I am absolutely in awe of this stunning secret garden wedding, planned in, wait for it…….. just 8 weeks! It’s dreamy, it’s beautiful and it looks like the perfect intimate celebration with family and friends.
I love all the DIY decor and wild flowers that fill the outdoor marquee reception at Castle Cottage Cafe and our Brides lace and tulle ‘Love Marley’ Watters gown is soo ethereal and fits the theme perfectly.
Complete with afternoon tea and a fabulous Marks and Spencer wedding cake decorated in yet more delicate florals, this wedding will have you swooning and dreaming of summer and romance.
Regine The Bride: Some might think it a little mad to try and organise an entire wedding in 8 weeks – we decided to organise our vintage tea garden themed wedding day in that time and loved every minute of it.
The common assumption appears to be that trying to organise a wedding in a short time frame has to be a stressful experience – however the time pressure in fact helped us focus on what was most important to us and led us right where we wanted to be – starting with the venue. We were looking for an atmospheric venue for the ceremony (we didn’t want a church wedding but also didn’t particularly fancy the idea of getting married in a registry office), with a garden cafe suitable for our reception nearby. As luck would have it Matt’s mother found both for us: incredibly, she managed to secure both Oakham Castle and the adjacent Castle Cottage Cafe for us on August bank holiday Sunday. We were thrilled with both venues – both had their unique charm and suited our hopes perfectly.
Looking for dresses I knew that I wanted something floaty and ethereal with lace and sleeves – ideally something with a vintage feel. As we planned the entire wedding in only eight weeks it was impossible to order a dress in on time which severely restricted the choice I had. After looking at several shops with increasing frustration (as there were lots of lovely dresses that weren’t for sale off the peg) I finally found what I was looking for at The Tailor’s Cat in Cambridge – a Love Marley dress from Watters with a lace top and long tulle skirt. The surprising thing about wedding dress shopping for me was that when I saw it on the hanger I didn’t even want to try it on as it looked and felt entirely different. It was definitely the right decision to listen to the shop assistant’s recommendation to try it. For the wedding shoes I splashed out on some peep toes by Rachel Simpson which I absolutely love. My hair and makeup on the day were done by the lovely ladies from Jodie Hazlewood who translated what I wanted perfectly and were a great help throughout the morning.
Matt’s suit and tie were from Jaeger and his chestnut brown shoes from (his much beloved) Clarks. His cufflinks were vintage ivory borrowed from his dad and his shirt from Thomas Pink with a cut away collar.
We started off trying to work towards an apple green and gold colour scheme – however we quickly felt this was in fact quite limiting as the cafe’s garden was full of lovely flowers and plants and both the tea party theme and cafe didn’t really suit a rigid colour scheme. So we decided to embrace the different colours the cafe offered and opted for pinks, purples, greens and cream for the ‘formal’ flowers as these complemented the environment perfectly. The lovely ladies from Pollen in Oakham worked their magic and produced some amazing flower arrangements, tea pots (sourced by Matt in antique shops) and bouquets that had just the delicate and informal feel I was looking for, as well as some ivy garlands for the Castle’s pillars.
We hired a marquee, fairy lights and bunting from Rutland Marquees. For the rest of the decorations we roped in friends and family and together had lots of fun putting together elements such as our DIY photo booth (including wigs, hats and other props), wishing tree (rather than a wedding book), photo bunting and the granny smith apples we used as our place cards holders (with ‘hand-crafted’ gold apple leaf shaped cards made by Matt).
The Wedding Party Fashion
I am German and in Germany we ‘don’t do’ bridesmaids. I don’t particularly like the idea of different people having to wear identical dresses – regardless of whether they suit them or they feel comfortable in them. Instead our guests took the tea party theme to heart and there were some amazing colourful, floral and floaty dresses which I absolutely loved.
Matt and I knew we didn’t want a religious ceremony – however we did want it to reflect that this was a spiritual and festive day for us. The registrar was lovely and helped us work on our vows and we opted for some quirky, subtly humorous readings (including one about dinosaurs falling in love and a jar of mayonnaise and golf balls) rather than the traditional overly formal love poems. Matt really wanted to incorporate music in the ceremony and chose ‘Here comes the sun’ by the Beatles for me to walk down the aisle to – and we also snuck in some Ennio Morricone and Sigur Ros at the end of the ceremony.
Entertainment and music
At the reception, a family friend welcomed the guests playing the piano for us which suited the light and airy atmosphere perfectly. To ring in the evening, Jack Sandison sang Sinatra and Swing songs which were a great hit across all age groups. Later-on, we had an ipod (on shuffle) playlist with all our favourite music (lots of cheese, 80s and 60s) which worked perfectly as everyone took to the dance floor.
Food and Wedding Cake
In line with the day’s theme we opted for a full afternoon tea rather than an extended evening meal – the ladies from the cafe put together stunning displays on individual cake stands and even produced perfectly matching versions for the gluten-free/dairy-free/meat-free contingent of the wedding party. In the evening, we had a cold buffet which allowed people to mingle and catch up with everyone. Our wedding cake was a chocolate cake from Marks and Spencer – our family spent the morning decorating the cake with fresh flowers our florist had provided and everyone absolutely loved the end result.
I was looking for photographers covering the Rutland area and quickly found Matt Ethan whose bright and informal style I loved. Matt was a great help throughout the day – in fact quite a few of the guests assumed he was a family friend as he fit in so seamlessly – and produced some truly lovely pictures. The one thing everyone has remarked on is that he truly captured the happiness of the day and just how much everyone who was there enjoyed it.