It's so lovely to see a coastal wedding gracing our pages, especially as it's right here in the UK. The Gallivant in Camber to be exact, where the wedding party crossed the sand dunes, set off smoke bombs and looked totally fierce. Epic Love Story also captured some more intimate shots of Rachel & James dancing in the surf and walking off into the golden sunset which are just off the chart adorable. The homemade cake, DIY decor and laid back vibes of this wedding is absolutely incredible as is the fashion. I am especially jealous of Rachel's bright pink Hangisi Manolo Blahnik shoes, and doesn't she look stunning in her Jesus Peiro gown.
DressRachel the Bride: My dress was Jesus Peiro 7017 from Miss Bush Bridal. I knew I wanted a backless dress, but thought I’d want something more boho, rather than A line with a big skirt. I was also desperate for a bow! The girls at Miss Bush were quick to solve my bow problem by suggesting Jesus Peiro could make me a bow in the same material, which made the dress even more perfect! Even though I found “the dress” at my second shop, I still wanted to shop around. But eventually I came back and ordered 7017 as it was intended with a large petticoat. There was something slightly playing on my mind with having a beach wedding, and whether such a large dress would work. It was actually after I ordered it that I thought about removing the petticoat – once my dress came in and I tried it on without, I loved it even more. I also thought I wouldn’t want a veil, but the first time I tried one on, I was totally sold. When else do you ever get to wear a veil?! I didn’t want anything heavy, so I chose a delicate, raw edged, cathedral length veil to go with my dress. I also wanted a flower crown, but not a big one that was going to be really heavy and uncomfortable on my head, especially as I wanted my hair up. After a bit of searching on Pinterest and Etsy, I came across Folky Dokey who did some beautiful dried flower crowns. After sending some pictures back and forth, we came up with a beautiful design which perfectly complemented my colour scheme. I loved the idea of bright shoes under my dress, and was determined to have shoes I would wear again. I also definitely used my wedding as an excuse to get an interest free credit card and treat myself to items I wouldn’t usually buy! My pink Manolos were a real treat, and everyone loved the surprise when the pink toe poked through. I kept my jewellery simple. My something borrowed was my mother in law’s Tiffany diamond earrings, and I wore silver bracelet that my now husband gave to me on our wedding morning. My something old was a vintage lace garter, made by family friend Mel at Mela Mela Vintage boutique in Teddington.
Grooms AttireJames wouldn’t let me see his suit before our big day – he said if he couldn’t see my dress then it was only fair for his suit to be a surprise too! Luckily I trust his fashion sense, and he got a great blue suit from Ted Baker. He also splashed out on shoes after lots of deliberation, and chose a pair from Church's. He wanted to have something a bit different with ties, so together we chose a liberty fabric that we both loved, and had them made to order by Catkin Jane. She also made two of the cutest little bow ties for our pageboys in the same fabric, which were adorable!
The VenueWe decided we wanted to get married outside of our hometown of London to make it feel like a bit more of a destination wedding, in the hope people would make a bit of a weekend away out of it. The Gallivant is a gorgeous, homely boutique hotel in Camber Sands, right opposite the sand dunes. We loved that we could have the whole place to ourselves, and were totally sold by the fact you could have reception drinks on the beach, and knew the photos would look amazing if it was sunny. Even though The Gallivant definitely lends itself to a sunny day, we thought it would still be a great venue even if it rained, and took the weather gamble. Luckily it paid off, and we had beautiful weather and the guests enjoyed one of few beach weddings in the UK!
