This wedding has well and truly warmed my soul. I always love a big-day held at the Bride or Grooms family home and the location of Charley’s parents house is simply idyllic. The fact that the sun shone down on them all so they could hold their speeches outside was just the icing on the pastoral cake. The whole wedding was a family affair, with the gardens, flowers and bunting all being lovingly prepared by Charley and Liam’s nearest and dearest.
Jess Soper has captured everything beautifully too – those couple portraits at sunset are perfection. Forehead kisses forever!
(Oh and before I pass you over to our lovely couple, I think lots of you will be able to relate to the phrase ‘Bucking Funting’ it certainly made me giggle…)
Sarah and Duncan married in June at St Mary’s church in the village of Hadlow in Kent. Right next door to Sarah’s parents’ house.
So, not only was Sarah able to walk to the church but she also had the wedding reception in her parent’s garden. We LOVE back garden weddings at Rock My Wedding and this one has a lot of love to give back too – In the form of severe wedding pretty. The bunting, the lace… check out those trestle tables in the Indian style marquee tents…
My dress was from Louise Selby who I met at the Designer Wedding Fair in Battersea Park.
I had in my mind that I wanted something with lace as I wanted something a bit vintage looking and not too “poofy”. Lots of Louise’s dresses were beautiful but the dress I chose just felt perfect and made me feel so pretty! As the dress was made for me Louise was happy to make alterations which included having the neckline made into a sweetheart neckline (the original was straight across) and having a waist band added. The dress was made from silk crepe and French lace from Calais.
I wore a beautiful hair band from the lovely Emmy in Islington (who also designs shoes). Her studio is above Tallulah lingerie – which is where Duncan bought lingerie for me when we were first dating – spooky! I loved the vintage look of it and can’t wait to wear it again.
Perfect Wedding Shoes
For my 30th birthday Duncan bought me couture Jimmy Choo shoes (i.e. the original Mr Jimmy Choo) – it was amazing to design my own shoes which included choosing the pieces of leather used – they’re very pale pink with a gold trim and, I think, timeless. They were never intended as wedding shoes but they were perfect!
English Country Garden
Given the location the theme was an English country garden wedding which lent itself to lots of vintage style touches and lots of lace to complement my dress.
I also wanted lots of lavender as I love the smell and the look (I think I was trying to recreate the south of France in Kent). We used a fabulous lavender farm near Hadlow called Downderry. They supplied us with beautiful lavender – including some unusual and very beautiful pink lavender. I had lavender in my bouquet and our favours were lavender themed.
A truly lovely mother and daughter company called Butterfly Flowers did the rest. Tina and Jean totally understood my “vision” and turned it into an even better reality. My bouquet was incredible. It had avalanche roses, peonies, lavender etc and the handle was wrapped in a piece of the lace that had been used to make my dress. In terms of flowers for the reception we didn’t want anything too prescriptive and so there was a real mixture of mainly English flowers; peonies, roses, hydrangea, sweet peas, stocks and probably lots of others I can’t remember. I wanted something very natural in blues/pinks/ivory that were reflective of an English country garden i.e. nothing formal. We didn’t want overly formal arrangements either so we had mismatched vases on the table and even little sherry glasses that belonged to my grandmother filled with little flowers.
The Dress Consultants
The bridesmaids dresses were made by Amsale, an American company who sells in the UK through The Dress Consultants. My best friend, who got married last year, discovered them (I still wear the bridesmaids dress I had for her wedding). The groomsmen hired but we bought them the ties – which I hope they still wear!
Duncan wore a morning suit from Hackett accessorised with his grandfathers FA cup winners medal from the last final won by Newcastle United in 1955.
Comfortable and Lovely
Catherine form Lily & Frank was our photographer. We love our photos and she was just the loveliest person to deal with. It was great to do an engagement shoot with her and we felt totally comfortable with her on the day.
The Icing On the Cake
My mother in law made the cake. She has her own cupcake and cake business called The Creative Cupcake Company. It was 3 tiers with one fruit cake, one chocolate cake and one lemon cake – something for everyone.
The icing of the cake was plain as I wanted the decoration to come from the fresh flowers that the florists arranged. On top of the cake was a silver stem vase that had been on my parents’ wedding cake and a gold ring with a dove which had been on Duncan’s parents’ wedding cake – so special!
We had a band called the Daggers who got everyone on the dance floor. The Will Smith medley was a particular hit.
Shaken Not Stirred
We danced to Nobody does it better by Carly Simon. I chose it as its very fitting for Duncan as the only films he’ll ever watch are Bond movies! Weirdly the week before the wedding some of my girlfriends called and said we must have that song – with no prompting!
