If you’re planning a destination wedding in France, then I highly recommend you read through this wedding with a notebook and pen, as Bride Amy has tonnes of great advice for tackling the difficulties you may encounter. Even if you’re not getting married abroad, I think we can all appreciate the beautiful blooms and decor here…
Amy looked incredible in Jesus Peiro, she tells us that this dress was miles away from what she imagined she’d end up choosing, so don’t be afraid to try on ALL the dresses, you never know which gown will end up being ‘the one!’
And if you’re looking for a destination photographer who will shoot your wedding in a natural, romantic style, then Sebastien Boudot is your man. Amy and Dan found him right here on Rock My Wedding when looking at real weddings, so lets continue the circle! You can get in touch via his website.
Katie & Tommy love London city, so the search was on to have a day full of everything they love, including a boat ride of the Thames.
They stumbled across Trinity Buoy Wharf which is a great dry hire venue and meant they could have a wedding that truly reflected them. There’s hanging lanterns, trestle tables and paper origami boat name place tags as well as a sweet treat Kinder Surprise favour. Plus the most spectacular paper flower altar backdrop made by Katie’s super talented Mum which you are going to absolutely LOVE.
But onto our gorgeous Bride, she is the picture of elegance in her Jesús Peiró gown, and her laser cut Rupert Sanderson shoes….let’s just say you have to see them….oh my I’m green with envy!
Ahhh how elegant does everyone look at this wedding? It’s so lovely to see Bridesmaids in rich dark purple floor length gowns, the boys in tails and gorgeous Bride Hannah in a structured dress by Jesus Peiro. Just because you’re having a barn wedding, it doesn’t mean that you have to have rustic or bohemian styling, and Gate Street Barn is a fabulous venue for versatility – we’ve featured so many weddings from there, all with their own individual style, and all of them have looked gorgeous!
Hannah & Luke’s big day looks like such a joyful occasion and we love the soft, golden light that seems to flood every image – Karina at Richmond Pictures by Karina Lax has done a fabulous job of capturing every special moment, and there were lots and lots of them! Come and take a look…
Classic elegance is the perfect way to sum up this morning’s wedding for it possesses these two qualities in abundance. Rachel and Matthew tied the knot at Farbridge near Chichester amongst a backdrop of cute flower girls, ruffled wedding cakes, adoring guests and glamorous neutral decor.
Can we just take a moment to feast our eyes on Rachel’s Jesus Peiro dress complete with THAT bow. Immense. Oh and appreciation needs to be shown for the bridesmaids’ ensemble – composed of a skirt and top rather than the traditional dress. We think they look ruddy gorgeous!
I’ll let Rachel tell you all about the handmade flower walls which are hands down the best backdrop I’ve ever seen. I’m also green with envy over her DIY skills. And the flower girls? How FLIPPING cute are they!!
Bridesmaids in yellow never fail to make me happy. And Bride Sara found her lovely maids such a pretty little number from Coast that’s just perfect for a summer wedding.
Sara herself wore a deliciously light and floaty Jesus Peiro number which she accessorised with delicate pearl earrings and such a pretty creamy white bouquet.
The fashion stakes were maintained by the mini people too – just wait until you see the flower girls in their gypsophila crowns and the little dude in his bow tie – seriously cute!
Given that Sara and Ed had such a lot of little people at their wedding, they hired the services of Safe & Sound to look after the children so that parents could relax. It’s such a great idea and it looks like the kids had just as much fun at the wedding as the grown ups did…
Oh so elegant…that’s how I would describe Honor and David’s beautiful big day.
The lovely pair were lucky enough to marry at an idyllic church close to Honor’s parents home. They then held their reception back at the house in a marquee, in the rather stunning walled garden.
For a sunny summer wedding I don’t think you can beat a sage green and pale pink colour combination – Honor’s Bridesmaids look particularly gorgeous in their green gowns made the Mother of the Bride and the rose-toned floral centrepieces in the marquee just look so pretty.
Honor looks divine in her structured Jesus Peiro gown and I love that she has softened the look with a billowing veil by Stewart Parvin.
