Traditionally, as the rhyme goes, a bride should include ‘something blue’ as part of her wedding attire. Not so for Zoe who married her beau Mike at the Andaz Hotel in London last year. Instead the colour red holds special significance for the pair – a nod to their early dating days – and it was this hue that they included in select areas of their wedding decor including Zoe’s exquisite pair of Louboutins.
I know! I’m positively green with envy right now.
I’m also seriously lusting after Zoe and Mike’s cake extravaganza which they lovingly scattered along the centrepiece in the 1901 restaurant for their guests to dine upon. Check out the chocolate cake….!
Lastly serious legend points go to Zoe’s dad for styling Zoe’s hair on her big day. I love the fact that the pair of them spent some treasured moments together on the morning of the big day. Don’t you think Zoe’s hair looks absolutely blinking sublime…
Suzie and Kurt tied the knot at Hyde Barn back in the Summer. Suzie describes it as the most amazing day in the history of the world. Ever!! And with a dream dress one off creation by Jessica Charleston, a Swedish designer headpiece… Louboutins AND more flowers and cakes than you can shake a shabby chic stick at, I am inclined to agree…
Suzie The Bride: After getting engaged in July 2012 (on our one year anniversary…so sweet), we travelled to the Cotswolds for a mini-break celebration weekend. I know the area well, after spending my student days at Cheltenham University. We stumbled upon the recently opened Hyde Barn venue on line previously and decided to have a peek whilst in the area. I immediately fell in love with its rustic countryside charm mixed with vintage details, such as grand sparkly chandeliers hanging from the beams. Exactly one year later, we were married in that very spot! We chose this venue because it embodied everything we were looking for- country location, laidback atmosphere, delish food and drink. It was very much a blank canvas and we could decorate the venue as we wanted, making the occasion a lot more personal. The Vintage Country Fair theme was then born!
Vintage Country Fair
Given the relaxed vibe that we wanted to create, I was eager for my dress to reflect this. I knew that I didn’t want anything too traditional and structured, but also wanted to embody the vintage country theme as well. I don’t like to make things easy!! After A LOT of searching, I found my dream dress at Carina Baverstock Couture in Bradford on Avon. It was exactly what I was looking for, with a beautiful mix of fabrics and textures that fitted perfectly with our theme and I loved the focus of detail being on the back of the dress. It was simple yet elegant. After being measured to within an inch of my life, the dress was made from scratch by the designer Jessica Charleston. I was super impressed to find that on my first dress fitting, I didn’t need a single alteration. It fitted like a glove!
I also wore a vintage style headpiece by Swedish designer Jennie Baltzer, which I found at the same shop as my dress. It was handmade in Copenhagen and contained beautiful beaded flowers that would be worn across my forehead. I knew that I wanted to wear my hair up in order to showcase the back of the dress and felt that this headpiece would work perfectly.
Originally, I had planned to wear coloured shoes with my dress, but after trying on some beauts Jimmy Choos I realised that they detracted too much from the simplicity of the dress. So I went with some simple peep toe Louboutins from Browns Bride that matched the colour of my dress exactly. They also acted as my ‘something blue’, given the gorgeous soft sky coloured insoles. I danced all night in them and they were super comfy.
A Fresh Dewy Glow
My hairstyle had to be appropriate for the dress. I was looking for something natural and with texture, which was beautifully created by my hairstylist – Tabitha James-Kraan . She also did my makeup, which was a truly relaxing experience leading up to the ceremony. Tabitha uses mainly organic products and kept my makeup really natural. She gave my skin a fresh dewy glow and used neutral tones on the eye, with a pop of pink on the lips.
Bunting, Lace & Doilies
Flowers were a really important aspect of the planning for me, as I feel that they can really transform a venue. The vintage country fair theme was reflected through decorative items such as vintage milk churns, homemade bunting, vintage lace doilies and linens, cut glass vases, a vintage bike and suitcase, giant balloons and enamel jugs. I spent A LOT of time on ebay over the last year!! The flowers were created by Lucy Walker and she immediately shared my vision of how I wanted the flowers to look. We used a variety of gypsophila, stocks, roses, astilbe and hydrangeas, with wild grasses also used in the larger arrangements. The pastel colours, mix of textures and rustic nature of the arrangements fitted the theme perfectly. Lucy also made gorgeous floral hearts that we hung with linen and lace for the ceremony. The bridesmaids had simple white gypsophila bouquets and my bouquet was tied with long strips of the same lace as that used on my dress. The button holes were kept simple and rustic with gypsophila and roses wrapped with twine.
French Greys & Neutral Woods
The colour theme was decided during our first visit to the venue. The interior of the barn uses French greys and neutral woods as a base and I knew that I wanted to compliment this with a muted colour scheme. We decided on a mix of blush pink, pale grey and white. I didn’t want anything too formal or ‘bridesmaidy’ for my maids and above all I wanted them to feel comfortable. We found their blush coloured dresses in Ted Baker and they were a perfect mix of lace and chiffon with a relaxed vintage edge. The groomsmen all wore matching suits and brogues that we bought from Next, and spotty linen ties from Reiss. They tied in with the tonal grey aspect of the colour scheme and used a light tweed material that worked well with the country style of the wedding.
The groom’s suit matched the rest of the groomsmen, and he looked very dapper. I would never have guessed that an hour before the ceremony he’d been in a dentist’s chair having his front tooth glued back on after breaking it trying to cut a piece of ribbon!! This caused much hilarity during the speeches (the first I knew of the ‘incident’) and it was all captured by our photographer.
We could not have asked for a better photographer – Sam Gibson. He was brilliant throughout the whole day, capturing the true emotions and story of the day whilst being completely invisible. His documentary style photography drew us to Sam’s work and we loved the fact that the most memorable moments were captured in such a natural way. Sam spotted aspects of the venue that have provided the most stunning pictures, which we would never have even noticed ourselves!
Cake Table Time
I heart cake!! We therefore HAD to have a cake table with a selection of scrummy delights, which also fitted with the country fair aspect of the wedding. We used a range of vintage cake stands and linens to create the table, which contained a pastel coloured macaroon tower (tres divine!), good old fondant fancies, welsh cakes (had to add a touch of welshiness), lemon drizzle, various cupcakes and a tiered Victoria sponge for the wedding cake. The majority of the cakes were homemade, with the macaroons supplied by Catherine Mason and Cirencester Cupcakes provided the Victoria sponge.
We hired a string trio for the ceremony and drinks reception – Vyne Strings. They were fab and played a range of up to date pop songs, which everyone loved and fitted with the overall concept of the wedding; light hearted and party orientated.
I came down the aisle to Take That – Greatest Day, which helped set the relaxed tone of the day. We decided that we wanted a DJ for the evening part of the wedding, as we both love a good boogie. The dance floor was full for the whole night and there were some great moves on show!
Crazy For You
We chose ‘Crazy For You’ by Let Loose as the track for our first dance. We both love a bit of 90’s cheese and it was the perfect mix of meaningful, upbeat and sing along. We practiced a few moves before the wedding, which made us more relaxed and confident to do the lifts, dips and twirls we wanted to include.
Pump Up The Jam
We wanted something personal and homemade as our wedding favours, so myself and my mum set about creating batches of raspberry and elderflower jam and chilli jam. They worked really well and we had personalised labels printed as well. Some of the guests even opened them to use with their meals on the day! I gave each of my bridesmaids a friendship bracelet by Monica Vinader as a reminder of how much I appreciate them as my best buddies.
Something Kinda Cute
The stationery was really important to us, as it set the tone for the wedding. We found a fabulous stationery designer in Cardiff – Something Kinda Cute. They provided quirky and vintage style invites, menus, name tags and table flags. They also created the wonderful ‘woop woop’ order of the day cards, which were super fun and unique. I made the table plan myself, using a range of mismatched frames and some grey gingham material.
We wanted our wedding to be very personal and we achieved this through making much of the decorative details ourselves and sourcing all of the props personally. I found the vintage bike, milk churns, lace doilies and vintage vases on ebay, in charity shops and at car boot sales. My mum made all of the bows for the chairs and meters of pastel coloured bunting to decorate both inside and outside the venue. We also personalised our guestbook, using photobooth photos as the front cover and we made our own mini confetti bags, with personalised vintage style labels.
The food was also an important aspect for us and we wanted to encourage a relaxed social atmosphere during the reception, so we chose sharing platters using local produce to encourage this. During the evening we had bacon butties and potato wedges in order to provide guests with much needed energy for dancing!
Although the task of organising a wedding can seem daunting, it’s also exceptionally exciting and enjoyable to see all of your hard work come together and form the best day you can imagine. I’ve been told that I can be a bit of a control freak… Ahem… But on the day I just went with the flow, felt totally relaxed and enjoyed the most memorable day of my life.
