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An English Wedding For The American Princess.

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‘You only get one wedding.’ Wise words from today’s Bride Hannah. And with that in mind, you absolutely MUST make sure that you have whatever your heart desires for that one special day.

If that means a giant Princess dress then do it, do it, do it! Hannah did – and I’m so glad. Her Princess gown is stunning and she looks truly Bridal – so radiant and beautiful.

I love her choice of floral Ted Baker bridesmaids dresses too, with the gorgeous flowers and the boys in blue – they add just the right amount of co-ordination to pull the wedding together perfectly without it looking over done.

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A Taste Of Home

Hannah The Bride: Russ and I live in London, where we met, and as much as it’s my home I still long for the hot outdoor summers I had growing up in the American Southwest. While trawling through an American wedding blog I stumbled across the perfect venue: stunning walled gardens, an orangery (really the old swimming pool!) and the gorgeous light Vine Room. Grumping about it being in the wrong country I scrolled further and realised Northbrook Park was near Farnham.

A week later we went out to see it and, having finished the tour I booked a date before turning sheepishly to Russ and adding “and then we can discuss it and get back to you. . .” Luckily my enthusiasm and the thought of not having to visit any more venues convinced him!

Because you can’t marry outdoors in England, the next best bet was to bring the outdoors in. We married with sun streaming through the windows and dined surrounded by vines with the French doors thrown open to let in the warm lavender and rosemary scented breezes from the garden.

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Just As I Imagined

I knew I wanted an updo and came across the perfect partly plaited style on these ex-polka dot pages! I went to my sister-in-law’s hairdresser for a trial where we chatted as her dogs wandered around. She had glanced at the photos and started twiddling while we talked. Moment later my hair was exactly what I’m imagined! On the day it was even better and my three maids looked marvellous too.

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A Melon Scented Mess

As with so many brides, I imagined an idealised, perfected me ready to waltz down the aisle like a fashion plate, but after a few makeup trials I felt more like a clown than a model. After one trial when I came home smelling of melon and Russ tactfully tried to tell me that I looked horrendous, I gave up. No to the serums and bronzers and blushers and powders!

My usual look is a bare face with a bit of eyeliner so I just amplified that with Mac shadows and some YouTube help courtesy of Tanya Burr. I’m a huge fan of scent but didn’t want something different for the day as I wouldn’t feel like me so wore my staple Chanel Chance.

My wedding product tip is Bobbi Brown smudgeproof mascara – I promise you can cry all day and it won’t budge!

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You Only Get One Wedding

I bought my Ellis Bridal dress in the Confetti And Lace boutique in Farnham; the shop assistants were so incredibly friendly, patient and helpful. I initially went into the boutique because of a pair of peep toe Benjamin Adams heels in the window but once through the door I saw the dress I’d dreamed of.

Having tried on everything from a fishtail (more flattering than you’d think) to a prom length (with peacock blue shoes, perfect!) I eventually returned to the dress that I’d had in mind since age five. It took an ultimatum from my sister-in-law (decisions are not what I do best) and a sustaining glass of champers then we marched back into the shop.

You only get one wedding, so princess it was. I liked that, although the dress was enormous, it had quite understated decoration which helped to balance it out. Although I’m sure there was more than one giggle at tiny me (5’2”) in a gigantic poof of a dress it made me happy!

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Peep Toe Perfection

After a year looking for just the right peacock blue shoes, I gave up. When I did, I walked right past a pair of Benjamin Adams peep toe satin heels with Swarowski crystal decoration, placed like old fashioned shoe buckles across the toe and snapped them up.

I knew from the start that I wanted a veil and was delighted when my friend Rachael offered to lend me hers. Her wedding had been the most glorious happy sunny day so I was sure her veil would bring me luck!

There are no exciting tales of family heirlooms when it comes to my jewellery – my earrings were a last minute buy from John Lewis and the bracelets, from Fenwicks, added a touch of sparkle while more importantly being small enough for my wrists! I also wore a garter, hand stitched with a blue satin ribbon by my little brother.

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A Stylish Wedding Party

Russ and I have been to a lot of weddings and one thing we’ve learned is that you cannot have too many ushers! The men all looked gorgeous in Austin Reed morning suits in a summery slate blue with sky blue silk cravats and pocket squares. Having had my way with everything else, Russ chose the suits and colours for the men. We decided that complementary colours would be better than matching – men in pink and yellow might have been a bit much!

