Mary and Eddie’s wedding is a truly handcrafted affair. The creative couple beavered away on several projects to create their charming rustic Tipi wedding.
The gold covered jam jar vases, the fortune teller wedding favours, the bunting, the cake…almost everything you see was created by Mary, Eddie, or one of their talented family members.
A loose blue and gold colour theme seemed to develop – and it works beautifully with the hessian table runners and fairy lights.
We’ve come across several Brides on RMW who have taken on the challenge of folding 1000 origami cranes before their wedding day for luck…but I think today’s wedding is the first where the Groom has taken on the challenge.
But that’s not all Eddie did lovelies. Oh no.
He also created the elegant perspex cake topper. I haven’t seen anything that beautiful and unusual on top of a cake for a long time.
I feel so incredibly privileged to be sharing this morning’s wedding with you lovely lot. For today’s bride has been a prominent and much loved member of the RMW community for some time now, offering up her creative thoughts and sharing her golden nuggets of advice in the comments section with both the RMW team and you gorgeous folks too.
So when we heard that Sama, of Utterly Wow fame, wanted to share her big day on our still-kind-of-polka-dotted pages we all squealed a collective ‘ahhhhhhh’ (yes even Adam!) and fought over who would blog it.
This wedding has style in abundance; from the festoon lighting, the rustic venue to the colourful and fun stationery and the mismatched maids to.. wait for it folks…’The Great Wedding Bake-off’; I defy you not to relish in every detail. I particularly love Sama’s off-white peeptoes and her beautiful Claire Pettibone dress which has a story that proves to me at least that if something is meant to be then it will happen.
And there’s sentimentality by the bucketload too; I’ll let Sama tell you about her beautiful floral crown herself. I promise that you’ll love it.
Without further ado then lovelies, I give you Sama….
Sama The Bride:Ahhh, the dress.
My beaded beauty was Chantilly by Claire Pettibone. The dress hunt was never going to be entirely conventional for me as I work at Blackburn Bridal Couture in Blackheath, London, meaning I didn’t have to ‘do the rounds’, so to speak. I’d always thought Chantilly was beautiful but we sold our sample shortly before I got engaged, so it wasn’t even an option when the dress search began. Instead I’d fallen in love with Luna by Jenny Packham, a blush pink sparkly number that I still like to stroke regularly in the shop. However my Mum wasn’t convinced, hoping, as most Mums do, that I’d choose something a bit more bridal, so despite my best intentions to ignore her I held off from ordering.
When we got Chantilly back in at the boutique, I tried it on more on a whim than anything else; it was considerably out of my price range and I’d been ruling out bias-cut dresses on the grounds that my stomach wasn’t flat enough. However, it felt amazing on and I pretty much knew instantly that it was the dress I wanted to wear the day I married Paul. Those beads can hide a multitude of sins!
Being a self-proclaimed ‘boho bride’, I knew I was going to wear a flower garland from day one. I’d originally envisioned fresh flowers, but when my Mum produced the wax flower garland she wore on her wedding day, the sentiment of wearing ‘something old’ was too hard to resist. In its original state it was a very thin, delicate crown of ivory flowers, so I enlisted the super-talented and super-lovely Sophie of Crown & Glory to give it a new lease of life. The end result was the most beautiful thing I could have ever imagined, and something I may even be able to pass on myself one day.
Other than that, the only jewellery I wore were rings left to me by my grandmothers, and a pale pink diamantine bracelet by Les Nereides which was a pre-wedding gift to myself.
My shoes were the Emilia peep-toe sandals by Juicy Couture, believe it or not, who I’ve only ever associated with velour tracksuits but who I now know make beautiful footwear! They were a bit of a last-minute purchase after the first pair (£15 nude t-bars from eBay that I painstakingly glittered up the heels of) crippled me at my first dress fitting. I love the Juicy Coutures now though; comfortable and versatile and just a little bit sexy.
And who doesn’t love a sexy shoe?
Va Va Voom
I’ve always loved doing make-up so decided to do it myself on the day. Being able to spend a ridiculous amount of money at the Bobbi Brown counter was a particular highlight of the wedding planning. I also decided to get eyelash extensions a couple of days before which wasn’t the most pleasant of experiences, but do look fab in the pictures.
My hair, on the other hand, is the bane of my life. It’s a decent length but it’s very thin, meaning the luscious, boho locks I envisaged were an impossible dream. Step in the magnificent Cassandra Rizzuto who told me to stop being a negative Norman and used a mixture of clip-in and glued-in hair pieces for Cheryl Cole-style volume. I literally wish I could have hair like that every day. Sigh.
