Phil married Francesca at her Grandmother’s beautiful 19th century house in Chiddingfold Surrey. With a ceremony in the walled garden and reception on the front lawn this is a simply stunning back garden wedding by any standard. Boys out there will probably appreciate the wedding car… An Aston Martin DB4 (007 alert) that belongs to Francesca’s Uncle and any girls will no doubt swoon at Francesca’s gorgeous Justin Alexander dress, skilfully altered by Sam at the now sadly closed Mamfii bridal.
Actually, I’m being terribly sexist here… Every one of you will appreciate every single detail of this mornings wedding… Because it is simply beautiful.
The wedding of Diana and Andrew, or Mr and Mrs Droid as they are known to their friends, is the perfect way to ease you into Monday. It is bursting with colour, fun and some very original ideas.
The colour scheme of ‘Tour De France’ is definitely a first – but somehow works AMAZINGLY. There are some seriously cute knitted characters as table hosts. Mr and Mrs Droid even appear in scarecrow form. Every single guest received a hand painted peg version of themselves.
There is a Bake-Off cake table that Mary Berry herself would be seriously impressed by. And if that wasn’t enough, Diana and Andrew designed and printed all of the bright and bold stationery themselves.
The eccentric pair were lucky with not only a gorgeous summers day, but were also rewarded with Bradley Wiggins winning the Tour De France on their wedding day. Definitely in honour of the couple theming their wedding around the sporting event! 😉
Images come from the fabulous Anushe Low, back with a bang to RMW with this wedding. As always, she captured every last detail beautifully – I really struggled to chose the images for this post!
Informal And Intimate
Diana The Bride: We knew what we didn’t want more than what we did want at the start. We are both very informal characters and so really wanted an intimate and relaxed day. Although we live in the city, we are both from quite rural areas of Wales and Lincolnshire originally and so wanted to go back to our roots without physically returning to where we grew up!
We discovered the amazing Gate Street Barn a stones throw away from some of our favourite cycling spots in Surrey and instantly knew it was the perfect venue for us. It was a beautiful blank canvas with some brilliant quirky touches. We were particularly taken by the herd of long horn cows who would later share our day.
I really wanted to look like me (but on a good day!) on my wedding day so tried to keep my look very natural. Andrew is used to seeing me in little or no make up so I didn’t want to scare the living daylights out of him walking down the aisle looking like a total stranger! One of my lovely usherettes Eleanor is a dab hand with a blusher brush and did an amazing job applying my Bare Minerals make up.
My hair was done by Sophia Mason who really got my brief of a rustic informal up-do. I decided to go a bit non-bridal with my bright red nails – thank heavens they were shellac as I was it was all hands on deck to set up the barn the morning of the wedding!
A Girly Moment
I really wanted to buy my dress in Wales with my mum (being the only girl in a family full of big brothers) and so we eventually found ‘the one’ at High Society Bridal in Cowbridge. My Sassi Holford dress (Millie) wasn’t a style which I would have automatically picked out myself (being quite fitted), but it was suggested as a style which would suit my petite frame. I felt so comfortable the instant I put it on and adored the cap sleeve lace shrug and the gorgeous floral sash.
My day to day style is very casual with a bit 50’s thrown in and so I knew my friends would all be expecting a short prom style dress – so that was immediately struck off the list as being a bit too predictable! I think people were quite surprised that my dress was quite so traditional.
Style And Comfort
My gorgeous shoes were by Rachel Simpson. The heel height was ideal for making my way round the farmyard without sinking into the grass! I can’t recommend them highly enough for style and comfort (although I did resort to my trusty red converse after dark!) As with my make up, I opted for very simple pearls for my jewellery including an antique pearl brooch on clipped to my BQ (my something old).
It was important for us that our ushers and usherettes weren’t completely uniform. We wanted them to retain their differences as much as possible and basically look quite informal. Ushers wore different tones of whatever grey suit they owned with a yellow based tie.
Our usherettes had an open brief for any style of colourful patterned summer dress which they felt comfortable in, inspired by the mis-matching patterns of our plentiful bunting and crockery. They found some gorgeous frocks, usherette Vicky was even inspired to design and make her own!
Tour De France Inspired
Our theme really was just to reflect us, our ‘odd’ personalities and ecclectic tastes so the styling was purposefully a bit higgledy piggledy. One key influence was the Tour de France as we are both keen cyclists – it was only fitting as we shared our wedding day with the final stage of the Tour De France in which Bradley Wiggins became the first ever British winner! (it really was the best day of my husbands life!)
