Nicola and Jamie celebrated their spring fresh wedding day in the New Forest, Hampshire. Mister Phil was their chosen photographer and he described the day as feeling like an extended fun family day out with games and loved ones taking turns to perform, topped off by a good old disco! Sounds pretty perfect to me.
I love all the little home made details, make sure you keep your eyes peeled for the pencil place settings, Nicola made these using yellow pencils, a white Letraset and then a varnish spray to fix in place. Genius. The yellow colour scheme really pops in these beautiful photographs.
Kate and Toby had a relaxed and stylish wedding at Buxted Park. Kate looks effortless glamorous in her fishtail Benjamin Roberts and Toby rocked the Reiss in style. With friends and family arriving to celebrate from all over the UK, Buxted Park offered the perfect solution for the ceremony, reception and accommodation, not to mention beautiful interiors and views.
Hannah’s Benjamin Roberts gown looks absolutely divine on her – and like her lovely new husband Dom, I would also encourage her to wear figure hugging outfits more often! In fact, if I was her, I’d just wear my lacy fishtail bridal gown EVERY DAY.
I’d also wear my AMAZING J Crew statement necklace, oh and definitely my Jimmy Choo’s too.
And, as if you needed any more encouragement to overdose on Etsy – the stationery, décor, buttonholes and favours all come from Hannah’s Etsy store – The Lanes Lifestyle.
Keeping It Local
Hannah The Bride: Being a home bird a local wedding was always part of our plan, I’d forever dreamt of getting married at the church in the village I grew up in so this decision was easy! Dom met up with our guests before the ceremony for a beer at our local pub, a stones throw from the church. The reception was at Prestwold Hall, a stunning stately home in the Leicestershire countryside and a perfect backdrop for our big day.
Figure Hugging Surprise
As is the case for most brides, I braced myself for a long, painstaking search for the perfect dress. Surprisingly I fell in love with the second dress I tried on, an ivory lace fishtail dress from designer Benjamin Roberts at Bradgate Brides wedding boutique.
Dom always moans that I never wear anything to show off my curves so I thought I’d surprise him in this figure hugging frock!
Messy Up Do
With a statement dress and jewellery I needed to keep hair and make up simple – the less is more approach. I went for a simple messy up do with fresh ivory peonies. I scoured Pinterest for hours looking for inspiration and then let my hair dresser – Helen @ Salon 57 work her magic on creating the look.
A talented family friend did our make up which again I kept simple with blush tones from Chanel and Mac.
On the day I got as many compliments about my necklace as I did my dress! I stumbled across my J Crew necklace whilst in New York as soon as I saw it I knew it was the one. It’s true what they say… you fall in love when you least expect it!
My little brother gave me a Tiffany locket the night before the wedding which I wore as a bracelet on the day… What a sweetheart!
Teamed with a pair of killer Jimmy Choo heels my look was complete.
Boy In Blue
Dom wore a navy suit which was tailor made by Moss Bros Bespoke with tan brogues from Bertie at John Lewis and a navy spotted tie from Next – he even had the date of our wedding embroidered inside his suit jacket.
I made the rustic looking feather and pussy willow button holes which are available to buy from Etsy shop The Lanes Lifestyle.
I bought them both beautiful rose gold bracelets from Orelia. They do gorgeous jewellery at really great prices – perfect if you have lots of bridesmaids!
Our flower girl Naimh wore a vintage inspired dress from Monsoon and the page boy and groomsmen all wore navy three piece suits with tan brogues, all from Next.
Our Own Wedding Showcase
We created a simple, English country look with a vintage glam twist. We spent months hunting at antique fairs for vintage suitcases, antique typewriters, old books and kilner jars to perfect to the look.
I run an online wedding decoration and stationery boutique The Lanes Lifestyle so I was extremely excited to showcase our products at our own wedding!! The table runners, complimenting chair sashes and bunting were all made from hessian and vintage lace.
Our scented candles in jam jars as favours for the ladies and lottery tickets in vintage envelopes for the men went down treat.
Simple But Vintage Inspired
Dom’s cousin is a talented florist so we were delighted when she offered to do our flowers. I went for a vintage inspired but simple look with Gypsophila hand ties with blush coloured trailing ribbon for the bridesmaids and also for the pew ends in the church, it was so effective.
My bouquet had huge ivory hydrangeas with cream and blush peonies and again the trailing blush ribbon softened the look.
The tables had a mixture of twisted willow and ivory hydrangeas in tall vases and kilner jars with hydrangeas, gypsophila and peonies, the room smelt amazing!
A Traditional Ceremony
We had a traditional ceremony in the church I could see from my bedroom window, it was perfect. My little brother gave me away and did a great job of pulling me together before walking down the aisle, as soon as I saw Dom at the front my nerves just melted away. We had a family friend read a poem called Wedded Bliss by Clouson Macleod.
We added our own personal touches… We arrived in a vintage camper van from VW days – I could hardly ignore Dom’s one request for the day!
We also hired Manor House Music’s string duo they played a mixture of classical and popular music throughout the service – they really were fantastic and I’m so glad we booked them.
The house and grounds at Prestwold were exclusively ours for the day. The sun shone, the cocktails flowed and our faces ached from smiling and laughing – what more could you ask for. Our wedding co ordinator Sarah Hitchcock was brilliant, nothing was too much trouble.
We hired Shine, a Leicestershire band at night. They were fantastic and had everyone up dancing to their mix of indie and mowtown. We chose a more upbeat first dance – temper trap ‘sweet disposition’ as we don’t really do soppy!
The food was just incredible. Head chef Marcus Lockwood put together an amazing menu that had us drooling to moment the canapés were served. On arrival we sipped on gin and elderflower cocktails with lavender and hip hip hurray striped straws (available from The Lanes Lifestyle and we went for bottles of corona to tempt the boys.
Neither of us are fans of fruit cake and have a slight obsession with Krispy Kreme donuts. So it made perfect sense to have two huge donut towers for our guests to fill their face on. We saved so much money by doing this and had guests fighting to to the front to get their favourite flavour! We had a small top tier that we decorated with hessian and lace and a ‘just married’ bunting cake topper.
The Lanes Lifestyle
I chose my favourite design from The Lanes Lifestyle collection for the invites. I also created RSVP postcards which we loved receiving back through the post in the run up to the wedding!
The feather luggage tag name cards again from the lanes looked stunning on the tables. Our menus and table numbers were written in chalk on old books covered in blackboard paint.
I’m forever forgetting confetti at other people’s wedding so our usher gave out confetti made from vintage books in brown paper bags.
Maintain The Buzz
Make time for each other – we had thirty minutes after dinner when Matt took us of for some photos of just us two, it gave us a little time with each other which was perfect. We looked back at the house with all of our closest friends and family enjoying themselves, it’s a moment I will never forget.
Have fun!!! We made a deal with each other that at 9pm we would stop mingling, hit the dance floor and dance the night away.
Maintain the buzz – there was a thirty minute drive between the church and the venue and we wanted our guests to stay on a high…so we did a CD for each car with songs that reminded us of fun times with family and friends that were at the wedding. We introduced each song and they loved it.
We had a bit of fun with out guest book by providing guests with a book and Polaroid camera – they took their own picture, stuck it in the book and wrote their message. It worked brilliantly and it created a second album of funny photos.
Treasure For A Lifetime
Matt Parry our photographer was the first thing we booked after we got engaged and it was the best money we spent throughout the whole day! We hate posing for pictures and his relaxed, reportage style combined with the fact that Matt is such a genuinely nice guy out us at ease and provided us with pictures that we will treasure for a lifetime!
Back garden weddings are my favourite. They always look so cosy, warm and welcoming. This one is especially fabulous as there’s a Tipi and the family dog gets to join in the festivities.
Katie’s parents house was always her dream wedding venue and she has been best friends with Groom Andy since they were at nursery! Their familiarity and together-ness shines through in all of the images.
Their families and friends look like a really lovely, happy group of people and I bet that some of them knew very early on that Katie and Andy would one day end up Man and Wife.
Home Sweet Home
Katie The Bride: Ever since I was a little girl I have always wanted to have my wedding in my parent’s garden. My dad converted the barn into our home around 20 years ago and it’s been the central point of our family ever since. So when Andy proposed to me on a skiing holiday I knew instantly we had the venue sorted!
I found the tipi tents online before we even got engaged (as you do!) and absolutely loved how different they are to any other marquees. Andy wasn’t so keen to start with until we went to an open day with Tipis4hire and he was sold too! The team at Tipis4hire were brilliant and really competitively priced.
