If you’re dreaming of your summer holidays and longing to feel the sand on your toes, then this mornings wedding just might satisfy your needs. Located at Budle Bay in the North East is this stunning white on white marquee wedding.
Plus have you seen bride Laura’s boho bridal look yet? Not only is her Yolan Cris lace gown utterly divine, but she also has the most beautiful Jenny Packham headdress framing her relaxed wavy hair.
Capturing all the emotion and pretty is the fabulous Matt Ethan Photography who’s fine art style fits perfectly with this dreamy day.
This urban city wedding in Manchester is ridiculously stylish. Big yellow balloons, giant art backdrops and seriously chic attire.
Rachel adores Sex and the City so just had to have her very own pair of Carrie, blue satin Hangisi Manolo Blahnik’s. Especially as they could be admired by everyone along with her super cute tea length Ellis Bridal gown. Those sleeves. That full skirt. Absolutely beaut. You just have to check out Andy’s adorable terrier pocket square too.
Damian from DSB creative has captured all the quirkiness and all the fun this couple hoped to bring to their intimate celebration, which is absolutely bursting with personality, love and laughter, not to mention full of more than a few handy money saving tips too.
The best thing about this gorgeous weather is that anyone having a marquee wedding can breathe easy. And Clare and Richard put so much effort into their marquee wedding that they absolutely deserved the sun to shine down on them. The flowers, décor, favours and hair and make-up were all created by family and friends.
It just goes to show what you can achieve if you put a bit of time and effort in to doing something, and that a wedding doesn’t have to cost an absolute fortune! With the sun shining and your best friends and family around you, it’s easy to remember that the best things in life are free…cheesy but true.
It’s almost like Joseph Hall has captured that message in the images – the light is beautiful and the whole thing just looks so dreamy and ethereal.
Enjoy the sun dappled gorgeousness lovely readers!
Escape To The Country
Clare the Bride: We really wanted somewhere outside with lots of green. We both enjoy escaping to the countryside and wanted a relaxed country feel. We ended up having the reception at Sandridgebury Farm in St. Albans. The site is for a marquee, which enabled us to design our reception from scratch. Dorothy and Rodger at the venue were very helpful with lots of contacts. The horses in the field next to the marquee were an added bonus!
In order to keep costs down my sister Ruth did my make up (and ended up getting roped into doing the entire bridal party!). We went for a brilliant make up lesson at Mac on 3, in Selfridges. This cost £50 for an hour’s tuition and you then got to that money back if you bought £50 worth of products. Predictably, I ended up spending more than £50 but it was well worth it to give my sister the confidence boost she needed. Ruth’s make up, plus some eyelash extensions for the day made me feel very glamorous on the day. I knew I wanted my hair up with some plaits. I was delighted with the end result.
Heart Set On Packham
I really wanted a simple dress – I’m quite tall so wanted something slightly Grecian feeling and floaty, rather than big and puffy. I was convinced I was going to get something second-hand from sellmyweddingdress.com but made the mistake of trying on Violet by Jenny Packham. Despite not being a sparkly girl, I liked the fact that it was a very simply dress, with just a touch of razzmatazz! The headpiece (also Jenny Packham) made me feel very Downton Abbey!
Once I’d found the dress, I was checking sellmyweddingdress.com every day but to no avail. Eventually I found a lovely boutique, The Bridal Gallery, that was doing a Jenny Packham designer day with 10% off and that was worth the journey to Northamptonshire!
Accessories were something I left quite last minute. Every time I tried the dress on, I tried the Jenny Packham headpiece too, so getting it was inevitable really! I also knew I wanted a long veil to add a bit of glamour to the simplicity of my dress. The church where we got married is gorgeous and very ornate, so simplicity was key for me.
My sisters and I all got given a pearl necklace from our parents following their trip to Vietnam. My best friend Grainne ended up borrowing my set so that was the bridesmaids sorted. The night before the wedding, I didn’t have any jewellery – I felt the detail on the dress and headpiece was enough. My lovely Dad however had other ideas and presented me with a lovely set of pearly earrings to wear down the aisle.
