A floral, romantic, bohemian, peach coloured themed corker of a wedding that I guarantee you’re all going to fall in love with. Actually I’m feeling pretty darn smug that I got to blog this wedding I can tell you! Oh and there’s a bit of David Gandy gratuitous eye candy as well to keep you sweet…
Ellen & Ollie married at the very beautiful St Deny’s church before celebrating with friends and family at Kelmarsh Hall and Gardens. Ellen’s Sarah Seven dress is definitely up there on my list of top wedding dresses to appear on RMW and her bouquet is possibly my favourite ever – made by talented Love Lust List florist Bloom Fleuriste.
I’m not going to give too much more away at this point but I will say that you need to check out the last image in the slider – it gives me goosebumps it’s THAT good.
We do love a Groom in shorts, and lovely Dan is no exception. Add to the mix the gorgeous Zoe in her unusual Tatyana Merenyuk gown, heaps of delicious wild flowers, some watercolour Bridesmaids dresses AND Groomsmen in bowties and braces and you’ve pretty much got wedding perfection.
Zoe and Dan also managed to bag the most epic wedding entertainment I’ve heard for a while – but I’ll let Zoe surprise you with that one.
If the knees leave you in the mood for a little more men-in-shorts action and you missed these Bermudan beauts, make sure you check them out.
We got married at The Secret Garden Restaurant, Mersham-Le-Hatch near Ashford in Kent. We knew they had a good reputation for food, and when we went to see them we loved the walled garden with a gazebo in the middle of rows of vegetables. We also liked the fact we could have the ceremony and reception all in one place (the reception was in a marquee in the garden).
We knew it was the right kind of setting for us – naturally beautiful, outdoors, ever so slightly quirky… Even though we visited for the first time in winter when the trees were bare we both somehow were able to envision ourselves and our wedding there. That was what swung it I suppose, that feeling.
Midsummer Night’s Dream
We were going for an outdoorsy, informal feel so I wanted to keep my look quite natural. For my hair I got inspiration from Pinterest, I knew I was going to do it myself and just accessorised with little fake flowers bought on the high street.
I had a trial with a make-up artist but the ‘flawless base’ and dramatic eye make-up just didn’t go with our ‘garden party’ style. I did it myself in the end with my normal make-up kit plus some corner lashes and a primer which I don’t normally use. My mum described my look as ‘very midsummer night’s dream’!
Unique And Unconventional
My dress was by New York designer Tatyana Merenyuk and I found it in Frou Frou Bridal Boutique, Tunbridge Wells, Kent. It’s a small store and the owners are two lovely, young, down to earth ladies who really seem to care. I thought I might struggle to find what I wanted – something unconventional but not ‘trendy’, not too heavy or structured.
None of the dresses in the main collection were quite right but then they dug out this one-off sample that was different to anything I’d seen anywhere. When I saw my sister’s face I could tell it was the one.
In terms of shoes and jewellery again I didn’t feel the need to go for expensive or glitzy additions, partly it’s just not style and partly the dress was so lovely by itself it hardly needed accessorising at all.
My parents wanted to contribute to the outfit so they gave me a delicate gold bracelet which was the only jewellery I wore. Shoes I ordered a few pairs online and in the end went with a super-comfy pair from Zalando (think they were by Vagabond).
Fun And Comfortable
I’ve never been a fan of matchy-matchy clothes or colour schemes so we had long talks about how to get round this but still have a cohesive bridal party that looked a bit special and stood out from other guests. Luckily Dan feels the same way and we found some cool ideas on Pinterest for informal groomsmen’s outfits. They all wore beige trousers, brown braces and white shirts with gorgeous handmade bow ties and pocket squares from Bow & Tie London.
Bridesmaid’s dresses ended up being a floral Traffic People number I’d ordered from ASOS – again I’m not a fan of the conventional style for bridesmaids so just went with something summery and floaty to match our theme. My sister’s loved the fact they were comfortable too!