Cass also styled my bridesmaids to perfection with a mixture of tousled, braided up-dos and was a general dream to have with us in the morning. Calm, fun and ridiculously talented; hire her and your hair dreams will come true. Fact.
Green Fingered Goddesses
Gayle of Bloomin’gayles made the bouquets and buttonholes, whilst we DIY-ed the table flowers (ordered on the internet by me and beautifully arranged the day before by my Aunt Leslie).
Our wedding was a very joyful affair… as you can see by my gurning face in most of the pictures. Paul and I grinned at each other all through the ceremony, and although I wobbled during my speech when talking about my Gran, the only tears that fell were in the morning when my Mum presented me with my bouquet. I wanted lavish, vibrant, blousy blooms and it was exactly that- but so much better. Gayle is a green-fingered goddess and a delight to work with too. Thoroughly recommended!!
A Little Bit Sharp, A Little Bit Sexy
I’m not a massive fan of the matchy matchy look, so wanted my bridesmaids (my oldest, oldest friends from school) in different dresses but the same colour palette. Oh, and I wanted them to look FIT which I think they totally achieved 🙂 The dresses were a range of purchases from French Connection, Oasis and ASOS, and they managed to bring coordinating pashminas on the day too- which was a blessing as despite the glorious sunshine it was a little nippy. Paul’s best man, Alex, wore a grey three-piece suit to match his, and along with Paul’s two brothers, they all wore burgundy ties from Moss.
Paul is a teacher so I’m used to seeing him in a suit. Having said that, it wasn’t a tails kind of day so we were after something a little bit sharp, a little bit sexy, and in my head, a little bit Tom Ford. In the end it was a charcoal grey Cerruti three-piece from Moss that had me swooning- which he accessorised with a Ted Baker pocket square and colourful buttonhole courtesy of Bloomin’gayles.
He looked stonkingly handsome.
Worth Every Penny
I began stalking Dominique Bader having seen her work on these very pages actually! Well, they were blue and polka dot back then, but you know what I mean. Dominique is a phenomenal photographer; her work is natural, timeless, real, crystal-clear and ridiculously romantic. We are so utterly thrilled with our photos, and as Paul said emphatically after we’d watched our slideshow for the first time- WORTH EVERY PENNY. And coming from the man who had initially become hysterical at the cost of wedding photography, this is high praise indeed.
The Great Wedding Bake Off
The Great Wedding Bake Off came about largely in a bid to reduce costs! My Mum was originally going to make a cake which we’d serve as dessert with cream and berries, but she had so many other jobs to do in the lead up we decided to open it up to our guests instead. Despite protests from Paul that “no-one would bother”, our cake table was heaving and the efforts people went to were just brilliant! It’s one of my few regrets that I didn’t get to fully appreciate the vast array of offerings at the time…
Meant To Be
I first discovered Kate Ruth Romey when I saw some amazing rustic invitations on another blog that were on pieces of hand-carved wood. When I went on her website I realised she was based in Blackheath where I work, so I felt it was ‘meant to be’.
I had a clear idea of what I wanted to say, but Kate designed me a really fun, modern, colourful invitation suite which really caught people’s attention. And I’d definitely recommend making your RSVP as interactive as possible. Bar one person I had all my RSVPs back by the deadline. Kate is super-talented and very patient; I’m very glad I found her!
I’m lucky to know lots of talented, musical types so we took full advantage of this during the day. A few years ago I’d sung at my friends’, Alice and Jeff’s, wedding, so they repayed the favour at mine, singing ‘You and I’ by Ingrid Michaelson during the signing of the register. Then my very cool Canadian cousin, River, entertained the crowds afterwards out in the orchard.
In the evening we had a freakin’ amazing band called Flood The Floor, who I’d booked purely because a) they were fit and b) they did a very funky version of Boom! Shake The Room. We started dancing during their sound check and literally didn’t stop all night.
We didn’t have a first dance at Paul’s request but I didn’t mind at all. I knew we’d have a drunken ‘last dance’ instead and asked the band to learn ‘Love Is In The Air’ which is the
end song from the greatest film of all time, Strictly Ballroom. As I’d hoped, Paul and I ended up in the middle of the dancefloor surrounded by everyone and it was perfect. And being lifted up by friends to the sound of ‘Sama’s in the air’ was a pretty epic way to end the evening, I must say.
The Great Barn
The venue hunt was probably the hardest part of all as I had such specific criteria. I wanted a dry hire venue in Kent that was rustic, had character and didn’t charge corkage. The Great Barn was the perfect blank canvas venue- they literally give you the keys for up to a week and you can do what you like as long as you leave it how you found it!
