I’m not sure we’ve ever featured a wedding inspired by Mary Poppins before…but it’s a genius idea! Especially when your venue of choice has it’s very own carousel!!
For regular readers, or anyone who has been researching venues for a while, you’ll have guessed that this wedding comes from the fabulous Preston Court. Which not only has a carousel, but also fairground organs and beautiful roaming peacocks.
Just like the classic family film Mary Poppins, Gillian and Paul’s wedding is full of fun, smiles, singing and dancing. They even brought along their adorable pet bunny Poppy. Gillian looks as flawless as Mary herself too, and her lace edged veil is so feminine and pretty.
The old organs in the main barn were just amazing and one of them was even mint green, so fitted well into our colour scheme. The grounds were stunning too and the fact that they had a carousel really won us over…entertainment for our guests and we are big kids at heart, so it was more for us! There was a beautiful church just across from Preston Court too and we were both adamant we wanted to get married in a church, so we really couldn’t have chosen a more perfect place.
I always knew I wanted to go for a 1940’s look with my hair and makeup and wanted none other than the amazingly talented Amanda from Lipstick & Curls to do it. Amanda made myself and my Bridesmaids feel very at ease during the trial we had a couple of months before the wedding and on the day it was such a treat to have her with us for the morning. I had quite a classic forties look done, black liquid eyeliner, bright red lips and a cheeky bit of rouge. I always wear a red lipstick every day anyway, so I couldn’t lose my signature look for my big day.
I kept the rest of my beauty regime fairly simple, I had a long hot shower in the morning with my favourite Molton Brown ‘Samphire’ body wash which smells absolutely wonderful and spritzed myself with my usual perfume which is Stella by Stella McCartney.
Right from the start I knew I just had to buy my wedding gown from Blackburn Bridal in Blackheath! Whenever I was in the village I would wander past the boutique and look longingly at the stunning gowns they had in their window. They have the most wonderful choice and the boutique itself is beautiful. I knew I didn’t want a traditional strapless gown & they try to steer away from those which was great for me.
Mandi, Sama & Jan were a wonderful help. I originally went in there to look at a Claire Pettibone dress but I spotted a row of what looked like vintage lace gowns in there, I asked Mandi if they were indeed original vintage and she said they were Cymbeline gowns made from French Lace so they had that ‘vintagey’ look. I knew I wanted lace, so I was pretty set on that from the start.
My eyes were immediately drawn to the ‘Gala’ gown and I soon as I tried it on both myself and my mum, who I had taken with me knew it was The One straight away. I went to look at the dresses quite far ahead of the wedding so waited a few more months then went back to the boutique again to try it on, I hadn’t changed my mind and was so excited to try it on again. Over the course of our engagement I had lost three and a half stone, so to try it on again after my weight loss was a great feeling.
I wanted to wear Rachel Simpson shoes, again for the vintage style. I chose a pair which had a slight platform, so they were very comfortable to wear all day and the pearl ivory leather and the detail on the peep toe was just so pretty.
My veil and my evening head piece were made by Sarah Morgan. I was hunting for veils on Etsy and stumbled across the most beautiful veils I had ever seen. The detailing on the ‘Rose’ veil made me contact her and buy it instantly.
When it came through the post, I could have cried, it made me feel very special and I knew it would fit perfectly with my Gala dress. I contacted Sarah again to make a headpiece I could put on for the evening when the veil came off. It matched the detailing on the veil and had freshwater pearls and tiny crystals on it so twinkled under the lights during the evening reception.
One of my sisters, Alison was my chief Bridesmaid and I also chose to have my dear friend Melody as well. I wanted them to wear mint to fit the theme and at the time I was looking it wasn’t an easy colour to find a Bridesmaid dress in. The dresses I could find were either too short, the wrong shade or far too expensive. I then saw some dresses in the store JOY which were just what I was looking for, they even had gold sequinned detail on the neck line, which made me then decide to bring a little gold into the colour theme as well. They were a midi length as well, so the girls were comfortable in them and could move about easily.
Our two junior Bridesmaids, Paul’s goddaughters Katie & Molly looked so cute in the Monsoon dresses and cardigans I chose for them. The dresses I chose had the right amount of sparkle to make them extra special.
