Today’s wedding is basically the realisation of Emma’s childhood wedding dreams. Pink dresses, check. Gorgeous pink peonies, check. Church bells chiming, check. Being showered in confetti, check. And most importantly, her very own Prince Charming, check…
It is a very pretty wedding indeed and as you’ll see from Emma’s write up – the day and the whole wedding managed to out-do all of those childhood dreams, even when things didn’t go as planned, like her epic dress hunt for example.
Love At First Word
Emma The Bride: It was a crisp winters evening in 2010 when Ben and I first exchanged words in the centre of the aisle of a church we attended. It was love at first word! Understandably when Ben proposed (on a sand dune, with the sun setting and his guitar in hand) the first and only thing we knew was: We are going to get married at the church where we met. Walking towards Ben, down the same aisle we met would have been the dream…
However tight finances meant a weekday wedding was the ideal and the dream church was ruled out.
Instead, a beautiful rural village church on the River Cam was decided upon and the rather tantalizing Anstey Hall was booked for 30th May 2013. A beautiful family home, exclusively ours for the day and with a marquee I could get my creative hands on.
Mum To The Rescue
I have never been a ‘hair up’ girl and wanted to look as much like ‘me’ as possible on my Wedding Day…however I knew I wanted to feel special and so I was after something a little different to my usual ‘long and straight’ style. After a bewildering hunt through every hairstyle image I could find my mum came to the rescue.
My mum was a complete superstar throughout the wedding planning. I would mention an idea and before I knew it she would have sourced how to make it at the cheapest cost, contacted the relevant the businesses/suppliers and it would be on our kitchen table the next day – no exaggeration!
Therefore in the blink of an eye (maybe not literally!) a number of hair tongs arrived through the post and early morning hair style trials became our weekly girl time together. We quickly settled on American hair crimpers (they are amaaaazing!) and Mum became my Wedding Hair Dresser just like that. It was a Taylor Swift-esque look (Ben’s second choice of wife :P) and I finished the look off with my dream gypsophila flower crown.
Fake It Until You Make It
I have always feared ‘fake tan’ but after seeing a photo of myself a month before the wedding looking like a ghost, I decided it was time to face the fear! I did lots of research and discovered a tanning brand called Sienna X which apparently did not streak and looked natural, not orange and without the digestive biscuit smell (not ideal for your wedding perfume!) It really is an amazing tan. After trialing it for my Hen Do, I was hooked!
I also decided to get fake lashes…I knew I would worry about mascara running if I shed a tear (or three!) Mink Lashes are a girls dream – they look and feel very real (and coming from a girl who usually wears very little make up, I think I might be addicted!). Magui is the best make up artist a Bride could wish for. Fact!
I wore the same nail polish as Catherine Middleton did on her wedding day – Allure by Essie. I decided that it would be nice to have a ‘bridal party scent’ so my mum, bridesmaids and I all spritzed ourselves with Christian Dior’s – Miss Dior. Delicious!
A Long Search For ‘The One’
I remember reading in a wedding magazine that the average bride shall go into 4 wedding dress shops and try on a total of 20 dresses before finding ‘the one’…I feel rather ashamed to say that it took a total of 13 dress shops (and I couldn’t tell you how many dresses!) to find ‘MY one’. BUT golly gosh was it worth it!
I discovered pretty early on that different fabrics looked better on some people than others. Satin for example drowns me. Heavy lace drowns me. ‘Light’ lace, tulle and chiffon became my hunting ground. Quite quickly I decided I wanted a high waisted, strapless dress with a heart shaped neckline (not specific or anything!)
I found my ‘dream dress’ in Cambridge, however it had straps. Mum did her predictable, yet amazing internet hunt and found the same designer did the exact same dress, minus straps…however said dress was only available in one shop a couple of hours away.
I have decided to have an annual ‘wedding dress tea party’ with my girlfriends just so it can be worn again and again and again!!
Sheer With A Touch Of Sparkle
Richard Designs veil are stunning. He uses the finest of lace so that it is completely sheer and with a touch of sparkle it was perfect! I didn’t realize until the wedding day itself how much I loved wearing a veil and so I kept it on for as long as was realistically possible (barn dancing in a long veil may have been a bit too much?)
