So where to begin with Laura & Howard’s oh so beautiful wedding?? It really is a girly girls dream!
I suppose the theme begins with the dress, and when your dress happens to be Dita by Naomi Neoh – with it’s French corded lace bodice and full silk chiffon skirt infused with a subtle hint of blush pink – you know your wedding is going to be of the soft and romantic variety.
The flowers couldn’t be more pretty either. Just wait until you see Laura’s bouquet! Apparently her florists assistant described it as the prettiest thing she’d ever seen…and I can completely understand why. Fluffy pink peonies surrounded by delicate green foliage and wrapped in vintage lace?! It’s a real beauty.
And then there’s the photography from On Love & Photography, which just seems to have painted a soft, timeless quality over the entire day…
Emmie and Geoff’s pretty pastel wedding had me swooning from the very first image. It’s just bursting with gorgeous details and wonderful ideas that you could definitely recreate yourselves.
The baby pink and blue tin cans used as table centre pieces, the photo frame table plan, the chalkboard sign welcoming guests and the wooden signs directing guests to ceremony were all made by Emmie and Geoff, and their wonderful family and friends.
I think it’s fair to say that at RMW we LOVE shoes and Emmie’s something-blue pair are seriously gorgeous. Her lace, deep V backed gown is stunning too and continues the pretty colour scheme with that beautiful dusky pink bow.
Honestly, I’ll never tire of satin ribbon tied up in a bow.
If you’re inspired to recreate any of Emmie and Geoff’s ideas, then don’t worry – Emmie explains how she did it all below. (And if anyone makes a flying saucer or marshmallow tree – please make an extra to send to RMW HQ).
And if you’re feeling creative don’t forget all of our DIY projects can be found here.
Oh my! I have a sneaking suspicion that you are going to fall in love with this afternoon’s wedding – that of Jacqueline and Joe who married on Lusty Beg Island amidst the backdrop of New Year’s revelries.
For a start Jacqueline is BEAUTIFUL with delicious bridal accessories to match – I mean you just can’t help but gawp at her super sparkly Gucci shoes in awe. But that’s not all!
I adore pretty much EVERYTHING in this wonderful ‘I do’ from the illustrated stationery to the super chic bridesmaid dresses from BHLDN all the way through to the epic portrait shots by the Guinness sign and the dapper men in tweed. And you need to check out the ceiling accessories adorning the pair’s wedding reception – now that’s how to drape paper chains in style.
Imagine if you were to combine a shop full of weird and wonderful memorabilia and vintage items, with a sumptuous wedding in a Victorian hotel…well people, that’s exactly how I would describe Jemma and Lee’s big day.
The lovely pair used bits and bobs they had from home for the decor – bell jars, pearls, vintage keys, old books, phrenology heads, fortune telling hands AND pieces of taxidermy all make an appearance. I can only imagine how fun their house is to visit…
Go with it – because I promise you it WORKS. SO. WELL.
I would also go as far to say that Jemma’s winged eyeliner is probably the best I’ve ever seen. The bold look works perfectly behind her demure birdcage veil. And those stacks of vintage pearls work amazingly as a statement necklace.
Today’s wedding also makes me wonder why more Bridesmaids aren’t dressed in black…these ladies look so chic and you can never go wrong with an LBD. Especially a barginous one from the high street with pretty white lace detail!
There is something magical about an outdoor ceremony in the english countryside. Throw in some classic VW’s and some top notch pompom action and I am one happy wedding blogger.
The beautiful setting for Danielle and Jamie’s big day is Preston Court, near Canterbury.
Elvis The Horse
Danielle The Bride: The minute I saw the website for Preston Court I fell in love and didn’t want to look at any other venues. Jamie and I went with my Mum and Dad and our children Josh and Poppy to take a look. Jenny showed us everything the venue had to offer, unfortunately for Jamie the carousel was on site, from that point on there was no going back. Josh and Poppy were introduced to Elvis the horse, the resident peacocks, the chickens and the cockerel.
Thankfully Jamie was really taken with the island in the middle of the lake and loved the idea of getting married there; it was very romantic to walk over the lovely iron bridge to meet him.
Jenny and Anna, from Preston Court were great, they allowed us to do our own decorations and when we visited on a cold spring day for our wine tasting Jenny had the fire in the Kentish barn going with hot coffee ready..It was freezing cold outside but the venue was still beautiful!!
Hair The bridesmaids and I all got ready in the bridal suit, Holly and Elena made it a really enjoyable experience for us all. I didn’t want to look like I was wearing too much makeup but equally I didn’t want it to have worn off by the end of the day. They worked great together and made sure everyone was 100% happy, Holly doing the make-up and Elena the bridesmaid’s hair.
Apart from Holly and Elena I was lucky enough to have my heavily pregnant friend Emma murray. do my hair, thankfully baby Ruby waited until after the wedding to make an appearance.
Even the Groom and his Usher Tony (who just happened to be married to the lovely beautician) were treated to a few hours preening before the big day. Jaime Rowbury at Earth Purely then went on to make sure I was feeling relaxed with my own facial, pedicure and manicure along with perfectly painted OPI French gel nails.
