This afternoon’s hen party inspiration is pretty much perfect for a Sunday afternoon – it’s all about afternoon tea and flower crown making. I couldn’t think of a nicer way to spend the afternoon, let alone for your hen party, with additional bubbles, so it’s a real treat to share this with you all. The styling is gorgeous but totally achievable if you wanted to recreate this yourselves. However, Becky at Feather and Ferns, and Jess at One Part Love, offer this as a hen party package, making your life SO much easier. You can go to their gorgeous Cambridgeshire location, or they can bring the fun to you! Plus you’ll find it hard to beat their floral and cake baking skills 😉
The light in this Summery wedding will have you longing for Afternoon Tea, Pimms on the lawn and big blousey blush roses, so apologies in advance that it’s actually December and it’s freezing. The lovely Sarah Jane Ethan always gets sends us the prettiest weddings and this one is no exception.
Rachel & Mark tied the knot at the stunning Crook Hall, a new venue to me and I simply love it. Anywhere with mature gardens and abundance of blooms makes my heart skip a beat and according to Rachel, Crook Hall’s owners are as lovely as the place itself. Right, let’s take a look shall we?
The guests at this wedding must have felt like the rest of the world had disappeared…it’s like time actually stopped and nothing else existed – except for this magical gathering in the forest.
The photography by Marshal Gray is breathtakingly beautiful. Love and happiness radiate from each image. It just shows that after all the options and decisions – the most important thing is celebrating your love with family and friends.
Prepare to be transported to an enchanted land!
The Great Outdoors
Sarah The Bride: fforest farm in Ceredigion, South Wales was the perfect location for us. We began our venue search with a blank canvas, and just knew that we wanted to find somewhere unique, that reflected our personalities. We found the great outdoors with enchanting beauty, and a quirky, vintage yet rustic feel, also fairly unique in what it had to offer.
Favours From Friends
My make-up for myself and my two maids of honour was done by my wonderful and all round talented friend, Emily Howells, who is beautiful and has a passion for elegant beauty.
My hair was also done by my lovely friend Nicola McRory, secondary science teacher by trade, however also very clever with sculpting hair do’s. She also did the hair for my two maids of honour.
Most of my make-up is Bobbi Brown and I’m a big fan, but we also used Benefit rose tint for lips and cheeks, Urban Decay Naked2 eye shadow palette, Body Shop Lightening Touch around the eyes (03) and L’Oréal Black Lash Architect Waterproof mascara (this was needed), all of which my make-up artist – and now myself – highly recommend.
Bridal Gowns For Bumps
The bridal dress was called Eden by Jenny Packham, chosen before I knew I was pregnant and fortunately for me the design of the dress really complemented a bump. I chose it because of its pure vintage elegance, to me it was simply stunning, and stood out from the hundreds of dresses I had tried.
It was purchased at Eternity Bride in Warrington, they were wonderfully friendly and helpful, with an amazing seamstress for dress alterations (even for an unexpected baby bump!)
The Groom wore a Harris Tweed jacket which he bought for £35 from a vintage store in Liverpool called Pop Boutique.
My shoes were from Benjamin Adams and I wore a headband from Glitzy secrets. The pearl bracelet I wore I made from my Granny’s broken pearl necklace. The earrings I wore were my ‘something borrowed’ – from my maid of honour Fiona Thompson (they were her grandmothers).
My two flower girls, (my 2 year old daughter and 3 year old niece) were dressed in ivory Monsoon dresses. They wore a diamanté headband from Monsoon, similar to the vintage style headband I wore, and beaded shoes from John Lewis.
It All Just Fell Into Place
We didn’t really have a colour scheme but we did want vintage, so I guess that was our theme…country vintage; with a fusion of rustic and elegance. I don’t think there was an original idea or theme agenda, it just all fell into place as we found what we loved! Also the venue offered just this, adding bits of our personality with things like the floral bunting and music themed table plan.
Wild Spring Flowers
The flowers, wow, I was so impressed, they were blooming stunning!!! Again, a close friend did these, Gemma Bithell, an exceptionally talented florist. I wanted ‘spring season’ and ‘wild theme’, and I got that and so much more. As I said to her I couldn’t have imagined better!
The ceremony was a humanist ceremony as we are not religious. It was conducted by my Uncle Rod. We did the legal bit just before the ceremony, keeping it short and sweet.
The procession was to ‘Home Again’ by Carole King. The groom had arranged for some of our amazingly talented friends to play this! It was a wonderful surprise for me. The song means a lot as it was the first song we ever danced to together.
We had a poem and two readings. The poem was beautifully written and read by my uncle Rod. We did not choose the readings as we wanted our friends to choose. The first reading by a close friend, Angela Griffin, was ‘Union’ by Robert Flugham, this is beautifully sincere and genuine. The second reading was by a close friend Craig Wakerley from ‘Captain Corelli’s Mandolin.’
