Garden Games

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Mirror Table Plan, Garden Games and Floral Arch for Black Tie Marquee Wedding

Classic style never goes out of fashion, and this wedding is proof that timeless will always be on trend. The bridal party look picture perfect in their black tie and blush bridesmaids dresses, whilst the bride is a knockout in her off-the-shoulder St Patrick dress. Ooh, that lace! Hampshire Collegiate School – the former home of Florence Nightengale, no less – provides a stunning backdrop to the celebrations, whilst clever calligraphy signs – including a mirror table plan, kraft label place settings and wooden sign – look great and get guests into place. Multitasking at its prettiest! This is the sort of day that will never date. Pinning fingers at the ready…

Halterneck Maggie Sottero Dress and Garden Games at Gate Street Barn | Beaded Halterneck Lisette Bridal Gown by Maggie Sottero | Story + Colour Photography Pin Image

Halterneck Maggie Sottero Dress and Garden Games at Gate Street Barn

Peonies. Pastels. Pineapples. Oh my. This Gate Street Barn wedding is prettiness personified. As is our blushing bride, Natalie, whose halterneck Maggie Sottero dress – with beautiful beaded detailing, a swishy full skirt and spaghetti straps over the shoulders – completes this stunning spring wedding day. Captured by RMW recommended photographer, Story + Colour, this is a tale replete with love, laughter – and lawn games. There’s nothing like a bride doing the limbo!

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Lotte & Thomas

Lotte and Thomas’ wedding is the sweetest thing. It’s home spun, it’s intimate and it is just filled with feel-good moments, which is exactly how a wedding should be as far as I’m concerned. Lotte and Thomas worked really hard to keep things on budget, but still have a really fun and memorable day, sourcing lots of decor online and crafting things themselves. Their biggest treat was flying out RMW recommended UK based photographer Neil Jackson to Holland to take their photographs, but as we always say – this is the place to spend the money – your photographs will provide a lifetime of memories, as you’ll see from this beautiful set…

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A Rural Romance…. Part 2

There was a lot of love yesterday for the gorgeous Polly and Ralph and I’m not suprised, the so-in-love pair held a pretty, colourful and relaxed garden soiree that was filled with love, laughter and spectacular blooms.

Oh the blooms…..lots of gratuitous images of those lovelies!

I’m so having a purple and yellow moment right now.

And I can’t not mention Polly’s female guests, what a fantastically dressed lot they were – I want their ENTIRE wardrobe.

Iris And Ivy

I always knew I wanted sunflowers and iris at my wedding and I wanted my flowers to look quite natural and not too prissy. We therefore just found a local florist in Eye in Suffolk and she was brilliant at helping us choose what would go with them. In the end the bouquets were sunflowers, iris, gyp and ivy. For the button holes I found a picture on line of some button holes made with purple asters which have both purple and yellow on them and I emailed this to the florist and she agreed to make them up.

The bridesmaids and mothers had purple lisianthus in their hair. For the church we ordered two big pedastools from the florist of sunflowers, iris, gyp, daisies, ivy and lisianthus then we brought some more of these flowers not made up and my kind auntie and bridesmaids put four more flower displays together. Ralph’s mum kindly offered to help with the table decorations and she did a fantastic job with some old milk bottles, sunflowers, daisies and corn from the next door field.

Seeing is Believing

My cousin got married last year ( infact they were on RMW… Fran and David!!) and we were really impressed with her photographer. We asked for their details and were so lucky they were still free (we only took 5 months to plan the wedding) and we booked Christian Ward straight away. We have been so impressed with their service from start to finish and could not rave about them enough.

From the edgy pics from the pre wedding shoot to our gorgeous wedding ones, we feel they captured each moment so well we would recommend them to everyone!


We borrowed some hay bails from the local farmer and, as well as the main marquee, kind friends lent us a champagne tent and some gazebos in case of rain. We didn’t want people to get bored so we also set up some games around the field such a table tennis, croquet and a coconut shy.

We wanted the whole thing to have a relaxed feel and so most of our guests camped in the field next door.

Dancing ‘Till Dawn

My family is starting to get kind of a family wedding band as this is the third time we have used “Payback” for a family wedding. That is because they are SO good! Considering we only had a few months to plan we were really lucky they were free and we had seen them twice before so knew they were good.

They did not fail to impress and there was never an empty dance floor!

Lucky 13

Mmmm the cake! Two of my bridesmaids are very close family friends and their mum has been making us the best chocolate cake since we were born! We therefore approached her to ask if she would make our wedding cake and she said yes! We wanted to stick to the country theme so had the cake displayed on slate on 3 trunks of wood. We cut the cake and then our amazing caterers Penni Black served it as desert (there were about 13 more cakes waiting out the back – thanks Jude!) with creme freche and tropical fruit skewers.