I visited a small boutique called The Bridal Way in Warlingham, Surrey on a friend’s recommendation to look for my dress. I had an idea of what I wanted and happily it didn’t take long to find the perfect one. It was Atlanta B San Patrick by Pronovias.
I wanted to keep my jewellery plain, so for something borrowed I wore my Mums silver Tiffany’s heart bracelet, for new, diamond earrings that my Dad surprised me with before he gave me away.
My Grandma pinned a wedding ring into my dress that belonged to my Great Great Auntie Edie; that was my something old.
I wasn’t really shopping for wedding shoes but as luck would have it I came across one pair of satin shoes in my size in the Faith sale, they had perfect sparkly bows and were so comfortable.
I had my Sister, my Auntie, my Sister in Law and two of my best friends as bridesmaids. We couldn’t decide which dresses we liked best so the girls picked their favourites, both Debenhams Debut and we went with both of them.
The pastel pink tied in with the decorations and the blue with the Next suits the Ushers and Josh wore. The Groom, Best Man and both Dads wore suits and ties from TM Lewin. Our daughter Poppy who was our flower girl wore a dress from Monsoon.
I wanted to keep to pastel pinks and creams, I loved the vintage cottage look and we spent lots of time making the decorations ourselves. We ordered flat packed pom poms from decopompoms, which arrived really quickly. The day before the wedding our Parents, my Grandma and Jay and Jodie, two of the bridesmaids spent the whole afternoon opening them up and decorating the barn. For weeks leading up to the wedding we collected material/lace/ribbon and jars to decorate the tables; who would have known empty mayonnaise jars would come in so handy. We ordered the jars on eBay and sweets online from Handy Candy and made our own wedding favours, Jamie spent ages cutting out the circles of material for the tops and stamping the little labels with our wedding date. We ordered hessian in one continuous strip for the table runners and my Grandma cut it to size on our lawn.
All the table names were hand stamped by Jamie and my Mum too.
Soft Shabby Chic
I met Lisa at Heather & Wood at a wedding fair in Kent, her stall was by far the prettiest I had seen and she agreed to come to our home and talk to us about our day. She was great and translated our conversation perfectly into a soft vintage shabby Chic look for the bouquets and table decorations that were exactly what we had hoped for.
All the family stayed at the Bell Hotel in Sandwich and then we travelled to the wedding venue in Delilah… In a fabulous convertible VW Beetle belonging to Kent Beetles and the bridesmaids followed in style in Betty the lovely red retro camper van.
We were married in the folly on Juliana’s medieval island, another lovely part of Preston Court.
Poetry In Motion
Jamie’s Sister Claire, who was one of our bridesmaids, did the first reading followed by Usher Tony who read “I wandered lonely as a cloud” by William Wordsworth. He had known this off by heart since he and Jamie were young and the Registrar was most impressed. Unfortunately the sound of the wind did spoil this for guests on the other side of the Island so Tony was kind enough to do a repeat performance during the speeches, accompanied by mime courtesy of Jamie’s best man Darren much to the audience’s amusement.
We had the most fantastic band, Groove Instinct. We found them online and went to see them perform as a 7 piece band at Dover Street Wine Bar, they didn’t disappoint. Charlie was really helpful answering all our questions in the run up to the wedding and on the night they were great, an amazing atmosphere and they really got the crowd going.
We met our lovely photographer Dasha Caffery over coffee, her style was exactly what we had been looking for. Neither of us like posing for photographs so we were really happy when Dasha took some lovely natural photographs of us with the children for our pre-wedding shoot in Bushy Park.
Dasha was great on the day, she blended in seamlessly with the guests so much so that when the photos arrived we hadn’t remembered seeing her taking them. Now we have some amazing pictures to remind us of what a lovely day we had.
Preston Court provides a list of their preferred caterers to choose from, we chose Scott Anderson after the ceremony they served Pimm’s and canapés on the lawn outside Preston Court then onto the long barn for our wedding breakfast. We gave the guests a choice of two starters and main meal with a delicious Eton Mess for pudding.
In the evening we had a fish and chip van that went down a storm with our guests, the portions were huge and freshly cooked by Susan and Gary in their van. It was getting very chilly by this stage so they were very much appreciated.
Our wedding cake came from a very lovely lady called Laura Milner owner of The Laura May Cake Company; initially I didn’t have any plans for a traditional cake and wanted to go with our own home made offerings. My sister and Mum took me to the wedding fair at Earls Court and it was on the way out that I saw the most beautiful cake. If I hadn’t already been smitten Laura invited Jamie and I along with my Mum and Dad for the cake tasting. We arrived to find two beautifully decorated cakes in each flavour with little sugar flowers. Needless to say they tasted delicious too. Laura made sure our celiac guests were catered for too with their own lovely cupcakes.
The other good thing to come out of the Earls Court wedding was finding Amelia Lane Paper. Again I had planned to go with my own invitations but the samples we ordered were so lovely that it made sense. They provided day and night invitations, an order of service, table numbers, really lovely table plan and menus all to match at a reasonable price. Not only that but Chanel was really patient and accommodating with the printing of our table plan that seemed to take forever.