Green And Purple
We got the bridesmaids dresses from Phase Eight. My sisters and best friend Grainne are actually a scarily similar shape so there were no dramas about finding different styles for each of them. I knew I wanted a shade of green or purple but had no fixed idea and asked them to keep their eyes out for anything they liked on the high street.
We hired suits for the men, choosing not to match the Bridesmaids in terms of colour but instead compliment it with a sage green. Rich was keen to wear tails as he wears a regular suit to work every day.
Our theme was ‘homespun’ with huge input from friends and family. Once we had chosen the Bridesmaids dresses, we knew we wanted purple and I also wanted lots of green to show of the lovely outdoor setting. Pinterest was great at gathering ideas and we had some serious pom-pom making, bunting sewing, paper dove cutting and jam jar painting workshops as a result!
I was particularly proud of the photo bunting my mum put together, including photos of both mine and Rich’s parents on their wedding days. It was a great point of interest for guests as the majority of them featured on it somewhere.
Front Room Turned Florists
My wonderful Mum did all of the flowers. My parents’ front room looked like a florist in the days leading up to the wedding. We went to a flower market on the Wednesday morning and bought what we fancied the look of. We ended up with a beautiful combination of roses and anenomies, as well as sprigs of rosemary to add scent. In preparation, Mum went on a bridal floristry course at the Academy of Flowers in Covent Garden. Although quite pricey, I think she saw it as an investment, as I am one of 3 daughters!
A Talented Bunch
The ceremony was amazing and we tried to get lots of friends and family involved. My aunt did the reading a biblical love poem, Song of Solomon: chapter 8, v 6-7. We found the website yourchurchwedding.org very helpful when trying to pick one. We also had friends read the bidding prayers and Sonnet 116. Despite its popularity, I love this poem and its sentiment.
My friend Rosie made the ceremony particularly special by singing as we signed the register. Her husband Paul, played the organ for the whole thing too, making it feel very personal. We are lucky to have such talented friends!
Up-Beat And Fun
The reception was awesome. We had an amazing band called Motown Gold, who in-between sets provided a disco. The dance floor was packed all night long and people had to be dragged off at the end of the night. We are not a very soppy couple so the idea of a slow, smoochy love song was too much for us. Instead we opted for upbeat and fun for our first dance, with Higher and Higher by Jackie Wilson as our choice of song.
Good, Fresh Food
Food was always going to be a very important part of our big day. We both love good, fresh food so were keen that nothing felt remotely ‘mass catered’. After a disastrous few tastings (who knew you could get a jacket potato wrong?!) we came across Dan at Kingfisher Caterers. Everyone we have spoken to since the wedding has commented on how delicious it was and their team were really professional on the day.
We got our own event manager who looked after the timings etc so we didn’t have to worry about anything at all. They were also very happy to serve canapés (made by my friend Sarah) and our own desserts (made my lovely sister Martha, my Mum and Rich’s Mum). As well as this, they set out our evening buffet (lots and lots of cheese) and ran the cash bar.
I made the favours myself – two chutneys and one jam with different coloured fabrics covering the jam jar lids. I loved the hand stamped luggage labels that we tied on each one with the guests names on. We used these to label the array of puddings too and I think they helped create a lovely ‘homespun’ feel to the marquee.
Post Cards And Luggage Labels
As keen travellers, we knew that the tables would be themed by countries and we were lucky enough to have a friend who is a designer kindly offer to make these for us. James put together some amazing table signs incorporating photos of us on our travels, as well as the table plan itself. Each table list looked like a luggage label. Sadly James and his wife Erica (one of my best friends from school) were not able to come over from New Zealand for the wedding itself, so these acted as a lovely reminder of them during the day.
I enjoy making and crafting so knew that I would be making the save the dates, invitations and orders of service myself. After an initial trip to Hobbycraft, I got my ideas finalised, before then ordering the card I needed online – this was much cheaper than buying the whole lot in Hobbycraft.
Instead of a guestbook we decided to have a postcard washing line. Guests had to pick a postcard and write their messages to us on the back, before pegging them to the line. There are some hilarious ones as the night progresses, as people have drunk more and more homemade sloe gin!