Apple And Lavender
My mother-in-law made everyone jars of apple and lavender jelly which was delicious and we covered the jars with crochet lids which we cut out from an old table cloth which belonged to my grandmother.
I loved our Indian tents from the Raj Tent Club – it looked more beautiful than I could ever have imagined. Walking into the tent when it had been decorated was incredible – the smell of the flowers hit you and it looked the epitome of vintage chic (in my opinion anyway!).
In terms of other touches, for our late night snacks we made up picnic hampers with cheese, scotch eggs, sausage rolls and pates as well as every type of chutney you can imagine! We used gorgeous wooden disposable cutlery and my best friend made beautiful tag labels for all of the goodies. They went down very well with the guests.
We had a photo booth which we put in the chill out area – it went down a storm and we also used this as our guestbook as the booth printed 2 sets of each pic – one for the guest and one for us.
As a nod to Duncan’s Geordie heritage we had casks of pale ale from a micro brewery at Beamish Hall in Co Durham. The champagne we had was from a champagne house we discovered on a trip to Epernay in France a couple of years ago. We took all the family over to collect it and made a lovely weekend out of it.
My mother in law made beautiful pink cushions to scatter round the garden.
Get The Look
Get a look book going as soon as possible – its really fun to create and I’m loving looking back at it now!
Involve your family and friends – I couldn’t have organised it on my own. My gorgeous husband made wedding spreadsheets and kept us all on track; my beautiful bridesmaids sorted the picnic baskets, made confetti cones etc etc and ran all over London collecting things; my parents turned their garden into an oasis of beautiful flowers; my amazing mother in law made bunting, jellies, cushions and the cake.
Those shoes are just one spectacular feature of this super cool D.I.Y back garden affair. A personal touch, gesture or thought went into every single detail of Sarah and Duncan’s big day. A real team effort… And a Cup winning performance all round I think.
Lousie and Ant had a fabulous city wedding which was beautifully shot by Amy Murrell from Especially Amy. Let’s jump straight back in…
Especially For You.
Our photographer was Amy Murrell from Especially Amy. Along with booking the venues, choosing our photographer was the first thing we did. We spent HOURS going through blogs and looking at photographer’s websites and spoke to a few before coming across a post by Amy on Rock My Wedding. We got in touch and after a chat and gushing over the beautiful weddings on her site knew we’d found who we were looking for. Amy was so lovely and had lots of brilliant advice that helped us with aspects of the whole wedding, not just the photography. We also spoke to her about the possibility of a videographer – something we had been considering but were worried about the extra cost. Amy recommended we got in touch with the lovely Dan at From the Hip Video to discuss the options and after meeting him and seeing his work we knew how important having a video of the day would come to be – we were sold!
Both Amy and Dan were wonderful on the day, really lovely to have around as well as being experts in their respective crafts. We couldn’t be more pleased with the results, Amy captured so many special moments and beautiful shots of our friends and family, the photos really tell the story of our day. Our video is also amazing; we’ve watched it a few times now and laughed and cried our way through each time! I can’t recommend getting a video of your wedding more, it is so, so worth the extra money. It gives you a perspective that, as bride and groom, you don’t get to see on the day and, in the whirlwind of it all, helps to let the memories live on in your mind.
Little Pieces Of Heaven.
Our lovely friend, Debbie, offered to make our cake and we were delighted! We’d seen her clever handy work at a birthday party just after we got engaged, when she made an airplane inspired cake. Ant was very keen for our cake to be in the shape of something that would remind us of a key event in our relationship – at one point we were talking about a mini bus in memory of the holiday when we first got together! In the end we left it to Debbie’s creative genius to surprise us and the result was perfect, a classic two-tiered shape, completely covered in intricate sugar roses that she made by hand. It was so lovely and personal that it was made specially for us by our friend and both the Victoria sponge and the fruit layers were like little pieces of heaven!
Classic And Contemporary.
It was really important to us that the music during the ceremony was beautiful and created an exciting atmosphere. We found the Crystal Palace String Quartet online and, after speaking to Chris there, knew they would be perfect.
As everyone arrived at the ceremony they played a mix of classical, including Mozart: Divertimento in D, and a few contemporary songs, like All you need is love by the Beetles. I walked down the aisle with my Dad to Kissing you by Des’ree. I cannot tell you how beautiful this is on strings; when we were waiting for our cue to walk down the aisle and the quartet began playing it, my sisters and I almost lost it! Thankfully, we managed to keep it together (and our makeup intact).