We made crate paper bunting and little pink hearts for the lawn; all made using a heart cutter from Hobby craft and stuck onto kebab skewers, another family DIY day.
All of the little touches… The test tube florals, the poms, the stationery and the signage (to name just a few) really pull together to create a very polished yet natural theme. Parts of Danielle and Jamie’s wedding almost feel transatlantic while other features are quintessentially english… But everything blends together so perfectly, it’s a real pleasure to sit here looking through all of these beauttiful images.
Maeve and Geoff’s sunshine filled wedding is the perfect antidote to this cold and dreary October Monday.
Maeve chose white flowers and simple elegant décor making the final effect very clean and fresh. Perfect for her beautiful venues – the magical Ness Botanic Gardens and the spectacular Sheldrake Restaurant.
Maeve the Bride:Our ceremony was held at Ness Botanic Gardens as apart from being stunningly beautiful it’s one of the few places on the Wirral that holds ceremonies outside (weather permitting of course!) and our reception was held at Sheldrakes, a lovely little beach side restaurant with beautiful views.
We decided on both venues quite late into planning as we made some pretty drastic changes to our day. We’d initially planned to have a marquee wedding, but soon realised that it just wasn’t the wedding we’d envisaged. The venues we picked were absolutely perfect for us.
Natural And Soft Make Up
I can be a bit of a fussy thing when it comes to hair and make up, but enlisting the help of professionals on the day was without a doubt a great decision. I wanted something very natural and soft and was so happy that Hollie my makeup artist ‘got me’! She was totally wonderful!
I’m not normally a ‘lippy’ girl, but the lip colour Hollie used (MAC Ample Pink) finished the look off perfectly. My hair…….well, it wasn’t until a week (yes, a week!) before the wedding that I actually decided to find some help! Samantha from Majestic saved me and I was absolutely delighted with what she did!
The Most Romantic Little Place
I found my dress Blue by Enzoani, Champagne, in the beautiful Bellissima Brides in Brimstage. The boutique alone is the most romantic little place!! My very heavily pregnant friend and I went to ‘just go and have a nose’ and the next thing I knew I was parading around the shop saying ‘I feel like a real woman!’ – it was safe the say it was ‘The One’. The style I thought I’d go for just didn’t suit me and as soon as I saw all of that beautiful lace, I was sold!
My Most Treasured Possession
I was a little torn on whether to go for a veil, but after some deliberation (and some Aunty Viv advice!) I decided it would be a real shame not to being a Bride and all! I wore a beautiful hair slide, a gift from lovely friend Hannah and a pair of vintage earrings. I found a perfect little pair of silver glittery shoes from Aldo called ‘Corrinne’ and I borrowed my Aunty’s silver bracelet (extra special as it was my Mum’s).
But the most important piece – my Mum’s wedding ring. Simon from Fraser Bell Jewellers did the most fantastic job on slightly redesigning it to fit with my engagement ring. It’s my most treasured possession.
One of the most important things to both of us was that we didn’t feel pressured to follow ‘the rules’. Our wedding party was everyone!! Geoff has a ridiculously large group of friends and I have a small group of my best girls! I had my four ‘honorary’ bridesmaids who all wore whatever they wanted (I didn’t fancy my chances telling four very different, fully grown women what to wear…) and our nieces and nephews were our fabulous flower girls and page boys. Geoff, his two best men and our Dad’s wore grey suits and green ties (Geoff’s favourite colour!)
A White Obsession
I didn’t have a ‘theme’ as such. I have a rather worrying obsession with white so there was never any doubt that there’d be a lot of it. I love the fresh, clean, classic elegance you get from it and although I was often tempted to go for something totally different, I stuck to my what I know I love – and I’m glad I did. I seemed to be drawn to polka dots when I was planning, so they popped up every so often. Ness Gardens is a natural beauty so there was no need for anything decorative!
Jars, Jars, Jars
When Geoff proposed in 2011 (which by the way was the biggest shock of my LIFE!!) I started collecting glass jars. There were absolutely no wedding plans in place, but one thing I knew was that I wanted jars – and lots of them! I used them as little vases on our tables with white hydrangea and white dahlia and tea light holders scattered between.
Our amazing florist Julie knew exactly the look I was going for and created the most beautiful bridal bouquet for me made up of heaps of my favourite flowers – big white peonies! I really wanted an oversized bouquet and she nailed it!! The ‘bridesmaids’ and flower girls had a peony wrist corsage each.
The Happiest I’ve Ever Felt
The entire ceremony was just amazing! It was the happiest I’ve ever felt in my entire life and if you could bottle that feeling, I’d be hooked! Apart from actually saying ‘I do’, my favourite part of the ceremony has to be the surprise I’d organized for Geoff. My amazing friend Chrissie (who has the voice of an angel) sang one of our favourite songs ‘There’s A Place’ by The Beatles accompanied by a violinist as I walked down the aisle (or over the bridge!).
