If there’s one thing I love more than the woods then it’s a wholesome, organic and glorious wedding day set against the backdrop of the aforementioned sylvan goods. Rebecca and Robin said ‘I Do’ at the beautiful Trevenna Barns in Cornwall amongst dappled glades in Peter Pan style.
Yes actual Peter Pan and Wendy style. Well less of the saccharine Disney version and more of the ‘woodsy, ethereal and magical’ type of theming as Rebecca so eloquently puts it. Filled to the brim with luscious detail, feathers and well-thumbed books, flags and pinecones and one heck of a beautiful headpiece.
Oh and then there’s the portrait shoots in amidst fronds of fern, the flipping fantastic tail coat sported by one of Rebecca’s brothers and Rebecca’s dreamy bouquet.
Laura and Dan’s big day is the epitome of classic elegance. The beautiful detailing and soft natural light caught so wonderfully by photographer Helen Cawte is like balm to the soul.
One of my favourite details of this ‘I Do’ is Laura’s beautiful Edwardian wedding frock made from the most exquisite hand-made lace – definitely channelling the ‘Downton’ vibe that Laura so wished to emulate. I also love her beautiful Debbie Carlisle headpiece which compliments her bobbed do perfectly – certainly a bit of inspiration for you shorter haired brides right there.
Lastly I have to say that I adore Laura’s perfectly oversized peach bouquet which harmonise wonderfully with the spotty maid dresses. After all you can’t beat a bit of coral and polka dot now can you…
Today’s wedding is all about embracing the season.
What better for a New Years Eve wedding than a candle lit ceremony, Bridesmaids in faux fur jackets, vintage roses in metallic vases and an exclusive Dublin townhouse from which to watch the fireworks at midnight?
There was only really one gown fit for the occasion…
And that of course, was Eden by Jenny Packham. The ultimate in glamorous wedding gowns.
Probably THE dress of 2013. But rightly so – it really is eternally beautiful.
I am well and truly embracing the festivities now, have a lovely Christmas everyone!
Venues That Speak For Themselves
Emma The Bride: We wanted a local, intimate, city wedding. With no fuss. It was also important that the venues had the wow factor. This meant they spoke for themselves and required very little dressing/styling.
Our civil ceremony was in City Hall on Dame St. Once we knew it was an option there simply was no other contender. City Hall is a stunning historical building in the city centre of Dublin.
The reception was in The Cliff Town House on St. Stephens Green. The Cliff Town House is a short stroll across Grafton St. from City Hall. It overlooks Stephens Green and has fabulous views of the park. The interior is gorgeous. It was the perfect size for our wedding (86 people) and it is known for it’s top notch food and wine.
We had the whole house for the wedding, the drinks reception took place upstairs, the meal was in the restaurant on the ground floor and the party was upstairs again. The bridal party and close family stayed in the 9 bedrooms.
A Spectacular View
There was a massive New Years Eve party in the city that night and we could see the fireworks over Stephens Green from the window of the restaurant (some of the guests watched from the front door). Outside the city was alive with NY’s celebarations and we were tucked away inside eating and drinking like royalty.
Antique And Vintage
The inspiration for the look of the wedding came from my 1905 antique engagement ring which was bought in Delphi Antiques. I love old buildings, old furniture, anything antique and vintage, I find them so interesting and romantic. I wanted a wedding to match the ring and that is how we settled on the venues and outfits.
Edwina Kelly did my make up. She was very calm and professional on the day. Christian from Brown Sugar did my hair and I absolutely loved it, he did it exactly what I wanted.
Gold And Silver Embellishment
My dress, Eden by Jenny Packham, captured the New Years eve look – platinum satin covered in silver and gold embellishment. Initially I struggled to find anything I remotely liked and visited numerous shops. I held out hope for the much anticipated Jenny Packham trunk show and it did not disappoint.
The sales assistant in Sharon Hoey’s recommended I start with my least favourite and work my way up to my favourite. Eden was the first on the list. To my surprise the minute I tried it on I LOVED it and the others paled in comparison. It was the first and only dress that I got excited about. I loved how it was so glitzy and thought it would be perfect for a New Years eve/winter wedding. I also liked that it was not white or expected – though some of my friends guessed the dress before they saw it – maybe it was predictable for me.
The Perfect Silk Tulle Veil
The dress was not very wedding dressy so I wanted to wear a veil to ensure I looked like a bride. I could not find what I was looking for and so I had a dress maker make one from silk tulle, I loved how light and soft the material was and how it fell. It also worked as a train as there was not one on the dress.
I searched all over for a suitable headpiece and ended up with two. The first was sourced on Etsy and came from a designer called Doloris Petunia in California. It was made to order and the designer matched the stones and petals to the colours of the dress. The net hair band matched the netting on the dress. It worked perfect with and without the veil. I am only dying for an excuse to wear it again.
With all the looking around for headpieces I ended up finding another beautiful piece in Knightsbridge in the Powerscourt shopping centre and wore that from the first dance on.
My shoes were a gift from my very generous parents in law. My friend and I got them in Jimmy Choo on Bond Street, London. My earrings were from Loulerie, they were very simple – gold drops with a little diamond. I lost them on honeymoon and poor Alan had to buy me a new pair. Alan’s suit was from Reiss and he wore a navy blue velvet tie and white shirt.
A Very Glamorous Wedding Party
We had two bridesmaids. My sister Sarah who flew back from Australia to be there and our lifelong friend Mairead. It was tricky to find dresses to go with the wedding dress and rather than trying to match them up we contrasted the complexity of the wedding dress with simplicity.