Wiggle those toes – it’s Bride Siobhan’s top tip for making sure you remember all of the best bits of your wedding.
You know the feeling, those moments when you are so blissfully happy you want them to last forever, so you try to imprint them on your memory? I think toe wiggling would definitely help with that.
And to help bring back all those emotion filled memories, Siobhan and Ross have a gorgeous set of images from Claire Penn that truly capture the spirit of their day.
On a more superficial note – Siobhan is another Bride who did her own make up…she absolutely nails a red lip and nail combo. If any of you lovelies are thinking about DIY Bridal make up, make sure you check out of first beauty vlog here.
Our Second Home
Siobhan The Bride: We are both born and bred in London, but my Mum & Dad are from Ireland. I have such amazing memories from going to Ireland every year when I was younger to Tipperary to our family home for Easter and Summer holidays with all my cousins and family.
In the 7 and a half years Ross and I have been together we have taken trips over to Ireland, with groups of our friends for long weekends and with my family, it has become a second home to him now too. After we got engaged we talked about what sort of wedding we wanted and we knew we couldn’t just settle for one day, so we knew we had to have somewhere we could have all our loved ones together for a weekend.
We thought Ireland would be so much fun and a great excuse for a mini trip for everyone. We found Kilshane House in Tipperary near where my Mum’s family are from, and the moment we started driving up the half a mile tree lined winding drive we knew this place was going to be special.
Add to that the fact you can hire the whole place exclusively for the weekend, there are 50+ rooms for most of our guests to stay in, an absolutely STUNNING reception room which used to be a church and we knew it was the one!! It also has the feel of a family home and we felt so relaxed from the moment we entered.
We are very lucky to have a very dear friend of ours Tom Cumberland who is an amazing hairdresser. He agreed to do mine and the bridesmaids hair for the wedding and was just out of this world. My hair is long, but very fine so doesn’t curl easily, I knew I wanted it different from just straight, and I don’t do up do’s, so Tom and I had MANY practice sessions at my flat until we got the perfect wave with heated rollers.
I did my own make up for the day as I wanted to look like myself, I went for a lesson with a make up artist at Fenwicks called Frey-ja Barker who uses all different brands and she went through what was best for my skin and how to apply.
I then added to that my favourite bits from Mac & Nars, like bright red lips and gold smoky eyes! I knew I wanted a stand out look as I’m not afraid to wear brighter make up, I wanted it to look quite Hollywood glam to go with the dress, I was glad I took the plunge and did it myself, plus now I have all the make up to use after!
A Love Affair With The Aspen
A few months after getting engaged my best friend had a fun day out to try on a few dresses, I found a couple I loved so thought “this will be easy!”. Over-Confident – wind on 6 months and you have the pressure of actually finding the ONE dress you will wear on your wedding day, the one dress that needs to make you look stylish, beautiful, classy and sexy and that you can wear from midday until 4 in the morning (yes I said 4am!)
I must have tried on over 50 dresses, I was adamant I wanted it to be corseted and very structured, as the un-structured dresses wouldn’t suit me, I just didn’t like any of them on me! I then went to an amazing shop called Miss Bush Bridal in Ripley and among all the corseted big gowns they made me try on a Jenny Packham…SWOON!
Well what a waste of a year trying all the other gowns on, it suddenly all feel into place, then it was just a matter of which one. As soon as I tried on the Aspen, I knew it was the one. They do say that don’t they!? It was the most comfortable dress I have ever worn and I felt amazing in it…I am still having a total love affair with it.
Very Special Accessories
I knew I wanted my wedding shoes to be really special, my amazing Maid of Honour Indi gave me a very big contribution towards them as a 30th birthday present, so I knew I could afford the Louboutins I really wanted. I wanted to be able to wear them again after so peep toed nude ones were perfect, the red looked amazing under the dress and matched my red nails and lips!
My veil was stumbled upon by accident; we went shopping for bridesmaid dresses and had an appointment at the fabulous Gillian Million’s shop in Teddington. It is like every girls heaven, full of the most beautiful jewellery and accessories you could ever imagine. She makes her veils her self, and it was so soft it was like butter in my hand, I had to have it. She does just the right mix of vintage and glamorous for her jewellery too so I brought myself a beautiful vintage bracelet from there.
My best girls had taken note of a necklace I loved and brought it for me for my birthday (so spoilt), and on the wedding day my mum gave me a beautiful vintage hair clip for after I took my veil off. I was even more surprised when I had a card from Ross on the wedding morning, which made me ball my eyes out (luckily before all make up was done) and with it a little box containing the most beautiful vintage art deco earrings, which I adore!
Style And Sophistication
My beautiful girls wore a stunning strapless chiffon gown in purple made by Dessy brought at Jane Jordan in Kingston. We matched that with silver shoes from Next, a statement silver / diamante necklace from Accessorize UK and really cool silver nail polish from Nails Inc. They looked totally stunning, I was very proud!
Ross The Groom: ‘I knew from the start I wanted an English gent look for me, my best men & ushers. We settled on fabric from Alfred Brown millers for our fitted three-piece suits. I went for grey ties, white silk pocket squares with a grey trim and cool 1 inch tie bars, brought online from a shop in the USA called The Tie Bar.
My shirt was from a traditional 60s inspired English tailors called Adam Sharner in Notting Hill and my shoes were from Loakes. My Mum had my granddads pocket watch put onto a chain and my Dad gave it to me as a present which I wore on the wedding day.’
Siobhan The Bride: They all looked really dapper and my hubby looked totally gorgeous (if I don’t say so myself!)
The Right Photographer
We knew from the start having the right photographer was important to us; I really struggled to find any that really excited me in Ireland, or ones who did the reportage relaxed style we wanted. I was then looking on these polka dot pages one day and saw a fabulous engagement shoot from the even more fabulous Claire Penn.
I went onto her amazing blog and fell in love with every couple she photographed and knew I wanted her to photograph our day. Claire travelled down to London to meet us for our engagement shoot in Battersea Park and once again blew us away; we instantly relaxed around her and knew we had made the right choice! We were so happy she agreed to fly over to Ireland from her base in the UK and it was the best investment we made!
A Relaxed Vibe
Our venue was so beautiful we let it speak for itself a lot of the time, we didn’t have a set theme as we wanted a really relaxed vibe for the whole weekend. But we did have different music for every section of the day, including for the drinks reception a CD with music by Vitamin String Quartet who play contemporary music like The Smiths, U2, Killers, Daft Punk and a particularly cool rendition of MMM Bop all on string instruments, we got loads of great comments on it.
The beauty of Kilshane House is that you can move your guests through the different sections of the venue at different parts of your day, we had our drinks reception on the lawn, we then had cocktails in the stunning glass conservatory before moving to the main reception room with its beautiful fairy lights and high ceilings. The tables had silver candelabras, which we had draped in green ivy, they were placed on mirrors with candles around the bottom. We went for a more rustic/vintage feel, with homemade banners and vintage suitcases to hold the photo guest book.
As I knew the weather could be unpredictable in Ireland I wanted something that took my mind off the rain if it did happen. I found some Heart Shaped Umbrellas on a really cool website called Love Umbrellas. I got them for me and the bridesmaids in Purple and Ivory to match our colours. It only trickled a little bit on the day but the umbrellas really made us smile so it didn’t matter!
We brought a mini Instax Fujifilm camera and loads of props for people to take pictures and stick in our guest book, this was one of the most fun parts of the evening and the guest book is hilarious (you should see the drunken illegible messages and photos from after midnight).
Purples, Pinks And Blues
I had a very clear idea of what I wanted for my mine and my bridesmaid’s bouquets. I wanted them to look quite dramatic, so I wanted mine to be only bright colours, incorporating the purple of the bridesmaid dresses and other dark pinks and shades of purple / blue. I asked for only large flowers, I wanted the purple orchids which looked amazing and large roses, I also knew I wanted long stems which would come out of the bottom of the silk wrap around.
The girls then each choose a white flower that they loved and had an individual bouquet made, so large Roses for one, Calla Lilies’ for another and Dahlia’s, again with long stems and ivory silk wraps, Michelle at Cashel Flowers did the most amazing job we couldn’t have been happier.
As Ross had pocket squares he wanted very simple boutonnieres, we decided on simple lavender with a silk wrap, they looked really cool and smelt gorgeous. We also had silver buckets with lavender plants dotted around different parts of the wedding, like the photo guest book table, card table and by the entrance.
A Pre-Ceremony Guinness
We got married at stunning Holy Cross Abbey, it was actually the church in the town my Nana grew up in, so is really dear to my heart, it helps that the setting is also breath taking. There is a traditional Irish pub attached to the Abbey, which all the guests stopped into for a pint of Guinness pre ceremony!
