I am utterly blown away by Chloe and Dav’s big day. It is just so lovely from start to finish that I can’t wait for you all to see the gorgeous images and read Chloe’s report.
Wait until you see Chloe’s two hair looks – SUCH a great idea, far cheaper than changing your look with two dresses. And why chose between a veil and a floral crown when you can have both??
The Bridesmaids are a gorgeous bunch too and look very fresh and girly in their short pink dresses. I LOVE the ‘getting ready’ shots, they really capture the sense of girly excitement and love between best friends.
There’s a truly magical atmosphere in the marquee with candelabras and long tables adorned with hessian and white milk pails filled with wild flowers. And the reception was rounded off with a giant bonfire!
The whole day really is beautiful. And not only do we have the images from Isabel Maria, but the wedding video too.
Right, that’s it, I’m too excited for you all now…off you go and enjoy the wonderful day of Chloe and Dav…
Spacious And Naturally Beautiful
Chloe The Bride: Our reception was held at Court Farm, Standerwick. We knew that a hotel or country house wedding wasn’t for us from the outset, but we weren’t quite sure what our other options were. During my cheeky daily browse of RMW, I stumbled upon another couple’s gorgeous day and was delighted when the venue was listed in the South West. We sped our way to Court Farm and were bowled over by its relaxed, rustic, wholesome feel. It was just so spacious and naturally beautiful. The fact that they had a campsite and that all of my family and gal pals could stay in the 16 stunning rooms available for the duration of the wedding sealed the deal for me.
We attached a marquee to the back of the amazing open-faced barn. We initially found it pretty difficult to get excited about the whole white tent thing. Then we discovered Bath Marquees. These guys were an absolute dream, I honestly don’t know what I would have done without them. Nothing was too much trouble – from meeting at our local to draw pictures of tent interiors, to horizontally wiring fairy lights and tying bunting, it’s suppliers like this that really make the whole process that bit more enjoyable.
So, I completely love products. Creams, perfumes, but most of all make up! I find the whole thing quite therapeutic, and I love doing it for other people too. As it’s usually me that does everyone’s beauty bits before a night out, and also because I always in up in a total rush no matter how early I start, I had originally thought that it would be really nice to have someone else do it all on the day.
However, after lots of failed hair and make-up trials, I was getting a bit fed up throwing my pennies away for nothing. After a consultation at the Chanel counter in Belfast, I came away with lots of lovely powders and potions to help me and the maids along when it came to W-Day. Woop! I have quite an unruly barnet, but after years of taming the mane I decided to go for a relaxed up-do for the ceremony which I could wear with my veil. I let my hair down in the evening (pardon the pun) and popped a floral crown for a completely different look.
I didn’t really believe in finding THE dress if I’m honest. The girls and I decided to take ourselves off to the National Wedding Show at Earl’s Court for a bit of a giggle and I tried on a few which I thought were quite pretty. Then I tried on a Vintage Wedding Dress Company number and fell in love with a Decades Collection victorian silk and lace dress. It was just so light and full of detail; the tiny shower-hail pattern and climbing ivy lace won me over. It also came with a really unique heavy, mid-length veil and a long silk sash in “blush”.
I tried it on again for my Mum in the most beautiful boutique in Northern Ireland – Petticoat Lane Bridal. The ladies in there are super and the boutique is something special. The old price tag wasn’t really in my reach though, so I put it in the “when I win the Euromillions” pile. Then I got wind of a charity bridal auction on eBay… the VWDC had donated a voucher to spend up to £3000 in store, with all the proceeds going to Oxfam. I only went and won it didn’t I?! I spent a fraction of the price, gave lots of cash to a great cause and bagged my dream dress! Hooray!
Because my veil and floral crown were such statement pieces, didn’t want to overdo it with accessories. Apart from some drop pearls, I let my wedding and engagement ring from Lunn’s Belfast do the talking! We had our wedding bands engraved with 1 John 4:19 – a really lovely Bible verse which we also had as a motif on our stationery.
A Big Fat Gypsy Wedding Party
When I told my Mum that I was going to have 6 bridesmaids, she said that it would be like something from My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding. Luckily for the girls, I was thinking more A Midsummer Night’s Dream. My sister Georgia, cousin Naomi, ‘home’ gals Naomi and Mairead and uni pals Jessie and Imogen stood by my side when I said “I Do”.
They looked totally beautiful in their cream and dusky-pink knee length dresses. These were an absolute steal from H&M. I paired them with ballet flats by Linea at House of Fraser and some silk ribbon in contrasting colours.
