As soon as I opened Sarah & Richard’s submission adorned with the bunting graphics used at their wedding I thought this is going to be EPIC and full of fabulous details and styling and I most certainly was not disappointed.
I love the rustic elements and deep pink florals. Those chair back vines in particular are just amazing! and then there are the disco balls, bunting, light up letters, vintage china tea cups and more, SO much more! The attention to detail is overwhelming and Sarah has been the most helpful bride & listed all her suppliers for you.
Both are dressed in to to-die-for outfits by Suzanne Neville and Saint Crispin Bespoke Tailoring and completed there looks perfectly with plush velvet bow ties, dazzling wedding bands and killer shoes!
Sarah The Bride: Our big day was on Saturday 4th October 2014. It was THE. MOST. AM.A.ZING. DAY! It was extremely special to us because we kept everything local to our home village of Upper Harlestone in Northamptonshire. We looked at a few other venues further away but they just didn’t have ‘that’ feeling that we were after.
So, we got married in St Mary’s Church in Great Brington which is a stunning church with dramatic architecture and vibrant stained glass windows in the next village to ours, about a 5 minute drive from our house or a 20 minute walk which takes you past Althorpe House and through beautiful countryside. We’re pretty close to the vicar – an energetic lady called Sue (who is a mad as a box of frogs!). We’ve enjoyed a few glasses of wine together on a Friday night (I know, proper village life!). She is a lovely lady and it meant a great deal to us that she could marry us.
We went for traditional ‘coming in music’ played by a local chap called Sam on the organ (who’s actually a local policeman too!) which was The Prince of Denmark’s March ‘Trumpet Voluntary’. OMG – it was so loud it gave me goosebumps! Amazing feeling.
We had three hymn’s, ‘Come to a wedding’ (to the tune of ‘Morning has Broken.), ‘Give Me Joy in my Heart’ – a proper sing-it-loud hymn! And ‘One more step’ – again, a jolly sing-along-number that we both remembered singing at school. We booked the choir too – and the acoustics in church were awesome. We also hired a string quartet for the guests to enjoy before the ceremony.
My Step Dad walked me down the aisle and I had a photo of my real Dad and my Grandma in the tiniest photo frame tied to my bouquet with ivory and silver ‘Richard and Sarah Gyde’ ribbon (that we tied around everything on the day!), so really 3 people were by my side as I walked to meet Richard.
My oldest friend Becky, who I’ve known since I was 10, read a poem for us in church and my Mum read a touching letter that she’d written to Richard and I – the whole place was in tears.
During the ceremony we walked to the altar together and lit candles for my Dad, my Grandma and Richard’s Mum who have all passed away and said a prayer. My Brother Neil and Richard’s twin Brother Robert were our witnesses and signed the register for us.
￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼As we arrived and left church the bells were ringing out in loud celebration… another truly memorable goose bump moment!
Our wedding transport was a beautiful 1960’s VW camper van called Abbe (said ‘Abi’)!! A loving-restored, immaculate ivory and cappuccino affair with a spacious L-shaped cream leather interior, owned by a local family-run company Silk and Satin Weddings. I loved watching people’s faces as we told them that we’d booked a camper van for our wedding day. The response was usually ‘a CAMPER van?!’ – eyes wide in disbelief! It took me, Mum and Dad, and the Bridesmaids before us, to the church and then Richard and I to our reception venue after the ceremony. Abbe was quirky and so
much fun to travel in – the owners even hung ‘happily ever after’ bunting in the back window after we’d got married! The experience was just perfect.
Our reception was in our village hall ‘The Harlestone Village Institute’ which is just two fields across from where we live. We walk past it all the time, it is literally a 3 minute walk from our house. It’s such a pretty place surrounded by rolling hills – and sheep! We embraced the village hall theme and decorated it ourselves with bunting, tea lights in tea cups and fairy lights galore! The local farmer, Ivor, who has his cattle in the fields around our barn lent us bails of hay for the guests to sit on outside and naturally we repaid him with local ale!
The graphics for the day – posters, menu’s, invites, RSVP’s, thank you’s, order of service – I designed and produced myself. They were printed by a local print house JR Press who I have known for 15 years through work. They did a fabulous job of printing our wedding stationery on recycled paper which incorporated actual hops from the beer making process! (Another great ditty to share with people!!) They even sourced envelopes that looked like grass – like actual grass! All of the stationery incorporated a bunting design and cheerful fonts, and I tied it all up with twine for that authentic country feel. I’m a bit of a details girl – so I had custom printed ‘it’s a wrap’ grease-proof paper – monogrammed with S&R in a heart – for all our canapés to be served on too!