Paul had very little input in the styling or planning other than to say he wanted a relaxed, fun day. As I was in the process of setting up as a wedding planner when we got engaged, I was already a blog addict and had fantasies of creating a colourful, eclectic, bohemian-inspired day with just a touch of sparkle.
Festoon lighting was an absolute priority, as were the paper lanterns which we arranged in a cluster over the dance floor. I love the natural linen tablecloths as seen on the American blogs, but they are SO expensive to hire so my clever Mum decided to make them herself- as she did the table runners which were a mixture of gold sequins, black and white stripes and burnt orange shot silk.
Flowers were arranged in a variety of pimped-up jam jars, and these very cool brown beer bottles which we collected from a local restaurant in Blackheath. I think they did pretty well out of us over the last year…
Bring Me S’More
We didn’t do favours- we had a free bar instead which, in my mind, is way more preferable!
We borrowed a dodgy khaki-green bar which was a prop from the local Am Dram society, and my clever, artistic Aunt Leslie (she of flower arranging fame) turned it in to a wood-effect, steel-topped beast which blended in with the barn seamlessly. And we hand-painted all the signs, drinks menus and table numbers which were littered about the place. Out in the orchard we had ribbons hanging from the trees, and in the evening a firepit was lit and s’mores were toasted (a North American tradition brought over by my Canadian relatives).
And I can’t not mention Van Dough, the wood-fired pizza van that turned up in the evening to provide the evening food. Absolutely delicious pizza and genuinely lovely owners.
Trust Your Gut
Our wedding was quite simply the best day we have ever had and people didn’t stop laughing or smiling all day. Weather-wise, May was appalling- it rained solidly the two days before the wedding and was so cold we had to order a last-minute heater. Yet on the day itself I woke up to sunshine and it was just glorious- a wedding gift from my Grandmothers, I like to think.
We were both so relaxed on the day and this was down to two things: 1- My amazing friends and family who got stuck in and helped set up (and take down), and 2- my friend Laura who I met on the UKAWP wedding planning course a couple of years ago, and who coordinated for me on the day. In the run-up to the wedding everyone was worried that I wouldn’t be able to relinquish control but I knew I was in safe hands with Laura running the show!
I can’t stress enough how important it is to hire an on-the-day coordinator if you are using a blank canvas, dry hire venue. The barn got turned from ceremony space to reception space seamlessly, the candles were constantly lit, the wine was constantly topped up, and any problems or questions people went to her, not me. Not to mention the million other things she was doing throughout the day.
But other than that, trust your instincts, choose good suppliers, kiss your husband LOTS, hug LOTS, laugh LOTS, and don’t spill pizza down your dress. Just sayin’.
Oh boy! Immense, right? Shall I leave you for a wee moment to pick your jaws up off the floor?
And can we just take a moment to talk about the florals. Talk about breathtakingly, blowsy, beautiful blooms, it’s no wonder that Sama shed a happy tear or two when she saw them. I for one will be pinning these bouquets to within an inch of their lives!
When I sneaked a peek of Sama at the weekend in all her glory on the RMW Facebook page, one of her friends responded with a comment that’s stayed with me ever since. She said, ‘It was the BEST wedding. Style AND substance’, and you just know that this statement encapsulates Sama and Paul’s wedding perfectly.
This wedding oozes style, creativity and charm but you can see from the beaming smiles on the faces of this gorgeous pair and all their friends and family it was so much more than that. There’s enough love in these photos to last a lifetime or two and this makes me very happy indeed.
Congratulations you two.
All my love Lolly xxx
P.S. If you want to see more and hear more from Sama herself why not check out her blog – Utterly Wow – here.
Apart form the obviously very happy and very in love couple, the smiles on the guests faces and the unbearably gorgeous bridesmaids, this wedding is all about the flowers for me.
Catherines description of what she wanted, dreamed of and envisaged were bought to life in a serious way. And people, the colour scheme is orange. I LOVE orange. It surprises me how many people I hear say they aren’t a fan of the citrusy gorgeousness of an orange colour palette. If you’re one of these people, this wedding will change your mind.
Catherine married Danny in August last year at St Michaels Manor in Hertforshire. It was simply beautiful.
It Was My Second Dress
Catherine The Bride: I bought a very traditional dress exactly a year before our big day but when it came to the fitting I was really uncomfortable. Danny and I had said from the outset that we wanted our day to look traditional but feel really relaxed and fun for our friends and family – the concept was to create a sumptuous late summer English garden party for our family and friends. A bride that couldn’t breathe wasn’t exactly the feeling I was going for! So… with three weeks to go I bought a dress online from J.Crew in the States. It arrived a week later and one of my friends fitted it for me. I had my first and final fitting with just five days to go and thankfully I felt comfortable, elegant and very special.