Dav didn’t have to think about his best man choice for long – Ollie is a lifelong friend of his, a great guy with a super sense of humour. He also had 5 ushers – his brother Ed, hockey mates Phil, Coops and Tom and recent housemate and top bloke, John. The guys were in different shades of grey (not fifty!) and Dav bought them ties, socks and cufflinks to bring it all together with his beautiful blue suit from Reiss UK. He teamed this with a grey waistcoat and maroon tie and pocket hanky. My little bride heart skipped a beat when I saw him at the other end of the aisle!
A Lover Of Polka Dots
I blundered into wedding planning on a bit of a wing and a prayer. I knew lots about what I didn’t want, but not much about what I did. The theme, colour scheme etc emerged quite organically – lots of sages, dusky pinks and creams to help along the relaxed, rustic feel of the day. It also turns out that I love a good polka dot – these featured very subtly in my dress, the usher ties and in the favours and stationery.
I always teach my students that life is all about the little details, and this was definitely reflected in the decor. I bought beautiful hessian and lace table runners from Hessian Chic and complimented these with vintage crockery by the fabulous Amanda Baird at The Utterly Sexy Café and hand stamped luggage tags and organic fig and ginger soap bars for favours. I wrapped these in old book pages – a mixture of poems and Great Expectations – two firm favourites, and tied them with twine and a little rosebud.
Reluctant to buy loads of decor I would never be able to use again, I was so delighted when I discovered Vintage Marquees. Caroline shares my love for all things pretty, and I loved everything she had to offer. She makes most of her decor by hand, and I was particularly taken by her bunting and mismatched cushions. I hung the bunting and fairy lights horizontally to lower the ceiling and create a more intimate, cosy atmosphere. The wild, Midsummer theme was tied in with the ivy (lots of which came all the way from Ireland!) around the perimeter of the tent. Lots of tea lights, jam jars, wicker hearts and blackboard table numbers later and we were reception ready!
A Floral Masterpiece
Besides my very gorgeous hubby, the flowers were my hands-down favourite part of the whole day. Apart from being genuinely lovely people, Jo and the team at The Walled Garden at Mells are ridiculously talented when it comes to bringing your vision to life in the form of beautiful blooms. I wanted a pretty but exuberant, wild feel and that was exactly what I got.
They did everything for us – from the gypsophila posies at church, to the bouquets of creamy roses, peonies and tiny daisies, button holes and bucket flowers (which my mum and aunties arranged in the marquee). The crowning glory was definitely my floral crown – it was so fun to wear and lasted beautifully throughout the whole evening. When Jo measured my head the month before, I had no idea I was in for such a treat!
Oh Lord You’re Beautiful
We tied the knot at our church, St Bart’s in Bath. This was a hugely important part of the day for us – we’re regulars there and it was so special to have all of our nearest and dearest in a place that we love. I’m a Northern Irish gal, and wanted a piece of home at the ceremony. Enter Pastor Norman Hobson from my church in Belfast who teamed up with our Vicar to help us tie the knot. The service was something I’ll never forget – lots of loud singing, giggles and a vintage tea reception served by lovely volunteers from church to keep hunger at bay until dinner time.
All of the musicians were good friends of ours and did the most amazing job. We walked up the aisle to “Oh Lord You’re Beautiful” by a band called Jesus Culture. This was followed by firm favourites “Be Thou My Vision”, “How Great Thou Art” and “In Christ Alone.” Although most of our friends aren’t actually church goers, everyone commented on how joyful and accessible the service was – this meant a lot. My brother read 1 Corinthians and Dav’s sister read a poem by Rob Ryan called, “All of the Thoughts”. We’ve got that one in our living room – it’s a winner. We also had my good friend Kat read “After the Lunch” by Wendy Cope. Kat has one of those voices that was made for reading. That particular poem reminds us of many dates in the Big Smoke where I lived before making the marriage move to Bath. We said many a goodbye on Waterloo Bridge!
Our guests arrived at Court Farm to bubbly prosecco, home-made lemonade, hearty canapés and the amazing sounds of The Drystones. We heard these two busking in Bath and just knew we had to have them play. They’re a lively folk duo from the South West and brought that unmistakably Celtic sound to an orchard courtyard in Frome. It’s the type of stuff that raises the hairs on your arms and gets even the most reluctant of toes tapping. Magic.
