The most fabulous way to arrive to a coastal wedding is by boat. And if you can't travel by water then being pulled along by a tractor is most definitely the next best thing. Talk about grand entrances. Everything about this laid back wedding screams sentiment. From the very location, Sea Palling in Norfolk, where the Bride grew up, to the bespoke dresses, and even the handmade rustic tables guests sat at in Waxham Barn. Absolutely full of family, friends and cute. Ruth's entourage of page boys and flower girls are adorable, as are the wonderful windswept portraits on the dunes captured beautifully by Tori Hancock. You also need to check out the beautiful bright blooms and fabulous naked cake. They are SO pretty.
The DressRuth the Bride: I found it really difficult working out what to wear on my wedding day and wasn’t truly comfortable until the day! When I met the designer Sanyukta in her boutique in West London, I apologised and told her I had been labelled an antibride and warned her that I was not going to like much, accounting for my previous experiences. I came to Sanyukta out of the want to source ethical fashion. The thing I really fell for when trying on Sanyukta’s dresses was the natural texture, feel and look of the organic, hand woven materials. There were elements of each design I thought looked good on me - Sanyukta took control and put all the pieces I liked into a bespoke design that felt so comfortable and was also original. I have to say she converted me – I loved wearing my wedding dress. I wish there was an excuse to wear it again. My dress was unusual but I was definitely a bride – I didn’t want to be a princess but Nick had made it clear he wanted me to be reasonably traditional, i.e., not in green as I was seriously considering. I had never dreamt of a wedding day, so had no idea what I wanted to wear, only what I didn’t. It was unchartered territory and my head had been in a spin. I’ve never really liked being tightly wrapped up in clothes. My character is pretty relaxed but I suppose most people would say I have a bold personality – it’s funny but it seems this is also how I like to dress. The dress was effortless to wear, comfortable to move around in but also had simple, bold elements in its design.
Grooms AttireHe left the house saying he was going to get his wedding suit one day, and was back within 4 hours. A British 3-piece Ted Baker suit in a lovely teal colour with smashing lining.
VenueSea Palling is a sentimental place on my life map, being a place where I spent all my Summer’s growing up and not far from my home in Norfolk. It’s a real family stronghold. Nick and I have had many happy times with family and friends there over the years. The ceremony was held in St. Margaret of Antioch Church in Sea Palling, which is a beautiful, flint church on the edge of a field with a very modest interior. There are boards on the wall that commemorate the work of the local volunteer lifeboat over the years with a record of their work. We had the reception at the Great Waxham Barn which is a stunning 16th century thatched hay barn a mile down the road from Sea Palling.
DécorYou really don’t have to do much to this space to create some magic. Our team of helpers rigged a load of festoons from the ceiling and it looked great. There was nothing more to be done. The trestle tables themselves were beautiful, made by the team at ‘Rustic Hire’ from reclaimed oak ballroom dance floor. We kept the table decorations simple with jam jars of wild flowers and vintage blue bell jars with electric tealights inside on the tables. We had little honey pots for favours, sourced from the local allotment, and everyone had a unique vintage shot glass coupled with our homemade berry vodka bottles which came out in time for the speeches. I also have to mention the awesome vintage American folding chairs from Lafayette that were a really unique find on the furniture hire front, again from Rustic Hire. We had a chillout area with rug covered hay bails to sit on and an enormous reclaimed potato crate bar, once again brought to life by Baloolah Bunting and Rustic Hire’s plethora of vintage props. We were lucky to be able to benefit from the great big courtyard in front of the barn where the kids had an entertainment area and played with an enormous parachute. No rain! A minor miracle.
FlowersAll the flowers, bouquets and buttonholes were gathered and assembled by a hard working, creative team of family and friends led by Sue Dickinson of Sea Palling. The majority of the flowers were sourced from local allotments and gardens with a select few coming from the wholesalers in Norwich.
