dress and not that it was wearing me!
The tiara was a very last minute addition, what I liked was the floral styling and the gold which tied in with the rest of the day. My shoes were turquoise and from Whistles, I love bright colours and wanted something a bit different.
James knew he wanted a Navy suit before we started looking so they were easy, we spent a long time looking at ties and eventually went with the Bright pink from Hawes & Curtis which had a subtle paisley print – it was important that the boys were involved in the colour party too! Our Groomsmen gifts were brass initialled tie clips – brass featured a lot during the day so it seemed an obvious choice.
We fell for The Merchant Adventurers Hall, just a mile from our house, at first sight. It is a medieval guildhall and I felt that as neither of our families live in York it would be nice for them if we wrapped some of the history of the city up in the day. The hall has a very laidback approach which is exactly what we wanted and we were free to organise everything ourselves and in our own time.
Whilst I and the Bridesmaids got ready at home, we can’t go without mentioning the hotel the boys and family stayed in; the St Denys Hotel was just across the road from the Church, is beautifully and imaginatively decorated and – in another twist of good fate, matched our wedding palette exactly – go team! Two sisters, Sophie and Maria do the most wonderful job of running the place and we managed to book every room for the wedding party which made the day before the wedding so special.
We made an easy decision to sprinkle the day with oranges, pinks, purples and golds; colours that we loved and by default would match the day to us.
The decoration was all homemade or scouted from flea markets and online auctions. The hall itself is so rich inside it needed very little help to look amazing. For the table decorations we spent about a year collecting brass vases, jugs, candlesticks and figurines and only really stopped when our house was full!
I made black and white striped table runners to set the floral colours off and sprayed jars turquoise to make the colours pop. Four oak beams support the ceiling of the Hall and along with my mum and mum-in-law we made 450 silk flowers to use as a garland around each column, they helped to break up the dark colour of the wood and added some fun!
James is great at graphic design so he made all of the wedding stationary, popping our J&J ‘brand’ on anything that stood still long enough.
I really struggled with favour ideas, hating the idea that they might be left behind or thrown away, eventually we set about making 100 salt dough goats (did you know you can only buy goat cookie cutters in America?!). A Goat was the emblem of our University College where we met and the salt dough ornaments, sprayed gold, symbolised the fact that our favour was a pair of Oxfam Goats.
Lauretta of Paeony Floral Design made my day, we knew we wanted a bright floral pop with our colour palette. I knew I liked Peonies and Celosia but other than that I couldn’t articulate the rest. The result was incredible; I couldn’t stop staring at the Bouquet, all credit to Lauretta for extracting the image from my head and making it happen.
The flowers in the Brass vases around the hall created such a rich and exciting scene, it was everything we had hoped it would be and a gorgeous garland wound its way around the vases and candlesticks on top table.
The Wedding Party
I so enjoyed dress shopping with my Bridesmaids Sarah, Clare and Jenny. I wanted to make sure that their dresses were the base for all of the other décor. We found the perfect dress in Monsoon, the colours of the Bouquets would contrast against them and we loved the design and cut.
Their gifts were enamelled earrings and lockets from The Blooming Thread on Etsy and I made pink silk flower shoe clips to match.
Our ceremony was held at St Denys Church in York, is a lovely intimate size due to a bit of Civil war cannon fire. One of our readings was Joni Mitchell’s ‘Love is Like a Big Brass Band’, I am a big fan and have always wanted some of her work to feature in my wedding; this was a perfect match for the day. We had the most wonderful Vicar, he really put everyone at ease and even formed his address around our Joni poem.
Two of our close friends are in the Army and they formed a guard of honour as we left the church – it was incredible, a complete surprise but I tried not to think about it too much at the time for fear of turning into an emotional wreck!
The Entertainment kicked off straight after we exited the Church with a surprise for our guests. The brilliant, seven piece ‘New York Brass Band’ were waiting outside to parade us, New Orleans stylee, down the road to Merchant’s.
I had painted a ‘Walker this Way’ banner, (a play on our surname) which was carried by Andy and Alex our Groomsmen – not the easiest task on such a windy day! The party continued when we arrived in the Hall’s garden where there were congas, a drum solo by my Uncle and some very loud singing.
In the evening we danced in front of homemade J&J Marquee letters – they took a while for us to make but were definitely worth it in the end! There were glowsticks and tambourines at every table which went down a storm, especially with the older attendees and Tux and Tales supplied a photobooth which attracted a lot of attention!
Our DJ was brilliant, we had asked people to RSVP with a request and it was great fun seeing people run up as their song came on. The dance floor was never empty and the pictures speak for themselves.
We went for a Pimms drinks reception to get everyone in a Summery mood and even though the canapés looked amazing I couldn’t manage a single one though I think this was more down to excitement than nerves. I am told that all three courses were delicious!
We chose Tux and Tales because after looking at their work I felt as if I’d not only been to their weddings but I’d had a blast whilst I was there! We were so lucky that Jaye and Matt were available and on top of that, they only lived down the road! Our wedding was full of things which just seemed to fall into place like that – it was covered in Serendipity.
I loved their style throughout the day but it really did peak when we left the wedding to get some pictures around York. There we were on the Shambles when who should stumble into shot than a Hare Krishna band with their instantly recognisable mantra. One look between us and Jaye and we were off dancing with them for what seemed like forever, it was the most fun ever! How surreal the situation was only really struck me when I saw James skipping in a circle with the lead accordion player! It’s unplanned moments like this that made our day.
My only advice would be to put thought into every aspect to make the day into an experience, not just an event. I hope that all our guests went home with exciting, colourful, sparkly memories…and not just a salt dough goat 😉
Photography by Tux & Tales Photography
- Bride Pronovias
- Boutique Laura Day Bridalwear
- Jewellery The Blooming Thread
- Shoes Whistles
- Tiara Ivory & Co.
- Florist Paeony Floral Design
- Venue The Merchant Adventurers Hall
- Cake York Cakes
- Catering Bradshaws
- Groom & Groomsmen Suit Direct
- Entertainment New York Brass Band
- DJ Night Owls
- Transport Champagne Cars
- Bridesmaids Monsoon