‘Don’t sweat the small stuff… if you’re married at the end of the day then it’s been an enormous success.’
Sage advice there from the beautiful Jenny in this morning’s chic city affair. I couldn’t not open with this mantra because I think it’s all too easy to forget amidst the madness of colour themes and dresses and table plans and favours and centrepieces. That’s not to say that all of these bits and pieces aren’t important but more that it’s about you and your partner and the love you have for each other that’s paramount on your big day.
But of course you all know this already. What you don’t know yet is how epic Jenny and Chris’ big day was…but you’re about to find out.
I can promise you the sweetest dress, the most besotted groom, the smiliest bridesmaids, some awesome photography and one of the chicest cakes I’ve seen in a while. I think you’ll love it all!
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…
I recently read about the growing trend in France for an English inspired wedding with some interest. It seems that in breaking away from traditions the french are beginning to opt for a more Anglo/American inspired big day. We on the other hand love a bit of classical french influence and with planning companies like Marry Me in France around it is easier than ever to fulfill your dreams of idyliic Chateaus full of french fancy.
Angela and Andy lived that dream. The event was beautifully documented by Jacqui McSweeney
A Three Day Love-In
Our wedding was on September 30, 2012 at Marry Me In France’s Fairytale Chateau in the Dordogne region. We found the venue through two lovely ladies, Kate and Beth, who run a wedding planning service in the Dordogne called Marry Me in France. Not only did they help us find the venue, but Kate coordinated all of the suppliers and was there on the day, ensuring everything went off without a hitch. She was an absolute godsend!
We chose the location because we had recently come back from a year of travel (a late-in life gap year). The Dordogne was where we first decided to embark on that adventure, so seemed like a nice way to wrap it up. It also forced everyone to travel to the wedding – my family and friends from Canada and Andy’s from across England. In the days leading up to the wedding, the chateau became a hangout for those not staying there, and a home for those staying with us on the grounds. We had a day of canoeing on the Dordogne river, and a brilliant BBQ the night before the wedding, which allowed everyone to get to know each other and to enjoy the area. We were thrilled at how well everyone got on – it was like a three-day love-in.
I found my gown while we were in Sydney. It is by an Australian designer, Johanna Johnson. Her gowns tend to have a vintage quality about them, which I thought suited the venue perfectly. I knew that gown was “the one” the moment I slipped it on – it seemed I stood a few inches taller. The expression on my friend’s face confirmed it. As it turned out, the lace detailing is French, which I thought tied things together nicely.
The gown has some rather ornate jewelled detailing, so I thought it best to not have any accessories so I didn’t wear anything else, apart from my wedding band.
Satin Strappy Lovelies
I my feet I wore some gorgeous, sky-scraping, champagne-coloured satin strappy lovelies by Karen Millen. A bit of challenge negotiating the pea gravel on my walk down the aisle, but well worth it!
For the hair and makeup, I was inspired by a wedding I came across on the Bleubird Vintage blog. I love how everyone looked so natural, with lovely dresses. We decided to do the same. As we were in rural France, it also made things easy, as we did our own hair and makeup.
I had one request for flowers. I really wanted antique hydrangeas as my bouquet – I love them, and thought they would be perfect with the gown. As they are everywhere in the region, it was an easy request. My bridesmaid had a similar bouquet, with a few roses thrown in, and my adorable flower girl had a pommander which she loved twirling around with. The boutonniers were greens, and Andy’s had a touch of colour which looked perfect. Apart from that, I thought lush, seasonal flowers from the area would be most suitable, and quite liked the idea of small arrangements on the tables in an ecclectic collection of vases. Kate from Marry Me in France worked with Mairie Fleurs in Perigueux to make this happen.
We bought everything. The bridesmaid dress was from Coast, and I thought looked fantastic on Monique. Being from Canada, Monique was pleasantly surprised by how lovely the dress was. It’s not often you get thanked by your bridesmaid for choosing such a beautiful dress that she will wear again! My niece Eva, who was our flower girl, wore a dress from Monsoon, which she loved, as you can see in the images. Sam, our best man, brought his own suit, which we asked be midnight blue. We purchased his tie and pocket square – bright pink to tie in with the flowers.