All of this wedding loveliness has been captured by RMW regular, Especially Amy. Whose weddings are always ridiculously pretty…as you’ll see.
We’ve almost come through the depths of Winter…the end of February is in sight and today’s wedding will definitely make you feel like Spring is just around the corner. The combination of yellow flowers and gorgeous cornflower blue Bridesmaids dresses evokes daffodils and blue skies. I promise within a few weeks we’ll all be packing away the coats and jumpers and pulling out the dresses and floaty blouses. Well, let’s keep our fingers crossed anyway…
Bride Charlotte looks amazingly chic in an unusual Jesus Peiro gown, which has pockets. I know – so useful. And that giant ballerina bun looks fabulous – Charlotte has some serious cheekbones!!
I think my favourite thing about Charlotte and Nick’s wedding is actually the font they’ve chosen for their paper goods. It’s so simple, but so very effective. The table plan, place names, jam jar labels – everything is beautifully coordinated.
Emily and Hassan live in the Sudan, so being based away from home makes planning their wedding in six months all the more impressive.
They had an Islamic marriage ceremony last September in the basement of a bookshop, off Baker Street in London. How amazing does that sound?
Well, by combining the words of Rock My Wedding reader Emily and the simply stunning pictures of Dominique Bader, you are about to find out exactly how amazing it all was.
Warm And Homely
We had been looking for a venue that would be warm and welcoming for the standard British weather of cold, grey skies and rain. We ended up with a completely unexpected summer’s day with clear blue skies and hot sunshine. We still can’t believe our luck. The beautiful house at Newick Park in East Sussex was perfect for us whatever the weather. It was warm and homely with light airy rooms leading onto beautiful grounds – I wanted to move in permanently.
Being in Sudan for most of the planning, I became ‘mildly’ obsessed with wedding blogs and picked up a lot of ideas… Which were then realised through the joy of online shopping and Amazon – you really can find anything on there… Hundreds of tiny pencils for £3… Flamingo straws for £2.50… As my parents well know – one day they couldn’t get into the house because there were so many delivery boxes blocking the front door.
My dress was the romantically named 2041 from Jesus Peiro at White Mischief in Henfield, West Sussex. I had been to several stores in London with pushy salespeople and tried on every type of dress under the sun (and who doesn’t love a Disney dress even if you know you aren’t EVER going to be walking down the aisle in it) but went back every time to the simple a-line shape.
White Mischief were endlessly helpful (and patient) as I re-tried the same dresses over and over and then still couldn’t decide so returned the next day with my mum for a second opinion. We ordered it there and then, and went straight to the pub next door to calm our nerves. Given that I flew out to Sudan the following week and didn’t come back until two and half weeks before the wedding they were amazing to book all my fittings and get the alterations done in that short time.
The heavy fabric and clean lines just showed how beautifully well made it was but the button down sash and the pleated draping of the skirt at the back added interest and, despite my insistence on NO bling, the sparkle brooch on the flower was just enough to make it special. I love that dress. I’m so sad to be selling it but it’s better to be making someone else happy than going yellow in my wardrobe.
I felt Like A Bride
I had been umming and ahhing about a veil for months. I went for it in the end and am so glad I did. I felt like a bride in it.
My bracelet was ‘borrowed’ from my grandmother (and previously worn by my mother at her wedding too) and then my earrings… I saw them in a jewellery shop in Tunbridge Wells and informed Hassan it was my Christmas present (I think he was relieved that he didn’t have to come up with a xmas present idea himself). I wasn’t sure if they would work with the dress or be too much, and had to wait until my first fitting 2 weeks before the wedding to try them out, but they rocked. I can’t stop wearing them now. I wore them down to the supermarket last weekend because I missed them.
I have a lovely new Cartier wedding band to match my engagement ring, which was picked up from Port Sudan market en route to Ethiopia, where Hassan proposed to me. It’s made from Sudanese gold from the Red Sea Hills (the same gold the pharaohs used!!) and glass ´diamonds´ and it means so much to me.