We had The Riviera from Manchester as our band, our guests were very impressed. They played django Reinhardt gypsy jazz style covers of contemporary songs! We thought they were very quirky and unique.
Our first dance was to Dark Side from the album ‘Scissors in my Pocket’ by Polly Paulusma.
Complements to the Chef
The food was catered by fforest, with an Afternoon Tea for the more formal bit…speeches and toasts etc, followed by an informal evening hog roast. The food was stunning!!! We had complements from all our guests.
The cake was designed and made by another extremely talented family friend, Fiona Durling, the design was based on my dress. The design was a wonderful surprise for us; it perfectly complemented the day, the theme, and the dress. It was so stunning and elegant!
Designed By Us
Our save the date cards and invitations were all designed and hand made by us with recycled materials. We wanted them to reflect the outdoor, rustic theme, and our personalities.
The table plan was mainly designed by the groom after we spent hours trawling through record collections.
We had a DIY photo-booth with a digital camera, but we also had a vintage polaroid camera set up for use so that we could have instant keepsakes that couldn’t be deleted!
Venue – fforest
Dress – Eden by Jenny Packham
Florist – Gemma Bithell
Headband – Glitzy Secrets
Grooms Outfit – Pop Boutique
Maids – Debenhams, Monsoon, John Lewis
Band – The Riviera
Photography – Marshal Gray
Isn’t it magical?
The image of Sarah and Ben’s little girl reaching up to them on the dance floor makes my heart melt.
If I was Sarah I’d look at these images at every possible opportunity.
Lots of love,
Today’s wedding is so pretty and delicate – all fluffy bouquets of gypsophila, china tea cups and pastel tones.
But the vintage tea party theme didn’t mean that they didn’t have a massive knees- up in the evening, the Groom re-formed his band for the occasion, Granny Norm baked a massive naked Victoria sponge and the guests got to munch on Pie and Mash!
Also, in true British style, the lack of sunshine didn’t stop the day from exceeding all of Charlotte’s expectations – just don a pair of wellies, grab a massive brolly and you’re good to go.
The First One
Our venue was the first one we looked at! My sister found it online and we went to see it and fell in love with it! We knew we wanted something relaxed and in a nice setting and the Ashes was just everything we wanted! The two beautiful barns provide everything you need and are in such a lovely pretty setting come rain or shine (rain in our case!)
Simple and Sophisticated
As my dress was quite simple I wanted my make up to be simple too. I was extremely lucky as my friend is a trained make-up artist so she worked her magic on the day! It was lovely to have Michelle do it for me, as she knows me already I trusted she would do exactly what I had in mind. We did have a little trial a few weeks before which I would recommend as it just makes the day much easier and run more smoothly.
My old hair dresser from home did my hair which again was so lovely! We did also have a trial which I would definitely do as what you say and think doesn’t always mean the hairdresser fully understands and once your hair is done it’s tricky to take out and do it again. I knew as with my make-up – I just wanted something natural and simple that still looked like me.
When You Know, You Know
Again as with our venue it was the first and only shop I went to! I knew I wanted something a bit different and simple; the one thing I wanted was to feel comfortable and be able to dance easily.
The minute I stepped into the Vintage Wedding Dress company I loved everything about it, the lovely ladies working there, the beautiful shop interior and then I saw the DRESSES! They are all so beautiful I loved that they offered both original vintage and inspired vintage. It turned out every dress I picked to try was original vintage, I loved that they were all so unique. My dress was 70’s and the second I put it on I loved it!
I got most of my accessories from the Vintage Wedding Dress Company as they had such gorgeous things. I love headbands and really wanted something vintage in my hair. I loved the simple delicate flower headband and felt it just finished off my look perfectly.
My veil was also from the Vintage Wedding Dress Company. At first I didn’t think I would have a veil but when the lady in the shop popped one on me I loved it and thought it gave my dress a more bridal look. My shoes were also from there – I loved the simplicity of them and thought they went so well with my dress. Plus I wanted to dance all night and these meant I could do that!
Relaxed Vintage Feel
We didn’t have a strict colour scheme but wanted something relaxed with a vintage feel. The Bridesmaid’s dresses were from Warehouse, I loved the colour and style and they fitted really well next to my dress. I also had a little maid – Rob’s niece, and as she is 11, she wore a slightly different dress from ASOS but we still kept it within our vintage look and feel.
Rob knew he wanted something relaxed and fun so we decided waistcoats and bow ties would be good for the Best Men and Ushers! The waistcoats and bow ties were all from Topman. Rob’s suit was Topman and brogues from Ben Sherman.