First and foremost we wanted frocks that would be comfortable to dance and eat in (the important bits!) and that they bridesmaids could genuinely wear again. The flowers were going to be pink and yellow so the dresses needed to tie in with that bright summery look. We all thought a pattern would be nice and Ted Baker saved the day.

The dress came with a tan leather belt which was too informal so on the morning of the wedding my talented brother sewed bows from satin ribbon (from John Lewis) then attached them to a length of ribbon which he sewed round the girls as a belt. It brought out the bright colours of the dress and made them like ‘bridesmaidy’. On the fashion note, I should point out that he also designed and made the morning suit that he wore!

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Bookstore Décor

We just wanted a wedding that looked summery and relaxed. Although we didn’t start with a theme we moved towards a bookish look as the wedding got closer. The tables were all named after couples from some of our favourite books. Narrowing the list was harder than we though and there was a bit of disagreement over whether romance that ended in tragedy was appropriate, still, you can’t leave out Cathy and Heathcliff!

Each table had a copy of the relevant novel on it but from their own tables guests were playing “guess the other books”. I stocked up on supplies in Paperchase and created a tableplan that looked like the contents page of a book with a ribbon bookmarker down the centre. As a final bookish note we found an old typewriter in our local Oxfam the weekend before the wedding and set it out for people to type us a note on.

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Rosemary For Remembrance

I cannot speak highly enough of Hazel at Eden Blooms and her wonderful team who work from the sweetest little shop in Farnham. She put together the most beautiful bright bouquets and gave me a hug of encouragement when she dropped them off. The antique roses were the best replacement for peonies which were out of season by the time of the wedding.

My bouquet was a riot of pinks and yellows but we decided to have similar flowers in all white for the girls so as not to clash with their dresses. My sister (one of my bridesmaids) and I also had a sprig of rosemary in our bouquets as it’s the symbol of remembrance. I asked Hazel to include it in memory of my youngest sister who passed away two years before but who, otherwise, would have joined us as a bridesmaid on our big day.

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Full Of Laughter

Hands down our favourite part of the day was the ceremony. The registrars were proper jokers and kept everyone relaxed and laughing. Russ and I wanted readings that were heartfelt but not twee and spent ages reading each other love poems while trying not to snort with laughter, or looking for half remembered passages from much loved novels only to find they sounded ridiculous out of context.

We eventually chose two reading. Russ chose a short story or poem by the beat writer Richard Brautigan called “I was trying to describe you to someone” which my brother read out. I chose a contemporary poem called the “Wedding Poem” by Sophie Hannah whose work I had come across by reading one of her poems posted on the wall of the Royal Festival Hall the summer before. Her poems are witty and modern but with such genuine heart. Russ’s childhood friend Jenny read it beautifully for us.

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Blowing Bubbles

The music at our wedding was also designed to ensure everyone relaxed and had a good time. I walked down the aisle to the Beach Boys “You’re So Good To Me” because Russ thought that the opening lines “you’re kinda small and you’re such a doll” were hilarious given my, ahem, diminutive stature. All the seats had a copy of “God Only Knows”; one of our ushers led the guests in singing it while we signed the register.

The singing continued when we made our way into dinner as, having firmly said no to all West Ham references in our wedding, I then secretly plotted with one of our ushers to have all the guests sing the fans’ song “I’m forever blowing bubbles” to Russ as we came in to dinner – complete with little bottles of bubbles to blow! The sight of his happy face in a cloud of bubbles was one of my favourite moments.

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Rainy Night In Soho

Many years ago at our best man and bridesmaid’s wedding we danced away to the sounds of the Fabulations and, several glasses of fizz into the night I turned to Russ and said, one day we’ll have them at our wedding. . . and so we did! And they were as superb as when we first heard them with the lead singer Marion getting everyone out on the floor despite the lure of the gorgeous summer evening outside.

Oddly the one song we relied on the iPod for was our first dance, the Pogues “Rainy Night in Soho”, in memory of the night so many years ago when we went for a drink after work and ended up talking for hours in a pub in Soho as the rain pelted down outside.

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Taking Matters Into My Own Hands

Food is very important to us and a lot of our friends are veggies so we didn’t want the veggie main to be a huge let down (or risotto! So dull!). I didn’t get a great sense from the caterers that veggie was where their interests or skills lay so decided to take matters into my own hands.

I researched and tested recipes on Russ and eventually came up with a summery menu that would use seasonal ingredients, be easy to produce en masse and be tasty. On the day, my food showed up looking so unlike the recipe that I thought they’d swapped it for something else but the guests all said it was delicious and the meat eaters loved their lamb which was cooked to perfection.

