I've actually been lucky enough to stay at the venue where this morning's wedding took place and can testify to its beautiful interiors and extensive grounds. I can completely understand why this morning's bride and groom chose to say 'I do' at Cowley Manor. Kati and Christopher planned a super friendly intimate do for their closest family and friends surrounded by colour pop florals, supersized balloons and even an ice-cream van! Perhaps the cutest thing about this wedding (apart from all the love of course) are the flower girls and ring bearers including the couple's daughter who you can see in the gallery below and especially when Kati and Christopher are saying their vows. They look adorable in their matching outfits and floral crowns. All of the excitement was captured by the talented Eve Dunlop.
Kati The Bride: There were a few things that were really important to us when planning our wedding. Firstly that our wedding was fun and relaxed, secondly that it reflected us, our interests and personalities and finally and most importantly that it was a family friendly; most of our friends have children and we have a 3 ½ year old totally gorgeous girl that was as much a part of our wedding as we were. We didn’t feel the need for a big white wedding and quite honestly the thought of that terrified me, I’ve always been quite self-conscious and the thought of all those eyes on me at one of the most important moments in our lives really didn’t appeal. We ended up having a family only wedding and a BBQ for close friends that day after and in our eyes it was perfect!
The Bride's FashionI left it rather late for dress hunting. We only confirmed the venue 4 months before the wedding and it wanted to know where the wedding would be before picking the dress. After a few days traipsing around boutiques with my mum I happened upon Heritage Brides at Hatfield house on a family day out and what a discovery! It is a beautiful boutique in the attic of the old stables of a stately home. After trying on countless stunning dresses with Sam’s help (who runs the boutique) I found 'Constance' coupled with the Terry Fox back to front bolero and a pretty belt; I bought her there and then. No one other than I had even seen her but I just knew she was ‘the one’. I knew I wanted an intricate headpiece with lots of beads and pearls I searched but couldn’t find one I liked that was within budget so I decided to make my own. I have a degree in embroidery and a huge collection of specialist beads and pearls, some of which were vintage, so I decided to made my own. This was also my something old and I loved it. I had to really hunt for wedding shoes, I don’t actually like them so it was a real task, I knew I wanted a bright blue; I love a flash of colour! I borrowed my mother in laws tear drop diamond necklace back to front to mimic the v in my bolero.
The Groom's FashionAfter searching Pinterest and every wedding blog going (including of course Rock My Wedding) I had a vison of Christopher in a vivid blue suit with matching waistcoat. He appeased my vision but in his usual style totally went the other way! After a bit of searching he chose a grey Burberry suit and sky blue shirt and we had a last minute dash for a tie the day before the wedding! It all worked perfectly and I think he looked amazing!
The VenueWe went to Cowley Manor when we were dating, in the early, hazy falling in love days. It was where we had our first weekend away together, we fell in love there and we fell in love with Cowley. I think we said at the time ‘wouldn’t it be awesome to get married here’ or we certainly thought it. To have a ‘normal’ wedding at Cowley you have to hire the place exclusively putting it out of budget. We spent 6 months searching the country for somewhere that measured up and that would be suitable for so many families; we had 25 children at our wedding! But nowhere had the same meaning to us; so we returned to Cowley determined to make it work! And we did, with a weekday intimate family only wedding day and a BBQ for friends the following day!
Colour schemeThis was so important to us, we are both creatives and we love design and detail. I have (almost) always worked in creative industries and I was always going to DIY as much as possible! I don’t like set colour schemes and we ended up with every colour in the rainbow which was quite fitting as I also walked down the aisle to somewhere over the rainbow! It also worked with the decoration at Cowley which is quirky and bright! I handmade all the stationery, blackboards, table plans, numbers, place names and as many of the other ‘little details’ as possible. Given more time I would have made more, I was bursting with ideas! One thing we did buy were the giant balloons from The Giant Balloon Company in Fairfield; they were a huge hit with everyone and they served as decoration, photo props and entertainment for the kids big and small! One of my favourite memories was watching the balloons bobbing around the beautiful grounds at Cowley, knowing that each was following a small child having an amazing time!
