‘Don’t sweat the small stuff… if you’re married at the end of the day then it’s been an enormous success.’
Sage advice there from the beautiful Jenny in this morning’s chic city affair. I couldn’t not open with this mantra because I think it’s all too easy to forget amidst the madness of colour themes and dresses and table plans and favours and centrepieces. That’s not to say that all of these bits and pieces aren’t important but more that it’s about you and your partner and the love you have for each other that’s paramount on your big day.
But of course you all know this already. What you don’t know yet is how epic Jenny and Chris’ big day was…but you’re about to find out.
I can promise you the sweetest dress, the most besotted groom, the smiliest bridesmaids, some awesome photography and one of the chicest cakes I’ve seen in a while. I think you’ll love it all!
The Brides Fashion
Patricia The Bride: My dress was the second or third one I tried on and I kept revisiting it in my head even after visting many more shops. I almost bought it
on that first day – it certainly would have saved a lot of hassle! I had been looking at 1920s style dresses with lots of beading, to match my engagment ring, but when I tried ones on I didn’t feel they were quite right for a Catholic Church ceremony. The Lusan Mandongus dress was a prefect choice in the end – somewhere inbetween the vintage styling with lots of detail that I loved and a more traditional gown.
I was also determined to buy the dress from Isabella Grace in Tunbridge Wells. Recbecca and her team run the most beautiful boutique. The service is incredible – I never felt rushed or pressured throughout the appointments. Even after handing over my money they continued to bend over backwards to make the whole experience wonderful. Martine, the seamstress there is a miracle worker – nothing was too much trouble despite my disorganisation meaning I left her with two weeks from when my dress arrived to the wedding day itself!
The Grooms Fashion
Chris was determined to have a bespoke suit. He said if I was spending ‘obscene’ amounts of money on my outfit then he was going to have a tailored suit. Whilst living in Brighton we had walked past Gresham Blake many a time and Chris had been eyeing them up for wedding attire since our engagement (also in Brighton). He dragged his Dad along for appointments and the result was worth all the time and effort – he looked rather handsome in his three piece.
The Venue and Ceremony
We chose a church wedding as we both come from a Roman Catholic background so it made sense for us. We were very fortunate to be married in the same church as my (bride) parents and grandparents – our wedding day was even the exact same day as my grandparents, 64 years later. It all came together so perfectly. The Abbey is local to where I grew up but have since moved away from Birmingham. My parents were amazing in co-ordinating so many things that we just weren’t able to do very easily from Kent.
I hope that our wedding bought back many happy memories from their own wedding. The service itself was so beautiful – we had prayers read by Chris’s sister, Siobhan and my sister in law, Emma and our readings by dear friends Nick and Donna. I think we were both so overwhelmed and were crying pretty much throughout! A family member of mine also conducted the service – he’s officiated at many a family wedding, including my parents’. It
was truly amazing to have him marry us – we both feel so lucky as his service was personal and sincere.
The reception venue we chose was the fabulous Fazeley Studios in Digbeth, Birmingham. We both grew up in large towns and cities and met whilst living in London so a city centre venue seemd like the clear choice for us. Fazeley offered a breath of fresh air compared with the more generic city centre hotel venues. Having grown up in Birmingham, I liked that it is located in an industrial part of the city and really said ‘Brum’ to me. The buildings were fantastic and I’d challenge anyone not to walk in to the reception room and be astounded by the venue.
Colour Scheme & Flowers
We were very fortunate to have such talented people in our family who all helped enormously with the wedding. We had decided on a loose style for decorating the venue – we are both doctors and had happened upon some apothecary and old medicne bottles whilst perusing flea markets in Brighton. Our idea was to use these as vases and to use other vintage style trinkets and candles as centre pieces.
We soon got fed up with trying to collect enough so Chris’s dad stepped in. He’s an interior designer and I think secretly liked nothing more than becoming our unofficial wedding planner and stylist! We both couldn’t be more grateful for his dedication towards our wedding – his hard work was such a huge weight off our minds as alongside the wedding we were in the midst of exams and new jobs and moving house and generally doing all the stressful things you can do at the very same time.
The Wedding Party Fashion
I was so lucky to have three completely non-demanding bridesmaids who I knew weren’t going to throw a strop about any styling. I gave them a choice of two or three dresses in a bright coral colour and they all preferred the same one. Trying them on in a curry house in south
London was probably not the most glamorous thing to do however! After that, for hair, make-up, shoes and accessories they all chose whatever they felt comfortable with. No fuss, just fabulous support and lots of help throughout the planning and day itself.
The food at Fazeley was great, we chose a fairly traditional canapés and bubbly reception followed by a three course meal. It all seemed to go down well. Both having large families who like a knees up and lots of friends from medical school we knew we would have to supply plenty of booze. Prior to the disco getting into full swing we had a cocktail drinks reception which went down very well!
The fabulous cake was made my by very talented Auntie. She rehearsed the cake many times over (I think her friends and neighbours were very pleased with that) and put in an enormous amount of work to make a sponge cake with different fruit flavours in each of the three tiers.
We chose Chris based on a recommendation from my chief bridesmaid. He photographed their wedding in 2011 and we both loved their photos. When we got engaged we started looking around for a photographer and found ourselves being constantly drawn back to Chris’s work. Luckily
he was free for our wedding and we think the results speak for themselves!
Some of the most special moments of the whole day were the speeches. I may be biased but all three were excellent. My Dad was so touching and sweet – he even name checked a few of our friends who’d made extra effort to be there which made the whole thing so personal and warm. Chris’s was great (was there ever any doubt – he’s a bit of a performer). Even the best man, Naz’s speech was great. Funny, occasionally a little over the line but also very touching. And that’s what we realised the wedding was all about – family and friends sharing the
All the other parts are fabulous; it is great fun planning, designing table settings, looking for ideas for the cake or flowers, but the highlights are those aspects that are irreplaceable. Actually saying ‘I will’, walking down the aisle that my family have also
walked down, seeing everyone in our life that we love all in one place and being welcomed into a room as Mr and Mrs is what really counted. So the main advice is, don’t sweat the small stuff, things might not all go to plan but if you’re married at the end of the day then it’s been an enormous success.
Photography by Chris Barber Photography
- Dress Lusan Mandongus
- Boutique Isabella Grace, Tunbridge Wells
- Shoes Rachel Simpson
- Veil Paloma Blanca
- Venue Fazeley Studios, Digbeth, Birmingham
- Bridesmaids Dresses The Pretty Dress Company
- Groom’s Suit Gresham Blake
- Tie Liberty
- Stationery David Doyle
- Entertainment DISCO WED
- Transport 2 Citroen DSs