Our florist was a lady that lives at the bottom of our lane, Abi Shand Kydd who owns Greenfingers and she did a great job. My brief to her was ‘English Country Garden’ including lots of rosemary and mint for a delicious smell, and she delivered in spades! There was an abundance of white and pink roses, clouds of blue and white hydrangeas and a punches of zingy yellow and deep plum too. I wanted my bouquet to look like I had picked a bunch of meadow flowers! I wanted the boys button holes to all be different colours and shapes but with the same flower theme and herbs throughout – they looked brilliant.
Hanging flower displays adorned the pew ends in church. Vintage wooden crates of hydrangeas, terracotta pots of cyclamen and galvanised metal buckets of blooms decorated the bar area in the village hall. More flowers dressed the three long dining tables for our wedding breakfast, placed in a myriad of mini silver urns and bowls which sat upon long ￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼hessian runners. A mix and match collection of pillar candles in glass lanterns, dinner candles in vintage glass holders and tea lights in mercuried glass votives brought sparkled like scattered jewels amongst the flora. Individual flowers and herbs were placed at every place setting on top of menu’s and our chairs were also dressed with a waterfall of pink roses and greenery – so dreamy!
Our Bridesmaids and my Mum wore corsages on pearl-like wrist bands – Mums was a delicate orchid – and all carried a single rose into church.
Our wedding favours were made by my friend Vicki from work – blackberry brandy for the boys and raspberry gin for the girls! All decanted into mini corked bottles with personalised labels – and of course tied with our personalised ribbon too. They were placed on the tables and the little bottles shone like ruby gemstones in the sunlight.
Our bar was run by one of our neighbours called Lynn, a talkative larger-than-life lady who kept everyone in check!
During the drinks reception and throughout the wedding breakfast the uber-talented Ardeton String Quartet played
a ‘jukebox set’ of well known songs – pop, indie etc – amazing, clever and so classy. The quartet were completely interactive as guests were even able to request songs for them to play! The music drifted through the village hall which has vaulted wooden ceilings the acoustics were brilliant, and was a joyful addition to the wedding-day-chatter. They were the first thing we booked in fact and I am so glad we did!
Speeches took place in front of the stage in the main room against a backdrop of a huge 6ft LOVE sign that we’d hired. It was a wonderful focal point in the room – it flooded everything with the most beautiful warm glow (it even flashed!) and was a real talking point – everyone loved it! It also looks fab on our photos!
We wanted the speeches ahead of dinner so that Richard could relax (despite being used to public speaking he was super nervous, bless him). We decided to have friends speak for us. My best friend of forever, Hayley, said some lovely words for me and Sam (my uni friend’s husband who is one of Richard’s best mates) spoke for Richard. And what a speech it was! He hung the speech together with 3 main stories that had a lot of audience participation and props and by the end, Sam, Richard, my brother and Richards friend Mark had got dressed up (unbelievably unknowingly!) and were dancing to YMCA that Sam had started to sing and then some music kicked in!! The point being that it was ‘Richard and his village people’! Clever! Everyone loved it. Richards speech was incredibly touching and he got choked up at the end when he made a toast to me, ah…
Dinner of course had to be my favourite – bangers and mash, with roast veg and onion gravy! Our caterers were a local company called Portfolio Events and were SU-PERB. We started with Brixworth Pate and melba toast, followed by a trio of bangers and mash made by a local butcher – pork and chilli, a Lincolnshire-esque sausage and then a pheasant and cranberry one too. (Shooting season had just started and all the pheasants had been released from Althorpe so it seemed appropriate!) We finished with old school bread and butter pudding and ice cream. Rich and I didn’t actually get to eat pud though as the sun was setting so we went and twirled and danced in the field amongst the sheep as the sun went down! It was incredibly romantic – something I always wanted to do.
Our wedding breakfast was all served on mis-matched vintage crockery that I hired from a company in Somerset called ‘Eclectic Bliss’ who personally delivered, collected and even washed it all by hand afterwards. Brilliant, easy, hassle-free service.
Before for our first dance we cut our wedding cake which was magnificent. Our brief to our ‘baker’ was very open. I just said that I wanted something simple, elegant and country-fied! My very talented friend who I have known since university, Kate, was in fact our baker! She is very arts and crafty and a keen member of the Ipwish WI. She had never baked a wedding cake before but had most certainly baked us some wonderful cakes over the years – so it seemed fitting to entrust the baking of our wedding cake to one of my dearest friends. Kate even went on a cake decorating class ahead of the day. The final 3 tier cake had delicate hand-made flowers cascading around it and was surrounded with cup cakes placed in tea cups topped with ‘Sarah and Richard Gyde’ flags complete with our wedding date! It was more than we could have dreamed for.
