Alex and Liz wanted a really relaxed party rather than a traditional wedding and their country pub venue The Bell Inn was a perfect setting for just that. It has so many quirky details including the epic ‘vacant’ & ‘occupied’ wall display and the gorgeous neon light up quote ‘I will always love you my friend’
They chose fabulous decor to compliment their venue including brightly coloured candle’s and amazing paper cranes.
They continued their origami theme with a ‘how to’ book on each table – I would have loved to have had a go at the Star Wars one! Not to mention the array of hat’s they asked guest to bring along, I bet everyone had hours of fun playing dress up – I know I wouldn’t have been able to resit!
A gorgeous couple in fabulous attire having their day their way. Perfect.
Alex The Groom: People kept asking us why we chose The Bell Inn at Ticehurst. They asked whether we had family there or whether it was a special part of the world for us when the truth is we just fell in love with the venue! The website doesn’t do the venue justice (which the venue itself will admit), but just take a look at our photos from the day and you’ll understand why we wanted so much to get married there. The charm, the informality, the Banksy wallpaper! It just had “us” written all over it. Plus we could do the whole day in one venue. They only had one weekend date still free for 2014 which is how we ended up getting married on September 13th – lucky for us!
The staff was extremely well trained and gave good service. We found that everything was setup to make the day run smoothly so despite the outward appearance of it being a pub the experience was of a very slick wedding venue. The only issues we had were with accommodation as we had been banking on the new lodges being built but unfortunately not all were completed. We’re looking forward to trying them in the future though.
The Bell Inn fitted our idea of a relaxed and informal country pub wedding perfectly. We saw a few likely candidates but nothing came close for the warmth and friendliness of The Bell. My wife is a graphic designer so to find something with the right look is a tall order!
From the first moment we met Alison fro The Art Bunch in Ticehurst we had a good feeling. She knew the venue (as it’s opposite her shop) and had some good ideas straight away about the arrangements. She was very patient and provided exactly what we asked for at the price that she said she would. Alison even dived in and out of the venue during the big day to rearrange the flowers during the turn-around of the rooms. We had specifically asked for mixed bright flowers as we wanted everything to be as natural as possible in keeping with the eclectic décor at The Bell.
Huge thanks must go to Liz’s Mum for collecting so many jam jars that were to be the main flower settings – there is probably a jar shortage in our home town now!
Help from Friends
A great many friends helped us along the way; Tony for collecting all of our precious jam jars from one florist and Zoe delivering them to Alison at short notice really saved the day; Jules for the 100 paper cranes she folded by hand!; All of Liz’s girls for helping keep her sane and making sure she turned up; Roan for an epic Stag; Jo for decorating the The Bell; Natasja and Jon for coming all the way from South Africa to stay a few days before and bringing huge amounts of enthusiasm with them – although their suggestion of doing shots all night on the day before the wedding was vetoed! We can’t thank everyone enough.
So many friends and family helped dress the venue and contributed so much it’s impossible to list everything. One tip we can give is that if anyone offers to help just say yes! You will soon find out who means it and who is just being polite. Luckily we managed to farm out plenty of jobs that we wouldn’t have had time for but that really made the day. My Dad made a full size replica post box for the wedding cards. Liz and I made all the stationery including name tags for the tables personalized with pictures of a dream motorbike (we’re both into bikes). We had tables named after origami with each table hosting an instruction book and paper. We’d recommend doing as much yourself as possible and absolutely don’t feel under pressure to conform! We strongly felt that we should only take the bits of traditional weddings we agreed with and left out the rest. Everyone had the best time so it was the right decision.
Liz The Bride: My initial approach to a wedding outfit was to have something highly unusual, designer (it would be an heirloom), preferably black and as far away from traditional as possible. After trying on many outfits in various boutiques I came to the conclusion that everyday wear simply didn’t have the same impact and would end up costing even more than a wedding dress – I have expensive taste!
I visited my local wedding dress shop who were amazing and let me try on lots of different options, I think the first appointment was two hours long. And after much deliberation I picked a vintage, super sparkly gown and an extra long veil. With the wedding two months away I bought the dress off the rack and Mariposa’s amazing seamstress adjusted the dress down three sizes to fit, she did an amazing job. The dress was stunning and sparkled in the sunshine beautifully. It also fits the criteria of being able to wear it again, as I will be consulting the seamstress again to get it cropped into a cocktail dress.
I didn’t want to have bridesmaids – I thought ‘best women’ were the way forward. I just asked everyone to dress smart, eccentric and comfortable, preferably with a hat, the ladies looked wonderful.
Alex The Groom: I wanted to be classy without being over the top. I had a mad Thai tailor make me an ultra-modern cut suit and chose my accessories to be as classic as possible; navy knitted tie, tan brogues, fully tailored plain white shirt. Of course Liz was the star though.
The rest of the Groomsmen were told to wear whatever they felt comfortable in – there was not going to be any matchy-matchy Moss Bros hire here! So again what you see in the photos is just what all our friends wear every day! The only concession to matching was a lovely yellow buttonhole made by Alison of The Art Bunch just to identify the close family.
We asked everyone to bring a hat that reflected their eccentric personalities which proved to be a great hit and got every interacting. A hat table was also set up just in case people forgot theirs. If you’re going to have a party you need entertainment. Liz and I felt that a disco wasn’t us but luckily some good friends Hannah and Liam recommended a band they had at their wedding called Bare Groove. Sadly they were booked but we were able to secure their partner group The Groove Jets. They turned out to be a genius choice – a six piece female fronted band which included a saxophone. They were really nice to work with and were really up for making the party and even took requests. We asked if they could learn a couple of Ska tunes and these sounded amazing with the sax. I think it’s worked well for them as I understand they have been asked for more Ska stuff since.
We didn’t want to go traditional with this one either so on the invites we sent out we asked guests to bring cake! We didn’t admit it at the time but our intention was to have a bake-off, with the most impressive or tastiest looking cake being the one that we would cut for the photos. Some of our guests are a) very competitive and b) very skilled bakers so we couldn’t really lose with this one.
If anyone could possibly have been more excited than us about our wedding it was Jacqui – from the start she was super enthusiastic about our day and just full of great ideas. What really sold us on having her as the photographer was that again we didn’t want traditional, which for us meant lots of non-posed photographs and much more natural shots.
We met up with Jacqui in the pub (always a good sign) after she confirmed she was free for the date and we hit it off as she seemed to understand what we wanted. We can’t speak highly enough of her photos. Plenty of people said to us that after it’s all done the photos are the thing you have to remind you of the day and we are both so glad that we invested in Jacqui’s skills, she was amazing.