One of my big sisters works in the shoe industry and had some custom shoes made for me in Italy. They were a simple court shoe in cream snakeskin and very very high heels! I still don´t have the feeling back in one toe but it was worth it.
Messy But Not Crazy
I was thinking of doing my own hair but in the end decided to ask Hollie, my most fabulous hairdresser, so I wouldn’t have to worry about a bad hair day or it falling down halfway through the ceremony. I went in with my laptop to her salon, Hair Design, in Lingfield, and showed her a couple of pictures of my dress and some similar hair styles I’d seen and liked. I think I then waved my hands about a bit and said things like ‘scrunchy’ and ‘messy but not crazy’. Then she just put my hair together exactly how I asked but better. On the day itself, I ended up driving down to her salon in the village (and getting a parking fine in a FREE car park along the way) and she sorted my hair out as well as giving me 20 minutes of peace and calm on the most hectic of days.
Arabic Confetti Cones
We knew we wanted a relaxed spring flower style. Once we started looking, we found we had many many tea-sets in my mum´s house that had been handed down from my grandmother and great aunt (so many). We ordered flowers from a Dutch wholesaler who shipped them over with UPS a couple of days before the wedding and added in some grown from my mum’s garden, then my mum, my sister (and later my sister’s boyfriend was roped in as well) and I spent the day before the wedding arranging them into the teacups and teapots!
We used Avalanche, Sweet Avalanche, Akito and Vendela Roses with white freesia, anemones, white and pink tulips, misty blue Eustoma, white ranunculus, lily of the valley, narcissus, and pink Garcia spray roses. The bouquets were a combination of the roses with a sprig of lily of the valley because both my mother and my grandmother had lily of the valley in their wedding bouquets. The buttonholes were roses with lily of the valley. It was surprisingly relaxing and so enjoyable putting lots of beautiful things together!
My mum also made the confetti from rose petals from our garden… And later on by decapitating roses on sale from Aldi. It was surprisingly easy to do especially considering how expensive it is to buy. I made confetti cones from Arabic language newspapers we brought back from Sudan as Hassan used to buy peanuts outside his school gate when he was little which were packaged in cones like that.
A Vague Pink Theme
We weren’t planning to be completely matching so asked the two Best Men to wear a grey suit if they had one and we ended up with various shades along with my Dad’s. We got them all some matching stripy Paul Smith socks and cufflinks, and the ties were varying shades of pink. I loved that some of our other friends and family knew we had a vague pink theme running through and wore pink ties as well.
My nieces wore white bridesmaid dresses from Pearce Fionda at Debenhams, which they promptly covered in all the badges and stickers we had made for the wedding. My younger sister was my only adult bridesmaid and we had a bit of a shopping drama involving buying several dresses and then returning them. In the end we found a fifties style dress with awesome underskirts, for a bargain in the North Lanes in Brighton, just the weekend before the wedding. She totally rocked that dress and it was so much more fun than some of the more traditional styles we had thought about. And it had pockets!
Hassan bought his charcoal grey suit, white shirt and a pale pink tie from Hugo Boss and wore his grandfather’s Omega watch that had also been handed down through his father and brother. He wore his own brown belt and normal dress shoes…Aapparently he just picked up the first pair of shoes he found in the cupboard when he was packing! Hassan is obsessed with diving, and sharks in particular, so my wedding gift to him was a pair of silver chunky shark cufflinks.
Relaxed And Confident
I was sitting on the rubbish internet connection in Sudan getting my daily fix of Rock My Wedding when I saw Dominique Bader’s engagement shoot with Ben and Charlotte. I made Hassan sift through her entire website and blog with me and, having fallen in love with her images, we booked her immediately. We’d been looking for a photographer for some time and it was one of the most important aspects for us – these would be our memories of the day.
We had our engagement shoot exactly one week before the wedding and the weather couldn’t have been more different – a proper windy March day. I had been quite nervous before the engagement shoot – I tend to just feel awkward and slightly embarrassed in front of the camera – but we met Dominique and Samuel and got to know them a little over a cup of tea and cake then braved the wind and cold to take some shots. We had so much fun with them. More importantly, we were relaxed and confident for our wedding day as we went into it knowing exactly what would happen, feeling comfortable about it, and totally trusting Dominique.