A Colourful Lip
I knew I wanted to wear my hair in an up-do so I wouldn’t have to worry about it on the day. I bought my hair comb at the Save the Date wedding fair. My hair isn’t very long and it’s quite fine so my auntie Sue (who is a hairdresser) recommended a Balmain hair piece. This was amazing and I still use it now when creating my own up-dos.
I wanted my hair loose with a messy look and Leah from Head Candy in Market Harborough totally nailed it. She’s so lovely to work with and also did all the bridesmaids hair and my mum’s! I tend to go for a bright lip colour and keep my eyes neutral when doing my own makeup so thought I’d stick to what I like. Mandy Adams is fab and did an awesome job of all our makeup. It lasted well into the night despite lots of hugging, kissing and a little crying!
Exactly As Imagined
I knew I wanted some lace in my dress and I was completely adamant I didn’t want strapless. I have to say I never had an ‘it’s the one’ moment but when I decided on my gorgeous Benjamin Roberts gown it’s exactly the dress I imagined wearing on my w-day. I wasn’t so keen on the neckline of the dress so I had the sleeves pinched in to expose more of my shoulders. I added an embellished sash that I bought on Etsy.
Sparkly Princess Gorgeousness
My something old was my Mum’s veil that she wore when marrying my Dad and this was really special to me as I’m so close to both my parents. Top tip: After 30 years in the loft the veil was rather yellow, so my Mum hand washed it in Glo white net curtain whitener, and TA-DA, it was as good as new!
Ooh the shoes…I wanted some I could wear again to remind me of our special day so I went for the ultimate in sparkly princess gorgeousness… Jimmy Choos! I kept my jewellery simple with some small vintage chandelier earrings from the Save the Date wedding fair and a sapphire ring my Grandma Sheila gave to me for my 21st birthday, this was also my ‘something blue’.
Andy bought me a beautiful delicate Astley Clarke bracelet as a wedding gift and I surprised him with the Tag Heuer watch he’s dreamed about for as long as I can remember.
Well Dressed Wedding Party
I had seven bridesmaids in total – my sisters, Andy’s sisters and our three cousins. I stumbled across the older girls dresses in Topshop, they’re from the boutique range Coco’s Fortune and knew they’d look amazing on all my girls.
My little girls were really hard to dress as they were 12 and 11 at the time, too young for ladies dresses but too big for flower girl dresses. In the end we went for a dress from Monsoon teamed with glittery gold pumps.
Andy had two best men and they all wore the same three piece navy suit from Jeff Banks. Andy loves his shoes so went for some lovely tan brogues from Grenson. Their spotty ties were from Reiss.
Six Foot K & A
We wanted an outdoorsy, rustic and fun feel to our day. The tipis needed to be bursting with pretty decorations so we used lots of fairy lights, bunting, paper pom poms, wicker hearts, paper lanterns and tons of gorgeous flowers and foliage. I had seen on RMW some fantastic giant light up letters so my Dad decided he could make these and 2 days later, voila – we had a 6 ft K & A in the garage!
Colour And Texture
The beautiful flowers were exactly as I’d imagined and arranged by the wonderful Carolann at CK Flowers. I wanted lots of colour and texture so for the bouquets she used pink peonies, herbs such as rosemary and lavender, orange roses and blue thistles.
We also had two large arrangements in milk churns and two smaller arrangements for the top table. Then my lovely Grandma organised our table arrangements in wooden heart lanterns. We then raided my parent’s garden for tons of ivy and foliage that we used all over – throughout the tipis, around pillars and to make an arch at the altar of the church.
Marrying My Best Friend
Andy and I have been friends since we were at nursery so it was really special for us to get married at our local parish church where we were both christened. My sister Charlotte read a poem by Louise Cuddon called ‘I’ll be there for you’. She kept this as a surprise until the day, it was so personal to us both and she read it so beautifully. I was worried I would cry throughout the ceremony but I was just so excited to marry my best friend all my nerves melted away.
You Belong With Me
Andy’s sister Kate is a phenomenal singer and asked to sing at our wedding breakfast. She chose Ed Sheeran ‘Kiss Me’ and it was absolutely amazing. It was really important to us that we had a live band that would get everyone dancing. We came across TI Funk in Nottingham and knew they’d be perfect! They’re a great blend of soul, funk and RnB with two incredible lead singers. We chose our first dance so long ago nothing else could compete… We had Ho Hey by The Lumineers and it will forever be one of our favourite songs.
My parent’s friends and exceptional caterers, Nick and Mandy Healy from Nick’s at Home, produced our delicious menu. We had canapés then a selection of homemade breads, oils, hummus and smoked salmon for starter, succulent supreme of chicken for main and a trio of desserts to finish. For the evening we had pork cobs with all the trimmings and lots of homemade cakes loving made by friends and family. For our favours my mum was amazing and made plum jam, raspberry vodka and sloe gin for the ladies. Then for the gents we bought hipflasks and filled then with whisky.
Talented Friends And Family
When it came to stationery we were extremely lucky to have such a talented bunch of friends and family. Our lovely friend Ian of Twin Tipped Designs offered to design all our wedding stationery. He is fab and all the invitations, menus etc looked brilliant. My Grandad is a great artist and sketched the church for the front of our order of service and our family friend Paul Duval printed everything for us.
A Wedding In A Field
If you are planning to organise a wedding in a field or garden then you need tons of support! We were so lucky to have amazing parents, family and friends to help us out because there is so much more to think about and arrange; the list is endless!
Andy and I tried to make sure we had some time together as the whole day is a whirlwind of kisses, thank yous, laughs, tears and much more! I know every bride says this but it’s over in a flash so savour EVERY moment!
Emma Case and her husband Pete are simply the best! They are such lovely, genuine and wonderful people and their photography is breathtaking, everything we could have wished for!
We also enlisted Carmen of Carmen Weddings as our wedding organiser and I truly don’t know what we would have done without her! She worked her socks off and ensured that on the day we could relax without worrying about lighting candles, moving tables and the thousand other things that needed doing.
It was Lolly’s wedding on RMW that made me realise we HAD to have a videographer and we decided on Minty Slippers who captured our day beautifully. I can honestly say all our suppliers were absolutely awesome and amazing to work with.
Kate The Bride: We got engaged on Christmas day 2011, and thought perhaps we’d get married in the summer of 2012 or 2013. Unfortunately, we found out in February that the cancer we thought my dad would get through was in fact terminal, and he only had 6 to 12 months to live. It was heartbreaking, and all thoughts of wedding were pushed out of our minds.
He started radiation therapy, and after a few rounds he asked if we thought we could pull a wedding together in 8 weeks, as he wanted to see us married, and he knew how much it would mean to me to have him there. As I work in the Wedding industry I knew I’d be able to pull something together, but the most important thing me was that my first ever love, my hero, my dad, would see me marry the love of my life.
Andy felt the same way, and so we quickly found a venue that was close by, which was essential for dad, and luckily it also had a profound effect on us all when we first went to look around – we all cried. So we got a last minute booking for the 11th May 2012 at Warwick House in Southam.
I’ve seen hundreds of wedding dresses through work – but I’ve always refused to try one on, I thought it would take away the magic of putting one on for the first time. It also meant that dresses were kind of a blur to me, there were too many, and I knew that every season I had a new favorite style… but now I had to pick one that I would have to live with the images of forever.
Because our ceremony was going to be at 5pm we decided to have an afternoon tea/Pimms knee’s up to get everyone in the mood before the ceremony, which meant not only would I see Andy, but he would see my dress. We’re not at all superstitious, so it didn’t bother me, but it did mean I had a handy excuse to get 2 dresses. I had 8 weeks to find 2 dresses and for 2 of those weeks I would be in the Cook Islands with work!
My tea party dress was such an easy choice, because I’d loved the Kitty & Dulcie range for ages, particularly the Pearly Queen, I ordered it and it arrived in 2 days! Beautifully wrapped – it was the best thing I’ve ever received in the post! (I actually put it on after my make-up trial and didn’t want to take it off). Having a short dress was the perfect way to show off my amazing shoes!
The first time I tried on a ‘ceremony dress’ I went to the The Wedding Club in Birmingham, knowing the service and the dresses would be amazing, which they were. I started with the biggest dress in the shop, because I’ve seen so many brides start off thinking they want something simple and then work their way up, but I thought ‘sod it’ give me the biggest one you’ve got! I felt amazing, but I could barely walk. After coming down in ‘grandness’ I settled on a more subtle but still quite princess like dress, but there was something nagging at the back of my mind, I wasn’t sure if I was just rushing into buying a dress because I felt like if I didn’t I’d go down the aisle naked. I had to go away on a work trip and my bridesmaid emailed me photo’s of me in the dress and photoshopped in my bridesmaids in the shape of dresses I was looking at for them, and it just didn’t sit right. It made me realise I wanted something more fitted – but would I look ok in something fitted?
