Rosie The Bride: We just couldn’t wait to marry each other so we really put our heart and soul into planning a day that reflected our happiness and excitement about spending the rest of our lives together. So we wanted to plan a really joyous day that everyone felt a part of - surrounded by all the people we love. And boy did we have the best day of our lives. The sun was shining, our awesome friends and family were on top form and we laughed and danced the day and night away! Our day wouldn’t have been possible without our amazing family and friends. (Especially both our Mum’s, James Gran and my Auntie Sarah). We felt truly blessed and just wish we could do it all over again!
My Lovely James
James made me a little video taking us back through the story of our relationship for me to watch on the morning of our wedding. It was so lovely and I just couldn’t wait to see him after watching it. A few months into James and I dating, we wrote a timeline of things we wanted to do/achieve together on the back of a receipt roll whilst having a few drinks in a pub in Brixton. Unbeknown to me, James kept this timeline and it was actually what he used to propose to me by writing the date of his proposal into it, and giving it back to me on the first night we spent in our new home, just before he got down on one knee. Needless to say I was a happy, emotional wreck on the back of this! So he also had it made up into a beautiful little frame which he also gave me on the wedding morning. His thoughtfulness around all these little bits really gave me the best start to our day and I couldn’t wait to marry him!
Our day gave me the chance to go full pelt on releasing my creativity and vision – it’s hard for me to believe that every bit of décor, styling and little touch was once just a thought in my head. I knew what I liked – but it didn’t fit into one particular bracket or style. I like so many elements of things that I wanted to incorporate them all in a way that worked. When I said I wanted tipis everyone thought I’d have a naked cake, flower crowns and James in full tweed and braces. I love all of these things but I wanted to incorporate elements of them rather than doing the obvious. So it made it difficult to really buy anything off the shelf and I had to work with people who got what was going on in this jigsaw puzzle of my mind! So alongside my amazing Husband to be and the best team of family, friends and suppliers – we worked so hard to make, bake and create all of the pieces to that puzzle and it all came together better than I could’ve imagined on the day. I was so proud to see it come to life and so grateful to everyone who helped make it happen! The flowers were wild yet classic, my dress was lace, but not too boho, James had tweed but not a full suit and my cake – well I just did the complete opposite – but the marble, flowers and gold foil gave it a bit of an edge. Our church was beautifully elegant, while the Gardens was more relaxed. The tipis gave that rustic feel, but the barn was a little more modern. And the gardens with Pimms, strawberries and cream gave it an English country vibe. We then had English, Scottish and Irish elements throughout. So really my theme, if anything, was a bit of a contradiction – but one that I think worked well. And I’d advise any bride to not be limited by one theme – go for what you like and find a way to build it all together.
I wore an Ellis Bridal gown and it was the exact style I imagined wearing! I always knew I wanted sleeves and lace, but it was harder than I imagined to find a dress in this style that I liked. When I found my dress, I loved that it was fitted to my figure with its fluted style and had a gorgeous train. It was beautifully crafted with fine and corded lace. And the sleeves were light and delicate - finished with the prettiest little buttons. When I stepped out to my Mum and Aunt - we all knew it was the one. The ladies at Amorae Bridal are amazing - and it’s the most beautiful boutique with an abundance of dresses in every style! Janice is a master of her craft so you’ll leave with a dress that fits like a glove. I can't recommend them enough! My veil was one of my best buys thanks to my MOH Kerry recommending Mi’s Etsy shop. With so many different styles that can be custom made to your order, I went for a soft ivory, custom length veil with eyelash trimmed lace. It was perfectly made, so soft and flowy – and at such a reasonable price - it's quite unbelievable! I kept it on for the whole day. James surprised me with a beautiful pair of rose gold diamond drop earrings from my favourite jeweller Monica Vinader. I wore these with the super delicate Alma necklace. My beautiful tea rose Jimmy Choo's were definitely my most indulgent purchase, so I chose something statement that I could wear again and I danced in them all night!
