If you’re a woodland loving, Morris Minor lusting, rustic bouquet a-hunting boy or girl then Kat and Will’s beautiful sun drenched big day at Arnos Vale is for you. This woodland wedding captured by Matt Willis Photography has given me heart palpitations this morning and it may very well give you them too.
For a start there’s Kat’s bouquet – a veritable beauty of ranunculus, peonies and tendrils of honeysuckle – (I bet it smelt amazing!) which accompanied her wonderful Anouska G frock down the woodland aisle towards the lovely Will dressed in Walker Slater tweed and a beaming smile.
And then there’s the genius favours – 7 inch vinyl records chosen to suit the personalities of each of our guests – and placed in an old suitcase next to a record player so their guests could find them and play them before dinner. Check out the photos of the guests finding their ‘tune’.
I can’t go without mentioning the cheese table and its witty ditty. If it doesn’t make you smile then I don’t know what will…
￼Kat The Bride: When William proposed to me in our local park while out on a walk with our dog, Betty, we instantly knew we wanted to get married somewhere close to home. So, when we found out the cemetery and woodland behind our house had the licence to hold civil ceremonies, we couldn’t believe it – and, as an added extra, my wedding dream was to get married outside, so it was the perfect choice. We just had to cross our fingers for some sunshine on the big day!
Our wedding was very DIY, which was exactly what we wanted, so all flowers, styling and décor was created by us. We wanted our day to be individual and personal to us and we wanted to make the very most of our very creative family and friends.
We started with our save the date and invites. We wanted these to be a bit different to anything we had seen before, so we couldn’t think of anyone better than our good friend Jude Coventry to make personalised stop motion invites. We absolutely loved them and had lots of compliments on them when they went out.
￼￼￼Jude and her husband Peter join us every year at the End of the Road festival alongside my sister Charlotte and her husband Nick Rhodes (not the Duran Duran Nick Rhodes I’m afraid, but a very talented artist none the less!). The festival also had a hand in inspiring our wedding favours, which were 7 inch vinyl records chosen to suit the personalities of each of our guests. We borrowed an old record player, next to which we placed a well-travelled, open suitcase with all the records inside. They were presented in a sleeve that had been decorated with our own personalised stamp designed by my very talented brother-in-law Nick. These were placed in alphabetical order so our guests could find them and play them before dinner.
￼When it came to the big day, William’s mum created beautiful arrangements for not only the woodland ceremony, but two additional buildings where we hosted the reception and evening party celebrations. It was a team effort from both our families to make our vision possible. A lasting memory for me will be my living room full of flowers with my husband-to-be, the best man and two of their friends crowded round cutting the stems of gypsophila into the early hours of the morning, while the girls sipped champagne and arranged flowers into what seemed like tones of oasis!
￼My sister and I also planted 55 vintage teacups with Sweet William, Violas, Marigolds and Aubretia. We collected the tea cups from various charity shops and car boot sales – my dad is now an absolute pro at spotting vintage china tea cups for a bargain price!
My mum created my beautiful bouquet and all the button holes with Sweet William being a running theme. She also made the delicious wedding cake, which was then iced by our family friend Jane.
My Anoushka G dress came from Clifton Brides who made my dress shopping experience simply amazing. Prior to visiting Clifton Brides, I’d done a few recces, which had turned out to be rather traumatic trying on dresses that just weren’t me – all I wanted was my dress to be comfortable! With my mum and sister living in Preston and me in Bristol it made it very hard to find the right dress. If I can pass on a word of advice to brides-to-be out there, your mum is the best person to go dress shopping with as she knows what suits you and will be truly honest with you!
After a tearful phone call my amazing mum and sister left Preston the next day at the crack of dawn and were in Bristol by 9am ready for a full on day of dress shopping where we found my beautiful dress by designer Anouska G at Clifton Brides. As soon as I put the dress on I knew it was the one for me without even looking in the mirror – it was so comfortable and as light as a feather! Michaela and the team at Clifton Brides could not have been more accommodating and flexible allowing FaceTime phone calls with my mum in Preston for my fittings!
My DIY skills continued when trying to find a headpiece to complement my dress. Everything I found in the shops was either too bling or just too expensive. So I ended up finding a beautiful 1930’s necklace with matching clip on earrings for the bargain price of £30. I was able to adapt this into a headpiece with clips for the back of my up-do, which was created by my hairdresser of 9 years Laura Lear of Bangshanky.
William spent a weekend in London with his brother and sister to find the perfect suit. He found his very dapper tweed suit at Walker Slater. I think he looked amazing and whenever he wears it it will bring back the special memories of our big day.
￼For the bridesmaids dresses I wanted my sister and Chloe (William’s sister) to be comfortable and wear something that reflected their personal style. Their dresses complimented each other really well, while still remaining unique. My beautiful nieces, who were my flower girls, wore Monsoon.
When it came to the ceremony, we were so lucky to have a great registrar and we had asked William’s godson Oliver and his sister Charlotte to do a reading that they chose themselves. It was a perfect present to both William and I to hear them read ‘Guess How much I Love You’ by Sam McBratney and then receive a copy of the book from them both.
We also nearly didn’t have a photographer as we thought we would rely on our guests to get some good photos from the day but we soon realised that was a stupid idea. There are only so many thing you can do-it-yourself for a wedding and for us the photography wasn’t one of them! So we are so pleased we contacted Matt Willis and had him there for our special day. Not only did he beautifully document and capture special moments throughout the day, but he was also an absolute pleasure to have around. His photographs will be something we will treasure forever and look back on with very fond memories as he really has captured the essence of our truly special day!
￼￼In addition to Matt’s amazing photography, as a gift to us, William’s brother and sister hired a photo booth from Capture Booths. It was fantastic and the next day was brilliant as we looked through the album of photos taken that evening and all the messages that were written. You never see enough of the guests at your wedding, so it was amazing to see all of them having such a brilliant time.
￼￼We took on a lot of work creating every part of our wedding ourselves, but I don’t think we could have achieved something so individual and personal to us if we had used a wedding planner or similar. It also meant that we were able to save ourselves a lot of money – and I’ve even been able to sell on a lot of the props that I bought for the day and make most of our money back! Thrifty or what?! You can take the girl out of the north, but you certainly cannot take the north out of the girl!
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