Kate & Andrew tied the knot at beautiful Cotswolds venue Merriscourt, which provided the perfect blank canvas to their rustic wedding day. Kate’s gorgeous ladies wore mis-matched pastel dresses from House Of Fraser. Top marks to them all for creating such a lovely palette of colours.
Kate is every inch the glowing bride in classic lace with vintage style hair and make-up. With wild flower bouquets, bright crocheted table centrepieces, and test tube tea favours, I know this is a wedding you’re going to love.
Kate The Bride: Kate Gray Photography our photographers came as husband and wife power couple! Kate and John bounced off each other really well, and it was great having both of them covering different angles and places. We loved the naturalistic pictures we got back and couldn’t have asked for them more perfect. Kate shoots families in the week time too, so got great shots of the kids. They kept us giggling all day long. Kate also did an amazing pre-shoot included in the price, this meant we got to get comfortable with her and also just get a feel for the day.
This was just out of budget for us however, we were keen to record the speeches and ceremony, the bits that in nervousness we could forget! We were lucky enough to have a professional camera man as a groomsman who recorded them for us.
I loved the support and structure of the Justin Alexander dresses but the current collection lacked the vintage delicacy of the dress I had her mind set on. I searched hard and wide online and eventually found a sample sale with it in Essex. If you have something you really want, just make sure you try everything to get it. Most sample sale sizes are size 12, which worked as a great base for the dress for me.
The Jewellery & Headpiece
I ended up buying the headpiece on the off chance that it would be right in an online sale at Monsoon. Likewise the earrings were from the current collection in Accessorize. The main thing I wanted was to not obsess about the tiny details of these as it is more about the combination of the outfit. The earrings nicely echoed the flowers in the lace on the dress. The headpiece also had a similarly vintage glamour style. Due to all of the embellishments on the dress I didn’t really need much more. Don’t buy things just for the sake of it. We also managed to negotiate 20% off wedding rings, by just asking! So do!
The Hair & Make Up
Holly Preston was amazing at understanding exactly what I wanted, and also at explaining what she was doing and why. She totally got the vintage glam and reflected the styling of the dress without even trying. She was also very helpful at giving her own opinion too, which really helped me feel comfortable. On the day she was great with the mums and bridesmaids make up too!
I loved the whole Rachel Simpson bridal collection. But knew I would wreck them and not wear them again. I did lots of research and found www.arabesquedirect.co.uk and they have wedding shoes that are discounted, just a few sizes for each but really worth a look. I got a pair from the current collection. I opted for not too much of a high heel, but my feet still hurt in the evening. I did have some Cath Kidston floral trainers for when it got too much!
For me this was one of the most important aspects of all. The venue was quite natural and stripped back, and I wanted there to be a burst of colour. From looking on the Fabulous Flowers website and the initial consultation I felt that I had really got the person for the job. They also did a flower mock up prior to the day too. Unfortunately, they ended up not being able to get the colours I had wanted except for the bouquet. And actually the flowers just were not big enough in the wedding breakfast room. If I was ordering flowers for a big event like this again I would make sure to get a much more detailed quote e.g. sizes, measurements. Also the florist had the idea which I liked of taking the 6 bridesmaids bouquets and putting them in a jar with mine in the middle for the top table, but failed to bring any jars. Lucky for me I had a resourceful bridesmaid! I adored the blue pop in my bouquet and the size so for me that was amazing. I also thought the tying of the flowers onto the chairs in the ceremony were lovely.
We fell in love with Merriscourt immediately, 3 indoor areas and 2 outdoor areas to fit all 130 of the guests!! It meant the stress of potential bad weather was removed. There is also a cottage next door, so my family and Andrew’s stayed there the night before the wedding and of the wedding. They do just one wedding a weekend and you are also given access into the venue on friday until 4pm to set up. We had a lovely family BBQ on the friday night. This venue is also corkage free, so a trip to Majestic and Tesco and we were sorted for the day and into the evening! The venue came to life at night where the different spaces allowed us to build our own photobooth in the gallery, then outside there was a firepit for people to curl up next to. And all of it was enclosed and attached to each other so it meant the children could run around and explore easily. Cannot be more grateful to the amazing staff, a husband and wife looked after us, they would be quick to sort everything and anything. And even stayed up till past 2 to lay out candles outside our honeymoon cottage. A personal touch!
