The light in this Summery wedding will have you longing for Afternoon Tea, Pimms on the lawn and big blousey blush roses, so apologies in advance that it's actually December and it's freezing. The lovely Sarah Jane Ethan always gets sends us the prettiest weddings and this one is no exception. Rachel & Mark tied the knot at the stunning Crook Hall, a new venue to me and I simply love it. Anywhere with mature gardens and abundance of blooms makes my heart skip a beat and according to Rachel, Crook Hall's owners are as lovely as the place itself. Right, let's take a look shall we?
The BrideRachel the Bride: I've never been a one for being the centre of attention and that filtered through into the style of my dress, and also the wedding as a whole, so I knew I would never wear a big poofy thing. I was inspired by the subtle glamour of the likes of Kate Middleton, who I regularly saw wearing Jenny Packham and Rosa Clara and thankfully my shape could pull off that kind of dress. At the point of buying my dress, I was 12 weeks pregnant and ultimately it came down to cost although I actually ended up preferring the light, subtle detail of my Rosa Clara dress anyway! I hadn't even thought about a veil or hair accessories but, having watched enough episodes of 'Say Yes To The Dress', I kept an open mind when they were recommended and I was blown away by how much they improved the look and how pretty I felt with them! Shoes, I was never really bothered about; I am defo not a shoe person. But I got lucky with a perfectly matched £6 pair of lace flats in the sale! Again, I didn't want to go over the top bling so I kept jewellery to a minimum with a subtle pearl necklace that fell with the line of my dress. With my hair and makeup, I decided to go very natural and light. A lot of what I was hearing was that you should look different, 'special' for your wedding, but I just looked so unfamiliar to myself with heavy makeup that I couldn't stand it and opted for very subtle - which went with the style of wedding anyway! My makeup artist had the patience of a saint, and that was really appreciated given the stress of it all.
The Groom & GroomsmenFor the groomsmen, we didn't want the usual blue or grey suits you see at weddings these days and were really lucky to have a unique suit hire place on our doorstep that hired out personally designed tweed suits - I found hiring a lot more stressful than actually buying but I didn't feel we had an alternative.
The BridesmaidsFor the bridesmaids, I knew I wanted a particular style that I just kept cooing over in magazines and ended up trying on some Watters dresses. I'd seen on Pinterest how well mixed up dresses or colours can work so I let my bridesmaids choose which style and colour (within my colour scheme of course!) that they wanted. They looked fab in them all so it was pointless making them uncomfortable in something I made them wear. I chose the flower girls and page boy outfits myself though as I wanted them comfy and light so they could enjoy the day without being restricted by tight clothes. I wanted to see them running around the gardens and that's exactly what I saw in these outfits.
The DecorI really struggled to find my flow with the theme of the wedding. I didn't really understand what that meant or entailed and I had a series of train wreck Pinterest boards of ideas that wouldn't go together. Our venue actually helped with that as they only provide afternoon tea for wedding breakfast and this sent my mind in the direction of a summer picnic/tea and cake type of theme. The gardens at our venue are spectacular and I really wanted to let them speak for themselves with a small stamp to make it ours so I searched for hours and hours on wedding sites and blogs to find subtle things that would suit my theme, including some ribbon hanging from a signature tree and personalised bunting on the gazebo. I'd found some boho wedding bouquets on Pinterest that I thought would go with our relaxed feel wedding so well; floaty and beautifully subtle just like my dress! Our florist nailed it.
The VenuePicking our venue was a piece of cake; it was the only place we looked! A beautiful stone hall in the size we needed, masses of beautifully wild gardens and afternoon tea (we're a sucker for a good afternoon tea!) The owner was the one who showed us around the first time and she has such love for not only her home but also each and every guest, we knew we were in safe hands.
The CeremonyI hadn't planned on asking anyone to do a reading at the ceremony - I'd never even thought about it - but, keeping an open mind, I read through some of the options and came across a caption from a book that I loved as a child and it brought a tear to my eye - it had to be in!
The CakeI stumbled across a cake in a wedding magazine that was perfect and the lady could replicate it with my own bouquet flowers no problem. Her taster sessions were a guilty pleasure I could do every week! I hadn't planned on the personalised cake toppers but we attended a friend's wedding earlier in the year who had the same topper as us so I improvised so not to steal their ideas! I loved how she managed to get them so alike us and so quickly; it's uncanny and I'm keeping them forever!
The PhotographyLast but certainly not least, our photographer. Our wedding venue has links to some of their weddings on their website and we both loved the style of SJ's photos instantly. We umm'd and ah'd for a few days - a choice of two similar yet different enough photographers - before realising that we just had to have SJ make our wedding look fabulous. We had flexibility with dates so we were only going to book a date that she could do and thankfully she was free on our preferred date anyway! Immediately by message we could tell she would be perfect for our personalities and I think that initial bond is so important for such an important part of the day!
AdviceIf I was to give anyone advice on planning a wedding, it would be to go wild with ideas initially as it helped to pinpoint actually what worked and what I liked best. Be flexible - the most expensive thing isn't always the best, the thing you have in your head as 'perfect' probably isn't and, if something goes wrong, it's probably fixable and you won't even remember on the day! Scrap the budget too - you (hopefully) only do this once, and you have no idea how much it's gonna cost when you start planning - why compromise on something your heart aches for.
Bride: Rosa Clara | Boutique: Yap Bridal | Jewellery: Not On The High Street | Shoes: New Look | Headpiece: Etsy | Flowers: Elvet Flowers | Venue: Crook Hall Gardens | Decor : Confetti | Hobby Craft | Ginger Ray | Cake: Mrs BouCake | Cake Topper: Etsy | Hog Roast: Henry Hog | Bridesmaids: Watters | Groom & Groomsmen: Most Suitable | Entertainment: Sarah Connolly | Hair & Make Up: Megan Green