The priest was an old family friend who actually introduced my Mum & Dad, he was winding us up the whole way along, pointing to the wrong words and generally making the whole church laugh, it really made it so much more amazing than we could have expected! Ross’ sister and my three brothers did all the readings, which made it extra special.
A Beatles Tribute
Ross is a DJ, music is really important to him, so this was his forte! He is a huge Beatles fan and managed to find the most amazing tribute act called The Classic Beatles, they have even performed for the Queen and have worked with Sir George Martin. They are completely authentic right down to the accents and the stage banter.
They were one of the highlights of our night, everyone was up dancing and singing the whole way through. Our brother in-law even got up and played a guitar solo with them. They finished on a collaboration of Daft Punks “Get Lucky” and “Sergeant Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Bands” it was fantastic! He then found a DJ who really listened to what we wanted and played the best music until 2am, we were up dancing all night!
Our first dance was to Paradise by Coldplay, it brings back fantastic memories of seeing them at Glastonbury shortly after we got engaged. We hadn’t rehearsed the dance, but that made it more fun, they were lots of impromptu spins and even a dip!
A Five Course Feast
We wanted to make sure that our guests had lots of eat and drink all day. There were plates filled with canapés during the drinks reception, which guests enjoyed while sipping Prosseco or cocktails including Strawberry Daiquiris and Mojitos (my favourite!)
All the catering is done in house at Kilshane House, it was a 5 course meal, we had a goat cheese tart with beetroot to start, followed by carrot and coriander soup with pesto oil, then fillet steak with three different types of potatoes and vegetables, followed by crème brulee with mini Madeline’s and summer fruit compotes, followed by tea, coffee and petit fours, it was all delicious.
For favours we decided (knowing our friends and family) the best thing would be miniatures bottles of Irish Whiskey, Baileys or Jagermeister, we brought purple striped bags and stickers with our names, wedding date and ‘Thank you’ on them from Amazon, they looked great and went down a treat!!
All Worth The Effort
As we were getting married in another country we wanted to give our guests as much info as possible so for our save the date we sent out an email that linked into a wedding website we created, it went down really well. We really struggled with our invitations, we couldn’t really justify spending lots of money on them, but also wanted them to reflect us and give our guests a feel of the wedding to come!
We then found this really great website called Paper Dates who did an invite that perfectly reflected the feel of our wedding, they were really affordable too. We even roped in Ross’ dad to help tie them all together with hessian string they looked great!
We created the table plan ourselves (with help from my brilliant Mum & Dad), we printed an individual Polaroid of each of our guests, we then put hessian string onto black card and used a red heart shaped clip to pin them on…It looked great and was a focal point of the wedding, a lot of effort but worth it!
A Smooch And A Screech
It really was the most amazing day of our lives, we didn’t go OTT with little details but added our own personality to the wedding, the things people remember so much are how much fun it was and how much love there was in the room, not how many flowers or signs we had! I got loads of great advice, I will pass on my two favourite pieces…
Steal away for at least half an hour on your own with your new husband, we snuck up to our room with a glass of champagne for a smooch and a screech, we could also look out our window to see how our favourite people laughing outside, it was magical.
At any moments you really want to remember, wiggle your toes. I did it as I was saying my vows looking into Ross’ eyes, during my Dads speech and while on the dance floor looking around at how much love and happiness there was in the room, we felt so blessed!
Jemma and James married at St Peter’s Church, Alton, Staffordshire with a reception at home on Fairfield Farm.
A visual treat is in store for you today, and I am not just refering to the men in uniform. The florals pop beautifully and will put a shine on even the dreariest of November mornings, the maids dresses are simple pastel perfection and Jemma looks stunning in her fish tail dress accessorised with an intricate head peice.
And capturing this abundance of loveliness was all down to List member Jo Hastings. And she did so perfectly.
I Burst Into Tears
My dress was by La Sposa and had a lace bodice with a fishtail tulle skirt and a small amount of detailing on the bust. I’d seen a La Sposa campaign online and loved their designs so tracked down a local supplier (The Bridal Lounge – Newcastle-under-Lyme)
I put it on and burst into tears! I knew it was how I wanted to feel on my wedding day.
I’m not into a huge amount of ‘bling’ so my bought a vintage inspired hair vine from Ivory and Co Tiaras. I also bought my cathedral length veil from there also.
My jewellery on the day was very simple, diamond studs, a diamond tennis bracelet which was a gift from my Mum and a diamond solitaire necklace which my lovely hubby gave to me on the morning of the wedding!
I have an absolute shoe fetish so my wedding shoes were by Christian Louboutin. The heel was mid-height as I didn’t want to be in agony by our first dance! They were complete princess shoes, silver/gold and glittery!
I’m a trained Bridal make-up artist (London College of Fashion) so did my own make-up. However I had my hair styled. I love Vintage inspired styles so tracked down the very talented Bethany Jane Davies to do my hair. She’s a Vintage hair and make-up artist and did a cracking job of giving me a perfect 50’s Hollywood wave. My hair stayed in so well it still looked great the day after!
The flowers for our wedding were a mixture of country garden flowers, English roses, dahlias, sweet peas, (plus a few others I can’t remember the names of!)
I found our Floral Designer, Juliet of Thoughtful Flowers, at the National Wedding Show at the NEC. I put my complete trust in her as I was overwhelmed by her portfolio. I knew that our flowers would be grown especially, so whilst I had a rough idea of colours and varieties, the bouquets and displays were a lovely surprise on the morning of the wedding!
The flowers were the main decoration at the reception as they were so beautiful anything else would have detracted from them. The table centres were a combination of tall displays on mirrors, smaller arrangements in vintage crystal vases and individual stems in smaller crystal vases.
A Full Military Affair
The bridesmaids wore oyster pink prom style dresses that I bought from Coast that I had adapted slightly (I had a tulle skirt sewn in to match my dress) and oyster pink lace shoes that I found in New Look and were an absolute bargain.
As the wedding was a full military affair most of the groomsmen were in uniform. The Best man’s suit along with both the Father of the Bride and Groom’s were hired from Cameron Ross formal wear.
Complete With Sword
My husband is an officer in the Royal Navy so he was in full dress uniform, complete with sword! He was also in floods of tears which completely set me off.
We Were On The Same Page
Our photographer was Jo Hastings – I met Jo at the NEC National Wedding Show and loved her portfolio. After chatting our day through with her on the phone I knew we were on the same page so looked no further.
My lovely mother-in-law made our cake. It was a 3-tiered, heart shaped jam and buttercream sponge and was absolutely gorgeous.
I’d seen a few heart shaped cakes in wedding magazines (which I became slightly addicted to!) that I gave to her as inspiration.
During the reception and meal our DJ played songs by Ella Fitzgerald who I adore. It created a really lovely atmosphere. After our first dance the entertainment was kicked off by the 7 piece swing band we hired, The Jazz Cannons.
After that our DJ, Chris Bevans, kept us partying until the early hours. I put a song request on our RSVP’s so everyone had something played that they loved.
Our first dance was to At Last by Beyonce (from the Dream Girl’s soundtrack) The words of the song were really significant to the both of us. When I first played it to James he welled up! I insisted we have the Beyonce version as I’m a huge fan.
Plum And Damson
As the wedding was held at the family home I wanted as many personal touches as possible. We have a plum and damson orchard so after a fantastic harvest in 2011, we made plum jam and damson gin which constituted our favours. They were a labour of love as bottling it all took an eternity!
Candles And Trees
The flowers made up the majority of the decoration as they were so gorgeous we didn’t need anything else. We also hired bay trees to line the entrance of the marquee and had hundreds of candles throughout the venue.
A Stich Up
Because it was a full military wedding, touches like the sword arch, Naval toasts, the Naval flag flying at the church and the fact we cut our cake with my husband’s sword made it really special. Also, most of the women weren’t complaining that there were 20+ officers in uniform!!
I kept all the details I’d planned as a surprise so our guests were over-joyed to find a specialist Gin bar, free flowing champagne, restaurant quality food, fantastic wine, a reveal area that housed the club-style dance floor and stage, the 7 piece swing band, a photo-booth and a fish and chip van that arrived at 10,30pm! I also completely stitched my hubby up by arranging for him to sing a song with the band… He had no idea but was fantastic!
My advice to other Brides would be sweat the small stuff but don’t drive yourself crazy. I felt it was the little, personal touches I did that really got people talking. For example everyone really appreciated the basket of flip-flops and toiletries I put in the ladies bathroom especially when their feet were hurting and their make-up had worn off from so much dancing.
If you have time to organise things like this, definitely do it!
I’d also say try and make time on the day to have 10 minutes with your new husband. It all goes so quickly it’s great to just have some time to take it all in.