My beautiful bridesmaids were my big sister Sarah-Anne, my cousin Megan and my best friends Kerry, Sian and Natalie. I wanted to make their gifts personal, so I made floral ribbon hangers with their names on it for their dresses. I also found the most beautiful personalised rose gold foil gift bags from Gem Nicholson on Ebay that I filled with their gifts for the day. I then got similar personalised foil thank you cards from Peachy Prints on Etsy. For their dresses, we wanted something classically pretty – but not too ‘bridesmaidy.’ And I had a very specific colour of dusky lavender that I was looking for. ASOS is always my go to – and they have a glory wedding range that’s super reasonable. And I couldn’t believe how perfect the colour (‘lavender fog’) was in their TFNC at ASOS dresses. The girls all loved them, thy fit beautifully and they all looked perfect!
With 8 ladies getting ready in my little flat – we had people getting beautified everywhere from the hall to the patio! Luckily I had the coolest group of stylists and MUA’s. Hair by Beau was the fabulous hair stylist for me and the bridesmaids while Frankie Calder looked after my Mum and Aunt’s lovely styles. Both ladies were amazing and I loved my hair which stayed in place all day! The dream makeup for me and the bridesmaids was by the super talented Kayleigh Whiting, while MUA by Laila did a fantastic job with my Mum and Aunt.
I’m Scottish and James is English – so we loved the idea of tartan and tweed. Anthony Formal Wear made James a dapper bespoke navy suit with a grey Harris Tweed waistcoat to his specification. They have a massive selection of tweeds, fabrics and styles - and you get to choose every detail. It fit him perfectly on the day and he finished his look with some classic Russell & Bromley Oxford brogues and a burgundy bow tie from Moss Bros. He was one handsome man to walk down the aisle to!
Next menswear stocked a slim fit 3 piece suit very similar to what James had made - so we were able to get these for the rest of the groomsmen and they worked perfectly. They teamed this with bow ties made from the same tweed as James’ waistcoat and Oxford brogues by Jones. My brother was always going to rock a kilt – we just had to find one to hire in London that was authentic, modern and tied in with the groom colours. MacGregor and Macduff did just this. We went with the Glen Orchy Tweed jacket and waistcoat with a silver mist tartan kilt. My brother decided to team this with his own Valentino trainers – but the hire includes everything you need for a great price. You can book online, they offer free fitting services in London - and the kilt is delivered and collected by courier to and from your door!
We married in our beautiful parish church - Brentwood Cathedral RC. I was played into Canon in D on the church organ accompanied by a violinist. My big brother Justin gave me away and also did a reading along with my lovely Mother in Law. Singers from the Cathedral choir led the hymns and my big sister Sarah-Anne sang Ave Maria while we signed the register. So many people played a part to make it special and our priest led such a beautiful mass that made it the most personal and meaningful part of our day. We just couldn’t stop smiling throughout it!
As soon as we got engaged, we had our hearts set on tipis with a garden setting for the reception. There’s something so magical and pretty about them and they allow for full creativity on the décor! And we wanted as much of our day outside as possible. Luckily we got the weather! After tirelessly searching for sites near our church that were more than a field or meadow - we came across The Gardens several pages into a google search. A beautiful exclusive use venue with 15 gardens, a renovated modern barn and permanent tipis on site. You can have drinks on the lawn, your wedding breakfast in the tipis and your evening party in the barn. It seemed like this venue was the perfect mix for my mismatch non theme. But it was an hour from our church – and hadn’t opened for business yet so had no reviews. Our family and friends thought we were mad! We visited when the venue was still under construction. Although there was no tipis, it was the middle of winter and the paint was still drying - we could envision how it would come to life. So after being the first couple to visit – we were also the first ones to book. And what a dream that venue was. The staff are amazing (especially our fantastic event organiser Carrie), the food is excellent and the venue – well its awesomeness speaks for itself! It’s unique in its concept and so many of our guests said it was the best venue they’d been to. They finally understood why we’d taken the chance on a new venue and driven them cross county to celebrate at it! It’s no wonder it’s now booking up years in advance! It will always hold a place in our hearts.
