Oh I do love a navy and pink colour scheme - it's classic and elegant, but also pretty and fun too. Take the combination of the Bridesmaids navy maxi dresses, with their cute pink astilbe bouquets as the example. It looks SO good. As does Laura in her elegant Essence of Australia gown and veil from Isabella Grace. Swoon! And lets not forget the boys, who look super handsome in RMW favourites Jack Bunneys. Lovely Laura used RMW a lot while planning her big day, which obviously we love to hear! In fact, her venue, The Matara Centre has featured on these pages many times in the past. Why not search for your venue in the search tab above and see whether any gems in our archives pop up? Although they may not have the same decor choices as you, looking at how other people have used the space is always helpful. And if you're still on the look out for a venue, check out the List for inspiration. But in the meantime, let's head back to Gloucestershire, for this stylish shindig. There's some fairy light action you're not going to want to miss...
The VenueLaura the Bride: Our priorities were to find a venue in the countryside, close(ish) to London in a beautiful location with accommodation onsite for the wedding party for the whole weekend, a church nearby and with flexible food and drink options. Most importantly, we were looking for a venue that offered something different which felt personal to us and that we could put our stamp on! A tough brief... We found all that and more at The Matara Centre in the Cotswolds near Tetbury. I fell head over heels in love with it immediately – it offered absolutely everything we had been looking for and the staff were brilliant beyond words. Their website really doesn’t do this place justice – there’s something magical about it in person! The venue is situated in over 20 acres of stunning gardens and has a gorgeous period house where all of our wedding party stayed for the weekend. We had a great party in the house on the Friday night before the wedding (which helped ease any pre-wedding nerves and gave us a chance to chat to many of our guests meaning that the wedding day itself was much more relaxed!), then after the wedding we partied late in to the night in the honeymoon lodge in the woods and spent Sunday afternoon in the pub in the village to round the weekend off. It was perfect from start to finish!
The CeremonyIt was very important to me to be married in a Church but not so for Jules. However, when he saw the lovely church, accessed through the lovely Matara gardens, he was easily convinced. It helped that Mike, the vicar, was so warm and friendly, not to mention very funny. He was the real star of the wedding and made the ceremony so special for us. One of our readings was He Never Leaves The Seat Up by Pam Ayers and I am particularly grateful to my clever sister, Collette, who amended the words of the poem to more accurately represent us!
The BrideI didn't find the dress buying process as easy as most other brides seem to and never had that eureka moment of finding 'the one'. I really had my heart set on a style which I eventually came to accept just didn't suit me. I went to so many different dress shops and tried so, so many different dresses. I came across Isabella Grace in Tunbridge Wells by chance when visiting my in-laws and I'm so pleased I did as they were great. In the end, everyone managed to talk me in to buying my dress even though I wasn't convinced by it (I’m not sure I would ever have bought a dress otherwise!). In fact, even up until the day before the wedding I still wasn't sure but when I put it on on the morning of the wedding I was very happy. I felt very comfortable and relaxed in it. Martine Kay, the seamstress at Isabella Grace, had worked her magic and her alterations made such a difference. My shoes and veil were also from Isabella Grace. My jewellery was from BHLDN and Accessorize. I did my own make-up and my talented sister, Steph, did my hair as well as the bridesmaids.
The GroomJules chose a navy suit with a tweed waistcoat and navy tie from Jack Bunneys. The slim fit and modern look really suited him. His groomsmen wore the same suit but with a different tie and waistcoat. They all looked very sharp!
The BridesmaidsI had 7 beautiful bridesmaids, one of whom was 6 months pregnant. Choosing their dresses was quite tricky so in the end I went with a multi-way dress which I bought online from Atom Attire on Etsy. The quality was brilliant and it was much more affordable than most of the other bridesmaid dress options out there! Our three nieces were very cute flower girls and wore dresses from BHS.