Jemma and James provided lots of things to entertain their guests, but Jemma is spot on when she says it’s the little personal touches that really make your guests feel special and sometimes that can be a budget saver too. A bit of home made jam (or gin in this case!) will always be remembered and it won’t necessarily break the bank either.
What do Alexander McQueen, Christian Dior, Christian Louboutin and Vivienne Westwood all have in common?
Well… Apart from all being fairly super swanky designer type people, they also all feature in Elio and Carly’s big day.
Elio and Carly married in June 2012 at St John’s RC Cathedral Portsmouth and then had a reception at Farbridge. Photography today is all by the lovely Laura Babb.
Simple And Elegant
I always wanted a bespoke gown and as soon as I found Joanne Fleming’s website I knew that she was the designer for me. Lace was always my fabric of choice as it has such romantic connotations and I envisaged something very simple and elegant. As I immersed further into the planning of my dress I felt like I wanted to create drama for the ceremony so that is where the concept of the two-in-one dress was formed. For the ceremony I had a tulle overskirt that fixed over the simple lace dress beneath, the silk tulle was so light it created an almost cloud like affect especially in the very windy weather! One guest commented that it was so light it looked as though fairies had created it. I loved it so much I almost didn’t want to take it off for the evening.
My evening look allowed the beautiful lace to shine and also gave me the perfect dress for dancing! I loved the versatility of the dress – that I could wear two completely different looks without changing. I could not recommend Jo enough, everything felt so special even down to the labels in her dress. Jo is as amazing as her dresses!
Crystals And Jewels
I wanted the dress to take centre stage, therefore I kept the accessories really simple. I had a full length two tier silk tulle veil with scatter crystals created by Joanne Fleming to match my dress. I wore a pair of my mothers diamond earrings as my ‘something borrowed’ and a Dior bracelet that as my ‘something old’ as it is really delicate. For the evening I wore a jewel embellished sash to create a different look.
Because of our height difference (I’m 5,3” and Elio is 6,5”) heels were a must, I was greedy and opted for two pairs. I had surprisingly comfortable skyscraper Christian Louboutin Fifi’s in gold for the day. In the evening I swapped for a pair of Vivienne Westwood x Melissa Lady Dragon’s in as an extra ‘something blue.’
Natural And Understated
I decided early on that I would do my own hair and makeup and as a trained beauty therapist I used the money I would of spent to enhance my own makeup kit, I knew what I wanted (natural and understated) and I enjoy what I do so it allowed me time to relax and have some time to myself whilst my bridesmaids and Mum went off to the hairdressers.
Dainty Metal Baskets
I wanted the flowers to be a feature of the wedding and my florist was AMAZING! I had a very strong vision of what I wanted to create and I was able to take this to Jo McNamara and let her create it. She was so passionate and excited about our wedding and I felt completely relaxed with her. With everything else so neutral the flowers provided an injection of colour and Jo sourced beautiful pastel blooms to tie everything in.
For my bouquet I wanted to incorporate my Rosary beads as they are really important to me, Jo was able to wrap them around my long stem lilac roses. Elio wore a button hole with a matching rose. For the bridesmaids they had pale pink bouquets and the flower girls carried dainty metal baskets with hydrangeas and roses weaved in. The centrepieces at the reception incorporated all of the bridal party’s flowers in tightly packed arrangements placed in the glassware I had provided. I had set up the day before so thought I knew what to expect but when I turned up on the day the flower arrangements had transformed the venue and completely blew me away. Her attention to detail is amazing and I particularly loved the pearls she had threaded through the bear grass. After the wedding we followed a family tradition and took the leftover flowers to the graves of family members who weren’t there so they could be part of the day.
We chose soft pastel colours (pink/lilac/peach) and I knew early on that I wanted a blush or a nude colour for the bridesmaid dresses. Luckily the highstreet was full of choice and I managed to find the bridesmaids dresses from Anushka G in House of Fraser. I loved the pearl detailing on the neckline and the Grecian shape was very flattering. For the younger bridesmaids I found their dresses in Debenhams and as I bought them on an event weekend so they were an unexpected bargain.
The groomsman sourced their suits from Next as we wanted something modern and there wasn’t much choice in the rental shops if you deviate from the traditional wedding attire but it worked out costing only a little more and they could keep the suits! They teamed the suits with white shirts and black skinny ties to complement the Groom. I fell in love with the old-fashioned pageboy outfits on the Little Bevan website so Max wore Ivory knickerbockers with a Peter Pan collared shirt and cummerbund. He was not to be out done on the shoes and we were able to hire their black patent, buckled pirate shoes… adorable! (He might not think the same when the photos resurface in his teens)
Elio wore a Hugo Boss suit teamed with a silk knitted tie. I bought him a pair of Alexander McQueen velvet slippers as a wedding gift and he rocked them with his suit. They were part of a box I put together for him to open on the morning of the wedding. I did my own spin of something old (Samuel Johnson Dictionary that was over 200 years old as Elio used one of his quotes for a piece of Graphic design) something new (shoes) something borrowed (his late Nonno’s cufflinks) and something purple (it’s his favorite colour so I put in a pair of pants!) Elio was keen not compromise on his style and I think he looked gorgeous!
I found Laura Babb our photographer on twitter of all places, she had made some funny tweets about being left waiting for quotes by wedding vendors that I could relate to, so I checked out her website and was blown away by her work. I couldn’t believe it when she said she was available! What convinced me that she was the one for us is her dedication to her clients and her business, full up with flu and barely able to talk Laura called me to confirm my email enquiry, which proved she is a lady of her word!
She not only made two very camera shy people feel at ease in front of the lens but her and her lovely second shooter on our big day (her future husband Pete) felt more like friends than strangers. She also has a habit of sending chocolate with the packs she sends out which is always a winner in my book! We could not be happier with our beautiful photos.
Elio’s Mum always makes the most amazing cakes and neither of us are keen on icing so she created a larger to tier version of the cake we always have for our birthdays. White chocolate cigarillos with a syrup soaked sponge, topped with fresh fruit… yum!
We love hip-hop but it is not a genre widely catered for; also we didn’t want to alienate our guests by having music that they didn’t recognise. I searched high and low for a compromise. In the end we settled for chilled out J Dilla beats and our favorite hip-hop artists such as A Tribe Called Quest and Mos Def intertwined with RnB classics on an iPod during the reception drinks and meal. For the evening we managed to find a band that played a set list that included Beyonce, Outkast and Estelle with a twist that catered for everyone! The Chandeliers brought along percussion instruments that our guests loved playing and got everyone up on their feet!
Our priest allowed us to have John Legend, Stay With You read whilst we signed the register so in keeping with our love of hip-hop we chose Common – The Light as our first dance. We had always loved the song and the words have become very poignant after Elio’s accident so it was an obvious choice.
As Elio is of Italian heritage we decided to create homemade Limoncello which we bottled and labeled ‘Limoncello Di Trapani’.
As the favours were alcoholic we also had a sweetie table for the children and those who prefer not to drink.
A Labour Of Love
The wedding décor was a labour of love that I spent months collecting and putting together. I wanted to incorporate things that I could use again in our home and represent our style, it also meant I could justify spending a little more on some pieces. I was heavily influenced by a lot of American weddings I had seen online and knew I wanted the emphasis to be on old-fashioned romance and elegance. I focused on collecting mercury and Venetian glass pieces such as our table plan written on a mirror and mixed them up with glass heart vases and crystal tea holders and silver mint julep cups.
We were able to hire candelabras and I bought crystals and hand threaded each crystal to create a chandelier affect, it wasn’t the most exciting of wedding tasks but I think the outcome paid off, especially on the two large candelabras we had at our entrance. The venue had a smaller barn for dancing and I wanted to ensure it still felt part of the styling so I draped tulle in pastel pink and lilac through the beams to soften the room and to add a bit of sparkle I hung a crystal ‘Love’ sign at the entrance to create a focal point.
As I studied English Literature at University I also included a few nods to my favorite authors. At the end of our order of Service I used the quote ‘Reader, I married him’ (Jane Eyre) and I included a selection of romanticist poets including Keats in a bundle of books I displayed with the wishing tree.
Not to be left out our puppy Dante sent a message in the best mans speech and we found a Westie silhouette to display in the smaller barn so he be part of the day without fear of him chewing our shoes!
Another feature was our desert table, I have a massive sweet tooth so one option would never be enough, instead we opted for a selection of deserts including our wedding cake and cheeses.
Elio sustained a head injury two years ago and as a Graphic Designer he wanted to put his own stamp on the wedding somewhere. He suffers from terrible fatigue and his concentration is affected, (he even fainted during the wedding!!) but throughout his rehabilitation he worked tirelessly to create the table names using our favorite ganster films that we liked to watch whilst he was recovering. They might not be the most romantic of names and it was difficult to decide who would sit on ‘Scarface’ and ‘The Departed’ tables but I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. For me each postcard personified the struggle and determination Elio showed to fight back to health.
