Rainbow Club

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Home Sweet Home.

Rock My Wedding readers Ange and Pat married in May at Pat’s parents home in Ivy Hatch.

In the garden stood giant tipi tents from Beautiful World Tents in place of the more traditional marquee.

This wedding has a beautiful subtle colour pallette of white and purple with a few other splashes thrown in for good measure. I was fascinated to read that their chosen florist grows all of the flowers and although commits to a colour scheme leaves actual variety choice until the last minute – so that you get the very best flowers that were in bloom on your big day. This adds a nice little element of surprise into the floral mix.

Photogrpahy today is from the truly fantastical (Excuse the man-crush) Phillip Allen – better known as Mister Phill.

You are in for a Tipi treat today folks.

Pretty Vintage Lace

My dress is from Mirror Mirror in Angel and the designer is Cymbeline. I went through numerous bridal stores trying to find the right dress, I had a picture in my mind of a pretty vintage style lace dress. When I tried this one at at Mirror Mirror I knew instantly and the reaction from my mother and brother confirmed it! I also customised the dress slightly by adding a different ribbon sash than what initially came with the dress. I bought the ribbon and Mirror Mirror where able to make the cute bow sash.

Something Blue

I decided to have flowers in my hair, which my lovely florist Jen put together to match the bouquet. I went with some statement earrings from Monica Vinader, they were also my “something blue”. I had never thought I would wear a veil, I tried a few on but they just weren’t me.

Kitten Heel

I wore cute little white satin kitten heels from Rainbow Club. A big part of our wedding was going to be outside in the garden so I needed to choose slightly practical shoes so I didn’t sink into the grass. In the end, we got married inside because the weather was touch and go, but I was still happy with my choice (even thought my husband is SO tall) as they were so so comfortable!

Fashionable And Soft

We enlisted Love to do the makeup and hair for the day. They have a network of stylists around the country. My make up stylist, Fiona and Hair stylist, Gina were both fantastic. I wanted my make up to look natural in photos but still feel nicely made up which Fiona did wonderfully.

For my hair, I didn’t want the typical wedding hair, I wanted something I bit more fashionable and soft. Gina was able to help work out what best suited from a large range of pictures I had at my trial and I was extremely happy with the result for both myself and my bridesmaids.

The Best In Season

Our florist, Jen from Blooming Green, is local to the area in Kent and grows all her own flowers on their plot! I wanted rustic style flowers for the wedding as the setting was in the country. We talked with Jen about colours, theme and style in the lead up the wedding, then she made up the bouquets, button holes and tables centres on the day based on what has bloomed on her plot. This way we got the best in season flowers and it was also a lovely surprise for us on the day to see what flowers were used. They were beautiful and we were so happy with them!

Cross Continental

For the bridesmaids we purchased Dessy dresses through Reflections in Chiswick. My bridesmaids were located both here and in Australia so we needed to find a designer where the dresses could be tried on in both countries! Thankfully Dessy have a number of stores with their dresses both here and in Australia so we were able to choose something that suited all the girls.

Fro the Groomsmen We hired all the suits from Q Club which is a part of Austin Reed. We had a 3 piece grey silk suit for them. We purchased bright ties for them all from Ted Baker to wear on the day and for them to keep as a gift from us.

Tall And Slim

Pat wore a 3 piece tailored suit from Hackett. It was a lovely blue colour with very very bright lining! He looked so so handsome 🙂 He got a gorgeous white shirt from Selfridges (Eton, who traditionally make shirts for Swedish men, so they fit tall slim men with long arms!)

Mister Phill

I saw a post on Rock My Wedding and thought WOW these photos are great! and exactly in the style that I was looking for. I checked out the credits which linked to Mister Phill’s page. We emailed him immediately! Not only was his photography fantastic, and told a real story of the day, but he was unbelievably professional and completely unobtrusive. He was able to go completely unnoticed yet get all of the perfect shots. Very few of his shots were ‘set up’. I think our wedding had a real impact on him, and it was an absolute pleasure to have him cover our big day.