You can see our pictures so I don’t need to tell you how beautiful she made everything look. Everyone was busy enjoying themselves and drinking champagne in the sun and so many beautiful moments were caught, each more lovely than the last. Thank you Dominique and Samuel.
My mum made our beautiful wedding cake. On her own. A three tier cake with layers of rich fruit and cherry sponge, covered in pale pink icing and fresh roses for decoration. She iced it too. Oh, and many many cupcakes as well. We are so lucky. She’s amazing. She found a lot of useful cake related products from www.cakescookiesandcraftsshop.co.uk.
By our beautiful cake, we had photographs of our parents and grandparents cutting their own wedding cakes. My favourite one is of my grandparents – everyone is laughing so hard because they are pretending to cut a cardboard cake at their wartime wedding.
Baby Got Back
We had a photo booth in the evening from www.dreambooth.com because they are So. Much. Fun! They came with fancy dress and the booth itself was leopard print. That made me very happy, and it went down a storm with all our guests. Copies of the photos were then pasted in our guestbook and everyone wrote/drew/defaced in their own personal way. I just laugh and laugh when I look at that book.
During the drinks reception we had an iPod playlist though I’m not sure anyone heard it as we were all outside enjoying the sun. We had a dj from Brighton to provide the party in the evening. We were running late when we had our first dance, and time went so fast that we didn’t notice the dj kept playing after the planned stop time at midnight – for a good couple of hours… Oops! Highlights included the 90’s house section that had my cousins raging (I think the term ‘choon!’ was heard at some point), all generations dancing very enthusiastically to ‘baby got back’ towards the end of the night, and the best men doing the fatboyslim ‘praise him’ dance. We embraced the cheese.
Don’t Dip Me…
Our first song was Paul Weller’s “You Do Something To Me”. It’s a song we both loved when it first came out in the mid-nineties and one we now love to listen to together. I spent most of the first moments saying to Hassan “don´t dip me, don´t dip me, oh go on then, oh no no don´t dip me”.
I walked down the aisle to Sigur Ros ‘Staralfur’- one of my faves, we signed the register to ‘La fete au village’ by Amadou and Mariam, and we left to the strains of Finley Quaye ‘Your Love gets Sweeter’.
Hassan wanted to take the opportunity to be a rock star and play a few songs on his brother’s guitar before his speech (during which he made every single person in the room cry. Yes, I was sobbing again). He played a version of Outkasts ‘Hey Ya’, Beyonce’s ‘Halo’ and ‘You got the Love’ by The Source.
Cherry And Stawberry Pins
Both our families have been affected by cancer in the last years so it seemed natural to have a donation to Cancer Research as our favours, with some very cute cherry and strawberry pins I found in my local cancer research shop. Hassan’s favourite pin had ‘make today count’ on it. The place name tags were tied onto mini packets of love hearts and we had sugared almonds in teacups on some of the tables as a nod to tradition.
Hassan’s mum used her talents to put the key rings together for us so guests had something fun to take home on the day and as an ice breaker during the meal we made up a ‘wedding pub quiz’ with each table as a team. We made sure there was at least one question each guest could answer and had a ‘find the guest’ round. My sister announced the winners during coffee and (lame) prizes were handed out to the victors. Who cheated a lot, I might add.
Let’s Do It
I had dutifully read bridal magazines explaining how you need a theme but I couldn’t really think of one. I grasped at ‘pink’ for a while (hence the ties but it pretty much ended there) – we soon got bored and settled for a general mantra of “We thinks it’s fun, it makes us happy, so lets do it…”. Well, it worked for us…!
We had a piñata (officially for the kids…) because, well, any excuse to have a piñata. It was one of my favourite parts of the day standing in the sunshine and thwacking that cardboard donkey!
I had originally planned to have a sweetie bar but it didn’t seem to fit, plus I didn’t want to be seen hanging out by the sweetie bar all day scoffing. So we kept the sweets but just had loads of them dotted around the hotel in teacups and sugar bowls – which made surreptitious sweetie eating much easier.
