Oh my goodness. Caroline’s dress!!! I LOVE it – the pretty shade of buttermilk, the intricate lace overlay, the ostrich feather trim…Charlotte at Wilden Bride has done a superb job and Caroline looks amazing! Her shoes are something special too 😉
It’s the perfect gown for this laid back, party wedding too. Nothing is overdone, and the simple yet stunning touches are just right for an incredible Italian venue, just brimming with rustic beauty.
The photography from Richard Pickavance really captures the essence of the day, no formal shots, no posing – just the day naturally unfolding in front of the camera in all it’s glory.
Look at that sky! You know when you go on holiday for a while and then you come home and are reminded just how beautiful the UK is. Well these images by Photography34 have had that effect on me… If ever there was a perfect day for an outdoor celebration then this is it. Abby and Andy must have been over the moon.
With a Stephanie Allin dress, stunning natural wood marquee and exquisite DIY florals there is something here for everyone. Did I mention the brass band?…
It’s here. It’s finally arrived. Yes lovelies, I can AT LAST share the ridiculously pretty spring-filled, heart-shaped extravaganza that is ‘Enamoured’ – Rock My Wedding’s first editorial shoot of 2014.
If you stopped by the blog yesterday then you’ll have read my post on the inspiration for this love inspired shoot. You’ll know then that we wanted a girly feast of heart-shaped balloons, champagne and more shoes than you could ever imagine.
And so we set about sourcing the very best petals and marshmallows and candy floss and glitter and love hearts and mini eggs and heart-shaped glasses and ribbons and shoes that the world had to offer.
Your six year old self would be proud.
Every single shoot from 2013 took place outdoors, in sun-drenched meadows, under fecund branches of wisteria, in forests and dappled glades. Hell we even went to the beach! For 2014, we decided to move our creative vision indoors against a back-drop of off-white floorboards and ummm bathtubs…
More on the bathtubs later…
And who were we going to use to capture our romantic capers? Well that would be the lovely Julia from Julia & You Photography. Her talent for capturing beautiful detailing and romantic outlook suited our vision perfectly and we are bowled over by the results.
There are some very fluttery eyelashes for you today, along with a little bit of vintage Chanel, a fabulous fur jacket and the ever gorgeous Eden gown by Jenny Packham. Jane and Duncan married at Love Lust Member Iscoyd Park. All the weddings we feature from here seem to have the most beautiful, atmospheric outdoor shots – have a look at our own Lolly’s amazing wedding at Iscoyd here.
Jane’s theme of a romantic spring day really comes through in the colourful mix of tulips and roses and in the amazing cake – it looks absolutely scrumptious. Apparently Bride Jane is an avid RMW reader and used us lots for inspiration – all the best Brides do!
Modern Touches And Elegant History
Jane The Bride: We were not sure exactly what we wanted in a venue before we stepped into Iscoyd Park. Immediately, we were struck by the beauty of the venue but also the welcoming hospitality of its owner and host Phil Godsal. Phil has created an amazing flow to the house – making the whole day seamlessly fit together. The perfect mix of modern touches married with its elegant history – make it an exceptional place to be. The location was also perfect as Duncan grew up nearby and it’s also in easy reach of Ireland for my family. It was the first and only venue we went to but we knew that it was the one. The only available weekend date they had for that year was only six months away, it didn’t take us long to confirm…
First School Dance
I wanted to go for a minimalist and classic look to go with my dress. So I bought some natural Bobbi Brown products and some red lipstick. My aunt Kate, a make-up artist who did my make-up for my first school dance was also there on the big day.
For my hair – I wanted something with a natural and feminine flair. Iscoyd recommended Louise Huxley as our hairdresser and she was amazing. She created exactly what I wanted and managed to get round more than ten ladies on the morning. I wore Diptyque’s Eau Rose on the day for a spring-like and fresh scent.
Romantic And Glamourous
My dress was Jenny Packham’s Eden dress in ivory. Before I got engaged I never had ‘the dress’ in mind but when I started looking I knew that I wanted something romantic and glamorous with no frills. With no idea where to even start looking and only six months to go, I thought Alice Temperley and Jenny Packham would be a good place to start.
The staff at Jenny Packham’s Bridal Boutique were so helpful and made it feel like such a special experience. As soon as I tried on the Eden dress, I knew it was the one – it was so elegant and pretty with a touch of ethereal glamour. It was the dress that really inspired everything else on the day and helped me come up with the theme ‘wild flowers and romance.’
Duncan wore a gorgeous three-piece cashmere navy suit from A Suit that Fits – he really wanted to have a tailored suit on the day and he looked like such a dapper gentleman! His look was finished off with shoes from Kurt Geiger and a floral spring tie from Thomas Pink.
My shoes were the hardest part of the outfit! I searched and searched for the perfect pair but with no luck. Then I came across a vintage pair of beaded Chanel shoes on Louise Paris which is run by Eloïse who lovingly handpicks each piece on her website. They came in perfect condition and had never been worn.
