I actually don’t even know where to begin with Ruth and Neil’s big day. Perhaps I should start by saying that I think this is perhaps one of my favourite weddings EVER to appear on Rock My Wedding. I should probably follow this up with the fact that I found this the hardest wedding to curate for these pages because I wanted to include every single image in the slider at the top here. So will you promise me that you’ll take five minutes to look at all the images below in the gallery. Pinky promise?
Whenever we’re sent a wedding by photography genius Mister Phill, we know it’s going to be special but this unique do is an absolute corker. It’s clear that Ruth and Neil invested so much time and effort into making their knot-tying uniquely them. There is signage, there is an epic order of service, there are hay bales and a very sweet bouquet that you would never have guessed was not made by a professional.
There are awesome speeches and truly immense supersized posters (I honestly went green with envy when I saw the posters). There are doughnut eating contests, passionate smooches, branded signage for different parts of the wedding breakfast. Hell even the pieces of paper slotted into the vintage typewriter were branded. These two thought of EVERYTHING.
And I couldn’t not go without wondering if anyone else thought that Ruth has a touch of Sophie Dahl about her? She so wonderfully channels the English Rose archetype in her beautiful dress.
The Bride’s Fashion & Accessories
Ruth The Bride: I was convinced I wanted a vintage dress. We went to vintage fairs and to vintage boutiques weekend after weekend until I couldn’t bear to ask my bridesmaids to go again. I didn’t see the point in paying such a lot of money for one single dress, made just for me. It felt like such a waste. Then one day I gave up and popped into BOA Boutique. The girls there were not pushy, didn’t try and sell me something I didn’t want, and gave me time to spin in the dresses without me feeling like I was wasting their time. I fell in love with the first dress I had tried on months ago. Against my morals, I was going to get a dress made just for me and it was, of course, over budget.
The Groom’s Fashion & Accessories
We had an idea of what Neil and the groomsmen should wear and didn’t think it would be too tricky to source ourselves. I (of course) made a few mood boards and set off on our internet based search. Boxes after boxes arrived and got sent back: too long (Neil is quite short), too fancy, wrong colour, sold out in some sizes, wrong shape… And then, one day, we found a waistcoat that was just right. From then on matching the rest around it was easy. The hardest thing was imagining what Neil would look like standing next to me. I’m guilty of secretly photoshoping us in our two outfits together to see if it would work.
We are both from Berkshire, so it felt right to start looking near home. We didn’t want anything too fancy. We just wanted somewhere that wouldn’t use up all of our budget, that we could make our own mark on, and where we wouldn’t be chucked out at 11.30pm. So many places have rules as long as my left arm. We felt it was our wedding, so why let some one else decide which chairs, what times, and how many people you should have (I’m a control freak as you can tell)?
One day my parents’ next-door neighbour came home from a party in a nearby barn that finished past the stroke of midnight. They knew it was north of our little town so gave up a weekend driving up and down country lanes barn spotting, knocking on strangers’ doors asking if their daughter could get married there. Eventually they hit gold. We couldn’t have wished for a better canvas and more accommodating hosts.
I spend hours in my day job with pantone chips, so you can imagine how long I spent choosing the pantones for our wedding. Just yesterday, I found the envelope of the short list. I think there are 30, which somehow I narrowed down to five. However, I don’t think I stuck to it in the end. I just ruled out any reds, oranges or purples. Everything else was let through the door. I hoped it worked. There are too many amazing colours in the world to just choose one.
I love flowers – doesn’t every bride? But I didn’t want to spend my year’s salary on paying some one else to do them. I wanted to do it myself; it’s the best job. I live down the road from Covent Garden Flower Market, so after many mood boards, a few test runs and a clip board, I went shopping at 5am to fill my little car with as many buds as it would take (and as much as Neil would let me spend on something that would only last a week or so!).
It was such a great morning. I then spent the next four days praying they wouldn’t all flake out, droop and die, but also that they wouldn’t open too early. One hot night I sent Neil down three times to the car to make sure it wasn’t too much for them. The day before the wedding I handed over the buckets of blooms to two of my bridesmaids, who spent a day making our bouquets, buttonholes and table decorations. They were far better then I could have hoped for. I’m so proud of them both.
The Wedding Party Fashion
This was the trickiest. Dressing my best friends was really weird. If I asked them what they wanted to wear, they would say ‘whatever you want’. But I wanted them to wear what they wanted. We ended this polite circle with a dress code of navy, so they could all choose a dress shape that suited them, and then dress it up how they so wished.
We didn’t want to be married by a stranger. That would have been weird. So, luckily, my Aunty was a registrar. Problem solved. We didn’t want to get married in a Church. So we removed the hedgehogs, rats and black nightshade from the cattle barn next to our large barn. It was a bit of a squeeze, but perfect for us. And we didn’t want to spend the whole 30 minutes blubbing our eyes out. This was my biggest fear. So I made it my mission to make Neil smile as much as possible. I don’t know what happened, but somehow I delayed the tears until after the big day. The happy tears were continuous for three whole days after. I couldn’t believe what had just happened. We were so lucky to have our perfect day.
Since the first day I could, I have eaten sausage and mash on a Saturday night. That’s all we really wanted. So we found a man who knew how to cook a good sausage, and would make my Mum’s gravy. Oh and we had sausage rolls as canapés. And don’t forget the hotdogs later on. We like sausages.
We also like custard. My mum made over 14 different types of puddings to go with our custard. If only my dress was a little bigger.
We met Mister Phill at Sarah and Jon’s wedding, and thank god we did. Being an art director myself, I could have spent the whole day directing every single shot. Luckily I knew we were in safe hands and could relax. The day was being documented just how we wanted. With the day now stored in memories that soon will be faded, these images are now our most treasured belongings (after our sausage dog). Thank you Mister Phill.
Last but not least
We (and our smashing team) made as much as we could. From paper flowers, to giant light up letters, to origami decorations, to hand cut signs, to biscuits and to cakes. Neil’s Dad even made us our own bar, identical to my mood board.
If you have big spaces to fill, print giant posters (we are a dab hand at this as we are founders of wallography.co.uk). We also wanted all the people who couldn’t come to be there somehow. So we filled one wall at the end of our barn with cheap photocopies of their wedding photos. People spent hours looking them.
We spent a whole year collecting plates and glasses. Paying £1 an item to hire seemed madness when we could get beautiful ones for half the price at local boot fairs. Having over 1000 items to sell after was a bit of a nightmare, but worth it.
Don’t let people tell you can’t do anything yourself, as you really can and that’s the fun bit.