It was so lovely and personal. Our flower girls and page boys were stood around us as we said our own vows, which made the whole thing so natural and relaxed. Hannah one of my bridesmaids did a beautiful reading for us – an excerpt from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis De Berniers – ‘Love is a Temporary Madness’
“Love is a temporary madness, it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides, you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being “in love”, which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Those that truly love, have roots that grow towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossom have fallen from their branches, they find that they are one tree and not two.”
Playlists For The Whole Day
Geoff has a brain like a jukebox, he’s a massive music fan (as am I!) so he meticulously sifted through his collection and made playlists for every part of the day. They worked an absolute treat! We’re both big Elvis fans so decided on “Can’t Help Falling In Love With You’ as our first dance which our fantastic duo Afrika Fuentes and drummer did a brilliant cover of – definitely got the party started!
Something For Everyone
Food and drink were important! Our tables were long and because of that, we wanted the food to reflect that ‘sit back and enjoy yourself’ feel. We had sharing platters of antipasti and dips to start, spring lamb and fresh veg followed by a trio of seasonal deserts – something for everyone we hoped!
I made all of our favours myself – the girls each had a Seed Packet of forget-me-nots with ‘Let The Love Grow’ stamped on the front and the boys each had a little bottle of ‘Love Potion’ aka, a shot of Grey Goose!! I made colouring books for the kids and made sure they had crayons and pencils to keep them occupied!
Our amazing cakes were by the truly talented and very lovely Vicky – my friend (and bridesmaid!) who owns a cake decorating business. I really wanted something different and decided that three different size and shaped little cakes would be a great idea!
Embracing The DIY
The best part of the entire planning process was applying a bit of DIY! I loved making everything. I designed our invitations and printed them myself and as a result I’ve just started my own little print design company called Too Wordy (website coming very soon!).
I also found a fab site called Wedding In A Teacup that supplies lots of gorgeous bits and pieces to create your own look. I used luggage tags as a vintage stamp set as place names. Our cake table was also very important to me as I had framed pictures of both mine and Geoff’s parents cutting their cake at their weddings.
Savour Every Moment
Our day was beautiful and we’re both so thankful. Perfect? Well nothing’s perfect is it? I had a huge part of me missing on my day – my Mum. I lost her to cancer 4 years ago and in all honesty there were some pretty tough times during the planning process – I just wanted my Mum there. But, I know she was there on our day – the sun was shining, it was the happiest day of my life and I know she’d be so proud to have Geoff as her new son.
My best advice is to enjoy every minute – planning & the day! I know it’s a common one – but there’s good reason for that! It’s about you and your partner, it’s the joining of families and sharing your happiness with your friends, so lap it up and savor every moment.
Our photographer, well what can I say?! Hollie was an absolute delight! So relaxed, such beautiful style and we’re so happy she captured our day for us. Each and every one of our suppliers went above and beyond to make our day so special and we can’t thank them enough!
Hannah’s Benjamin Roberts gown looks absolutely divine on her – and like her lovely new husband Dom, I would also encourage her to wear figure hugging outfits more often! In fact, if I was her, I’d just wear my lacy fishtail bridal gown EVERY DAY.
I’d also wear my AMAZING J Crew statement necklace, oh and definitely my Jimmy Choo’s too.
And, as if you needed any more encouragement to overdose on Etsy – the stationery, décor, buttonholes and favours all come from Hannah’s Etsy store – The Lanes Lifestyle.
Keeping It Local
Hannah The Bride: Being a home bird a local wedding was always part of our plan, I’d forever dreamt of getting married at the church in the village I grew up in so this decision was easy! Dom met up with our guests before the ceremony for a beer at our local pub, a stones throw from the church. The reception was at Prestwold Hall, a stunning stately home in the Leicestershire countryside and a perfect backdrop for our big day.
Figure Hugging Surprise
As is the case for most brides, I braced myself for a long, painstaking search for the perfect dress. Surprisingly I fell in love with the second dress I tried on, an ivory lace fishtail dress from designer Benjamin Roberts at Bradgate Brides wedding boutique.
Dom always moans that I never wear anything to show off my curves so I thought I’d surprise him in this figure hugging frock!
Messy Up Do
With a statement dress and jewellery I needed to keep hair and make up simple – the less is more approach. I went for a simple messy up do with fresh ivory peonies. I scoured Pinterest for hours looking for inspiration and then let my hair dresser – Helen @ Salon 57 work her magic on creating the look.
A talented family friend did our make up which again I kept simple with blush tones from Chanel and Mac.
On the day I got as many compliments about my necklace as I did my dress! I stumbled across my J Crew necklace whilst in New York as soon as I saw it I knew it was the one. It’s true what they say… you fall in love when you least expect it!
My little brother gave me a Tiffany locket the night before the wedding which I wore as a bracelet on the day… What a sweetheart!
Teamed with a pair of killer Jimmy Choo heels my look was complete.
Boy In Blue
Dom wore a navy suit which was tailor made by Moss Bros Bespoke with tan brogues from Bertie at John Lewis and a navy spotted tie from Next – he even had the date of our wedding embroidered inside his suit jacket.