Use Their Skills
My main piece of advice would be to take advantage of the skills and talents of friends and family. People genuinely seemed to relish being a part of the build-up and being able to offer help towards the big day and it was lovely to look around and see the fruit of everyone’s labour on the day itself.
I would also highly recommend doing certain things yourself. We saved an absolute packet doing things like the stationery ourselves and it made it feel very personal and special on the day. It was also another excuse to spend quality time with my bridesmaids in the months before the wedding!
It just goes to show that you should spend whatever YOU want on your wedding, if you want to go DIY crazy, do it!
The post card pegging idea is great and I always love the idea of using photos of your parents wedding days.
Also, on the sunshine theme – doesn’t that lemon tart look like the sun? So deliciously yellow and bright.
Jemma and Thomas chose Preston Court in sunny Kent for their big day; Jemma told me that she fell in love with the venue as soon as she saw it and from then on there was really no point in the pair of them looking elsewhere.
This gorgeous twosome married on the most beautiful little island. In order to reach Tom who was waiting on the opposite side, Jemma had to walk across a flower bedecked bridge over a lake. I mean you can’t really get more intimate and metaphorical than that can you.
And it gets better.
This morning folks, we have cupcakes and carousels, lace jam jars and birdcages. Jemma’s dad even made the paper pompoms strewn around the venue for her.
Without further ado, I give you Jemma and Tom.
Jemma The Bride:My wedding dress was a Maggie Sottero creation in Champagne gold, as the soft colour is more flattering to my skin tone than white. I loved the detail on it. Tom was convinced I would have a short dress so he was genuinely shocked when he saw me walk across the bridge.
I also had an evening dress, which was short and a completely different style to the day dress. This was so that I could dance with my girls, who also had short dresses. My evening dress was made by Barbara Seadon At Bespoke Gowns – she is my cousin’s mother in law and very talented.
I didn’t want a veil, but felt I needed something to set the outfit off. I chose a piece by Jenny Packham which had such exquisite detail. We were lucky enough to have a sunny day for our celebrations and the crystals in the headpiece looked especially beautiful with the light reflecting off them.
My bridesmaid Charlie and I were getting married in the same year and we had a girlie day out in London shopping for shoes. We must have tried on forty odd pairs! We both had our hearts set on a pair of Jimmy Choos each but we found they didn’t fit us perfectly. I chose a champagne pair of shoes from Dune, they had lovely diamante detail and matched my dress really well. They were comfortable to stand in all day, I really didn’t want to have sore feet so spent weeks walking round the house in them which definitely paid dividends on the day.
My friend Katie did my hair, she was very patient with me as I kept changing my mind about what I wanted. She did a fantastic job and was also a very calm person to have around whilst getting ready.
My make up was done by the lovely Leanne Robey, who I have been going to for beauty treatments for a few years. She is a perfectionist and was so helpful on the day, she even helped me get into my dress.
Romance, Prosperity And Good Fortune
Lara from Darling and Wild was fantastic, she listened to all my ideas and brought them to life exactly as I had envisaged them. I wanted soft, dusky pinks and creams with a mix of whimsical gypsophelia. Roses are a timeless symbol of love and are one of my favourite flowers along with peonies which represent romance, prosperity, omen of good fortune, and happy marriage.
As well as cream roses, the boys had wheat in their buttonholes to tie together the informal feel of the venue/day with all of the pretty details.
I chose a dusky pink colour for my bridesmaids and it was a flattering colour for all of them. They all looked so pretty. The dresses were from H&M; my sister and I were out shopping and saw a boy holding a dress for his mum, we both looked at each other as we instantly knew these dresses would be perfect for the day. The poor boy looked a bit scared clutching onto the dress as we were quizzing him over where he had picked it up from!
I wanted the dresses to be short to reflect the informal vibe for the day. I also got the girls cream lace shrugs which looked gorgeous.
The boys wore their own suits, they all looked so smart. We then had ties and pocket chiefs made to match the girls dresses. I had never seen James, the Best Man in a suit before and it was lovely to see him looking so dapper.
