Lucy The Bride:
When two of my bridesmaids booked me in at Leonie Claire Bridal Boutique
as a surprise during a girl’s trip to Brighton, I picked out Catherine Deane’s Tamsin
dress as my “wild card” (I never really imagined going for a pinky dress, I’m not a pinky person). As soon as I put it on I knew it was the one. I loved it’s laid back style. The white lace detail over the blush silk was romantic without being traditional. Importantly, it was amazingly comfortable – I needed a dress I could dance in! That was the first and last time I tried on dresses.
When I spotted my veil on a return trip to Leonie’s, I fell in love again. The lace detail has a folky quality about it that I adore and when I paired it with a foliage crown it looked more ethereal than traditional.
Wherever possible I tried to use local makers and artists for my jewellery. Little Joy Jeweller
, a super-talented local jewellery designer, made our wedding bands. This was such a great experience as Lauren not only makes beautiful, ethically sourced jewellery but she is such a pleasure to work with. I’d loved Lauren’s jewellery for a long time and she captured exactly what we wanted.
My gold drop earrings were handmade by Isle of Wight jeweller, Sophie Honeybourne
. They were a bright yellow gold, which contrasted nicely with my blush dress.
My hair and make up was by my talented friend and bridesmaid Lydia Pankhurst
which made it such a personal experience. Lydia is a professional make up artist in Brighton and I’ve been itching to find an excuse to have her dress me up! I truly felt the most beautiful I’ve ever felt which was an amazing gift to me on my wedding day.
Harri always knew he wanted a tweed suit but something that wasn’t going to make him look too much like a farmer (we are from the Isle of Wight!). He chose a navy fine herringbone suit from Walker Slater
which was not too heavy fabric, which was ideal as it was such a hot day. His tie was a handmade liberty print tie from Kate Temple on Etsy
There was never any question about where we would get married. We knew it had to be Harri’s parents home. Not only had Harri grown up here but we had spent so much time there as a couple. He even proposed to me in the woods behind the house. The house is so old it’s mentioned in the Doomsday book and it’s rumoured that King Charles II used to hold raucous parties there! For us, it was a no brainer.
We hired a cathedral style marquee for the garden from Coast & Country Marquees
as it suited the style of the house. It really helped make this feel like an outside wedding, with everything centred around the garden.
I was stuck on this for a long time. I must have considered every colour combination and obsessed over hues but didn’t like the idea of it being “too matchy”. In the end, exasperated, I asked Harri again what colour he would choose. He said orange because it reminded him of the bright orange robes the monk’s wear in Nepal, a place he had spent some time previously. When I got past the idea that it would end up looking like Halloween, I felt it was a great reason to pick that colour. We made it work by bringing in bright corals and oranges in the flowers, with lots of natural greens. We placed a stone buddha next to the lake where we got married as a nod to this spiritual element to our wedding.
Luckily I also have some very talented bridesmaids. My sister, Kate, spent weeks in the run up to the wedding illustrating our table cards. The tables were named after trees, echoing that we had our ceremony under the tree in the garden. Kate also designed all of our beautiful blackboard signs.
My bridesmaid Georgia
worked tirelessly alongside my mother-in-law and I, to help dress the marquee and it benefited so much from her interior design skills and creative eye.
For the table plan, we had a trestle table running down the centre of the marquee as the top table. Our guests were on round tables, placed like satellites all around us. It made us feel like we were surrounded by everyone we love and it provided a central feature to the space.
The flowers made our wedding. The stunning arrangements by Clare Warren-Munro at Bembridge Flower Shop
were a source of constant compliments and cooing from our guests. Many of the flowers were soured from the local Wight Flower Farm
and had been grown just up the road from our home. Clare and I got to take trips to the farm to see what British flowers were seasonally available for the wedding and Clare beautifully incorporated these into her arrangements.
I knew Clare was a talented florist and I wanted her to give her the freedom to be creative. As such, the only thing I chose were the colours and a guideline style (sprawling not formal) - everything else was left in her hands. It was the best decision. What she came back with was far beyond what I could have hoped for. Clare said the huge peonies in our bouquets and table decorations had opened and bloomed on the journey to the wedding and I took that as a good sign. Clare also made my flower crown, bridesmaids hair flowers and the beautiful hanging foliage canopy hanging above our top table.