I made the rustic looking feather and pussy willow button holes which are available to buy from Etsy shop The Lanes Lifestyle.
I bought them both beautiful rose gold bracelets from Orelia. They do gorgeous jewellery at really great prices – perfect if you have lots of bridesmaids!
Our flower girl Naimh wore a vintage inspired dress from Monsoon and the page boy and groomsmen all wore navy three piece suits with tan brogues, all from Next.
Our Own Wedding Showcase
We created a simple, English country look with a vintage glam twist. We spent months hunting at antique fairs for vintage suitcases, antique typewriters, old books and kilner jars to perfect to the look.
I run an online wedding decoration and stationery boutique The Lanes Lifestyle so I was extremely excited to showcase our products at our own wedding!! The table runners, complimenting chair sashes and bunting were all made from hessian and vintage lace.
Our scented candles in jam jars as favours for the ladies and lottery tickets in vintage envelopes for the men went down treat.
Simple But Vintage Inspired
Dom’s cousin is a talented florist so we were delighted when she offered to do our flowers. I went for a vintage inspired but simple look with Gypsophila hand ties with blush coloured trailing ribbon for the bridesmaids and also for the pew ends in the church, it was so effective.
My bouquet had huge ivory hydrangeas with cream and blush peonies and again the trailing blush ribbon softened the look.
The tables had a mixture of twisted willow and ivory hydrangeas in tall vases and kilner jars with hydrangeas, gypsophila and peonies, the room smelt amazing!
A Traditional Ceremony
We had a traditional ceremony in the church I could see from my bedroom window, it was perfect. My little brother gave me away and did a great job of pulling me together before walking down the aisle, as soon as I saw Dom at the front my nerves just melted away. We had a family friend read a poem called Wedded Bliss by Clouson Macleod.
We added our own personal touches… We arrived in a vintage camper van from VW days – I could hardly ignore Dom’s one request for the day!
We also hired Manor House Music’s string duo they played a mixture of classical and popular music throughout the service – they really were fantastic and I’m so glad we booked them.
The house and grounds at Prestwold were exclusively ours for the day. The sun shone, the cocktails flowed and our faces ached from smiling and laughing – what more could you ask for. Our wedding co ordinator Sarah Hitchcock was brilliant, nothing was too much trouble.
We hired Shine, a Leicestershire band at night. They were fantastic and had everyone up dancing to their mix of indie and mowtown. We chose a more upbeat first dance – temper trap ‘sweet disposition’ as we don’t really do soppy!
The food was just incredible. Head chef Marcus Lockwood put together an amazing menu that had us drooling to moment the canapés were served. On arrival we sipped on gin and elderflower cocktails with lavender and hip hip hurray striped straws (available from The Lanes Lifestyle and we went for bottles of corona to tempt the boys.
Neither of us are fans of fruit cake and have a slight obsession with Krispy Kreme donuts. So it made perfect sense to have two huge donut towers for our guests to fill their face on. We saved so much money by doing this and had guests fighting to to the front to get their favourite flavour! We had a small top tier that we decorated with hessian and lace and a ‘just married’ bunting cake topper.
The Lanes Lifestyle
I chose my favourite design from The Lanes Lifestyle collection for the invites. I also created RSVP postcards which we loved receiving back through the post in the run up to the wedding!
The feather luggage tag name cards again from the lanes looked stunning on the tables. Our menus and table numbers were written in chalk on old books covered in blackboard paint.
I’m forever forgetting confetti at other people’s wedding so our usher gave out confetti made from vintage books in brown paper bags.
Maintain The Buzz
Make time for each other – we had thirty minutes after dinner when Matt took us of for some photos of just us two, it gave us a little time with each other which was perfect. We looked back at the house with all of our closest friends and family enjoying themselves, it’s a moment I will never forget.
Have fun!!! We made a deal with each other that at 9pm we would stop mingling, hit the dance floor and dance the night away.
Maintain the buzz – there was a thirty minute drive between the church and the venue and we wanted our guests to stay on a high…so we did a CD for each car with songs that reminded us of fun times with family and friends that were at the wedding. We introduced each song and they loved it.
We had a bit of fun with out guest book by providing guests with a book and Polaroid camera – they took their own picture, stuck it in the book and wrote their message. It worked brilliantly and it created a second album of funny photos.
Treasure For A Lifetime
Matt Parry our photographer was the first thing we booked after we got engaged and it was the best money we spent throughout the whole day! We hate posing for pictures and his relaxed, reportage style combined with the fact that Matt is such a genuinely nice guy out us at ease and provided us with pictures that we will treasure for a lifetime!
I ain’t go to lie to you (although I am going to use bad english). I’ve seen a lot of weddings in my time. A. Lot. Don’t get me wrong, we are spoilt for choice at RMW so they are all a bit special but occasionally one drops through the letterbox that makes you wish you’d known about it before the event… And that you’d had an invite.