Vintage And Rustic
There was no real colour scheme – in the end there was quite a bit of blue I suppose, but I made sure nothing was too ‘matching’! The theme was ‘garden party’ and we had bits and pieces of vintagey and rustic looking decorations – some supplied by the venue and some we found or made ourselves.
My mum made us a post-box in the shape of an Oast House (because we live in one) and groomsman Neil handmade giant photo-frames to hang from a tree.
Wild Mixed Flowers
All the flowers were done by the talented Fiona Chapman of Anenome Blue. Her lovely shop is on the same site as the venue and they have a partnership whereby table centre flowers are included in some of the packages so it made sense to have her do the other bits too.
Fiona did an amazing job of bringing my vague idea of ‘wild, mixed flowers’ to life and we ended up with gorgeous natural looking, multi-coloured, hand-tied bouquets for me and my two bridesmaids. We also had the gazebo decorated, button holes with cornflowers and herbs for the boys and a colourful mix similar to the bouquets for the table centres.
I Wanna Grow Old With You
Ours was a civil ceremony so we added two readings to make it more personal and to make it last a bit longer! One was ‘How Falling in Love is like Owning a Dog’ by Taylor Mali which Dan’s sister read, and one of my best friends Laura read ‘I Love You’ by Larry S. Chengges.
We also had a member of the evening band do an acoustic rendition of ‘I Wanna Grow Old With You’ from the film The Wedding Singer as I walked down the aisle – I love that song.
In between the ceremony and meal we had a surprise for guests in the form of two teenage magicians who I knew through friends – they mingled with guests in the garden performing card tricks and were truly impressive – everybody was stunned by the pint-sized talent!
Stripped Back Beyonce
We had an amazing band with us all day called The Brightside Band. I can’t recommend them enough – they learnt new songs for us, lent their equipment to the surprise act we had coming on after them, and doubled up as a gorgeous ‘chill out’ jazz trio in between the ceremony and meal which everybody loved.
They did a stripped back version of Beyoncé’s ‘Halo’ for our first dance which I absolutely loved – it was awesome to have one of my favourite songs sung live.
Our delicious food was done by the venue since they are a restaurant (one of our reasons for choosing them!) we knew it would be good, and had great comments from our guests. Guests had a choice of three starters, four mains and three desserts which we had selected from an even larger list so we were happy we could tailor it to our tastes.
Cakes were three sponges (carrot cake, chocolate orange and lemon drizzle) and a tray of brownies, made by a lady called Debra who has a stall at a local farmer’s market.
To be honest stationery wasn’t that important to us, we got brown cardboard invites, thank you cards and tags for our message tree from Paperchase that went with our rustic / country style décor. We made invites, wrote place cards etc ourselves as we weren’t worried about them being fancy or perfect – not our style!
The table plan and names were themed around Dan’s other Love – the footballer Dean Saunders. We had eleven tables so it worked really well – tables were represented by footy shirts and stuck on to a foosball table background!
I want to say a big THANK YOU to our venue for accommodating all our wishes and also our lovely photographer Rebecca Douglas, who has been so wonderful throughout we really can’t recommend her enough.
There Are No Rules
It’s been said many times, but I can’t stress enough how important it is to be true to your own style, personalities and tastes – go with gut feelings when making choices and don’t let other people or what ‘should’ be done sway you. There are no ‘rules’ apart from the legal bit in the ceremony – you really can do it your way.
I almost forgot, I haven’t revealed who our surprise act was – the biggest talking point amongst guests for days! Dan, through a university friend, managed to book the Artful Dodger for a set after the band! They smashed it – the dance floor went crazy – all our friends were loving the 90’s garage tunes, reminding us of some of our first nights out as teenagers with such classics as ‘Re-Rewind’ and ‘With A Little Bit Of Luck’. It was surreal and SO much fun!
This whole wedding is fit. It encapsulates modern elegance with perfection but also has a hint of vintage charm. Yes I know I’ve just totally contradicted myself with the whole modern vintage line but that’s what it is and it’s a wedding so it can contradict itself as much as it wants.
Prepare to swoon over Sarah’s hair. Simple but so so so gorgeous with curls that stayed in right until the very end of the night.