The colours tied everything together – silver/platinum dresses, grey faux fur coats and gold and silver shoes (Buffalo) and accessories. The dresses were from Cos, they were knee length and had a low and open back. In contrast to me the girls wore their hair up with a big pale grey flower loosely pinned in.
Sophie the flower girl (my niece) wore a Jenny Packham dress which replicated the wedding dress. And Oscar the page boy (Alan’s nephew and our God child) wore a navy suit from Zara.
The two Groomsmen wore slim fit navy blue suits from Marks and Spencer , with white shirts and silver ties.
Metallic For New Years Eve
The colour palette was metallic – predominately silver with some gold – and navy blue. The metallics were inspired from the dress and the navy blue from the guys suits and the decor of the Cliff Town House. These colours were reflected in the wardrobe, invites, menus, table plans, and décor. The theme was New Years eve vintage/antique.
The two venues are so beautiful that they really needed very little added. Lighting was very important in both venues so lights were dimmed and there could never be too many candles. Inside City Hall we had a focal point at the top where there were two large candelabras and two huge urns of flowers.
Again candles and flowers were the main additions to the Cliff Town House. The three fireplaces were adorned with candles and flowers as were the tables. All flowers were the same colour scheme as the bouquets. Sparklers were placed in the menus and our guests lit them as we entered the room for the meal.
Natural And Messy Flowers
Flowers were white, purples, pale pinks – all complementary with metallics. They were natural and messy rather than perfect and structured, the girls had smaller version of mine and the flower girl had a smaller version again. The men’s button holes were particularly nice and they were all different. Noting was too matchy-matchy.
As I mentioned above, we had two massive urns of flowers in City Hall, these were then brought to the Cliff House. There were also flowers on all mantle pieces and tables. They were displayed in small metallic vases. Our florist was Mark Grehan from Powerscourt.
One Day Like This
The venue was so beautifully lit, it was getting dark and the candle light was amazing. The music was brilliant – we had a guitarist / singer and violinist – they had never worked together before but were perfect together. The music really was very moving and gave me goose bumps. The poems were read by Emer (close friend of Emma) and Adam and Zoe (Alan’s niece and nephew).
Our music choices included ‘One Day Like This’ by Elbow, Katie Herzig & Matthew Perryman Jones ‘Where The Road Meets the Sun,’ an acoustic version of The Beatles ‘All You Need Is Love’ and Lumineers ‘Ho Hey.’
We chose not to have a band due to the size of the venue. Instead we had a dj and it worked perfect. The rooms were amazing, the fires were blazing the champagne flowing and everyone was on the dance floor from the get go. The cocktail bar opened on to the reception room where the dance floor was so people could to and fro. Our first dance was to Katie Herzig ‘Dreams Come True’ followed by Calvin Harris ‘Feel So Close To You.’
A Special Cake
Our cake was baked by Sarah (Bridesmaid) and her boyfriend. We loved that Sarah and Eric made the cake (chocolate biscuit cake and ruby sponge cake) as it gave it significance and made it much more special. Mairead made the love heart cake topper the night before when the actual cake topper was sent to Columbia instead of Dublin!!
Our favours were sparklers – they were a bit of fun for people and added to the NY’s eve theme.
Simple And Elegant Stationery
Stationery was very important as I work in advertising. There was a common design for all and this helped tie things together. The design was simple and elegant – a large navy blue ampersand and Emma and Alan in silver. This worked across the invites, menu, ceremony booklet and thank you cards.
The table plan was written on an ornate silver mirror in silver pen by the very steady handed Mairead.
Delegate On The Day
Enjoy the day. You spend so much time planning it and sometimes people do not get around to enjoying it. We tried to relax on the day and enjoyed every single minute of it.
Delegate for the big day. Try not have any responsibilities on the day. You have done enough and it is time to enjoy! Make sure to spend plenty of time with your husband, the day is all about you two after all…
It was very important to us that the photos were relaxed and not posed. Immediately after meeting Peter at Explore Light, we knew he was our perfect photographer – he just got us. He understood what we wanted and the fact that we did not want to spend hours on photos when we had a room full of guests to entertain. Peter worked really hard to stick to a schedule and he actually had us back to the drinks reception early.
Emma and Iain’s big day is the epitome of romantic elegance.
The exquisite colour scheme of pinks, nudes, creams and blush pervades everything in their wedding; it’s present in Emma’s luscious bouquet (that frankly looks good enough to eat), in their music inspired stationery (LOVE the ‘love notes’!) and their beautiful dessert table too…even right down to the dashing outfits sported by the wedding party.
It’s clear from all the gorgeous details that Emma talks about below that the pair of them invested a huge amount of love and thought into their day so it’s an honour to hear that Rock My Wedding was such a major source of inspiration during their planning journey.
Honestly hearing such wonderful feedback makes our blinking week!
I won’t delay you any further; go on check out Emma and Iain’s splendid day for yourselves.
The Crazy Bear
Emma The Bride: We married at the Crazy Bear Stadhampton in Oxfordshire. From the outside it appears to be a cute English country pub, but inside reveals an, eccentric, wholly unique wedding venue.
Here’s the thing, I didn’t choose the venue…the groom did. Yep, that’s right, one of the biggest decisions of the entire day was made by the Boy, but boy, did the Boy do good! While we live in Switzerland, the majority of our friends and family live in the UK and we always knew we would get married on British soil.
I had always imagined getting married somewhere in a traditional stately home with manicured lawns, but when the time came, this ideal just didn’t seem to “fit” us as a couple. Instead we set out to find something a little bit cool with a casual atmosphere that offers great food. I was feeling bewildered after hours of web research, shortly after our engagement. That is when Iain casually picked up his iPad and showed me the Crazy Bear. It is near to his mum’s house in Oxford (“Wedding Planning Basecamp”), has great food and is super quirky. Damn it, he is good.