Maybe it’s the fact that Louise and Anyas are both muso’s, maybe it’s the relaxed rustic charm, that Suzanne Neville dress and the way it swoops around the dance floor in the barn. And WHAT a barn… Seriously folks you are in for a treat. Katharine Peachey has really done the day justice with a beautiful set of images too.
Louise The Bride: The venue was a very easy decision. Amyas grew up in a beautiful Suffolk farmhouse called Ansells Farm, and was christened in the local church where we got married. His parents, Stephen and Melinda, were kind enough to let us hold the wedding at their home, and were amazing at helping with all the preparations. Amyas’s brother even planted special flowers so the garden would look nice! We wanted to make sure all our friends could enjoy the day and not have to spend too much money, so we had space in the meadow for camping for those who didn’t want to stay in a hotel, with rows of tents that gave it a mini-festival atmosphere.
Hair & Makeup
I was very lucky that my cousin’s wife, Sam Phillips, is an incredibly talented make up artist, and made me look fantastic on the day – as well as helping me with pre-wedding nerves! She does amazing eyelash extensions, which lasted for the whole honeymoon and meant that I could be lazy and not bother with make up for three weeks – totally recommended.
I have never had a perfect wedding dress in my head. I knew that I didn’t want anything too dramatic or extravagant, and that I wanted sleeves, but that was about it. A couple of weeks after we got engaged, my mother and I went to a sample sale at Ellie Sanderson in Oxford, who were lovely and very helpful. I hadn’t really intended to buy anything, but ended up with a Suzanne Neville dress which was perfect except for a rip in the skirt, which was fairly easy to fix. It was only ever going to be something I wore once, so I didn’t mind when it ended up with about three inches of mud at the bottom from running around in the fields and dancing all night.
My friend Charlotte’s mother, who is a genius at dress making, made my lace shrug which was my favourite thing about my outfit. I knew that I didn’t want to wear a strapless dress, and it was a perfect cover-up. I had a little birdcage veil—again from Ellie Sanderson and a pretty comb from Etsy. I did actually buy shoes, but ended up freaking out about falling over while walking down the aisle and left them in the hotel room, so I spent the day barefoot. And didn’t fall over once.
Maids & Groomsmen
Amyas, who is very clever at making things, made cufflinks for his groomsmen, which looked fantastic. My mother went on a flower arranging course and learned how to make buttonholes, and each one had a rose and a sprig of rosemary, so they smelt nice too.
My bridesmaids, Sophie and Jasmine, chose their own dresses – these were from Next – and they looked absolutely gorgeous.
We didn’t really have a coherent “look”, so much as a series of little ideas. Amyas knew he wanted to wear a Liberty print shirt, so we used some spare Liberty material (left over from when I made cushions) to tie around the cutlery, which my very patient sister-in-law helped me do the morning of the wedding. I had spent seven months in South America after University, and Amyas lived in San Francisco in the Mission District, so we made papel picado – Mexican-style bunting – for the barn as a reminder of both of those. In a similar vein, we drank Cusquena from Peru and Sierra Nevada from San Francisco at the party. And our friend Sabrina helped us make tin can lanterns, which we put candles in outside.
My mother did an amazing job with the flowers – including going to Covent Garden Flower Market at 6am the morning before the wedding to pick them up. The bouquet was hydrangeas, roses and some beautiful purple mint, which smelled gorgeous. We had roses, hydrangeas, lavender and rosemary on the tables, and delphiniums in the church, which the best man’s mother and the wonderful ladies of Alphamstone village arranged.
We had a really personal ceremony, which I absolutely loved. I walked down the aisle to November Rain by Guns N Roses, which Amyas’s aunt Alison reworked for the organ. My friend Charlotte played the cello, and Amyas’s father, who is a professional opera singer, sang Roger Quilter’s ‘Drink To Me Only With Thine Eyes’, which was beautiful. My godfather Mark read ‘if everything happens that can’t be done’ by ee cummings, and Amyas’s sister, Oriana, read from Corinthians. Our recessional was ‘Toytown Trumpeters’, composed by Amyas’s late grandfather, the organist and composer, William Davies.
We both love music, and it’s really important to us – our eyes first met over the mixing desk at Leeds Student Radio.
Our first dance was Never Let Go by Tom Waits. Perfect for us – a bit rough around the edges but very romantic, which had lots of special memories, including our first weekend away together in Paris to see him play.
Our wedding band was awesome. We’re very lucky to have an incredibly talented bunch of friends, and we had performances from a rolling cast including members of The Medusa Snare, The Wednesday Club, Sarah Phillips, The White Keys, and T.O.Y.S. The band started with Imitation of Life by REM, and finished with Minnie The Moocher from the Blues Brothers.
I spent about six months writing down tracks we loved to create an amazing playlist for afterwards. I hope the rest of our guests enjoyed it as much as we did!
My friend Mei has a company called Foodilicious Cakes, and makes the best cupcakes you’ve ever tasted, so we had red velvet, carrot cake, vanilla and chocolate cupcakes to choose from. We wanted something that everyone would enjoy eating, rather than a traditional fruitcake.