Lizzie from Pure Cakes, again local to the area, helped bring our Victoria Sponge cake idea to life! We both don’t like fruit cake very much and we wanted something we could serve for dessert. We had a few photos of victoria sponge cakes from magazines and Lizzie was able to turn this into a lovely sponge cake with buttercream and jam, covered in fresh berries that really was very suited the setting of the day. We had the cake for dessert, along with some meringues, cream and coulis our caterer Purple Pumpkin put together.

All The Way From Wales

For our entertainment we hired Class of ’58 who were absolutely awesome! They completely tore up the dance floor for both their sets – guests were almost fighting for space on the dance floor from the time they came on until the time they left. We wanted an up beat band and really liked the idea of a jive / 60’s band. We were down near Shoreham on a long weekend kitesurfing, and went past the town hall and heard this amazing jive band rocking this little hall. We went in and got their details! They drove all the way from Wales to be with us.

The Time

The Time, by Black Eyed Peas was our song. It’s significant because it’s just a really fun song. We are not the slow dancing types so wanted to get grooving with everyone as quickly as possible!

Handmade Favours

Myself and my bridesmaid Sophie handmade all the favours from her secret recipe. We made Dukkah, which is really popular in Australia, so allowed me to add the aussie touch to the wedding without being too aussie. We also gave a little bag of Australian tea which my mum brough over 110 of from Australia for us!

A Splash Of Colour

We wanted the wedding to have a really relaxed feel but also have a wow factor. We kept the flowers and decorations to be mainly white with splashes of colour (mainly purple). We asked all the guest to come “Colourful and gorgeous” as was were hoping this would be what brought the most colour to the day. So all our decor tried to be romantic but subtle.

My brother designed a lot of the menus, emblems, stickers on the favours etc.

For outside decor, Pat’s little brother picked up some super cheap lanterns in China which we used to hang in the trees around the marquee. I think the effect in the evening looked really good.

The Little Things

Make your wedding, particularly your ceremony, reflect your personalities and not follow the norm. Get the right balance between a fun and at the same time serious tone. For example, I had a wedding vow about my shopping habits!

Be relaxed on the day, just let all the organisation be in the hands of others.

It’s all the little things that made a big difference like the hand made favours, the confetti, lanterns, tulips being in bloom, music in the ceremony, fun readings etc. We were also extremely lucky to be able to have the wedding at home.

Shop around for local suppliers as they gave me at least a better and more tailored service for a much more reasonable price.

Don’t be picky with the flowers, go with what’s in season, as I mentioned above, the flowers were such a lovely lovely surprise on the day as I had no idea what I was getting.

Boutique – Mirror Mirror

Dress – Cymbeline

Earrings – Monica Vinader

Shoes – Rainbow Club

Hair And Makeup – Love

Flowers – Blooming Green

Maids – Dessy

Photography – Mister Phill

Cake – Pure Cakes

Caterer – Purple Pumpkin

Entertainment – Class of ’58

Tipi Tents – Beautiful World Of Tents

Loving that Tipi!

Ange and Pat succeeded. They wanted a relaxed feel with the wow factor and that is exactly what they got. With a little help from their parents, their friends…. and of course a bit off magic from Mister Phill too.


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King And Queen Of The Manor.

There are a few of my favourite things in today’s wedding. Firstly we have a VW camper van as wedding transport. I am a total sucker for a bit of classic VW action. I. WANT. ONE.

There is also one of the nicest table plans I have seen grace theses polka dotted pages. It’s clearly done, it’s got a hint of retro about it but above all else it is just fantastically well designed. Make sure you keep your eye out for it.

Charlotte and Dave married at Stubton Hall, Newark. Their photographer was Igor Demba

Asymmetrical Detailing

I didn’t look at too many dresses until I found the one. In fact, I thought I had found the right one in the first shop we looked in! I had originally found a corseted dress that I fell in love with but well exceeded the budget. Grudgingly, my Mum took me to some other shops to see if we could find something closer to the budget – and then we found it! A Christina Sposa dress with a sweetheart neckline and an asymmetrical skirt and a train that came out to the side. It was beautiful and I was so happy with my decision.

The Perfect Grip

I wore pearl and diamond earrings and necklace that were my Mum’s – a present from my Dad to her on their 25th Wedding Anniversary, and a pearl bracelet that was also my Mum’s.

