So here’s a funny story for you, I actually ran into bride Naomi’s beautiful Mum in a nail salon earlier this year (!). We got chatting as we were sat side by side at separate tables having a manicure and she was talking about her daughters upcoming wedding, my technician Amelia said to her “Oh you’ll be interested in Charlotte then! she owns a wedding blog!”….
To which Naomi’s Mum replied “Oh how lovely! Which one is that?” And I replied “Rock My Wedding…” To which she replied “What?! THE wedding blog?!! Oh My goodness I must tell Naomi! She will be so thrilled!” or words to that effect. Yes it’s official – we are THE wedding blog. But you knew that already right?!
As you will see Naomi and Mark’s wedding at Ragley Hall is a truly elegant and sophisticated affair full to bursting with a whole host of talented suppliers from our curated directory The Love Lust List. The bride was a vision in her blush pink Naomi Neoh gown and the flowers were stunning – but then we wouldn’t expect anything less from Hannah at Bloom Fleuriste. All of the fabulous fashion and dreamy details were captured on camera by Anna Clarke and on film by Simon Clarke.
Get your pinterest fingers at the ready folks!
Naomi The Bride: I used to read Rock My Wedding before we were engaged (my excuse was that I was researching for engaged friends…) so when Mark proposed on Christmas Day in 2013, I couldn’t wait to start planning our wedding. Being her only Daughter, my Mum was very excited too and minutes after announcing our engagement to the family, produced a wedding magazine from her bag. I’m not sure Mark realised the planning would start quite so soon!
Ever since I was little, I’d always wanted to get married at our local church, St Mary’s in Lapworth. Many of my family had been baptised, married and buried there, including my Dad who died tragically when I was thirteen so it had a very special place in our hearts. We knew that on our wedding day, those that were not able to be there in person would be there in spirit.
For the reception venue, we were hoping to have a marquee in my Mum’s country garden but as it was an April wedding, we were concerned the ground would be too wet and the day would end up being a muddy mess!
After lots of researching, we drew up a very short list of venues we liked in the local area. We wanted somewhere that had beautiful gardens and a stunning room for the reception. We were worried we wouldn’t find anywhere but when we visited our third and final venue,
Ragley Hall in Alcester, we knew it was perfect. The gardens were endless and the Great Hall was breathtaking.
Fay from Hair Hostess was already my hairdresser so understood exactly what look I was trying to achieve, even when I changed my mind about the Bridesmaids’ hair last minute! My dress and the Bridesmaid dresses had exposed backs which I wanted to show off so I chose low twisted buns with fresh roses for the girls and a textured chignon for myself. I didn’t want our hair to look too perfect and Fay totally got this.
I love doing my own make-up but didn’t want the stress of wonky eyeliner and misbehaving false lashes on the morning of the wedding. A friend recommended Danni Smith who arrived with, I’m not joking, a SUITCASE full of make-up! We were like kids in a candy shop, asking Danni a billion questions. I was so pleased with the super-glam look she achieved and it lasted all day and night.
The Photographer and Videographer
We knew we’d like Anna Clarke from the start. She’d photographed a recent family wedding and we absolutely loved her relaxed style and ability to perfectly capture the emotion of the day. We were a little nervous about being in front of the camera so booked an e-shoot which really helped us feel a lot more comfortable. Our dog, Mollie aka superstar poser, wanted to be in all the photos!
We booked the super talented videographer Simon Clarke who produced a beautiful wedding film for us. Mark was initially worried he’d feel self-conscious being filmed but Simon explained exactly how it all worked which helped put his mind at ease. The film brings back all the memories of the day and I cry everytime I watch it! We’re both so glad we chose to have our wedding filmed, especially as we also have footage of the ceremony and speeches. A videographer is not something you will ever regret so if you’re thinking of booking one, do!
I first saw Fleur by Naomi Neoh in a wedding magazine and fell in love.
I booked an appointment with Victoria and Lisa at Cicily Bridal (who were fabulous throughout) and when I stepped out in Fleur, I knew it was the dress I was going to marry Mark in. I loved the beautiful blush pink layers of soft silk chiffon and delicate French lace jacket which epitomised my girly personality perfectly.