Ultimately we wanted our wedding not only to represent our love for each other but also use it as an opportunity to thank all our family and friends for all their love and support throughout Elio’s recovery. Planning the wedding brought a bit of happiness during a very sad time and the fact that it was able to happen at all was the best blessing of all.
Rachel and Nick tied the knot in June 2012 in Elsted, West Sussex.
Rachel mentions in her write up that they wanted to have a classic country wedding with a kick-ass party!
They managed it.
Florals were really important to them and they combined drop dead gorgeous blooms with beautiful aroma’s to create a really contemporary look and feel. I am particularly loving the button holes complete with sprigs of fragrant Rosemary.
The light, airy and relaxed photography today is by Helen Cawte.
My dress was from Truly Gorgeous in Chichester, West Sussex. I knew it was the one when I put it on and literally couldn’t stop smiling… it made me feel feminine and elegant and a little bit like a princess all in one!
I searched everywhere for my headband and it was only the week before the wedding when I went to collect my dress that I found “the one!!” (it’s from Truly Gorgeous).
My jewelry is all from my wonderful husband who spoiled me rotten with Tiffany (what a way to go!) including my “something blue” bracelet which he gave to me the Christmas before we got married. My pearl earrings were from my darling mummy.
No Pain No Gain
My Shoes were every girls dream… I’ve always wanted Christian Louboutins (well the dress came in under budget!) My feet were killing me by the end of the night but I love love love them!
Classic And Elegant
My hairdresser, Gabby at Mane Street was AMAZING and did 3 trials with me to perfect the look – i wanted classic elegant and well i felt both so job done 🙂
Herbs And Roses
Flowers were really important to me and I wanted them to bring elegant colour to the day. I splashed out and went to The Real Flower Company in Midhurst who were quite frankly incredible!! I choose an antique rose (called Julia Baby) as the signature colour then made it very country with lots of fresh herbs – them smell was divine!! We were incredibly lucky to be able to use out “village flower ladies” to create the beautiful church flowers – I really couldn’t believe the work they did, from a beautiful arch over the door to intricate displays.
I had nine (yes nine) bridesmaids ranging from 18mths to nearly 30 so I wanted something classic that would tie them all in – I found the flower girl dress in Moonsoon and the ladies dresses were from LK Bennet. I loved the cream theme and thought they looked incredibly elegant – even poor Lindsay who was six months pregnant! The flowers added necessary colour to the outfits.
My groomy was a TOTAL diva when it came to his outfit… I went to one shop and job done but we literally trailed around all the department stores in London to find his get-up! I thought he looked amazing though! In the end his suit came from Hackett, his shirt and tie from Tom Ford and shoes from Boss.
He also has the most infectious smile and as i walked up the aisle i remember thinking – “right choice lady – he’s a hotty!” He did also forget his words during our vows, which totally cracked the atmosphere – we both couldn’t stop laughing!
Our photographer was the MOST amazing supplier we found (and we had some good ones!) Helen Cawte Photography must be used at every wedding in the country if you want an incredibly realxed and lovely person, who is so so talented it’s silly!
Attention To Detail
Again, I was so lucky to find the most amazing cake maker – Helen at Bellissimo Cakes, Liss in Hampshire). She actually went to the flower shop to find the roses in my flowers to re-create into sugar roses for our cake – BEAutiful!
Our band was The Serious Hat Band who got us all dancing – oh and my brother and I did a number too! Our first dance was to You are the Best Thing – by Ray Lamontange – for silly secret reasons!! 🙂
Nick is Welsh so we wove in Welsh elements to our day – fabulous Welsh Black Beef at dinner, Welsh Cakes as Favours and Welsh Hymns during the service.
We wanted a classic country wedding with a kick-ass party! so we decorated our dining marquee with sage green wicker hearts and bunting and I made all the place names, menu cards and table names to tie in (and also match the invites I made!)
We made our wedding signs too which were very popular!
Get Some Sleep
Every part of the day was so special but the best thing was just seeing everyone having an incredible time – some stuff wasn’t quite as we planned – including my garter falling off just as we started our first dance! but it is all irrelevant so long as you both have the most amazing day! My advice would be to allow loads more time for drinks reception / getting everyone seated / wedding breakfast – it takes much longer than you could ever imagine!
Oh, and also try and get a good nights sleep – I was awake at 4am (poor bridesmaids!)
For A bride who awoke at 4pm I think Rachel managed to keep the party going with style and no sign of flagging. I love it when a bride gets up in front of the mic to do her thing 🙂
Rachel and Nick had a really relaxed and modern elegant wedding with some really nice homely touches too. A little bit of D.I.Y here and there really will make your guests feel special and that the stops have well and truly been pulled out for them.
Ok, prepare yourself (maybe grab a mug of tea and a biscuit). Are your ready? Ok…
Claire and Sheilen got married on a traditional Chinese junk boat with red sails. It sailed around Hong Kong Island and then dropped them off at the reception venue, a converted Pawn shop (now bar and restaurant) called The Pawn.
If that isn’t enough to make you want to read on then I don’t know what is!
The celebrations started with cocktails, photographs by Nick Tucker and games on the roof followed by dinner downstairs in the dining room. Then Dancing!
Finding a dress (and also finding a suit for Sheilen!) was probably the hardest thing about the wedding! It’s so much pressure on one outfit to be this miraculous “one”. I must have tried on around 20 dresses in every shape or form and I had magazine and blog overload! In the end I had to write myself a checklist of things I wanted my dress to say. The tick boxes for me were something cool, sexy, relaxed, with a vintage vibe (since we were going down a colonial heritage route with our venues) and it was always going to be white.
The HongKongese have merged western wedding style with Chinese weddings so there are a lot of shops here selling traditional white gowns, the only problem is the women here ae a lot smaller than the UK and the sample sizes ranged from size 0 to size 4! After squeezing into many vera wangs etc I ended up buying my dress from Amanda Wakeley on a trip to London. I knew the Wakeley dress was the one for me because when I put it on the way I was moving around in it was different.
My posture changed and I really felt it. It helped my mum loved it too. The hardest part was trying to work out if Sheilen would like it, because really this is the only opinion that mattered to me, but of course I couldn’t show it to him and he didn’t want to know anything about it at all!
Laid Back Vibe
Because I wanted to maintain a more laid back vibe, I didn’t go for any accessories or jewellery except for a single gold band bracelet from Kate Spade. I also bought my bridesmaid a matching bracelet as a gift. I debated adding a veil but in the end I decided to let the dress speak for itself.
Ten Centimeter Heels
Well when else is a girl more justified to splurge on a pair of amazing shoes than her wedding day! Hong Kong is also the perfect place to shop for expensive shoes! It was a close contest between some white satin pointy-toed sling backs from Manolo Blahnik, some gold strappy Jimmy Choos and some nude coloured christian louboutin shoes.
I worried the strappy shoes would edge up hurting for such a long day and that the white shoes wouldn’t match my dress colour, so I went for patent leather, nude coloured, pointy toed, 10cm heel christian louboutin shoes. The pointy toes and nude colour elongate your legs so it was perfect since my dress had a large split up the front. I had to get 10cm heels which is very high for me because when my dress arrived it was slightly too long!
Me, But More Awesome
I was really conscious for my wedding look that I wanted to still look like me. Of course a much more awesome version of my daily self, but I mean I didn’t want to lose myself with wildly different hair and make up to how I usually look. I wanted to be myself and to be able to look back on my photos and just see me as the way I am, not dressed up as a “bride”. So for a few months I tried out hair with a few stylists and make up with a few different make up artists but in the end I just wasn’t feeling like me.
The make up was always to heavy or too “bridal” and the hair would have too much product or too much curl, so after long debate with my bridesmaid the day before I decided to do my hair and make up myself. On our wedding day it was sooo windy that our hair got blown all over so it was lucky we went so simple with just a few sections pinned off our faces. I applied more make up than I usual for a day time as I was also conscious of the photos but it was very natural overall.
Tricky To Plan
I tried not to be too prescious about it because I didn’t know what we would get in season in November and most florists couldn’t tell me the flower names in English of what would be in season so it was tricky to plan. As all flowers here are imported from all over the world it turns out there is a lot of choice. I was so excited I found blue delphiniums which are my favourite flowers.
We wanted something very simple, wild and messy which is not something they do easily in HK for weddings so we decided in the end to do it ourselves for the reception. For months we collected a lot of coloured glasses and vases for the tables. Then day before the wedding I went with my mum and mother in law, to the flower market. and bought (as many as we could carry) white, orange and blue flowers.
