We've got a gorgeous pastel infused, rustic barn wedding for you this afternoon, courtesy of the lovely Matt Ethan photography. Bride Nicola is rocking a bardot neckline Charlotte Balbier number - make sure you read her advice about trying on dresses - never have truer words been spoken. As well as looking like a total babe, Nicola crafted and styled lots of the elements of this pretty wedding day herself. And the final result is simply lovely. I promise you're going to love it...
The BrideNicola The Bride: I found a lovely shop online in Rochester run by two sisters Nicole and Alex - The Wild Heart Bridal. After picking four dresses in the style I thought I wanted, trying them on it became clear the style didn't suit me at all. Alex then picked out a Charlotte Balbier dress called Alexandria. Seeing it, I wasn't too sure about it but put it on anyway, as soon as it was on I knew it was the one! I didn't want to take it off. Always try a range of different styles as it may surprise you. I am so pleased I went with the dress, it was perfect I felt so comfortable all day and was so sad when the day was over and had to take it off. My initial thought was I didn't want shoes that looked like wedding shoes I wanted something I'd be able to wear again. Then the idea of blue shoes came to mind. I found these whilst out shopping and they were exactly what I wanted. The heel wasn't massively high so I could keep them on all day and being blue I managed to tick off "something blue" on the list. I tried to keep my jewellery simple, I was so pleased that my Nan's pearl necklace went with the dress. That was my something old and borrowed and as she is not with us anymore it felt extra special that it was apart of the day. I managed to find some pearl looking earrings in Accessorize with little diamantes around them. For my hair I knew from the beginning I didn't want a veil, I did try one just incase but didn't feel like it was my kind of style. I found Pinterest and Instagram my holy grail whilst looking for ideas for everything and saw some wedding hair pictures with hair vines. I found a lovely hair vine on ASOS which had a very slight blue tint to some of it and pearls so it matched everything perfectly.
The Groom & GroomsmenNavy suit with grey waist coat all from French Connection. Brown Oliver Sweeney shoes. All the groomsmen had matching ties but we wanted Steve to stand out and look a bit different so he wore a pink bow tie. They all wore pink groom/best man and usher socks.
The VenueWe came across Blake Hall whilst reading blogs. It was the second venue we looked at and even before seeing the venue, just by driving up through the grounds we both said this is the place. The grounds are beautiful and with the two barns on site it ticked everything we wanted. We met with Austin who showed us round and no detail was spared. The whole team were great on the build up to the day. Just when I thought I had asked all the questions I needed to I would always think of something else and there was always a quick response back. Ask as many questions as you need to I was always told no question is too silly to ask. We married in the hay barn and had the reception and evening in the barn opposite. It saved the guests having to stand around waiting for the venue to change the barn over from ceremony to reception. We were lucky enough to have a beautiful bright April day which complemented the floor to ceiling windows that we married in front of. There was the stable cottage around the back of the hay barn that myself, mum and bridesmaids stayed in the night before. There was a room dedicated to getting ready with a big mirror and lights around to give enough space and light for the make up artist Kerry from Blend Make Up London and my close friend Hannah who did our hair to work with. The cottage was out of sight of guests arriving so there was no chance of anyone accidentally seeing us before the wedding! Austin, Natalie and Dave the caterer were on hand the whole day, working in the back ground making sure everything went smoothly and it really did. We felt relaxed the whole day and it couldn't have gone any better. We also had a lovely surprise when going back to our cottage for the wedding night. When walking in on the TV there was a slide show playing of some pictures from the day! What a great way to top off our perfect day.
The DecorThe barn was decorated by Chris Earle Lighting. We didn't want anything too over the top so we went with fairy lights behind the top table and wrapped around the beams of the barn. Behind the top table we could also have a choice of coloured lights so we went with pink to fit in with everything else. About a month before the wedding we had the idea of hanging up some pictures around the venue of all our guests. We thought it would be a nice way to include them in or day as much as possible. We decided to do this by getting pictures made into Polaroid prints and with a bit of string and mini wooden pegs from hobby craft we made picture bunting. It was nice to see all the guests head straight over and have a bit of a laugh looking at some silly pictures of each other. We made a sweet table ourselves to cater for the children (and adults) we ordered some glass jars from eBay and filled them ourselves with sweets. As it was Easter weekend we thought mini eggs would be a good idea for the favours. My mum filled up glass jars and wrapped some ribbon around the lid all from Hobby Craft. They seemed to go down well as there were only a couple left over at the end. We also sprinkled some Mr & Mrs wooden hearts around the tables to tie in with the barn theme. For the table centre pieces we had sliced logs with jam jars filled with flowers that Karen arranged for us and bought some chalk board heart sticks from hobby craft to put our table named on. On the top table we had a crate of flowers engraved with our name and date of wedding purchased via Karen from Plant A Box. This was also used for the table at the wedding ceremony and was bought over for the top table. Karen had kindly advised us that there was no need to purchase two lots of flowers for the ceremony and then reception we might as well use one lot for both. It helped with the cost and also saved on wasting flowers that would then not been seen. For our guest book we didn't want something that would probably end up in a drawer never to be seen again, so my sister/maid of honour Anna had seen an idea of a large photo frame that you can put our photo in the middle and our names and date of wedding around the frame, everyone signed and left messages around the picture. Anna and my other bridesmaid Lucy did a great job walking round throughout the evening making sure everyone had signed it for us. It is already hanging up in our home and will always be a reminder of our special day