We bought all our soft drinks, wine and fizz from Majestic who delivered it straight to the venue. As the caterers didn’t charge corkage, we were able to have nicer wines than we might have been able to afford had we bought them through a venue.

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It All Got Scoffed

Cake is where my heart lies and all my friends are splendid and enthusiastic bakers so we decided to call in a few favours and replace desert with a cake table! The caterers provided berries and cream to accompany the spread. We had hazelnut cake with caffe latte cream, chocolate Guinness, rose and raspberry, Victoria sponge, carrot cake, pistachio, crunchy top lemon cake. . . it all got scoffed and there was none for the greedy bride to munch on the following morning with a cup of coffee.

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A Very Practical Invite

Russ took on the invites – we wanted something that tied in with our relaxed summer theme, but on a tight budget. How many invites do you receive and think – that’s so pretty but what do I do with it after the wedding? Problem solved: have a tea towel invite! Practical, won’t get lost, can be used as a cape by small children…the benefits are endless.

We used the delightful Original Wedding Tea Towel Company and had a green and white garden scene. Each was bundled up with a little card with all the details of the day, tied with string and wrapped in brown packing paper. We included a stamped, addressed Penguin bookcover postcard as an RSVP and are planning to make an album with everyone’s replies. By leaving them blank it encouraged people to write us a proper message!

We spent ages poring over the postcards trying to decide which was best for whom and a few guests commented that they could tell we’d hand selected them.

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Everyone Captured At Their Best

We looked at several photographers online before coming across a wedding that Amy of Especially Amy had shot on RMW. We both loved the casual feel of the photos and the way she captured everyone at their best – relaxed, smiling and oblivious to the camera. Even better, each wedding she shot looked individual rather than another set of the same thing with different faces.

Once we met her we were certain she was the perfect photographer for us. She was helpful and unruffled, blended in perfectly with the guests and had the ushers running to assist her in no time! Russ and I both have an uncanny ability to gurn when posed for a picture yet Amy turned out photo after perfect photo of us looking blissfully happy.

She caught all the little details of the day: Russ high fiving a baby, the first note of our ‘guest book’ and all the moments of people dancing and laughing that we might otherwise have missed. The combination or reportage and portraiture was just right; looking through our prints the day looked styled but also familiar. It all went by in such a blur that Russ joked I enjoyed the wedding more after I’d seen the photos than before! We still look through them regularly and grin.

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Flip Flops At The Ready

My advice to brides? Make sure you’ve got a pair of spangly flip-flops with you; you will spend a lot more time on your feet at your own wedding than at other people’s. Even the best planned weddings have glitches so remember, that however your wedding goes, at the end of the day you’re married and that’s the important bit.

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Click here & view all images from this wedding

Bride’s Gown – Ellis at Confetti And Lace Farnham
Shoes – Benjamin Adams
Bridesmaids – Ted Baker
Groom and Groomsmen – Austin Reed
Florist – Hazel at Eden Blooms
Invites – The Original Wedding Tea Towel Company
Band – The Fabulations
Venue – Northbrook Park
Photography – Especially Amy

That cake table looks delicious – I can see why it got demolished!

The images are gorgeous too, excellent work again from Especially Amy.

And I’m sure you’ll agree – Hannah’s write up was a pleasure to read.

Lots of love,
Fern x

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It Had To Be London.

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Liv and Teddy’s wedding is an absolute corker. It begins with sophisticated elegance – the shimmering Eden by Jenny Packham and a smartly cut suit by The Kooples and ends with a rave in an underground exposed brick vault.

Such is the wonder of a good wedding.

What happens in-between you ask?? Well Liv the Bride is here to tell you all about it, along with images from fabulous Love Lust photographer John Day.
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Our Home Town

Liv The Bride: Our wedding was on 22nd September 2012 at The Royal Society of Arts just off The Strand in Central London. Our given names are Olivia and Chris – but everyone calls us Liv and Teddy – hence the ‘L&T’ featured everywhere! We are both from London, our parents live here, we grew up here, met here and after a brief stint in Brighton, we’ve settled down here – so when it came to location, London was a no brainer.

We actually found the RSA at the National Wedding Show. It ticked all those boxes AND were undergoing an amazing renovation (pre renovation prices for post renovation beauty – bargain!) Teddy’s a designer and so we made our invitations ourselves to try and keep costs low – I definitely underestimated how long it would take but I would recommend it if you’ve got a lot of time to kill, we spent virtually nothing making them.