When I got back from my trip, I was invited by Karen Taft from Benjamin Roberts to go down to their headquarters in Wales to try on dresses. My dad wanted to drive us down there, but it was touch and go if he would feel up to it, thankfully he did and we drove down early one morning. I’m so glad my dad was there, my mum isn’t much of a shopper, but my dad loved shopping so could put up with me trying more than a few dresses, and he cried each time, and took a million photos. The 4th dress I tried on was an almost fishtail dress, it felt quite tight and I wasn’t sure until I came out of the changing room and gauged everyone’s reaction, and then saw myself in the mirror. I knew I’d found the one. My first thought when I saw it in the mirror was ‘Andy would love this’ and ‘I look like a woman!’ We added a belt, and a lace jacket, and we took the dress home that day. Karen and her team of ladies made us feel so welcome, putting on lunch for us and taking care of my dad. It may not have been the traditional way girls find their dresses but it was a wonderfully perfect day for us. I did have to have the dress altered as I unintentionally lost weight – possibly the stress of everything. I found a local tailor called Stitches who altered the dress in 2 days for £40!
I have a lot of vintage jewellery I inherited from my great aunt Penny, a lot of it’s slightly broken so I could never wear it normally, but I wanted to use it as I wanted Penny to be part of my day. So I asked the beautiful Tash from Natasha Jane if she thought she’d be able to make a headband out of it. Within 2 days she’d created a beautifully simple yet statement piece, which I fell in love with immediately. She is an incredible talent! I know it’s the one item I own which I’ll certainly pass onto my daughter one day, I still look for an excuse to wear it now.
My bridesmaids bought me a beautiful pair of pearl earrings which I choose to wear over the pair I had lined up. For both outfits I finished the look with items from Crystal Bridal Accessories, which I ordered on line and they came the next day!
I left looking for a veil for some reason to the last minute, luckily local Wedding Planner Katie met me the morning before the wedding and we went in search for a veil. I settled on quite a long plain veil. I’d tried a few beautiful bird cages from Lily Bella Bridal, but something wasn’t working, and the dress needed a longer veil. The veil only lasted until the starter at the reception as I wanted to show off the headband again.
Two Dresses Four Shoes
I don’t wear heels often but I can walk in them, and I do love wearing them – so having 2 dresses was a fantastic excuse to have 2 sets of heels as well. I’ve loved Aruna Seth for a while and originally wanted some really sparkley shoes for the first outfit, but time was tight and then I saw these Coral ones with butterflies on and I fell in Love! They were fun and quirky and really replicated my fun & flirty Kitty & Dulcie dress. I couldn’t believe how many people commented on my shoes, even the men!
For my Ceremony look I went for Freya Rose, because they are just so well made, and stunning to boot! They were so comfortable I wore them all night, and danced… I danced a lot! I also had the matching handbag – which I now keep with my dad’s speech in. It’s something I can imagine keeping for my own daughters wedding.
Having had such an awesome experience of airbrush make up with Ana Ospina on a blog we did about eyelashes (long story), I knew I wanted that same flawless look. In my quest to find an airbrush artist I found Chloe McCall who was Birmingham based and an absolute star with the air-brush – as well as everything else make-up related. I wanted something quite different for afternoon and evening, and we went through several designs to find the right ones – she was very patient with me. The first look was quite focused on having strong eye make up, 60’s-ish to match the outfit, the second look was more natural, a bit more smoky eyed, romantic. She also made up my mum, who has literally no idea about make-up and who looked stunning!
I ended up with only 7 or so days to go to find my hairdresser. While out on an impromptu hen do (we had to cancel mine as my dad fell ill, and had to have emergency surgery in the night and I rushed to hospital to see him) we bumped into Cherry Conquer who had done our hair for a friends wedding. Not only is she absolutely amazing at hair, she’s also just a beautiful person inside and out, and although we got no time to do a hair trial, she still managed to create 2 hair styles for me – one of them in 10 mins (I over ran in the afternoon tea party! oops). The first look I wanted to re-create was a hairstyle I’d had done for our engagement shoot in Paris, down, curly soft – I’m naturally curly, something I get from my dad’s side of the family, though he was mostly bald – a trait I hope I don’t pick up – and he always liked it when I wore my hair naturally. I also had my Great Aunts voice in my head telling me “don’t just straighten you’re hair, you’ll look like everyone else, why does everyone want to straighten their hair these days?” – this was a women who religiously slept in curlers and dyed her hair auburn right up to her 98th birthday, so it just felt good to go with the curl. For the ceremony, I wanted it pinned up, something swept to the side and classy, but still with a curl in it – I just showed Cherry my pinterest page and she made sense of it all, somehow! She also managed to do all my bridesmaids too, and they all looked amazing!
Until I knew I was getting married I only really knew a few things about flowers. I knew I didn’t like carnations, and I knew I liked hydrangeas as they reminded me of a childhood playing in my Aunts Garden, and that I wanted the reception to burst with colour with large headed flowers that I didn’t know the name of.
Luckily I was in the safe hands of Brian from William Clarke Flowers who listened to my ramblings, and interpreted everything I said into English, and came up with some magnificent designs.
The Table centres were huge canderalbras from weddingdayhire.co.uk, with a huge burst on top of flowers like blue hydrenjas, Pink ranunculus, Apricot English rose, Blue Scabious, Coral Peony, Pink peony , Craspedia, Guelder rose and then Eucalyptus, rosemary and ivy for the green, which meant not only did they look amazing but they smelt it to. These flowers were then used for everything else as well. At the base of each candelarbras we had voltives with loose heads of the flowers scattered around, it gave the whole wedding a relaxed yet elegant feel.
The Groomsmen’s buttonholes and the bridesmaids bouquets were all individual to them, each reflecting their colour of tie/dress colour, and my neice was my flower girl who had a beautiful soft pink Pomander to match her dress. All the buttonholes and bouquets were wrapped in lace to really give that hand-made feel.
We also ordered buttonholes for some of our family and friends who had really been there us over the difficult few months. I loved it because everyone’s flowers looked so special and displayed how much love, care and attention had gone into them, and people wore them with such pride.
We couldn’t find anything we liked to hire for the guys within budget. After a huge search for a fitted vibrant Navy suit someone on twitter suggested Next, which I’d never have thought to think of, but they had the perfect blue suit for the guys. We could only afford to dress the 2 best men, and asked the other groomsmen to wear blue, and we gave them all different ties in the wedding colours, plus my brother embroidered handkerchiefs for them all with the wedding date on. My dad wanted to fit in with the guys, but wanted to get his suit from one of his favorite tailors instead, he also asked to have the light pink tie to match Isabelle’s (my flower girl, his grand daughter) dress, he looked ace.
The bridesmaids were more difficult to find dresses for than me. I knew I wanted them in different colours to keep with the vibrancy of the wedding but I had to find a style that would suit all of them and with two being 6’ tall and the other 2 being 5’2” tall it was going to be a struggle.
We found a company who had a flattering shape they were all happy with, but they couldn’t get them to us in time. So we searched the highstreet high and low for dresses but ended up getting them made by an amazing tailor called Karlusg in record time, especially considering one of my bridesmaids would only be back in the country a week before the wedding. They all wore their own shoes, and I gave them all tiny heart shaped necklaces from Crystal Bridal Accessories! I defiantly had the hottest bridesmaids ever!
One of the reasons Andy didn’t like the idea of a wedding was that he’d have to wear some horrible ‘penguin suit’ – ‘not at all’ I said and started showing him all the wedding blogs… “oh” he said “so we can do what we want” “of course”.
He first wanted a Great Gastby theme (his book of choice at the time) and I started to collect images for him. He ended up paring down this look, and decided on a vibrant Navy suit with a rustic waistcoat I found on line from tomsawyerwaistcoats.co.uk who not only do made to order but are UK based, which was lovely as it added something special to Andy’s look. He looked absolutely gorgeous on the day, and any excuse I can get I get him to put on the suit again.
In total we had 4 people documenting our day, but they are 4 of the most awesome people ever, as you can tell by their self portraits in the photobooth.
I met Lee Allen an at industry party, I talked to him because I was impressed with his amazing beard and I may have been a little tipsy! I know most people wouldn’t pick a photographer based on their facial hair, but hell why not! When I got back from the party I remember looking up his work and loving it. It was fun, cheeky, upstaged, unpretentious, but different, much like Lee himself. So when I got engaged he was one of the first people I let know, the kind of call that goes “I’ve got engaged, I don’t know when it’ll happen, but you and your beard had better be there with a camera”.