I bought some gorgeously simply cushion cut crystal earrings and a crystal rose hair slide online from Kate Ketzal in the States. She’s got a lovely selection and the prices are incredibly reasonable for the quality. My hairdresser said that it was one of the best quality slides she’d been given to fit.
Danny is as much of a shoe person as me so we had a shoe-shopping day out together! Danny bought a very handsome pair of black traditional Church’s – an incidental note to my hometown of Northampton where Church’s are made. And for me, I have always wanted a pair of Christian Louboutin’s and bought a fabulous pair of ivory, satin peep toes. Not being a big heel wearer I also treated myself to a pair of white Marc Jacobs mouse ballet flats for walking around the grounds and for the dance floor later on.
The Best Version Of Ourselves
Katy Messer took care of my make up, my bridesmaids and my mum. Katy is just amazing. She’s an artist. We were all so pleased with our make up, all felt that it suited us individually and it all stayed put until we went to bed at 2am! Cassandra Rizzuto styled our hair. My bridemaids are all stunning, grown-up women with their own sense of style. I wanted to get quite flamboyant and creative with their hairstyles and let them pick their own ‘dos’. I wanted all of us to feel really confident and comfortable – the best version of ourselves.
An Abundance Of Englishness
Oh my. We were very lucky to book the exquisite and magnificent Miss Pickering of Stamford. Danny said that he had no idea how important flowers were to me until we met Miss Pickering and he saw how excited I was.
I wanted colour, lots of colour, and fun and deconstruction and abundance and Englishness. I wanted to do something different and very us. I found Miss P online and stalked her for months. She was as excited about doing an orange wedding as I was. She also collected 1950s vases for me for twelve months.
On the day the flowers absolutely stole the show! Exactly what I wanted. Rich, sumptuous, fully-open almost-turned blooms everywhere. Huge green, orange and peach glass vases bursting with colour. Everything was perfectly abundant and colourful – the bridesmaids bouquets, flower girl headdresses and poseys, the buttonholes, the mantelpieces, the cake, the tables and then my amazing bouquet… I didn’t throw it. I Couldn’t! Miss P advised me to take some robust vases with us to preserve the bouquets on the day, which I carefully did and it sat proudly in my fireplace for two weeks after the wedding.
I think you have three options to make your wedding your own – flowers, photography and food. Danny and I were lucky enough to find wonderful people and we went to town with all three!
Danny is a dapper chap and had been really involved in the designing of our day and colour palette choices so he decided early on to go with a black three piece suit as he felt that would ensure the chaps felt special and comfortable. He hired the suits from Waterer’s, a great mens outfitters in St Albans.
Danny is a big fan of ‘Mad Men’ styling. He found a great accessories company online called The Tie Bar and decided on a semi-slim black wool tie, white cotton pocket, matt silver cuff links and a matching ¾ tie pin for all the groomsmen. The boys looked gorgeous.
My mother offered to make the bridesmaids dresses and I found a vintage Vogue pattern that fitted our traditional-but-comfortable focus. With orange as our main colour, gladiator flats and matt gold jewellery my bridesmaids had a real Ibiza goddess look on the day.
A Beautiful Gift
Booking Nick Tucker was the second thing we did on our to do list after booking a venue. We booked a trial ‘engagement’ shoot with Nick in the spring. We had some taken at home and then at a couple of our favourite spots around our home town. I would recommend every one does this if they are even slightly nervous in front of the camera. It helped us relax but also gave us a lot of confidence in Nick and we ended up with fifty lovely shots of Danny and I.
Nick describes himself as a documentary style-wedding photographer. He doesn’t use flash, using the day and nights’ natural light. The result is something so perfectly representative of your day that every time you look at one of the pictures you are transported right back to the moment. It’s incredible. I’m utterly thrilled with our photos, as are our family and friends. There is no chance that I’ll be a bride that ‘doesn’t remember’ the day and that it ‘went so fast’ because Nick looked after us and I can go back and feel every single moment of our wedding. That is a rare and beautiful gift.
Ten Tier Total
Danny and I love American-style buttercream cakes and we love cheese. So we wrestled for a while on what to pick. In the end, as all brides should, we did both!