I also wore a beaded Jenny Packham belt with my dress and my Granny’s brooch on my bouquet. My Mum lent me her fur shrug which was absolutely perfect and so snug in the chilly air. Wanting to keep my jewellery simple, I wore a Tiffany heart bracelet that my husband gave me at our first ball and diamond studs that my step-mother lent me on the day.
Pretty And Elegant
I wanted the bridesmaids to feel pretty and elegant on the day so we eventually found the perfect dresses in Coast which suited them all perfectly. Duncan wanted the groomsmen to feel relaxed so they all wore their own suits, accessorised with bright spring buttonholes.
Wild Flowers And Romance
With the dress helping to create our theme – we stuck to the ‘wild flowers and romance’ idea and set up a Pinterest board to explore different ideas. The focus was really on creating a romantic spring day with fresh, locally grown blooms. My sister is an amazing jewellery designer and made us beautiful props for the day including a vintage box for the rings, tassles for the dance floor and Mr&Mrs signs for above our chairs. But as Iscoyd is such a stunning venue – it largely spoke for itself through its own classic elegance.
Local Seasonal Flowers
Our florist, Juliet from Thoughtful Flowers was absolutely incredible. Juliet’s enthusiasm and creativity really shone through all of the arrangements. We loved the fact that she grows all of her flowers locally and according to the season. She hung pretty jars around the marquee and made vintage pots of flowers for the tables. She created the most gorgeous bouquets and button holes for the bridal party and put scented narcissi on each ladies place setting.
The Most Beautiful Way
We had a fantastic local string quartet on the day called Sounds Interesting – they played Romeo and Juliet for my entrance in the most beautiful way. We had a very emotional exit to an Irish classic – Sweet Thing by Van Morrison. We asked some of our family members and friends to make readings for us, made up of poems that we chose.
We had a DJ for the evening and asked all of our guests to request a song on their RSVPs. Our first dance was ‘Home’ by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, it was completely un-choreographed – we just danced around and had fun!
The centrepiece of the evening was our cake which was made by our amazing bridesmaid and chef. She made us layered vanilla lemon sponge cake with lemon and mascarpone icing and decorated it with spring flowers – it was divine!
We’re big foodies and it was a really important part of our day. Thankfully Iscoyd’s caterer is absolutely brilliant and is headed up by chef extraordinaire Rupert Frazer Worden. We had smoked salmon and Irish wheaten bread, lamb with dauphinoise and chocolate fondants with pistachio ice cream. This was topped off by macaroons and a cheese-cake for the evening food, yummy!
We spent a long time looking at table plans and finally decided on escort favour bags. Finding the right bags was the hard part, thankfully we found Debbie from Looty Bags – a local supplier who was just fantastic. Debbie makes all of her own bags and she created them exactly to our requirements. We filled them with all of our favourite treats such as bubbles, French carambars and chocolates, crème eggs and wham bars.
Stationery wasn’t our top priority – with less than six months to go we didn’t have much time to ponder on designs! So we designed our own on Hello Lucky and directed our guests to our wedding website that we created through Wedding Wire. The website was such a useful tool which we could update regularly and was especially handy for guests who lived abroad.
Stay True To Yourselves
If I was to give any advice to anyone planning a wedding it would be to stay true to yourselves and what you both want. It’s so easy to get carried away in the planning and trying to please everyone in the process. The most important thing is your love for each other! Our photographer Philippa James captured our day in the most beautiful way. She is so talented and was so supportive throughout the whole process and took pictures that we will treasure forever!
Jane has some seriously gorgeous eyelashes doesn’t she? And I love it when red heads wear a red lip. She looks stunning.
And how unbelievably glamorous to have vintage Chanel for your wedding day?? I’m off to find myself some vintage designer pieces on the Louise Paris website.
Lots of love,
If you are signed up to the Rock My Wedding newsletter (if you’re not you can sign up here) you will have already seen a sneak peek of this wedding. It’s a serious hug-fest and I love it. And you will too. I promise.
Chloe and Alex married on a glorious July day in 2012 and held their reception at Gate Street Barn after a ceremony at Holy Trinity Church.
Gate Street Barn was the only venue Chloe and Alex visited and they fell in love with it instantly. It’s not hard to see why. There is hop blossom hanging from the ceiling and fields full of French horn cows…all of whom are named after previous couples who have married at the barn. I know, very cool.
There’s just so much love going around at this wedding. Enjoy.
Chloe The Bride: Being only 5″2 I didn’t want anything too meringuesque and wanted something with a vintage style. I managed to secure an appointment at Jenny Packham. The 2012 collection had just arrived, it was there that I tried on the ‘Foxglove’ dress, that was when I knew I had found ‘the one’! With a 1920s style gown with sheer sleeves and sparkling embroidery, it was everything I had envisaged. By coincidence Jenny Packham was paying a store visit that day, and I was lucky enough to have a conversation with her about the dress and my wedding… I may have come across as slightly excitable!