I also told him about my family’s situation and when we decided that we’d do it in 2 months, he was so understanding. I would call him with possible dates when looking at different venues, and he would call just to see how we were doing, if there was anything he could help with – he even put me in contact with the tailor who made my Bridesmaids dresses. I was incredible relieved to find out he was free on the date we ended up with.
He was more of a friend than a photographer.
I also wanted a photobooth and for that Lee managed to convince Chris Barber to come along too! AWESOME! This was a power house team – with awesome facial hair! Bow Ties! And Massive Grins! I’d staked rather more than a few of Chris’ weddings so this was just the best news ever!
The good thing about working in the wedding industry is that I know that wedding videos aren’t what they used to be, and I knew I’d want one. I was incredible lucky that Maria from Studio 1208 contacted me after finding out about our situation and said they were free on our date. If you look at their body of work, you can see why I was blown away by this stroke of luck! They kick butt!
What’s more, Maria & Nick are without doubt some of the most beautiful and kind people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in the industry. We had a quick meeting the night before the wedding at our house, and we fell in love with them and felt completely at ease with having them around at the wedding.
What I loved is that my guests all fell in love with my photographers and videographers. They had such constant energy and beautiful positivity throughout the day. I can’t stress enough to any potential bride to make sure you meet your photographer before you book them. They will create the one thing (apart from your wedding ring & partner) that last forever. You’re children & your grand children will look at these pictures! They are important! When budgeting, really they should be top of your priorities, your dress you’ll wear once, and a good photographer can do magic, no matter what you’re wearing, or where you are. Trust me, Lee took our engagement photos in car park in Birmingham, cause it was peeing it down, and we only had an hour to do it in, and he managed to capture just how in love we are, and Love is what a wedding is about.
Keep It In The Family
As soon as I got engaged I had a note from my Brothers God Mother, Sheryl, asking if she could make my wedding cake. She had no idea what she was getting herself in to! Sheryl’s known my parents since they met on honeymoon, 40 years ago, and her daughters are like sisters to me, so I loved that we could keep it in the family!
I knew I wanted something that was actually quite simple from the outside, quite elegant, but when you cut into it there’s an explosion of colour, and I always knew it wouldn’t be fruit cake, I hate fruit cake, I wanted sponge with plenty of icing and butter cream.
Pinterest came in very handy and I sent Sheryl some pictures, she started to practice straight away with colours, and it turned out perfect – 5 layers of differing colours to match the Wedding theme in each tier.
A friend of ours also offered to make us cake toppers, which was also amazing in the time frame we had, though worryingly when she asked me what colour Andy’s eyes were I didn’t know (they are oddmix of blue/green & brown). Mini Andy was posed with his beloved guitar as he would be playing it at the wedding and mini kate had a super 8 camera, which I love and we also gave out at the wedding for guests to make their own films!
It Must Be Love
For our afternoon tea party we had a really lovely local big band troupe play, who my mum and I had spotted playing at a festival in Leamington some years before. They had played at my dad’s 60th as well, so they’re almost like our family band now. They also played me down the aisle with all the guests singing along to “It must be Love” and literally danced us back up the aisle after the ceremony to “Dancing cheek to cheek”.
Evening entertainment was the biggest headache of all. Music is really important to us both, we wanted it featured throughout our wedding. We had lyrics from Jeff Buckley in our vows, and my brother read the first 3 versus of the Wedding Song by Bob Dylan in our ceremony – “I love you more than ever and I haven’t yet begun”, so we weren’t happy just to have a random DJ set in the evening. We looked into bands and struggled to find one in budget, or even one that we could justify extending our budget to. We wanted rock’n’roll but to us that didn’t mean just covers of Killers or Kings of Leon, it meant Johnny Cash, Neil Young, The Black keys, Jack White, with a few kitsch covers for fun.
We had started a Spoitfy playlist the day we got engaged, we sent this list to the DJ supplied by the venue, who was lovely, but didn’t have even half of what we wanted. Luckily as a gift one friend bought all the music on our list and put it on a disk for us to use on the day, there were so many personal tracks on there, and as it was put together by us so it was perfect in the end.
Andy felt too nervous to do a speech, and decided that he would need to be holding his guitar to do one, and so he put together a little band, with his dad and one of his best men, and rehearsed a few songs secretly in the weeks leading up to the wedding. In between his very small but beautiful speech, they covered “Into the Mystic” ‘Subterranean Homesick’ Blues (one of my favorite Bob Dylan songs) and then a rousing rendition of “All you need is Love” by the Beatles – and I fell in love with him all over again.
Into The Mystic
It was tough to pick, and we did have Into the Mystic picked, before Andy decided that he wanted to sing it at the wedding, so we went for The Flamingo’s – I Only have Eyes for you, which is a song which has a real spookiness to it, and one we’d often dance around at home to. We followed it by Shirley Ellis The Clapping song though, which is a song my dad used to sing to me as a kid, it’s one of those songs people don’t know they know, but everyone seems to love.
I fell in love with cake pops ages ago, they are just so tiny and cute and delicious! I made some myself at Christmas, but was strictly forbidden from trying to fit in making 130 the week before my wedding, and so luckily the beautiful Shuaav.com stepped in, and made cake pops in our different colours for everyone, she even made me a few spares so I could have a midnight snack in the bridal suite (actually turned out to be a 4am snack).
Warwick House told us we could do anything but knock walls down, which is brilliant as although it’s a beautiful building as it is, you can really make it your own. I had a tonne of ideas, but time wasn’t on my side, and I was so lucky to get help in the form of Kirsten from The Little Wedding Helper, who took my ideas and managed to put them all together on the day, with the help of Rosie from allwrappedupevents who bought all the amazing tea sets for the tea party, and who constructed a ridiculous amount of Pom Poms.
We both love films, and so set up a room with lots of old posters adorning the walls, and a projector showing Charlie Chaplin & Buster Keaton films, a stand full of popcorn, and vintage movie books from the 60’s which a friend found in a loft house he’d moved into. I also hired a lot of furniture from a local antiques centre, so the room had a vintage divider between the photobooth and the cinema. The rooms lighting was kept magic by using old gas lamps and putting in battery operated candles inside, we also hired a ‘love’ sign from Vowed & Amazed, which ended up being part of the most amazing photos of the day. The whole idea of that room was for it to be somewhere to escape to. It got worryingly popular because of the dress up photobooth too.
We continued our ‘film’ theme in our table plan, where we took posters from great romantic/funny films ‘Have to Marry a Millionaire’ and my bridesmaid, who also happened to do our invites and is an amazing graphic artist managed to photoshop all the actors and replace them with our guests names, popped these in an ikea frame and it looked so ace we’ve now got it hanging in our dining room.
Instead of a guest book, we got a blue guitar, took out the strings, and asked our guests to sign that in white marker, knowing it would look ace hanging up in Andy’s office. I think it’s important to think past the wedding, buy things or make things that you’re likely to use again or be proud to hang in your home, otherwise it could be a massive waste.
Take A Moment
To other brides I’d say make sure to take a moment out on the day, after the ceremony before the reception, go and have 2 minuets to take it all in with your new husband. We did and we just kissed and kept saying “wow, we did it, we actually did it” it was the first and only moment we had alone all day and then our intrepid photographers and wedding planner found our hideout, busted.
Don’t feel bad but you won’t spend the day with the people you see all the time, you’ll probably spend it with your friends/family you rarely see – and that’s fine. Everyone wants your attention, and those that you’ll see the next day will understand.
Also don’t sweat the small stuff, and don’t compare your wedding to anyone else’s. If you’re getting married for the right reasons, the colour of your table cloth, the angle of or the shape of flags/pom poms/balloons/bunting etc hanging on the tree outside that people will only see if they stand out in the rain will matter, honestly. It’s only the beginning of your story together, should it be the best day of your life – yes, but only your life so far.
What made our wedding special to me, apart from marrying my soul mate and gaining the best husband in the world, was that I got to share that day with my family. My dad was my world to me, and he was there to give me away, and he gave the most wonderful speech, had the room in stitches, but that was my dad, despite going through a very dark time, he had us all laughing. It would be the last time my dad would see some of his friends and family, and so to be able to give him a day so full of love and laughter, to be able to light up that darkness, and to fulfil his wish to see me married to Andy, was what made the wedding day even more special.
In the past we have been a little bit slated (One Jolly Girl – You know who you are!) for not showing enough kiltage on the blog… Well, today we turn the tartan table around. Not only are there kilts, but we will also be revealing what a Scotsman keeps in his sporran…
Kate and Gordon married in August 2012 at the intimate boutique hotel Sanctum on the Green in Berkshire.