Wedding Party OutfitsLittle bridesmaids dresses designs were sourced and made by Ella Hoyos of Bridesmaids2be in Norfolk. And the older bridesmaids dresses were by Coast at Debenhams. The Pageboys outfits were sourced from Zara and Monsoon on the highstreet after a big try-on session with Alex, my nephew.
CeremonyWe rocked up to the church aboard ‘Karenza’, Fred Page’s fishing boat pulled by a tractor with Bevy Deary at the helm. The boat was spruced up and decked out (to my surprise) with beautiful personalised ‘Baloolah Bunting’ and ribbons. In the Church our good friend Ciaran McCabe created an incredible ambience with his pitch perfect solo violin as we entered the Church and signed the register. There was a special moment when all my nieces and nephews along with a bunch of children keen to join in who were also invited led the congregation in ‘this little light of mine’, our talented sisters taking on the guitar and bongo accompaniment! Sea Palling has a real gem of an organist, Beverley, who played us out of the church with a classic rousing number.
EntertainmentWe were so fortunate to get such incredible evening entertainment from The Scratch Band, who kept me on the dance floor for every minute of their 2 sets. I had such a great time. Such a big, tight, sound from this great fun 12 piece band. Emma Barber, a local folk singer, and her accomplice, entertained the reception in the courtyard when people first arrived after the Church. A special mention must go out to Georgie March of Brides of March for devoting her time, skills and energy into making this multifaceted occasion come together so brilliantly.
CakeThe astounding Andrew Roff (close friend) who is a baking talent made a four tier, 12 layer lemon sponge and polenta cake with lemon and mint ricotta cream, decorated with summer berries and edible wild flowers – look out Great British Bake Off!
CateringAlex Chef, supplying delicious seasonal food. Fantastic array of vegetarian canapés and oysters. We wanted to keep it social with a banquet style meal including a brilliant array of salads and incredibly succulent slow cooked lamb with lentils. Katherine was the super helpful lady overseeing the whole operation – they are a really professional and approachable duo.
PhotographerI was so excited when Tori said she would photograph our wedding. Strangely she is a very old school friend of mine that I had grown away from, going to a different school at the age of 12, and then she appeared on a google search – it was meant to be! It was so great to know that same face and brilliant smile on the day, barely changed! She is a fantastically skilled and subtle photographer, captured every moment and more in her unique and natural style. She was a complete delight to have with us on the day and she bustled around all the many locations without lament but brought oodles of positive energy with her.
VideographerCaro of Cinereportage magiced herself all over and captured a fantastic and unique, beautiful momento of our day.
The Wedding CampsiteWe were keen to make the occasion go on and on and created a ‘wedding campsite’ by the grace of good friends Fred and Diana who allowed us to use their field for the entire bank holiday weekend. With the exhaustive help from Beth Ellis and her team from Norfolk Bells we created such a fun festival feel camp site. We had such fun bringing the site elements with a changing room area, a fruit stall, noodle bar, espresso bar, firepits and wood fires cedar hot tubs from ‘bathing under the sky’ to name but a few things we had going on. It was magical to be by the sea and in the countryside, sleeping in fabulous bell tents, the ultimate in camping luxury and style. Spending the whole bank holiday weekend with as many family and friends as we could in this beautiful spot, was our dream come true.
Bridal Boutique: Sanyukta | Bridal Shoes: Retro Revival | Wedding Rings: Ruth Tomlinson | Hair Stylists: Cherrie Imogen Makeup | Venue: Great Waxham Barn | Decor/Styling: Rustic Hire | Catering: Alex Chef | Wedding Planner: Brides of March | Entertainment: The Scratch Band | Transport: Feline Travel | Flower Girl Dresses: Bridesmaids2be | Bridesmaid Dresses: Coast | Videographer: Cinereportage | Bell Tents: Norfolk Bells | Hot Tubs: Bathing Under the Sky