Besides James’ beautiful groom’s speech, the others were in the capable hands of my brother, sister and best man Jack. Jack succeeded in making James cringe just about the right amount, but had the guests in stitches and filled his speech with a lot of love from their 25 year friendship. My brother had everyone in tears with the beauty of his words – it meant the world. And my sister managed to get everyone on their feet singing ‘You’re simply the best – my weeee Rosie!’ as it’s what my mum used to sing in place of the classic Tina Turner words when I was a kid! These speeches were one of the most memorable parts of the day and we can’t thank these guys enough!
Our beautiful wedding car was a classic 1968 VW Beetle called Polly Pootle. Polly’s owned by the lovely Helen who’s also the driver. She’s the ultimate professional and her instructions for navigating in and out of a wedding car gracefully in a super fitted wedding dress are second to none! Polly is really the most beautiful little car inside and out. And Helen decorated it with gorgeous flowers, with “just married” written on the back of the window when we drove off! It was just the sweetest. We also hired coaches from John James Luxury Travel to take our guests from Essex to Kent and back again after the party.
We hired The Alternative Guest’s strawberries and cream cart and served this on the lawn in the sunshine. Welcome drinks were prosecco, Pimms and Dorset Nectar cider all the way from James’ Mum’s village in Dorset. And The Garden’s delivered the most amazing three course meal for the wedding breakfast, with fish and chip cones and bacon butties served later in the evening.
Our invitations and orders of service covers were designed and printed by Sienna Mai on Ebay. Their stuff is super high quality, it can all be personalised and is so, so reasonable! We got so many compliments on both of these things! Vintage Foils then created our rose gold Irish Gaelic table numbers, and we stood them in little tree bark holders that we also got from eBay. But our stand out mention has to go to our beautiful guestbook that was a gift from my cousin and bridesmaid Megan! Her brother’s girlfriend is owner and designer of Etsy Shop - Alfalfa Designs and she made us the most beautiful cherry wood laser engraved guestbook with our favourite quote on it for Megan to gift to us. (As soon as I saw you I knew a grand adventure was about to happen) It really is something to treasure.
As a keen baker, I was determined to make my own cake – but there was just too little time! What Lysette at The Couture Baker created was on another level! She’s so talented and got our ideas instantly. From our initial consultation (and yummy cake tasting) – we knew we didn’t need to see anyone else. We incorporated our dusky tones by using greys and marble against white, with gold foil draped on the top to tie in with our love for all things metallic, and fresh flowers from Suzanne (our florist) to make it all pop. Inside it was white chocolate and raspberry, salted caramel and chocolate truffle. We just wish we had another slice! A cake like this had to be a real centrepiece – so we braved the strong sunshine and placed it under the gazebo outside in the beautiful gardens. It was such a beautiful backdrop and a lovely place for us to cut our cake. It was placed on a beautiful gold dresser available to hire from Fairly Vintage and the drawers were filled with custom designed champagne lollipops from the Little Lollipop Shop. I also made little cake boxes with personalised ‘Rosie & James’ stickers on them for slices of the cake to be placed in later so everyone could easily take a bit home and none of it goes to waste.
Tim’s work is super cool, modern yet classic and not like your average wedding film! He was also the nicest guy and he's so discreet you won’t even know he's there - perfect for our church who wanted to make sure cameras weren't a distraction. He also seemed to work really well with our photographer SJ – which is always good. We can’t wait to see the finished result!