For our bouquets and button holes we went to a professional because we thought they could make something properly to survive in the heat. We opted for variations of hydrangeas which I knew was risky because they don’t last long out of water, but they lasted through the ceremony and most of the reception before they started wilting so it was no problem because by then the jackets were off and bouquets tossed. My bouquet was blue, bridemaids white and organe and the button holes orange and white.
Blue And Orange
Our colour story was loosely blue and orange. We didn’t want everthing too matchy matchy so I got my bridesmaid a champagne coloured two birds dress from shopbop. She was in Australia so we had to choose something online I could pay for and ship to her. The dress was perfect and she looked amazing, almost too good in fact!
Sheilen is probably the only person I know more indecisive than me so it took a long time to choose the suits. He decided he wanted them all to match but we had a logistical problem of the best man in Leicester, the father of the bride in Newcastle and him in HK. The tailors here are amazing though so they managed to cut the suits and fit in a week, so all of the men were in blue cotton suits.
Everyone knows Sheilen loves his bright colored shoes and he didn’t let anyone down on the day, wearing orange (his favourite colour) suede Tricker shoes. They were a cool contrast to the blue of the suit and totally him. He looked very dapper.
Part Of The Team
I’ve known Nick Tucker for years from a time when we both used to work with street art. Over the years I’ve seen him grow as a photographer and also shoot more and more weddings. He always shoots the coolest weddings, so after we got engaged we kept looking at his photos for inspiration.
His pics had set the bar high for our photographer search out here, but when we found out they are even more expensive than the Uk, we joked about just getting nick to come out and do it. So I asked him out of curiosity and he said he’d love to do it, I was blown away he was really coming out here and I was so excited he was hopefully going to make our wedding look more amazing. As he was here for the week we invited him along to all our wedding events including the stag do. He has some hilarious photos of that day!
A Low Priority
The cake was so low on our priority list because we couldn’t remember the cake from any wedding we’ve ever been to. So we just ordered 3 cakes, plain sponge, carrot and choclate, with white coloured icing from the baker in one of the supermarkets and we made our own little banner for the top of the cake. Then we bought 3 different height cake stands for them.
We were so lucky to find our wedding singer Hayley. One Sunday we were in an Australian bar watching the Rugby and when it finished this singer came on and she was simply amazing. Hayley’s sound was very indie, but she was singing everything from lady Gaga to blur, just her and her guitar. We were dancing and singing and then we realised she’d be perfect for our wedding so we asked her if she would sing for us and she was genuinely excited to do it. She even learned a few new songs in addition to her already 250 long song list for us. Her 2 friends came and played persucssion.
Our first song choice wasn’t significant to us at all. This is one of the stupidest things about the wedding. All the songs we like are not really appropriate for the first dance, when we actually listened to the lyrics they’re mostly about break ups. Then the weekend before 2 friends came to stay with us and we were sitting on our roof top having drinks, listening to their itunes when “give a little bit” by Supertramp came on. I love that song, Sheilen also asked straight away what it was and I knew my step dad would approve, so at that moment it was chosen.
A Homemade Touch
Months before the wedding I saw some cool decorations on a blog, the strips of fabric hanging from the ceiling. I thought they looked easy…… but no. They took weeks, involved many trips to the hot local fabric markets and made such a mess of our apartment that I almost abandoned them half way through. However they looked so gorgeous in the end I’m happy I persevered with them.
Besides the quirky venues in an exotic vibrant Asian city making our wedding pretty unique, we also wanted to make our ceremony very personal. We wrote the whole ceremony ourselves including some funny vows in the middle, such as me promising not to nag and Sheilen promising to do the washing up. It relaxed the tone and made everyone laugh.
I think the thing that made our wedding so perfect was that we were really relaxed and we made sure we spent quality time with all of our guests. Weddings are all about people enjoying themselves and most importantly the bride and groom so we had to say to ourselves what will be will be on the smaller details. If anything goes wrong or we forget anything who cares, we had all of our family and friends there and that’s what matters. I think because we were so laid back then everyone else was and the vibe of the day was perfect.
Erm… Wow. Some of the coolest photo’s ever, do you agree?
Sometimes we feature weddings because of all the beautiful intricate details, sometimes it’s because of all the perfect D.I.Y inspiration…. And sometimes we feature a wedding because you just HAVE to see it.
My dress was from Vera Wang at Browns, london. The dress is called Gemma, a strapless sweetheart mermaid gown with blush beading on the blossom hem, I decided to finish it off with a black sash to match my bridesmaids.
I went to my first appointment at Vera Wang with my parents with an open mind, I never had a clear idea of what I wanted and so tried all sorts of styles on, all of which were beautiful. However, as soon as I came out of the dressing room wearing the Gemma, I knew pretty instantly that this was the one for me, my dad’s face said it all!
My now husband bought me a beautiful pair of diamond clustered earrings and matching necklace for the big day, they were very simple, the dress was such a statement, I didn’t feel I needed to dress it up with anything else. Closer to the big day he also surprised me with a rose gold Paul Smith watch which unbeknown to him, matched the blush beading on the dress perfectly!
Oh the shoes… were Christian Louboutin off white satin pumps. I really liked the idea of the flash of (red) colour on the sole, when i went to try them on they were so comfy. They were also blue inside, so that was my ‘something blue’ sorted!
Curl And Texture
My hairdresser was Guy, from Westrow in Leeds. He travelled down to style the bridesmaids and my hair, Guy has cut my hair for years now and i couldn’t bring myself to trust anyone else on the most important day. We decided that my hair needed volume to balance the large hem of the dress and ended up trying lots of different curling and texturising methods. I was so pleased with what he created.
The make up was by a Bobbi Brown artist from Manchester called Colette, I really wanted a classic natural wedding look for myself and my bridesmaids, they really did look beautiful on the day.
English Country Garden
Now, I can’t pretend to know anything about flowers, so when it came to it, we decided that if we picked someone who had an amazing portfolio, someone who also knew the hotel and had a unique style we wouldn’t go far wrong. We met up with Anna of Bella and Fifi in Bristol, my mum looked after her little 6 month old son while we chatted about our colour scheme and overall wedding style;
English country garden is how it translated to Anna and we were happy with that. We told her that we wanted white-ish, cream-ish with a bit of pink flowers and told her to do whatever she thought would work. As designers ourselves, we always feel that the best work comes out when we have an open brief and it certainly seemed to work here – the results were absolutely stunning!
Elegant And Simple
We always loved the idea of an ‘anti-colour’ wedding and since Cowley Manor is such a vibrant place, we decided to go for it.
The bridesmaids all wore elegant yet simple black, strapless maxi dresses in contrast to my ivory gown with black sash.
The best man and groom wore tailor made suits by Davies & Son on Saville Row, grey brown with a streak of pale pink. Father of the bride, the grooms father and usher all wore Paul Smith black & white houndstooth suits. They all had pink shirts & pocket squares, black bow ties & chestnut brown brogues to pull the look together. We liked the idea that the men could wear a slightly different suit but the ‘English gentlemen’ look brought it all together.
Recommendations led us to Especially Amy, that and the fact that we were familiar with her work in the industry. Her images speak for themselves, there was no question Amy would be right for us, we trusted her completely. Everyone thought Amy was lovely, she chatted to the guests and really got involved.
The images she took were as though she knew everybody, she seemed to capture personalities somehow and always seemed to be there at the right moment! The images we received were absolutely stunning.
Rob isn’t a big fan of cake, or sweet things in general, but he is partial to a victoria sponge. Contemporary Cakes made us a classic Victoria sponge with strawberries and flowers for decoration, simple but perfect!
A Soul Six Piece
We had a 6 piece soul band called Soul Fiesta. They were recommended to us by the hotel, among many others… we both loved the idea of having live music at our wedding, We knew it wouldn’t take much to get our friends & family on the dance floor, but after hearing these guys perform we knew they’d be a hit! We weren’t dissappointed.
The band played our first dance which was ‘Wild horses by the Rolling Stones’. We both love a bit of ‘dad rock’ and really love this tune! The bands version was absolutely great.
Macaroons And Music
All our guests stayed at the hotel so we had the idea to put the favours in their bedroom at turndown. Our guests returned to their rooms to find pink macaroons and a wedding CD playlist that we had made, we thought they could listen to it in the car on their journeys home.
All In One Place
The most important thing about the actual wedding day was everybody that we both know and love were all there for us, in one place. I think you forget about that when you’re planning… It really calmed my nerves before walking down the aisle when I actually just realised, ‘it’s ok, I know everyone here’!
Every so often, I took a little moment and looked around the room at everyone, I got a little wave of happiness watching people have such a good time, I just thought, ‘We did it’!