Tom looks great in suits and wore an indigo colour three piece suit from Reiss in Knightsbridge and had it tailored to fit him perfectly. He looked very striking, the colour was divine on him – he got so many compliments on the day.
Take One Talented Family Member
Jodie Chapman is fabulously talented and as soon as we got engaged we knew we wanted her to capture our special day. As expected she did an amazing job and we are thrilled with our photos. Jodie is a wonderful friend as well as a family member so we had great fun having the photos taken, we were totally relaxed with her and it was one of my most favourite parts of the day.
Cupcakes And Carousels
The venue had a sound limiter, so we knew a live band would not be able to perform to their potential. We had a DJ from Platinum DJ Productions who was great, he played great songs and we hardly left the dancefloor all night.
Preston Court gave us the option to hire their carousel for the day and we are so glad that we did. Most people went on it, we all had great fun and it created some brilliant photo opportunities.
You Are The Best Thing
My talented friend Alex sang our first dance song for us, it was so important to me to have him involved in the day somehow and this was a very personal gift from him to us.
The song was Ray LaMontagne You Are The Best Thing – it is a song that we both love and was perfect to start off our married lives with. Alex was so good that a few people have commented that they thought it was the record being played rather than him singing!
I wanted a vintage birdcage cake and for all the colours to reflect the colours of the day. Charlotte from Lella’s Cupcakes really listened to exactly what we wanted – the cake was delicious, I am just disappointed I didn’t get to eat more of it! Contact details
I also collected lovely glass vases and bowls and created a sweetie table – all the sweets were pastel coloured and I also sourced pink and white striped paper bags from eBay. I had seen a few of these in wedding magazines and blogs but for most people it was something they hadn’t seen before. The table proved to be very popular – all the sweets were gone by the end of the night!
It’s The Little Touches
We wanted to add our own touches to the existing decor of Preston Court so we filled lace jars with LED lights – these were dotted inside the barns and outside in the courtyard and in the evening they looked magical.
We also tied ribbon in pink and cream on the jars onto every chair. I love photos and spent hours selecting and printing photos of all of our guests. This was a really personal touch and people have told me they really enjoyed looking at all the photos on display, especially ones of themselves that they hadn’t previously seen.
My friend Sally and I also went to a reclaim yard one lunchtime and saw two cream metal birdcages, it was like they were just sitting waiting for me to buy them. We used one as a card post box, decorated with ribbon and lace and the other was filled with flowers and hung from the trees on the island where we got married.
My Dad made paper pom poms in pink and cream, we hung these up in the barn and outside. They looked so cute and it was lovely for my Dad to get involved in the detail of the day.
Lastly we captured a Coney Island feel by providing little white deck chairs for the guests and added a Showman’s wagon for a bit of vintage detail which also doubled up as a beautiful place to go and get changed into my second dress!
It was lovely to do things ourselves as it made the planning so much fun and on the day I felt proud that the venue looked so fantastic as we had done this ourselves.
Words Of Wisdom
If I had to choose then there were several aspects that made our wedding special to us. The carousel which our guests jumped on after the ceremony and during the evening, the popcorn cart that made the rounds after the ceremony – this fitted so well with the carousel – and the fact that I changed into a second, shorter dress.
For me planning our happy day was a wonderful experience, which I fully embraced and enjoyed. I treated it as a project and researched all the lovely details and kept track of the finances on one of my infamous spreadsheets. Being so organised throughout meant it wasn’t a stressful experience.
I am lucky to have really supportive friends and family who were all keen to help out in any way. My sister in particular was my rock and put up with wedding related emails almost daily for eighteen months; she was fantastic and I can’t wait to repay the favour to her when it is her time to get married. It was also lovely to have one of my best friends getting married at the same time – I will treasure all the conversations we had around flowers and shoes and details, it really brought us closer together.
The guest list can be a contentious issue with weddings. There were a few people who were put out by our choice of invitees, but this made us stronger as a couple as we really wanted to stick by the decisions we had made. The people that were there were people that reflected our lives at that point, I didn’t want to have long lost family members or people we didn’t know – everyone there was special to us and looking round on the day this was so important to us. It was a relaxed, happy day and there is nothing I would have done differently.