Shoes, make-up, hair
Being a believer that less is more, I didn’t want to go too OTT whilst accessorising. I decided against a veil and settled for a vintage hair grip from a boutique in Farnham and some Jenny Packham earrings, matching the dress perfectly. It took a long time to find the perfect shoes, I wanted some height but didn’t want to be a hobbling bride, I also wanted shoes that looked vintage and matched the dress. Harriet Wilde’s shoes are gorgeous and I chose a 20’s style lace pair. I managed to last well into the night before kicking them off and dancing Joss Stone stylie.
After doing make-up for a few of my friends weddings I was confident enough to do my own, and felt that I didn’t want to look too different on the big day, however panic started to creep in and I decided to get a trial done at the MAC counter in House of Fraser. I wanted a fairly dewey natural look and was really pleased with the outcome. I revisited the counter on my wedding morning to have my make-over done. Being completely indecisive about my hair and having a couple of trials I decided to go with a messy side bun, this was done by Emma from Locks of Love who was brilliant and also did my mum’s hair on the day.
Girl After My Own Heart
Shortly after getting engaged I visited a wedding fair where I came across the lovely Bex, from Blush Florals. Her stall immediately caught my eye with it’s beautiful floral displays and vintage decorations. My mum and I visited Bex shortly after for a consultation and had great fun discussing all the bouquets and decoration. Besides the flowers Bex also provided rustic style bird cages, china wear, glassware for the sweet stall and wicker hearts for the church, this is a girl after my own heart! The flowers we had decided on consisted of peonies, cabbage roses, antique roses, lavender and some greenery. The morning of the wedding, Bex came to drop all the bouquets and button holes round to my parents house and my mother who had kept it together all morning couldn’t help but shed a tear at how gorgeous they were!
What A Hottie
Alex is the middle brother of three so it was only fair that he had two Best Men, he also had four ushers! Not to outdo him I had decided upon six bridesmaid and my three adorable (at times) nieces as the flowergirls. As brilliant as it was to have such a big wedding party it was a slight challenge when in came to dressing everyone! Luckily my sister was on hand and managed to source all three flowergirl dresses from Monsoon, matched with nude ballet shoes and flowers in their hair. The bridesmaid dresses were all from Coast. I had three bridesmaids in a pale sage colour and three in a champagne. We hadn’t been too keen to have a colour scheme and decided to use a lot of pastel colours that would tie in with the rustic, vintagey theme of the day and all the flowers. The bridesmaids teamed their dresses with nude heels and wore their hair down in loose curls with vintage roses in.
The Best Men and Ushers they hired suits from Moss Bross and we bought pastel coloured ties. Alex’s suit was made to measure from A Suit That Fits. He got to custom choose the fabric, linings, button holes etc. His tie was from Reiss and for his wedding gift I got him made some vintage map cufflinks, one with the location we had got engaged and the other of where we were getting married. He looked so handsome on the day, and I still can’t believe I’m married to such a hottie!
Shot By Diana
For our Photographer we chose the fabulous Joanna Brown. After researching many photographers online I couldn’t find one that stuck out to me, we didn’t want the photos to appear too modern or posed and as soon as I came across Jo’s website I instantly knew that we had to have her. Her style is so unique, capturing beautiful angles and details that hold a memory. She also owns a ‘Diana’ vintage camera which take the most beautiful soft focused stills. We booked her up as soon as we had the venue as I knew we wouldn’t find any one as perfect as Jo.
Being a massive cake lover, the cake was something I was happy to take full control of. Not being a fruit cake or marzipan fan, I decided on having the top tier as carrot, the middle as victoria sponge and the bottom as chocolate. I choose my friend Ellie who runs a cake business to make the cake, and she did the most beautiful cake ever, I couldn’t have been happier! So many guests after commented on how delicious it was too! The cake had pearls as decoration and fresh flowers on the top and first tier.
Baby I Love You
Alex is very into music and wanted a band from the start. We asked our friends band Rich Austin and the Maestros, who had also played a couple of our friends weddings. They were great and definitely got everyone on the dancefloor. Our first dance was ‘Baby I love you’, the Ramones version.
Packing A Punch
As a designer I took the decoration part of the wedding to heart. The pheasantry which sat next to the barn was filled with old fashioned glass bottles and jars with flowers. I also rented vintage teacups and scattered (not literally) these around containing marshmallows for the guests. Another feature of the pheasantry was the sweet stall. I bought sweet shop stripy paper bags and all guests could help themselves throughout the day to all our favourite old school sweets and chocolates, which were contained in beautiful old fashioned sweet jars and containers. I managed to find retro style popcorn boxes, which we filled up with popcorn in the evening for all the guests.
The evening also brought with it ‘Palmers Punch’ a lethal cocktail we enjoyed testing throughout the year! After searching for a vintage style glass drink dispenser I finally found one in John Lewis, along with red and white striped paper straws. We also had Jo Malone candles placed around the venue, which made everything smell amazing in the evening.