Well, what can we say about SJ - she honestly is just the best. And how fitting that we found her work on the first and immediately favourite wedding blog I ever looked at - Rock My Wedding! From that point we knew that whatever date we set for the wedding had to be on a day she was available! She is literally one of the nicest people you'll ever meet and she brings such a calming influence - you're completely at ease. Again she just blends in to the day - but she really does capture every detail! She's the ultimate professional and her style of photography is just out of this world! We are besotted with our wedding photos and she captured all of the love and fun of our day so beautifully! We're forever grateful!
Suzanne at The Flowersmiths was unbelievable from start to finish. She makes the most beautiful flower creations and our day wouldn’t have been the same without her. I wanted really dusky and muted tones continued in the flowers but with a stand out bouquet. Suzanne made me a large hand-tied wild style bouquet in the most beautiful tones. The foliage had a messy feel and flowers were in a mix of sizes and forms such as Amnesia and Earl Grey rose, thistle, Astrantia, Astilbe and Café au lait Dahlia, finished with rustic hessian and silk ribbon. My bridesmaid Sian had bought me a little open locket with my Gran’s picture on it to tie around my bouquet. Needless to say, this meant so much to me. The bridesmaids had smaller versions of my bouquet – and James, my brother and the groomsmen had ivory rose and thistle buttonholes tied with twine. Suzanne also arranged all of the flowers in the tipi’s and around most of the venue using a mix match of metallic, crystal and glass jars and jugs that I’d bought from shops like the Range and B&M. My mother in law sourced vintage medicine bottles from markets. We went for several shapes and sizes of these jars along the bench tables in the tipis as it worked better than one centrepiece with this style. She hung flowers in little jars behind the top table and adorned it with the most beautiful floral garland. I also found rose gold terrarium light bulbs at a bargain from Primark. And we got Suzanne to fill these with flowers which we hung from the gazebo to frame our cake.
My colour scheme was a mix of muted and dusky tones (greys, lavenders, subtle pinks, peach and ivory) brought to life by metallic (rose gold, gold and silver) accents and bold, messy and botanical greenery. Our church is so beautiful in its own right – so we really just wanted to let it speak for itself. But I liked the idea of having something in there to reflect bits of our decor. So I bought dried lavender and wheat from eBay. And my wonderful Mum and Aunt stayed up to the wee hours helping me make these into rustic chair ends tied with hessian ribbons and twine. Under clear instructions, the best man and ushers Jack, Matt, Willem, Jon and Raj did a great job of attaching these on the morning of the wedding! The ladies in the church then made 4 bouquet pillars of gorgeous ivory roses and greenery to frame the alter. At The Gardens we had a blank canvas so besides the tables and chairs – pretty much everything was brought in by us. Being an hour away in Essex – I wouldn’t be there on the morning to set everything up. So we put our trust in the lovely Jenny from The Creative Venue (TCV). She was simply amazing and was so flexible about us making and sourcing lots of bits ourselves alongside any support she could offer. We also used hire items from Harriett at Fairly Vintage who has the most beautiful pieces. We hired her vintage lemonade stand, ladders, Polaroid camera, suitcases and most importantly our beautiful gold vintage dresser for our cake. The barn was decorated by TCV with drapes and fairy lights entwined in greenery. I bought loads of little empty light bulbs from Etsy, tied them in twine and we added lavender and gyp before hanging them from the barn ceiling. We had a Polaroid camera for our guest book which was placed on the most beautiful French dresser sourced by TCV. I spray painted an old mirror gold and wrote the lyrics of our first song on it. The barn was further decorated with lanterns, framed signs. I also bought 6 giant balloons for me and my bridesmaids from Etsy shop ‘Out Of My Bubble,’ which I tied with faux greenery to make them more in line with my colour scheme. These were a beautiful addition to our pictures later on and so much more reasonable sourcing myself. Our favours were the most dreamy homemade Scottish tablet (like a fudge) by my lovely Mum, which we enclosed in floral, hessian and cotton bags purchased from ‘Make A Marriage’ on eBay. My mum and Aunt helped me make my place names by tying together sticks of lavender and wheat. We then sealed these with twine and stuck a