We made giant pastel coloured pinwheels which lined the drive up to the hotel. They were an afterthought but looked amazing – totally worth my younger sister spending an afternoon taping them together! I made several photo collages which we framed and left lying around for people to pick up and find pictures of themselves and us.
We left some homemade blackboards and coloured chalk in both the bathrooms so people could write graffiti on them. At the end of the night the girl’s one was covered in drawings of flowers and lovely messages. The boy’s one was two sides of rudeness and insults.
I read about Senbazuru while researching our honeymoon to Japan. Senbazuru is a Japanese word meaning ‘1000 cranes’. The story is that the couple that folds 1000 origami cranes together will have a long, happy and successful marriage. The crane represents fidelity and longevity – it’s fabled to live 1000 years, and if an origami crane is folded for each year of its life it will grant a wish and bring you luck. The patience and concentration required to fold 1000 cranes is said to mirror the same needed for a successful marriage.
So Hassan and I folded our 1000 cranes (sitting in front of the telly – oops, not so arduous) and brought them over on the plane from Sudan in a plastic bag- it was interesting explaining that through the security checkpoints. We strung them up in the ceremony room in the morning before the ceremony and I was not expecting them to look as good as they did floating in the breeze with the sun streaming in through the open windows. They really were lovely and made the ceremony room more personal to us.
I made paper fortune cookies from origami paper, an idea and DIY found on www.oncewed.com in their favours section, for people to read their fortune. I had fun looking up obscure fortunes and sayings on the internet to use and we translated some random sayings from Arabic as well: “the ant that bites its own elbow can only blame itself”.
A Bit Of D.I.Y
We made up all the stationery ourselves – we just wanted something simple anyway – and then had it printed at a local photocopy shop! I found a free puzzle maker on www.discoveryeducation.com which makes up customised crosswords and word searches. We put these in our order of ceremony booklets, to entertain our guests while waiting for the ceremony to start, and then tied pencils to each booklet with ribbon.
Our wedding was about us and our family and friends. We both travel a lot in our lives and it was special to just have a day, with so many of the people we love to be with, altogether. We had so much fun and laughter all day long. Everyone who was there was important to us and that they were able to share our day with us was just brilliant.
If you read Rock My Wedding regularly, you notice the same advice coming back time and again from brides, and that’s because it’s true: The most difficult points will be the guest list and the seating plan; There will be at least one point where you will lose track of all reality about something really small – it’s ok. But it will happen. And it happens to all of us; Everyone will have an opinion, and sometimes you will need to compromise, but always remember it is your day; The day passes so fast – almost in a haze – I cannot explain how happy we are that we made finding an amazing photographer to catch those moments one of our priorities.
Hassan’s advice to all those grooms out there: It’s your day; do what you want – even if everyone tells you not to do it. And always say yes to your bride.
…though I can’t remember him always saying that to me!
Good groom advice there from Hassan – do what exactly what you want… Even if everyone tells you not to do it… Erm, Apart from if it’s the bride – in which case just say yes to whatever 😉
Seriously though – how cool is this wedding? I love the cranes, that is a perfect touch. All the little details and thought that went into this wedding must have made the guests feel so special… And you can tell that by looking through these photographs from Dominique Bader – check out all those smiles.
The flowers in the teapots… The groom having a little sing song… The piñata!! I so wish I’d been at this wedding – I’d have smacked that donkey up good.
The shoes were my first wedding purchase post engagement. And what a purchase they were! Of the shiny red sole variety and with heels of skyscraper heights, I was so wrapped up in these delightful little beauties (and the boy was so wrapped up in the cost 😉 ) I forgot that oh, yes, I would need a dress to go with them!
That’s where I became slightly stuck. I wouldn’t say that I was dreading dress shopping, but a supermodel I ain’t…unless supermodels are of the 5” 4 and a half variety (yes, that half IS important) and actually have curves.
So to say I was slightly apprehensive about the dress experience/ordeal/extravaganza/hell(feel free to delete as appropriate) would be fair.