Interestingly, we did were not specific regarding attire with other members of the bridal party (Andy’s father’s partner, who gave the reading during the ceremony, my brother Dave, who gave a speech, and James, our MC), yet they all wore hits of colour which worked perfectly.
Not to be outdone, Andy had a bespoke suit made at Gresham Blake in Brighton. I only asked that the suit be blue, as I thought that would work best with the yellow stone of the buildings at the chateau. Andy chose everything else: the bright blue pinstripe in the wool, the pink shirt with floral accents and the bold tie. He borrowed some fabulous cufflinks from his father’s partner (who gave the reading during the ceremony), and his shoes were by Antonio Brecos. His final, and possibly favorite, accessory was a slightly tacky floral hipflask, filled with Armagnac. The male contingent of the bridal party were all given one and were imbibing throughout the day.
A Member Of The Family
Jacqui McSweeney was our brilliant photographer. Jacqui shot our friends’ wedding in Brighton, and I absolutely loved her style, and the way she captured colour and light. During the planning of our own wedding, she was really the only photographer we considered. We booked her while we were still traveling, so had not met her until a few months before the big day. She is great fun, yet very professional. She understood exactly what we were looking for in our photos, so it was easy to put our trust in her. She did a pre-wedding shoot with us, which was great, as it helped us all get comfortable with each other. While in France, she captured the entire weekend, going way above the call of duty, and became a member of the family in the process.
A Candy Bar
We chose not to have a cake. Instead, we had a candy bar, with British and Canadian candy Andy and I loved as kids. These included Pineapple Chunks and Refreshers for the Brits, and Popeye Cigarettes and Tootsie Rolls for the Canucks. We designed custom stickers for the candy bags, so guests could stock up for their journeys home the following day.
We decided to keep it simple for the reception and have our friend Michael play some of our favorite music. As long as he kept people on the dance floor, we were happy. What was unique was the accordionist we hired to play during the drinks reception, following the ceremony. He played French classics by Edith Piaf among others, which complemented the feel of the venue beautifully.
Can’t Take My Eyes Off You
We had a tough time choosing a first dance. We have songs we consider “our song”, but they weren’t suitable for a first dance. We decided on a classic – Can’t Take My Eyes Off You by Frankie Valli, which worked perfectly – our guests belting out the chorus as we danced.
Other favorite songs we used were You and Me by Penny and the Quarters as I walked down the aisle, and To Love Somebody by Nina Simone as Andy and I walked back up the aisle.
Lights, Camera, Action
The venue was so spectacular it really didn’t need much in terms of decor. We hired a lighting designer to add the landscape lighting, which made the chateau feel magical once the sun set. Other than that, we trusted Kate from Marry Me in Franceto work her magic – adding props like blackboards and clocks as she saw fit. We did request the frames, where were fantastic props for photographs. My brother is a photographer, so while Jacqui was taking our posed photographs, Dave wandered from group to group, capturing all of the guests in the frames.
Far And Wide
I would say what made our wedding most special was that our loved ones traveled far and wide to share the day with us – from London, to Toronto, to the Bahamas, to Buenos Aires. It really meant so much to have them there.
The advice that I would give to future brides is to hire someone to coordinate everything on the day. If that is not possible, be sure you have someone who is not in the bridal party, who can troubleshoot on the big day. Kate was amazing – she worked her magic, making it look easy the entire time. The other piece of advice would be to relax and enjoy the day – it flies by so quickly!
Wow, this venue actually does look like the setting for a proper fairytale. It’s great to not have to think too much about decor when your venue is so key and so totally “the look” you want. I think it is a really wise choice that Angela and Andy made to have it professionally lit too.
Lighting really can work wonders and transform a venue, reflecting different moods and different times of day.
Lizzie and Mike married in May at the Polhawn Fort, Rame Head.
Prepare for a lot of photographs today folks, these are amazing and stylish images from RMW sponsors Craig and Kate. As I looked though image after image of sun drenched glamour and by-the-seaside vintage chic I just wanted to be transported to the Cornish coast, so to satisfy my craving I have filled this post to the brim with summer pretty.
