That is how Emily should have started her report… but maybe she is as yet still unable to come to terms with her addiction. She does mention that even though now married she still visits the blog every day!
Very. Bad. Sign… 😉
Of course, I’m only joking – we love it when you guys stick around after you tie the knot. Let’s face it – just because you are married now doesn’t mean that you have to deny yourself your daily dose of pretty. And today it is most certainly pretty. Emily and James (Mr H) married last summer in South London under the watchful lens of Emma Coleman from Blink Photography.
Our wedding was on 29th July 2011 at Pembroke Lodge in Richmond Park. A beautiful Georgian Mansion in the middle of Richmond Park in London.
Pembroke Lodge was the first venue we visited, hidden away in the trees of Richmond Park, with fab views over London. It was perfect.
We both knew that we wanted a very relaxed day without a specific colour theme and I wanted the day to have a vintagey feel as I was in love with the vintage themed real weddings I’d seen on Rock My Wedding. I am also a sucker for shabby chic and vintage things and often drag Mr H around little pretty shops trying to convince him that we do actually need another heart shaped hangy thing or kitchen utensil to add to our collection! So, vintagey, shabby chic with a hanging heart or two it was!
I was mega giddy and excited to go dress shopping, so it was one of the first things I did after we had found our lovely venue. Originally I thought I wanted a fairly simple, floaty, vintage dress but after trying a few on I just didn’t feel very bridey in them. So, I tried on some more detailed and slightly bigger dresses and I was hooked! If I’m honest, I also really loved trying on lots of gorgeous dresses and spending time with my family and friends whilst doing it!
Even though I was seduced by the big strapless numbers, I knew I didn’t want a strapless frock as I’ve never felt nice in strapless tops/dresses, so I was looking for something with a vintage feel and straps or sleeves. After a few dress trying on sessions I still hadn’t found anything that I really loved. It was actually my oldest friend and bridesmaid Julie who picked out the David Fielden Grace Kelly dress in Teokath in Wimbledon
I got my single tiered, cathedral length veil from Shanna Melville who has a really gorgeous independent dress shop in Wimbledon village. Shanna is so lovely and I would highly recommend her dresses and veils (one of her dresses was in my top three).
For my jewellery I wanted something really simple that would complement but not overpower the lace detail on my dress. I don’t wear very much jewellery normally and Mr H isn’t a fan of big sparkly bling, so I started the search for some simple, vintage inspired, pearl pretty. There are so many fantastic vintage jewellery sites on the internet – most of which I discovered through Rock My Wedding during my daily nosey at the blog!
I eventually found my gorgeous Viola II Vintage Bridal Bracelet on the Chez Bec website – a three tiered pearl bracelet with a diamante encrusted filigree flower– and then opted for the matching danglys that I only wore for the evening party. For the ceremony and wedding breakfast my Granddad’s lovely wife let me borrow her pearl and diamond stud earrings from Tiffany that I helped to choose a few years ago for her 60th Birthday. I was so pleased with my jewellery on the day and Mr H loved it too.
I fell in love with Gillian Million’s bridal head bands at a wedding fair I visited in Teddington, but her stall was too busy with excited brides (like me) to choose anything on the day. So, I arranged an appointment with her and visited her studio. I have never seen a room filled with so many pretty, sparkly, dainty things. I was in heaven and couldn’t wait to start trying on some of her hand made head bands. Gillian asked me to bring a picture of my dress with me to the appointment and also asked me to describe the feel of the wedding to help her pick out some head bands that fitted in with our theme. In the end – after a lot of trying on – I found the perfect one.
My birthday was two weeks before the wedding and Mr H sent me on a present treasure hunt around the flat, which to my delight, lead me to a shoe box with a ribbon wrapped around it and Jimmy Choo on the side – hidden amongst the scarves and hats under the bed. Inside that box was a pair of peep toe Nova champagne Jimmy’s which I took great pleasure in wearing with my pyjamas and parading around the flat in for the duration of my birthday morning!
On the big day they were comfortable for about the first 5 minutes, but I didn’t care! The pain was worth it (I think they are made for nice thin dainty feet, not my wide feet and big sausage toes!).
Turn Up The Volume.
