It feels like TOO long since we had men in kilts on RMW…so we thought we’d bring you two weddings today in order to show you some gorgeous tartan action!
Deciding to wed in his Nana’s tartan – Andrew somewhat limited Jo’s choices for a colour scheme…but their wedding is a great example of how to style tartan into your big day. The Bridesmaids in forest green, the ribbons, the white blooms, slices of wood for centrepieces and pinecones for place name holders – all create a rustic look without creating a tartan explosion.
And, if you’re struggling to find your perfect dress, I think Jo’s story of finding hers will resonate with you. Not everyone finds ‘the one’ while surrounded by crying friends and Mums – and that’s ok – because Jo proves that however you find your dress, you’ll still look gorgeous!
Jo The Bride: The most important thing for us was to create a relaxed and intimate day, that wasn’t overly formulaic, with strict timings. Being an event manager I knew that if we didn’t let the day run naturally I’d be checking my spreadsheet tucked in my garter, to see if the speeches were running over!
We wanted to get married in a church and since moving to Langton Green we decided that it would be fitting to be married at All Saint’s as we would be building our life in the village.
I spent months costing out marquees and generators and trailer toilets as I was certain that I wanted the wedding in my parents garden, where I had grown up, but after pulling my hair out I just couldn’t make the numbers work.
It was coming in way over budget and short of getting rid of the marquee and risking the weather, we just couldn’t stretch that far. I was at the end of my tether when I came across Eridge Village Hall, 10 minutes from the church, a little Victorian gem, with a wooden floor, room for a Ceilidh and a little paddock, it ticked all the boxes and was entirely affordable.
I wanted something relaxed but special for my hair and avoiding anything on the side, as a side bun is my staple go to hair style for most events. After chatting my ideas through with Christina Jessel at the trial, she got it in one and came up with exactly what I was after, even suggesting that the hair vine I had bought from Ivory & Co https://www.ivoryandcotiaras.co.uk/ could be intertwined at the back rather than being worn like a traditional hairband.
Christina was also my make up artist on the day and listened to me when I said I didn’t want too much foundation, didn’t want to look ‘too bridey’ and let me be fussy and do my own liquid eyeliner. She even managed to find a pinky red lipstick that didn’t wash me out, which I have spent the last 10 years looking for!
When Andrew and I first got engaged (and if I’m totally honest, before we got engaged…) I spent hours scouring websites trying to find my dream dress. The conclusion I came to was that I didn’t really like wedding dresses. There is so much pressure for you to put on that dress and feel like a princess but lots of them were cut at the waist, which isn’t a particularly flattering line for me and when I started trying them on didn’t magically turn me into Kate Moss. So I found the one that looked ‘the nicest,’ which was being sold as a sample and bought it. I then got it home and had a little cry. It was totally wrong for me, heavy, covered in sparkle and just not me at all.
An impromptu visit to Go Bridal in Tunbridge Wells where they even let me try the dresses on without an appointment and I found my dress. No mother, no bridesmaids, no tears but I was happy and I realised quite quickly that that was what mattered. Empire line, floaty and comfortable, it didn’t make me look like Kate Moss but it did make me look like the best version of me.
Having a fairly simple dress I wanted a little bit of sparkle which was supplied by my hair vine from Ivory and Co and earrings borrowed from my bridesmaid Sarah, which she had worn on her wedding day earlier in the year. I had seen a lot of long veils that hung like tails from the back of people’s heads and I was desperate to avoid that. I found a beautiful waterfall veil by Sassi Holford in Pantiles Bride, which I could pull round my shoulders in the church and made me feel that bit more ‘bridal.’
My sister in law very kindly bought my beautiful shoes from Rachel Simpson, which lasted most of the day until the ceilidh (and the whisky) got the better of me and I swapped into some pretty ghastly hot pink flip flops, which we had provided for the girls when heels became too much!
The Wedding Party
I had four bridesmaids, three of whom wore forest green dresses from Zara, and Sophie being heavily pregnant wore a cream maternity dress. They all wore little gold bracelets with a knot in them which I found on Etsy.
