So, we are loving the Royal Wedding. Thats a given. But although a match made in heaven (Royal Wedding meets Wedding Blog) it’s also somewhat of an ironic relationship… after all Kate is hardly going to be doing it her way, is she?
Not so todays bride! The antithesis of the Royal wedding, totally irreverant, relaxed, casual and her-day-her-way, Polly (and Josh!) are just as much of an inspiration. And a welcome break from the Regal anticipation, ready for some full on flag waving tomorrow. Bring it on.
But first, meet Polly, and her seriously laugh-a-minute, crazy write up!
A Magical Garden Party
We were married on Saturday July 25th 2009 in Granny Pixie’s garden….The ceremony was held on the drive outside Cedar Court, our family home where my mom & her 3 brothers grew up and I spent all of my childhood playing amazing games of hide & seek, building dens and 20 for sunday lunch was all part of ‘the norm’!! It was a scruffy old house, all dusty with a funny smell…. the most magical home in the world!!
As soon as I phoned Pixie to tell her Josh (who I call ‘tree boy’ because he is a tree surgeon and climbs tress all day!) and me (Polly) .. (Josh’s mum and dad call us ‘Posh and Jolly’ its a good spoonerisum, full of irony!) Anyway… what was I saying.?! oh yeah, telling granny we were getting hitched…. she said “well of course you are, and it will be here” Infact when I first took Josh to walk around the fields of this precious loving land, in our early ‘dating days’ he said, quite out of the blue “you’ll get married here.” In my fariy tale la la world I thought then. “we’ll get married here”!!
The Deed itself
Well we actually did the official marriage bit on the Wednesday 22nd in Lichfield registery office. I wore a ‘hand me down’ Aunty Pauline’s vintage sequined pearl white ‘dream girls’ dress. So that cost only £50.00 to be re lined and have the back cut out and a massive slit put in!! (she was slimmer than me when she was 21! (40 years ago) so the alterations were to allow me to breath…
The magical garden party dress I found in Kendals, Manchester. It was on the Sale Rail in ‘ANOUSHKA G’ and cost £80.00. I wasn’t sure what I wanted really but it needed to be fairy tale like and I love flowers and butterflies and sparkle… My best friend Flippy saw it and called me over, I knew it was the dress I was going to buy!
Prior to this, me and my sister-in-law has tried a few on, I LOVED Jenny Packham designs and had wedding dress envy when my friend floated down the isle in ‘PAPILLION’. I booked an appointment at the Jenny Packham boutique and me and fabuolus Andrew Stephen Lavin went to try some on….. A perfik full grey sequence dress I fell in love with… just too too too too too too expensive! This was a wedding built on fresh air and love, not ridiculous spending and so I let the idea of ‘designer’ go… the ‘trying on’ experience was all I really needed!
When we went engagement ring shopping in York we found this amazing Jewellers called ‘Cavendish Jewelers’ They specialise in vintage and 2nd hand pieces. I noticed a pair of Art Deco diamond and rose quartz earings in the window… sooooooo pretty! anyway I was quickly told thats not what we’d come for and so I turned my attention to the rings… I had the moment when I put on an Emerald and Diamond Art Deco ring and my eyes filled with tears… I left the shop and Josh appeared 10 minutes later in a full sweat having buckled under the presure of the purchase and inserted his pin number incorrectly 3 times!! After frantic phone calls and a beer or 2, I had my fairy tale ring. On our wedding night of the 22nd, Josh produced the earings I’d seen in the window… so spoilt, so happy fresh air and love and a lot of tears… needless to say, I wore then to our garden party wedding on Saturday along with my great grandma ‘Lady T’s’ emerald and diamond necklace! I had worn it to my mom’s wedding in 1981. The morning of my fairy tale day, I woke up to find it next to me, on the pillow with a letter from mom…. it was an effortless choice of accessories, Love mostly! With a load of fresh flowers to twine it all together in my curly hair!
I brought my shoes before the dress… full multi coloured glitter sparkle from Nine West. They weren’t expensive – about £50.00. I loved them, but was never intending to skip around the fields in heels! So after walking up the drive to meet my man, strutting in the sunshine all sparkles and smiles, to Areatha Franklin. I then changed into a pair of gold HAVIANA flip flops and danced and skipped till I dropped!
On Wednesday Flippy did my hair and make up. She is like this sunshine of creative magic and she heated up the rollers, painted my face and I felt like a Hollywood screen goddess!! Glam but not over made up. On the Saturday for the garden party Shabaz ‘Shabba’ Hussain ‘The Fabulous’, the best creative hair magician this side of the Mississippi!! One of my bestest friends and dream weaver….curled and pinned my locks with fresh flowers and dazzle. Flippy and my very glamorous cousins painted my face…. I was a fairy princess, Titania from Midsummer nights dream. The look was soft, easy, pretty but not try hard or heavy. I didn’t want to look ‘different’ and so ‘coiffered’ I would be uncomfortable and Josh would be like ‘what have you done with Polly?!’ Infact he made me promise I wouldn’t do that!! I trusted my friends!! (I’d had the hen doo, they’d done their worst, so no more pay back was in the wings waiting!!)
Wild flowers, meadow flowers, any flowers that were at the flower market at 5am on the Friday! Me, Lala, Flippy and Chalky went on a mission and spent £70.00. this made my bouquet, 3 bridesmaids bouquets, loads of button holes and fillied tea pots and coffee pots to the brim with flowers….