DIY ProjectsOur first DIY project was making a stop motion video for our save the date. It was fun to make and surprisingly easy – you place a letter, take a photo, place the next letter, take a photo and so on then on the computer join all of your photos together to make a video. Et voila! I really wanted light up J&L letters but they were too expensive to hire so Jules gamely offered to make them himself. I don’t think he appreciated at the time what a mammoth job it would be! It took him two weekends but they looked fab on the day and we still have them at home now so they are a great lasting memory of the day! Whilst Jules was making the letters I was sanding and painting wooden pallets which we used as signs on the wedding day. We hired navy blue tablecloths and pink napkins (thanks RMW – I saw this on a real wedding!) which looked great. We bought vases and with the help of some of our lovely friends we covered the bottoms in gold glitter to add some sparkle! For our favours we made compilation CDs of our favourite songs and gave these for the drive home. On the tables we placed empty wine bottles and cards, asking guests to leave us a message and place it in the bottle. We plan to smash open a bottle each year on our anniversary (corresponding to the table number) and are looking forward to reading the words of wisdom and drunken nonsense! We (well, my Father in Law and one of our Ushers!) made our table plan from a piece of MDF covered in wallpaper and photo frames. We also printed lots of photos of us with our friends and family and hung them in the bar area.
The FlowersIn an effort to save money we bought the flowers for our table centrepieces and the church from New Covent Garden Flower Market. It involved a couple of very early mornings and didn’t actually work out much cheaper than what we had been quoted by the florist but I absolutely loved the whole process. The day before the wedding a group of my friends and family helped me to create the centrepieces. They turned out to be beautiful and I was so proud on the day seeing them on the tables! My bridesmaids and Mother in Law did a beautiful job of decorating the church with candles, lavender and jars of flowers. Lily Violet May created my bouquet, the bunches of astilbe for the bridesmaids, the buttonholes for the men, corsages for the Mums and she also helped dress the church. I couldn’t have been happier with the result! She is a super talented lady and very lovely too!
The EntertainmentTumblin' Dice did a great job playing in the evening and the dancefloor was packed from start to finish. We created Spotify playlists for the breaks in between their sets. We provided some glow sticks and dancefloor props which was fun and made for some great photos! We also bought a polaroid camera and love the candid snaps from the night.
The FoodJules and I are both vegetarian and we always knew that we would like to share that with our friends and family at the wedding. We were aware that most of our guests were hardened meat-eaters so we knew it was important that the food was really tasty, interesting and filling. For our canapes, we had veggie sushi, spring rolls and other delicious Asian bites. The chef at Matara was absolutely brilliant and agreed to make all of our favourite foods for the wedding breakfast. We had butternut squash ravioli for the starter, then a trio of pies with roast potatoes for the main course and a Ferrero Rocher cheesecake for dessert. What a superstar! Nick from Pizza Monkey provided some delicious veggie pizzas for the evening which went down really well. Instead of a traditional wedding cake we decided to have a tower of macarons provided by Macarons & More which were really delicious. We also had lots of Kripsy Kreme doughnuts in the evening and a table of veggie friendly sweets. The venue allowed us to provide all of the drinks up until the evening reception started which was a huge help. I’m not a big champagne drinker so in addition to the traditional fizz we also had cocktails when we arrived back at the venue from the church. We also had a shot of apple sourz during the toasts which kept me happy!
The Photography & VideographyChoosing a photographer was one of our first big decisions. I had a spreadsheet with over 50 potential photographers listed and all scored out of various categories. Tracey Hosey came out on top – we both loved her relaxed, natural style – and after meeting her in person we knew she would be perfect. She did such an incredible job, the photographs are stunning and capture the day so beautifully. We wish we had her around every day! At the last minute we booked Michelle Lindsell to film the wedding. I’m so pleased we did as I’ve really enjoyed watching the footage since, although some of the singing in the church was probably best forgotten!
AdviceI was obsessive about all the various details in the run up to the wedding, and confess to a few sleepless nights beforehand, but on the day even though some things didn’t go entirely to plan none of it really mattered. We were overwhelmed by the love and happiness. It was such great fun having all of our brilliant family and friends in the same place at the same time. We followed some traditions which we liked and abandoned those that didn’t suit us. One thing which was important to me was to give a speech during the reception. It has never sat comfortably with me that men play such a vocal role during the day whilst the women sit quietly. That’s certainly not reflective of my relationship!
Venue: Matara | Bride: Essence of Australia | Boutique: Isabelle Grace Bridal | Hair: Steph McGinty | Groom: Jack Bunneys | Bridesmaids: Atom Attire | Florist: Lily Violet May | Macaron Tower: Macarons and More | Entertainment: Tumblin' Dice | Videography: Michelle Lindsell | Pizza Van: Pizza Monkey