I spent many hours making up little cream card boxes with tissue paper containing heart chocolates for the girls and football chocolates for the boys, before passing over the task to my parents who made the remainder of them. I bought lots of ribbons for the boxes to be tied and luggage tags which had each guests name on. These doubled up as favours and names places. For the table plan, I found a large circular frame in a charity shop, I took out the centre, sanded, painted and replaced the backing with wallpaper, I found some small heart pegs and pegged a large luggage tag on the plan for each table. For the table names we choose to have each destination we were planning to visit on our American road trip honeymoon. I bought old 6″ vinyl records from ebay and made circular artwork for the centres using old vintage postcards from each destination. The records were displayed in small logs we had cut down and cut slits down the centres. I’m lucky enough to have a very talented graphic designer as one of my best friends…and bridesmaids. Polly created all the artwork for the menu’s, signage and the invites for me and they fitted in with the rustic, quirky vibe that we wanted for the day.
Your Day Your Way
If I could give any advice for future brides, it would be to not stress out about small details of the big day, but try to enjoy everything. Use your family and bridal party to help you out with bits and don’t do everything yourself. Try to make the day special and unique to you and your fiance and don’t get too stuck trying to please everyone else!
Hannah and Greg married at Lillibrooke Manor in Cox Green, a farm opposite Hannah’s Dad’s house. Hannah’s Great Grandfather used to run the farm in the 20s right up until he retired. Hannah explained to RMW that the room where the ceremony was held was used to store asparagus which he used to help pick!
Lillibrooke Manor has been a big part of Hannah’s family history so it must have been amazing for her to marry there.
I had an original 1950s dress with the jacket by Elizabeth Avey. I wasn’t going to have any accessories thing but I entered every wedding competition going and I won a hair slide from Satin & Lace, which was awesome!
I went for a 50’s peep toe, satin blue shoes with a silver heel, from Kurt Geiger on sale!
Make Me Fabulous
I’m a lucky girl, my very good friend Camilla is a make-up artist and stylist. She runs a company called Make me Fabulous. I wanted a show stopping Brigitte Bardot look which Camilla created. Hair was via Camilla’s friend Claire who is also a professional bridal hairdresser.
I felt really confident and glamorous thanks ladies!
My mum Catherine, uncle John and mother in law June arranged and sourced ALL the flowers, apart from the bouquets.
Blue & green were my main colours and we wanted to use lots of wild flowers, ivy, herbs, anything we could obtain for free or grow ourselves.
The large displays in the small ceremony barn were arranged by my uncle John and family friends Richard & Brendan. John is known for styling some amazing London properties, so I knew I was in safe hands. Window boxes were made by June.
My mum organised and arranged the button holes, the wild flowers on the tables and grew the herbs I used as centre pieces (she also made her whole wedding outfit & hat from a 50’s Vogue pattern)
The flower display outside the barn was managed by Keith & June Greg’s parents.
We hired suit jackets and trousers for the best man, my brother, my dad and my father in law. We went with a company in Marlow who were extremely unreliable and I wouldn’t recommend them. Too much unnecessary stress was caused….. The shirts and ties I sourced on line. The tie colour was a vibrant royal blue which matched my shoes.
Originally I wanted to get them from Vivien of Holloway but they let me down. Everything I wanted or needed was out of stock…, plus the quality of the Collectif dresses, the shape and the colours were much nicer.
We wanted a vintage look but something that Greg could wear again. It was a herringbone fabric, 2 piece suit. We teamed this with a matching blue tie which pulled the theme colours together and his shoes were from M&S.
A Familiar Face
Photography was an easy choice as I know Richard Jones and love his work… We loved all the detail shots, and the candid people snaps. It was lovely to have someone I know taking my wedding photos. Rich made sure all the details were captured forever.
Simple And Yummy
We had fairy, cup and mini bite size cakes, in lemon, vanilla and almond. Simple, yummy and easy to eat. I made the flags to distinguish the dairy & wheat free ones, and nestled in some farm animals, as the barn had been a fully working farm!
Cakes made by Foxys Cakes.
Rock N Roll
We had a DJ for the evening rather than a band. We wanted, 50s rock n roll, northern soul, 60s & 70s rock, 80s dance, AND hip hop. Phil The Disco was able to supply it all.
We asked Greg’s Cousin Tim to sing for us during the ceremony. He’s a seasoned musician & performer who’s played at Wembley and we knew he would be amazing.
He performed ‘Anyone Else But You’ by the Mouldy Peaches and he composed a song for us which he recorded with a full band and made it in to an actual vinyl record for us!
The whole wedding party danced to ‘Long Tall Sally’ by Little Richard. Every single person was up and dancing. It was brilliant. The song is taken from the opening scene to one of our favourite films, Predator. We didn’t want to spin around on our own, on an empty dance floor… this was a much better way to get the party started.
Each person had a bespoke badge attached to their name card. We found images of our favourite 50s heroes; Marilyn, Liz Taylor, James Dean, Marlon Brando, Buddy Holly, Audrey Hepburn, Johnny Cash etc and tweaked them in Photoshop. Awesome Merchandise printed these for us.