The FlowersKaren was the only one we wanted to do our flowers from meeting her at Blake Hall's wedding show she was also a recommended supplier from the venue so she knew exactly what would work with the barn. We went for light pinks and white with a bit of green. The bridesmaids bouquets were a smaller version of mine but we added Cala Lily's into mine to make it slightly different. I originally wanted peonies but after meeting with Karen she advised they would not quite be in season yet so it could be a risk as they might not look at their best. She showed us another flower that was quite similar called runuculus which was perfect. Quite a few guests have since asked what they were as they were quite unusual and are trying to track them down to have for themselves
The Wedding PartyThe bridesmaids dresses ended up being a lot harder to purchase than I imagined it would I originally had 3 bridesmaids my 2 close friends Lucy and Jess and my sister Anna (maid of honour). Jess then had the greatest news that she was expecting and would like to still carry on and help with bridesmaid duties but not wear the dress. After lots of online shopping and dresses turning up looking completely different to the pictures shown we hit the shops and eventually found them in Monsoon. They were long light pink with some sparkly beaded detail on top. The girls looked beautiful! Jess wore a dress in a matching colour to the girls which was lovely so she was still part of the wedding party. The groomsmen wore a navy Marks and Spencer's suit but we changed it around a bit and added a grey French connection waist coat. We tried to match my sons outfit as closely to the groomsmen as possible. We found him a lovely navy suit and grey waistcoat from River Island children's section. Karen made matching buttonholes for the groomsmen my son and our parents.
The EntertainmentI really wanted a band for the evening but Steve was keen on a DJ. We went to Blake halls wedding show just under a year before the wedding and saw Marc Halls performing. He is an acoustic guitar player singing and playing up to date and old songs in such a lovely way. As soon as I saw him I knew I wanted him to be apart of our day. So we compromised and had Marc play whilst drinks canapés and pictures were being taken. It was so lovely to have him playing in the background and made for a really nice chilled out atmosphere. We had so many people comment on how good he was. For the evening we had MMEM LTD DJ for us which I found through a lot of online searching on google. We liked the sound of them as they were not just advertised as a wedding dj they also do events for opening of bars etc so thought they would have a good mix of music to suit everyone. We were given a log in to pick 30 must have songs 20 that we would quite like and 10 a definite no then the DJ filled the rest going by our choices and how the guests were liking certain songs. The dance floor was always full and really kept everyone entertained. By this point my shoes ended up coming off as I was dancing so much!
The FoodThe food and drinks were provided by Waters Edge. They are the catering company that comes with the venue. We had a meeting with Dave and Austin a couple of months before to choose our menu. They had a great variety to choose from and it was hard to pick just from the choices that were given. The food was amazing and had so many compliments with how delicious everything was.
The VideographyWe were not going to originally have a videographer but my bridesmaid Lucy married the previous year said she really recommended it as it's nice to watch back and listen and be able to get snippets of people enjoying the day. I had also read that it's one of the biggest regrets people had not having one. We booked Glenn who runs Hitched Films based in Somerset. We liked the sound of him as he had one fee for everything there was no different packages and extras to consider. He was professional and you didn't even realise he was there which made the nerves better of knowing you was being filmed all day.
The PhotographyI came across Matt Ethan from seeing his pictures of an old school friends wedding on Facebook. Even before we got engaged I remember looking at his pictures and thinking if I ever got married that's the exact style I'd like. So when Steve eventually got down on one knee and our wedding planning started I headed straight to Facebook to track him down. It's one of the best decisions we made! He was so professional and captured everything from the day we could have wanted. We liked the more relaxed style pictures and that's exactly what he delivered. Everyone loved him he was so friendly and took pictures from angles we didn't even realise he was there doing. I would highly recommend doing your research for a photographer as these pictures will stay with you forever and we couldn't be happier that we chose him.
The CakeWe were given Fays contact details as a recommendation by a friend who had the most amazing vegas themed birthday cake. She met us at our house with different flavours to try. They were all so yummy it was hard to decide what to go for. We wanted to have a cake that looked slightly more natural and rustic so asked for buttercream icing to make it look softer. With an ombré effect to tie in with the theme of the blush pink. We had 3 tiers of Victoria sponge, Oreo and red velvet. It stayed fresh for ages!
Bride: Charlotte Balbier | Boutique: The Wild Heart Bridal | Shoes: Ted Baker | Groom: French Connection | Venue: Blake Hall | Make Up: Blend Make Up | Lighting: Chris Earle | Flower Crate: Plant A Box | Flowers: The Flower Mill | Bridesmaids: Monsoon | Groomsmen: M&S | Acoustic Guitar: Marc Halls | DJ: Matt Maurice | Food: Waters Edge | Videography: Hitched Films