We were married in the school holidays as I am a teacher, Gordon is a policeman and had to have a full on meeting with a top bloke in the met to get the time off as it was the closing ceremony of the Olympics! I have to say, considering it was the wettest summer in 100 years we were incredibly lucky with the 30 degree summers day we had!! God knows what we would have done if it had been raining!?
In fact, I heard someone say they were the nicest canapés they’d ever had… I just wish I had tried the deep fried quails egg with truffled hollandaise with edible spoon!!! So annoyed 😉 There was always a cocktail and flavoured fizz for me and the girls, it was too much fun!!! In fact, I hear that the mango cosmopolitan was a hit! So very sanctum!!!
Well this is a bit of a long winded one…. In all honesty, I always knew what I wanted my wedding dress to be like, even before we were engaged! Tight fitting, fishtale, lace with a sweetheart neckline. However, as my friends know and would undoubtedly take the P.I.S.S out of me, I NEVER go shopping and buy the first nice garment I see. I have my own, very unique and probably very annoying technique to clothes shopping which involves shopping around and not feeling like I can buy something until I have seen all the alternatives!
So, I pretty much did the same with wedding dress shopping. I also made the mistake of trying dresses on before we had chosen the date and venue, which I wouldn’t recommend! After stupidly trying on all sorts of styles (which I pretty much knew before I took them off the hanger that they wouldn’t look right on me), in different countries (my mum lives in Spain!) AND in very different price brackets… A year after getting engaged I had it down to a Rosa Clara dress and a Lusan Mandongus dress. Both exactly how I had imagined my dress to look like but both rather pricey. However, on a visit to the national wedding show in Earls Court in September 2011, I found an even nice dress and at a better price. I totally knew it was the one (which was helped by more gushing BM’s! in toe..) and was the first one I tried on on the day (but of course I continued to try on others throughout the day). When I went back to the store I just knew… It was tight fitting and quite sexy but still had that pretty girly feel with all the tulle netting underneath and also had a big train which I was surprised with such a tight fitting dress.
The designer was Benjamin Roberts, which I knew a local store in my town stocked. So, one of my BM’s made a quick call to the store who luckily said they would match the price! So, that was the start of a lovely relationship with my wedding shop,
I tried on over 80 dresses… NOT recommended… But secretly I loved it all… Wedding planning is the BEST! X
The Puffed Look
I knew I wanted a veil which would sit high on my head, I was inspired by the 80’s puffed look! I also knew quite quickly that I didn’t want the veil to be full length as I thought it would take away from the train of the dress. So I went for a 72 inch (I think) fingertip length ala Kate Middleton! I thought it was a perfect length as it stopped just where my dress started to flair out and I just loved the way it fell down in a waterfall effect! It was from Rainbow Club.
My Dad treated me to my beautiful Jenny Packham haircomb and my Mum treated me to my art deco style earrings, also by Jenny Packham. I knew I wanted something in my hair but not a skull cap (think that’s what they’re called?), something more subtle, my hairdresser and I both agreed it was nice to have it sitting under my veil. As for my earrings, having looked at hundreds of looks, I knew I wanted quite big ones, I am a big earrings girl on a night out, so why settle for anything else on your wedding day!? I felt they completed the whole vintage glam look that was slowly coming into fruition and I was always saving the bling for my accessories, so why not a bit of Jenny Packham!? They can also both be worn again which I have already making the most of!!! My beautiful bangle was a present from G which was given to me on the morning of the wedding; it is from Swarovski and complimented my other bits perfectly! I was a very lucky girl!!
I knew I didn’t want white shoes as I wouldn’t ever wear them again. My colour theme was muted pinks/nudes with bling!! So when I saw these Kurt Geiger heels I knew they would be perfect with everything else. I wore them loads on honeymoon and I know they’ll go fab with a pair of skinny jeans, so all in all a good buy! By the way, I kept them, along with a tonne of secret new clothes for our honeymoon under the bed in our spare bedroom. I thought I had been clever telling G they were wedding things he couldn’t look at… but little did I know, he knows me too well, that when it came to subtly getting out another bikini and saying it was old… He knew it had come from the bags of goodness under the bed!!! I so know I am not the only woman who says that! My mum does that all the time for a start…!!!
Relaxed And Personal
I discovered the business card of my hairdresser Jo Basten from Innovation Hair in amongst a wedding file from a visit to a wedding show at the Sanctum the year before. I had my first trial with her and really liked her relaxed but personal approach. I ended up having two proper trials as the first one I had gone for was a 1940’s look, which although was amazing, it was too formal. I deliberated having my hair down, but as I wear my hair down all the time, I wanted something different. In the end I went for an informal side look with plaits going into it, little ones in the bun, and then lots of lose bits down. I’ll never forget the conversations about the option of tendrels or no tendrels!!?!? I never knew so much thought could go into them! The things you discuss when planning you wedding!!!
My make up was done by a very talented friend Eve Coles who is a professional make up artists in London. It was all about the dark eyes, who says go demure and understated on your wedding day??
Garden Of Eden
Our florist extraordinaire was Anna from Eden. The only time on the morning of the wedding that I felt emotional was when I saw our bouquets! They were so beautiful and more than I had ever imagined! We had met Anna a couple of times before the day itself to talk through our ideas. When I first met Anna, I knew instantly that she was the florist for us and that she would do an amazing job.r outfits but also so they were all unique for the mummy!!!
For the ceremony she scattered roses around the lanterns down the carpet and on the table where we stood and on our top table.
We had a bit of mix n match of gypsophilia/crystal and candles for centre pieces. I was going for the whole vintage glamorous look but trying to keep it all elegant. The centre pieces were a mixture of table which had the tall vintage candelabra which then had three votives of gypsophilia and then on half the tables we had a ball of gypsophilia which were in a glass vase which had crystals and a rose head in with then 3 votive candles. I must say Anna is an awesome lady. She really went that extra mile for us and got really involved with the whole ‘themeing’ of our day. She is also a very cool, down to earth and funky person, I really would recommend her over and over again. x
We had 4 Ushers and one Best man and two Dads who mostly wore the same as G who I’ll get on to in a bit. Some guys hired a black watch tartan kilt and they all looked soooo smart!
I knew from the start what colour I wanted the girls to be in. Something muted, nudey and not in your face. As with all my planning, I went around the houses…as you can tell, that’s just the way I rock! At first I had my heart set on a long coast silky number in pebbly colour. It went in the sale but in my attempt to get 4 I called Maceys in New York and even Dubai. At some point I had to let it go!!! And I am SO glad I did! This was defo FATE!
I knew when I saw the French Connection summer collection out that one of them would be perfect. They had lots of these blush/intimate pink/coraly colours and a couple of them were in lace… Amazing! I just loved the idea of all of us being in lace, it’s not every day you get to wear it and I wasn’t going to be the only one in it, I wanted to treat them too!
I bought them all a Swarovski bangle, they deserved a bit of bling walking down the aisle in those puppies! I also treated them to some diamante studs, got creative with blinged up personalised hangers and a picture of us on my hen do in Ibiza.
Gordon wore a Braemar grey tweed jacket, a grey braemar tweed 5 button waistcoat, a black Hugo Boss shirt, an ivory cravat, a Maclaren kilt (this is his family tartan) from Houston, highland dress shoes/sporran/socks and sock flashes and Sgian Dhubha which is the dagger in the sock! G kept the most important things close to his chest (or groin area more like), he had 20 marlborough lights in his sporran and the speech! He looked fab and really made an effort when planning his outfit to tie it in with the theme we had created.
An Easy Choice
Choosing Kelly at Lola Rose to photograph our day was such an easy choice to make. We met her at her home where she showed us some of her work which was beautiful; really quirky, fresh and romantic. Admittedly though, we are not experts in photography or wedding photography for that matter, so we didn’t really know what we were looking for. So it was really Kelly’s kind nature and informal approach that we liked. She was so easy to talk to and put us at ease about the insecurities we had at being photographed in front of people all day! We are in awe of the way she made our traditional photos fun and that little bit different.
Kelly is a such a fun and funky lady. She has continued to be in contact us through her blog and FB and I feel I have met a friend in Kelly. She is so unobtrusive but so professional, she made all our guests feel that they were at some sort of chilled out party rather than a highly organised and traditional day, and I guess so much of the way people felt could have been down to what Kelly was doing. I cannot recommend her enough, she is very talented and has those special people skills which is so important for a wedding day!