We also had jars of sweets so people could help themselves and lots of home grown herb pots for people to take home and keep.
A Family Affair
The whole concept and all the decorations were organised / made by myself and my family.
I commissioned Greg’s dad to make and design all the bespoke signs to hang around the venue. He used old bits of scrap wood, proper recycling. Our mum’s made about 200m of bunting, from all their old fabric, which was my main request. I made the table herb pots, table plan, favours, button flower displays, and sourced the paper ball decorations. The old marmalade jars used for table flower displays were borrowed from Greg’s Parents next door neighbour.
A Bit Of Nostalgia
The theme was the 1950s, because my family had lived on the farm during this period, plus it was the era when our parents were children and it has a nostalgic feel to it. The old fashioned, homemade style suited the venue particularly well but the fact that everything was actually handmade with love and affection by my friends and family made it really special.
I wanted to create a feast for the eyes and my expectations were exceeded. I have set dressing and design experience professionally so I am all about the detail and personal touches; I loved that everywhere you looked there was something creative, fun or pretty to look at.
Mostly everyone got involved and came in 50s inspired clothes which looked amazing.
I have 7 years event and production management experience and I recently started a wedding & events business with my friend Hayley, called Penny & Poppy (weddings parties & events):
We are used to bringing other people’s ideas to life, but when the concepts are your creation it’s the most amazing feeling to see everything come to fruition. I was so proud of everyone. All the planning and hard work was worth it. It was the happiest and most stylish day of our lives.
For Hannah and Greg a vintage wedding was absolutely perfect. The nostalgic venue set the scene and from there the theme grew organically and feels completely natural. Hannahs’s accessories from the gloves to the Satin & Lace hair slide to those colour pop blue shoes are spot on, funky, retro, glamourous and fabulous.
My dress was by Ugo Zaldi and was from Blackburn Bridal Couture in Blackheath, London. When my attentions turned to “the dress” I found I had some really clear thoughts of what I would like which I didn’t expect – I really wanted to get married in a Roland Mouret/Victoria Beckham style shift dress. I love shift dresses and rarely wear anything full length (when I do I feel really uncomfortable and awkward) However I tried on a few non-wedding designer dresses and they just didn’t give the wow factor I thought I needed for the big day. So I abandoned that idea and threw myself into a traditional wedding dress search.
I tried on lots of dresses – some really beautiful ones but I always felt like the dress was wearing me rather than the other way round. I tried vintage 50s dresses which were short and fun to wear but made me feel “cute” rather than knockout. I then saw a modern short dress in a magazine and travelled down to Blackheath to find it – when I got there I found they only had it in a size 6 and it was backless (not good with my curves) but then Mandy from Blackburn Bridal whipped out a dress that was similar – BUT SO MUCH MORE AMAZING!
I loved it the minute I saw it on the hanger. I couldn’t believe it – it was exactly what I had imagined – a shift dress but with bling and sparkle to make it bridal. The shoulders were covered in pearls and sequins and quite structured in a Balmain style. I had got to that point in the wedding dress search when you wondered if anyone really did find “the one” or just got fed up trying on dresses that they went with the nicest option. It was unbelievable how the minute the dress was zipped up I was instantly transported to the feelings and emotions I would feel on the day – I could imagine walking into the town hall and how that would feel. “The One” really did exist!!
I had a hair band from Fenwick – I literally just popped in one day and picked it up. It was very simple with silver beading that matched the details on my dress. I thought I wanted a bird-cage veil (they look so cute) but they looked a bit bonkers on me. My necklace was a black pearl from Azendi. My bridesmaid Tash had a white pearl from Azendi – until the day itself we weren’t sure who was going to wear which! I wore my Grandmother’s three diamond engagement ring that my mum kindly lent to me – that was my something borrowed.
A Bit Of Lift
I got a bit stuck with shoes – as they were going to be on show it felt like an important choice. Also I’m a bit tall so didn’t want massive heels but I wanted a bit of lift. Me and Andrew are similar height (pah! Who am I kidding, I’m taller!) I found Harriet Wilde shoes online – her studio was literally round the corner from my house and I had a couple of lovely visits to get the shoes just right. I had her “Mable” shoe (peep toe ivory mid heel) customised with some pearl and blue stones added on.
A Calming Infulence
My hairdresser Rachel Warby has cut my hair for a decade and there was no contest when it came to who would do my hair on the day. Rachel is a very calming, wise influence in my life and I knew she would help make the morning as relaxed as it could be! Me and my bridesmaid Tash had a couple of hair trials with Rachel – to be honest the big curls were her idea and I thought they looked great. I did my makeup myself – me and Tash did have a Bobbi Brown session before the day and I used some of that with my own makeup. As it got closer to leaving on the morning and I was more shaky and nervous, Rachel took over the makeup and finished it off for me.