Getting married was a brilliant excuse to buy my dream pair of Christian Louboutins. I booked a private appointment at the boutique on Mount Street in London (totally free of charge with endless cups of tea) where my chief bridesmaid and I tried on pair after pair of gorgeous shoes before choosing some nude leather Pigalles. If I was going to spend a small fortune on footwear, I wanted to wear them again!
I had two Bridesmaids, my best friend Jody and my Cousin Hannah, who wore gorgeous blush pink dresses from JLM Couture. They had pretty lace detail on the shoulders and back which complemented my dress.
Mark and his Groomsmen, who were his brothers and friends from the village he grew up in, wore royal blue tails with blush pink ties and pocket squares which we hired from Peter Posh. To keep the look modern, Mark wore a pair of dark brown shoes from Hugo Boss.
As there was a lot going on with the dresses, we wanted to keep the jewellery understated so my Bridesmaids and I wore some beautiful earrings from Ivory & Co.
As the Great Hall at Ragley Hall was such a grand and ornate room, we kept the table decor simple using silver candelabra adorned with blush pink flowers, silver mercury tealights and crisp white linen. We opted for ruffle chair covers to add a little romance.
We wanted to have lots of flowers so they were a very important part of our wedding.
We were over the moon with the bouquets and buttonholes created by Hannah from Bloom Fleuriste. For the bouquets she used scented O’Hara roses (I couldn’t stop smelling my bouquet!), bombastic spray roses, fluffy peonies, astrantia and ranunculus in blush pink shades with silvery green olive and eucalyptus. The buttonholes were bombastic spray roses with olive leaves.
The church Flower Guild created magnificent displays of white lilies and pale pink roses which lit up as the sun shone through the stained glass windows.
My very talented Bridesmaid, Jody, created a stunning wreath for my Mum’s front door (where we were getting ready) using ranunculus, roses, pieris japonica and foliage from her garden. Her very thoughtful wedding gift to us is flowers for every season of the first year of our marriage to remind us of our wedding day.
A friend of the family created stunning displays for Ragley Hall. The large fireplace, top table and candelabra in the Great Hall were adorned with blush pink roses, peonies, hyacinth and eucalyptus.
Our favourite moment of the ceremony was when we first saw each other from the top of the aisle. It was something we’d been really looking forward to and was a very emotional part of the day. As I walked in to War March of the Priests by Mendelssohn, all I wanted was to be by Mark’s side. I must’ve been racing to get there as I remember my Mum reminding me to slow down!
Mark’s Granddad gave a bible reading, 3 Colossians v12-17 and my Godmother read the poem On Your Wedding Day, although the Rector nearly forgot about the second reading which made us all laugh. With the help of the choir, we sung Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer, Love Divine All Loves Excelling and our favourite hymn, Jerusalem. The choir sung Look At The World by John Rutter as we signed the registers.
After walking out to the Crown Imperial March by William Walton, guests showered us with home-dried sweet pea confetti from my Mum’s garden. I’d found a confetti cone tutorial online and made fifty cones from old piano sheet music bought from a charity shop.
We felt like royalty driving up to Ragley Hall in a 1950s cream Rolls Royce Silver Cloud. Thankfully the weather was sunny so we enjoyed champagne and canapés in the gardens whilst being entertained by the Nero String Quartet. They played both classical and popular music including the Game of Thrones theme!
We love food so it was high on our list of priorities. Aubrey Allen not only produced fabulous food but were incredibly professional, attentive and flexible to our requests. In particular, we asked for the wine to be served rather than left on the table to ensure everyone’s glass was always full!
For our wedding breakfast, we had trio of smoked salmon, crayfish and king prawns to start, followed by pork belly with crackling, creamy mash, seasonal vegetables and an apple cider jus which is one of our favourite meals. For me, it’s all about the pudding so we chose lemon tart, chocolate mousse and vanilla pannacotta. During the speeches, Aubrey Allen served delicious macaroons with tea and coffee.
Our first dance was to Tenerife Sea by Ed Sheeran. We wanted a song that had lyrics with a lot of meaning and Tenerife was our first holiday together. We felt like we were the only people in the room at that moment and it’s a feeling we won’t forget.