Make My Eyes Pop
My make up was all due to the wonderful Jodie Hazlewood. In the end I left all the decisions to Jodie. She had a sense of what to do after getting to know me and using the style of my wedding dress as her inspiration. My only direction was; “make my eyes ‘pop’”. What this woman can do with a set of individual false lashes is something to behold!
As for hair, Jodie recommended the lovely Jeni, a stylist she regularly partners with at events. My bridesmaids were free to have their own style and we ended up with a variety of looks. Jeni did such a great job of interpreting what they wanted and each one looked so incredibly pretty! It was a foregone conclusion that I would wear my hair up as it is rarely down. With Jeni’s help, we found a style that was quite simple and elegant – this was the perfect balance as my dress and accessories were incredibly detailed.
Dress shopping didn’t exactly come easily to me. I’m not a dress kind of girl. Weddings are the only time I willingly wear one. That left me with no idea what I wanted, what suited me or where to start. Each shopping trip left me frustrated. I remember standing there in someone else’s idea of “the perfect dress”, squeezed into a corset because “it would make my waist look tiny” and thinking, “How will I sit down? Will I be able to eat? How will I dance in this thing? Most importantly how will I pee?!” These dresses were all a sign that I needed to be me. I needed to pick a dress that made me feel comfortable.
My girlfriends and I went to Copenhagen for a weekend and having seen how frustrating I was finding the whole wedding dress experience, they booked me an appointment at Vintage Bride to prove to me that it could be an enjoyable and fun experience. We found ourselves in the most incredible bridal boutique with Maria, its attentive and sweet owner: I was sold and I hadn’t even tried anything on.
I found love again when I put on the Jenny Packham ‘Esme’. My friends’ reactions confirmed this was the dress for me. Everyone always says to try something you would never imagine yourself in and this dress was the complete opposite of the plain and simple dress I had expected to choose. This dress is ALL about detail. The beading, though heavy, added a sense of elegance and the shape avoided the “princess” silhouette I had feared. Slipping it on felt elegant and yet, strangely comfortable – a combination I hadn’t expected. I also thought it suited our venue, sealing the deal, I bought it there and then without a second thought (sorry, Iain)!
Only I would buy an English dress in Denmark, to then have to take it to Switzerland for alterations before finally taking it to England to walk down the aisle in!
Two Pairs Of Choos
Once I had the dress on, Maria brought out a headdress and the most incredible wrist candy to match, the Jenny Packham Acacia II in Crystal. And the rest, as they say, is history!
I was a bit spoilt as far as shoes went, as I actually had two pairs of Jimmy Choos! I don’t wear them often as I am 5ft 11” but I knew I wanted some heels for the day, if you can’t stand tall and proud on your wedding day when can you?! Iain took me shopping and treated me to a gorgeous pair of metallic Jimmy Choo heels that he gave to me on the day of the wedding. What he didn’t know is that I had been a little sneaky and bought myself a rather equally fabulous pair of dancing shoes… Jimmy Choo hightops!
I kept the rest of my jewellery very simple; with a pair of pearl stud earrings Iain had bought me as a Christmas present one year and my late Grandmothers ring. It was really important to me that I had something of hers with me on the day, and her beautiful ring became my ‘something old and borrowed’.
I completely forgot about my ‘something blue’ that was rescued by my ever-resourceful mum running out to buy me some thin blue ribbon that we tied in a small bow to the heel strap on my shoes. Phew!
I did get one other rather cheeky little accessory about a week before the wedding; a small wrist tattoo. Tattoos are for life after all, as I hope our marriage will be. We both got one which was such a cool thing to do together (Iain’s was not a cute heart just to be clear; it was much more manly of course)!
I had three gorgeous bridesmaids: my best friend Jools who was my maid of honour (the self named “Honourable Chief”), my cousin Laura and my soon to be sister-in-law Fiona. They all wore Twobirds maxi dresses in Rosewater. All the girls have such different looks so these dresses really gave them the flexibility to choose the style they most felt comfortable in.
For accessories I let them pick their own but I did surprise them all with a personalised perspex clutch bag to use on the day. These were by MNO.logie and came all the way from Bali – they are so cool because you can just switch the inserts inside to match your outfit! Each was personalised with their name and the date of our wedding – I even treated myself to one with a white insert and “Mrs Downie” engraved on the clasp!
A Flash Of Pink
The groomsmen (don’t they make a handsome bunch?!) wore a grey three piece suit, white shirt and black tie all from Marks and Spencers to tie in with the grey and pink theme. We also bought them all bright pink socks from Ralph Lauren to add a flash of colour.
As for the delicious groom, I can’t go without mentioning his wedding day attire. I’d like to claim his outfit was down to me, but it was 100% him! He picked a gorgeous Hugo Boss suit and tie, a white shirt from Reiss and a rather fabulous pair of suede brogues from Church’s. For accessories he wore his late Grandfather’s braces and a tiepin from Lanvin (unfortunately he forgot his tiepin for the best part of the day, only remembering to put it on during dinner!). Ladies I know I am biased but the boy looked FIT!
I was the bride who didn’t think she was bothered about the details and I swore I wouldn’t have pink… a few months later my inner girl had been released (who knew?!) and my blush pink, ivory and pale grey wedding with all those little details was coming together. It all started when “The Honourable Chief” introduced me to Rock My Wedding, I was instantly hooked by the pages of prettiness, the effort some of these brides were going to was phenomenal and I wanted in on the action! I then started a board on Pinterest and just added pictures of things I liked and from there I was able to pick out what colour schemes most appealed to me.