I have been going to the same hairdressers – Garett and Jones – in Surbiton for the last few years and Ali – my hairdresser – has always done such a lovely job with my hair. I knew from the beginning that I wanted most of my hair down for the big day, because I’ve never really liked it up and I wanted something quite simple and relaxed that wasn’t too back combed and massive! Ali suggested that I buy some hair extensions for my big day do, as my hair is quite thin. I must admit I was worried that the hair extensions would look fake and add too much volume to my hair but in the end I’m so glad I got them
I am completely useless with makeup and not very adventurous so I definitely needed someone who really knew their stuff to put my big day face on. I went for a trial at mac first of all and although nice, I felt that I looked a bit too pale, the eye makeup wasn’t quite right and I felt caked in foundation. So, I searched the net and found Sally Moore’s website. I gave Sally a ring and she was so friendly and helpful on the phone. I just had a feeling she would do a great job. It was so nice having Sally around, she is so lovely and bubbly and did a lovely job of our makeup.
My aunty Jane has a very lovely friend and colleague – David, who offered to do the flowers and centre pieces for us and he was brilliant. He isn’t a florist by trade (although you would never know) but he had done a wedding before for a friend and has an eye for all things pretty and floral.
We wanted lots of pastel pinks and greenery and we wanted the displays and bouquets to be quite wild and unstructured, but that was about all that we knew. I’d cut lots of pictures out of magazines and saved flower pics whilst browsing RMW so I passed these on to David to give him some initial ideas and inspiration.
We collected glass jars of all different shapes and sizes in the months leading up to the wedding so that we could dot them around the venue. David put pink, green or lace ribbon around the tops, which looked so pretty and then filled them with pink roses and greenery. The first thing I remember seeing as I walked up the stairs to the ceremony was a jar full of pretty flowers on the edge of each stair looking lovely, and just as I had imagined. Who would have thought that gherkin, pasta sauce and jam jars could look so good!
In the ceremony room David covered a garden arch in so many pretty roses and greenery that it took my breath away and it created a gorgeous focal point for the room (but not as gorgeous as Mr H of course).
For my gorgeous bridesmaids I wanted to find dresses that were pretty and floral but that would suit them as they are all different shapes and sizes. I also wanted them to feel lovely and comfortable on the day. So, the search began for a pretty floral dress and it proved really difficult to find something that fit the bill. Just as I was about to give up and have another panic I spotted linen cream and pink floral dresses in the Next directory and they turned out to be perfect. They all wore cute pearl studs from accessorise and as a thank you gift I got them lovely vintage pearl charm bracelets from Lisa Angel which looked great with their outfits.
For the Best men, dads and ushers we hired grey lounge suits from Moss Bross. We also found some prefect style badges for the best men which looked fab.
In The Navy.
I do love my man in a suit and awwww, Mr H looked so handsome on the day. I felt it was really important for him to wear something that he loved and felt nice in, so encouraged him to look for a really special suit that he could keep and wear again. He found a perfect navy three-piece suit in the Ted Baker Pashion store and teamed it with brown shoes from H by Hudson and a pink floral tie from Debenhams.
When I saw Mr H looking back at me as I walked up the aisle towards him, I couldn’t take my eyes off him and his big gorgeous smile. A very special moment!
Photographs are really important to us and we decided that we wanted a photographer that could capture the real emotions of the day, as well as take some lovely natural shots of our family and friends.
Emma Coleman at Blink Photography was the photographer recommended by the venue so we arranged a meeting with her quite early on in our wedding planning. We knew straight away that she was exactly who we were looking for. Her photographs are simply stunning and really do tell a story.
We knew we didn’t really want a fancy tiered cake – just something that tasted yummy and had lots of butter cream – so we decided on cupcakes. We spent a day together cupcake tasting in London (any excuse to spend a day eating cake!) and both agreed that the cupcakes at Buttercup cake shop were the tastiest.
I found bride and groom trolls on ebay that sat next to the cake and looked cute with their pink hair next to the pink icing! Trolls are really special to me as my Grandma, who we lost when I was a teenager, used to have them dotted around her house. My sister and I also used to collect them when we were little. Trolls therefore bring back lots of special memories, so it was nice to have them featuring at our wedding.
Mr H and I both have a very sweet tooth (I crave chocolate and cake on about an hourly basis!) and knew we wanted lots of sweet treats for our guests in the evening. So, we decided to have a sweetie table with vintage jars filled with all of our favourite sweets from A Quarter Of. I made labels for the sweet jars using floral card and we bought the stripy sweetie bags from ebay. The fabric LOVE letters on the sweetie table came from BHS.