gold wooden place name for each person made by VM bespoke to them. We bought a beautiful botanical style menu template from Etsy and made up individual menus tagged with gold glitter dots to mark people’s food choices. My Mother in Law pretty much sourced all of the pretty props including the giant milk churns, chalkboards and hanging Victorian frames from vintage markets, friends and neighbours. She also made the potato sack cushions on the lawn and roped in some of her lovely friends in Dorset (recently crowned the “Bothenhampton Chicks”) to make yards of the beautiful bunting that adorned the tipis. This was hung alongside pompoms in dusky lavender, pink, gold and ivory. I watched a few YouTube videos on how to write with chalk pen’s and used what I’d learnt to design and write up our order of the day chalkboard, social media sign and blanket notice. The personalised wooden arrow signs were hand-made by my Mother in Law’s neighbour. I bought mini milk bottles and pretty straws for the lemonade stand from eBay. Even the flip flops were metallic! A great Primark buy - I added these to little baskets to keep our guests dancing! I bought loads of vintage gold frames from the Range and printed up signs to point people to the different bits and pieces. And we bought some garden games again from eBay to plot around the venue for some fun. One of the things that were most talked about was our wedding survival kit in the bathrooms. It featured things like deodorant, plasters, mints and things for hay fever relief and so many people said it had been a saving grace on a summer’s day at a garden venue!
My sister’s best friend Jasmine is a professional musician who regularly plays weddings, so alongside her group member Owen they beautifully played classical and contemporary strings on the cello and violin throughout our drinks reception. Music is really important to both of us so we wanted to make sure we had a band that felt like they were playing a gig and not a wedding. So in the evening we had the outstanding Pop Rocks who we found through Tailored Entertainment. They were lovely guys and were better than we could've imagined. So many of our guests said they were the best band! They have a diverse repertoire that's classic and current and kept us dancing all night. They even did an impromptu garage instrumental as the back sound for James and one of his best mates Veej to do a bit of MC'ing! They then happily joined us all for the electric slide and the final song of the night which was, of course, The Bonny Banks of Loch Lomond!
James and I are so close to our mum’s and they really have been our rocks throughout our lives! So it felt fitting that they be the two people to witness us signing the register and we just love the photo SJ captured of them having a little hug just after they did this. James’ Dad is sadly no longer with us, so his Mum had the most beautiful gold cufflinks made for James from some of his Dad’s old jewellery – which was such a beautiful and meaningful thing for him to wear on the day. I adored my Gran and Papa – I just wish they could’ve been there at our day. So I made lots of parts of it a reflection of them. I have the worst hay fever and I’m terrified of wasps, but the garden setting was a must as my Gran and Papa absolutely loved flowers. Our invitations were wax sealed with the design of the Claddagh ring – the traditional Irish ring that represents love, loyalty and friendship. My Gran wore this ring all her life and she gave it to me just before she passed away – I never take it off. As you’ve probably guessed – they were Irish – so we made our table numbers in Irish Gaelic too. And I had a single yellow rose at our top table for my Papa.
Take the time to enjoy every minute and have faith that it will all work out. In the run-up to our wedding, we had scaffolding erected around our entire church that wasn’t due down until the week after our wedding. (By a miracle it came down 2 days before!) At one point it looked like we couldn’t get our guests to Kent as the coach might not fit over a local bridge and there was no other route. And on the actual day – I realised I’d forgotten to buy one of my bridesmaids a pair of shoes!! But these things happen and there’s always a workaround. Keep a good team of family and friends around you and don’t be afraid to ask for help. It really is the best day and time of your life – but it goes by so quickly. Try to savour as many moments as you can! And if you want something but it looks too pricey – make it yourself! There’s a YouTube video to teach you anything and it makes it all the more special on the day knowing you made so much of what is there. And it’s the best feeling when your guests all comment on it and you see it all captured in your pretty pictures!