A Song For Sweethearts

Our first dance song was “Up Above the Clouds” by Turin Brakes. We met at university and this was one of the first songs Ralph played to me. It was very significant and yet not mainstream or too cheesy!

Those Closest

What made our wedding special was that all of our friends and family were there to celebrate with us. We are so grateful to our families for making the day possible. Oh and my advice? Just enjoy it!

Photographer – Christian Ward

Caterers – Penni Black

Entertainment – Payback

Yes I know. A billowing veil in a corn field, what’s not to love?

The black and white landscape of Polly and Ralph holding hands is my favourite though, so very very cool.

Big I fancy 13 cakes Love

Charlotte xxx

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Country Garden and Games… Part 2

Welcome back for Part 2 of this relaxed country wedding with loads of steal-able ideas including casual florals and lots of fun touches.

Thanks again to Guy Collier for providing all the images.

Garden Florals

My husband owns a florist in Wimbledon called Fleurtatious, so our flowers were done by Tam, who works there. We wanted plenty of colour – purples and pinks – and we wanted to have an English country garden feel.

My bouquet had purple calla lilies, Coolwater and aqua pink roses, mauve lisianthus and hydrangea blooms and tree fern and the bridesmaids had white peonies, white & lilac lisianthus, veronica and tree fern.

The table arrangements were made up of scabious, white & lilac larkspur, purple veronica, English stocks, white bouvardia, pink & purple lisianthus, tree fern and ivy. Instead of vases we used gorgeous shabby-chic cream tin watering cans which I found from a garden centre advertising on e-Bay.

A Guiding Photographer

Our photographer was Guy Collier. He is one of the photographers recommended on the Gate Street Barn website. We were very impressed by Guy’s photos on his website, and his personality also came across really well on the website too. He seemed like a relaxed, fun and personable man, so we decided to meet him, after which we had no hesitations to sign him up.

Tom and I are not great posers, so Guy did well to guide us through our photos. During the ceremony he was snapping away (we have the photos to prove it), but we didn’t even notice he was there. We love our photos, and I still look at them every day.

Detail Fun

As mentioned, our theme was country garden and games, so our flowers were oozing out of watering cans and they looked great in the barn. We also had gorgeous twiggy hearts decorated with purple scabious and some ivy hanging on the beams against the front wall of the barn which added a romantic touch. For the table plan we used a large cream wire work heart and we used small single cream wire work hearts to hold the table names, both ordered online from Live, Laugh, Love.

We decided against favours, but instead put a few fun things on the tables for our guests to enjoy. We had two table trivia boxes per table and also some silver party blowouts. We thought it would be fun and all our friends love games and making some noise. Tom’s father made the name cards, table names and seating plan for us using Scrabble font which he downloaded from the internet. We used games as our table names – Scrabble, Monopoly, Balderdash etc.

Tom and I call each other “Woolly”, so as a joke we ordered two Wool pens for guests to sign the guest book with. We specifically chose a giraffe as Tom is often teased for having a long neck, and a frog, because Tom says I sometimes pull my face in a way that makes me look like a frog!

Relaxed Fun

Our ceremony was very special as Tom and I had written our own vows, so saying them and hearing them was very emotional. We wanted our wedding day to reflect our personalities 100% and we wanted the day to feel relaxed and fun. To help create this atmosphere we went for bright and happy summery colours and played some Johnny Cash while guests were being seated.

We had the garden games to keep people busy (and so we could have a play!) and for our meal we chose to have a hog roast and a fun fondue style dessert. We were very lucky that the weather was lovely, warm and sunny so we spent a lot of time outdoors, which is what we wanted.

My best friend, Nina, made a “wedding newspaper” for us called “The Marston News”. It was full of funny photos and stories that our friends and family has sent Nina about Tom and I when we were young or about us as a couple.

It caused a number of laughs and was a really nice and personal touch. Our wedding day was by far the happiest and most special day of my life, and I would love to do it all over again! I wouldn’t change a thing about the day – it was perfect.

I Love the way this couple managed to make their wedding fun whilst still pretty and have so many details that really reflect them as a couple – those pens are fab!

Thanks so much to Melissa and Tom for sharing so many inspiring details.

Yours Truly,


Guy Collier is a Rock My Wedding Sponsor, however all real wedding submissions are chosen on individual merit and no part of this wedding has been sponsored.

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Country Garden and Games… Part 1

Todays wedding is everything a wedding should be – fun fun fun! The subject of our Sneak Peek this week, the couple in question managed to put a big fat Fun stamp on the day with tons of personal touches that really reflected them as a couple. Now thats what we like to see.

Many thanks to Guy Collier for submitting this to us and providing all of the brilliant images.