We went with really simple ribbed rustic brown card with our own font and vintage penguin postcards as the RSVP. Teddy also designed a website where people could RSVP, add songs to the evening playlist and find out everything they needed to know about the day.

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No Nonsense

In life I’m definitely a casual dresser – jeans, jumpers and converse make up most of my wardrobe, and black, lots of it, so when it came to finding a wedding dress I was overwhelmed. I struggled. Six months almost to the day and with time against me I headed to Jenny Packham with my mum. Now my wedding dress troubles mainly centred around my need to wear a bra with supportive straps at all times, which put me at a HUGE disadvantage and limited me to only a couple from her collection. Sigh.

The lady that worked in the shop was pretty awesome though, her no nonsense approach was exactly what I needed and she told me in the nicest possible way to stop mopping and dwelling on my limitations because she had the perfect dress for me. And perfect it was! I felt like me when I put it on, not silly or huge or uncomfortable, but pretty amazing. The Eden. One last visit with the bridesmaids and it was done – and with 10% off. Cheers Jenny!

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A Pain In The Veil

I went for it with my veil (there was no stopping me, I was going to be BRIDE) and got one that was long, and if I’m honest, a massive pain. People tug on veils when they hug you, they snag on stuff, you trip on them, they get stuck to your lipstick, and I actually preferred my pics without it on. Ah well, at least it didn’t cost me a fortune – a friend of my mum’s copied the Jenny Packham satin trimmed veil down to a T – it was an exact match, and an absolute bargain. My accessories I kept to a minimum – the dress kind of speaks for itself!

A headdress passed down from my nan, to my aunty, to me, was reworked and simplified and it was a perfect accompaniment to the dress and had extreme sentimental value. Those pearls had sat atop my nan’s head when she married my granddad over 60 years ago, and they are still going strong , a pretty good omen!

On the day the boy gave me a beautiful bumblebee necklace from Alex Monroe which I chose to wear wrapped around my wrist. The bee has become a symbol for my Aunty who passed away nearly 3 years ago – he couldn’t have chosen a more thoughtful and meaningful gift.

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McQueen Style

Now shoes were tricky – I had a beautiful beaded dress to compliment after all, converse just ain’t gonna cut it! I don’t wear heals, ever, I’ve just never been able to walk in them so I wanted to try and get a cheap and cheerful pair. However it was during my daily perusal of RMW that I discovered these amazing Alexander McQueen shoes with skulls on them (Dom & Elizabeth’s wedding ‘At The Water’s Edge’ – just wow).

After being immediately shot down by the boy at the mere thought of buying them I gave it up and moved on. Well, almost. I bought a cute pair of gold T bars from Dune and my mum had the genius idea of putting on our own skulls – £15 in Topshop on some earrings and a handy best man later and voila! My very own skull shoes for a snippet of the price. Win.

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Calling On Friends

Luckily for us we have a lot of talented mates. My brother’s best friend, Scott who works at Daniel Hershesons, did my hair (and my bridesmaids, mum and nan – such a trooper!) I always wear my hair down when I dress up so that’s what I wanted for my wedding day. We went with a subtle blonde dip die a month before and on the day he created beautiful soft waves – simple.

My makeup was done by another friend, Olga, a former Mac makeup artist turned advertising executive who I met at work, she worked miracles! We went for a reddish lip, side lashes, black eyeliner and a strong brow – basically my daily makeup but amped up. I loved it and it lasted the entire day – I was still looking immaculate at 2am, not a lash out of place. Girl done good.

Both of them were amazing and it was so lovely having people I knew with me that morning – and as they were also guests they were there to touch me up for the rest of the day!

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The Flower Appreciation Society

My bridesmaid, Emma, found our florists in a local magazine – two illustration and textile design students who turned their arty hands to floristry when they graduated, what could be more perfect for a couple who met studying art? Anna and Ellie from the Flower Appreciation Society – what absolute babes. We went for tea, had a chat about the kind of flowers I liked, discussed our budget and the styling and that was it!

From that moment on we exchanged a few emails but I left them to it, what do I know about flowers anyway? We went for wild flowers in pastel colours, with the obligatory hydrangea of course. The ladies even provide their own vintage vases for a tiny fee and style the venue for you. I had absolute faith in them that they would make the place look amazing and they did. I was there at the end of the night swiping arrangements off tables for my guests to take home!

