After you've scrolled through all the beautiful pictures by Katherine Ashdown Photography of this meadow wedding, you just HAVE to watch the film by Studio 1208. Louise tells us of how her & Bradley get together and then it's party time. The marquee reception looks so vibrant and inviting, full of the most fabulous DIY decor, wild blooms and delicious treats. The brownie tower wedding cake with cascading fruits is a great way to save a few pennies, but still looking (and I bet tasting) divine. Such a fun filled, creative wedding to to lift the spirits on a Monday morning, with romantic portraits at sunset and a stunning Suzanne Neville Hepburn gown that looks like it was made for our gorgeous Bride.
The VenueLouise The Bride: As soon as we got engaged we knew we wanted the wedding to above everything be a bloody good party, so our only main criteria was a venue that we could hire for a few days so we could really make the most of it. We were also very keen to find a blank canvas- one we could make our own and bring in all our own suppliers. I am not going to lie I really struggled at the beginning to find exactly what we were after but then BAM I stumbled across an amazing website that allowed me to whittle down my exact requirements and then I found it- Chaucer Barn. A beautiful barn conversion on the North Norfolk coast, which we could hire for 5 days, bring in all the suppliers we wanted and was absolutely stunning. We arranged a viewing and within 2 minutes knew it was perfect so booked our date in July on the spot.
The BeautyI am a huge make up fan but knew that on the day I would rather leave it in the hands of a professionals- I wanted quite a natural, classic look and Emily at Love Moi Make Up worked her incredible magic and made me, my bridesmaids and my mum all feel like a million dollars. To show off the lace detailing on the back of my dress I wore my hair in a simple up do created by the lovely Tracey at Tracey Ward Hair. I didn’t want it to look overly ‘done’ so was loosely pinned up with a few plaits and a few small roses at the back. My nails were painted in a classic red with a white heart detail on my ring finger, and I wore my favourite Jo Malone Peony and Blush Suede perfume. One of the best parts of the day was getting ready in the morning with my girls and mum- we had such a laugh with Emily and Tracey and they both really helped to keep me calm in the build up. They both stayed with us right up until the last minute before we walked down the aisle and were on hand for any emergency touch ups!
The DressMiss Bush Bridal in Ripley, Surrey really is a bride-to-be’s dream! As soon as I walked in to the gorgeous converted chapel I knew I would find my dress there- it’s stunning and the team are simply wonderful. I was 99% sure I wanted a lace dress and when the lovely Corinne showed me the beautiful Hepburn by Suzanne Neville I was 100% sure. The dress comes with a gorgeous lace jacket that buttoned right up at the back however as this part was so covered Corinne suggested that we alter the front and bring the neck line down a bit to show off a bit more skin- this then made the dress absolutely perfect for me. I loved every single second on wearing it.
Bridal AccessoriesI always knew I wanted to wear a veil (after all I wouldn’t get another opportunity!) but didn’t want to detract too much from all the lace detailing on the dress so chose a simple double tiered veil with raw edges- the moment I tried the veil on I felt like a proper bride! I wanted some vintage look shoes but with a bit of colour so chose a pair of Rachel Simpson Mimosa’s in Pale Mint. They were so comfortable and just the right heel height to keep me going all night on the dance floor! I chose simple pearl drop earrings from Katherine Swaine and had gold bracelets made from Etsy for myself and each of my bridesmaids that had our initials engraved on them. I also wore my grandmother’s wedding ring as my something old and borrowed.
Grooms FashionBrad wanted quite a simple look and nothing too traditional so chose a blue skinny cut blue suit from Suit Supply with matching waistcoat. He added a light blue polka dot tie from Marks and Spencer, a pocket square from TM Lewin and brown brogues from Ted Baker- I bought him a tie clip to wear on the day that had the co-ordinates of the venue engraved on to. I have never seen him look so handsome!
Wedding Party FashionBrad had three Best Men- his brother Wes and his two best friends Dalj and Titus- and his cousin Nick and close friend Kevin as ushers. We wanted the boys to feel comfortable so just asked them all to wear some sort of suit on the day-however most of them took this as a good opportunity to go and treat themselves to something new! The three best men and my dad all wore matching ties and pocket squares to Brad. The best men and Brad all wore matching gorilla cufflinks (some in-joke about them all being king of the jungle!) and I had some personalised cufflinks made for my dad that featured a photo of myself and him from when I was a baby. My three best friends Lex, Jem and Caz were my beautiful bridesmaids- I wasn’t set on them wearing a matching colour or style as they are all such different sizes however when I saw and fell in love with the navy blue Kelsey dress from Chi Chi London I risked it and ordered three. Thankfully the girls all suited the dress and paired with some simple white peep toes heels from ASOS they looked stunning and were also my ‘something blue’! Caz’s son Jack was our wonderful ring bearer. He was meant to walk up the aisle with the girls but instead just decided to run up on his own! He did a great job and presented us with our rings in a personalised bag that we had made from Etsy. Jack wore blue chinos and Converse and we had a Tshirt made for him that had braces and his name printed on the front and ‘Ive Got The Rings’ printed on the back- he looked adorable and completely stole the show!