From Chichester To Cornwall
Mike and I live in Reading, originally both from Chichester, but we have both always loved Cornwall, so we thought, why not get married there. It certainly proved to make planning everything even more difficult, but when we went to see the Fort, we were sold, don’t need to look at anything else.
The English Weather is alway unpredictable, but we totally lucked out. we got married smack bang in the middle of a gloriously sunny week which had torrential rain either side of it.
I wore the Kristene dress by Claire Petitbone. Bought from Exquisite Bridal Boutique in Lymington. I knew I didn’t want a traditional style gown, Claire Pettibone’s vintage inspired, feminine dresses are all so gorgeous, but the Kristene was the one that stood out to me, with it’s victorian style lace edging.
Natalie was super helpful and so friendly. She really made me feel relaxed every time I was there, amazing service.
Tulle And Lace
I wore a custom made 20’s style cap veil by Helen Martin tied into a knot at the back in white tulle with lace edging.
My shoes were amazing gold Manolo Blahnik sandals with 4.5 inch heals which I tracked down and purchased from the US store Barneys. They are very vintage in style, and although gold, quite understated. I knew they would be prefect with my dress.
A Touch Of Bohemia
I had a last minute booking with Bells Brides to do my hair along with my 2 bridesmaids and mum. I knew that I didn’t want a formal up do as it wouldn’t be in keeping with the style of my dress and veil. I went form a more relaxed and bohemian hair do, loose curls, a bit of back combing, with the side sections pinned back and toned of hair spray.
A Floral Mix
We had gone down to Cornwall to visit the fort and meet with some of our suppliers. We were staying at a gorgeous B&B and the owners mentioned they were getting married in November. We had been trying to find a florist and they recommended Rosemary Jane Flowers run by Tamsin Mcbride, who had just started up her floristry business again. We contacted her the next owning, and within a couple of hours we had met up with her at the fort.
Tamsin was amazing, she really listened to what we wanted and got super involved in coming up with ideas for schemes and recommending what flowers would be suitable.
We had a quite a mix of flowers as the look was pretty and vintage, but the 2 focal flowers were :
roses – in mine and my brides maids bouquets – white and a vintage dusky pink which was a perfect match for the brides maids dresses.
Mike liked the idea of having big daisies for the button holes (his have flowers), so Tamsin chose some white gerberas.
Both flowers were brought into the other arrangements.
The table displays were a super pretty mix of sizes displayed in vintage style cut glass vases and tea light holders, just dotted down the centre of the long tables with a larger display for the top table centre peice. Tamsin also provided additional vintage looking roses for the cake.
The whole look was just stunning, even better than I could have visioned. It complemented the venue, the theme of the day and was exactly what Mike and I wanted, not too showy but beautiful and very us!
There was no colour scheme as such, through the magenta pink from our tea towel invites was picked up in touches throughout the decoration. We wanted a mix of very natural colours to run though everything to go with the vintage style.
Finding a dress to suit my Bridesmaid was going to be tricky, one is petite and dark, the other a tall leggy blonde! I found a floor length dusky pink / taupe gown which they both looked gorgeous in. The draped satin material and cut really emulated a glamorous 1930’s style.
We decided not to go with Morning suits, and in keeping with our relaxed approach for the tone of the day, we decided that the grooms men should just wear nice suits, no need to match each other.
Mike had been looking for an excuse for years to get a bespoke suit made up by a very cool tailors we know in Brighton called Gresham Blake, now he had one. He opted for a super sharp, 60’s style slim cut 2 piece in a petrol blue which was vivid without being to bright. It fitted like a glove and he looked amazing, very suave!
From Essex To Cornwall
We met Craig and Kate at The Alternative Wedding Fair in London where they had a stand. Their work looked amazing, exactly what we had been looking for, and it was really great being able to talk with them. We kind of made our minds up there and then that they needed to be our photographers. One issue, They are based in essex, we were getting married in Cornwall.
I figured I would give it a go and emailed them a couple of days later. Luckily they also love Cornwall and were really excited about the shooting at Polhawn Fort, so decided to tie doing our wedding in with a little holiday. Amazing !!
