Believe in your dreams, always.
Poignant words from this afternoon’s bride Lesley. She envisaged her day and went for it, with only 5 months to plan! Lesley and Simon had a colour riot. It was SO much fun. Nothing too formal, just fun. There was a BBQ, a partially fake cake (such a clever idea!), ribbons on the chairs (love!) and a serious amount of fun and laughter, and the flowers. So gorgeous.
I love that the day reflected them so well. The stationery is so bright and so fun. I think couples can sometimes be easily put off by the opinions of others who may have a traditional view of what a wedding should be and it makes me so happy when couples are so headstrong and they just go for what is really in their hearts… and their super creative heads! Oh, and mini buttons as confetti on the tables?! Seriously. So clever. Big colour love to these guys. Enjoy.
Lesley The Bride: With only 5 months to plan our wedding, we knew it would be hard to find somewhere with availability at such short notice (after all most people spend at least a year planning their wedding!), but knowing we didn’t want anywhere formal and also somewhere not too far afield meant we could focus on specific locations and see what dates if any, they had available. We went to visit Kent Life, just outside Maidstone on Valentines Day, and knew immediately that it was the place for us. A living museum dedicated to old rural life, it was quirky and fun, would accommodate the children attending the wedding, provide plenty for people to have a nose at on the day, and allow everyone to wander instead of being confined to one room or building. It would also provide ample photo opportunities, and if we were blessed with a sunny summers day, would simply be a beautiful setting… and we were in luck, it was the most beautiful sunny June day we could have wish for!
Hair & Make-Up
Not being a formal wedding, my hair and makeup were low-key and simple. My hairdresser Julie from Hair Workshop (whom I’ve been going to for years!), loosely curled my hair to give it body and movement to suit my style of dress, and I had a headband with pearls and crystals to add a touch of sparkle. My lovely make-up lady Helen Lee, kept my make-up light and fresh which suited me perfectly since I never was one for the heavy or dramatic!
Our 5 month deadline meant there was little time to order a dress to be made, but with our venue picked and the style of the wedding decided, I knew what I was looking for… In the end it just took one day to find it and it was clearly meant to be since the dress I tried on was my size and the store was happy for me to buy it then and there. It was tea length with a full net skirt, a beautiful beaded bodice that trailed off into the skirt, and a sash waistband decorated with crystals and diamante. I didn’t want to take it off – I felt like a 4 year old in her best party dress, swooshing the skirt around my legs! The ladies at Truly Yours in Maidstone were terribly helpful and accommodating, adjusting the dress where needed and having it ready for me just in time.
I decided not to go for a veil but I did know that I wanted to find some shoes to match my grooms smart blue suit since my feet would be on show due to the length of my dress – they would also be my something blue! I am also a fan of the homemade and my mum and I found a beautiful hand made garter on notonthehighstreet.com and we picked up a lovely handmade pearl and diamante necklace, bracelet and earring set at one of the local wedding fayres. Unbeknown to my groom, I also arranged a surprise for us to change into in the evening… custom made Converse! He was over them moon and still loves wearing them now.
I had one adult bridesmaid, my best friend Jude, who after an intensive day’s shopping, selected a simple, beautiful fitted dress from Monsoon which also had a full skirt complete with a net petticoat which matched the style of my dress perfectly. I also had two flowergirls – Emily, Jude’s daughter, and my niece Caitlyn. They wore the cutest dresses, also from Monsoon, which had white lace effect bodices and little net skirts that were finished off with ribbon sashes. With little lace headbands and little strapped ballet shoes, they looked simply gorgeous!
Simon knew what he wanted from day one, a three piece suit in blue and a wonderfully contrasting bright orange tie (oh, and socks too!). Not wanting anyone to match so that he stood out, his best man Martin wore a pale grey suit and purple tie, whilst both of our dads wore dark grey suits with one having a pale pink tie and the other one in blue.
Colour Scheme & Decor
We love bright colours, patterns and mixing it up, so there wasn’t going to be anything soft, subtle or harmonious about our wedding! We wanted it, above all, to be fun, so we didn’t limit ourselves to one or two colours, instead going all out with a full rainbow! From the invitations to the bunting, the flowers to the ribbons on the chairs, we wanted to make people smile and have fun, and it seemed to work. With our fabulously rustic location, we decided to go down the village fete meets garden party route which would encourage the guests to relax, let their hair down and have some fun. Bring on bunting, ribbons, buttons, pompoms and twinkly-lights wherever we could put them!
It’s quite simple, I love flowers, and I had the most wonderful florist to bring my ideas to life. Amanda at Distinctly Floral is quite simply a brides dream. From day one she understood my vision and made it possible.
My stunning bouquet filled with roses, peonies, gerbera, freesia, cornflower rosemary and mint among many others was everything I had hoped it would be. A riot of colour, which from the moment I saw it I knew I wouldn’t want to put down! As a finishing touch, Amanda wrapped the stems with an antique doily complete with trailing buttons. Jude had a smaller version of my bouquet, Emily had requested a basket of petals to throw and with Caitlyn being so young, we decided to give her a bright pink mouse to hold with colourful ribbons tied around its neck. The groomsmen all had bright and non-matching buttonholes to compliment the mixed colour scheme.