The Decor & Styling
We echoed the venue in styling with natural tones. Make sure to pick venue before you get too carried away with style. We wanted a rustic, pastel wedding. We found websites like ‘theworks.com’ where you can buy heart shaped chalk boards and all sorts in bulk. We ended up having far too much but it was worth it. We also home dyed some crochet doilies, unfortunately one set came out too vibrant, but we decided to let it go! If things go wrong you really just need to remember the reason you’re doing it, it’s not about how perfect everything looks or doesn’t it’s about the two of you getting married! (Super exciting!!).
We didn’t want to spend too much on this and were weighing up between a M&S cake and a macaroon tower. We managed to find an amazing local baker Cotswold Baking. They lasted really very well and we managed to give out some leftovers to people the next day in little bags. I also had bought some nice jars and some chalkboard labels online, and we went to a sweets only cash and carry to fill them up. All cakes were delicious and could not recommend Paul more.
The venue originally had one caterer that was tied to the venue but with new management our caterer changed. This was a bit unsettling to start with, but after a rather stormy weekend to visit them for a tasting we felt at ease. Dan was just amazing at being on top of the whole event and would always reply to emails quickly. He was quick to give his opinion and help us make our decision. Take advantage of your suppliers experience, feel free to ask them their opinions! The food was just amazing, and great sized portions. Highly recommended!
The Bridesmaids Dresses
We had set up a challenge trying to get different tonal bridesmaids dresses, for 7 lovely ladies. I didn’t want to make people pay for their dresses when I am deciding what they were wearing! I originally spotted these in a department store and went online to find other colours. The most amazing part of these dresses is that they had an elasticated waist. This meant that there was no pressure or discomfort (or pressure on weight). Except the maid of honour who we had wanted in the key signature colour of blue, so managed to get a Jenny Packham dress in the sale in Debenhams. I thought it was nice how the illusion neck on their dresses echoed my own dress.
The Groom & Groomsmen
I attended a wedding fair and got chatting to a Yardsmen representative. He was friendly and the suits were amazing quality for a competitive price. They had only been open for about 6 months as a suit hire place so was keen to support a new start up. And we could not be more pleased, the boys liked the nice relaxing and non-pushy environment when being fitted. They were also very accommodating as if they didn’t have trousers of the right length/jacket right size, they got these made up. The ties and pocket squares were made by a tailor in Singapore. Andrew’s parents kindly went and got them made for us a in a raw silk. This was a nice way to bring where Andrew had grown up into the day.
As a graphic designer we decided that we could cut the expensive printing route and do these ourselves. We bought a new printer, a paper cutter and then got going. It was nice because we could personalise it. And the branding from the invites went on through the wedding website, to all elements in the wedding. It really does take time so plan early!!
As you might have noticed we had a little obsession with bears. On the hen do my sister organised a painting bears activity. We then hid ten of them in the garden area outside. Initially we had thought this would be good for the kids but the adults were loving looking for them. We also decided to make homemade pickles. These were also done on the hen do, along with contributions from family. The venue were very accommodating at allowing us to do this too.
We made our own ‘photobox’ following a tutorial online. Although you can buy a clicker on amazon and pop in a corner. It is great fun for guests. We did party bags for the kids with magazines, toys etc, to keep them entertained. We also did a kids colouring table, with ikea tables and a polka dot table cloth. The DJ for us didn’t play what we had requested and discussed, which annoyed us. But to be honest the dance floor was full which is the main thing. When you give your lists if you want older songs rather than newer songs, be more specific. Or the likelihood is they will just play what is voted top on spotify!
Missing but not forgotten
My father had passed away 6 years earlier and did unfortunately not get the opportunity to meet Andrew. And for other guests who were in our hearts we wanted to find a way of bringing them into the day. We ended up naming the tables after important streets to us, and produced some illustrated maps and photo books. Some covered Andrew’s childhood and growing up and some mine. And then our time together. This was hard work but we liked the idea of taking a momento home, and something we can build on from the wedding. We also printed off photos of family wedding days. I managed to get my brother some coin cufflinks from the year her father was born (1957). Depending on the year these are not too expensive and a nice personal way of saying that they are there.