Laura The Bride:
I knew I wanted a soft and flowing dress and after looking online I was particularly drawn to the Wtoo range from Watters
(and the gorgeous Reed dress which I kept finding myself looking at). I gave myself one weekend to find my dress - I'm fairly decisive so was confident this would be possible and it was also important to me to have my mum and sister there who would be coming up from Somerset especially for the occasion. I booked an appointment at my local stockist Emma Elizabeth Bridal
and on walking into Emma's beautiful little boutique I immediately knew that this was where I wanted to buy my dress. I ended up torn between two dresses but eventually chose the Reed dress and I’m so pleased I did. I did have a few issues with the sleeves which restricted my arm movement and I was worried I wouldn't be able to dance properly. This was soon solved with an extra purchase of some additional straps and the amazing work of the seamstress Andrea and I loved that I was able to have a little evening change into my 'party straps' (and wave my arms above my head with complete ease!)!
My six bridesmaids were my sister and my five best friends from university (minus one who was due to give birth to her first child!) We bought the bridesmaids dresses before I had even tried on a wedding dress myself. Pale grey and mismatched was theme and ASOS
came up trumps. I picked out a selection and then let the bridesmaids choose their favourites. Luckily they all found one they liked and I was so pleased with the end result. They all looked absolutely stunning. In the morning we got ready in floral gowns which I left on their beds the night before and I gave them all a silver initial necklace as a thank you gift which they all wore on the day.
I wanted to do my make up myself so my bridesmaid, Mim, and I took a trip to Bobbi Brown
to get some tips and then everyone did their own make up on day. I initially thought I would also do mine and my bridesmaids' hair but was very glad that I was talked out of this and instead we had the lovely Jessy from Tranquility Hair
. We went for natural looks with twisted and plaited half up half down styles with loose curls. The bridesmaids’ hair was finished with dried flowers and I had a beautiful silver hair vine.
The Groom & Groomsmen
David: The groomsmen wore their own navy blue suit, white shirt and brown shoes, but we provided the waistcoats, ties and accessories. My shirt was custom made by Shirt By Hand
who do a very reasonable bespoke service, including visiting me at work to make finding a time easy. The best men and I found our waistcoats through House Of Fraser
, whilst the groomsmen’s came from ASOS
. The Groomsmen’s ties were from Mrs Bowtie, and mine was from Reiss
(along with my suit). Cufflinks were from Not On The High Street
, with a Stag’s Head design.
David: Laura didn’t want a traditional vintage car and so I eventually found a white Daimler which was perfect. For the bridesmaids, thanks to their numbers, we needed something with a little more seating! They arrived in style in a white VW camper van.
The first (and probably easiest!) decision we made in the planning process was the venue, fairly soon after getting engaged. We wanted a relaxed setting with our guests in one place for the whole day and came across the stunning Almonry Barn
in Somerset online. The barn was having an open day shortly after we enquired so we booked ourselves in and the following weekend headed to Somerset for our first venue viewing. My mum came with us and as soon as we walked in I knew it was THE venue and nothing else would compare. Almonry Barn is breathtaking - Louise has given the barn so much love and it is so thoughtfully designed with beautiful attention to detail, not to mention the incredible fairy light chandelier! David and my mum also felt the same way and so a couple of days later we confirmed our booking, without seeing any other venues.
The beautiful Hayloft at Almonry Barn was the perfect setting for our civil ceremony and has the added bonus that that there is no resetting of the barn needed between ceremony and reception and so no worrying about the weather. This was a big relief particularly as our actual wedding day was a bit drizzly. The ceremony was really special and I think David spent most of it in tears! We had two readings, Captain Corelli's Mandolin read by David's sister Claire chosen because it is David's favourite book and 'A Lovely Love Story' by Edward Monkton read by my very good friend Simon. We really like the sentiment of the story and were able to personalise it to include a reference to bikes (David is a very keen cyclist!) which made everyone laugh. For the music I walked in to the Portuguese Theme from Love Actually (recorded on organ by David’s brother-in-law) and we walked out to 'This will be' by Natalie Cole - an upbeat song to get the party started.
Almonry Barn comes with a dedicated caterer which at the time was Strawberry Fields
- this was great for us as it meant one less decision to make! We went for family style sharing platters as we wanted the food to fit with our relaxed vibe. We opted for speeches before the meal so that those speaking were able to relax and enjoy their food. We skipped starters and went for extra canapes during the reception to keep the hunger at bay. Mains were platters of salmon, spiced roast beef and walnut and stilton tartlets with a mixture of tasty salads. Pudding was either cherry bakewell tart or tarte au citron. In the evening we served cheese boards which went down very well - David is a huge cheese fan so it needed to feature at some point! It was all delicious and we had so many compliments about the food. Our catering manager, Justine, was also an absolute superstar all day helping with whatever was needed - even rescuing our 4 year old nephew when he got stuck in the toilets!
David's mum very kindly offered to make our wedding cake. She made the most beautiful three tiered fruit cake with white icing and decorated with lavender and rosemary. It looked so elegant and tasted delicious. We also had several friends contribute cakes to ensure all dietary requirements and tastes were catered for, including my own requirement 'chocolate fiend'!