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A Stroke Of Luck

I have to say my groomsmen outfits were a stroke of genius. After putting Teddy and then my bridesmaids in navy I had to come up with something else for the boys and they ended up wearing burgundy slim cut ‘Camden’ suits from Ben Sherman. I basically got lazy and left it a bit late so when I finally dragged them out shopping I had 8 weeks to go and EVERYWHERE was in sale, not normally a problem but both my boys are a 32 reg. Panic. I raced home and mass ordered loads of different suits online – by a stroke of luck the burgundy looked amazing and the lads were happy.

People proper raved about them on the day and I couldn’t have been happier with how they looked – white slim shirts, black knitted ties and personalised tie bars topped off their look.

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Unintentional 30s Glamour

Now for the ladies – I’m obviously biased but my two bridesmaids, Niamh and Emma, looked exquisite. Both absolute stunners it was easy to make them look amazing – their silk navy 30s inspired Ghost dresses were the first thing we bought for the wedding on an impromptu shopping trip and the easiest decision I made. I loved them, they loved them – above all I wanted them to feel comfortable and happy.

We went with 30s style hair and the same makeup as mine to compliment the dresses. It ended up being a bit of a 30s Hollywood glamour affair – quite unintentional as I’m not really one for a ‘theme’…

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Navy, Burgundy And Gold

Teddy wore a navy tux from The Kooples, a burgundy spotted pocket square from Gieves and Hawkes with matching socks and a pale gold skinny tie from Topman. Topped off by an antique gold and pearl tie bar found in Camden Passage market and black brogues from Office he looked so handsome.

Shopping for him was actually really easy – one trip to Selfridges (where we spotted the suit) and another to The Kooples to try on his size and we were done. I have to say the guys at the Kooples were pretty great – they offer a tailoring service and did loads of little nips and tucks to make him look his absolute best, and that he did. I thought I would be a ball of nerves walking down the aisle towards him but I just felt calm and happy, so happy. Too happy to even shed a tear – although he did, such a girl!

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One Of The Gang

John Day was an absolute ledge. On our first meeting he rocked up to see our swanky venue in flip flops and we both liked him instantly. I found choosing a photographer quite hard, we really wanted a mix of someone who was extremely talented and produced great shots and someone who you could easily see yourself going for a beer with. Some friends of ours got married recently and although their pics were stunning they were both left reeling at their photographers bossy and at times rude approach. Nah, most certainly not what we wanted.

I think I found John on RMW and after a couple of email exchanges with the boy (yes ladies that was one of the only things he helped organise!) he was ours. John’s style is exactly what we wanted – lots of natural pictures of people looking happy. What more could you want really? I hate having my photograph taken but John made me feel instantly at ease and he slotted into the gang pretty easily. He even stayed on after the first dance to nab some amazing pictures of the band! He was honestly just a really lovely guy and a pleasure to have around.

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Priceless Memories Captured

Originally I hadn’t really thought about a wedding video – my budget just didn’t stretch – but when my brother, Matt, suggested getting one of his mates to do it for free I thought, why not? He’s a camera man by trade and him and his mate Keith film weddings on weekends, luckily for us Keith was kind enough to shoot it, and my brother painstakingly edited all 14 minutes of it.

I was quite blasé about it at first but I’m so glad he suggested doing it because the memories it captured really are priceless – I absolutely love it and every time I’m having a bad day I watch it and it does wonders to cheer me up.

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Bake It Yourself

Me and Emma are both very fond of baking and after visiting lots of vintage wedding fairs came to the realisation that we could probably make the cake ourselves. I always wanted something pretty rustic and informal looking so we wouldn’t need to worry ourselves with creating a immaculately iced cake – just a tiered Victoria sponge affair. After researching endless recipes Delia informed us that we could freeze sponge. Epiphany.

The only worry about making your own wedding cake is the stress of devoting the entire day before to bake, but now that was out of the way we were on a roll! After baking and freezing a lot of back up cakes we went for a vanilla sponge with buttercream and fresh fruit filling for the bottom layer, then chocolate with a chocolate and raspberry filling for the middle, then lemon with a lemon curd filling for the top. We then crammed all the available ledges with fresh fruit and dusted with icing sugar.

After defrosting the cakes overnight on the Thursday the assembly process took 2 hours tops and we were done – the hardest part was delivering it to the venue! Emma is a master illustrator and so hand drew us a ‘Liv & Teddy’ banner to go around the middle, it was stunning. I would recommend anyone who likes baking to make their own cake, such a money saver and we were so proud!