For the ceremony music, we had the wonderful Bagatelle Duo, a flutist and harpist. They were absolutely brilliant and I remember thinking how beautiful they sounded when I was walking up the aisle towards my handsome hubby to be.
We put together an iPod playlist for the background music during the wedding breakfast. It was really nice listening to everyone laughing and enjoying themselves with our favourite tunes in the background. We’ve had the playlist on non-stop since the wedding and each song brings back so many lovely memories from the day.
My sister knows the lead singer of Flood the Floor – a 5 piece band – who played during the evening party. They were amazing. They managed to get everyone up on the dance floor and played some fab tunes. At one point they had Mr H and his best men strutting their stuff on the dance floor doing a dance off to different styles of music including salsa (I have never seen Mr H wiggling his bum so much!). The Dressing up Box.
Choosing our first dance was a bit tricky as we don’t really have ‘a song’ that is significant to us both. I have always been a big fan of Take That (me and Julie bridesmaid even had a Take That club at school when we were little, although we were the only members!) and I love the words in ‘Greatest Day’.
The band sang it really well and I remember feeling so happy as Mr H was swinging me round in my dress. We asked our guests to join us on the dance floor about half way through and it was great seeing everyone dancing together.
James’ lovely step mum Anna offered to make some edible favours for us and spent hours trying out different sweet treats (which I very much enjoyed sampling!) and perfecting her recipe in the run up to the day. In the end she made very yummy coconut macaroons with chocolate on top.
Mr H and I decided that we would attach the place name cards to the favour bags, so chose a parcel tag design. We found some East of India cream parcel tags in John Lewis and then cut some pretty floral card (from a Tilda paper pad) in to slightly smaller parcel tag shapes and glued them on the top of the larger cream ones. I printed the guest names on to pink card and stuck these on top of the floral card. On the back of each place name card we printed ‘love is sweet…..enjoy!’. I had good fun making all of the place name cards and had lots of help from Mr H and bridesmaid Claire.
A Bit Of D.I.Y.
I really got in to making our own stationary for the day and started with our order of ceremony fans. We printed our order of ceremony and order of the day on to two pieces of ivory card and then a very kind lady at work – with a steady hand – cut round them with a circle cutter. We then glued them together with a lollypop stick as a handle in between and tied little bows with ribbon round the top of each handle. I was really happy with how they turned out in the end and I saw lots of people reading through them at different stages in the day to find out what was happening next.
We made our table plan using a large white shabby chic mirror from TK Maxx and backed the table guest lists on to the same floral Tilda card I had used for the name place tags. Mr H and spent hours measuring precisely where to stick each table list so that they looked even on the mirror!
Take Your Time, And Take Time For You.
Get and let your hubby to be involved with the preparation and decisions for the day. Even though sometimes Mr H needed a little prod – I know that he felt very pleased in the end that he had helped to shape the day (he also had one or two very good ideas himself).
Our wedding was special to us because we both spent time enjoying the day together. We circulated the tables together in between courses, we danced together for most of the evening with lots of guests and we had a bit of time on our own together when we were having our portrait photos.
I think that the main piece of advice I would give to other brides is to plan every little detail of your day before hand so that you have nothing to worry about on the day. Take time in your planning to decide what is important to you both and don’t rush in to any decisions that you may change your mind about later on in the planning process.
Write an itinerary (I know – a bit anal) but it really helped Mr H and I get our heads round the organisation of the day.
Also, who needs wedding magazines when you’ve got Rock My Wedding! I got so many ideas and so much great advice from the fabulous blue polka dot pages. I genuinely looked forward to peeking at the blog when I got home from work every day (I still do now even as a married lady).
Oh and one last thing, brides, do a little speech. Even if you just say thanks to all of your guests. I was so glad that I stood up and said a few words with Mr H by my side (even though I did get a bit emotional).
You know what? I have LOVED putting this wedding together. Not only is is totally my-kind-of-wedding, but the images are just beautiful. So fresh and modern yet there is a touch of vintage timelessness in them that I can’t imagine ever dating.
Being a Picture Editor and looking at hundreds of portfolios and photographers’s websites during my career meant that photography was really important to me and something that I wanted to get completely right. Both myself and Chris knew this was an aspect of our wedding that we wouldn’t scrimp on and we both wanted to spend a good deal of time on our wedding day getting beautiful pictures.