After Carla finished my hair we realised that it was missing something, so searched through my maid of honours recent purchases and found a perfect grip with similar beading to the dress – it looked like it had been planned from the start!!

It Was Meant To Be

I had seen some shoes designed by Rainbow that were just the right height for me (not too high that I would need to take them off but high enough to stop me being too short!) However, when I went to buy them I was told they had been discontinued and there were no similar size heels in that range. Luckily I popped in to a wedding shop near where we live and they had one pair left in my size – and because they were the last pair they gave me a discount! It was definitely meant to be!

Who To Choose?

Because the wedding venue was approximately and hour from where we live it was difficult to know who to choose for hair and makeup. After lots of searching on the internet, I found Carla and gave her ring. Amazingly, Carla also got married at Stubton Hall so I knew it was the right decision! I met with Carla to go through ideas and trial some designs – she really listened to what I wanted.

On the day Carla was a massive calming influence, even when we asked if numerous other people could have something done! She was there till I walked in the ceremony making sure my make-up was right and that my veil was sitting correctly!

Simple and Elegant

Our flowers came from Vaas in Nottingham – who are a designer-led florist. I was really not very sure what I wanted other than something simple, elegant and that matched the colour theme. Vaas were fantastic and through my very limited assistance created exactly what I had in mind.

My bouquet was hand tied with Ivory roses, Green Leafed Pitto and White Eustimas with rosemary foliage. This was bound with Sage Green ribbon. My two older Bridesmaids had smaller versions of my bouquet.

The button holes were ivory roses with sage green binding. The guest tables had either candelabra with small leafed Pitto or a tall flute vase with ivory roses and small leafed Pitto. The Top Table had mirrored cubes with ivory roses and Green Leafed Pitto. The mirrors perfectly reflected the tea lights.

Slate Grey And Sage

The Groomsmen wore suits hired from Robert Goddard in Spalding. They wore slate grey suits, with ivory waistcoats and sage ruches. I was determined to make the groom stand out so he had an ivory handkerchief and the ushers had sage – a small victory!

I knew I wanted the Bridesmaids to wear sage green that matched the Groomsmen’s suits and had difficulty finding the right colour. We also had the added problem that the two younger bridesmaids lived in Germany and were growing so quickly!! Luckily we found the exact colour at BHS and had such a range of dresses that we could cater for all without having to stray from the theme. The girls looked amazing and I was so happy with our choice!

The boys came to the venue in a campervan (Dave has always wanted to buy one so that was our compromise). So, to remember this, Dave gave all of the ushers a pair of green campervan cufflinks which they all wore on the day.

What A Transformation

Dave looked amazing when I walked in the room – I am only really used to seeing him in scruffs for work and what a transformation. We have been together since school and had always imagined that day, so to see him standing there definitely took my breath away.

In The Right Place

Our photographer was Igor Demba.

We first met Igor at a friend’s Wedding – we loved the way he was so involved in the Wedding and wasn’t staging pictures, in fact we didn’t really realise he was the official photographer as he was such a good laugh! We then met Igor for an engagement shoot in Bourne Woods with our puppy Jasper! Igor was brilliant and tried all kinds of games to get us working with the camera. This worked so well as on the day we were so comfortable in front of Igor.

Igor was at the venue when we arrived at 9:30am and didn’t leave until 1am! He was so great with all our friends and family, and took some amazing photos! He was always in the right place to capture the perfect photo and yet was never in the way of what we were doing. Everyone loved him, and were permanently commenting on how fantastic he was. To get the shots of us on the dance floor he even joined in and threw some shapes.

He had even managed to edit some photos by the evening so he ran a slideshow on the bar so that people could see a glimpse of the photos. A few weeks later a wonderful parcel arrived with our photos in – we had a big gathering to go through them all. I was amazed, he had captured the day so well and I couldn’t believe it was really us in the photos – it looked so magical.

I cannot recommend Igor highly enough and he really made our day so special. My favourite photo is the black and white one of the two of us under the big tree – I love the fact that it looks like a print you could pick up in Ikea but when you look carefully you can see it’s us two!