My Mum wore a lavender skirt, top and jacket from Jacques Vert so she fitted into our colour scheme nicely as well and her fascinator was from Marks & Spencer’s. It was wonderful seeing my mum looking so beautiful on my wedding day.
Paul chose his best friend Stuart as his best man and his friends Simon, Mike and Stephen as his groomsmen. Alongside our two Dad’s we put them all in dark blue Marks & Spencer’s suits with a navy tie, they all looked very dapper. We knew we didn’t want the traditional morning suits, the most important thing was for everyone to look and be relaxed and the suits certainly made them look the part.
We fitted our colour theme around our wedding cake! I saw it in a magazine even before we got engaged and thought the colours of lavender and pale mint green looked gorgeous together. I kept changing my mind about specific themes all throughout the planning but knew I wanted the vintage look. In the end we went for a mix of vintage styling and Mary Poppins. As we had the carousel, I decided to tie in the ‘Carousel’ scene from Mary Poppins into the day. I had a ‘Spoonful of Sugar’ sign near the sweet buffet and a big ‘Practically Perfect’ sign on our display cabinet too, alongside old wedding photo’s of our parents and grandparents which everyone seemed to love! We even had laser cut mint carousel horses as our table numbers.
I found the amazing Daniela from Classic Crockery at a vintage wedding fair and what a god send she was! At times, I think I would have gone mad without her help. Daniela supplied us with the most beautiful vintage plates and tea cups for the tables, linens, a glass drinks urn for our welcoming drinks, gorgeous bunting and some props for display. Sadly we couldn’t get in to dress the venue the day before as they had another wedding, so I did panic quite a bit about not being able to dress the venue myself, but I need not have worried, after a lot of emails and meetings about how I wanted it to look, Daniela did everything at the venue the morning of the wedding and when I got to go into the barns after the ceremony I couldn’t believe how wonderful the room looked! Exactly the image I had of the décor.
I bought some lovely wooden suitcases in our colours from Oliver Bonas and used them for our ‘cards’. We also had the idea of doing an alternative guest book and I bought lots of vintage postcards for people to write messages on or draw us pictures and then they popped those in our cards case as well.
I found Clare from Love Blooms at A Most Curious Vintage Wedding Fair. She had a glorious display at the fair, including some of my favourite flowers, so I booked her straight away. Clare was fantastic throughout and came up with lots of lovely idea’s. We used hydrangea’s and Ocean Song roses as they are my favourite flowers and Clare mixed them with lots of lavender, muscari and various herbs.
We had an arch of flowers at the church and matching pew ends and Clare put pots of hydrangea and lavender in wooden crates outside the barns at Preston Court. I loved my bouquet so much, Clare even tied it with some left over lace from my dress and my bridesmaids had smaller versions of mine, whilst the flower girls had heads of hydrangea. The groom’s party had button holes made of Ocean Song Roses & lavender tied up with lavender coloured ribbon.
We had centre pieces on each table at the reception, with a mixture of containers including teacups, milk jugs, swan vases and cake stands…and let’s not forget my rabbit Poppy who I took with me to Goss Hall, where we were staying before the wedding. I had to have her with me for the morning of the wedding and Clare made her a little corsage to wear for some of our preparation photographs. Poppy managed to behave and keep it on for a few seconds at least!
We were married in St Mildred’s church which was just across from Preston Court. The service was taken by the lovely Reverend Jo Robertson, who made us feel very at ease and was fine with us not having any hymns, we really wanted a relaxed and personal service.
I walked down the aisle to ‘Book of Love’ by Peter Gabriel, it means a lot to us and that was the most emotional part of the day for me. Seeing Paul at the end of the aisle was so wonderful, we were so full of love for each other. We didn’t have any poems or readings so Reverend Jo did a beautiful candle lighting ceremony for us, where we both lit a candle each to represent our single lives and then both lit one larger candle to become one. It was very touching.
We met with Paddy from Disco Shed after a few recommendations; he was so great and knew exactly what we were after for our wedding reception. He wasn’t a typical wedding DJ full of cheesy music and with me working in the music industry that was the last thing I wanted. He was fantastic on the night, he bought his indoor shed set up and when it was on the stage with all the lights on it, it looked fantastic!