The quartet then played during the first reception drinks on the terrace straight after the ceremony and while we had photos. When we arrived at the second venue we switched to an ipod with lots of golden oldies playing in the background while everyone chatted and caught up with each other.
We both had quite a specific idea of what we wanted in the evening to make sure the dance floor was full all night and knew our friend Luke was the man for the job. He often DJs informally at our friend’s parties and always has everyone on their feet and throwing some shapes! We weren’t disappointed, I won’t list all the gems but there may have been more than a little bit of old school Garage that went down very well, even with the Aunties and Uncles!
A Lovely Moment.
Our first dance was a subject of much debate throughout the entire planning stage. Ant is very into his R&B and Love you for life, Jodeci has been a favourite for years; he put it on a mix tape he made for me right at the beginning of our relationship. However, I was worried it was a tad too cheesy. In the end, after realising that trying to choose a random song, no matter how beautiful, and make it ‘our song’ before the wedding was slightly silly, I relented and Love you for life it was. It was definitely very cheesy, but that really didn’t matter, we both knew all the words and despite my reservations it was a lovely moment.
Oodles Of Pretty.
I was in a quandary over favours for a very long time. You would think that working in the Weddings department for notonthehighstreet.com would make this decision easy. I encounter oodles of wedding pretty every day, which was both brilliant and excruciating – the choice was overwhelming! In the end, we decided to go homemade to keep it as personal as possible. We got engaged in Cornwall, when I took Ant to show him where I spent every summer growing up. To give a little nod to this my sister, Amy (with some help from Ant) made fudge to pop inside the pockets of the origami hearts that were the place names. It was the sweetest thing watching them both standing over a huge pot on the oven at my parent’s house making it, they even made little stickers with A&A Fudge written on to go on the wrappers!
A Touch Of Beauty.
Our ceremony venue, One Whitehall Place, was beautiful on its own but we put our own stamp on it with big lilac-green hydrangea heads and ivy at the ends of the rows and an enormous pedestal arrangement at the front. We also had little tea lights all over the room, which really made it feel special.
The Union, the beautiful Georgian townhouse where we held our reception, has a very unique style of it’s own which we complemented with some of our own decorations. Our favourites were the beautiful directional signs from Delightful Living, which we used to guide everyone to key areas around the venue, some pretty votives from Garden Trading, London bus lights from Carry Me Home and lovely wooden frames from Moa, which we had received from our wedding list, that we used for the table names.
Anne at Delightful Living also made us our very own ‘Photo Boothe’ sign (our surname is Boothe), which we hung above a table with lots of props, disposable cameras and our guest book, asking guests to take a picture, write a message and we would then stick their photo next to their message later. It is now hanging on the wall in our living room, above some of the best photos from our homemade photo booth; it’s such a lovely keepsake after the wedding.
All In One Place.
It was so special to have as many of our favourite people as was possible in one place for the day. I’m not sure we’ll ever achieve that again and seeing everyone enjoy all the little bits that we had spent so many months planning was lovely. Having little aspects that our friends and family did themselves, like the cake, the music and the favours, gave everything a very personal feel. On the day we felt very lucky to have such great people in our lives.
The ceremony was my favourite part of the day, we had a civil ceremony and, in lieu of a hymn, we all sang Stand by me, by Ben E. King. Standing at the front, looking back at all our guests singing their hearts out was an incredible moment. Our friend Katie, read her own version of Baz Luhrmann’s Sunscreen, which was so personal and also, in parts, very funny, it really created such a happy atmosphere.
The Best Moment Of My Life.
Standing across from Ant saying our vows, in front of our friends and family was like nothing else. I’m usually so shy about anything that puts me in front of a group of people (I have a morbid phobia of audience participation), but I felt so happy that my nerves vanished, it was honestly the best moment of my life. When we got in our black cab to the reception after the ceremony, while everyone else boarded an old London Routemaster, we just looked at each other a little in disbelief at how amazing it all was.
A lot of brides say this, but truly the best advice is to lap it all up on the day. Take as many moments as you can to take it all in, remember the smiles on people’s faces and the laughing, it does all go so, so fast.
Also, don’t let any post-wedding blues get to you – remember that the best is to come! Now that it’s all over, I love being married so much and it’s great being able to spend time together that isn’t dominated by either, decisions over what colour the ribbon should be, or guilt if we’re not doing something wedding-related. In his speech, Ant borrowed a quote from Dr Seuss: “You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.” When I think back to our wedding day, it feels dream-like, but the reality of marriage and living each day with my husband (love saying that) is the best bit!
To finish this amazing wedding report off in a style it truly deserves, we have a little treat for you. A video shot by a brand new Love Lust member Shoot From The Hip.