Out Of This World

We asked Dave’s Mum if she would make the cake for us – it meant more to the both of us than having a shop bought one! Sylv and I sat down numerous times and looked at different designs that would suit the theme, but the end result was out of this world. It was a chocolate sponge cake with sage ribbons and sage dots. Everyone thought we had had it made and the colours were perfect – it tasted amazing as well.

I Heard It On The Radio

It took us forever to pick our first dance. We went through hours of playlists trying to pick the right one. Then one day Stand by Me by Ben E King came on the radio, it instantly made me think of the wedding and we knew it was the song for us. Now everytime we hear it we think back to the day.

Firework Favours

My Mum helped massively with the favours! We decided that we wanted something that people could keep and reuse. Mum managed to find frosted votive holders with hearts that we filled with sage tea lights. Mum then ordered boxes to put them in which were tied with sage ribbon and had a tag on each with our themed logo. Working on the theory that the candles wouldn’t really interest the men, we gave them a bundle of indoor sparklers and asked the guests to light them for our entrance. We bought Firework Night inside!

A Little DIY

I have always been involved in making stationery and decorations for many friends and family members’ weddings, and was determined to do the same with my own wedding. All of the decorations were ivory and sage and where possible featured our C&D logo that tied everything together.

Mum also organised lanterns to be placed all outside the building and on the walkway to the orangery. The staff at the venue put them all out for us and they looked amazing – very romantic.

Just As We Wanted It

We were so lucky to have such a supportive family to help us – so much so that I barely remember being stressed about anything – Well, other than the travel agent ringing the day before the Wedding saying due to the flooding in Bangkok we would have to either amend or cancel the Honeymoon!! But my husband to be sorted it all out and even sent my maid of honour a message on the Wedding Day to let us know that everything was sorted.

My Mum helped so much with the organisation and planning – it is what she was born to do! She even created her own sweet shop at the reception that looked incredible – I have never seen grown adults move so fast when we announced the sweet shop was open!

My Dad made an amazing speech and helped keep everything calm during the run up. All of the bridesmaids and Ushers helped us whenever we needed them and were always there for advice and to kick us into action.

One bit of advice would be to pick your photographer carefully – Igor made our day what it was and we were so lucky to have him involved. He put us both at ease and didn’t stage the photos – giving us the natural look we wanted. After the day has passed it is so important to have amazing photos that will help you remember all of the details.

I would love to do it all over again, and the day itself was just as we wanted it to be.

Stubton Hall

We were really struggling to find the perfect venue as we knew what we were looking for but couldn’t find it. We wanted something traditional but without a church wedding. We found Stubton Hall in a magazine and decided to go and take a look. The minute we saw the hall on the top of the hill on the road into the village we knew this was what we were looking for. With its stunning entrance greeting you as you approach, you take a step back in time as you enter the reception room. Most rooms have roaring fires and a perfect blend of classical and contemporary décor.

Rachel, the wedding coordinator, helped us work through all the details and ideas, and, although it was way over our budget, we decided that it was totally worth it as we could have the whole place all to ourselves. It was the best decision we’ve ever made (other than deciding to get married in the first place!) The Bridal Suite was the perfect place for us all to get ready. We broke with tradition and let my Mum and Dad have the Bridal Suite as that way we could use it throughout the day and then a whole new room would be ready for us two.

Stubton was the perfect venue and the staff were amazingly attentive. The food was incredible, although I have to say I wish I could have eaten more of it as the buzz of the day meant I was so content I didn’t really need food (and didn’t want any stains on my dress!!!!) My favourite part of the whole venue was the Chocolate Bar. There is a stunning picture of the both of us at the end of the day snuggled up on the leather sofa completely in awe of the day – Igor captured the moment perfectly. Stubton Hall was everything we wanted from a venue and I cannot speak highly enough of the staff there. We really felt like we were king and queen of the manor!

Venue – Stubton Hall

Photographer – Igor Demba

Dress – Christina Sposa

Hair and Make-up – Carla Todd

Shoes – Rainbow

Maids – BHS

Planner – Rachel Hall

Florals – Vaas

The venue is spot on. I love the deep rich wall colours and the luxurious mixed period decor – It provided the perfect backdrop for Charlotte and Dave’s contemporary wedding that had hints of classical influences as well as a few modern twists thrown into the mix.