After lots of dancing, we knew we’d fancy something hearty as an evening snack. Aubrey Allen suggested their Warwickshire Whizzer sausages with crusty rolls and all the extras which went down a treat along with a cheese board.
Mark is a sweet fiend so we bought some Kilner jars, tied pink ribbons around them and filled with his favourite sweets. I found some pale pink and white stripey sweet bags from eBay to match. Much to Mark’s disappointment, the sweets didn’t last very long!
We found Tracey James from www.cottonandcrumbs.co.uk on Pinterest. We’d pinned a photo of our dream cake and clicked on the link just to see where this amazing cake was from, not expecting it would be anywhere near where we live. We couldn’t believe our luck when we found out Cotton & Crumbs was not only local but had one space left for April!
Our cake was an absolute work of art. Tracey used my dress as inspiration and perfectly matched the blush pink icing, lace detailing and stunning sugar roses. We had three flavours; chocolate with salted caramel buttercream, lime and coconut and white chocolate with strawberry and champagne icing. She also made pretty vanilla cupcakes to go on pink cake stands from Not on the High Street and in china cups I sourced from eBay.
I work in advertising so was lucky to have a clever artworker who set-up the stationery. To tie in with our theme, we used a blush pink lace pattern throughout and textured card to give a luxurious feel.
My Mum spent hours sewing together little lace ‘garters’ to slip over the invites which were tied up with pink ribbon.
We spent ages trying to think of names for our tables before coming up with wildlife in the Maldives as this was our honeymoon destination. However, we were not convinced the guests fully understood why some of the tables were called ‘Reef Shark’ and ‘Manta Ray’!
For our table plan, we borrowed a large wooden frame that our recently married friends used at their wedding and leftover lace from the invites. Mark and I spent an afternoon measuring and gluing all the elements together which left us in stitches as I’m clearly rubbish at maths and can’t cut straight. We don’t think anyone noticed on the day…
We didn’t want a traditional guestbook so guests wrote messages on wooden hearts to go into a frame.
Try to book suppliers recommended by your venue or friends. Go with your gut instinct – if you don’t think a supplier feels right, they’re probably not!
Lists are your best friend. Closer to the wedding, I made weekly lists so jobs were more manageable. It’s very satisfying ticking things off!
Try your dress on at home before your wedding day. It’s not always as easy as it seems to get on, especially on the morning of the wedding when stress levels may be high. At the same time, do a trial run of bustling your dress. We didn’t do this and my Bridesmaids spent about 15 minutes buried in my dress trying to find the buttons. I ended up with a random layer swinging around as we couldn’t work out where it went!
If your house is going to be photographed and filmed, give it a good spring clean a week before, tidy up the garden and buy flowers for the house. We completely forgot that some of our lights didn’t have shades on but thankfully Anna retouched these out in the photos! Have a think about getting ready outfits too. I bought some lovely floral cotton gowns from Etsy.
Put baskets in the girls and boys loos with essentials like hairspray, mints and plasters. Our guests really liked these and the hairspray came in handy when I removed my veil.
And finally, enjoy every single minute of being engaged and getting married. We absolutely loved planning our wedding and seeing it all come together on the day. But the most important part to remember is that you’re doing it all because you want to spend the rest of your life with the person you love.
Photography by WE ARE // THE CLARKES
- Videographer Simon Clarke Films
- Dress Designer Naomi Neoh – Fleur
- Bridal Boutique Cicily Bridal
- Bridal Shoes Christian Louboutin
- Hair Accessory Ivory & Co.
- Bridesmaid Dresses JLM Couture
- Groomsmen Suits Peter Posh
- Socks Jack Willis
- Button Cufflinks Not On The High Street
- Grooms Shoes Hugo Boss
- Venue Ragley Hall
- Florists Bloom Fleuriste
- Catering Aubrey Allen
- String Quartet Nero String Quartet
- Cake Cotton and Crumbs
- Getting Ready Robes Etsy Shop Silk and More
- Hair Stylist Hair Hostess
- Bridal Makeup Danni Smith