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The Rolling Stoned

We tried to save as much money as we could by calling on favours and hand making things with the sole purpose of saving money for the band. My family are massive Rolling Stones fans – which means after 8 years together, Teddy is too. Every time The Rolling Stoned – a Stones tribute band – play in and around London we go, so when it came to the decision of having a band, there really wasn’t one.

They didn’t disappoint – they rocked it. We chose our venue for its beauty of course, but the evening venue – the underground exposed brick vaults that we could have til 2am cinched the deal. The atmosphere was amazing. They were followed by a good friend of ours blasting out tunes all evening, including a DJ set by my dad (yep.. he insisted). The evening part of the wedding was one of the most important to us – we just wanted everyone coming to have an amazing time and to party into the early hours with us – hopefully the band and endless flowing booze helped them along!

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My Mind’s Telling Me No

Our first dance song was a bit of a quandary. If we were being honest we probably should have danced our way into married life with ‘You should let me love you’ by Mario, the song we had our first kiss to all those years ago. But I just couldn’t do it. The choice then was impossible – we didn’t really have ‘our song’ that was appropriate for parents/grandparents etc to dance to.

In the end we swapped and changed so much that the night before the wedding I text Teddy whilst watching Dirty Dancing in my hotel room with the girls to change it to Solomon Burke ‘Don’t You Feel Like Crying’– which was lovely but actually quite sad when you listen to the words. Ah well. It was just a filler song really as half way through, the music cut out and ‘Bump n Grind’ by R Kelly came on. Having both grown up in North London we had a touch of the chav about us in our youth, which means that we love some pretty terrible music (we obviously don’t think it’s terrible, but that view is widely contested) and luckily for us our friends share our views. When the song came on the room erupted! It was a great moment and one I will remember for the rest of my life.

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A Pin For Everyone

We lost my Aunty prematurely to cancer almost three years ago now – she was such an important part of our lives and we wanted to remember her on our special day. We made a donation on our guests behalf to cancer research – providing everyone with a pin we wanted them to wear on the day. For us it was a way of including her in something that she would have been such an important part of had she still been here.

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Beautifully Eclectic

Thankfully our venue was so beautiful that we didn’t need much to make it shine. The place settings were luggage labels painstakingly stamped with our guests names and attached to old keys (most of which I ended up getting from an old insane asylum.. but I won’t think of that as a bad omen..) the menus were designed by the boy and stuck onto the back of postcards of vintage penguin books (each one selected to be relevant to each guest) and we had tea lights in jam jars, church candles and pictures of us dotted all over the place.

Our tables were named after Stones songs and the names put into gilded gold frames atop piles of old books collected from charity shops, tied with lace and fastened with antique brooches. My florists were the stars though and really brought the place to life with their stunning displays and beautifully eclectic range of vases that they let us use for a tiny charge! We had a polaroid camera that people used to take pics of themselves and paperclip into our guest book next to their message. Which was really lovely to look at the next day – especially as people and their messages got progressively more drunk as the night went on!

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Don’t Get Bogged Down By Details

When planning our wedding was that we wanted it to be fun – and for people to have a really REALLY good time. That was our main brief. My advice? Try not to get bogged down by the details. Blogs like RMW are amazing for ideas – some brides do the most beautiful things but if you’re not that way inclined then don’t worry! We had a few nice touches dotted around our venue but I must admit that towards to end I got a little lazy with my planning, so enthusiastic at the start but that tapered off. A PA in life, there is only so much organisation you can do at work AND at home! Good people, good food, plenty of free flowing booze and a rockin band will see you through. Well it did for us anyway!

Everyone says it, but it’s so important to take time out with your husband. I don’t even remember being that loved up with him on the day because we were so busy rushing around and seeing everyone! John suggested going for a second little photo shoot at dusk and I’m so glad we did, we got some beautiful pictures and got to spend some time together wandering along the Thames, just us – with John 3rd wheeling us of course!

My final and most important bit of advice I have is to have fun and enjoy every minute. Things will go wrong, they just will, but there’s no point getting angry about it on the day – just try to relax and enjoy every second.