You see, for me, shoes are always going to make a girl look fabulous (and me halfway to model heights), whereas any type of clothing can run the risk of causing upset when you, or more to the point – when I, look in the mirror.
I avoid jumpsuits, harem pants, and any form of shorts at all costs – they have all reduced me to tears…of laughter. Imagine a less orange umpalumpa and you get the picture.
It was my mum who persuaded me to go, and so began the search for my dress. I honestly can’t say that I knew what I wanted, I only knew what I didn’t want: nothing Jordan-esque, nothing bling-y, nothing that makes me look like I’m in Charlie & the Chocolate Factory, and my most important criteria……not to look like a ‘Bog Standard Bride’- a saying that has actually become my mantra, much to the amusement of shop assistants, and much to the bemusement of my dear mum.
And so the dress trying commenced. A line, princess, fishtail, short, long, slinky, hideous, lace, strapless, halter neck; I actually think I have tried on every type of dress there is.
I’ve been near naked, poked, prodded, and up close and pretty personal, to more sales assistants in Yorkshire than I want to remember. Not exactly my idea of heaven, particularly when my less than small backside had to do the undignified wiggle into far too many dresses.
Ahh yes, the ‘bridal wiggle’… such a new phrase for me, but so commonly used. I bet there aren’t many wedding photographers that have captured that endearing moment.
Anyway, I digress.
I’ve read far too many times about girls trying on half a dozen of dresses, and they instantly know when they have found The One. Cue – a teary bride, a crying mum, fanfares rejoicing, champagne corks popping, fireworks exploding and £ signs in the sales assistant’s eyes. After all that’s what happens, right?
It actually took me four months, about 50 dresses, eight dress shops, an encounter with the dress designer herself, and trying on every other dress in her range for me to realise that actually I had found The One in the very first shop. Yep, it was that magic sixth dress. It would seem that not only me, but also my mum, is missing that emotional gene that made us miss My One.
The Nearly “The One” Ones
Clockwise from top left:
Jesus Peiro – A designer I hadn’t heard of… but, the dress had pockets. I LOVE pockets. However, they weren’t enough to win me over – I just wasn’t sure it was ‘wow’ enough on me. Ian Stuart – One of mum’s favourites, and surprisingly one of mine. Off the hanger, I wasn’t so sure, but on… I loved it. Such a stunning dress. Sassi Holford – Before I tried on any dresses, I thought that she would be the designer for me. Beautiful dresses, but not one of them suited me – at the time I was so disappointed! Pronovias – I loved almost all of the Pronovias dresses that I tried on – so dramatic, yet at the same time, somehow understated. Surprisingly flattering too, which is always a good thing!
I can explain my mum’s reaction. You see, she is quite clearly an Ian Stuart bride and would have loved for me to have been one. I actually had visions of gliding (in my dreams!) out of the changing room to see my dear mum with one on, she loves them that much. Stunning dresses, yes, but they just aren’t me. But my reaction, well, it’s somewhat baffling.
You see, I cry at everything. The latest T-Mobile advert, Batman: The Dark Knight, Spooks, The Cube, Russell Brand’s autobiographies, I’m not exaggerating. I’m seriously going to need help come our wedding day when I hear my entrance music – I can’t even hear it now without welling up. My mascara doesn’t stand a chance!
I can only put it down to one thing. I love clothes too much. And, yes, I’ll admit it – I buy clothes too often, much to my delight and the boy’s dismay.
Wedding dress, work dress or party dress, it’s still a dress. Yes, possibly the most beautiful, glamorous and expensive dress that I will ever wear, but it’s still a type of clothing that I will always buy, therefore I have no need for an emotional reaction. Until I see my bank balance that is!
At least I can’t be accused of being impulsive. Thoughtful, composed and somewhat methodical was my approach – all of which are the exact opposite to how I usually live my life – and you know what, I’ve not had one single dress wobble yet. Promise.
I might be still holding out for mum’s emotional moment, but you can’t have everything. She had just better have onions at the ready and a pair of tweezers in her pocket come the big day.
Love Katie ‘who will have to let you guess the dress designer in case the boy reads this’