The Wedding Party
Originally I wanted the bridesmaids to be mismatched but my trouble in deciding on a colour scheme made this really difficult for the bridesmaids as I was regularly changing my mind. Having a blush dress made my choices a bit more limited and I experimented with other pastel colours but found the overall effect too sugary. In the end, I went for more earthy lilac grey multiway dresses which worked brilliantly. We brought the mismatched element into the Groomsmen outfits instead, who all wore navy suits with mismatched ties.
In the morning, our Mums came to the registry office with us and were our witnesses in our “legal” ceremony. It was a really special part of the day, which took me by surprise as we had been thinking of it mostly as a formality. Our mums have played huge roles in our upbringings and this quiet little ceremony was so intimate. I wore a yellow vintage tea-style dress that Harri always liked me to wear.
We had our outdoor ceremony, written by us, and “officiated” by Harri’s stepfather underneath the big tree by the lake in the afternoon. The sun shone for us, which just made it perfect as we didn’t have much of a back up plan if it had rained. All of our readings were from family members (we have seven parents between us and lots of siblings).
Our friend Alan, who Harri often plays music with locally, played me down the aisle with an acoustic version of ‘A Million Years’ by Alexander. For our exit we chose ‘If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out’ by Cat Stevens.
We had our first reading ‘The Union’ read by my Stepdad before we took our vows. Harri’s father read Kahlil Gibran’s ‘On Marriage’ and my sister finished by reading a letter that John Steinbeck wrote to his son on the subject of falling in love. Steinbeck is our favourite author and this was such a personal reading for us.
For our vows we adapted a version of a Buddhist prayer ‘A Blessing for the Journey’ by Sensei Wendy Egyoku Nakao. The words are just so beautiful and reflected what we wanted our promises to each other to be.
Because we had so much to remember we wrote our vows in little books that we could read from. As we went to exchange rings I suddenly realized I hadn’t written the words down for that part of our vows! Feeling panicked I whispered to Harri the mistake I had made and he just smiled at me mischievously and whispered “then we’ll just have to improvise”. He went on to make up the words on the spot, beautifully. It made me so happy. But then I remembered I had to repeat back what he had said and, a bit flustered, I said “with all the I HAM” instead of “with all that I am”. All of the guests burst into laughter. Now it’s one of my favourite moments, and it’s amazing how good it is to have a moment when you can laugh during these events. It really makes everyone relax.
Just like the venue, when we started planning the wedding we knew immediately who we wanted our band to be - The Dance Preachers
. This local folk band are well-known for bringing a good country knees up to any party on the Isle and they went down a storm.
We wanted the meal to be relaxed and so we went for a Hog Roast with all the trimmings. Our caterer, Fat Shaun
, is our local pub landlord too and he was a god send. The food was so delicious and he had everything running like clock work from the canapés during the drinks reception, to the meal itself and the evening food of mini-quiches and locally made Mottistone farm sausage rolls that went down a treat. We had chosen a wedding cake made out of cheese from the West Country Cheese Company
and guests were able to snack on this all evening – there wasn’t much left by the end and all the guests commented on how good the food was.
This was the very first thing I booked because I knew exactly who I wanted to capture our day. Jason Mark Harris
is such a talented photographer and although he’s based locally to us you have to book this man in advance! He gets flown to weddings all over the world by couples who see how talented he is. Beyond his obvious skills, Jason is also a very handy man to have at a wedding. He helps out wherever he can and brings such a happy vibe to the day. Amazingly, I never really saw him taking photographs! He just fits in. We are so grateful for the pictures we have, we give them away as birthday presents to family and friends who attended our wedding because people just love them. They are such a special reminder of our day.
The Wedding Night
For our wedding night, our friend Tom gave us a night’s stay at one of his wigwam pods, part of Tom’s Eco Lodges
, at Tapnell Farm. It was the perfect end to the day to be whisked off to a little pod overlooking rolling countryside for our first night as husband and wife. When we arrived, the pod was littered with rose petals and we had a bottle of bubbly waiting for us. So sweet!
One of the best decisions we made was to, as much as possible, make our wedding both personal and local. We know nearly every supplier on a personal level through our life here on the Isle of Wight, and whilst there may not be as much choice as other places like London, it gave everything that we did a personal touch. We felt surrounded by our family, friends and our community. When we got stuck on a decision, we asked ourselves ‘what would be the personal choice?’ and we used that as a guide. This was invaluable because it gave us a deeper connection to everything we chose and when the choices are meaningful it removes the pressure that everything has to ‘look perfect’. Ironically, when everything came together it was so much more than we expected which I’m sure, ultimately, was because of this.