The more I looked into their portfolio, the more I knew these guys were going to do a great job, and they certainly didn’t disappoint, They were brilliant. I hated the idea of us and all or guests spending half the afternoon posing for shots, but this isn’t their style. They were really lovely, up for what ever we wanted to do (including the little trip down to the beach along a rather treacherous path), and half the time we didn’t notice they were there. All of our guests commented on them.
What I really loved is that they seemed genuinely excited by it all. The final shots speak for themselves, when we finally saw them, they totally blew us away. Craig and Kate really captured the setting and emotions of the day. I Couldn’t recommend them enough.
We went for a three tiered style victoria sponge with butter cream and fresh strawberries and raspberries. We had been wondering what to do for a cake, we knew we wanted something which would look fun, easy and very us. We found a picture of what we wanted online, just a case of finding somebody in Cornwall to make it. We found Nicky Grant, sent her a picture and explained what we wanted and it was no trouble at all.
Nicky did a beautiful job with the cake, dressing is with fresh berries, real roses and little white chocolate curled roses. There is no hiding with a Victoria Sponge, it’s got to taste good, and we were confident it would, so we decided to also make it into our desert, serving it with fresh strawberries, cornish clotted cream, candlestick ice cream and raspberry coulis. I ate the lot!
Whilst at the Wedding fair we also heard the band Plastic Pantomime playing. We knew that we wanted a band as we love live music, but it can be a bit of a minefield. These guys were playing an acoustic set and sounded great. They offered a really good mix of styles and did all the stuff we wanted.
We scored again, because they sounded immense! As good as any live band (and we’ve seen a lot). They did a great set, a bit of something for everybody and were super fun, certainly not run of the mill wedding music.
Wouldn’t It Be Nice
For our first dance we chose Beach Boys ‘Wouldn’t it be nice’. I loved the Beach boys music since I was a little girl when my parents played it, and this is a song we both absolutely love. The sort of song that makes you feel all warm inside without being too gushy.
We had a bit of a strawberry thing going on with the day (fresh strawberries and jam in the cake, strawberry and champagne cocktails) so when I saw that Nicky Grant made these strawberry shaped white chocolate lollies, decision made. They also doubled up as place holders by tying a luggage tag with guest names to the stick. I also made Macaroons. there were several practice runs, with Mike’s work colleagues as my guinea pigs.
A Bit Of Bunting
The inside of the Fort is so full of character anyway, but to bring a bit of spring time fun we hung bunting around the archways. Tamsin’s Flower displays made the tables look beautiful. The eclectic mix of vintage vases and tealights worked perfectly along with the mismatch of vintage side plates which gave a nod to the vintage party style without being too OTT. Our little sweety table was also a fun addition, which of course also tied in!
I didn’t really want chair covers so I thought I would look into hiring some wooden chairs instead, which didn’t require dressing. I happened to come across Virginias vintage Hire. Virginia has a big selection of old, beaten wooden folding chairs. shabby would be an understatement, but their distressed look was totally chic! Mismatch colours, peeling paint. love them!! they suited everything else down to the ground, way better than chair covers. She has a bunch or treasures and props for hire, all equally as cool.
D.I.Y IS The Way
We tried to bring our personality into the day by making as much as possible. from the Favour boxes and name tags stamped with our little logo from the invites, to the tissue paper pompoms, sign by the gate, to the lemonade bottles. These little details were probably more special to Mike and I than anybody else, but we feel that our wedding was very ‘US’, and people really picked up on that and we wouldn’t have changed a thing.
Can we pleeeeeeeeease have a summer now please thanks.
Oh, and can we all go on an RMW roadtrip to Cornwall, hang jars of flowers from the trees, sit around on flaky paint chairs, eat strawberries (and maybe a pasty) and then go exploring the cliff and beach situation?
