First of all, you have to excuse the pun. I love a pun so when I heard that the Rock Star of the wedding industry, Steve Gerrard had journeyed up to Sheffield there was really only one title worth considering. It also might be worth noting that Tim & Carla’s wedding did not break the bank. 🙂
Their big day took place back in June at Whirlowbrook Hall in Sheffield. It was a small intimate affair achieved on a modest budget. You’ll learn that big names and fancy labels aren’t really Tim & Carla’s bag. You’ll also learn that scouring vintage thrift stores, making considered choices from the High Street and artful budget allocation (on what really matters to you) can make a wedding as beautiful and unique as… well as beautiful and uniqueas this one right here. Enjoy…
All Shock And No Frock.
Although a really pretty frock was important for me, having an amazing designer dress wasn’t. I ended up taking a few different styles of dresses and sending them to a dressmaker in China who whipped up a wedding dress for me from scratch in a couple of months. I didn’t enjoy trying on wedding dresses in bridal boutiques and was pretty mortified when I was put on a pedestal and cooed over. I was dressed up like a doll and told to stand on a box to see how the dress looked with everyone looking at me. Oh the horror… Not only did this make me around a foot higher than everyone else around me (which made me feel daft), I also had no idea how the dress would have looked on me as I am, i.e. with my bottom half a foot shorter! I appreciate the reasons for doing this but could image nothing worse than ordering the dress then going to subsequent fittings only to realise I temporarily looked like a skinny leggy blonde for a damn good reason. And that’s not because I am one unfortunately. A cruel trick!
I did fall in love with a dress which was over £2,000 but my dress wasn’t one of the major priorities for the day and I didn’t want to take budget away from aspects of the day that were more important to us, such as the venue, food, photographer (the amazingly awesome Steve Gerrard), vino, honeymoon… The plan was to try get a dress made and if it didn’t work out, I could possibly get the one I liked most from the bridal shop. Bit of a gamble but…
My dress wasn’t anything out of the ordinary but it was made from silk (patch tested with a lighter on arrival!), constructed really well (confirmed by my seamstress) & I absolutely loved it because it was mine. And for considerably less than the dream dress, I was ecstatic. It honestly didn’t feel like a massive compromise. The style of the dress probably wasn’t the most flattering for my curves but I just didn’t really care – I wanted a mermaid/trumpet shape to my dress and that was it really, so I got one and I loved it.
Vintage Blue Topaz.
Accessories were pretty standard. I made a veil from netting from John Lewis to wear for the ceremony & later swapped that for a flower from Monsoon which I clipped to some Merry Widow netting which I sewed Swarovski crystals on to. Ridiculously easy and all in all cost around £40 for them both.
I wore a vintage blue topaz ring courtesy of Grandma. A bit of a tribute to a wonderful lady who would have loved the wedding day… I had another ring that Tim bought me which was very similar but chunkier gold which replaced Grandma’s later on in the day. I couldn’t decide which one to go with so used both 🙂
My shoes were a blush/nude colour with a snakeskin design on the leather, glitter and big clear jewels on the front, courtesy of Kurt Geiger. They were probably around 4″ but the front platform made them really comfy and, although I don’t wear heels very often, I didn’t moan that my feet were hurting once! I just realised the description of my shoes makes them sound like part of a 70s costume but they were nice, honest.
My bridesmaid’s shoes were the real beauts though – OTT Irregular Choice gems that would have made Marie Antoinette smile.
My hairstyle for the day was the bane of my life for a good few months. I decided to start growing my hair 18 months before the big day and had quite adventurous plans considering the style then was asymmetric and around 2″ max on one side. I went to a local hairdressers armed with a few pics, they put my hair up & I thought ‘that’ll do nicely’. That was around 3 weeks before the wedding and was a mahooosive weight lifted. If you can get your overall image sorted early on, it’ll save a lot of stress when you can do without it!
I ended up getting my make up done because I didn’t want to look exactly the same as I do every day. My one look is big fat black eyeliner but I didn’t want that for the day. When my make up trial came round, we tried less heavy eye make up look. I looked like someone else. I went for the black eyeliner. It would appear I don’t like change…
Vintage Bottles And Peonies.