The Crazy Bear’s décor is predominantly black and gold, so I decided on more subtle light pastels to keep things classy and simple. The venue is already quite uniquely decorated, so I let it speak for itself and just tried to add hints of grey, pink, black or gold here and there to tie everything together.
There was a very loose music theme to our day as Iain and I actually got together at Glastonbury. Our table names were songs from artists we had seen together, and our orders of services were made to look like festival programs.
One of my favourite pieces of décor was the fab “Love” sign from Vowed and Amazed. This was another sneaky purchase from me to surprise Iain with, it looked awesome lit up on the dancefloor in the evening!
When it came to wedding flowers we knew exactly who we wanted to ask. Helen is the mum of one of Iain’s close school friends and runs a small floristry business ‘Passion for Flowers” with her business partner Liz. She’s also one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. Helen has known Iain since he was 13 and we knew she’d be thrilled to be involved. So one night over a bottle of wine, I popped my Pinterest board in front of her and we picked the flowers. I believe the word “sumptuous” was used to describe what I wanted… wine will do that to you.
My flowers were a mix of ‘Upper Secret’,’Sweet Avalanche’,’Avalanche’ and ‘Akito’ roses, ‘White Lady’ spray roses, Eustoma, Gypsophila, Astrantia, Astilbe, Amaranthus, Hydrangea, Eucalyptus and lots of foliages.
Helen constantly reviewed my Pinterest board and from there put together her interpretation of what I wanted; they were so incredibly beautiful! In the ceremony room there was the most amazing arrangement on top of the fireplace with all this tumbling foliage and four alphabet mugs from Anthropologie that spelt the word L.O.V.E with small arrangements in them on the registrars table. These were all later transferred into the reception room where we had the stunning candelabra and hurricane vase arrangements, Helen also made me two adorable heart shaped wreaths that hung on the back of mine and Iain’s chairs.
Yes I’ll Marry You
Before our wedding, I was most anxious about reading my vows. I’m not an openly emotional person so I was terrified to say something so personal in front of all my friends and family! I shouldn’t have worried. There is something so special about standing in front of the person you love and making those promises; in that moment you truly are the only two people in the room. Iain and I both wrote our own vows and didn’t share them with each other until that day, and as I stumbled over every single word choked by tears, I can categorically say I have never ever been happier.
We had two readings during our ceremony; the first was “Yes I’ll Marry You” by Pam Ayres. I chose this reading because it’s a poem that my late grandmother and I used to read together when I was young; it’s always been one of my favourites and was another small tribute to her on the day. The second reading was “He’s not Perfect” by Bob Marley; I love the honesty of it, reminding us not to live up to an idealism of love but just to appreciate it in it simplest and truest form.
A Shared Love
Music is one of our shared loves and I guess how Iain and I finally came together as a couple. We are known amongst our friends for being the couple that will always give it everything on the dancefloor – we knew we had to throw a pretty epic party to remain true to form!
Cue the Wedding Smashers. From start to finish our dancefloor was completely packed, with us witnessing some of the most “enthusiastic” dancing we have ever seen from our friends and family. The music was so good that I quickly went from elegant bride to bouncing, twirling, gyrating mistress of the dancefloor. Even my 84-year-old Grandparents were there until the last song! More impressive was that they took our rather eclectic list of requests and somehow made them sound like they always belonged to be played side by side. I honestly can’t recommend them enough – every wedding should be smashed!
Our first dance was to “Ho Hey” by The Lumineers. I have to say it ended up being our favourite part of the day, surrounded by all our friends and family singing along at the top of their voices before mobbing us on the dancefloor – it was a brilliant feeling!!
Roast Beef And Yorkshire Pudding
Food was always quite high on our priorities for the day and the Crazy Bear is pretty well known for its grub! For starter we had oak smoked Scottish salmon served with brioche, crushed quails’ eggs, and a caviar & dill dressing. For main it was roasted rib of Aberdeen Angus beef and Yorkshire pudding. Now, you may think this choice is a little unoriginal, but when you are a Yorkshire lass living in Switzerland, roast beef and Yorkshire pudding is not something you come by often! There was no question in my mind about what I wanted to eat on my wedding day! For dessert we finished up with white peach jelly layered with champagne poached peaches, vanilla cream, pink champagne sorbet and raspberries.
My gorgeous naked wedding cake and dessert table was created by Lauren, the owner of French Made. Neither of us are a fan of icing, or of the traditional fruit cake, so Lauren created us this beautiful three-tiered raspberry sponge – it was delicious! I’d mentioned Iain’s favourite dessert was cheesecake and on the day there was the cutest mini cheesecake slices for him! We also had my favourite – macarons, provided by the lovely Anges De Sucre.
But this is not where we stopped with the food. We also had a cheese tower from Neals Yard in London. I’d like to say it’s because I was thinking of the gluten-free members of our wedding party, but that would be lying – I just LOVE cheese. I left my Mum and Aunt in charge of creating the cheese table and I have to say they did such an amazing job!
Oh, and don’t forget the sweetie table…. I mean no wedding is complete without sweeties right?!
For favours we wanted to bring a touch of Switzerland to the wedding and so down at “Wedding Planning Basecamp” my mum, mother in law and I spent hours patiently filling little glass bottles with Swiss Schnapps. I stamped each “thank you” heart label and tag by hand with our monogram, a task that was painstaking but I was so thrilled with the results! Lets just say this little gift certainly helped to loosen up a few of our guests and get conversation flowing!