30s Inspired London Wedding At The Royal Society Of Arts With Bride In Eden By Jenny Packham And Groom In Navy Suit From The Kooples Images By John Day Photography With The Rolling Stoned Tribute Band_0018

Click here & view all images from this wedding

Bride’s Gown – Eden by Jenny Packham
Bridesmaid’s Dresses – Ghost
Make Up – Olga Borowiec
Groom’s Suit – The Kooples
Groomsmen’s Suits – Ben Sherman
Florists – Anna & Ellie at The Flower Appreciation Society
Venue – The RSA
Band – The Rolling Stoned
Videographer – Matt Wicks
Photographer – John Day Photography

Loving Liv’s home made Alexander McQueens and her dark nails.

The headpiece is gorgeous too, what a lovely thing to have in the family.

And I think we’re all in agreement that there ain’t nothing wrong with a little bump n grind.

Lots of love,
Fern x

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Fields Of Green.

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The best thing about this gorgeous weather is that anyone having a marquee wedding can breathe easy. And Clare and Richard put so much effort into their marquee wedding that they absolutely deserved the sun to shine down on them. The flowers, décor, favours and hair and make-up were all created by family and friends.

It just goes to show what you can achieve if you put a bit of time and effort in to doing something, and that a wedding doesn’t have to cost an absolute fortune! With the sun shining and your best friends and family around you, it’s easy to remember that the best things in life are free…cheesy but true.

It’s almost like Joseph Hall has captured that message in the images – the light is beautiful and the whole thing just looks so dreamy and ethereal.

Enjoy the sun dappled gorgeousness lovely readers!

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Escape To The Country

Clare the Bride: We really wanted somewhere outside with lots of green. We both enjoy escaping to the countryside and wanted a relaxed country feel. We ended up having the reception at Sandridgebury Farm in St. Albans. The site is for a marquee, which enabled us to design our reception from scratch. Dorothy and Rodger at the venue were very helpful with lots of contacts. The horses in the field next to the marquee were an added bonus!

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Sister Act

In order to keep costs down my sister Ruth did my make up (and ended up getting roped into doing the entire bridal party!). We went for a brilliant make up lesson at Mac on 3, in Selfridges. This cost £50 for an hour’s tuition and you then got to that money back if you bought £50 worth of products. Predictably, I ended up spending more than £50 but it was well worth it to give my sister the confidence boost she needed. Ruth’s make up, plus some eyelash extensions for the day made me feel very glamorous on the day. I knew I wanted my hair up with some plaits. I was delighted with the end result.

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Heart Set On Packham

I really wanted a simple dress – I’m quite tall so wanted something slightly Grecian feeling and floaty, rather than big and puffy. I was convinced I was going to get something second-hand from sellmyweddingdress.com but made the mistake of trying on Violet by Jenny Packham. Despite not being a sparkly girl, I liked the fact that it was a very simply dress, with just a touch of razzmatazz! The headpiece (also Jenny Packham) made me feel very Downton Abbey!

Once I’d found the dress, I was checking sellmyweddingdress.com every day but to no avail. Eventually I found a lovely boutique, The Bridal Gallery, that was doing a Jenny Packham designer day with 10% off and that was worth the journey to Northamptonshire!

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Precious Pearls

Accessories were something I left quite last minute. Every time I tried the dress on, I tried the Jenny Packham headpiece too, so getting it was inevitable really! I also knew I wanted a long veil to add a bit of glamour to the simplicity of my dress. The church where we got married is gorgeous and very ornate, so simplicity was key for me.

My sisters and I all got given a pearl necklace from our parents following their trip to Vietnam. My best friend Grainne ended up borrowing my set so that was the bridesmaids sorted. The night before the wedding, I didn’t have any jewellery – I felt the detail on the dress and headpiece was enough. My lovely Dad however had other ideas and presented me with a lovely set of pearly earrings to wear down the aisle.

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Green And Purple

We got the bridesmaids dresses from Phase Eight. My sisters and best friend Grainne are actually a scarily similar shape so there were no dramas about finding different styles for each of them. I knew I wanted a shade of green or purple but had no fixed idea and asked them to keep their eyes out for anything they liked on the high street.

We hired suits for the men, choosing not to match the Bridesmaids in terms of colour but instead compliment it with a sage green. Rich was keen to wear tails as he wears a regular suit to work every day.

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Homespun

Our theme was ‘homespun’ with huge input from friends and family. Once we had chosen the Bridesmaids dresses, we knew we wanted purple and I also wanted lots of green to show of the lovely outdoor setting. Pinterest was great at gathering ideas and we had some serious pom-pom making, bunting sewing, paper dove cutting and jam jar painting workshops as a result!