We wanted to have a really casual, friendly atmosphere at the tables during supper, so each table had a leg of roast lamb from the farm up the road, and a dedicated carver to serve it. Everyone helped themselves from communal dishes, and sharing was encouraged! Gemma Haining stepped in with just over a month’s notice to do the catering after our first caterer cancelled, and was brilliant. The food was all delicious, and the whole process was very stress-free.
We had fabulous Italian wines from Selezione Zanotto – choosing those was a fun evening – and prosecco for the toasts. To reflect our shared love of San Francisco and South America, we drank Sierra Nevada and Cusqueña after dinner.
Instead of party favours, our friend Kath brought us a beautiful box of Romeo Y Julietta cigars back from Cuba – Winston Churchill’s favourites – which we shared with our guests in the evening.
Because we know our friends, and ourselves, well, we figured they’d stay up late. Amyas’s mum had the excellent idea of having some cheese and bread laid out after supper, for late night snacking by the ping pong table, which proved a very popular combination. The Lancashire Bomb went down particularly well.
Our friends and family were all so generous with their time. My uncle, George Foster, is a top graphic designer, and created our invitations for us, which was fantastic.
We named our tables after different places we’ve lived in, although that became slightly complicated when it came to trying to create a seating plan that incorporated old flatmates and friends from university, but I think we did a good job in the end. It was great to bring all of our friends together and see them all getting along!
I think that most people already have an idea about what’s most important to them. Be it the food, the wine, the music, the decorations, the photography. In practical terms, make sure you get your priorities in order and don’t be disappointed looking back and thinking ‘I wish we’d done this differently…’. But most importantly, I’ve been so happy since Amyas and I got hitched. I married my favourite person in the world, and while we had a killer wedding, it’s that that makes me smile every day.
Lydia and Jack got married on Rock My Wedding home turf… The good old Midlands. The service was in Gornal Wood at the church Lydia had known all of her life.
I love a wedding with an urban feel and this one certainly has that, but in there amongst the concrete we have the green pop of fields and the blue pop of Jack’s suit. The colour and vibrance jump off the screen and little details like the hanging hearts and paper lanterns really shine through
I am also loving the trees that were brought into the reception venue. A little bit of outside greenery invading and breaking up the stark lines of internal space… Just call me Kevin McCloud.
Lydia The Bride: Jack and I did the whole venue search for our reception, and wanted to go for a place where there was enough space for around 180 guests whilst not costing the earth. We ended up choosing a secondary school, which I was slightly concerned about, as I didn’t want my wedding day to be like having a school dinner! However, the school is a brand new building with a wall full of large windows overlooking a nice green view, with lots of light and space; the risk certainly paid off-phew!
My dress was a Maggie Sottero number called Darlene which I purchased from Go Bridal in Birmingham. I always thought I’d go for a lacy style dress, but as soon as Darlene was on I thought ‘this is the one’ and, much to my amazement, it was only the 2nd dress I had tried on! I tried on lots more dresses all different styles after it, but, in the end, went back to Darl. I loved the little floral design to the side of the dress and the roche effect that gave. I decided to have some cap sleeves attached just to give it a bit of a unique feel.
I felt my dress had all the bling that I wanted to have, with the beaded diamantes on the top half of my dress. I decided to go for some simple pearl earrings, which I borrowed from one of my bridesmaids, ones that she had worn on her wedding day. I wore a simple pearl bracelet. I decided to skip the tiara as my hairstyle was already quite detailed. I wore a long veil, which provided some entertainment for the day when it decided to fly out of my air when we were having photos taken outside. This ended with Jack and our photographer sprinting for the veil across the school car park. It was all very funny.
I’m 5ft 11ish, and decided to listen to my mother’s practical advice for my wedding day and went for a cute pair of Kurt Geiger kitten heels. They were nude in colour, and were very comfy which was a great help when walking down the aisle, as some would say I’m rather clumsy.
Light & Lovely
I met lovely Jo in House of Fraser in Birmingham. Lovely Jo spent hours with me and taught me all about how to put my make up on properly and what shades suit my skin colour, the lot. I went with Bobbi Brown makeup on the day and it was just right for me. It lasted well, and felt light and lovely. I had my hair done by wonderful Zoe at Zaks hair in Kingswinford. Zoe couldn’t help enough, and wanted me to be fully happy, following my nonsensical explanation of what I wanted very well!
Simple White Roses
Flower wise, I spotted a bouquet a few months ago when I rwas eading one of RMW‘s posts and fell in love. I had simple white roses, with a tinge of green around the edge of the petals that matched my bridesmaids’ dresses. The bridesmaids had the same but their roses had a tinge of light pink. My florist insisted that it’s always nice for the groom’s button hole to be different to the best mans and ushers. I went with her advice and Jack wore a big white rose, roughly the size of a planet, with a hint of green. The others all had white roses with a hint of pink to match the bridesmaids. We went for a more economical option for the flowers at the venue. My mom and me took a lovely trip to Morrisons on the Friday morning before the wedding on the Saturday, and bought them out of gypsophila, roses, and lots of mixtures of flowers. My mom’s lovely friends did the flowers in church, which consisted of white roses and gypsophila. All quite simple, but looked beautiful.
