Lucy The Bride:
We got engaged after almost 5 years together, on Tom’s family farm, in March 2015. We are extremely lucky that our families live close by, despite meeting in Fez Club in Putney, and all of our families were at home to celebrate with us. Once the hangovers had cleared we had to pick a date, did we push for September or wait until the following summer? Venue availability didn’t really affect our thinking as I knew that I would always get married at home with a marquee in the garden. We decided to give ourselves a bit of breathing space and went for June 2016. Having been to many friends’ weddings we already had a good idea of what we wanted for our day and got asking people who they used for different aspects. The marquee we stole from our best man, although we ended up with a slightly different one. And our evening entertainment, The Chip Shop Boys
, we borrowed from friends, who had the fullest wedding dance floor we have experienced!
I really wanted to get married in my childhood church where I had been christened, which meant we could walk. But there were a couple of downsides to it. The church only holds 120 at a squeeze and we had invited close to 200. Rather than taking the easy option, we decided to live screen the service outside to a gazebo in the next door field and serve beer and pimms. Luckily, everyone in the tent got fully involved in the service and had a great time in there – I just wish we could have seen it in action! The second was the church organ. It is great for about 3 minutes and then takes on a life of its own. We had originally wanted Toms uncle to play the organ for us but it soon became apparent this wasn’t going to be possible. So, we decided to do something totally different and have a 5-piece brass band play our church music. The fanfare as Dad and I entered the church was amazing, I really felt like a Disney princess! I walked down to the church with my 8 bridesmaids, 2 flower girls, page boy and my Dad. It was amazing, and some people from the village were sat out drinking champagne to celebrate our wedding which was lovely, even if we did look like quite a rabble! The church flowers were done by my new mother in law and the church has never looked so beautiful. After the service, Tom and I drove away in his granddads original E-type Jaguar, because I live in a small village we didn’t want to drive too far. Instead, we decided to go to my village pub and have a drink before heading back to the reception. Having those 15 minutes just the 2 of us was fantastic if a bit surreal!
From helping friends, I knew how much work went into weddings and how little guests actually pay attention too. So I decided our table plan would be my focus for a bit of DIY – everyone has to look at that, you can’t miss it! We did ‘Find your face to find your place’ which involved finding photos of every guest coming to the day. Guests then had to find their picture to get the table they were sitting on. We had so much fun going through old family photos to find my parents friends, we had some real classic ‘80s outfits I think people would have preferred to forget. I have never seen people look at a table plan so early in the day!
I knew I wanted my wedding dress to be simple with a big skirt. After doing a little online research a found a dress at Pronovias
that I loved. I went to the Pronovias shop on New Bond Street to try on dresses with my mum, sister and some bridesmaids, instead of finding one dress I loved, I found 5. After a couple more visits to the shop I had made my mind up, then went back again and changed it! It was not the Pronovias dress that caught my eye online, but one picked out by a bridesmaid on our first visit to the shop.
My assistant in the shop was so patient and helpful with all my indecision and really spent the time to be certain I was sure. I was so happy with my dress on the day, it was clean, simple and elegant whilst being comfortable and having pockets so my hands didn’t look all awkward! I was a little anxious about having my hair and make-up done so did my trial in early January to put my mind at ease. I knew I wanted my hair up in a simple but classic style. Donna from Beauty Angels
was amazing. She was kind, friendly, had super attention to detail and totally understood what I wanted. I really enjoyed getting my hair and make up done on the big day. It was a little bit of quiet time and Donna was great, so chatty and friendly – she really put me at ease. I couldn’t have been happier with how I looked. I still looked like me, but the best version possible.
As I had 8 bridesmaids it was never going to be easy to dress them all, especially when 2 were feeding babies and 1 was 6 months pregnant. After buying lots of different navy dresses I did a total u-turn and I decided to go for skirts. I settled on a beautiful grey/blue tutu skirt from ASOS
that was mid length. In the back of my mind, I had always wanted to the bridesmaids to not be too matching. So with the tops I decided to let everyone get their own top to suit them. That way all the different shapes and requirements could be dealt with and everyone would feel happy and comfortable. I was so happy with how it worked out in the end, everyone looked beautiful.