Andrew and his brother Euan have their own kilt outfits which is their Nana’s tartan and the rest of the grooms party wore hired kilts in a complimentary tartan, all from Nicolson Kiltmakers in Edinburgh.
Kilts were always going to be a huge part of the day, which limited my colour palette somewhat (Andrew was always going to be wearing his Nanna’s tartan, which is a mid green with red, blue and yellow stripes!) I decided to draw on the green and go with a rustic, woodland, green and white theme. It fitted in with the casual feel of how we wanted the day to run and I’ve always found woods quite magical.
Drawing on the rustic woodland theme we decided to have table arrangements that were made from logs with a rustic wreath made of spray roses, eryngium, freesia and wax flower, all in shades of cream. I spent a few years as a Saturday girl in a florist and just about managed to draw on some rusty skills and do them myself, which was actually quite therapeutic and gave me something to focus on a couple of days before the wedding.
The tables were named after Whisky’s as a wee dram is one of our favourite past times! We were originally going to name them after Munroes we had climbed, but we only got round to climbing one so had to come up with another idea!
Katherine from Florist in the Forest made the boys buttonholes and our bouquets. She was incredible and got exactly the look I was after, blousy and soft for the girls bouquets but something a bit more structured for mine, even managing to find me white peonies which were out of season.
We decided to learn our vows for the ceremony. It was quite nerve wracking and Andrew messed them up in rehearsal so I was completely impressed when he managed it without hesitation on the day. There was something really intimate about saying the words to each other without having to repeat them back to the vicar and I would totally recommend it to anyone who is considering it. By learning the vows you also really get a chance to think about their meaning, and the promises you are making to one another.
The fact that we only spent a small amount on the hall meant we could go to town on bands. We opted for a gypsy jazz trio for the reception drinks who were a perfect welcome for guests and really added to the garden party feel. We then had a full on Ceilidh for after dinner, followed by some much loved wedding floorfiller anthems for the hard core who make it until the very end!
Dasha Caffrey was our photographer and I cannot recommend her enough. Andrew and I are not massive fans of having our photos taken and my biggest fear was to get the photos back and only find a handful that we actually liked. The photos we received were the complete opposite of this and we couldn’t quite believe how many photos of us that we loved. Dasha captured every special moment of our day, we were completely at ease with her and we couldn’t have asked for more.
We always knew that we wanted some sort of ‘family share’ style food with it all laid out on the table and everyone passing bowls round and helping each other. A BBQ seemed the easiest way to do this and provide lots of different options, allowing people to eat as much as they wanted until they were full. Pop is run by old friends from school and I had complete trust in them and they were totally accommodating with all of my niggles and rather intense spreadsheets and checklists!
We’ve also went for a cheese cake from John Lewis as we’d much rather tuck into mounds of cheddar than a fruit cake and it meant that the guests could pick at it all night to soak up the whisky!
As we were trying to keep costs down we tried to make as much as possible ourselves. I really liked the idea of save the date magnets but we were pretty sure people wouldn’t want to see our mugs on a magnetic photo every time they went to the fridge. I decided to make a version of the ‘word’ fridge magnets which when put together in the right order said ‘Jo & Andrew are tying the knot. Please save the date 12.7.14’ A few magnetic sheets, a basic print out of the words and lots of cutting out with a craft knife and we had our save the dates, which I popped into little money envelopes with a riddle on the front, ‘put me in order to find, something to bear in mind.’
Invitations were mini bunting in Andrew’s tartan and a stamp to the front. For the table plan I mounted an old map of Scotland in an old frame and as the tables were named after Whisky’s, the plan pointed to the areas where each whisky was from.
It’s amazing how the little things don’t even matter on the day. I spent weeks agonising about the little details and whether I had enough decorations and whether the hall was going to look ok and did I have enough bunting?! But on the day none of that really mattered. Of course it’s amazing when you friends and family are blown away by all the little touches but it really isn’t worth getting your knckers in a twist about.
Oh and make sure you take stock throughout the day, just stop, even for 10 seconds and look around. It’s probably going to be the only time where you have everyone you love in one place, and they are all there for the two of you. It’s pretty special.