Lively Blue Suits
The ushers wore a grey suit that we hired from Greenwoods. We found them to be very organised and helpful, much more so than what we were! We decided that Jack and his best man would wear a lively blue suit from Next with the ushers wearing ties, which complimented the blue. It was a bit of a risk, as we didn’t really know what it would look like until the day itself, but it ended up working well. My 3 bridesmaids wore a minty green, knee length dress from Debenhams. It was a cheaper option but they looked stunning. The whole theme was meant to be ‘rustic’ but that ended up going out of the window when I found other colours I liked. However, it all seemed to work, thankfully! I had my two handsome nephews as my gorgeous pageboys. They definitely stole the show with their cute blonde hair, blue casual trousers, shirt and waistcoat combo from good old M&S (plus cheeky red converse). They looked adorable!
Jack looked perfect! The blue really suited him, and he felt pretty swarve. He combined it with some brown brogues from schuh. The blue mixed with the brown, his lovely auburn locks and his cute face made him the most handsome bloke I’d ever laid my eyes on.
A Chuffing Good Photographer
Photography wise, we went with the talent that is Chris Barber. Being a regular reader of RMW, we spotted him on there, and fell instantly for his photographic skills, and the vibe he goes for. He made us feel so relaxed which we appreciated as we were a bit nervous about what poses we would have to do and how unlike ‘us’ it might be. However, it was all au-natural, and he just told us to be ourselves which included a good old game of charades, hoorah! Chris captured every emotion expressed during the day, and his photos told the story of the day perfectly. We always find something new that we love when we look through our wedding photos, and say each time how thoroughly happy we are that we went with him and how he’s a chuffing good photographer.
School Of Rock
If i’m honest, I just copied a cake that I saw on RMW. My mom’s friend, lovely Di, made our cake(s) for us. I took some photographs in of the kind of cakes I like the look of, and we decided which one to go for. When I went to pick it up the Friday before the wedding, she had made three of my fave cakes. The one I wanted, which was a 2 tier, flower stencils, white ribbon, sponge cake, along with, a country feel victoria sponge cake, and a huge, beautiful iced fruitcake for those who prefer the traditional fruit cake. What a gem!
For entertainment, Jack asked some of his friends that he used to be in a band with when they were teenagers to lead the show and they definitely pulled it out of the bag. They rocked the theatre in our school venue, filling it with crazy dance moves to the likes of Mysterious Girl (obviously!) and a bit of One Direction, mixed in with some other tunes. We loved it, t’was a lot of fun.
Love On Top
I’m not the most romantic person in the world, and sometimes I feel a little uncomfortable with it all. However, I do like to strut my funky stuff on the dance floor, as does Jack, so we therefore decided to ‘show off’ our amazingly (limited) dance moves extravaganza. We had our first dance to Beyonce’s ‘Love On Top’, just because we really like the key changes she does at the end of the song! As we were in the middle of some of our finest moves of all time, my little nephews came and joined us. It made our jig, and although we weren’t exactly having an intimate dance we both felt so happy within that moment.
Our favours were produced by a friend of Jack’s, lovely Lynn! She’s a chocolatier in Northumberland, and she hand made two delicious chocolate truffles for each of our guests!
An Eclectic Theme
Due to our reception being in a school, I was keen on getting lots of decorations just to make it a tad more ‘wedding like’. Through a contact, I ordered some silver birch trees for inside the venue. They brought the massive hall space together, and added something special to the venue. They also matched the inside of the venue with the big green view that was visible through the glass wall, bringing the outside in (sort of!)! Nora Noelle is a dress maker, and we asked her to make lots of cute decorations for us including stuffed material hearts and birds, as well as some doily bunting. She was amazing, and we were so happy with these decorations, we highly recommend her (her website is currently under construction, but you can email her here). This really added to the venue, and definitely put a ‘Lydia stamp’ onto the school. On top of this, my amazing sister-in-law made 50 metres of beautiful bunting, which fitted perfectly across the windows in the venue. We had an eclectic theme for our tables, with different vases, flowers, sweets, lanterns, sticks with hearts, going on. I loved seeing it all scattered around and it added more loveliness to our day.
Crazy, Manic & Hard
Prior to getting married, we had both been warned about how crazy, manic and hard it is to plan a wedding. We both didn’t have the time to get too worked up about it all so we took on more of a relaxed approach. Jack says that 90% of wedding-related stress is self-inflicted and you can help yourself massively by focusing on having a good time with people you love rather than making sure everything is completely perfect. I think as long as you don’t automatically think ‘stress’ in planning a wedding, and don’t get swooped into the current of ‘Argh, this is going to be so difficult’ and actually enjoy the process, it makes for a calmer and more joyful wedding. I wasn’t thinking about the mix match in colour scheme on the wedding day, or the fact that we were sitting in a school for my wedding venue, I just looked around, and saw everyone enjoying themselves, I had my husband next to me, and to me, it was all perfect.