As we didn’t really have a strict colour scheme as we wanted everything to be relaxed and a bit mix and match. Our invites we’re really simple, we used bunting which we then translated into the venue decor. We spent months collecting jars and pots and bunting to decorate the venue. We tried to use vintage pastel colours throughout the outfits and venue decor.
Thrown Together Flowers
The flowers were really important but I knew I wanted something simple and thrown together. I decided I would have gypsophila for my bouquet and for the 5 bridesmaids. I loved the vintage look of gyp and how pretty and simple it is. The button holes were all gypsophila too.
We were really lucky and had a friend of a friend do our flowers which was amazing as I totally trusted her to do an amazing job which she did! We collected jars and hampers for months to display the ceremony room flowers and table arrangements. I loved them – they were exactly what I’d hoped they would be and more.
Our ceremony was very simple, we chose our own vows and my Granny Norm did a reading – ‘Us Two’ from Winnie the Pooh. It was really lovely and exactly what we wanted.
Our biggest wish for the reception was that it was fun fun fun! We just wanted everyone to dance drink and have a good time. We knew from the beginning that we wanted to have a band as I just love how a band makes people get up and dance. My sister found our band as she had seen them at a friend’s wedding and they were ace.
Rob also used to be in a band and they reformed for a quick showing which was so much fun – he even got his Dad up on stage! After the band had finished we played a selection of our favourite songs from over the years – both old school and new.
The Perfect Photographer
I searched and searched for a photographer that offered the vintage relaxed style we wanted and when I came across Claire Penn I was so thrilled. She is so amazing and completely captured our day in the most wonderful fun happy way. From the moment we met Claire she was so much fun and totally understood what we wanted. It was an absolute joy to have Claire as part of our day and we are so happy with all the photos!
Capture Every Moment
After seeing Shutterbox on Rock My Wedding I knew we had to have them! We hadn’t thought about having a film but when I saw what they could do we booked them straight away. Lee and Dawn are so lovely and so talented I am so pleased we decided to get a film. It’s amazing to watch it back and remember the day. Together with Claire Penn they have an incredible ability to absolutely capture every little moment of the day without you ever realising that they are there.
Guess Your Pie
Food was a big part of our day as we both love food – especially me! As we got married in March we wanted to have something warm and tasty. We decided to have pie and mash and were thrilled when we found out that Pieminister could provide the delicious pies. As it was National Pie week it also fitted in very well.
We had a selection of 4 pies on the day and you just got what was popped in front of you so it was a surprise. Pieminister provided us with loads of info on the pies which we displayed on the tables so people could guess what pie they had. We also had pie badges and tattoos which were extremely popular.
Vintage Tea Party
I wanted to do favours that tied in with our whole day so decided that I would hunt down vintage tea cups for all the girls and make marmalade for the boys. Along with our lovely family we hunted around charity shops and flea markets for tea cups. I also searched for some fabric for the tops of the marmalade jars that tied in with the Groomsmen’s outfits.
My Granny Norm is a fabulous cake maker – I was so pleased when she said she would make our wedding cake and it was fantastic. As it wasn’t a huge cake Rob’s mum also made some extra cakes to ensure there was enough for everyone and I loved how the cake table looked like a vintage tea party.
We didn’t use a huge amount of stationery but decided we would use a vintage type writer with the table plan on. We searched the internet to find one and were so pleased when we found it! For the table names we just did numbers as we felt there was already enough detail on the tables with all the pie information and tattoos.
We wanted real old school milk bottles with wooden numbered spoons inside and we finally found some from Rob’s lovely Nanna and Grandpa who kept some from their milk delivery.
We wanted to have something more than a guest book that we could keep forever so we decided to have a bike picture which people then put their thumb print on that acted as a balloon tied to the bike! It has made such a great picture and will always remind us of our day!
Everything We Dreamed It Would Be
As all Brides say the best advice I can say is enjoy EVERY second as it goes so quickly! Also make sure you don’t get too tied up with planning and actually try and enjoy the planning stage and getting excited. Don’t be afraid to ask people to help and get involved, it was so special to have home-made cakes and marmalade! The best thing Rob and I did was make sure it was exactly what we wanted and it was, it was our day and everything we had dreamed it would be.
Venue – The Ashes
Dress and Brides Accessories – The Vintage Wedding Dress Company
Bridesmaid Dresses – Warehouse, ASOS
Groom and Best Men – Topman, Ben Sherman
Invites – Wedding Chicks
Guestbook – Wedding Chicks
Food – Pie Minister
Videographer – Shutterbox Films
Photographer – Claire Penn
Doesn’t Charlotte look radiant in the wedding video as she and Rob walk through the confetti?!?
Lots of love,