Colour Scheme & DécorThere wasn’t a strict colour scheme to the day, as I’m generally quite eclectic in my tastes and prefer things to be a bit more carefree rather than matching perfectly. Overall, it was quite rustic, with blues, pinks and greens for foliage. One of my friends has an amazing eye for detail and making things pretty, so we worked together on how we could make the venue look amazing. I roped all my bridesmaids in to help, and we spent hours scrubbing, painting and wrapping ribbons around jars and wine bottles to make the centrepieces. We wanted to make people smile, so we found photos of every guest, and stuck them in champagne corks to make name places. We bought loads of flipflops from Primark and wrapped them in ribbon for the beach, and created a pretty backdrop out of ribbons and fairly lights for the top table. I wanted lace table runners, which were impossible to find, especially for such long tables! So I went to a material shop and bought a 20m length of wide lace, which we then cut lengthways down the middle and again to fit each table to then would drape at the end. We also used quite a lot of wood. We bought a cheap garden trellis and decorated it with foliage from a friend’s back garden, some fake flowers and pictures of me and James. I got my Dad to find some spare wood and cut it up to make a Peter Pan sign to use as the run of the day. At the last minute I realised I had no cake stand, and luckily I found DillyDallyDesigns1 on Etsy who did a lovely wooden crate, which we had “Love is Sweet” carved on.
FlowersI toyed with making the bouquets myself, but was talked out of it, and I’m so glad I was! There really is so much to do the day before you’re wedding, unless you’re a pro flower arranger, I would get someone to do it for you. I managed to rope in a family friend who did all the bouquets and buttonholes. I wanted something quite loose and playful with plenty of foliage, and I loved what Jackie did. She also helped me decide on the flowers for the table jars and centrepieces, ordered it all, and I just picked everything up from her on the way to the venue. It was a lot of effort, but totally worth it as the whole place looked exactly as we wanted. My groom was gobsmacked – he had no idea how much work we’d been doing for so many weekends in the run up!
StylingOverall the creation of the look of the day was really the hard work of lots of my friends and family all coming together. Everyone really wanted to help though, and it definitely made wedding planning so much fun for all of us. I’d definitely recommend roping in as many people as you can to help!
The Wedding Party FashionI didn’t want to have all my bridesmaids the same, especially as they’re all different shapes and sizes and one of my bridesmaids was pregnant! I found it really hard to choose bridesmaid dresses, as I really wanted them all to like what they were wearing, and trying to keep in budget was tough. Eventually, after ordering hundreds of dresses online, I found ReWritten about 3 months before the wedding. They are quite a new boutique based in North London, and have just a few simple but very flattering designs, and their colour palette is gorgeous. I had two girls in The Florence dress in oyster, and the other two wore a skirt and top combo in bluebell. They all loved their dresses and said how comfortable they were, which was really important to me, and the bonus was lots of compliments from the guests! The best men wore blue suits from Zara, and had the same ties as the Groom. The pageboys were our two nephews, and wore blue shorts from John Lewis, short sleeve shirts from Gap and bow ties in the same material as the Groom from CatkinJane. They topped this off with braces from John Lewis and little white Converse. They were adorable!
The CeremonyWe had an unplugged ceremony, so asked people not to take photos. We had a photographer and a videographer, and didn’t want their footage to be ruined by loads of iPhones all over the place! We also decided to write our own vows for the ceremony, which wasn’t as daunting as it sounds. We surprised each with them, but got one of my bridesmaids to read them both to make sure they were similar in style. It felt really special to read out actual promises which made each other smile and felt real. It also got some laughs from the crowd which was great to hear, and made us feel like everyone was really sharing the moment with us. We had two readings – I read so many readings before we finally found one we liked. We wanted them to incorporate our love of travel and adventure, be meaningful but not sickly sweet. In the end we chose a really short one, “Wild Awake” by Hilary T Smith, and a slightly altered version of “I’ll be There for You” by Louise Cuddon which was quite light hearted. One of the best men, Tom Speight, who’s also a musician, played the guitar as people were entering and then for me to come down the aisle and also whilst we were signing the register. Having a friend play made if feel more personal, and he really created the atmosphere we wanted. He played an acoustic version of Old Pine by Ben Howard for me to walk down the aisle, and then we had “Crazy about You” by Whisky Town to walk out to. We really loved was our confetti tunnel as we walked out the venue. All 120 guests made a tunnel and grabbed handfuls of bright coloured confetti to throw all over us, which was so much fun and really made everyone laugh. The pictures of it are brilliant and I had confetti in my hair for the rest of the night!