I have to agree with Charlotte too – the images of our lovely couple under the tree and slumped on the brown leather chesterfield are absolute corkers.


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A Sri Lankan Sapphire.

Good morning peeps.

Today we have a mix of influences and a match made in heaven. Nat is Sri Lankan, Adrian is Irish and they married in London…

Prepare for some rich hues, a good dose of colour pop and enough D.I.Y ideas to shake a glue-stick at.

Photography today is by Anna Clarke and what a great job Anna and her husband Simon have made of capturing all of these colours, all of this joy and especially all of the love that just pours from this captivating winter wedding.

A Six Month Engagement

Adrian and I got married on 3rd December 2011, with the wedding service at my home church in New Eltham, London and the reception at Selsdon Park Hotel, South Croydon. So many of the church congregation I had known as I grew up came as well as helped at the service, and it was wonderfully personal having friends and family praying for us. We’d met in 2004 volunteering in Uganda and started dating five years later, flying back and forth between Dublin and Oxford, and neither of us wanted to delay starting our life together so kept our engagement under six months.

I’d always imagined having an outdoor tipi wedding but as our wedding was going to be in December, this was just a ridiculous notion considering British winter weather, so we opted for practical! There’s a part of me that still longed for the tipi, but on the day, absolutely none of that mattered once we actually got married in the church! Hotel receptions can sometimes have a bad rep, but we really needed somewhere where Adrian’s family from Ireland could stay at a reasonable price and that would be comfortable for our guests. The Selsdon Park staff were just so accommodating, even going out of their way to help us source a Sri Lankan caterer for our buffet meal!

Not A Bridey Bride

The bridal gown was the one thing I was quite nervous about, as I guess I’m not a ‘bridey bride’ and didn’t want to be like mutton dressed as lamb! I tried on a few dresses with a couple of friends and family and actually found the whole experience quite overwhelming. I rarely try clothes on when I shop in any case, so parading in front of mirrors and groups of people in a wedding dress was something else! This all sounds mightily ridiculous and dramatic, I know, but I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s felt like this!

Anyway, I decided to go alone to Ellie Sanderson in Oxford, tried on a few dresses and bought one then and there off the rack as it was on sale. They really made me feel comfortable and weren’t too pushy at all. The dress was ‘Carmen’ from the Stephanie Allin Bourdeax Collection and my test to see whether it was ‘me’ was jumping up and down in front of the mirror! The pleated fishtail part of the dress made me feel like I was wearing a sari and think of Sri Lanka – my roots! The dress didn’t exactly fit perfectly, so I took it to Pure Couture in Beaconsfield for alterations. They were just fantastic, changing the back from zip up to lace up flawlessly and adding organza straps for me!

Sri Lankan brides generally leave their weddings in a red outfit and as we were trying to combine two traditions in our wedding, mum bought me a beautiful red sari from London which I changed into for the evening reception and accessorised with gold heirloom jewellery. We’ll be having a small party celebrating our marriage out in Sri Lanka, where I will get to wear this sari again!

Highstreet Heaven

I bought a veil from Ellie Sanderson on the day I got my dress. The rest of my accessories were mostly from high street stores! I’d initially bought a headpiece from an online boutique, but when it arrived I realised it really wasn’t my style! So I ended up casually finding a lovely headband from Oasis and my bracelet from Monsoon! My mum bought me a gorgeous necklace and earring set from Debenhams which I wore on the day.

Sri Lankan Sapphire

My ‘something blue’ was my engagement ring created by my brother-in-law Tony. Him and Adrian sourced a Sri Lankan sapphire stone for the centre along with two non-conflict diamonds either side! The fact that it was created by family and has an element of Sri Lanka in it means the world to me!

Cutting It Fine

I was a bit last minute with my shoes, and bought them only a few days before the wedding from Rainbow Club. They were comfy and I loved that they were dyeable!