Our DJ was Rich Stewart from Matter Potter Entertainment. First class music and lighting inside and out that washed the walls with beautiful colours. And at our request we had two glitter balls – yes we did.
Our first dance was ‘How long will I love you?’ by Ellie Goulding, followed by ‘Thinking out loud’ by Ed Sheeran. When he sang ‘Kiss me under the light of a thousand stars’ it really did feel like that – with the fairy lights twinkling above. My Brother released a confetti canon above our heads too and my dress created a little circle on the floor whilst we were dancing in our own little world…
The night ended at about midnight – and we went back to our house as Mr & Mrs to discover our friends had decorated the place with personalised bunting strung across our kitchen and confetti and gifts and flowers!! Magical!
We were actually quite lucky with the weather… although the heavens opened and it absolutely chucked it down with rain in the morning, until I put my dress on at about 11.30am, the sky eventually cleared and we had bright sunshine from about 2pm. Everywhere was damp but the autumnal colours couldn’t have been more vivid.
My dress (‘THE dress’) was by Suzanne Neville and was called ‘Hepburn’. A strapless, fitted ivory silk gown with a vintage corded lace over lay, buttons all the way down the back and finished with a silk belt, made in London.
My full length veil with a simple scalloped lace edge was by Joyce Jackson and I had a hand-made lace and diamanté cuff by wedding jewellery designer Miranda Templeton. I bought everything from Giling and White Bridal – a gem of a boutique in a converted barn in Oadby, Leicestershire.
That’s where after 4 months of (stressful!) dress shopping I found ‘The Dress’. The lovely Sarah who owns the boutique was the answer to my prayers – knowledgeable, reassuring, so professional, so warm and just made the whole process so easy for me. I had complete faith in her.
Richard had a tailor–made 3 piece suit with a fuscia pink lining, stitching and waistcoat back complete with a monogrammed shirt all from Saint Crispin Bespoke Menswear. Dean, the owner, ‘knew his onions’ as they say, and several fittings later that was that. Richard wore shoes that were a deep burgundy leather, handmade locally at Barkers (well we are known for shoes in Northamptonshire!).
We commissioned a jewellery designer in London called Luke Rose to make our wedding bands. (He made my engagement ring in 2012 – which is 3 round brilliant cut diamonds set in platinum band – so we went back to him.) I had a platinum band set with 6 white diamonds. Richard had a platinum band set with 3 white and 3 black diamonds.
We had 6 Bridesmaids all dressed in ivory silk shift dresses from Coast. That sentence makes it sound so easy but actually this was a particularly tricky task! (…with the exception of my 13 year old Cousin we’re all 36 ish years old and a variety of shapes and sizes!) When I found the dresses so many people said ‘you can’t have the Bridesmaids in the same colour as you!’ But I did, and it worked. The girls simple but stunning dresses provided a wonderful foil for me in my dress.
In the morning myself and the Bridesmaids had our hair styled at Lara Boot Hairdressing. Lara has styled my hair for over 18 years so there was no-one else I would trust to do the job on my wedding day! It made sense for us all to then to get ready at our house – a barn conversion in the middle of the village.
Richard and his Best Man had booked accommodation at ‘The Hopping Hare’ pub the night before which is a short distance from where we live and the wedding venues. We also booked rooms there for our guests on the night of the wedding (they do a great breakfast!).
One of my biggest worries ahead of the day was that we’d miss some of the wonderful moments that were taking place
on the day itself. When the day arrived, this emotionally charged day of love and celebration, I wanted to be able to press ‘pause’ and savour every single second. I wanted to open my eyes as wide as possible and see every aspect of what we’d planned all at once, every smile of every guest, experience every little bit of joy as it unfolded and share every conversation and dance! I wanted to bottle that feeling of happiness that Richard and I felt, I just didn’t want our day – and everything that it represented – to ever end! Then after the giddy high of the day had subsided, and the chatter and laughter had silenced and inevitably my memory of this most glorious day began to fade, I was so worried that one day ‘our big day’ – our special, wonderful day – would be forgotten in time. So we decided to book both a photographer and videographer to try to capture as much of the moment as possible.
It was quite a big investment cost-wise but also in my mind one of the most important elements of our day. I thank my lucky stars that we did book both a photographer and videographer – they were without a doubt worth every single penny and would book them again in a heartbeat.