We chose Sam’s Kitchen as our caterer. He came highly recommended and we just love his deli on Walcot Street in Bath. He served up a summery banquet of hazelnut and saffron honey roast chicken with broccoli, sweet potato, wild rice and rustic bread. This was laid out along the tables for people to take and share as they pleased. Not only did this look super, but it also made for lots of “can you pass the…” – great conversation starter for guests who had never met! Sam and team were fab. I really worried that I’d find it difficult to let go of everything on the day, but their cheerful perfectionism meant that I trusted them completely. Glasses never went empty, tea lights never went out and our loved ones ate and drank well into the early hours.
For dessert, we had an incredible cake table. This held the creations of guests who opted-in to “The Great Wedding Bake-Off”. From macaroons to meringues, cupcakes to caramels, it was a sight to behold! We gave out a range of prizes to our most talented Delias and Gordons, including a signed Mary Berry cook book to “Star Baker”, Lara, who made a Barbie Bride cake complete with veil and sparkles. We complimented this with 200 cascading Krispy Kremes on the sweet table and the arrival of a Mr Whippy Ice Cream Van in the evening for that nostalgic feel. Nothing quite like a 99!
Our first dance was to “Ho-Hey” by The Lumineers. The lyrics say it all really! This was quickly followed by “We Found Love” by Rihanna. Guests helped themselves to a string of coloured “party glasses” and busted some serious moves! When the sore feet started to kick in later, we made our way to the bonfire for toasted marshmallows, sparklers and long chats on hay-bales.
A Fabulously Talented Friend
Stationery is something that is very close to my heart. I love a good card (I take a lot of abuse from friends and family for the confetti type ‘sparkles’ that often tumble from the envelope on opening!) so expectation was high! Luckily, one of my bridesmaids, Imogen, is a bit of a dark horse. Slick city lawyer by day and creative, talented artist by night, she did pretty much everything. She has that mesmerising Quentin Blake style to her stuff – full of quirks, colour and detail. This meant that we had the most beautiful personalised day and evening invitations, orders of service, menus; the works! She even drew the chalk mural in the barn and the table numbers on the little blackboard stands. It made everything that little bit more special and I’ll be forever grateful to her for it all.
You’re Having A Marriage
So. There you have it! We went and had ourselves the best day of our little lives. It was such a team effort; I’m still bowled over by people’s generosity and kindness throughout the whole thing. We really deliberated about whether or not to have a big wedding or to pootle off into the sunset and tie the knot Gretna-Green stylee. I can honestly say that the months of booking, crafting, planning, saving and spread sheets all faded into oblivion the very second I held my Dad’s arm, walked up the aisle surrounded by every single person I have ever known and loved and said a big “I Do” to the wonderful man I’m so very proud to call my husband.
I’ll leave you lovely brides-to-be with a piece of advice that I was given by a wise old owl. She said, “Remember, you’re not just having a wedding. You’re having a marriage.” That thought kept me going with a huge grin right until I hung my veil up at the end of a truly magical evening. If our marriage rocks as much as our wedding, we’re in for a treat!
Every Joy Filled Smile
Our photographer was Isabel Maria – an associate of Allister Freeman Photography. I worked with Isabel for a year (she taught photography at the same school where I teach English). When she offered to take our wedding snaps, I was over the moon! She is one of life’s little gems and it was such a treat to have this beautiful, funny, photograph-taking wonder capture the most important day of our lives. She put me at total ease the whole day. I love her reportage style – it’s so natural and caught every joy-filled smile, laugh and cheeky smooch! I would recommend her wholeheartedly to any bride to be.
We also used the talented folk at Hare Meets Tortoise Productions to create our wedding film. This was a real highlight for us. James and Macca just blended right in and were so unobtrusive and enthusiastic the whole day. It was great to have them there as well as having them make our wedvid!
Bride’s Gown – From the Decades Collection at Charlie Brear at Petticoat Lane Bridal
Bridesmaids – H&M and House of Fraser
Groom – Reiss UK
Venue – Court Farm
Marquee – Bath Marquees
Florist – The Walled Garden at Mells
Catering – Sam’s Kitchen
Band – The Drystones
Décor – Vintage Marquees, The Utterly Sexy Café and Hessian Chic
Jeweller – Lunn’s Belfast
Photography – Isabel Maria Photography
Videography – Hare Meets Tortoise Productions
See, how amazingly lovely is the ENTIRE day??
It’s so full of positivity and love that it makes you wish you had been there.
And whatever your religious beliefs are, I think something, somewhere made sure that the lovely Chloe would have her beautiful Charlie Brear gown.
Lots of love,