On the day the thing that I was most impressed with (but didn’t have a massive amount of control over) were the flowers. Loved loved loved my bouquet & the peonies were the nicest I’ve ever seen. My main requests were big peonies and craspedia and the florist carried on the theme throughout the venue decorations. We scoured antique shops for vintage bottles for a good year before the wedding which was a lot of fun, and these were used as table centerpieces.
We originally wanted use my Grandad’s old battered typewriter as an alternative to the guest book but we couldn’t get the bloody thing working. Instead we challenged our florist to make the rusty old thing look pretty. Monica Hewitt, you did us very very very proud.
Small But Perfect.
Our wedding party only consisted of one bridesmaid, one groomsman and my sister’s little ‘un Evelyn who we both absolutely adore. Frances has been my best friend since we were 4 years old and Tim has known Matt from playing out on his bike over 15 years ago.
We got Matt a grey suit and tie and he picked up his own pink shirt and brown shoes. And very dapper he looked too.
Frances (AKA my human accessory) looked gorgeous in a silk dress from Coast and THOSE shoes.
The colour scheme was a bit vintagey with a twist, using a minty/aqua colour (taken from France’s dress, bright pink (Tim’s tie) & blue (Tim’s suit), and we tried to tie all the decorations in with that.
Hot In Reiss.
Tim looked absolutely gorgeous on the day and I felt so proud to be marrying/have married this hot hot HOT man! He bought his navy suit from Reiss and an awesomely awesome (to the max) shirt from 1 Like No Other from a store in Sheffield.
Tim doesn’t wear suits at all and so to see him dressed up to the nines in a beautifully cut suit was really special. I think it’s obvious he loved his outfit – if you’re not comfortable it really shows. It’s the groom’s day just as much as the bride’s (in theory anyway), and it’s important not to overlook their outfit whilst being neurotic about your own.
Stevie G. Super Cool.
Our photographer Steve Gerrard was one of our first wedding bookings. His style of photography is artistically modern with more than a hint of super-cool. Because you’re around your photographer a lot, it’s really important to get someone who is on your wavelength & Steve was very much that.
I really enjoyed his blog and felt like I knew him (& his family!) before I met him. This did make me feel rather stalkerish though (in a similar way to looking through someone’s holiday pics on Facebook), but it was lovely to see how other people planned their wedding. Through Steve’s pictures, I could kind of get an idea how our wedding was going to be portrayed and what our album was going to end up like which was really exciting.
This Isn’t Just Cake…
Our cake wasn’t a priority on the budget plan so we decided if I couldn’t have my stupidly fantastic cake (like Planet Cake’s ‘Village Fair’ creation), then I wasn’t bothered about mid-range one. Our cake was from M and S and was a chocolate sponge with white chocolate icing. And scrummy is was too. We ended up bringing the top layer home because there was a bit too much and tried our best (but failed) to eat it all the day after the wedding.
The cake sat on a glass cake stand we got from Ikea and spray-painted the underside dark blue. It was little things like this other people probably didn’t notice but I did and I think it looked fabulous.
Our DJ for the evening was a university student who runs a company called Amplified Entertainments. He was a really lovely guy and had a screen on the front of his equipment to play a slideshow of our pictures. That was a really nice way to include some people who are unfortunately no longer around and bring them to our wedding. As well as showing Tim & me growing up over the last 10 years together and displaying some all-round daftness!
My favourite song was saved for walking down the isle rather than the first dance. Every holiday over the past few years has been accompanied by Scott Matthews (MP3 version, unfortunately not the man…), and I have memories of listening to him on every one and feeling generally very very contented. I chose ‘Elusive’ to make my grand entrance to, and it worked perfectly for us.
Our first dance was ‘Sunshine of Your Love’ by Cream. It’s a song we’ve both loved for years, and in the run-up to the wedding I would often sing this to Tim very loudly & purposefully out of tune during the 7.30am car journey to work. I found this hilarious, Tim didn’t always.
The lyrics ‘I’ve been waiting so long, to be where I’m going, in the sunshine of your love’ – so so nice although the whole ‘waiting’ thing wasn’t overly appropriate since we’ve been together since ages 17 & 20.
Our favours were Charbonnel et Walker pink champagne truffles which were seriously yummy. The kids’ favours were paper bag with toys, sweets and colouring books in. I would highly recommend this to keep the little dears entertained – it’s a long day for them and without the luxury of a cheeky vino, they get bored easily!