Not A Dry Eye In The House
Bagpiper-Graham was piping away when our guests were beginning to arrive at the sanctum and he played them to their seats. He then piped me down the aisle to Highland Cathedral. I hear that when it was first being played there wasn’t a dry eye in the house… Apart from mine, I was just kiddy with excitement! He then piped us out to Cock O the North and then played sporadically throughout the canapés. He also piped us into the marquee for our wedding breakfast where Gordon had to do a shot of whiskey from a Scottish Quaich! Tradition I here! Graham was amazing, especially as he was sweltering in his amazing traditional Scottish outfit.
I had always wanted Ibiza chiil out music playing during our canapés. I thought it would suit the venue, but also would be a nod to the chilled out abroad theme we wanted and nearly flew thousands of miles away to, but had it right here in the UK! However, G was having none of it. He thought it would be too much. However, on the day before as we could see it was going to be a hot weekend, I thought it would be such a shame if we didn’t have them. And the only way we would have been able to have them was through the venues speakers, which G wanted for his speech. In the end, the BMs were telling me to make an executive decision! And the manager was getting ready to tell a white lie to Gordon and say that the speakers could be wired up to the marquee, however all I mentioned were the words chill out music and he admitted, his nearly wife was right! In the end, my brother just put on what he had on his I-pod, literally an Ibiza chill out album and it played throughout the afternoon whilst there was canapés, cocktails, champers and confetti. I have to say, just taking that all in was probably my second favourite part of the day…just one of those moments. Second to marrying G of course!
It also had happy memories of our Ibiza henny! X
My Dad and step mum helped us with the band and they also suggested a band through their rock choir teacher Glenn! They were absolutely brilliant! They totally rocked! They played so many good tunes, we wanted a real mix of party classics to suit different tastes. There were a couple of funny moments with my inebriated BM. One of them grabbed the microphone and helped Glenn with a couple of the songs and another sat on the drummers knee and grabbed his drum stick and started rocking out!! One of the band members also DJ’d inbetween their sets so I think there was a hardcore few who never left the dancefloor!
We knew we wouldn’t have a soppy number and definitely wanted something to get our guests involved rather than all eyes being on us. So, after dancing around our kitchen to Everywhere by Fleetwood mac (my fav song ever) and Sally Cinnamon by the stone roses (his fav band and G’s first and only nickname for me), we thought we’d surprise people and go a bit left field. So we had an interlude song from the Killers album Sams Town first, the lyrics ‘ we hope you enjoy your stay, it’s good to have you with us, even if it’s just for one day, outside the sun is shining, seems like heaven isn’t far away’…seemed very apt on the day iself…it was really beautiful. We couldn’t resist an 80’s love ballad, so afterwards in kicked in Fergal Sharkey, A good heart!!! Seeing everyone sing the chorus in rapture and slamming their fists in the air simultaneously was one of the most memorable parts of the day for us! Such fun.
13) Favours – did you have any and what made you decide?
The simple things in life make us happy…so alcohol was always going to make up part of our favours! We went for bottles of Sambuca on every table and bought everyone a shot glass and put a ribbon around it. When we have been away for weekends with some of our friends, Sambuca shots always get a look in, usually in some sort of rusting old kettle found in the house we’re staying in!! So it was awesome to see all our guests loving the ritual. This made up another of those really memorable moments, once when everyone stood up together and toasted the day with a shot of ‘sambo’! And another when the tables started singing infamous lines from their band’s songs…I quite liked it when the Groove Armada table started it off with a rendition of ‘I see you baby, shaking that arse….’!
Sanctum were lovely to us and ordered us an ivory carpet as I wasn’t too keen on the red one they have! Once I arrived at the sanctum, having stayed away the night before, I had a little sneak peek through the conservatory when I was having my meeting with our registrar. And OMG it looked beautiful, more than I had imagined. This was thanks to G’s mum, our sisters, my step mum and other guests staying at sanctum (you should have seen the list I had left for them!!), the staff at the sanctum were amazing, but particularly Mrs Lawson, the owners mother who really pulled out the stops for us when things had become a little stressful a few weeks before the wedding (to say the least)…. She even arranged two massive pots of flowers at the entry to the marquee and 5 lovely bay trees, just for us. So good of them.
Basically the garden looked so pretty and chilled out, it was like being abroad in an idyllic sanctum!! I guess the look they are going for hence the name!
-Lanterns – I saw Shannen Doherty’s wedding in one of the mags and loved the outdoor vibe. She had a long aisle which she lined with different sizes of lanterns, so I nabbed that idea for ours and got 6 lush lanterns from confetti. Roses were then scattered around them-adore
We hired 6 beautiful crystal vintage candelabra and a selection of votives from Wedding Day Hire. Deborah’s company is one of the only I could find that had such wide variety of décor to choose from of a high quality and standard. I was like a magpie in her showroom, magical!
Our stationery was designed by Sarah Zammit of Elvis and Marilyn. She was amazing! I just contacted her via e-mail and she was happy to do anything we wanted even though she was only just starting out doing weddings!
Gordon made the amazing table plan! He really wanted to get involved and get creative. So he put together a table plan of our favourite bands all of which we have been to and have fond and happy memories from. This is now hung up in our kitchen and looks fab! He also thought of the CD covers for the table centres.
I made my two nephews mini official photographer signs and gave them polaroids. I then had heart black boards which guests could write ‘words of wisdom’ on which they held up for a photo which the boys then took. I just thought it was a nice way of getting something memorable from the guests which wouldn’t keep them away from the fizz for long, but also of keeping the boys busy. The boys then attached the polaroids to a black board with ribbons on so we could see what people had written. We now have lovely memories to look back at and will put this up somewhere in our house.
I love the idea of mini official photographers… What a great way to keep the little ones entertained (whilst also providing entertainment for the adults too) and at the end of it you get a snazzy piece of decor that you can treasure forever.
Paola and Darrens’ wedding is bursting with colour…and love. It’s literally spilling over.
The flowers are stunning and I’m loving the coordinating blooms, lips and nails. Breathtaking.
What I love most about this day is the joy that went into planning it, the months of collecting pieces and the dedication put into the cakes (wait until you see the cakes!). There is something very personal about it and it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.
Breakfast By The Thames
My wedding was on a sunny Saturday, 11th August 2012. My name is Paola and my husband is called Darren. We live in Walton so married in my local church, St Erconwalds and then we had our wedding breakfast in the amazing Landmark Arts Centre in Teddington by the Thames.
A Happy Ending
I bought my dress from a shop in Weybridge called Surrey Brides (a shop I used to look at every day on my way to school!). The designer was Benjamin Roberts. I knew I wanted a lace dress and as soon as I put it on I immediately loved it – it felt pretty and dramatic at the same time. I must admit, it was also within budget so with the two put together, it was the dress for me!
For any brides that have a panic when the dress they order comes in, and think that they don’t suit the dress anymore, ignore the reaction! When my dress arrived for my first fitting, I still loved it but didn’t like myself in it anymore and was convinced it didn’t look as nice as I wanted it to.
Apparently this is completely normal. The next time I went I took my cousin, Gabi who was also one of my bridesmaids, and she completely put me at ease! Take people that can be excited and help you feel positive about your decisions. I still don’t know why I freaked out – I absolutely loved my dress and once Deborah at Surrey Brides had all the fittings made to suit my shape – I was more than happy with the result.
The Perfect Pair
I worked in Teddington at the time and I kept passing this beautiful shop filled with vintage accessories so I made an appointment with Gillian Million and found a stunning head piece that I bought before I found my dress. I then had a pair of earrings, a bracelet and small brooch made to match. I defy anyone not to find something amazing to wear in Gillian’s shop.
With all the money I had spent on my dress and accessories, I knew I wanted a simple pair of shoes so Kurt Geiger provided the perfect pair. I then bought a pair of shoe clips off ebay.
Intense And Bright
I wanted a hairstyle that was relaxed and down, so simple curls were what worked best. My hairdresser was recommended to me by my make-up artist. I love make-up and so this was the perfect excuse to have myself done up.
I like intense eyes or bright lipstick. Another of my bridesmaids, Marisa, has a friend who is a make-up artist and Kate came to turn me into something fantastic! It was a lot of fun for myself, my Mum and the bridesmaids to have their make-up done by a professional.
A Single Rose
The wonderful Jo Butler at Jo Butler Flowers in Teddington provided the flowers and they were prefect. Vintage roses with bright cerise roses to off-set the more subtle colours.
I had a bird theme running throughout the day so I bought bird cages for the centre pieces that Jo filled with the same flowers as my bouquet, which were then placed on hardback books. I had 2 large bird cages to decorate the church and venue that Jo decorated too. I decided to have a single rose for each of the bridesmaids and my maid of honour, and I think it looked really pretty.