Photographer and Videographer
I found Claire Penn, our photographer, on Rock My Wedding. I fell in love with her reportage style and slightly vintagy, quirky-happy vibe and instantly knew that I wanted her to capture our day.
I also found Simon Clarke Films, our videographer, on Rock My Wedding after reading another Brides story and seeing the beautiful footage that Simon had produced – ever-so cool, completely romantic with a modern yet whimsical twist. (it’s funny because when we told people that we’d booked a videographer – their faces fell as they no doubt conjoured up thoughts of old-school, wobbly-vision, handy-cam efforts! Which of course could not be further from the reality of what these guys do!)
When Claire published previews of our wedding pictures on her blog I cried the whole weekend! It was such a lovely surprise on return from our honeymoon in Mauritius. Then when we received our final photos from Claire – they literally took my breath away. Claire captured the love that everyone showed us, the grandeur of the church, the beauty of the countryside and every cheeky smile, quirky smile, in-the-moment gesture, twinkling eye, tear of joy, hug, kiss and belly- laugh and expertly distilled them into a wonderful collection of wedding memories that we can look at forever. She was like another pair of eyes for us! A pleasure to work with, although in truth I hardly knew she was there – from capturing me putting my make-up on in the morning, to saying our vows, to speeches, to dancing in the field as the sunset – she was so discreet.
Simon and Anna Clarke recorded the day as it happened and condensed it into a beautifully edited 20 mins – which we have now shown to everyone! We have watched it countless times (ok, perhaps I’ve watched it more than Richard has but that’s a girls prerogative eh?!) and the memories of the day, the feelings, the smells, the laughter all come flooding back – and we’re there in the moment again. It is even more personal to see special places to us – the lane where we live, the big horse chestnut tree at the bottom of our lane, dancing in the fields, our village hall that we transformed into something so so special and all of our friends and family celebrating our marriage. Inevitably tears spring to my eyes when we watch it – but I love it.
- Invest in a great photographer and videographer. As well as the memories you hold in your mind, these things will become priceless to you.
- The thing about finding ‘The Dress’? It’s true. You will get ‘that’ feeling and you will find ‘The Dress’. Don’t worry if you’ve tried on a billion others – don’t stress – you’re getting closer to finding ‘yours’, I promise.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff! The night before our wedding I was at the reception venue making sure everything was ‘just so’ – but I’m sure that I was just fiddling and stressing when I could have been chilling with a cool glass of vino!
- Ask for help – friends and family are usually eager to help, so delegate! And work your contacts – printers, farmers – whoever you know, ask for help.
- It seems obvious, the week before your wedding – have some early nights and get some sleep!
- And finally – remember that the day will pass so quickly – so enjoy it! It will be a wonderful day and you’ll feel sad when its all done BUT it’s also about starting the next chapter of your life – the adventure really is just beginning!
For me, it was truly exhausting to organise and prepare everything ahead of our big day… But it was spectacular *massive grin on my face*. And totally worth it to marry my best friend in the world.
And I guess one last thing, ‘Rock My Wedding’ was my blog addiction for 9 months – brilliantly aspirational and inspirational and a real source of suppliers. But I have still got the ‘Rock My’ bug so I’ve now moved on to the perfectly- timed ‘Rock My Style’.
Photography by Claire Penn
- Dress Designer Suzanne Neville ‘Hepburn’ in Ivory
- Bridal Boutique Giling and White Bridal
- ‘Bala’ Veil Joyce Jackson
- ‘Ashdown’ – Bridal Cuff Miranda Templeton
- Grooms Suit Saint Crispins Bespoke Menswear
- Groom Shoes Barker
- Bridesmaid Dress Coast – ‘Manda’
- Church St Mary’s Church, Great Brington, Northamptonshire
- Reception Venue Harlestone Village Institute, Northamptonshire
- Florist Greenfingers
- LOVE Letters More Production
- Bunting & Table Runner House of Bunting
- Caterer Portfolio Events
- Crockery Hire Electric Bliss
- Vase and candlestick hire Wedding Day Hire
- DJ and venue lighting Potter Group Events
- String Quartet Ardeton Quartet
- Bespoke Printed Ribbon The Radiant Ribbon Co.
- VW Campervan Silk and Satin Weddings
- Accommodation The Hopping Hare
- Hairdresser Lara Boot Hairdressing
- Groomsmen Suit Hire Warwicks Menswear
- Bow Ties Mrs Bow Tie
- Socks Paul Smith
- Rings Luke Rose Jewellery
- Printing JR Press
- Videographer Simon Clarke Films