My favourite two accessories were my Gypsophila Crown (made by mum) and my great great grandmother’s sapphire and diamond engagement ring. It had been passed down the family over the years and was lent to me for the day: my something blue, borrowed and old – all in one!!
I have difficult feet, and although I love shoes, comfort was my key for the day. Amazon, I am surprised to say, was amazing for buying and returning shoes without any extra cost (free delivery and returns are ace!) 40+ shoe trials later I found Van Dal Origa… little heel, slightly wider, pretty and squishy = happy toes!
Pink Is For Girls
I am a pink girl at heart and I think everyone knew I would go for ‘pink’ dresses…but sage green was on the agenda for a good while, I’ll have you know! The Bridesmaid dresses were from Girls of Elegance and the suits were from Moss Bros.
Bringing The Outdoors In
We didn’t want our wedding to be ‘matchy matchy’ in regard to colour. Although I love the colour pink, the idea of having pink favours, pink chair cover bows, pink pew ends etc etc made me feel a little sick.
Instead the natural look was decided upon. I would often say I wanted to ‘bring the outdoors in’. I liked the idea of ivy, gypsophilla, hessian, wood and lace featuring heavily and that is what we did.
Pretty Pink Peonies
My bouquet blew me away. It was the bouquet of my dreams – my mum’s best friend created it for me after I showed her a photo online. I explained to her that I would like it to look ‘picked from a field’ rather than ‘set and bridal’ and told her my favourite flowers were gypsophila, lavender and pink peonies.
She did an incredible job, not just on my bouquet but the entire venue. She and my mum did all the flowers themselves: from the church pedestals (that looked like a soft cloud of gypsophila, the gypsophila pew ends tied with raffia and lace, the ivy and hearts hung around the marquee, to the hessian and lace jars filled with more gypsophila and lavender for the tables. I think they should team up and create a wedding florist business!
Full Of Love, Joy And Praise
For us this was the most important part of the day. Vowing to love Ben with every ounce of my body in front of God and all our family and friends… just wow!
I’ll always remember locking eyes with Ben as I headed down the aisle… I’ll also unfortunately remember getting the giggles with my Dad as I stopped to pick my dress up from under my feet – remember to practice walking in your dresses girls!!
Our service was full of love, joy, praise and emotion and was made extra special as my Grandfather married us! We wanted to have as many friends involved in the service as possible; one of my bridesmaids husband is the worship leader at our church, so he was Mister Amazing at converting the village church with traditional organ into a place where our worship band could rock the rather special building! Drums, bass and all!
Our Groomsman’s wife sang Beyonce’s ‘Ave Maria’ and Dave Barnes ‘God Gave me You’ whilst we signed the register, a friend of the family gave our talk and my Godfather played us out of the church on the organ whilst the church bells rang triumphantly!
Doesn’t every girl dream of that day confetti is thrown over her and the love of her life?? It certainly was a perfect moment as we walked through a scented rainstorm of petals to the cheers and applause of all our family and friends. We bought our confetti from Shropshire Petals – they smelt so good!
A Barnstorming Barn dance
We had a homemade photobooth, paper aeroplane competition and lawn games throughout the day.
As a 5 year old bridesmaid I attended my Aunt and Uncle’s wedding reception; a barn dance in my Grandparents garden. I decided at that moment that when I got married I would do the same! It may not have been in my Grandparent’s garden, or outside… but boy did we have a barn dance!! Mindset Ceiligh Band and their Caller were amazing and we could not recommend them enough!
Our first dance was performed by my bridesmaid (Emily) and her husband (Ed) on acoustic guitar. We asked them to sing ‘Everything has Changed’ by Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran, a song that resignated a lot with how we thought we would feel on our wedding day. I was a ball of nerves, however, as soon as I heard Emily’s voice and stepped into Ben’s arms, it felt like a moment in a Disney movie where everything else melted away and just Ben and I were left. A moment I’ll remember forever.
Fresh Homemade Scones
I love tea and I love scones! “Who needs Champagne and canapés when you can have tea and scones?” I would say… and that is what we did! A family friend made 100s of fresh scones for us that morning and a few weeks before the wedding I decided to make personalised tea bag labels… probably not the most useful way to spend my days in the run up to the wedding, but so worth it on the day!