And by the way, the Jimmy Choos are some of the best I’ve ever seen. Prepare to die.
Sarah The Bride: We tried to make our wedding as relaxed as possible so it was important to have a venue that reflected this. We absolutely fell in love with Nonsuch Mansion because it’s such a striking venue and the team there are so relaxed and accommodating. We were given so much flexibility to have the day that we wanted and we knew from the moment that we met Lucy, our fabulous Wedding Coordinator at Nonsuch that we couldn’t have been in better hands! Having heard horror stories from friends and family about rigid and inflexible rules in their wedding venues, we will be forever grateful to Nonsuch for being the polar opposite.
A Dress With Pockets
My dress was the Sweetpea dress from Ivy & Aster which I bought from the very lovely Helena and Nicole at Frou Frou Bridal in Tumbridge Wells. They were completely fantastic and I can’t even begin to recommend them or their beautiful shop highly enough. They really know how to make the whole experience feel so unique and important and I loved trying on all of their beautiful gowns. I was also so excited that they had such an amazing range of smaller US based dress designers.
I absolutely fell in love with my dress the moment that I tried it on, I loved the swiss dot fabric, the fact that it was so comfortable to wear and also the pockets – I adored the pockets! I had them filled with different lip glosses on the day as well as my something borrowed which was a pendant from my Mum’s favourite necklace. I also had two belts for the dress, a day belt which was a very sheer ribbon and also an evening belt which was covered in tiny crystals and gave the dress some extra sparkle for the dance floor.
A Special Feather
I’m not a good jewellery person in that I love looking at jewellery and buying it but I’m terrible at actually wearing it. The only jewellery that I’ve ever stuck with wearing day in day out is a small gold feather Alex Monroe necklace that Sean bought me years ago as a valentine’s gift and it’s so precious to me. For the wedding I really wanted to keep to something that I was comfortable with and so bought the bigger version of the necklace along with the matching earrings. I was initially going to buy them in silver just because I thought it might look more bridal but in the end decided that I wanted the gold whether it was bridal or not!
I have a total obsessive shoe crush on Jimmy Choos. They were at the absolute top of my wedding wish list and my first very exciting wedding related purchase. I love a good peep toe and a sky high heel, although I did end up having to do a quick switch in the evening when I lost all feeling in my feet. I’m all for beautiful shoes but I wasn’t quite ready to sacrifice my toes.
Award Winning Make-Up
Out of sheer luck, I had booked my hair and makeup artist, Kaz Fernando, just before she won the National Wedding Hair and Makeup Artist of the Year award and her bookings went through the roof! She was just fantastic from start to finish and made the whole experience really easy for me as I knew that and if you can book her then you really should!!
Pippa Craigen at The Claygate Flower House looked after all of our flower displays and did such an amazing job for us even though I know I was a total nightmare client because I couldn’t make up my mind on anything! The brilliant Amelia from Vintage Floral Teas then provided all of the tea cups and roses for the tables and we tied our guests’ place cards to these with vintage luggage tags to bring everything together.
The bridesmaids dresses came from Two Birds and were such a great find as my sister was six months pregnant and so needed something that she would be comfortable in but that would also look beautiful on my other gorgeous (but not pregnant!) bridesmaid. Both of the girls were really happy in the dresses and being able to change the straps around meant that they could choose the way in which they wanted to wear it. I gave both girls a four leaf clover necklace from Alex Monroe as a thank you gift and was so excited to see them both wearing these weeks later!
The boys looked brilliant in their hired navy suits with ties that loosely matched the girls’ dresses. They were also wearing their thank you gifts which were Paul Smith socks and cufflinks. Sean wore a navy Paul Smith suit and looked incredibly handsome and relaxed even though I was running much later than I should have been – it’s a bride’s prerogative and he’s already used to me being late for everything! I was so nervous walking down the aisle and was just focussed on getting to Sean because I knew that the minute I saw him all my nerves would completely melt away and I wasn’t wrong.