Blue And Orange
My florist was Pasi at Flor Unikon – but just as important was my auntie Anita who project managed all the flowers and decorations for me. I’ve never been that into flowers or design and was a bit baffled where to start – my aunt has a lovely eye for beautiful things and has done some flower arranging in the past so was ideal. She would take vague ideas from me and make them happen (and also make stuff happen that I had never even thought about!)
The colours for the wedding had been picked early on and were blue and yellow – we had a beautiful bird motif designed by my talented graphic designer friend Karen. When it came to flowers – Pasi suggested that blue and orange were better so we went with that for all the table centres, stands and room displays.
All the arrangements were beautiful but the highlight for me was probably the spiral staircase which had autumn leaves, candles and Chinese lanterns sprinkled up the side. It looked stunning. Andrew had (surprisingly and unusually) pointed out some calla lilies and said he liked them so I was keen to incorporate them in some way. Again Pasi and Anita came up with some great ideas – my bouquet was made with calla lilies as was Andrew’s buttonhole.
I had two bridesmaids – Tash my best friend and Ffion, Andrew’s 11 year old niece. I was keen they both had dresses they loved and wanted to avoid being too bridezilla about their outfits. Tash had a blue shift dress from Coast with embellished shoulders that was a similar shape to my dress. Ffion also had a dress from Coast but hers was more floaty. She also had a little sequin bolero. Tash – ever frugal – had some shoes already that went with the dress – so we just got her a bag that matched and a few bits for her hair. Ffion had some lovely silver ballet flats. I bought both bridesmaids pearl jewellery as thank you presents.
For our boys – Andrew bought everyone a beautiful floral silk tie from Marc Wallace that was various shades of blue, yellow, green and red. It looked lovely on them and really tied the look together. Otherwise we just asked them to wear lounge suits in grey or blue with a white shirt – they all looked very handsome.
A Suit That Fits
Andrew’s suit was from A Suit That Fits and was amazing – grey pinstripe with a waistcoat with a lovely paisley pattern on the back. Paul Smith shoes completed the very handsome look. I had no involvement at all with what he was wearing – it was a complete (and very wonderful) surprise on the day.
That moment when you look into the room before you start the walk up the aisle is really incredible – and lived up to all my expectations. I heard the opening bars of Hoppipola by Sigur Ros, looked at my Dad, saw the sun streaming through the windows onto all our friends and family in the town hall and then him (my almost husband!) – gorgeous, handsome, happy (fit to burst). I look back and wonder how my brain managed to function and keep me walking…
Sensitive And Unobtrusive
Our events manager at Old Finsbury Town Hall pointed us in the direction of Clair Estelle. Enlisting Clair’s help was probably the most important and best decision we made throughout the entire wedding planning process. I cannot speak highly enough of her. She was not just a photographer, but a cheerleader, friend, supporter, organiser and extra bridesmaid and usher all in one. Having her there on the day was like having a super-fun guest who had known us for years following us all day.
Like many couples I would guess – we were trying to reduce the time we’d be off having photos done after the ceremony – and were sure we’d be keen to get back to our party. We both found that the photo session with Clair immediately after the ceremony was one of our highlights of the day. Clair was so sensitive and unobtrusive it felt like really special time together just the two of us as husband and wife. Clair was really supportive to me while we were getting ready and along with my amazing mum, bridesmaids and hairdresser, kept me calm and balanced all morning.
Clair’s whole approach is so refreshing compared to other photographers we met – she wants to understand as much as she can about you both and your relationship and this approach informs everything that she does. The photos of the day are beautiful as I’m sure you can see and we are so pleased we picked her.
My talented friends and family stepped in again on the cake – Ann, who lives over the road from my parents, is an expert cake maker and made us a beautiful cake. We both love my mum’s Christmas cake and look forward to it all year – so Ann took the recipe from my mum, made the cake and decorated it with sugar flowers in yellow and blue and strings of pearls to go with my dress. It was so delicious all three layers went on the night!
Hang The DJ
Andrew is very easy going and relaxed but his one strict requirement was no dj. We negotiated a playlist between us that had just about the right mix of Beyonce, obscure Welsh bands and everything in between… It seemed to be well received and the dance floor was full all night. Bacon rolls at 10pm seemed to re-energise the dancers! Musical highlights include a conga-style procession to Love Train that went the length of the Great Hall and enthusiastic participation to James’ Sit Down led by one of my new sister-in-laws.
A Box Of Promises
Andrew is hugely romantic and my birthday present last year was a box of promises that included me having the choice of our first dance song. We had discussed it a number of times without much joy – all the songs that meant something to us had something wrong with the lyrics or were impossible to dance to.
For Andrew to like it, it had to be a little obscure. In the end I kept coming back to one of my Dad’s favourite songs – The Luckiest by Ben Folds. The lyrics are beautiful, really meaningful and tied in nicely with one of our wedding readings, called “The Beauty of Love, by Anon”. There’s not much of a beat to it and I am the world’s worst dancer so we just had a bit of a chat, smooch and shuffle.