The pictures were exactly what we hoped for and we still get so many comments about them one year on. Escaping into the woodland of Richmond Park was exactly what we had planned before the wedding and jodie captured some beautiful moments of us both…and for the record the rainbow was real not Photoshopped!
(The wedding car in some of the shots was previously owned by Abba! We didn’t pick it for this reason though, we just liked the style – honest!)
What I don’t like…
I must admit flowers did come later in our wedding planning, we were more excited about things such as photography, the food, the music…
However I had a couple of ideas of what I didn’t like in terms of flowers and styles and I liked the idea of red poppies but that was all! Although I would say knowing what you don’t like is really useful and helped our florist to present some different options to us.
The florist we used was Dawn Jennings. Dawn was great at bringing our ideas to life and everything seems so smooth and easy.
We settled for red anemones for my bouquet and cream anemones for the bridesmaids with ranunculus for button holes.
The flowers on our tables were of the same variety with some additional Spring varieties. We knew we didn’t want to go for formal displays on the tables and wanted to go for a more homemade and mis-matched feel. So prior to the wedding we started collecting glass jars – large, small, interesting shapes and bottles…plus tins…I think we went through a lot of baked beans in the last few weeks before our wedding! But the result was fantastic. I particularly liked the arrangement on the top table which was a long row of flowers in different jars and glasses that ran along the front of the table – a perfect organised mis-match!
Taking to the Stage
We decided to ask one of Chris’s oldest friends if he would play at our wedding as a gift, Chris Macaree.
After he performed a couple of songs we took to the stage to sing our own song! A rendition of the Moldy Peaches ‘Anyone Else But You’ which we had written our own lyrics to.
Also as entertainment we continued the toy theme (from Chris’s job) and had retro games for everyone to play after we had finished dinner…Pop up Pirate, Buckaroo, Screwball Scramble – they were a big hit! : )
We don’t see many Red Weddings here at Rock My Wedding and I’d venture to say that Red has been done a bit of a disservice over the years, with a time in the recent past when there was a monotony of deep red maids in stiff satin and roses….
This wedding however is a breath of fresh air – bright, airy and modern with a simple, slightly preppy vibe and lots of London cool. All Photographed beautifully by Jodie Chapman.
Chris & Nicola were married on 27th March at Pembroke Lodge, Richmond Park, Surrey.
I wanted something very simple and although I tried on a few bigger and fussier dresses I knew that simple and sleek was for me. My bridesmaid who is very nifty and creative made the distressed flower which was clipped to the dress at my hip to add a unique touch.
My headpiece was again made by my bridesmaid Liz who is a fashion design lecturer and maker of all little crafty bits and bobs!
I knew from the start that I wanted something like this rather than a veil, especially with my short hair, I knew it would give a different look which was what I was after.
As Liz doesn’t live nearby all the additions such as this where quite last minute and we were still fiddling with the headpiece and cutting pieces of it when we should of been in the wedding car on our way! I then opted for simple additions – tiny pearl studs and a silver bangle.
Working in magazines and arranging photo shoots as part of my day to day job meant that when it came to choosing hair and make-up artists I did already have some people to hand! I decided on Lou Morgan who I have worked with on several occasions over the years.
I wanted someone I would feel comfortable having around on the day and Lou was perfect, so calm and relaxed and it was great to have her as part of my wedding day.
Ladies in Red
For the bridesmaids the dresses were a lovely bright ruby red with a red ribbon sash and flower (you can guess who made them!) These dresses were absolute bargains, I am hesitant to reveal where they are from and how much of a bargain they were!
All the groomsmen wore hired grey suits from Moss Bros with cream waistcoats. As a thank you for the day we treated them all to a silver Ted Baker tie with a cool ornate design.
Chris decided that if ever he would buy himself a nice suit then it would be for our wedding day! So he opted for a Paul Smith suit. Also with a cream waistcoat and tie to match the ushers.
Good old Marks & Spencer! We didn’t want to spend a fortune on a fancy cake, as long as there was a cake and it looked nice that was fine for us : )
We customised it with bride and groom figures that my husband made. Long story but wedding related!…Chris is a toy designer for Wow Toys.
All the toys he makes come with little figures, so prior to the wedding he adapted two figures to look like him and me. It took quite a lot of sanding, filing and painting but it was worth it!