EntertainmentWe went fairly light on entertainment for the daytime, relying on the beach, the weather and plenty of booze for people’s enjoyment! We did have some beach games like pick up sticks and beach cricket which guests enjoyed, and buckets and spades for the kids. In the evening we had a DJ to turn it into the big party we wanted. The good thing about The Gallivant was that it was quite snug, so people didn’t disappear off into different rooms. We wanted to make sure there was a buzzing party atmosphere, which we definitely got!
The FoodThe Gallivant prides itself on its food, which was also an important factor in our choice of venue. Canapés included seared courgette rolls, shrimp on toast and mini mushroom tarts, all served in large picnic baskets. We had these on the beach with Pimms and The Gallivant’s own cocktail, Day on the Beach, as well as bottles of beer. We tried to make it feel like a picnic on the beach, with a weddingy twist! For our wedding breakfast, we went with what we love, rather than worrying too much about pleasing everyone – we wanted the food to represent us and be another part of our personalities, rather than going to safe with crowd pleasers. Our starter was chorizo and squid served with fresh sourdough. Our mains were served on sharing boards, with a mixture of lamb and cod, and sides of warm Mediterranean bean salad, and potato dauphinoise. We finished with sharing desserts of crème brulee, pistachio ice cream and panna cotta.
PhotographerWe were initially so shocked about the cost of wedding photographers, but when we worked it back to how many hours they put into your wedding, it makes you realise why they are the price they are! I spoke to a couple of photographers on the phone, and we met up with Emma from Epic Love Story in person before we decided we wanted to go with her, and her with us. We really wanted the party to come through, and loved the colourful and playfulness of her photography. Everyone said to me how amazing Emma was, she was everywhere all the time, but not intrusive at all. Someone even said “you’re friend is great isn’t she”...that’s how personable she was, guests thought Emma was yet another friend I’d roped in to the wedding! You can see from some of the pics how much the guests loved playing up to the camera after a few drinks, and I’ve never laughed out loud so much at photos as I have from looking over ours from the wedding. Emma perfectly captured the love and party atmosphere that we wanted her to. I also recommend following any that you like on instagram – it really helps o give you a flavour of their work and their personality, and whether the chemistry will be right on the day.
VideographerThis was the biggest decision I had – whether to have one or not – and then to find one I liked. I went back and forth over whether the price could be justified, and watched literally hundreds of wedding videos to try and find one I liked. We were either getting an amazing one, or not getting one at all. Even though wedding costs can really mount up, I was determined not to waste any money on bad suppliers. Lemontreefilmhouse.com kept coming up as an ad on my Google search, and eventually I clicked on them, watched a few videos and was in love. They were the ones. They’re a husband and wife team, TJ is English and Shaun is Australian. They go all over the world to shoot weddings, and we were lucky enough that they were available for ours! Their films are like nothing I had seen from UK based videographers, and it’s absolutely perfect. We met Shaun and TJ on Skype before the big day to go through our plans, and they really put us at ease about how it would all work. I was nervous about using a microphone and that it might be intrusive having a videographer there, but it really wasn’t, and actually the speeches would have fell so flat without a microphone. I definitely recommend having a good videographer if you can possibly afford it. I saved in other places like my cake, decoration and flowers to have one. It’s so complementary to the photos and allows you to look back and remember in even more detail some of those moments that just fly by on the day. Definitely the best decision we made.
Dress Designer: Jesus Peiro - 7017 | Bridal Boutique: Miss Bush Bridal | Bridal Shoes: Manolo Blahnik - Hangisi | Flower Crown: Folky Dokey | Grooms Suit: Ted Baker | Grooms Shoes: Church's | Ties: Catkin Jane | Bridesmaids: ReWritten | Groomsmen: Zara | Page Boy: John Lewis | Venue: The Gallivant | Stationery: Harmony & Quill | Cake Stand: Dilly Dally via Etsy | DJ: Mint DJs | Musician: Tom Speight Music | Videographer: Lemontree Film House | Bridal Hair & Makeup: Sarah Varney | Bridesmaid Hair & Makeup: Joy Goodman