Laugh All The Time
Our paper goods were created by Berin Made, I’m a bit of a sucker for some beautifully crafted lettering and so fell in love with Erin’s designs the second I came across her website – they are just so pretty!
As well as creating the tableplan, menus, table name labels and placecards, she also made me the cutest “Love is Sweet” sign for the dessert table and my “Love Notes” where guests could leave their “Words of wisdom for a triumphant marriage”. We read through these on our way to our honeymoon the next day, some of them are pure gold! My favourite was from my Uncle who simply wrote: “Laugh all the time. Except when Iain takes his underpants off” – brilliant!
Erin also made me a stamp of the monogram of our two names, which I used to tie in other elements of the wedding.
I made each of the female guests a little Wedding Survival kit, which I left on their seats. This contained painkillers (for the morning after), chewing gum (for sweet breath), stain remover (because anything could fall in their lap), plasters (to patch up their dancing feet) and tissues (in case they got something in their eye).
As a nod to where Iain and I got together I made our Order of Service to look like festival programs. I was so pleased with how these turned out and it was so great to see guests of all ages walking around with them hanging around their necks.
Plan And Delegate
My advice is to do as much as you can in advance – and if you can’t, delegate. Due to circumstances of living abroad, I had a lot to do in a very limited time. This meant the morning was incredibly hectic and it wasn’t until about 30 minutes before I was due to walk down the aisle that it finally hit me that it was my wedding day! So take some time to step back and really enjoy, it’s your big day after all, and honestly all those details really don’t matter in the end.
Pinterest is really great for pulling ideas together for your day, I found it so useful when planning I could refer suppliers I wasn’t able to meet personally to my boards and from there they could understand the look I was trying to achieve.
RMW was a major, no scrap that, THE major influence in my wedding planning, it led me to my amazing suppliers (#dreamteam), on a mad hunt to find pale grey candles “just like Lolly’s” (yes that really happened) and was a constant source of ideas and inspiration. Even though my wedding day has been and gone I’m still addicted and check in on the blog everyday!
Making New Friends
By far our best decision regarding the wedding was booking our photographer Ann-Kathrin Koch. I stumbled across a wedding she’d shot on RMW’s pages and instantly fell in love, she just gives such a dreamy, romantic quality to all her photos. The first time we met Ann was for our engagement shoot, up a mountain, in Austria. What we had envisaged was clear blue skies, breathtaking views and crisp white snow. What we got was the most horrendous weather conditions for a photoshoot – a complete white out! Ann was great for even agreeing to meet us up a mountain in the first place, then she braved the freezing conditions with a massive grin on her face and coaxed an extremely camera shy couple out of their shells to produce some of my now, most prized photographs. In short, she is awesome.
On our wedding day Ann, and her number two for the day Marco, were so great to have around. They are both so fun and easy going that we felt more like we were hanging out with two friends for the day. Marco gets special thanks for saving me multiple times from a rather aggressive and persistent wasp during our portrait shots! I am so thrilled with our wedding photos and still look at them every day.
Jodie Hazlewood was an absolute gem and so great to have around in the morning. Besides the make-up, she helped my girls to figure out their timings for walking down the aisle and gave me a couple of well-needed pep talks to calm my nerves! Thanks Jodie!
Another great decision was choosing to hire a photobooth for the evening. Supplied by the awesomely named Blue Steel Booths, the pictures that were taken throughout the evening are nothing short of hilarious and gave our guests a great memento to take home with them. Blue Steel were brilliant and even got our guests to stick copies of their photos along with a message into an album, which they presented to us as a guestbook at the end of the evening!
I love quirky wedding venues and this one is a goodie. Today’s very pretty affair comes from the Yorkshire Sculpture Park – the open, airy spaces of the venue and the lush, green surrounding countryside make the perfect backdrop for Lou and Al’s wedding. Plus the cool sculptures and art work were instant entertainment for the guests.
Lou is Bride who definitely created the wedding she and Al wanted – this wedding isn’t full of fussy details, there’s no traditional gown, no favours and the cake is a giant Krispy Kreme tower!
Lou The Bride: Hello! We are Lou and Al. I (Lou) am from North Wales originally and Al is a Sheffield boy born and bred. We now live in Cheshire. We got married on the 30th June 2012 at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park in West Yorkshire. As well as being a favourite place of ours to visit, it is an amazing space and is a totally unique place to get married.
Short Was The Way To Go
My dress was by Candy Anthony, I knew I always wanted a short dress and had seen a picture of a similar one online which lead us to the photographers we chose! I still thought I should check out other styles so one of my bridesmaids came dress shopping with me – we soon concluded that I looked like a child dressing up with some of the more sophisticated styles and short was the was way to go.
A Cracking Pair Of Shoes
I wore a vintage inspired Jo Barnes head band. I found hair accessories difficult as wanted something vintage that was faded and sparkly but couldn’t find anything quite right – until I found Jo. My shoes were Jimmy Choo’s Luna in metallic gold and silver. The leather is so soft it meant I could dance all night with no issues. The best thing about a short dress is you can justify indulging in a cracking pair of shoes.
Loose Curls And Sixties Lashes
Hair and make-up was done by the lovely Charlotte Dobson, we went for loose curls and sixties lashes.
Muted Pinks And Greens
The flowers were done by Sheffield based Swallows and Damsons. They were muted pinks and greens of freesias, peonies, roses and eucalyptus. For the table and ceremony room decorations I collected cut glass bud vases from charity shops.
The groomsmen wore their own suits – no colour scheme and no theme. Bridesmaid’s outfits were muted pink lace dresses from Warehouse – we added a grey net skirt underneath for extra pooooof and the shoes were from Zara.