Colour Scheme/ Theme/ DécorI wanted the day to feel very relaxed and not too ‘put together’ so didn’t have a set colour scheme or theme. I did however find the lovely Penny at The Little Lending Company who hires out props and gorgeous vintage items, and instantly wanted everything she has on offer! Penny has an amazing range and I hired a whole array of items including festoon lighting, signage, garden games, a welcome drinks station and a sweet stand that I filled with mine and Brads favourite treats for the guests to help themselves to. All the lovely items really helped bring the relaxed feel of the wedding together. Penny also offers a ‘Lend A Hand’ service where she will set up all the props and accessories for you- she has an incredible eye and made everything look gorgeous, plus it was one less thing to worry about on the day! My very talented friends Paul and Niko own a lifestyle brand and shop called Earl of East London. One of the many lovely things they specialise in is custom scent candles and they created a scent just for the wedding day which we had burning on each table during dinner- they smelt divine and added an unique but personal touch to our décor.
BloomsI don’t know the first thing about flowers so let my florist, the wonderful Sarah at Bramble and Berry, have complete free reign. My only requirement was a lot of colour and boy did she deliver! My bouquet was made up of a whole range of gorgeous different blooms and herbs- having herbs in the bouquet weren’t something I had ever thought of but smelt wonderful mixed in with the flowers. My bridesmaids each had a smaller bouquet to match mine and I attached a mini photo of myself with each of my girls to their bouquets. My bouquet had a mini photo of my mum and dad on their wedding day. Sarah lined the aisle with shepherd crooks filled with flowers, which looked fantastic in the meadow, and we had a few crates dotted around the venue full of colour which I loved. Each table had a random selection of glass vases and decanters full of gorgeous flowers and the colours really popped inside the white marquee. We also had gypsophelia pomanders that hung from the ceiling of the marquee alongside pastel coloured paper lanterns.
The CeremonyBrad and myself are not religious or serious and basically wanted to just get on and start the party so we had a very short and simple ceremony. We did however want to make the most of the gorgeous grounds at Chaucer Barn and were lucky enough to have our ceremony outdoors in the meadow surrounded by wild flowers. An ‘aisle’ is cut out from the meadow of flowers and it was a magical moment getting to walk through them on my dads arm, with Brad and all our friends and family waiting at the end. It was touch and go whether or not this was going to be possible as the weather was somewhat wet in the morning but thankfully it all cleared by the afternoon and the sun started shining the very second I reached the top of the aisle. Brads dad Mick sadly passed away a few years back and we both like to think this was very much him making his presence felt on our big day. We had an amazing acoustic guitarist called Michael Mulholland sing ‘One’ by Ed Sheeran as I walked up the aisle and ‘We Found Love’ by Rihanna as the ceremony finished. Michael also played a whole acoustic set during our drinks reception allowing us to choose a whole list of all our favourite songs- he is so talented but so relaxed and really added to the laid back vibe of the day.
The ReceptionGarden games and a Polaroid selfie guest book kept the guests entertained during the drinks reception, and in the evening the amazing Disco Wed provided the tunes. Our DJ Paddy was great- he let us provide a list of all ‘must have’ songs to be played and kept the dance floor full all night- he even didn’t mind when we started the first dance really late due to an impromptu round of Jagerbombs! Neither myself or Brad were all that keen on having a first dance as the thought of slow dancing in front of everyone to a mushy song was mega cringe. But in the end we chose ‘Aint No Mountain High Enough’ to keep things upbeat and to get people to join in with us as soon as possible! During the first dance my bridesmaids and mum set off glitter confetti canons- these were an absolute nightmare to clear up the next day but looked so great in pictures they were totally worth it! We also had huge L&B light up letters from The Word Is Love which really made the dance floor complete. Being teenagers in the early 2000s both Brad and myself grew up with a deep routed love for UK Garage. One of Brad’s friends is a DJ and his brother an MC so it made total sense that they jump on the decks and end the evening with an amazing Garage hour. One of the highlights of the wedding for us will always be ending the day jumping around the dance floor with all our friends (and some older family members who took us by surprise!) rapping along to 21 Seconds by the So Solid Crew.