We hired a Hog Roast from Charlie at This Little Piggy Hog Roast – she was AMAZING. The quality of the food was immense and even on our nervous stomachs we managed to go for seconds! Even better, Ben had mentioned to her his love for Rice Pudding, and despite this not being our wedding desert (which was a choice of apple and blackberry crumble or Summer Fruit Pavlova) she had remembered and on the day produced a personal portion for Ben and his dad – a highlight of their day I am sure! I cannot recommend her more highly as a caterer.
In the evening we had prepared a luxury buffet full of cheeses, grapes, crackers, fresh bread and my uncle’s home made pate!
We also had a sweetie booth – I always like to celebrate by eating pick’n’mix, so why not continue the tradition for the biggest celebration of our lives!
My Great Aunt made our wedding cake as a wedding gift and what a beauty it was! We saw a cake we loved whilst window-shopping in Oxford, we took a snap and she created an even more amazing version of it – she is a superstar!
Made With Love
Ben and I designed and made our own wedding invitations (which featured a hand drawn map of how to get from A to B, but also our favourite locations around Cambridge and even our first kiss destination!). We also designed our order of service and my Mother-in-law painted everyone’s names onto brown luggage labels for table places – (Etsy and Ebay were a dream for ordering everything we needed).
We covered handmade soap in floral material and tied with raffia for favours. I had the girls over to help decorate the 100s of jars I had painstakingly cleaned the labels off (I NEVER WANT TO CLEAN ANOTHER JAR IN MY LIFE!) We ate homemade shortbread, drank tea and covered jars in hessian and lace – I do love girl time!
Ben found a lumberyard where we bought our table centerpieces of wood and I designed a table plan around Bens parent’s old wooden ladder that Ben painted white. Ben was a star and made wooden signs and blackboards that we used around the venue.
Aeroplanes had to feature at our wedding reception. Ben works as an aerospace design engineer and his main passion (after me of course!) is aircraft. Table names were therefore an easy decision and featured British aircraft from across the decades! Using chalk we wrote the titles of the legendary aircraft onto slate coasters.
Take Time Out
If I could go back I would recommend taking time out together as a couple weekly where you make it a rule not to talk or do anything wedding related – no matter how hard!
If you are a hands-on bride that finds delegating difficult like myself…delegate anyway – I wish I had earlier on in the planning.
On the big day itself, take time out to just be the two of you throughout the day, as little and often as possible! It is those little moments where we could just jump with excitement, kiss or just stare into each other’s eyes without anyone else around that really stand out for us. It has helped us to remember the rest of the day clearly, as it meant we had time to process as we went along!
If you can get hold of 100s of sparklers, do it!!! It was a magical end to our day seeing all the people we loved line the path leading to our ‘getaway car’ whilst forming a tunnel of soft sparkling light as we walked to our future as Mr and Mrs!
Falling In Love With Albert
Our photographer, Albert suggested that we took time out with him throughout the day for ‘couple shots’ and this was the main reason we did have time together little and often…HE IS AMAAAAAZING and we cannot recommend him more. He is so discrete that one guest even asked us after the wedding “did you have a photographer?”, yet he takes the most amazing natural photos that we shall treasure forever.
I spent the first 2 months searching through magazines and Rock My Wedding, looking at every photographer’s website (yes – everyone’s!!) and we both fell in love with Albert’s work. Asking Albert to take our wedding photos was the best decision I made since I said ‘yes’ to marrying Ben!
Bride’s Gown – White One at Chobham Bride
Veil – Richard Designs
Make Up Artist – Magui
Bridesmaid Dresses – Girls Of Elegance
Groomsmen Suits – Moss
Confetti – Shropshire Petals
Ceiligh Band – Mindset Music
Catering – This Little Piggy Hog Roast
Venue – Anstey Hall
Photography – Albert Palmer
You’d never guess Emma had fake tan on and the lashes look very natural too.
Sparklers make for some gorgeous photos don’t they? In fact, amazing photography all round from Albert Palmer. Love the bouquet throwing ones 🙂
Lots of love,