The grooms outfit was a black bespoke suit from Richard Smith, Deansgate Manchester. Shoes were Paul Smith and had purple heels.
Lovely To Deal With
We came across Christian and Erica searching online and loved their shots. When we met them we loved their approach (it actually felt like they were guests) they captured everything we had asked for and were generally lovely to deal with.
Saving It For Later
Al has a serious well documented donut addiction so it was a really easy decision for our cake. We opted for a Krispy Kreme donut tower decorated with fresh strawberries and icing sugar… which was a total hit. I had numerous texts off our friends and family the next day saying that they had found squashed Krispy Kremes in their handbags.
We had a brilliant band called The Big Beat who played indie tunes all night long. Our highlight of the evening was Fleetwood Macs ‘The Chain’ – in honour of Al and Uncle Nicks endless Grand Prix marathon sessions (always accompanied by a box of 12 Krispy Kremes.)
Music was important part of our day…. But we dreaded the first dance. I’m no shrinking violet but I literally woke up in cold sweats about it. We decided to play the Beatles ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’ but encouraged everyone get up and dance with us. The music we chose for the ceremony was much more special to us and included tunes from Athlete, Ray Lamontagne, the Jam and Rifles. We walked out of the ceremony to the Stone Roses ‘She Bangs The Drum.’
You Look Amazing
We didn’t have any favours, but we did hand out white pencils intended to sign our wedding postcards which were engraved in gold with ‘you look amazing.’
The best thing about using the Yorkshire Sculpture Park for a venue is that it has paintings and sculptures everywhere you look. From the restaurant where we had the wedding breakfast there were also sheep dotted views that stretch out over the West Yorkshire countryside for as far as you can see. We also had a full end-to-end rainbow that came out during the wedding breakfast!
The ceremony was a blank canvas so we decorated this with loads of white paper lanterns that hung from the ceiling, and used tuille and vintage lace for table coverings and door covers.
Make It Personal
Take the time to think about readings that are personal to you as they will be much more memorable. We had two readings, one was an adaptation of the Lovely Dinosaur by Edward Monkton and the other was a piece from a Rob Ryan Painting that we had bought from YSP when we were first together.
If there’s anything you don’t want to do that breaks from tradition, don’t do it – it’s your day! Use trusted suppliers – they make it easy for you to relax and enjoy the day. And finally, do a food and wine tasting so you can enjoy the food in advance! I didn’t eat one thing on the day as I was so excited!
And cool because, well, this is a winter wedding. Michelle and Richard married back in January (the whitest January on record!) at Babington House. They chose their venue because they could take over the whole place, stay the night and have breakfast the next day.
Chris and Ele instantly fell in love with Notley Abbey when they went to look around its wonderfully aged walls and were determined that this was the place for them. So much so that they didn’t view any other venues.
When you just know, you know, don’t you.
And I can totally see why they picked this beautiful venue. Exquisite gardens, sheep in the surrounding fields and a whole heap of history.
And that’s not all. Ele looks like a fairytale princess in her Lyn Ashworth gown and Chris looks as proud as punch to call Ele his wife. Their love for each other positively emanates from the photos below.
Just you wait and see.
Ele The Bride: I was torn between a Lyn Ashworth dress called ‘Scarlett’ and a Jenny Packham dress (which had always been my dream!) but after lots of deliberating I just knew Scarlett gave me loads of confidence and felt like something I could swoosh around in all day and feel comfortable in. Scarlett was a full organza skirt with bodice top and detailed straps, with a detailed belt.
I never thought I would wear a veil as every time I put one on I just felt like the corpse bride! In the end though when my dress arrived and the lovely ladies from Brides of Berkhamsted convinced me to try a full length simple veil it was like the icing on the cake. I kept my jewellery pretty simple as I didn’t want to overwhelm the detail on the dress and just opted for some drop earrings borrowed from my mum.
Shoes were also important to me. I knew I wanted something that I would get use out of again, so for me this ruled out white satin shoes (especially seeing as I knew I would be out on the grass during the day). In the end I found a perfect pair of sparkly Jimmy Choos which I felt were understated but special enough for the occasion. I also had a pair of corn flower and peach Vivienne Westwood jelly shoes (my sister, also maid of honour, had a pair to match!) which matched the bridesmaids dresses perfectly for the dancing in the evening. I also had a pair of peach Hunter wellies in case the rain came!
A Bevy Of Beauties
I really deliberated over my big day make-up. I got in touch with Nikki and she put me completely at ease and assured me that we could do a bridal look without being too bridal..if that makes sense. She was an absolute star on the day and even managed to help all of my eight lovely bridesmaids with their eyes which was great!
The team from Ciente in Berkhamsted did all of our hair, quite a feat with eight bridesmaids, and even managed to do my Dad’s! The girls had a selection of flowers for their hair if they wanted. It was important to me that everyone wore something that felt like them, so I didn’t ask for any particular hairstyles etc.
Beautiful English Country Flowers
One of the most important elements of the day for me was getting the flowers right. I researched hard for London florists prepared to come out to the country, but they all seemed beyond the budget
I stumbled across a website for Green and Gorgeous in Oxfordshire and fell in love straight away. Beautiful English country flowers, from a few miles up the road, that would be chosen the day before the wedding depending on what was looking best in the garden.
I met with Jo and she was honestly so helpful and understood everything that I wanted to achieve with the flowers, including my request for a ridiculously oversized bouquet and a big hanging pom pom for the ceremony! I adore dahlias so knew these would need to be a big feature.
