There’s nothing quite like a blush pink marquee wedding in your friends back garden to start the week off. It’s no ordinary garden either, it is the garden of dreams complete with Victorian swimming pool.
Despite weather forecasts of heatwaves, there was a flash flood which prevented suppliers from getting to the marquee and gardens. Thankfully lots of family and friends were on hand to ensure the nuptials went ahead as planned, and what a beaut of a day it was. How can you not adore all those blooms, the cake, table plan and step ladder full of jam favours.
Bride Rachel and her best girls look absolutely heavenly too in Candy by Monique Lhuillier, and pink BHLDN dresses, with Millar Cole capturing some absolutely gorgeous moments of them all together, not to mention some truly adorable couple portraits in the gardens and by the pool. You ready to swoon? Then we shall begin…
Rachel the Bride: When I imagined our wedding, one of the first things that came to mind (of course, after the getting married part!) was the heatwave that we were most definitely going to be enjoying come the big day.
In the week leading up to the wedding we had the heatwave; it was perfect sunshine and 27 degrees. Then, sods law, the weather broke at 5pm the day before, during the wedding rehearsal. Cue flash flooding, suppliers being towed out of the venue, other suppliers unable to get in, fused electrics and a rather bewildered bride and groom! What sums everything up though were our friends, family and neighbours who pulled together to make sure the wedding could still go ahead as planned; the local farmer who spent 3 hours – between 10pm and 1am – clearing the road and laying tons and tons (literally) of gravel for the field entrance, the father of the bride who ferried all the crockery in his 4×4 when the lorry got stuck, and the family friend (who also happens to be a wedding planner) who missed the church service to fix the electrics and put together the finishing touches. I could go on – it really is overwhelming how far people go to make a couple’s dream a reality for a day!
We wanted to get married in our village church, which is set within the grounds of the National Trust’s Dyrham Park, and we were incredibly lucky that our neighbours offered up their field and gardens for the reception. They were so enthusiastic about the wedding, and we spent every free weekend in the run up to the day getting the area ready. We planted hundreds of flowers around the Victorian swimming pool and mowed winding paths through the buttercups to the marquee (a vintage canvas tent from Abbas Marquees). It was hard work but totally worth it. I know I’m bias, but it looked amazing!
On the day it was lovely to be able to get ready at home with my mum and bridesmaids, walk to the church and, after the ceremony, walk with all the guests to the reception. It felt really personal and unique to us.
Unfortunately, the rain stopped us having drinks and canapés by the pool as planned, but it dried up later and our photographer, Ben Millar Cole, managed to take lots of photos outside. He caught some amazing nighttime pictures of the floating candles on the river!
It’s a bit embarrassing but I pretty much decided on my dress – Candy by Monique Lhuillier – two years before I got engaged. A friend was looking for a second hand wedding dress online and I spotted it on the same website and instantly fell in love. Fast forward to when Pete popped the question and I couldn’t resist checking if it was still available. When it was still there, and only 20 minutes away from my house, I had to go and see it. It was the first dress I tried but when it fit like it was made for me (literally no alterations needed) there was no going back.
I really recommend checking out second hand dress websites, like www.stillwhite.co.uk. Many of the dresses on there are as good as new and even with the cost of alterations you can save a small fortune.
Wedding Party Fashion
Peter and the ushers hired suits from Scotts of Cirencester. They are excellent quality and fit them all really well. We didn’t want things too coordinated so all the boys wore their own ties.
My two adult and one teenage bridesmaid wore blush dresses from BHLDN. The flower girls wore ivory dresses from John Lewis, and the page boy wore a 30 year old sailor outfit that was borrowed from a family friend.
I tried to stick with a country/cottage garden/ethereal theme, with lots and lots of flowers! My amazing 84 year old grandmother and one of Pete’s close family friends arranged our church flowers and Claire from the Wilde Bunch did the bouquets and marquee. Her floral table runners looked incredible on the day, as did the foliage (which we foraged the day before) running along a rig in the ceiling of the marquee.
Peter’s family friend, Ruth Brookman of Brookman Greene is a wedding planner and she kindly offered to help organise our wedding. She helped with everything from décor and suppliers, to small details like how many glasses we needed for the bar. Her advice and experience really was invaluable. She also has an incredible supply of props; we borrowed her lanterns, festoon lighting, canopies for the BBQ, fire pits etc. Close family added finishing touches like hand dyed ribbon and rosemary sprigs for the napkins and chutney jars as favors.
Ruth introduced us to our caterer, Mary Rose Weston from Well Hill Kitchens. We wanted beautiful, simple, summery food and her menu was spot on to brief. We had eight different types of canapés, salmon ceviche with mango and avocado to start, and then fillet of beef cooked on the BBQ for main. To this day I still don’t know how Mary Rose managed to cook the beef – in typical British style, on a BBQ outside in the rain! – so perfectly for over 100 people. For pudding we had a dessert table with contributions from close family and friends. This turned into a munchie table with brownies and cheese later in the evening.
Our wedding cake was made by a family friend, Tracy Longthorpe, and decorated with fresh flowers.
Ben Powell, who we first spotted busking in Bath, played guitar for our drinks reception. Peter’s very talented former university house-mate Ed Gamwells (whose voice we adore) bought out his guitar and played our first dance.
We struggled to find a band for the evening and in the end choose Vibetown unseen, based on their online videos and reviews. We were really happy that we chose them; they were professional and had the dance floor full all night.
I could go on and on about how incredible Ben’s photos are, but the images on his website speak for themselves. Aside from his pictures, on the day Ben had a way of making both me and Peter (who normally hates photos) immediately feel comfortable in front of the camera. One testimonial on his website says that you could be getting married in a cave and Ben would find a way to make it feel beautiful. I couldn’t agree more.
Enjoy planning your wedding and all the lovely things that come with getting married. And don’t worry too much if things go wrong or don’t look quite how you’d imagined they would on the day. It really does all work out in the end and when you are surrounded by the people you love, you really won’t care about the details (or the weather)!