Chalky made the bouquets and button holes! She is clever! And Pops and Joe filled the tea pots and coffee pots for the tables and made the most beautiful centre piece at the head of the top table! Pop’s and Joe are just so special. It was the two of them that ‘saw’ my fairy tale and from the very beginning built it with us!
We had a planting day in May, all the family gathered at Granny Pixies and planted sweet peas, those that couldn’t make it planted pots at home and brought them to the garden on the Friday!! It was brilliant fun. Everyone loved being involved. Pixie called it the ‘Armarda’! I was also given a load of silk flowers that my girlies twisted and weaved around a chandelier fitting and hung on of the trees!
The bridesmaids brought their dresses themselves!! I said a purple, lilac, mauve-ish pallet… but be comfortable and make sure it’s something you’ll wear again! I don’t think you can dress people in something totally out of character and expect them to feel relaxed and happy… especially when they have such individual style… it worked, they are all stunning so I knew it would!!!
We Heart pictures
There is only one! HECTOR MORA!!! Hector and Charlie together (We Heart Pictures) are just mind blowingly brilliant at capturing love, at seeing magic… We had no idea what we ‘wanted’ other than nothing formal!! I honestly cannot tell you how utterly brilliant they are. I have never seen wedding photo’s like it. You see for yourself! My friend had them do her wedding after seeing our album!
Queen of Cupcakes
My friend Babbit, queen of cup cakes made us a 2 giant cup cakes for tree boy & polly pocket and a hundred or more little ones!! They all got eaten, the kids were all sugar loved up! But the fairy tale castle cake was a total and complete surprise! I had no idea until I saw it on the wedding day! Momma Brown had kept the whole idea a secret. It was a triple layer fruit cake that she decorated with turrets!
This was a wedding built on love and friendship… my friends from uni are very talented and Tim played the guita and bobin the double bass and my cousin with a voice like velvet sang Sister Sledge ‘I’m thinkin of you’ as part of the ceremony! I cried… it was goose bumply beautiful!!
Bunting…. over a thousand metres of it! Made lovingly by me and Flip in the kitchen!! My Mom and Momma Brown posted us triangles and between us we pinking sheered and stitched what felt like miles and miles of it!! It went all around the top terrace, the marquee and the fields… it looked ace!
Because we we’re in Pixie’s garden and the Marquee went up on the Thursday we had access when we wanted and no short time scale to get it all done! Don’t get me wrong, it was a hard grafting sweat shop but we did it and enjoyed it!
I guess because I had a ‘vision’ of how I wanted the day to feel… the process of building it was dreamy… It wasn’t stressful (although to be fair my mom is pretty organised and dotted the I’s and crossed the T’s with stuff I might have forgotten about!) like table clothes and helpers!!
The marquee company gave us 240 old seat pads…. and I hoarded any fabric I could… borrowed a few staple guns, set up a sweat shop in my lounge and covered every single one in colourful, crazy fabric!! they looked like tubes of refressers when we were getting them to the tent! Everyone helped.. even at school ( I teach Art & Photography) the lovely ladies on reception were bringing my in bags of material! I have to say the seats looks stunning! The idea was that after tea and scones, you could take your seat pad into the field to sit on while you ate your picnic!
The ‘High Tea’ was set out in the marquee and was the only ‘formal’ bit of the day. All the tables 4 rows of tressels we’re laid up with mish mash china that my mom, dad & joe and I had been buying up from charity shops and car boot sales for the 6 months prior to the wedding! The Norm and Hat had car booted coffee pots and tea pots and the babbit lent us her hord of cake stands too!!
A Booming Dance Floor
For the evening we had a band… about a 9 piece band we’d seen at a friends wedding and had danced all night on a booming dance floor. They travelled up from Bristol ……. They were awesome… really fun. We wanted live music for the main part. After they had finished around midnight we had a mate DJ Mike spin his 7” records… when he had beer breaks someone else produced bag of records and so it was open decks really!
Another of my best friends Jo ‘The Norm’ and Jon ‘The Hat’ who own a pub in Salford ‘The Kings Arms’ (which is THE most ecclectic fusion of proper beer, busking, knitting, art and theatre you could ever put in one building) built a bar, but up lights and video projects all over the garden and in the trees and marquee… it was a visual sensation… Ken even played the video of the ceremony onto the ceiling of the tent!! Bloody brilliant!
Family Favours and DIY
On the Friday we asked family and close friend to come and help build up the wedding! They did!! we had people laying tables, putting up dressing tents, and ting up bunting. Josh spent the day hanging in the trees hanging lanterns I got my students to help me make at the end of term!! All in all the wedding was a festival…. soooo much fun! Built on love and friendship.
As a result we have now set up a shabby chic wedding hire kit.. we have 300 tea cups, saucers and side plates… 100 tea pots cake stands and miles of bunting….. if any one wants to share the love email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!!
Top tip…. have a picnic – saves £1000.00’s of pounds, mingling aound a field was so much fun, people playing badminton and football and frisbee… and enjoy the adventure. It’s the best party you’ll ever go to!
Photographers – We Heart Pictures
Dress – Anoushka G
Shoes – Nine West
Earrings – Cavendish Jewellers, York
Shabby Chic Wedding Hire – (The bride) email@example.com
Breath of Fresh air anyone? This is like a tropical breeze…
And a totally inspired reminder that if Royal simply isn’t you… then there’s still a perfect wedding to be crafted.
After all, Regal and Royal or Magical Garden Fairytale, they’re all about the L.O.V.E.