Polka dots are one of those designs that seems to have always just always been there – I’m not sure anyone has ever claimed to have invented the polka dot, which incidentally is good for Rock My Wedding, as they would very likely be be suing us right now 😉
One thing is for sure though, the polka dot is synonymous with fashion and fun. Polka dots are as striking and stylish as they are care-free and casual. And I think that sums up Nicky and Andy’s wedding perfectly. Oh by the way, 10 points for guessing what their theme was based around…
Our wedding was on 23rd June 2011 at the Brighton bandstand. My wedding dress was from a independent shop called The Ozone in brighton and it was made by Hilary Morgan.
I liked the length and shape of my dress (sort of 1950’s style) It’s Ivory as I didn’t want pure white. It was the first dress I tried on and I just knew it was the one.
Accessorise with Silver.
My veil came from the same shop as my dress. I liked my tiara because it was simple and understated. I wore some extra silver earrings and bracelets from Claire’s accessories
I was also given various things to wear. My sister gave me a necklace to wear which she wore on her wedding day. Andy’s Mum gave me a white handkerchief, which had been given to her on her wedding day by her Mum. I was also leant a garter (white with a blue bow) by my Maid of honour Lucy.
I did my own make up on the day after having my hair done at my usual hairdressers RJ’s on the morning of the wedding. I had my hair down, pinned at the back with the veil, and lightly curled.
Polka Dot Theme.
We wanted to have flowers and buttonholes which fitted with our black and white polkadot theme, after a bit of research we found out about button-bouquets, and had some made by Tanya at BlueButtonBride. We found a polkadot dress made by ‘Hell Bunny’ for Lucy (our maid of honor) at Grenwich Village in Brighton. Where we also found ruffled petticoats for the bride and bridesmaids. We got the bridesmaids dresses form BHS, we chose them as they looked like miniature versions of my wedding dress.
Knowing how difficult it can be to find a suit that fits well, we decided not to hire them, and to let everyone to be comfortable in their own suits. For the groomsmen we picked up some polkadot ties to fit in with the theme from Woods of Shropshire.
Suited And Booted.
Andy’s suit was tailored by Gresham Blake, with a polkadot lining and small red touches. The polkadot shirt was from modasoda and the polkadot tie. The spotty shoes were from irregular choice.
Tino And Pip.
We found Tino and Pip at a wedding fair. We chose them because we liked the informal style of the pictures they had on their website. When we met them we were pleased to discover that we really liked them personally too, and they had a real enthusiasm for all things wedding. Our friend Leila made our cake, it was three layers, a big fruit cake at the bottom, chocolate in the middle and a small battenberg on top. All were covered in black and white icing with black and white chocolate buttons to make polkadots.
For the bandstand we got The Top Bananas to play before and after, the ceremony to entertain our guests. It was very windy and everyone was impressed at how they stayed on their stilts. They even did the wedding march for us. In the evening we had DJ Alan Meadows.
At the Bandstand we had Polkadot bunting and balloons, organised by the Bandstand cafe. At the Terraces we had more polkadot balloons from Balloonatics.
We designed name cards with a similar design to our invitations and had them printed on moo.com business cards. And pegged them to the glasses with wooden pegs we had painted red. For our table plan, we wanted to keep away from using table numbers, so we went with colour coded circles on a pin board. And matched them up with table decorations made from cheep ‘tat’ ornaments from charity shops, spray painted the same colours.
Keep Your Eyes Peeled.
We tried to keep our wedding relaxed and fun, and it was our lovely friends and family who braved the wind and rain in good spirits that made our day special. Start planning early, and keep your eyes peeled for extra little touches that could fit with your theme. We got the big things done quite quickly and early, the rest we spread over the best part of a year.
Do or make some of the stuff yourself, little hand made touches really make you feel like the day is more yours. Don’t be afraid to change your plans if necessary. when it started raining, and it became clear we would have to move our ceremony to the downstairs cafe, we had to throw away most of our plan and quickly decide an alternative running order.
B is also for budget – with second hand shoes, family and friends lending a hand, budget business cards for name cards (great idea by the way!) and lot’s of D.I.Y – Nicky and Andy have created a very personal and distinctive feel to their wedding that didn’t have to break the bank.
The key to success, as Nicky suggested, was that they took their time and looked out for items that would fit their theme over the course of a year. You will always uncover bargains if you give your self the appropriate time to find them.