The venue decorations were kept to a few statement pieces. There were a few pictures on the wall in the venue which our amazing wedding co-ordinator Emma said we could replace with our own. She worked so hard to put all our little wedding decorations up, decorate tables etc – it’s people like Emma who give you the confidence that your day is gonna be hitch-free (no pun intended).
We bought some picture frames from antique/junk shops and spray-painted them. We ended up with a bright pink frame with a canvas of Scott Matthew’s ‘Elusive’ in, a dark blue mirror, and a gold frame which Tim made into a clock. Tim’s clock marked out the day’s events at the relevant times and acted as a bit of an order of service. I think that was one of the best decorations. We also had a chalk board which was updated with the best dancer throughout the night. That did give us a good giggle when we dug that out a few weeks later 😀
Carrying on with the spray-painting theme, we found a wooden cupboard box by the side of the road with a note saying ‘free to a good home’. That home was ours. We spray-painted it an aqua colour, distressed the edges with sandpaper, Tim cut a slot out the top & voila! – a box for cards.
We bought & restored a black Victorian frame (which came with a really creepy chalk portrait in – he’s still in the cellar) and used it for the table plan. Another of Tim’s creations, made using photos of our guests instead of names. Just a bit of fun really and hopefully made our guests smile.
I spent quite a long time making paper heart garlands to hang down one window of the venue. They were made out of vintage sheet music & I sewed mini pink bells on the bottom. They actually ended up looking quite pretty – they’re included in one of our favourite pictures from the day. Steve Gerrard, you’re a diamond. One of the music sheets had a bride and groom on the front with a large banner on the top which said ‘TOO LATE NOW’. That was too good to cut up so I framed it.
The venue was one of the many things we got very right. The food was lovely, the place is pretty and all the staff were seriously super. And we took our own wine. We served Balfour Brut Rosé for the toast which was a scrummy English pink fizz. And I stayed on that all day 😀
Nearest And Dearest.
What really made our wedding special were our guests. We didn’t have the budget to pay for a big wedding, and the thought of getting married in front of people I haven’t seen for years (or possible have never even met) made me really really nervous. We had our immediate family and best friends there and that was exactly what worked for us.
Tips I would give for brides-to-be are:
- Try and plan your wedding around things you enjoy. If you’re really into music, put some work into making sure you get it spot on. If you’re a crafty person (creative, not sneaky), get online for inspiration and get that glue gun out. Don’t let your wedding become a chore by taking on projects you don’t find fun.
- Try not to fall out/have digs at your husband-to-be. Planning a wedding is stressful and it’s inevitable you’ll find ways to air those grievances, on the whole just try to play nice and try to have a giggle whilst you go.
- Prioritise what’s important. Once you get researching, your priorities may change but unless you have in infinite budget (lucky you!), somethings you just have to compromise on. And that’s hard when you’ve tried on your dream designer dress, picked the most amazing cake, researched the most expensive flowers…
- Try not to bore work colleagues, friends, family with talk of the wedding all the time. It’s exciting for everyone involved but you don’t want people to be bored of hearing about your wedding when it’s not even happened yet. Try to keep a bit of mystery and a few nice surprises for your guests to enjoy on the day.
- Use the time with your photographer as a good excuse to get a few nice cuddles in with your new husband. It’s a busy busy day but it’s all about the two of you getting married – make sure you share a nice amount of time with each other.
Finally, the most important thing is the two of you making wonderful vows to each other. If there’s one day that you should let minor hiccups slip, that should be your wedding day. Good luck with you planning!
Venue Whirlowbrook Hall
Photographer Steve Gerrard
Grooms suit Reiss
Grooms shirt 1 Like No Other
Florist Monica Hewitt
Entertainment Amplified Entertainments
Cara says it all there at the end – which has saved me a job. I know what you’re thinking…. it’s Friday and Adams gone all lazy and he’s already winding down for the weekend… Well it’s true. I am. So there.
Happy Friday folks 😉
P.S Reiss are definately making my favourite high street suits at the moment… their cut and quality of tailoring in the suits and shirts are unbeatable – Tim made a great choice, im off to check out 1 Like No Other now.