FlowersWe wanted our flowers to look like they had just been picked from a garden, like everything else we didn’t want a colour scheme, just pretty, bright and beautiful. We collected vintage tins in all colours, shapes and sizes from junk shops and our florist filled them with beautiful blooms. They were grouped together to create impact on the wedding day and dotted around for a more relaxed feeling the BBQ.
Bridal Party FashionHaving a family only wedding meant deciding not to have bridesmaids and groomsmen. Our daughter was my ‘flower girl of honour’ and we had my husband's niece and nephew as flower girl and ring bearer. One of my favourite dress makers Emma Golding from Oh Sew Vintage specialises in replica vintage dresses and helped me design and make our flower girls' dresses. I wanted them big, traditionally simple and in the colour ivory and they were perfect! We chose James’s ring bearer suit from Next which he totally rocked with a pair of Converse trainers!
The CeremonyThis was without a doubt and surprisingly our favourite part of the whole two days. Untraditionally we spent the night together before our wedding; we didn’t like the idea of not seeing each other for half of one of the most important days in our lives. We woke early, went for a run together and unintentionally welcomed all of our guests all sweaty and still in our gym kit; they all arrived at once! It was lovely being able to spend the morning together; we parted company as I went for hair and makeup. I was terrified walking into the ceremony, I literally clung to my mum who walked me down the aisle, this wasn’t helped by the fact my mum stood on my dress and almost tripped me up walking though the door, I think we actually came in still laughing! As soon as my eyes met Christopher’s I knew it was all going to go perfectly and I relaxed. Our ceremony was filled with laughter and love. We wrote our own vows to each other that brought tears to everyone’s eyes! One of my favourite memories was our daughter tugging on her daddy's suit jacket saying ‘daddy, daddy, daddy… DADDY’ as he was saying his vows, he simply replied in the most perfect Daddy way ‘one second chicken daddy’s just a bit busy at the moment’, it was adorable. I could go on forever about how perfect it was, but the rest of the details are saved for the few were there!
EntertainmentOur actual wedding day was really relaxed and we all enjoyed each other’s company with good food, fabulous wine, music from an ipod and selfie sticks with props on the tables. My mum gave a ‘mother of the bride’ speech that brought lots of laughter and tears, it was beautiful and so heart felt. For the BBQ we had a Dixieland jazz band to set the tone. We also had bubbles, ribbon wands, lego and of course the giant balloons for the kids... happy kids, happy parents! I also organised an ice cream van as a surprise for Christopher, in the early planning days he said the only thing he wanted at our wedding was an ice cream van, so in secret I made it happen. It was a big hit with him (he had two) as well as all the guests; grown-ups and kids alike!
FoodThe menu tasting was one of our all-time favourite parts of wedding planning; no one told us how much fun it would be! Amazing food, lots of wine and your hubby to be all to yourself for a few hours it was just lovely. We chose canapes, scallops, steak and cheese cake; all of my favourites. We served pizza and chips as midnight munchies (which went down a treat!). We had a BBQ and ice cream the following day. The kids had a child friendly menu topped off with cookies and milk served in real milk bottles. The bottom layer of the cake was made by Christopher’s parents; we had a local cake maker make a rainbow tier and decorate it, unfortunately we forgot to actually serve the cake, most of it is now in our freezer!
PhotographerOur photographer was so important to us; after all that’s the person who will capture the everlasting memories, the snapshots of one of the most important days of your life. They are the pictures that will hang on your wall forever more, that will fill a little album of love that when looked at takes you right back there, to that day, to that moment to re-live it, even just for a split second. That’s what we found in Eve, her photos are full of emotion; they capture the big moments and the tiny details; they are simply stunning. Eve put everyone at ease on the day, helped everything run smoothly and as a huge plus she was also a lot of fun to be around! Eve is also a wedding ‘guru’ and gave me so much advice across the wedding, in planning on the day and even post wedding. My only regret is not having a picture of Eve at our wedding; she was such a big part of both of our days!
Venue: Cowley Manor | Bridal Gown: 'Constance' by LouLou Bridal | Bolero: Terry Fox | Bridal Boutique: Heritage Brides | Shoes: Rupert Sanderson | Hair & Make-up: Anna White | Giant Balloons: The Giant Balloon Company | Bridesmaid Dresses: Oh Sew Vintage | Groom: Burberry | Ice-cream Van: Cotswold Vintage Scoop | Band: Westside Syncopators