Self confessed RMW addicts Lisa and Andy married in February 2012 at Longueville Manor and then partied the night away in a marquee in the grounds of Samares Manor in Jersey.
Anyone out there loosing sleep over guests not turning up, suppliers dropping out and the elements ruining the big day should read on to find out how Lisa and Andy dealt with a situation that could have so easily brought all festivities to a premature halt.
Photogrpahy today is by that super cool duo Charlie and Hector from We Heart Pictures.
I was a real problem bride, coming from Jersey you are quite limited (in my head anyway I always like to be different) and I really wanted something different but at the same time I had no idea what would suit me. I decided to cross the water to London to see what I could find there. The weather was definitely going to play a part in my whole wedding experience because my flight was cancelled due to the weather so I missed most of the appointments I had booked. We finally left the following day and after a few stressful phone calls I managed to re-arrange most of them. I initially thought I wanted a Vera Wang because I love her as a designer anyway however, none of the dresses really suited me. The lady in there was so helpful and the service was amazing and the experience was worth it alone.
I had lost my appointment at Pronovious in Harrods but on the advice of my Uncle’s friend who is in the wedding dress business she told me to go anyway and explain to them why I had my missed my appointment. I’m so glad I did by some bizarre coincidence they had had a cancellation and were able to see me that afternoon. We had 3 hours to spare before heading back to the airport so they gave me the catalogue and I chose as many dresses as I could try, the first dress I tried was the ‘one’. I still wasn’t a 100% sure but I think the stress of missing the appointments and the panic that had started to set in played a massive part. When I saw my mums and my maid of honours face I knew I had found it. The dress was called Alfil and was part of their glamour collection, it suited my body where it was fitted and the layers and train filled the dress out enough but not too much. I went through phases of not liking it then loving it but I think because you don’t go out every week in a wedding dress it’s the one time you want you want to look absolutely perfect. Now when I see the pictures I know I made the right choice.
I also found a beautiful Ivory Streisand marabou feather wrap from Sasso Bride, the ladies here were totally amazing too, they sent me samples of the wraps so I could match them up to my dress as it was a difficult colour to match to and it worked out perfectly.
Liberty In Love
I was obsessed with RMW and other bridal blog sites, one I came across a necklace by Stephanie Browne and fell in love with it immediately it was so different to anything I had seen so I contacted Liberty in Love straight away and placed the order for the necklace and what I thought was a hair slide.
There was a long delivery time for the pieces as they came from Australia. When they arrived the necklace was amazing but my hair slide was in fact a tiara. I’m so not a tiara girl but, I had nothing to fear, I dropped Tabby an email and ordered some slides instead. To my amazement Tabby actually found the slides that matched the necklace, they had been discontinued so weren’t on their website, it was meant to be, on the day they went so well together. I did initially have a veil as well but when I went for my hair trial I totally went off it, it detracted away from the necklace and I didn’t think that was fair given the effort Tabby had gone to, to make sure I had every thing I wanted, so my pronovious veil was never worn!! I decided then as well that I wasn’t a veil bride either!! Honestly you learn so much about yourself!!!
Dainty And Comfortable
Andy is the same height as me with out heels on so I had to be really careful with the type of shoes I chose but I knew I wanted a really special pair that I could wear again. On my visit to London I went to Browns bridal and chose a pair of smallish (Andy didn’t agree) Christian Louboutins, they were really dainty and surprisingly comfortable. They were totally put through the mill on the day though however, I have managed to find a cobbler in London who is in the process of repairing them and then they are being sent to a lady who specialises in dying them. They were very much a treat but once they are given a new breath of life my feet and I will treasure them for ever.
I was really fortunate as both my good friends happen to be my beauty therapist and my hair dresser so having been with them both for almost 16 years they know me really well. I don’t wear a lot of make up so Sam from Tonic Body and Skin Therapy knew that I would want something quite natural which she achieved. She highlighted my eyes and left my face natural with a nice pink glow on my cheeks, and bless her she did this as my wedding gift, Sam also took care of my mum’s and bridesmaids make up too, I thought we all deserved a pamper on the day.
Jane my hairdresser at The Room knew that I would want something soft and vintage looking but at the same time both the girls knew that I wanted to look like me and they both did me really proud and I am forever grateful to them for this. Being so comfortable with them as well made the whole experience with the trials etc so much fun and enjoyable, we cracked it with one trial each which made me realise how well they know me!!!
When It’s Spring Again…
We love Amsterdam and as it was February it was the perfect month for tulips so I decided on purply pink tulips, with white and green foliage for the table centres which I placed in vintage buckets that I sourced from The Wedding Of My Dreams, Andy is Scottish so I also used thistles to add some wintery roughage. The guys all wore thistle button holes and the bridesmaids including my bridesboy each had posies of tulips. The flowers came from Appleblossoms in Jersey and the amazing Clare did such a fantastic job with everything, they were so laid back and relaxed it made the whole experience very easy. We also had a wish tree as again through our love of Amsterdam it is a Dutch tradition and I thought it would make a lovely feature in the drinks marquee. I used a bucket for the tags and framed an explanation as to what people were to do and how it was a way for them to send us their best wishes, it worked really well and it was great being able to read the tags after the wedding.
I didn’t have flowers as again through my addiction to RMW I found a link to a lady called Debbie Carlisle from DC Bouquets who made me the most amazing bouquet out of vintage brooches, I couldn’t have imagined what it was going to look like until Debbie started to send me pictures. She found the most amazing things to go in it including some thistle brooches too. Debbie also sourced some brooches for the bridesmaids which was my little gift to them, I wanted them to wear something on the day too, so they picked a brooch and wore it on their dresses on the day.
A Scottish Touch
Andy is Scottish and he has always wanted his own kilt so as soon as we were engaged we knew where we had to go. Keogh and Savage is the oldest kilt maker in Greenock where Andy is from so on a trip home we paid them a visit and he was ‘kilted up’ as they say in Scotland. I wanted Andy’s kilt to mean something to him but McCabe (our surname) doesn’t have a direct clan so he opted for the Earl of St Andrew (his first name) tartan which was mixture of blues. I wanted him to stand out and he did just that. I had already decided the colour scheme of grey and purply pink (its very hard colour to describe hahaha). We settled on Gray Spirit kilts for the Ushers and the Best man which we hired from Austin Reed in Jersey. We had 3 ushers and a best man who was coming from Scotland and 3 who live in Jersey so a few fittings later we were sorted.
For the girls, my addiction to internet shopping paid off; I found their dresses on Cocosa from a company called Two Birds Bridesmaid. They were ideal as each of my bridesmaids were a different shape and I didn’t want to choose a structured dress that might make them feel uncomfortable on the day. The dresses were ideal as they were one size so it didn’t matter about their sizes and they hung beautifully and really complemented the shape of each of the girls. All that had to be done was to take up the length, although one of my nieces is 5ft 11” so we had to select a slightly different style shoe for her. It all worked out in the end. And as it was winter I found some really quirky fur wraps from ASOS for the bargain price £22 each. At the time it felt like I was throwing their outfits together but when we saw it all come together on the day they each looked stunning.
We Heart Pictures
I chose We Heart Pictures as our wedding photographer, we know Charlie and Hector through my very bestest friend Peter who was my best brides boy. I always knew I would choose them as I had seen their work before and I loved the way Hector captures the expression and emotion in people’s faces and that’s what I wanted to see when I saw my wedding pictures. One of the most amazing photos was of Andy and I hugging one of our best friends Toni, we asked her to do a reading at the wedding. I had told the girls to read what they wanted and I didn’t know what they were each going to read until we all heard it for the first time at the ceremony, Toni’s reading was about me and Andy and what she thought of us, I was so shocked and choked up hearing it and this is what Hector captured in this photo of us. It was lucky because Gill’s was a poem which was also about us and how we met so luckily the laughter helped me recover from the emotional tears that were pouring down my face.
Together they work amazingly well and bless Charlie with her beautiful bump survived the entire day. We are truly grateful for the memories that we have our day. Between them and James I would say this was the best investment for my wedding as it’s so hard to remember each and every bit of it but when you see the photos and the video you almost relive it… It was hilarious there were people I thought I hadn’t even spoken to but when I looked at the photos and you see your self I was like ‘oh thank goodness I did speak to them’ its amazing what you think after the event!!!
Our cake was made by Rebeccah May. Andy and I have quite different tastes when it comes to sweet things, he doesn’t like currents and I don’t mind them so I knew a fruit cake was out of the question. I totally love chocolate brownies but he isn’t so keen on chocolate cake so we decide on a carrot cake as our main wedding cake and I thought it would be nice to also offer chocolate brownies.