Our first dance was to Paloma Faith’s version of ‘Never Tear Us Apart’, it has very meaningful words to us both and we both love Paloma’s vocals on it.
For our welcoming drinks after the service we served a Gin & Elderflower fizz and Belvoir’s Elderflower & Rose Presse for the non drinkers, which looked lovely in the glass urn. I had decorated some jam jars with doilies and gold twine and put mint and lavender paper straws in them which looked super cute.
Our wedding cake was made by the extremely talented Rachel. I was set on the birdcage design and the colours as soon as I saw it in a magazine, I instantly fell in love with it. We had different flavours for the tiers…a fruit cake, raspberry and almond, and a coffee flavour for the top tier. Myself & Paul sampled all the flavours on the day and I can tell you they were all delicious!
I decided I wanted to give jam as favours during the wedding breakfast and it was a lovely touch to find some ‘Canterbury’ jam made by The Wooden Spoon Company. I made some fabric covers for the tops made out of the same fabric as the bunting and tied each one with lavender ribbon and a personalized tag. It took a while to do but it was well worth it.
We had a sweet buffet table in the second barn at the venue which went down a storm, I provided gold and white traditional style sweetie bags for people to put them in and take home or nibble on them during the day.
For our wedding breakfast we served a Halloumi & Vegetable Stack as the starter, Sunblushed Tomato Risotto or Mozzerella stuffed chicken & for the dessert, Paul’s favourite…Vanilla Cheesecake!
In the evening, alongside our savoury buffet we had a dessert table. We had some traditional cakes such as Ginger cake & Victoria sponge alongside cake pops and teapot shaped biscuits. Everyone was very full by the end of the day.
We chose our stationery pretty early on. I had seen the Vintage Bird design invitations in a magazine and really loved it. We had them change the colours and some of the wording and the results were perfect. Alongside the invitations, they also designed our menu’s, orders of service and table plan. I managed to source a lovely cream vintage frame for our table plan which looked so lovely when it was on display.
Our favourite part of the day was when I walked down the aisle, we were so focused on each other, everyone else went into a blur for those few seconds. All the tiny details I had stressed about for months on end just disappeared and it was all about Paul and I.
To have all our close friends and family with us on the day was amazing, Pauls friends had all known each other for many years but mine didn’t really know each other and to see everyone getting on and having a great time together was very heart warming.
It can be hard to do, but grab as much time together during the day as possible, we loved our first ride on the carousel as it was the first time we had had up until then to have a little sit down together and it was great fun too. The venue had a Showman’s Wagon designated for just the Bride & Groom too, so we would sneak into there for a few minutes together when ever we could just to soak it all in.
Most of all, enjoy every second. Other brides had told me how quickly the day would go but I wasn’t prepared for just how quickly it did go. We both could barely eat the food at our wedding breakfast as we were too busy chatting to friends and family around the room and having fun!
Look at as many wedding magazines as possible, go to a few wedding fairs & of course read Rock My Wedding religiously! You will get lots of ideas, some you will use, some you won’t but it’s great to see what other Brides are doing and what cool suppliers there are around
…and of course, if you have a pet, involve them too, it really does make for a special moment and some sweet pictures!
We found both our photographer & videographer from Rock My Wedding. RMW had featured the wedding of a couple called Owain & Glesni about 18 months ago and it was photographed by Harriet of the almighty Weddings Vintage. It was a case of ‘finding the one’ as soon as I saw them. Harriet’s style was exactly what I wanted, the shots were so natural and personal. Every time I looked at that couples photo’s either on RMW or on Harriet’s website I would cry, they were just wonderful.
I met up with Harriet when I was working in Manchester one day and we hit it off straight away, she was lovely and it felt like meeting up with an old friend. We have a mutual love of Morrissey and rabbits too! On the wedding day it was wonderful having Harriet with us, she did an amazing job, not just with the photographs but with calming Poppy the rabbit’s wedding day nerves.
We also found Ben from Ben Walton films from one of the recommendations on RMW, we contacted him straight away when we saw the samples of his films but not in our wildest imaginations could we have hoped for a better film when it came though. He certainly captured the day exactly how we wanted it and you can see how relaxed and fun the day was. Both the film and our beautiful photographs truly are the best way to remember the best day of our lives.