Food, Drinks and TreatsBrad and I absolutely LOVE food, so it was very important to us that our guests would never go hungry- there is nothing worse than feeling the need to pop to the chip shop on the way home from a wedding! We didn’t however want a traditional three-course meal but instead something quite fun and relaxed so booked the wonderful Pieminister to provide all our catering on the day. We had an array of delicious canapés including mini sausages and bruschetta’s all washed down Prosecco, Pimms and pink lemonade during our drinks reception. I am obsessed with popcorn so we also had a popcorn machine for guests to help themselves to and also hired an ice cream bike from Andy’s Ice Cream who served a variety of different delicious flavours- these went down a storm! Keeping in the relaxed vibe we chose to have just one big U shaped table at dinner so everyone could chat and mingle around. Starters were big sharing boards of meats and cheeses and then all the guest went to collect their chosen Pieminister pie from a ‘pie station’ set up inside the marquee- the pies were all served with creamy mash, mushy peas, gravy, grated cheese and crispy shallots. Utterly delicious! We didn’t want a traditional wedding cake so the Pieminister guys built us a chocolate brownie mountain (with our Lego bride and groom cake topper placed at the summit!) which we served with berries and cream- the perfect end to a delicious meal and fuelled everyone up for a night ahead of dancing. We also had a huge cheese board for later in the evening however people were so engrossed in the dancing this mostly got ignored at the time and people took the cheese with them for the journey home instead!
Paper Goods and DIYI am a stationary freak and can easily spend hours wandering around in Paperchase, so knew the invitations and on the day stationary would be very important to me. I got in touch with Becky at Becky Lord Designs after my sister in law recommended her to me. I fired off a rambling email trying to roughly explain the sort of style I was after and Becky just completely and utterly nailed it straight away- the stationary was so unique and fun and included lots of personalised elements such as a cartoon sketch of myself and Brad that one of my mums friends created for us and RSVP cards inside mini envelopes attached to the invitations. I simply adored all the stationary and it worked so well with the rest of the décor on the day to bring everything together.
Advice and Special MomentsOur wedding day genuinely was the best day of our lives- it was amazing to be surrounded by our friends and family and all just have a really good time. One of the stand out moment of the day however was just myself and Brad disappearing into the meadow to watch the sunset- it was lovely just to have a bit of time to ourselves to reflect on the craziness of the day (I didn’t even notice all the photos being taken!) My advice to brides and grooms would be to make to make the day truly yours. You don’t have to follow any traditions- make your own! Also remember that it is highly unlikely that everything will go exactly to plan on the day but it genuinely doesn’t matter- none of your guests will notice and you will be having far too much fun to care! Everything falls into place in the end so don’t stress! On our day there was a bit of the mix up at the registrars office and we were told we couldn’t have our outdoor ceremony at the last minute- not what you want to hear as you are literally in your knickers about to step into your dress! However my mum, bridesmaids, Maria and Kathy all swooped into action (I don’t think the registrar quite knew what hit her!) and got it sorted and the ceremony went ahead just as we wanted it. So trust your friends and family (and your photographers and videographers!) and let them help you- they want you to have the most magical day just as much as you do!
Photographer and VideographerWhen I first started looking for a photographer Katherine’s photos stood out so much for being so natural and capturing the most gorgeous light- she is so unbelievably talented and we are so in love with our photographs of the day. We really will treasure them forever. We ummmed and aaaahhhhed over whether or not to get a videographer for ages. I did a bit of research and found husband and wife team Nick and Maria at Studio 1208. I had a nagging feeling that I needed to book them straight away so I did and it was the BEST decision I made. The video they made of our day literally blew our minds- it was everything we wanted and more and really takes us straight back to the day. Kathy, Nick and Maria all worked together so well and were all completely on each others wavelength, as well as crucially also being on mine and Brads! This made spending the day with them a total pleasure- they were so unobtrusive, just mingled in amongst the guests and were above all so fun- it genuinely felt like we just had a few more friends there on the day. They were all just brilliant from start to finish and I can’t thank them enough.
Dress Designer: Suzanne Neville - Hepburn | Bridal Boutique: Miss Bush Bridal | Bridal Shoes: Rachel Simpson | Earrings: Katherine Swaine | Makeup Artist: Love Moi Makeup | Hair Stylist: Tracey Ward Hair | Grooms Suit: Suit Supply | Grooms Tie: Marks and Spencer | Pocket Square: TM Lewin | Grooms Shoes: Ted Baker | Bridesmaid Dresses: Chi Chi Clothing - Kelsey Dress | Bridesmaid Shoes: ASOS | Venue: Chaucer Barn | Decor: The Little Lending Company | Earl of East London | The Word is Love | Florist: Bramble and Berry | Caterers: Pieminister | Andy's Ice Cream Bike | Stationery: Becky Lord | Entertainment: Acoustic Guitarist- Michael Mulholland | DiscoWed | Videographer: Studio 1208