One of my favourite films when I was a wee lass was The Railway Children. There’s something about all those trains and the old platforms and the atmospheric smoke and steam that speaks to the historian in me especially the tearjerking finale (it gets me every time). Imagine then celebrating one of the most important days of your life at a faithfully restored Victorian Railway Station set in beautiful gardens. Well Katherine and Stuart did exactly this and it was glorious.
Katherine’s dress is exquisite; the beautiful embellished daisies across the bodice are to die for and her polka dotted maids are super cute too. All of the wonderful details were captured by Kate Gray Photography.
The Bride’s Fashion
Katherine The Bride: From the outset I had an idea of what I wanted: a long, flowing style dress with something different, the wow factor. I had seen a couple I loved the idea of; something with flowers or backless, although getting married in a church I also wanted it to not be too revealing. I saw my Maria Senvo dress in summer 2014 but waited until January 2015 to go dress shopping as my brother was getting married at Christmas and I wanted to wait to see what dress my sister-in-law wore before I got mine just in case we picked the same one!
I only went to two dress shops; the second being Hannah Elizabeth Bridal where I tried on the Ellis dress by Maria Senvo. I knew it was the perfect dress for me. I loved that it was high neck to look demure in church but also had the sheer back to add glamour for the evening celebrations. Hannah at Hannah Elizabeth Bridal was brilliant in helping me put my whole look together with the cathedral veil and hair piece. The hair piece I tried on was a short length piece, however I wanted something to go across the back of my head so Hannah contacted Klaire Van Elton to make a bespoke, longer length for me. My whole look literally came together in an hour or two.
I had always liked the look of having a fabric or button bouquet as something to keep and treasure long after the wedding day. At a local wedding fayre I met Tracy who had an example fabric bouquet which was stunning. By coincidence the bouquet had a little teddy bear sewn on to the handle, a little bear that was exactly the same as ‘Little Ted’, a little bear I had had since I was younger and went with me or my mum whenever she or I went away. It seemed like a sign to us! We collected brooches over a few months, including some from close family, and Tracy, along with her own brooch additions made the stunning bouquet. She incorporated yellow and green fabric into the bouquet as well as Little Ted of course. Tracy also made hair pieces for my bridesmaids and flower girls which incorporated aspects of the bouquet into them.
The Groom’s Fashion
Stuart knew what he wanted to wear so just had to find someone to hire a blue suit from. As the wedding was going to be a relaxed affair we steered clear of morning suits and went for a three piece suit. All the groomsmen wore hired Ted Baker suits from Moss Bros. To tie in with the candy colour scheme, Stuart chose yellow ties and socks. We gave each groomsman a pair of yellow socks, a tie, and cufflinks of their initials as our thank you gifts to them.
The venue was the first thing we booked, the month after getting engaged. We had seen Horsebridge Station online a few years back (when daydreaming about our future wedding!) and thought it was stunning. Not only was it beautiful and unique it still had the blank canvas of the marquee for us to add our own touches.
We wanted a really informal, relaxed, garden party type day and knew that Horsebridge would be the perfect backdrop with the wow factor. We went to first visit it in January 2014 on a cold, miserable day in the pouring rain and it looked stunning. We thought if it looked that good in the rain then it wouldn’t matter what weather we had on our wedding day and it would still be perfect.
We really wanted a relaxed wedding where everyone could just sit back and enjoy the day without having to worry about formalities so decided on a garden party style day with lots of vintage touches (without it being a “vintage” themed wedding!) We wanted to have afternoon tea as it’s my favourite and we wanted to keep the atmosphere informal. As a keen baker, it seemed fitting that there was lots of cake at my wedding. So much so that my mum and I baked a lot of the cakes that were served; my carrot cake and my mum’s raspberry and white chocolate cakes being favourites at regular family get-togethers.
Rather than having a colour scheme of one or two main colours we decided on a scheme of several, candy colours that would all work well together. This meant we weren’t spending ages struggling to find the perfect shade of a certain colour. I gave key people card swatches of the colours so they knew what to look out for or incorporate.
The décor had to be relaxed and informal for our afternoon tea and with a vintage look to match the setting. We very much wanted a garden party feel to the day. The bunting was originally bought for my sister’s wedding two years previously and was always being used at family gatherings and celebrations so it seemed the perfect decoration for us to have. Again by not having a specific colour scheme the multi-coloured bunting fitted in perfectly.
My mum and I (the bride) spent months collecting jam jars and vases along with craft bits for the decorations. We decorated the jam jars by hand using set pieces of lace and ribbon so whilst there were several different designs, they still all fitted together well.
I met Martin Clarke at a local wedding fayre and saw he had previously made globe arrangements. I thought these would be perfect for the marquee. I love gardening and flowers so the floral arrangements were really important to me. The flower globes made such a statement within the marquee without overpowering the rest of the décor. They had eucalyptus and lilies in so when you walked in the marquee the smell was incredible.
The Wedding Party Fashion
We had spent a day in London trying on lots of dresses and had initially decided on a green polka dot dress from Hobbs, however not everyone was comfortable in the dress as they were quite short with high necks. I ended up finding the bridesmaids dresses online at John Lewis. As soon as I saw them I knew they were just what I had been looking for and would not only suit all my bridesmaids but suit the feel of the day perfectly so I ordered a couple to try on as samples. All my bridesmaids loved them and because they don’t look really ‘bridesmaidy’ they can wear them again in the future.