Our drinks reception was held in my parents garden and then we had a marquee in the field behind our garden. Tom really wanted a double bass for the music during the drinks reception, so his step dad organised a 3 piece to play for us, it really helped to convey the relaxed environment we both wanted. They were brilliant and all the guests seemed to really enjoy it. I knew I didn’t want a strict colour scheme but instead wanted everything to be lots of bright colours. Our flowers were all garden flowers, grown by our florist, Field Gate Flowers
, and they got exactly what I wanted. We wanted our day to be a real countryside wedding with quite a relaxed feel to it. My bouquet was beautiful with all the bright colours I had imagined, I think it looks great in the photos with the pop of colour. Toms step-mum made the button holes which tied in perfectly with the bouquets. Our favours were home made Sloe gin, Damson gin and Cherry Brandy made by family, which was very popular, and home-made wedding chutney for our starter. Our marquee was very pretty on its own so it didn’t need too much doing to it, but I did want to add some colour. We had giant helium balloons on the tables, Fez hats on the top table as a nod to where we met, a fancy dress box on the dance floor and a couple of life size cut-outs of the Queen as she was celebrating her birthday the same day as our wedding. It all made for some very entertaining photos later in the evening. We also had a selection of our favourite snacks - creme eggs and mini cheddars!
Our caterers were fantastic. From the moment we did our tasting we knew they were the right people for us. We got their name, Great Tasting
, from some family friends who had used them at their wedding. With Tom being from a farming family and with plenty of farmers coming to celebrate with us we knew the food was important. It has to be delicious with plenty of it. We took a risk (as a friend is a cattle farmer!) and went with Roast Beef. We had designated carvers on each table who had a novelty apron and hat, people saw them as a badge of honour and wore them well into the evening.
The Photography & Videography
We decided to have a photographer and videographer there to capture the day for us. From our first meeting with Aaron
we knew that he was the photographer for us. He put us both at ease immediately and seemed to be totally on the same page as us with our vision for the wedding. We didn’t want to spend hours having formal photos taken, nor did we want them to look to posed and staged. We were looking for someone that would be able to capture us. On the day Aaron was great, he was friendly and unobtrusive. He caught some wonderful moments from the day. There are some great photos from everyone getting ready in the morning, the fun being had in the church gazebo, the surprise as we were greeted leaving the church to the laughter at the speeches and the fun people had on the dance floor. Aaron really did manage to capture all of the most important parts of our day and all the small details that made it so special for us. We are over the moon with them and couldn’t have asked for anything better. The spirit of the day, the atmosphere, the colours and the sheer happiness have all been captured beautifully. Even our portraits were great, and we were not naturals in front of the camera! Our problem know is deciding which ones don’t get to go up on the walls at home!
The First Dance
Tom and I don't have a 'song' and so our first dance was feeling a little forced and awkward when we talked about it. We decided to do a first dance tombola instead. We got all guests to write a first dance suggestion on the back of their name place and put it into a tombola. It was the perfect opportunity for friends to truly stitch us up so we gave ourselves 3 veto's if needed! We were very lucky, my 2 year old niece (who was a flower girl) put in the Bare Necessities and it was the first one we pulled out. It was such a fun song for everyone to dance to and actually tied in well with the sermon from the vicar during our service. It is such a happy song and makes me smile even more now.
Tom has said it took him so long to propose because he didn’t want to have to do the planning! But I think he actually found it all quite fun and quite relaxed. There were no big rows between people, everyone just wanted to help make it a day to remember. It was really important for me that people could see both Tom and I in the day and nearly (!) all ideas and decisions were run past him. For us, it was really important to enjoy the planning as well as the day. I think if the planning had been stressful then I wouldn’t be able to remember the day so fondly.