For the ceremony Amanda decorated the metal arch with all the colourful flowers found in my bouquet and completed the look with twisted willow growing out of an old pair of my wellies at the bottom of it.
The tables all had a mixture of jam jars that I’d collected and decorated with lace and twine, and metal pails to compliment the rural location, and Amanda filled them with colourful flowers in a loose and relaxed fashion which went perfectly in the hop strung Wagon Store. To finish everything off, she made a matching posy for the top of the cake.
The ceremony was held in the old Village Hall which was decorated with bright bunting strung from the rafters, and ribbons and hearts hung in the windows and off of the chairs. Sticking to our non-formal and unconventional approach we opted for music from the 50’s and 60’s which got everyone singing and tapping their feet (and also went with the style of my dress meaning I could dance down the aisle!). I entered to “Be my baby” by the Ronettes and we exited to “Do you love me?” by The Contours – it made the whole ceremony such fun. We also had a good friend do a reading for us, which again got the guests chuckling – we went with “He never leaves the seat up…” which really made us laugh when we read it.
After the ceremony there were garden games and a face painter to keep the kids (young and old!) amused, and the great thing about the venue was that there was plenty to see, so people could take a wander or sit and chat as they wanted, and even take the kids to see the farm animals or play on the swings.
In the evening we had a great dj, Harry Kilb, providing the entertainment. As well as a great disco comprising of all the song requests that had come in from our guest, we played the ‘Green Man’ game throughout the night. You selected a toy army man from a bucket at the start of the evening and every time the claxon went off, no matter what you were doing, you had to stop and copy the pose of your green man. Cue much laughter and sore knees! We also subjected ourselves to a game of Mr & Mrs much to the delight of our guests and to our embarrassment. I think it was possibly one of our guests favourite moments of the day! We also had a party pack comprising of tinsel wigs, inflatable guitars and saxophones, hula skirts and hats brought out later in the evening to inject extra fun which people really got stuck into and danced about with for the rest of the night. It was all we could have hoped for and more. Complete and utter fun and abandonment!
We knew that we wanted someone to capture the whole day as it happened so we could look back at the photos and be able to relive it as it happened. No formal group shots or line ups for us. We came across Dasha Caffrey via a recommendation and immediately felt at ease with her. She made our photos fun and enjoyable, and half the time we weren’t even aware of her presence which meant we got some great relaxed shots. She captured the spirit of the day perfectly and tells a wonderful story with her pictures – just what we had hoped for.
An informal wedding meant the last thing we wanted was a formal sit down, Zest Catering who host for Kent Life did us proud with the yummiest of canapés that suited our fete/garden party theme; mini fish and chips, micro Yorkshire puddings and beef, tiny scones and jam… and then a full on summer BBQ which had the guests going back for more. In the evening there was a hog roast (that had made our mouths water whilst it was cooking all afternoon!) for anyone needing extra sustenance to keep dancing.
We made our wedding cake ourselves. We decided that we wanted a statement centrepiece and so went for a 4 tier affair, but the top 3 tiers were in fact fake with only the bottom tier being a rich chocolate cake! The rest were dummies that I’d iced to save both time and money, and my mum also made a square fruit cutting cake that was sliced up ready to serve. It’s a great way to create a wow factor, without the expense.
Instead of individual favours we decided to set up a sweetie bar and let people help themselves. With a selection of retro sweets on offer, I’m not sure who enjoyed them more, the children or the adults. Both certainly were going back for more!
Our stationery was exceptionally important to us, not only because it set the scene for our guests for the kind of wedding they were being invited to, but also because I am a Graphic Designer by trade. Mind you, this also meant I felt a little pressure of expectation! But we had such fun creating our stationery – with cheeky rhymes and old fashion wording thrown in, it had exactly the desired effect that we’d hoped for and when people returned the rsvp’s, they told us how much they were looking forward to coming and how fun it sounded! I designed all the invites, settings, menus and the table plan myself and then our friends Jude and Iain who both work at a printers, got them printed and finished for us.
SpecialMoments & Advice
By doing things yourself, or making the most of friends and family talents or professions, it means you can do things a little more personally, and also often save some money too. If you have the time, do the odd little job as you go and you’ll be amazed at what you can achieve – we had 5 months and kept the stress levels down by making decisions and sticking to what we wanted. Imagine what you could do if you had longer!
All that said, trust people when they say that on the day you won’t notice the small things, whether they go right or wrong (my lovely old campervan taking me to the venue broke down on the way!), since the day is truly magical and one that you will never forget. So try not to get too stressed out and remember to take some time for yourself (and your new husband!) on the day to stop, look about and enjoy it – it goes so fast!
Oh, and believe in your dreams, always.