We got married in our local church, three doors down from where we live. It was really special getting married somewhere that we pass everyday. The men all walked down to the local pub before walking back up to the church.
We chose two readings; both religious but also sharing the meaning of marriage in all different ways. We chose hymns that we both really liked; Jerusalem and Make Me a Channel of your peace.
Our vicar Sheena led such a special service during which she presented us with a gift. She asked each of our nieces and nephews to come up to the front to help her open it for us. Inside were several gifts to help remind us of the simple ways to spend time together as husband and wife so that busy lives didn’t get in the way; a bottle of wine, tea and biscuits, a candle, and bubble bath. The children loved helping out and the gesture was a wonderful reminder of those little things that help us to stay connected as a couple.
We had a superb duo ‘Lullabelle’ singing a whole range of modern and old songs with a swing/jazz feel to them. They matched the relaxed, vintage railway station perfectly. The girls were brilliant and didn’t mind one bit when my little nieces wanted to join them up on the platform to dance along.
We didn’t want our guests getting bored during the drinks reception whilst we were off having fun getting our photos taken as there can be a lot of waiting around so we hired a magician to mingle amongst our guests. Dressed in a suit he looked like any other guest but once people got chatting to him they were surprised to find him performing amazing magic tricks – we still talk about it now as to how he managed some of them. Like removing a playing card I had signed from three envelopes in his pocket or how he attached my friend’s engagement ring to a keyring in his pocket – it’s just mind-blowing!! It was wonderful to watch so many of our guests be in awe of his tricks and great to see them enjoying themselves.
Cake, cake, and more cake!
What with afternoon tea and our wedding cake there was a lot of cake all afternoon at our wedding. A local lady made our ‘naked’ sponge cakes for us and then our caterers decorated it with raspberries on the day of the wedding. We had little lego versions of us as the bride and groom as the topper and my mum decorated the Mr and Mrs letters as a surprise for us. It all looked brilliant together.
The food was amazing. We were worried people might not feel full with just afternoon tea but Vanilla Catering included lots of savoury nibbles such as honey and mustard cocktail sausages, pork pies and goats cheese tartlets as well as sandwiches, scones, and sweet treats. The food just kept on coming and it we just kept on eating it!!
Kate Gray Photography just got us and the kind of wedding we were going for from the start. Kate’s enthusiasm for our wedding was amazing, and so lovely to have someone already be excited about your day when you’ve only just met them because you know they get it.
Both Kate and her husband Jon just melted away into the background on the day which was wonderful as it meant no one felt awkward or self-conscious that they were being photographed. It means we’ve got some amazing shots of people relaxed, laughing, smiling, enjoying themselves, just how we wanted our guests to feel on our wedding day.
Jon also shot some footage of our day using a super-8 film. We were thrilled when we watched the video back, it takes us right back to being there and getting to see everyone’s happiness in real-life motion is incredible. It also means we get to see the day from our guests perspective which is super special. Jon has captured so many special moments that we get to watch and relive over and over again. We plan on watching the video at least once a year on our wedding anniversary but at this rate I’m watching it most weeks!
Signage & Favours
Stuart’s dad Paul is a signwriter by trade so wrote some incredible signs for us including a big plan of the day, dancefloor rules (an idea I’d seen on pinterest), welcome signs and even signs for the bar saying that tea was available all night (we are big tea drinkers!). Paul even drew a Yoda on one of the big signs as Stuart is a big fan.
Quite often at weddings the favours get left behind so when we decided to do favours we wanted to give our guests something memorable that would remind them of us as a couple and our day. We decided to have Lego minifigures as we are both big Lego fans. We went to the Lego Store in Brighton to make up the minifigures. The staff in store were so helpful and gave us a space at the back of the store to put together over 100 minifigures, taking it in turns to help us out! We spent 2 and a half hours there! It was a fantastic afternoon and we had great fun creating figures that represented our friends and family with their hair, clothes and accessories.
We were thrilled with how brilliant they looked. Just as we were leaving the store the manager gave us our very own bride and groom minifigures which we used as our place setting favours on the day. All our guests commented on the individuality of their minifigure and how we had captured little things about them in Lego. They also made for some brilliant photos such as my friend’s lego man scuba diving in prosecco and they were also quite handy for people to fiddle with whilst the speeches were going on!
Photography by Kate Gray Photography
- Bridal Gown Ellis by Maria Senvo
- Bridal Boutique Hannah Elizabeth Bridal in Southampton
- Venue Horsebridge Station
- Florist Clarke Floral Designs
- Groomswear Ted Baker
- Button Bouquet Once Upon A Time Tiaras
- Bridesmaid Dresses John Lewis
- Decorative Props Old Vintage Crocks
- Crockery Hire Stop The Bus Vintage
- Catering Vanilla Catering
- Day Entertainment Lullabelle
- Magician Greg Williamson
- Evening band Smith & Sons
- Videographer Super 8 film shot by Jon Gray