A Flash of Pink
I didn’t want a colour scheme so I bought the gold bridesmaids’ dresses from Marks and Spencers and the groomsmen were bought blue suits to match Darren’s. The maids were given brooches to fit on their belts and the men were given Paul Smith ties and pink socks!
Vivienne And Paul
Darren loves all things British so it had to be a Vivienne Westwood suit! He looked so handsome in it and along with the Paul Smith tie, tie pin, pink socks, brown Barker shoes and pocket watch, he looked perfect and I think he was really pleased with the end result.
Exactly What I Was Looking For
When I saw Rebecca’s portfolio I knew she was the photographer I was looking for! And she was absolutely amazing – she really captured the day. We met with her a couple of times before the wedding, and on the day she was so warm and unobtrusive; she even popped over to where Darren was staying to capture some photos of him when he was getting ready and nothing was too much hassle.
She had tons of energy all day…I don’t know how she kept it up! I couldn’t be happier with the photos and would recommend her to anyone in a heartbeat.
A Piece Of Cake
My aunty made an Italian cake and I decided to make the rest so I had a table of cupcakes, cake pops and normal cakes. It was a bit mad the week before and I was icing cakes the Friday night before the wedding, but it was worth it.
My brother had a 30 minute DJ set which was really fun and then the brilliant Wedding Smashers took over for the rest of the evening .
When Darren and I first met we discovered we had a mutual love for Ryan Adams – he’s really special to us so we chose ‘I Love you but I don’t Know what to Say’ and our good mate Paul, who I went to school with, choreographed the dance for us and made us look good. He also choreographed a group dance so my mum, dad, friends and family all got on the dance floor after the first dance to join us in a flash mob which went down really well.
Badges and Bulbs
For favours we had terracotta flower pots filled with flower bulbs for the women and for the men, a miniature bottle of whisky or vodka. We weren’t going to have any favours but then these came within budget and I’m really glad we went with them. We also had some really cool badges made for everyone that I bought from etsy.
The Landmark is an incredible venue but you do have to hire everything in and I made much of the decorations myself. I decided on the bird theme so for 10 months I just kept collecting things that would be nice to use. Etsy, Cox and Cox, ebay and charity shops were the best places for me.
Go With Your Gut
I think making the day as personal to you as you can, and going with your gut is a good starting point. Make the time to enjoy the planning process so it doesn’t get stressful nearer the day. Ask for help when you need it and enjoy it!
My dress was bought from a wedding shop in Totnes called Truly Delightful. It’s a Benjamin Roberts design, number 2228. It is ivory with a vintage lace overlay, train and sweetheart neck line and ivory belt. I loved it from the moment I saw it. I had an idea of what I wanted, big princess dresses were not for me. This dress has an elegant vintage style to it and it is timeless. The vintage lace gives it the classic timeless beauty; I imagined Marie Antoinette wearing it at court. While at the same time the fishtale design gives it it’s sex appeal. Classic, yet sexy… The best of both worlds. Plus it passed the mum test (she cried when I put it on).
Because I didn’t want to take away from the simple beauty of the dress I just wore an antique necklace which Eliot’s mum lent me for the occasion (something borrowed). It was his Grandma’s so it also had sentimental meaning to it.
A Simple Bow
My shoes were ivory peep toe 5 inchers. They have a simple bow at the front. I had to decide on the shoes quite early as the dress was cut to my new improved height when in the shoes. Beautiful shoes and the pain was worth it.
A Work Of Art
My hair was a work of art created by Gail Hodges, a local wedding hair specialist. I wanted big glamour yet elegant. Luckily i have a lot of hair. She back combed the back to get the height and then made it into a low bow at the back. This is such a great option for long hair, it showed off the amount of hair while creating something special (I could never have achieved this myself). Even i was shocked when Eliot was trying to help me take out all the pins at the end of the night. My make up was done by a local beauty salon owner, Laura who owns the Sanctuary Of Wellswood. I went for big lashes and dark eyes for the glamour, yet natural lipstick.
White And Pink
My bouquets were done by a local florist in Brixham called Bouquets, on Fore street. I had a mixture of white and pink roses with gip for my bouquet and the bridesmaids had a flower called ‘wax’. They looked like they had just been picked out of the garden and really went with the vintage feel of the whole wedding. The best men and bridegroom also had wax flowers for their button holes.
My bridesmaids (after an epic day battling what Oxford Street has to offer) were in pale pink vintage style dresses with beading on the bottom half and round the middle under the bust. The colour tied in with the flowers and the bunting that my mother made (all 100 foot of it!). The best men wore hired 3 piece grey suits from Burtons.
Grey Three Piece
Eliot’s suit was a bit of an ordeal, he initially wanted to wear tweed, I also believe I heard the words ‘brown cord’ come out of his mouth once. He ended up in the same grey three piece as the best men. At the end of the day whatever he wore wouldn’t have mattered, the look on his face as I walked down the aisle showed me just how loved I was and I felt so lucky to be marrying a man I truly loved (despite having a penchant for tweed).
Green photographic specialise in documentary style photos, which I felt really fitted with the theme of our wedding and us as a couple. Beautiful photographs to me capture a moment, they are natural and it is in this simplicity and honesty that our memories of the day were captured.
Birdcage Cake Stands
Our cake was actually 250 cup cakes designed and made by my mum’s friend, Jane Carter. They looked beautiful with their pink and white flowers arranged in two vintage looking birdcage cake stands. I don’t like traditional wedding cake and the cup cakes not only looked impressive but tasted great too!
A Folky Feel
We opted for a Kaylee band for a folky feel to out vintage wedding. The band set up outside under an old mulberry tree. It looked beautiful. The weather had been good up till this point but then it started to rain. However, this didn’t dampen people’s spirits. At this point our wedding had turned into Glastonbury meets secret garden party. My sister in law fell over (although i think she was pushed) and got literally covered in mud. She told me she had a great time. So apparently wedding plus mud equals fun. An easy equation to master when in England.
Our first dance was ‘Please don’t stop the music’ by Jamie Cullam. It’s a Rhianna cover and when Eliot played it to me i knew it was the one. Eliot loves his music (he used to be in a band) and he loves covers of songs done in an interesting way. The song is interesting and sexy. We had a dance lesson, which Eliot bought me as a surprise for my birthday two weeks before the wedding.
Unfortunately I got carried away and by the end of the hour we had produced something Patrick Swayze would have been proud of. Once in my dress i realised that the double dip lift to splits might have been slightly ambitious! We drunkenly went into another room before the dance and realised most of the dance was now impossible due to dress and alcohol. Anyway we improvised and it went surprisingly well.
My amazing mum made 100 foot of bunting and we put birdcages on every table with flowers in them as our table centre pieces. I also wrapped the napkins with brown twine and put a flower in them. This involved me and my bridesmaids cutting flowers from random bushes imagining we were characters from some kind of pride and prejudice novel. I also made a seating plan from an old suitcase which I put twine round and hung table names from with miniature pegs. I love DIY (but only strictly wedding related).
An Amazing Day
My wedding was special because it was my wedding. No matter what happens if you concentrate on the fact that all your friends and family are there to support you and you are marrying the man you love then you will have an amazing day. Don’t get stressed about things that really don’t matter that much, try and do things that suit you and not other people and make sure your groom doesn’t wear tweed.
Black maids dresses… multi-coloured shoes… Chris Barber behind the lens.
Does Laura and Mike’s big day need any more of an introduction than that?
A Family Tradition
Mike and I got married on 21st October at Saint Lukes Church in Cannock, Staffordshire. It is a beautiful church and has been the wedding venue for all of my family for many generations. Mike knew it was the only place I wanted to get married and it was pretty much the only thing that was never up for discussion!
When my Dad and I pulled up at the Church, the sun shining and bells ringing, it seemed as though the town centre had come to a halt to watch our arrival. I could not stop laughing and we both totally milked it!
Into My Arms
We asked our friend Axel to sing as we signed the register and he chose Into My Arms by Nick Cave which was perfect. He lives in Sweden so the first time we heard him sing was on the day itself. It blew us away, especially when he added our favourite verse from Mr Tambourine Man by Bob Dylan on the end. At some point, during one of their many discussion about music, Mike had told Axel how that verse takes us back to a night we spent dancing in the sea at Benicassim Festival many years ago and Axel had made it part of his performance, not knowing that we had written those exact words on the back of our order of service! Only someone who knows and loves you would think of something as meaningful as that and it made for one of the most moving moments of our day.
I was seriously struggling to imagine myself as a bride and approached the whole situation in fear and with low expectations. The ladies at London Bride were amazing. They were so kind and enthustic and totally looked after me, I would recommend them to anyone!