We have always loved the vibrance and quirky celebrations of the host towns along the route of the bike race so we picked a few features to try and channel that eccentric celebratory feeling! We adopted the key Tour De France jersey colours of yellow, green, white and red polka dots for our underlying colour palette, created hanging bike wheel photo-boards and with a little help from some very clever friends made our life sized bride and groom scarecrows which looked quite at home in the farmyard.
Our table hosts were another talking point. We drafted in hand knitted characters to welcome our guests to their tables, each with an accompanying personalised story to tell. With regards to décor, the Mother of the Bride made hundred of metres of beautiful patterned bunting which looked amazing strewn across the roof beams in and around the barn and really created a beautiful celebratory setting.
A Summer Flower Hotchpotch
Local florist Florartistics were brilliant and really embraced the mix’n’match, undone feeling that we wanted to go for with the flowers. We picked seasonal country flowers in a palette of yellow, green white and red which were styled together in a simple rustic way. We loved the idea that the flowers could have been swept up from the hedgerows and gardens of the surrounding area and placed directly in the mis-matching cut glass vases around the barn walls and tables.
We had everything from roses and dahlias to sunflowers, snap dragons and hypericum berries, brought together with several varieties of daisy which we also used for button holes, my hair and pew ends. My bouquet had a little of everything loosely tied up with ribbon, but to compliment their mismatched dresses, our usherettes had a different yellow flower each in a simple posy.
Like Owning A Dog
Although we were really keen to personalise our ceremony with readings, it took us quite a while to find anything which wasn’t a bit too sentimental for our tastes. We eventually found a reading called ‘May Be’ (anon) and a poem called ‘Falling In Love Is Like Owning A Dog’ (Taylor Mali). Both very simple, quirky but beautiful in their own way. Music was another key feature. We spent a disproportionate amount of time going through our CD collection putting together a playlist of songs for the ceremony which were significant to our relationship.
Our wedding band Rollercoaster were awesome, even though it was a beautiful balmy summers evening, the dance floor was full all night! They played a brilliant set which catered for all tastes, finishing off with some expert DJ duties. Our official first dance was “Do you realise?” by the Flaming Lips, although we managed to clear the floor later on with our ‘second dance’, Fatboy Slim’s Praise You, complete with break dancing. Our outdoor games were another entertaining feature which couldn’t have worked better. From start to finish they were being enjoyed by kids, big kids and competitive uncles alike. Thank you Skittle Alley hire!
Bottomless Ice Cream Cart
Our excellent caterer Just Jane really pulled together a superb spread. To go alongside our informal day, we opted for a hot canapé ‘walking starter’ with our welcome drinks of hedgerow fizz (elderflower cordial, berries and prosecco). This was followed by a delicious barbeque of summertime favourites served at table on gorgeous mis-matched vintage crockery (collected by myself with extra dinner plates supplied by Vintage Teas & RSVPs). After speeches our guests were ushered outside to enjoy our bottomless ice cream cart from the Matt Benecci Ice Cream Co. THE perfect pudding for a hot summer’s afternoon. As massive cheese freaks, we opted for an awesome cheese wedding cake by The Norbiton Fine Cheese Company for our wedding cake which handily provided the perfect cheese board for evening nibbles.
As a keen amateur baker, I wasn’t going to be done out of sponge entirely however, so we also ran The Great Wedding Bake Off where friends and family members brought fabulous home made cakes for refuelling in the evening. They looked a picture on trestle tables on mismatching cake plates and cake stands. Contributors were awarded with their very own wedding bake off certificate and rosette!
A Personalised Peg Memento
As graphic designers by trade, we designed and made all our printed stationery from save the date postcards through to the A2 table plan. As with most elements the look for our stationery was very informal – for example our wedding invite was a sweetie bag packed with hand drawn maps including curious details, drink vouchers, playful typography, quirky images, bright colours and somewhat tongue in cheek wording.
Our previously mentioned bunting and Bride and Groom scarecrows were other memorable home made features, perfect for creating guest photo opportunities and setting the scene.
However I think the most memorable DIY feature of our day was the personalised peg portraits which we hand painted for each of our guest’s place settings. It was six months of work but the reactions from our guests made it well worth it. A significant number of guests now have peg profile pictures on Facebook which is high praise indeed – our peg wedding cake toppers still take pride of place on our fireplace!
Stop The Clock
The best advice given to me was by a very wise friend who recommended taking a moment with my new husband, ideally when everyone is together enjoying the proceedings to just stand, look around and take stock of what you have achieved. Soak up being around all your loved ones together and give yourself a huge mental pat on the back for pulling together such a special day! Everyone tells you the day goes so fast, but it is quite unreal how fast it is all over so just stopping the clock to absorb such a special moment is priceless, it has certainly stayed with me.