The main wedding cake was made in the shape of hearts as my favours were slate hearts and the brownies were displayed on some larger slate hearts. Samares Manor has a garden where they grow their own herbs, Rebeccah thought this would really compliment the cake display so I asked Clare at Appleblossoms if she would display some small pots of Rosemary next to the cake. Rebeccah was so right it all looked amazing, I also placed my favourite picture of Andy and I in the centre with some candles so it made a really nice feature.
Let’s Get Married
We love music, so I knew I wanted music to play a massive part of the day, I walked up the aisle to the Proclaimers Let’s get married, it’s a song that Andy and I totally love. I love Bob Marley so DJ Bruce who was also our MC played some bob whilst we signed the register and on the way out we played ‘I’m on my way’ by the Proclaimers too.
For my guests arrival my very good friend Garry asked his Jazz band to play as our guests arrived into the ceremony. By the time the ceremony was over and Andy and I arrived at Samares Manor the guys had set themselves up again, the jazz worked really well and it created a really laid back atmosphere. The guys continued through the wedding breakfast too and Garry even pulled his trumpet out and played ‘come fly with me’ in between eating his sausage and mash!!! It was a really lovely gesture and it worked so well it put every one in the mood for a party.
For the evening I wanted a few surprises, I had seen Ray Guns look Real Enough at the Branchage film festival in Jersey, they are not only comedians but they are really great musicians too so I contacted them and arranged for them to fly over the morning of the wedding, crazy idea I can hear everyone saying… I know however, I knew with a winter wedding that the weather was going to be a factor and Jersey has very unpredictable weather all year round. I’ve seen summer wedding completely drowned out so I thought I would take my chance… Well Jersey experienced the worst fog the day before my wedding that they had seen in a few years. So much so flights were grounded for 3 days almost, so my band never made it sadly. The morning of the wedding we were frantically trying all possible routes but to no avail. Luckily one of my friends is a musician who was also a guest came to the rescue. We really wanted to give him a day off from playing as we’re always getting him to pull the guitar out but bless him, he pulled Matty and Aaron in and the three became my band, they were totally amazing, Adam knows me well so they played all of our favourite songs and even the guests decided to have a go at singing too.
DJ Bruce had a full list of our songs so after the band had played he continued the party playing all of our favourites. We love to dance and have fun so I wanted the music to be relevant to us so we went from Rhianna, to Janis Joplin to Dolly Parton, literally every type of music you could want to hear, he did a great job, he even managed to throw in the sopranos theme tune by Alabama 3, it was varied and each song pulled everyone onto the floor.
Mid way through the party I had organised for the Jersey Pipe band to come in and play, this was a surprise for all the guests and it was our way of bringing some Scottish tradition to the wedding, the sound of the pipes and drums was totally amazing, the emotion you could see from all our Scottish guests was truly wonderful and it was lovely watching everyone stamping their feet and clapping… although they did cut the ‘Flower of Scotland’ short, I don’t think one of us was in tune with our singing… it was a comedy moment for me…. To be fair it was quite late in the day!!
Our first dance was very unconventional, we have always had a song (no diggity by Black Street) but when we were travelling we visited Andy’s good friend who he came to Jersey with and who had since moved to Tahiti. Whilst we were there Andy came home from work one day and told me he had heard this song and it really made him think of us, the song was a Samoan song by a band called Te Vaka and the song was called Tamahana which when translated means cuddle.
When it came to the wedding we were torn as we love Tamahana but we also loved Blackstreet. Our travelling days have a massive place in our hearts for so many different reasons but when I think of Tahiti it was a time just before we suddenly lost Andy’s dad so rather than feeling sad about it, Te Vaka always bought back really good memories. We decided that we would ask Bruce to bring all of the songs together to make one first dance song. I had hidden the bars and the dance floor of the main marquee with a reveal, so when we were ready to do our first dance Andy and I sneaked behind it, Bruce started Tamahana and the reveal lifted to literally reveal Andy and I, it was hilarious, we asked Bruce to tell everyone it meant cuddle as we knew that no one would be familiar with it, then half way through he played Nina Simone’s I’m feeling good and then cut it off to play Blackstreet, this was one of my best memories of that day, as soon as the beat kicked in everyone was on the floor. It was amazing we got to play all of our songs in a way that was perfect for us.
I became quite obsessed with Slate in my search for unusual wedding décor, because the wedding was in winter and my colour scheme was gray and purply pink, I had visions of using slate hearts for my name tags and I thought this would work as a thank you gift too. So my search began and my heart sank as slate is soo expensive, however, on one of my searches on Ebay I found a lady who was based in Liverpool who handmade slate anything really. I made contact and over a few emails Karen had saved the day. I was able to use mini slate hearts as my name places and double them up as my favours and Karen made larger ones that I used as my table plan for each table.
When the slate arrived we had a good few nights in writing on everyone’s name on their heart using their nickname where possible. The larger ones were a challenge as the guests kept changing during the lead up to the wedding, not everyone had rsvp’d but some had said they were coming so I didn’t want run the risk of not putting them on the table plan especially as a lot of the guests were travelling over. I incorporated our wedding invite by printing gift tags on the same paper using the pattern that was on them and attaching them to the hearts, we printed a thank you message and also an invitation to the guests to let them know that we would be having drinks the day after the wedding. I always keep favours from weddings that I have been to so I really wanted to give something that my guests could keep too.
What We Like
As mentioned I used a lot of slate, candles and photos of Andy and I, I also used some photos of our engagement pictures that Charlie and Hector kindly took for us. I had also used one of these in our invite so I wanted to show the photo at the wedding. I had also bought Andy a framed personalised ‘what we like picture’ for Valentines day from Not on the Highstreet and I made it so it really gave a perspective of what our life is like together, it looked lovely hanging in the door way next to the slate hearts with the engagement photos in. I also used loads of different candle holders that I had collected, I had bought them from different shops and charity shops, online shops, I literally picked up any thing that I thought represented Andy and I. The cake was a great piece of décor and the flowers just made it. I love the fact that although I had chosen the flowers seeing them for the first time when I walked into the marquee was amazing. I also had fire pits and lighting all around the marquee and the grounds to make the outside look as special as the inside.
This is the beauty of a marquee wedding because you can let your creativity run wild. I had help from Delta solutions who supplied the main lighting and fire and the Mr and Mrs bars, they were amazing and they literally accommodated everything I asked for.
We Can Make It Through Anything
Every bride will love her wedding but for me I learnt the biggest lesson about Andy and I on ours and I also learnt that no matter what, we can make it through anything that our life can throw at us. I mentioned the fog earlier not only did our band not make it but neither did a lot of our families, including Andy’s mum. We were a bridesmaid, 2 flower girls, a best man and 2 ushers down so the morning of the wedding was like being on a roller coaster. My family were stuck in Liverpool, some of our friends and Andy’s family had managed to get to London but that was where their journey ended.
I am Project Manager by day and a Yoga teacher by night so I knew I had to be realistic but this didn’t stop the tears on the morning or the array of different emotions I felt. I had planned everything to a T, the registrar even commented on the fact that I hadn’t left a minute for a toilet break so for me the fact that this situation was out of my control was beyond me. I had taken everything in my stride so far with all of the planning, but this was the biggest test so far. But somehow around 10am of the morning I suddenly had a realisation, I still had 90 odd guests coming, I was still marrying my Andy so either I sit and cry about the people that aren’t there or I pull my self together and enjoy my wedding and be with the people that are there!! and after that thought the day literally rocked. The fact that many people weren’t there bought everyone that was there even more together for us and that is probably the best advice I can give, everyone at your wedding is there for you. I had problems with guests the day the invites went out, people not responding, people not wanting to sit with certain people but at the end of the day no matter what this is your day and no matter what happens you will enjoy every moment of it. It is so much easier to say this now but even on the day you will realise this because you won’t stop smiling, you definitely won’t stop laughing and you most definitely won’t stop dancing.
Our wedding day was the best day of our lives, and we laughed the whole way to India and back and we’re still talking and laughing about it now. I love looking at my now husband and knowing that he is my husband and I love knowing that our wedding was about us and that every part of it represented us, yes we had more ‘hitches’ than the average wedding has but I am sure there have been worse and I am sure those brides and grooms made it out the other end just like we did, unscathed and stronger for it. We have been together for 9 years and our first wedding anniversary will essentially be our 10th anniversary and I so cannot wait to celebrate it!!!
So, don’t worry about a thing, when the day arrives, take a deep breathe and enjoy every moment, no matter what happens!!!!
Cripes, I think it would be really easy to let things fall apart when so many of your nearest and dearest fail to make it to your big day. Just one single supplier cancelling last minute would probably be all I’d need set me off smashing my groomziller fists through all the lovely cakes!
But, Lisa is right. It doesn’t really matter if things don’t quite go to plan (or even if they deviate wildly from plan). Every wedding is really only about two people. Anyone else who happens to be there is a bonus.