When it came to decorating the venue, Jo and her team were a delight to work with and turned up on the day with an enormous quantity of flowers which were arranged around each of the rooms in a massive assortment of loaned vases, jugs and bottles. Just gorgeous!
It was very exciting a few days before the wedding going round the garden and picking the biggest most amazing dahlias for the centrepieces, and it was extra special knowing it was all home grown from just down the road. We kept the table centres fairly simple and opted for a variety of smaller displays and tea light holders.
Twobirds Bridesmaids were a complete dream to work with. It was really important to me that the dresses for the girls not only matched their personalities (there were eight of them after all!) but were something that they would genuinely want to wear again and again.
Twobirds Bridesmaids fitted the bill perfectly as each of the girls could personalise the style of their dresses exactly how they wanted them. We opted for two colours to complement their different skintones and styles, and thankfully ended up with half in one colour and half in the other which meant it looked even on the day.
Chris wore a gorgeous Paul Smith suit in charcoal grey and Reiss shoes. He wanted something that he would feel comfortable in and could wear again so we opted for a three piece suit.
We really struggled to find a tie that made Chris stand out but wasn’t too ott. We both agreed that something floral but not overly girly was needed. As the day approached we visited a tailor in south London whose suits weren’t quite right for Chris and his broad shoulders, but did mention that they could create bespoke ties.
I knew then that this was the way forward and in the end bought three of Liberty’s classic design prints – one for Chris, my dad and Chris’ dad. Each of the ties were different but complementary; I also used the material for Chris’ tie as the backdrop to the seating plan.
The boys had suits from Reiss and ties to match the cornflower blue that half of the girls wore.
A Friend From The Beginning
Jodie was a pleasure to deal with right from the outset. We knew we would have to act quickly with a bank holiday wedding to get a great photographer and meeting in one of our favourite London spots and seeing her beautiful work put us at ease straight away.
We did an engagement shoot near home in Angel and just loved the way Jodie felt like a friend from the beginning and didn’t ask us to pose for pictures but just snapped away in the background. We now have the most precious photo albums, including images of all of our loved ones that we will cherish always.
The Icing On The Cake
We deliberated over the cake for quite a while; it was the one item Chris and I really couldn’t agree on as he was adamant the cake had to have icing to be a wedding cake! I was veering towards a tiered Victoria sponge design but we just couldn’t agree.
I spotted a cake on RMW from Katja’s Kupcakes that had an intricate soft iced design which was so unusual and so I happily agreed to having an iced cake! Everyone on the day commented how original the cake was.
We chose tiers of chocolate, beetroot and raspberry and lastly white chocolate; it tasted delicious!
We wanted something traditional but quirky at the same time. We really loved the tiered designs on the ‘chunky’ side. Katja did some initial illustrations which were exactly what we were looking for and even drove the cake down from Cheshire the morning of the wedding!
My mum has always made the yummiest chocolate mars bar crispy cakes (not good for the waistline!) so she was a complete superstar and made ridiculous quantities in the kitchen in the days running up to the wedding for our wedding favours. We bought some Chinese noodle boxes and made some stickers with ‘Mrs P’s chocolate treats’ on them for guests to take home. They were all so popular we never had a look in but I’m sure they tasted great!
We saw Andre at a family wedding and thought he was absolutely amazing. When it came to music for the ceremony we wanted something which would be memorable but in the right way! Andre invited us to see him perform with his band at an event in London and they were so incredible we decided they would be perfect for the ceremony itself. My Dad and I walked down the aisle to the Ellie Goulding version of ‘Your Song’ and had Train ‘Hey Soul Sister’ and Bruno Mars ‘Just the Way you are’ during the ceremony.
Annie, one of my beautiful bridesmaids read ‘A Lovely Love Story’ by Edward Monkton, absolutely amazingly in the ceremony. It was one of our favourite moments and she deserves a special mention as she so nervous when we were getting ready in the morning!
We had a Jazz band in the evening – The Jazz Cannons – who got everyone up and dancing all night before the DJ later on.
Chris had two best men, both old school friends. We knew Dickie (one of the best men) was due to go out on duty to Afghanistan for his first tour with the TA shortly after the wedding. What we weren’t expecting however was that the army would decide to bring this date forward to the week before the wedding! One of our friends works for the BBC as a sports presenter and together with one of the bridesmaids arranged for the filming of a mini speech for Dickie – there wasn’t a dry eye in the house when his little face appeared on the wall, especially after Chris had got so emotional talking about him in his speech!!
As Chris and I have been together for quite a long time (coming up for ten years now) and the songs we used to love back in the day all seemed far too outdated for our first dance. We opted for a classic ‘My Girl’ as it made us both smile when we heard it and knew we could shuffle along to it and look like we vaguely knew what we were doing!
The Finishing Touches
Notley is so gorgeous we wanted to let it speak for itself and didn’t want to go OTT with the décor. We did however make sure there were lots of fresh flowers dotted around the place and candles in the evening. Jo our lovely florist also brought along some ribbons for the covered walkways too.
Mum and Dad organised a surprise fireworks display for later in the evening which was amazing
We also created a homemade photo booth with a Polaroid camera which everyone enjoyed using and we now have a great guest book to flick through.
We made our own stationery designs, and used a local printers to get them all printed professionally. I was particularly proud of the table plan which incorporated the Liberty fabric from Chris’ tie and a bargain ornate frame with printed cards.
My top tip as a fairly (ok very!) indecisive person, would be to not give yourself too much time to plan. I found after the first six months I spent far too much time procrastinating and just wanted the day to hurry up!
On the morning of the wedding itself, I felt remarkably calm and somehow managed to get a good nights sleep. So take it from me, just relax and enjoy the day as it goes so quickly. It’s not worth stressing about the tiny details on the day as it is too late by this point.