Each To Their Own
We didn’t have favours! I’m very much in the “Waste of time and money!!” camp… We’d got them dinner and free drink all day… What more did they want??!!! Each to their own though of course…
Above And Beyond
My aunt and my mum really ran with ideas for decorating the venue above and beyond the flowers. The loos were slightly “municipal” so my mum transformed them into a place of sanctuary with flowers, soaps, lotions, bird decorations, hand towels and so on. They were so lovely – my sister-in-law said they were her favourite bit of the day!
My aunt took my vague idea that a wish tree might be nice and transformed it into reality – by sending her partner into the woods to chop down a tree and spray painting it gold, to creating the brilliant idea of place settings that doubled as messages to leave on the tree. She made several table plans – one based on an alphabetical list of names (ingenious – many people commented how much easier it was to find their place that way!) and a more traditional one made up of vintage frames on a board covered with blue and gold fabric.
She created table runners with the material and covered 120 pipe cleaners with the same material to wrap around napkins and attach the name tags. She travelled to most TK Maxx stores in the south east of England in search of blue and gold vases. In short she was unbelievable.
A Lot To Worry About
The Planning was a bit a stressful if I’m honest… I feel terrible admitting that – it’s supposed to be the most exciting time of your life! I tried to accept myself and my reaction to it all – I am a worrier and with a wedding there’s lots of stuff you can worry about! I found it really helpful to get my friends and family involved in areas I had less opinions on so I didn’t have to add to my long list of stuff to do.
My bridesmaid Tash was fantastic and arranged lots of treats and timeouts for me in the run up to the day. It might be worth making one of your bridesmaids responsible for stuff like that in the run up if you are a worrier. Otherwise, just make sure you take time out and chill as much as you can. The day before the wedding I stayed out of all the organising – carting stuff to the venue, checking on various things etc. There are so many people around that were happy to help and I knew it would just make me worry – so I didn’t do it.
Everyone does have opinions on what you should do – it is your day but it’s very easy to be swayed – particularly by people whose opinions you respect. After the wedding my parents (who occasionally did have different ideas to us) said the day was amazing and they wouldn’t have changed a thing. It can be hard but try and remember those people with strong views now will have a fun and amazing day if you follow your heart and make the day work for you and your husband.
With our suppliers we asked ourselves: did we like them and have a connection with them? For us that worked amazingly well. Every single one of them played a blinder – and I would say – if you don’t get a good feeling from them, consider using someone else.
This may be obvious but both of us were blown away by the feeling of love and warmth on the day. Endless staring at lists and spreadsheets, invoices and plans did not prepare us for that. It’s hard to describe but you really are wrapped up in a bubble of love and happiness that we certainly had never felt before.
My Dad gave me a card on the morning of the wedding that said this would be the greatest day of my life so far – but not the greatest ever – and I would go on to have even bigger and better days in future. I found that reassuring and helpful in terms of not getting too worked up about the day and how it went and also that feeling of post-wedding blues you hear about. We had a great day, it was awesome but we’ll go on to do loads more cool stuff in future. I liked that message and it really helped me put things in perspective.
Yay! I have been waiting for a Ben Folds song to be used as a fisrt dance for about a zillion years – well done Nicola and Andrew, great choice!
It is probably reassuring for a lot of you to hear that Nicola found the wedding planning process to be very stressful. It is oh so true though that a problem shared is indeed a problem halved. So, just as Nicola suggests, if you can enlist the help and advice of friends and family as early in the planning stages as possible then you’ll start to find the whole experience much more manageable.
All white Ladies… (said in my best cockney twang.)
Welcome back to an elegant big day at Gorcott Hall. Matt and Pia’s wedding may have been whiter than white, but some of their cheeky guests schemes certainly were not…
Our photographer Lucy from Lucy West Images images was incredible, just look at these snaps! She was so friendly and put everyone at ease during the formal shots. She took so many pictures, half of which I don’t even remember seeing her taking, which was great because it means we have some really beautiful relaxed shots of ourselves and of our guests throughout the day.
She also gave us an engagement shoot which was a great idea as it helped us get over any wedding photo nerves as we knew exactly what to expect and what poses suited us best.
A friend made cupcakes for us, we had three types, chocolate with a vanilla swirl, lemon curd and vanilla sponge. All had cheese frosting on top. Yum. She even made two special fruit cup cakes for the mums.
We cut into a homemade super sized Victoria sponge with jam and cream on 5 layers. We loved the quirkiness of it and the chocolate covered strawberries on top were a great finish.
We had a photo studio which Lucy set up for us. This was hilarious – seeing the guests all dress up in various accessories was great fun. Some of my favourite photographs from the wedding came from Lucy’s photo studio.
A Merry Dance
We danced to Michael Buble – Everything. We both love this song.
The thought of a first dance made Matt really nervous and I didn’t want him spending that much of a day a nervous wreck so I told him we would see how it goes but probably not have a dance. But really I pre planned the whole thing! A few weeks before we both noted this song as a nice first dance choice so when the time came I turned it into a surprise and pretended that the DJ played the song first by coincidence… so we had to have a first dance! A little sneaky but I’ve since confessed and luckily he finds it very funny. Phew!
