Jodie and Matt were married at the Lillibrooke Manor. Their new surname was Bean so all of the invites, table plans, table names and even favours were bean related… The tables were named after different types of bean, the favours were engraved plantable beans. So personal and so much fun a the same time.
Jodie is a graphic designer, she focused on all the details and everything looked beautiful, even the rain couldn’t put a dampener on things.
Jodie The Bride: We originally looked for venues for our big day around our home turf in Hertfordshire but decided to make it easier for ourselves and have it nearer to us in Berkshire. I knew I wanted a barn or something equally as beautiful as a venue but with the possibility of putting our own stamp on the decoration. We went to view Lillibrooke Manor and booked it the same day – it was a great venue with multiple rooms, a pretty convenient location and it was already stunning to start with!
We decorated it simply and effectively – I’m a graphic designer so, for me, decoration and design was a big thing. I designed all the invitations and other stationery myself, with a bright and bold colour scheme that carried on into the decorations. I wanted it to look contemporary and fun, and luckily the colours I stuck with – dark blue, aqua and hot pink- were all over the high street a few months later so picking up bits and pieces was quite easy! I definitely wanted good lighting and hired out the festoon lights for the barn from CineMATTag Productions, they looked so beautiful on the day! This was a large chunk of our decoration budget so the rest were made or sourced online quite cheaply – paper fan garlands, streamers and giant balloons which just looked brilliant and filled the spaces with colour, as well as making really fun photo props. We have to thank the small team of friends and family who put those up on the day!
I wanted cost effective and simple centrepieces and collected some super cheap old plain vases at a charity fair. On the morning my mum went round and filled them with sprigs of gypsophila bought in bulk from a florist down the road! As we would be Mr & Mrs Bean, the tables were named after types of beans and the theme continued with our favours. I wasn’t too fussed with the idea of favours originally but Matt found a supplier online who laser etched words into beans which our guests then took to grow at home, with the words eventually being visible on the leaves of the plant. Our ‘magic beans’ were a hit, we still get tagged in people’s pictures of their efforts to grow them! It’s one of the memorable little personal touches that people will remember.
My dress came from a local bridal boutique in Reading, Bride to be. I tried on a variety of styles in different places but ended up going with what I knew I wanted – an ivory lace dress that was both flatteringly fitted and easy to move in. My lovely Essence of Australia number was perfect! High and detailed at the front with a beautiful open back, and the easiest to move about in by far of all the ones I tried! The lace was so beautiful that I didn’t need to worry about sparkly accessories or a veil – which I hated the idea of for me. I knew I wanted flat shoes as Matt and I are the same height, and I wanted to be comfortable all day. My lovely bright fuschia satin Dessy pumps came from good old Amazon online and gave the most brilliant colour pop when they peeked under the dress to tie in with my bright theme. My hair and make-up were done by the very brilliant Joyce and Hayley from Brides and Beauty – they understood exactly what I wanted and worked wonders for me! They adorned my hair with little brightly coloured resin flower clips I found on Etsy.
My bridesmaids dresses also came from Etsy, beautiful wrap dresses in charcoal that they all had a play with to find the best way to wear to suit them. They all looked great in them and I couldn’t believe they were great replicas of some of the top boutique bridesmaids dresses but at a fraction of the price! We also all had beautiful fine mesh shawls from – you guessed it! – Etsy that were the perfect cover up, and topped the outfits off beautifully. They looked amazing!
Matt’s suit came from the Reiss sale and they were very helpful in altering to ensure a great fit – he picked up the first one he tried on and it looked perfect! He knew I was quite keen on colour matching and, to my delight, sought out a tie and even socks matching my colours and designs! Definitely a keeper!
We decided to serve up tapas for our guests’ meals, it was a great way of ensuring people got to pick what they liked and got everyone on the tables talking as they passed the food around. I’m vegetarian and so are a lot of my family so it was nice that everyone could eat from the same selection. Being a massive cake lover, the cake was one of my favourite details of the day. I’d tasted Poshpud’s early work before and knew that I wanted something that tasted amazing as well as looked the part! Kirsty and Claire were great at working with my ideas for a colourful geometric masterpiece, and both the chocolate sponge and vanilla sponge tiers tasted amazing.
Our flowers were done by Paula Rooney, a recommendation from the beauty team. As well as my bouquet, we just wanted simple buttonholes and simple gypsophila posies to match the table flowers. I picked a mix of shapes and textures for my bouquet, and wanted the colours to keep with the theme; Paula put together a beautifully packed arrangement of white roses, gypsophila, blue thistles, eucalyptus and little pink bouvardia.
One great bit of advice I got when planning was to prioritise in both time and budget the rings and the photography, as those will be the things that last forever. Our photographer, Nichola from Lemonade Pictures was absolutely brilliant – I’m glad I did all the research and found her because her photographs were amazing, a great mix of classic, fun and reportage. She was energetic, professional and all the guests were impressed at how unobtrusive and lovely the photographers were. We had hundreds of beautiful shots and I’m glad I placed the importance on finding the right person. We looked to make savings in lots of other places – I didn’t see the point of having a fancy car that nobody would see me in so booked a taxi to take me, my dad and sister to the venue, and everything that I could source online at a better price I did – I know I mentioned it before but Etsy and Ebay are such fantastic resources for a bride! Not only can it make things more manageable but your wedding can also be a unique mix of small businesses craft and handiwork from across the globe!
A lot of people mentioned how relaxed and calm we were on our wedding day. The photographer marvelled at my ability to eat a normal lunch before the ceremony! I expected to be stressing out a lot more but thanks to all the help from our family and friends with the set up and the tireless efforts of our best man, everything was fine and looked perfect. We worked hard in the weeks leading up to it and it wasn’t easy for us or the families as Matt’s dad unfortunately passed away suddenly 3 weeks beforehand. In a way, it meant that all the silly little details and usual minor stresses just didn’t seem as important anymore; the main thing was that everybody was going to be together. I’ll never forget just how wonderful all our friends and family were and how much support they offered.
My main advice would be to prioritise what’s important to you and not to let the stress overcome you, because that’s not what it’s about. Utilise the internet as best you can to get ideas and details. If it look like it might possibly rain then have an umbrella plan in place at least 2 weeks in advance – we could have saved time and money if we’d hired a few in time! Task someone with handing round cake after it’s cut so everyone gets to have some, we ended up taking a lot home. And most importantly, just enjoy yourselves spending the day with the people you love!