So there we have it.
Isn’t Ele’s bouquet simply gorgeous…and how about those eight beautiful bridesmaids. They are the most perfectly girly entourage you’ve ever seen.
And I well and truly take my hat off to any woman that picks not one, not two but three different sets of footwear for her big day. Ele you were well and truly prepared for whatever the weather.
You’re not really supposed to have regrets about your wedding day are you. Don’t get me wrong I really don’t have regrets as such just a couple of things I wish I’d done differently.
That’s the beauty of hindsight I guess.
My wedding day was the most surreal, soul-tingling, life-affirming, radiant day of my life. It really was. There’s a part of me that can’t quite believe my luck in that I married the most beautiful boy, inside and out, and that I had the most immense twelve hours of all my days on this planet so far.
The other silver lining is that I get to share my experiences and top tips with you lovely lot. Because if I can help in the tiniest of ways to make your amazing wedding even more stupendous then I’m a happy girl indeed.
Rock My Wedding reader Katy is an Opera singer and her husband John is a trained sound engineer, if there was going to be a wedding full of beautiful music then it was definitely going to be their big day at Wasing Park.
I’m not sure what it is I love the most, Katy’s gorgeous dress and unique choice of mint green and blush pink as accent colours, the fact John chose a best “woman” or the delectable array of soft vintage inspired muted blooms for the ceremony and contrasting bold brights for the reception.
I guess I just love everything, especially Katy’s upbeat and honest account of the planning details.
I wanted to have my hair and makeup done professionally to save on any stress on the morning of the wedding and I booked Jo Adams of Get Your Face On. Jo did an amazing job and knew exactly how I wanted my hair, and did such a wonderful job with my bridesmaids and my Mum too.
I wanted a smoky eye and fairly strong lips (I don’t subscribe to the lips or eyes theory!) and I was so impressed that the smoky eye managed to last all day without leaving me with the smudgy look that my own attempts always descend into after 6 hours!
My dress was a 1950’s style number from Candy Anthony. I always knew I wanted a 50’s style dress, but I did surprise myself though in my colour choice – after walking into the shop and announcing that “I’m totally not a pink pastel girl”, I ended up going for a blush pink dress – who knew?! As soon as I put on the blush colour my skintone just lifted, and as soon as I had placed my order I kept seeing bridal magazines announcing blush being a huge trend for 2011.
My inner princess was fully satisfied with the dress, which was a full on tulle number which was so much fun to dance in with the hot pink petticoat! I have to confess though, I don’t think I ever had “the one” moment with my dress – every dress I tried on in Candy Anthony was amazing!
The Best Girls
My two bridesmaids wore a one shoulder number by Dessy in mint green which looked great against all the pink going on. The colour was really unusual (couldn’t find anything close on the high street at all!) and the one shoulder look is so flattering.
Jenny, John’s Best Lady (cue much eyebrow raising from Grandparents!), went for a fab purple number from Karen Millen, which matched John’s tie and linked the ‘groom’s’ side of the wedding party together.
Not being particularly clued up on flowers, I decided to have loads of my favourite flower, hydrangeas, everywhere. I wanted two separate themes –muted pink and green tones for the ceremony and then an explosion of colour for the reception. I didn’t want a matchy matchy feel to the wedding, so our colour palette was defined as “any colour, as long as its hydrangea” – pinks, blues, purples, and greens.
Our florist was Hannah Bignell at Ruby and Grace, and she did an absolutely wonderful job in understanding exactly what I wanted – my bouquet was stunning, with antique pink and cream hypnose and avalanche roses, lisianthus, eucalyptus and hydrangea, the bridesmaids carried a single hydrangea, and when we walked into the barn I was just blown away by the colours – I only wish my own hydrangeas could be so varied in colour, mine remain a stubborn pink!
The Most Special Moment
I love a man in a 3-piece, so we bought John a light grey Ted Baker suit which he looked pretty darn gorgeous in (in my totally unbiased opinion!) Despite the fact that I’d picked the suit with John, I’d never seen his full ensemble as he said if he didn’t get to see my dress I shouldn’t see him either! Walking up the aisle was the most special moment of the day for me – as soon as I saw him standing there all my worries about my dress fitting down the aisle, tripping over, whether he would like the dress etc. completely disappeared.
A Shoe Statement
It’s all about the shoes! With a short dress the shoes had to make a statement, so I went for the most gorgeous pair of hot pink skyscraper Jimmy Choos with a fabulous bow on the heel – if you can’t use your wedding as an excuse to buy a pair of designer shoes, when can you? I seem to vaguely remember justifying the spend to John as using the budget we would have had for a wedding car had we chosen a different venue… However, despite insisting on how comfy they were, it turns out I can’t quite make through a whole day in 5 inch heels, and by the end of the evening I was dancing barefoot – the soles of my feet were black by the end of the night!
An Intimate Location
Our wedding was held at Wasing Park, Aldermaston on Sunday 5th June 2011 and we were married in St Nicholas Church which is situated in Wasing’s grounds. I loved the fact that the venue had everything on one site, which made the day easy to organise, and the tiny medieval church is beautiful and very intimate.
The Royal Academy
Music was always going to be a big part of our day – I’m an opera singer and John trained as a sound engineer, so we had clear ideas about what music we wanted. I had a soprano friend, Helen Bailey, sing with a harpist who I hired from the Royal Academy of Music. They played Handel’s Ombra Mai fu as the bridesmaids walked up the aisle, and then Richard Strauss’s Zueignung as I walked up the aisle – a song which I sing a lot and means a lot to me.