We found Emma Coleman of Blink Photography through a blog site of one of her previous clients and thought that her photographs were just stunningly beautiful. To be honest, we didn’t even look at any other photographers and booked her straight away as we loved her relaxed style of photography that was full of natural light. She was utterly fabulous on the day and just brilliant with all of our guests. I would recommend her in a heartbeat.
Our cake was made by Kate Poulter at Patacake Patacake and was inspired by a cake I’d seen in America which was just really fresh, pretty and simple. We had three layers of sponge inside – vanilla sponge and buttercream with morello cherry jam, chocolate sponge with ganache and lemon sponge with lemon curd filling. After the wedding we were incredibly disappointed as we realised that neither of us had actually eaten any of the cake, but our venue swooped in and saved the day by keeping some aside for us. We ended up eating some huge slices of cake a few days afterwards and whilst it certainly wasn’t glamorous, it was delicious!
I’m a bit of a sucker for a cute wedding favour and luckily for me my sister is ridiculously good at baking and she had a plan together from day dot, but we also wanted something for the boys and the less sweet toothed amongst our guests. In the end, we decided to have a choice of either handmade biscuits or bottles of beer from a local brewery and hung thank you luggage tags around each of them with the date of our wedding printed on the reverse.
Life And Soul
In the evening we had a live band, the incredible Life & Soul and also the most fantastic photo booth run by The Mighty Booth. It was really important to us that the evening was really relaxed and fun and that everybody was dancing away and our venue really helped us with this by arranging mini fish and chips and bacon rolls to be served to guests as they moved around rather than having the traditional static evening buffet. We also had a choice of cocktails ready which definitely helped to get the evening party started!
Our fist dance was to Charlene Soraia’s gorgeous version of Wherever You Will Go by The Calling. Sean bought me the original version of this song when we were both 17 and so it meant so much to have it played on our wedding day.
The Happiest Day Of My Life
It was important for us to include a real personal touch with our décor and to help achieve this we had Adam at RSVP Candy create a poster that detailed our lives together so far. This poster was placed in the entrance hall to allow our guests to read our story before the wedding and we were so pleased with everybody’s reactions that we had Adam create our thank you cards too! We handmade all of our wedding day stationery (printed in typewriter font on recycled paper) and we included a very light-hearted quiz on the back of our menu cards which not only gave everyone something to do, but also helped to embarrass us horribly during Sean’s speech as he read out the answers which ranged from toilet museums to the teenage mutant ninja turtles.
Our wedding was special because we had so many friends and family go above and beyond in order to share our day with us. I think it served as a huge reminder that whilst sometimes wedding planning can feel a little pressured and you worry about keeping everybody happy, ultimately everybody is there because they love you and want you to have the most fantastic day which is exactly what we did!
My advice would be not to panic if you’re not super organised or uber creative. I know there suddenly seems a lot of pressure to be both of the above things but let me assure you that Sean and I are definitely neither and we still managed to do a lot on our own and have a wedding day that was everything we imagined. Yes, I forgot my dressing gown on the day and no, we didn’t take on any small building projects, but it was without doubt the happiest day of my life.
Swiss dot fabric?! A dress that looks like its covered in the softest flakes of snow?! Get me some of that fabric right now.
I have spent the entire morning of putting this wedding together confessing my undying adoration for all of the beautiful elements of this day (I think Adam and Charlotte think I have a slight problem). I’m somewhat obsessed with it.
From said amazing dress – which by the way has pockets. I am a massive advocate of dresses with pockets. I will go out of my way to find this dress in a store even if the pocketless dress fits better. I just love a pocket.
The necklace. The story behind the necklace. The fact that Sarah now owns two versions of it. It sets of the dress perfectly. It needs nothing more. My obsession with this wedding has lead to me purchasing my very own version of it! (oops).
I’m also a big fan of the no fuss table decor. Sometimes less is more. The simple table number, the single focal point of one main centerpiece and the pretty cups. I fear sometimes people want to throw a million things at their tables to make them interesting but a beautifully arranged floral piece is sometimes all you need.
I’m off to see if posty has delivered my new necklace yet.