Bridesmaids in yellow never fail to make me happy. And Bride Sara found her lovely maids such a pretty little number from Coast that’s just perfect for a summer wedding.
Sara herself wore a deliciously light and floaty Jesus Peiro number which she accessorised with delicate pearl earrings and such a pretty creamy white bouquet.
The fashion stakes were maintained by the mini people too – just wait until you see the flower girls in their gypsophila crowns and the little dude in his bow tie – seriously cute!
Given that Sara and Ed had such a lot of little people at their wedding, they hired the services of Safe & Sound to look after the children so that parents could relax. It’s such a great idea and it looks like the kids had just as much fun at the wedding as the grown ups did…
Sara the Bride:I wanted to wear borrowed jewellery from friends and family which meant a lot to me. All of the items had personal meaning. I wanted my dress to be simple, floaty and grecian in style, rather than being too structured. We wanted the whole day to be informal and natural and my dress choice led on from this. I really didn’t want a strapless dress. I went to various dress shops when I first started looking. Morgan Davies were absolutely brilliant. I saw the same person each time I visited, they provided amazing service and they had a beautiful selection of dresses.
We were planning to go to a high street shop to buy the suits but then I took Ed to Sweden for his 30th birthday. When we were there we met a couple on their honeymoon and they advised us not to hire through the high street chain we were planning to use. They used Debenhams and said they were brilliant. It worked out really well because our ushers live all over the country and could just pop into their local store for fittings. They also had a great selection of styles and we managed to tick off the suit shopping in an hour.
We had a really big wedding and there aren’t many venues that will take more than 200 people. We visited a few venues that were really prescriptive about the way that they do weddings and we didn’t want our wedding to take place in what felt like a wedding factory. When we visited Nether Winchendon House we loved the beautiful grounds and the house. It was also great that there was a barn on site, which we could use as overspill for our ceremony and a beautiful church walking distance from the venue. We met Georgiana during our first visit and she was so welcoming and flexible about our choices. She was knowledgeable and brilliant all the way through.
The wedding was in the spring, so we wanted spring colours and a light and airy feel. The bridesmaids dresses were yellow because I love the colour. We also wanted lots of light flowers and greenery and for it to feel quite rustic. We mainly picked things we liked, that we thought would suit the venue and that would carry on the informal feel to the day. It ended up being a lot like our flat, where we have lots of old furniture and lots of greenery in the form of house plants.
I was really lucky in that it was peony season and I love peonies. I wanted all of the arrangements to be loose, informal and like a field in the spring time. Lisa at Blooms and Bows was amazing. I told Lisa some of my ideas and she created these beautiful, loose bouquets with lots of different sized flowers, greenery and colour. Our friends and family collected the jars we used on the tables and Lisa decorated them and filled them with flowers. Again they were really loose and unstructured. The jars were great as we were able to give them to guests as gifts as they were leaving.
I originally wanted the bridesmaids in mismatched dresses but it became a bit complicated. In the end, we found a dress from Coast that suited everyone and they accessorised it themselves. I found an image of the flower girls dresses on line and it ended up being a company in the US, so we had them shipped to the flower girls in the various countries that they live in! They ended up being more expensive than the bridesmaids outfits but they looked just beautiful. I wanted to make outfit choice as easy as possible for the grooms men! We wanted suits, rather than tails, and we went for grey.
The church in Nether Winchendon is really beautiful. It’s really rustic and old. We’d been visiting for a while before we got married and because we only had close friends and family in the church, with all of our other guests watching from a live stream in the barn, the ceremony felt more intimate than the wedding itself. The church was so beautiful that it didn’t need a lot of decoration. When I was waiting at the end of the aisle, hidden behind a curtain, Ed and I saw each other through a small gap in the curtain and the knot in my stomach just disappeared.
My brother did a reading from Les Miserables, which is my favourite West End show, and Ed’s brother read Corinthians. I walked in to Lean On Me, sung by our gospel choir and then we walked out to Signed, Sealed, Delivered by Stevie Wonder. I couldn’t stop smiling.
One of the things that we wanted most was for our guests to be entertained through out the day. We wanted the music to happen in the background, without over powering the conversations, and we wanted the entertainment to be continuous. I loved the steel band as it created such a happy atmosphere and our evening band were just brilliant. Jon Hart was a bit of a late addition to the line up and he did an amazing job of playing acoustic versions of popular songs.
Our band, the Milestones, did an absolutely incredible version of our favourite song – Roady by Fat Freddy’s Drop, and the music was just amazing from then on. Everyone (even the oldies!) danced all night!
We didn’t want a long and formal sit down meal. Our first course was meze to reflect my Cypriot background – we wanted people to share food in a really informal way, while chatting. Our main course was English roast beef (Ed’s favourite meal) and dessert was a buffet to get people up and moving around. We didn’t want a wedding cake as we think they’re a huge waste of money – no one ever eats them! We ended up compromising and getting baklava, as it’s one of my favourite desserts and reflects my Cypriot heritage. It also worked well with the dessert buffet. The caterers were brilliant. They provided all of the staff for the day and the catering manager was on hand all day, to make sure things ran smoothly.
The following day the food van caterers did breakfast for us from their van. They also did a really lovely BBQ for us, with amazing salads and roast pork. We love food and had to make sure the caterers we chose were going to get it right. The ones we went for were recommended by Louise, our planner.
We had a kids table, which worked really well, and our crèche’s staff from Safe and Sound entertained the children during dinner. Safe and Sound brought everything you could possibly need, including an army of staff, for the creche. They emailed all of the parents before the event to check for dietary requirements/allergies/preferences and they did a brilliant job all day. They looked after my friend’s 4 month old baby and kept checking in with the Mum. All the parents were able to enjoy the day without worrying. We also had a children’s entertainer called Potty Patrick and (whilst I can’t vouch myself) my 5 year old sister loved him.
Hiring a wedding planner was one of the first things we did. We knew it was going to be a big wedding and that we’d need help. Louise spoke to us like friends, took time to understand our vision and was very on the ball. We had 28 suppliers involved with the wedding and she handled all of the logistics and coordinated everyone! We would not have been able to do it without her. Through out the whole process she was on the end of the phone or I’d send her an email and she’d come back to me straight away.
My sister has also hired Louise to plan her wedding, after seeing me on the day before the wedding and seeing how relaxed I was. I trusted her implicitly and was able to enjoy the run up to the day and not have any admin to do on the day itself.
Laura was another recommendation by our wedding planner and we chose her as we loved the examples of her work that we saw online and met with her a couple of times in the run up to the big day. Her calm professionalism and reportage style was exactly what we were looking for in a photographer and she was absolutely wonderful on the day, really putting us at ease and capturing the fun, happiness and emotion of the day. We are truly delighted with the results – beautiful, subtle photos that will last a lifetime. The support didn’t stop after the day itself – soon after the wedding, she provided us with a weblink to a slideshow that we were able to share with our friends and family and since then we received another link where we can download all our photos. Highly recommended!
Robert Nesbit event production services were also recommended by Louise. They did all of the set up of our live video stream from the church to the barn, so that the people in the barn could see it. They were really unobtrusive. They also provided the lighting in the grounds.
My advice is to get a wedding planner, or just delegate generally. You’ll have a vision and people who know you or who you trust will be able to help you to achieve it. My sister helped with lots of elements of the day and Louise, our planner, was brilliant. Enjoy the planning process and be organised. It’s easier if you front load the planning and do as much as you can early on. Don’t get too carried away. There is so much choice out there that’s directed at couples who are getting married, so it’s quite easy to get carried away. Decide what you want really early on and stick to it. And also listen to each other!