I was particularly proud of the photo bunting my mum put together, including photos of both mine and Rich’s parents on their wedding days. It was a great point of interest for guests as the majority of them featured on it somewhere.

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Front Room Turned Florists

My wonderful Mum did all of the flowers. My parents’ front room looked like a florist in the days leading up to the wedding. We went to a flower market on the Wednesday morning and bought what we fancied the look of. We ended up with a beautiful combination of roses and anenomies, as well as sprigs of rosemary to add scent. In preparation, Mum went on a bridal floristry course at the Academy of Flowers in Covent Garden. Although quite pricey, I think she saw it as an investment, as I am one of 3 daughters!

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A Talented Bunch

The ceremony was amazing and we tried to get lots of friends and family involved. My aunt did the reading a biblical love poem, Song of Solomon: chapter 8, v 6-7. We found the website yourchurchwedding.org very helpful when trying to pick one. We also had friends read the bidding prayers and Sonnet 116. Despite its popularity, I love this poem and its sentiment.

My friend Rosie made the ceremony particularly special by singing as we signed the register. Her husband Paul, played the organ for the whole thing too, making it feel very personal. We are lucky to have such talented friends!

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Up-Beat And Fun

The reception was awesome. We had an amazing band called Motown Gold, who in-between sets provided a disco. The dance floor was packed all night long and people had to be dragged off at the end of the night. We are not a very soppy couple so the idea of a slow, smoochy love song was too much for us. Instead we opted for upbeat and fun for our first dance, with Higher and Higher by Jackie Wilson as our choice of song.

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Good, Fresh Food

Food was always going to be a very important part of our big day. We both love good, fresh food so were keen that nothing felt remotely ‘mass catered’. After a disastrous few tastings (who knew you could get a jacket potato wrong?!) we came across Dan at Kingfisher Caterers. Everyone we have spoken to since the wedding has commented on how delicious it was and their team were really professional on the day.

We got our own event manager who looked after the timings etc so we didn’t have to worry about anything at all. They were also very happy to serve canapés (made by my friend Sarah) and our own desserts (made my lovely sister Martha, my Mum and Rich’s Mum). As well as this, they set out our evening buffet (lots and lots of cheese) and ran the cash bar.

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I made the favours myself – two chutneys and one jam with different coloured fabrics covering the jam jar lids. I loved the hand stamped luggage labels that we tied on each one with the guests names on. We used these to label the array of puddings too and I think they helped create a lovely ‘homespun’ feel to the marquee.

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Post Cards And Luggage Labels

As keen travellers, we knew that the tables would be themed by countries and we were lucky enough to have a friend who is a designer kindly offer to make these for us. James put together some amazing table signs incorporating photos of us on our travels, as well as the table plan itself. Each table list looked like a luggage label. Sadly James and his wife Erica (one of my best friends from school) were not able to come over from New Zealand for the wedding itself, so these acted as a lovely reminder of them during the day.

I enjoy making and crafting so knew that I would be making the save the dates, invitations and orders of service myself. After an initial trip to Hobbycraft, I got my ideas finalised, before then ordering the card I needed online – this was much cheaper than buying the whole lot in Hobbycraft.

Instead of a guestbook we decided to have a postcard washing line. Guests had to pick a postcard and write their messages to us on the back, before pegging them to the line. There are some hilarious ones as the night progresses, as people have drunk more and more homemade sloe gin!

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Use Their Skills

My main piece of advice would be to take advantage of the skills and talents of friends and family. People genuinely seemed to relish being a part of the build-up and being able to offer help towards the big day and it was lovely to look around and see the fruit of everyone’s labour on the day itself.

I would also highly recommend doing certain things yourself. We saved an absolute packet doing things like the stationery ourselves and it made it feel very personal and special on the day. It was also another excuse to spend quality time with my bridesmaids in the months before the wedding!

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Click here & view all images from this wedding

Dress – Jenny Packham at The Bridal Gallery Finedon
Bridesmaids – Phase Eight
Table Names – James Harvison
Band – Motown Gold
Catering – Kingfisher Caterers
Venue – Sandridgebury Farm
Photography – Joseph Hall

It just goes to show that you should spend whatever YOU want on your wedding, if you want to go DIY crazy, do it!
The post card pegging idea is great and I always love the idea of using photos of your parents wedding days.
Also, on the sunshine theme – doesn’t that lemon tart look like the sun? So deliciously yellow and bright.

Lots of love,
Fern x

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