Choosing a Venue…

Our wedding was held at Gate Street Barn in the Surrey Hills on 25th June 2010. We chose Gate Street barn not only because it is a stunning venue based in the Surrey Hills where Tom and I have spent many weekends walking, but the barn gives you a blank canvas to work with so we could completely add our own personalities to the venue. The barn also gives you a choice of caterers and they don’t charge corkage if you wish to bring in your own drinks. Gate Street Barn ticked all our boxes.

A Dress that Fits

I tried on dresses in various shops and had some friends with me to help me choose. I found it very confusing with so many opinions so I eventually took myself off on my own and that’s when I found “the one”. I chose a beautiful ivory dress by Essense of Australia, and I bought it from All that Glitters in Wimbledon. Even though the sample dress was way too big for me, as soon as I put it on, I knew it was the one.

I love classic, elegant and simple clothes, which is why I think I was so drawn to my dress. I felt that the style was perfect for my figure and I could dress it up with accessories if I wished to. I was very lucky as the dress was discontinued shortly after I ordered it, so I got one of the last ones. The dress came with a vintage style brooch on the left hip, but I removed the brooch and replaced it with one which was more my style – a cluster of clear crystal daisies from Brooches and Pins.

Dressing your Hair

I decided to keep my look simple and elegant so did not wear a necklace or bracelet. At first I was adamant that I did not want a tiara, but after much internet research looking for hair combs I came across my “Daisy” headband at Starlet Jewellery . In the end I ended up wearing it as a side tiara rather than a headband, but I loved it so much and it worked so well with my hairstyle so I was very happy with my decision. My earrings were made for me by a lady called Paula, who is a friend of my now sister-in-law www.coco-ria.com. I sent her pictures of the tiara and she made me a few samples based on that. I chose very simple round crystal beads, and I’ve worn them on evenings out since the wedding, which is great. She also made earrings for the bridesmaids – violet crystal flowers.

Hair and Make-up Heaven

I got ready for the big day at a hotel in Godalming and didn’t fancy the thought of heading out to a hairdresser so I found a mobile hairdresser who came to the hotel. When I had my hair trial I had no idea what I wanted, other than wanting my hair all up. As Paula (the hairdresser) started experimenting we happened across the “half up with curls over the shoulder” look, and I loved it. I thought it was very glamorous.

I had been for a make-up trial at Lime Tree Beauty Clinic in Godalming, and the beautician also came to the hotel and did my make-up in the room while my hair was in curlers and the girls were getting their hair done. I had 6 bridesmaids and 2 flower girls, so the room was buzzing, but it was great fun. Like having a pyjama party with all my best friends.

Pretty in Purple

For the bridesmaids I went for an After Six dress (style 6531) in African Violet. I ordered it online from House of Brides in the US, but in hindsight I would have gone through All that Glitters. Once all the customs charges were added to the shipping the cost worked out the same and there was some stress about the dresses being completed on time.

Regardless though, the girls all looked stunning and the colour was beautiful. My two flower girls wore dresses from Monsoon.

Weaving a personal touch

The ushers, fathers and page boy all wore their own grey suits, white shirts and black shoes, but the waistcoats and ties were all made by one of the ushers who owns a weaving mill in Lancashire. Tom decided on the colours he wanted for them (lilac ties and ivory waistcoats), found a pattern he liked and sent it all through to Duncan who made them as a special favour.

Tom looked incredibly handsome in his grey suit, which he had made by Palmer on Northcote Road in Clapham. Tom’s tie and waistcoat were also made by Duncan, but Tom’s tie was African Violet, made from the same fabric as the bridesmaid’s dresses, and his waistcoat was lilac.

To jazz the outfit up he wore a tan belt and very cool tan Barker shoes. Very cutely, he wore striped purple socks!

Playing a personal game

Our cake was very special, as Tom’s mother made it for us based on our love of Scrabble. Tom and I are big games fans, as is evident from the theme of our wedding. Patti came up with the idea of making us a Scrabble cake and we think she did a perfect job. The cake was orange sponge and she also made square cupcakes and decorated then as Scrabble squares.

The main cake was a Scrabble board and she had spelt out “Melissa Thomas Together Forever”, which was very special. She also made a personalised cupcake for James, Kayla and Megan – our nephew and nieces and very adorable page boy and flower girls.

Garden Games

To keep our guests entertained we hired a selection of giant outdoor garden games, again tying in with our theme of “country garden and games”. This seemed to go down well with the guests and Tom and I managed to enjoy a few games too.

For the evening we had a DJ. We chose a DJ over a band as Tom and I love to dance and sing along to our favourite songs, and so do all of our friends. We used Chess disco, and they were great, playing all the power ballads I had requested beforehand!

Come back tomorrow for the beautiful garden style flowers, a ton more personal details and fun, fun, fun!

Yours Truly,


Guy Collier is a Rock My Wedding Sponsor, however all real wedding submissions are chosen on individual merit and no part of this wedding has been sponsored.