My dress was the third dress I tried on. Apart from the fact it was lace, it was pretty much everything I had not wanted (strapless and figure Hugging) but, as they say, true love knows no bounds. I immediately felt like I was a bride. I turned to my best friend, we both had tears in our eyes, I knew it was the one. And that, was that.
I didn’t think I would wear a veil, but at my first dress fitting the ever enthusiastic ladies at London Bride fixed one to my head, exclaiming “this has to be worn with that dress” Of course they were right. It was a beautiful double-tiered veil, trimmed with intricate lace that matched my dress perfectly.
I wore an Arianna head band in pearl and mocha tones, with crystal flowers for a hint of sparkle. My outfit was finished off with an amazing vintage fur shrug lent to me by my darling Great Aunt.
Shoes were a bit more of an issue as heels and I inherently do not get on! I brought and returned about 5 pairs before finding a simple, open toed, gold high heel from Dune. They were perfect and to my surprise stayed on my feet the whole day without being banished to a corner – the power of adrenaline!
A One Way Street
I have short hair which can be styled one way and one way only, giving me one less thing to worry about. My make-up was done by the lovely Charlene whose great skills totally put me at ease about my less than perfect skin. She is quite clearly a wizard with a make-up wand! I would recommend to any bride that you get yourself a professional when it comes to the slap. Not only do you get brilliant results but it means that you can just sit back, relax and drink copious amounts of tea.
Purple Dots And Gold Stars
Mike bought his morning suit from New & Lingwood, a fabulous shop on Jermyn Street. It is wonderfully traditional with a dash of eccentricity thrown in!
Much to the dismay of the elderly shop assistant who insisted the waistcoat was too thick to wear under a Morning Suit, the moment Mike tried on his petrol blue felt waistcoat with striped silk back we both knew he had to have it! Mike finished his outfit off with a purple tie dotted with gold stars, a skull and cross bone silk handkerchief in his top pocket, a pair of Barker calfskin Chelsea boots and his Grandpa Georges old pocket watch.
Mike was such a handsome groom, He rocked his Morning Suit, making it his with his own individual style. He completely bowled me over. When I got to the top of the aisle I wanted to hug him so badly, I held back and just gave his leg a cheeky squeeze… only to find he had a harmonica in his pocket… I have always said that he doesn’t go anywhere without one!
The Groomsmen wore Morning Suits hired from Moss Bros. We bought them each a tie from New & Lingwood (THE best tie shop I have ever been too!!) Having no colour scheme we had great fun choosing ties that we thought best suited the guys – skull and cross bones, space invaders, knitted silk with polka dots and, for the best man, a Liberty print paisley, the brightest tie we could find!
The bridesmaid dresses sneaked up on us when i was keeping myself entertained during a shopping trip and decided to try on a beautiful, black lace dress from Ted Baker. The lace of the fitted bodice matched my dress and the full skirt gave a WOW factor.
The minute I saw it on I knew that it had to be the dress for my bridesmaids. I was with two (of the four) girls and the next thing you know we are all stood in matching dresses jumping up and down in excitement. Being told that only a limited number has been made I took the risk and brought all four there and then. I LOVE those dresses so much and my girls all looked absolutely amazing.
After months of searching for shoes to go with the dresses, I almost gave up on my idea of having four different colours – and then Dune came up trumps yet again! I let the girls choose the colour and style they wanted because I wanted them to be comfortable. On the morning of the wedding I gave them each a heart necklace from Coco Ribbon which looked totally cute and told them how much I love them!
Carrie Lucas was recommended to me by a family friend and having recently got married at Packington Moor herself it seemed a no brainer! When I met with Carrie I had a vision of what I wanted but not much knowledge on how to pull it off. I wanted a simple, white bouquet for myself and I wanted the bride maids bouquets to match the individual colours of their shoes. As for the church and venue, both Mike and I are fans of the just picked from the ground, natural look rather than formal arrangements and we knew this would suit Packington Moor perfectly. We did not have a colour theme and were not concerned about particular blooms. With the help of family and friends we had collected hundereds of glass jars for the flowers to go in, but the rest was left up to Carrie, The Professional!
Carrie far surpassed any expectations I had and created something truly beautiful. My bouqet was everything I coud have hoped for and the bridesmaids bouquets matched their shoes perfectly. A special shout out to the blue roses needs to be given right now. They blew my mind!!! Walking into Packington Moor and seeing what Carrie had done with the hundereds of jars we had accumulated was just one more special moment in my day.
Laugh Like A Loon
I love photographs and Mike loves photography so it was always going to be a hugely important part of our wedding. I had looked at many a website before stumbling across Chris Barber and It was not long before I had looked through every wedding featured on his website. I was blown away by the photographs and found myself giggling and getting emotions in equal measure… I had not seen wedding photography quite like it before. There was no question that he was the photographer that we both wanted and when we met with them we were even more pleased with our decision.
Being photographed by Chris was easy, relaxing and most importantly for us FUN! I love our wedding photographs, they capture every aspect and emotion of the day and I don’t think I will ever tire of gawping at them!
Chris also brought Silly Space into our lives. This is a MUST. All of our wedding guests loved it, it got everyone to let their hair down and show off the pesky side that most people hide in normal photographs. The pictures of my Grandad as the happiest sunflower I have ever seen will never fail to make me laugh like a loon.
My Mother-in-Law is an excellent cook so when she asked if we would like her to make our wedding cake I said yes straight away. I wanted as many personal touches as possible to our day and so we let her have free reign to do whatever she wanted. Once again, trusting in someone we love to do something for us completely paid off and having kept her ideas secret it gave us another lovely surprise on the day.
Anne created a beautiful, 3-tiered, square shaped, ivory cake topped with a chocolate Sacha Torte drum kit (for Mike, the drummer) and a book that had been filled with messages from the family (for me, the bookworm ) hidden round the back was a beautiful marzipan replica of Dylan, our cat and best bud!
Mr Tambourine Man
Music is a huge part of our lives and something we are both passionate about but when it came to our first dance as husband and wife there was only one man fit for the job and that was Bob Dylan and it had to be Mr Tambourine Man. We didn’t really think about the dancing element of our first dance, it was about that song being the first one we wanted to hear together as husband and wife.
The Love Boat Captains
Our friend Tom recommended The Love Boat Captains to us as our wedding band as he has seen them numerous times in his hometown of Lincoln. Knowing Tom’s great taste and knowing how well he knows us we trusted him completely and booked them!
The Love Boat Captains were amazing. They covered all the genres of music that we love and had everyone on the dancefloor. One of the highlights of our entire wedding was Our “last dance” There is nothing quite like seeing your family and friends in a frenzied mosh pit to Smells Like Teen Spirit whilst you jump up and down holding onto the train of your beloved wedding dress. Captains, we owe you one!
We knew immediately that it was the perfect place for us. A rural barn venue with exposed brickwork and oak beams. The cozy bar area was full of nooks and crannies looked out onto a beautiful courtyard. We wanted out guests to feel comfortable, whether they were ripping up the dance floor, having a cosy chat, propping up the bar or sitting it in the courtyard. We knew that if our guests were relaxed and felt free to do as they wished then we would too!
We kept things simple and colourful and the backdrop of Packington Moor set off our colourful mixture of jars filled with flowers and tea lights. We used letterstamps and multi-coloured inks to make individual place cards for our guests, backed on bright card . I wanted to keep things bright and fun. The table numbers were written on luggage tags, tied around wine bottles that had also been filled with flowers.
Filled With Dread
When Mike and I started planning our wedding I felt completely out of my comfort zone. Saying “yes” to becoming Mike’s wife was the easiest decision I have ever made but the thought of becoming a bride and planning a wedding filled we with dread. With Mike by my side, amazing support from family and friends and all the kindness and enthusiasm of the people we met, it ended up being an experience I will never forget.
I laughed, cheered and whooped my way through our wedding day. We followed the wedding traditions that were important to us and our family but did it all our own way and always kept true to who we are.
Remember that the small things only matter if they matter to you. Be comfortable. Ask for help and input from the people you love, they know you best and it is here where the little surprises will lie. Trust in the professionals you choose. Relax. Follow your gut, it will never let you down.
And remember, whatever happens, you are going to be marrying the man you love, surrounded by all of the people you love. Anything on top of that is a bonus!
In my introduction I should probably have also mentioned the amazing cake made by the Mother-in-law… The total riot on the dance floor and hinted that these were perhaps some of the funniest photo booth images ever shot. EVER.
But then I guess that’s what this bit is for 😉
Thank you to Laura and Mike for sharing there big day on these polka dotted pages.