After an indulgent tasting session, we booked Hummingbird Bakery in Spitalfields who created a four-tier cake of red velvet, vanilla, chocolate and carrot cake. And then we went down to Neal’s Yard Dairy in Borough Market to sample a huge range of farm cheeses to create the perfect six-tier cheese cake. The hotel was happy for us to provide the cheese, biscuits and a selection of our favourite chutneys, which was much appreciated and it was lovely to be able to bring some of our favourite London food stops to our wedding.
Another last minute order was our Cake Topper. We left this one late because we couldn’t decide on what we wanted, if anything at all. But then I found Cherry Red Toppers on Etsy and arranged a last minute surprise for Danny. I ordered our personalised topper on the 13 August, twelve days before our wedding. All I had to do was send Kate photos of my dress, Danny’s suit, a sample of Miss Pickering’s planned floristery, Danny and I and most importantly photos of our two cats Molly and Pru. Kate was brilliant and it was a lot of fun thinking that this minute model of our family was going to arrive all the way from Fort Worth Texas! It now proudly sits on the fireplace in our bedroom.
Get Into The Groove
Music is a shared passion of Danny and I. We got together because I invited Danny to a gig at Brixton Academy, to see The Editors. And we’ve been sharing our favourite bands ever since. So our music choices throughout the day were important.
We had The Redfords acoustic duo perform for our wedding ceremony and reception. They have wonderful voices and it felt very special having live music at our ceremony. They happily learnt all of our songs and performed beautiful renditions for us as my bridesmaids and I walked down the aisle. For the evening do we booked Hula Groove who were amazing, so professional and flexible and got everyone up on the dance floor for hours! Danny then put together some playlists on our iPod to play in-between sets using the band’s AV.
Following along the music theme Danny wanted to make everyone a playlist as their favour. Girls got Catherine’s Wedding CD and the boys got Danny’s. We included some of the special music from the day such as our first dance and the music from the ceremony. The CDs also doubled up as escort cards with a photo on the front of our guest with the bride and/or groom. It took ages but the response we got made it worth it. Our family and friends really appreciated that we had made it personal. Many of our guests were entertained the whole way back up the M1 to Yorkshire listening to both.
Weddings are really special days for everyone, we wanted to acknowledge that, and we wanted to bring some of our family that are no longer with us to our day. So we secretly collected photos of all of our guests on their wedding day and from family that have sadly passed away. We collected the picture frames up and then asked the hotel to display in the lounge of the hotel. It was lovely watching people realise what we had done and spot themselves amongst the frames.
We also arranged for the kids to have a cinema room during the break between the wedding breakfast and evening do. We filled the room with cushions and blankets so they could turn it into a den and put Danny and my favourite cartoon on – Fantastic Mr Fox.
Do Not Disturb
Eva Slade did a beautiful job on our wedding stationery and we carried some of the design elements through to the wedding day. She’s the only stationery designer that I could find in the UK that worked in letterpress and had fabulous designs. We wanted something different and that would create an impression of the kind of wedding it would be. The cartoon of Danny and my face became our little wedding identity. Eva developed menus, place cards and at the eleventh hour we asked her put together personalised Do Not Disturb signs for our family and friends staying in the hotel that night. All of guests told us how the personal touches blew them away – a credit to Eva’s creativity and amazing customer service.
Achieving Our Goals
Our wedding day was so special to us because we achieved what we set out to achieve. We got married and we hosted a great party for our family and friends. It felt that it was as much about them as it was about us. All of our guests played some part in bringing Danny and I to that day. They are incredibly special to us and we wanted them to have as much fun as we did.
My best friend and chief bridesmaid told us to write down independently the three things that mattered most to us and then go back to that list every time we felt that we might be getting out of depth, confused or stressed. To be honest we didn’t really have any stresses, partly because Danny trusted me to plan a good event, and I trusted Danny to make the final decisions, but we did find the list an important reminder of what mattered most to us. The list was:
1. Zero hassle – we wanted our friends to find it easy to travel to and enjoy our day with minimum fuss or logistical planning. One place, all day.
2. Great food and wine – we wanted excellent food, a meal people would remember and a free bar all night.
3. Late summer garden party – we wanted our day to look really special but feel very relaxed, fun andeasy. An English garden party where the wine never stops flowing and neither does the laughter.
How amazing are the flowers?! And those flower crowns? Incredible. Be sure to check the gallery for more gorgeous snaps of the flower girls.
So many immense personal touches to this day. I love the idea of CD favours containing songs from your day. And what about the bespoke do not disturb signs? Brilliant idea. If your guests are happy, you will be happy. It’s a true fact.
How great is the photo of Danny as he see’s Catherine walking down the aisle?