A Few Jars
For favours we picked, stewed, bottled, and branded our own Damson Jam ‘Mr and Mrs P’s delicious Damson Jam, which went down a treat.
At the venue we had ribbons on all the arches and entrance outside in the colours of our wedding theme with looked lovely in the breeze and against the white flowers. We had candles in jam jars and Moroccan lanterns on the outside stairs and tables which looked lovely on the evening
My Favourite decoration were our 5ft solid white letters that spelt out Matt & Pia, they looked amazing out on the lawn and made a brilliant focus point for all our pictures. Family friend made these, you can click here to contact me for more information about them.
Make a prioritised list and work through it, let others know it so they can see how they can help, I promise it all comes together in the end, nothing beats standing back and having a good look at all the outcome of all your hard work.
Smile all the time you never know when a photograph is being taken!
Confessions of a male wedding blogger – I’m not really very good when it comes to flowers, I don’t “get” them.
Having said that though, Matt and Pia have helped clarify a few things for me. I still may not know a peony from a petunia but I do know that If was getting married and had to choose, I would go all white, all the way. It must be really tempting to tie your arrangements in with your accent colour, but for me these monotone blooms look the business. Save the colour for the best mans speech. 😉
My dress was by Maggie Sottero and was called Aspen, I was super lucky to get this as only a few months later she pulled it from her collection to make way for a selection of new gowns in the same style.
Care Free And Floaty
I found my dress the second store I went into which was Go Bridal in Birmingham. I heard about the fantastic range Go Bridal had in store, I went and was able to try on every style imaginable which was fantastic in helping to decide on the look I was after. I tried on the Maggie Sottero dress and after two and a bit hours of staring at myself in the mirror (it’s a big decision after all) I realised part of the reason I stood there so long was because I didn’t want to take it off and so I knew. The Floaty style is exactly what I wanted to reflect our care free summer day.
A Vintage Feel
The jewellery I wore on the day was very minimal I wanted all the focus to be on the dress this affected every part of my outfit down to my hair and makeup. The bracelet I made myself using an antique brooch from my great grandmother with some pearls from my mom and the diamante bracelet we found in our accessory box at home.
My hair pieces both the comb by Fine & Fleurie and the veil by Borrowed & Blue came from Etsy. All my items were handmade and came hand wrapped with a personal note attached which made me feel like I was receiving a special wedding gift rather than a purchase.
I chose the comb because I liked the way it reflected the vintage feel of the bracelet and the detail on my dress. Originally I wasn’t going to have a veil as I didn’t want to distract from my dress but as soon as I put this style on I knew I had to have one I loved the mystique element it gave to my dress as I stood at the top of the aisle and allowed me to have two looks throughout the day. And not to mention the fact nothing says bride like a floor length veil.
The shoes are by Kurt Geiger, I wanted statement shoes that I knew I would wear again. These were the perfect mix of vintage with the soft peach colour, statement with the killer heels and they had a satin rose on the toe.
An Excuse To Indulge
I had my hair half up half down as I wanted a style that is similar to how I would wear my hair on other occasions and would complement the look of the dress and veil.
I did my own make up, which I loved buying and doing myself, it gave me a great excuse to spend time and money (!) at Armani for my eyes and foundation, Bobbi Brown for the all too important concealer, YSL for the one and only touché éclat, Nars for lips and the most important tool of all – Clinique for the brushes. Doing my own make up meant that I had time just by myself in the morning was a great way to relax and forget the rest of the rushing around downstairs and meant I had great make up all honeymoon as well.
A White Wedding
We wanted an English garden take on a midsummer night’s dream. As it was spring I wanted the flowers to look fresh with soft but clearly defined flowers that would complement the colour theme.
My bridesmaids Mom is a florist and she did all the flowers for me, she was incredible. For a start she could actually tell what I wanted. We decided to have white flowers for everything. The block of white gave our day a contemporary feel whilst using soft flowers gave it a vintage(y) look which was a great compromise between the bride and groom.
stocks (used in the church flowers which we then took to the venue)
Chic And Unique
The bridesmaid dresses were custom made by Alannah. We chose the fabric and colours that complimented the navy, ivory and pale grey core colours. I wanted to choose colours I knew the bridesmaids would wear again and fabric that complimented the look and feel of the day. The bridesmaid colours were then used in the ribbons that gave a splash of colour throughout the venue, the best men suits were hired.
I feel like we are only just beginning with this one, and it’s a great taste of the things to come.
Tomorrows follow-up sees some cheeky personalities pop out of the wedding woodwork, there’s some great photo booth action and some genius use (read sabotage) of wedding props. All I will say is… you might want to give part 2 a glance over before letting you Nan have a gander. It is ever so slightly PG-13.
And if that doesn’t get you back tomorrow, nothing will.