Family Fortunes

I was very fortunate to be marrying into a very talented family and my sister-in-law Paula did my mine and the bridesmaid’s make-up on the day and did such a fab job creating a natural but elegant look. One of my bridesmaids took me to Bobbi Brown for a trial to get an idea of what would suit me best on the day, as I rarely wear make-up and haven’t a clue! After scouring the internet for a hairdresser, I found someone who lived locally via Sam at Busy Beauty and after a trial, decided I’d have my hair half-up half-down with curls so that it wasn’t too overdone and the girls would all have side buns with a plait running along the back.

The girls thoroughly enjoyed having their hair put up in this style and the hair stylists themselves were really relaxed and very reasonably priced!

To Bloom Or Not To Bloom

At first I wasn’t sure if I wanted flowers at all, because we were keen on not being too wasteful. But the package at Selsdon Park included flowers on the table, for which I bought the vases myself, and my old Brownie leader from church was going to do a few floral arrangements for the church and offered to do the bridesmaid’s bouquets as a gift. I love big open flowers, so we used gerberas throughout, and people got to take them home afterwards!

Dirty Fabulous

My super creative sisters-in-law Caroline and Kathy have their own vintage boutique in Dublin called Dirty Fabulous with a great slant towards all things bridal. Caroline made my brooch bouquets which were just perfect, (with the brooches coming from family and friends), and I’m so happy I have it as a keepsake!

Five Bright Colours

Adrian bought all the groom’s suits from a store in Dublin and the boys accessorised with their own waistcoats or jumpers as they wanted, which looked great! The bouttonieres were also created by my sister-in-law Caroline out of vintage ribbon, music manuscript and feathers, based on a few pictures Adrian had seen on wedding blogs. I loved that he took such an active role in the whole wedding planning, I’m very lucky! I wanted to have a vibrant look to the wedding, (probably still pining after that summer wedding idea!), so chose five bright colours which paired up the bridesmaids and groomsmen. Adrian bought the ties from a mix of charity and high street shops with different patterns so it wasn’t too formal.

The bridesmaid’s dresses were midnight blue Alfred Sung in five different designs that the girls and I picked to suit their particular styles, and I ordered them from the States via Joielle. I can’t begin to say how helpful Joielle were and they made the process so easy, considering I was ordering in sizes I didn’t know about from another country! The girls each had different earrings I’d bought from wandering around a number of shops and silver bangles, with matching court shoes from the Debut range in Debenhams.I bought material from an East London sari shop in the five different colours so that each of the girls would have a sash for their dresses and bouquets for a splash of colour and to co-ordinate with the boys. It worked really well in the church, as the wedding party didn’t know each other but knew exactly who to walk down the aisle with!

Splashing Out

Adrian hardly spends money on himself as he’s so conscientious and we decided together that if there was one time in his life that he should, it had to be for his wedding! I mean, guys can wear suits for years to come but the same can’t be said for the bridal gown! He went to Ede and Ravenscroft in Oxford one weekend when he was visiting me, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience of choosing the materials and linings! I absolutely loved his outfit, he looked so handsome – three piece dark grey tweed suit, with dark blue lining to match the bridesmaid’s dresses and I bought him a pocketwatch as a wedding gift which he wore on the day. He’s an old man at heart!

Go Team Clarke

The photography was really important to us, especially since so many of my family were unable to make the wedding from overseas, we wanted to document the day well. I saw Anna Clarke’s bright yellow advert on RMW, and just had to click on it! We’d only met one photographer prior to contacting Anna, and had been a bit disheartened by the experience. Team Clarke (Anna and her husband Simon) were an instant hit! They were so easy to get along with, we loved their style and it felt as though they genuinely wanted to know about us, our relationship and wedding plans. We had wanted someone taking shots of the guys getting ready in the hotel and another photographer with us girls in my parent’s house, so it worked out perfectly and the two of them stayed up with us til the early hours of the morning!

They also did a photobooth with props for us, the results of which were hysterical! We couldn’t stop laughing when we saw the photos! Bottom line is, we had the best photographers who captured all the happiness and emotion of the day!

Cake Collaboration

My godmothers wanted to buy us the cake as a gift, so we decided on a Victoria Sponge as it’s Adrian’s favourite! After finding a few cake makers around the area of Selsdon Park, my godmothers visited a lady called Tracy from It’s All About Cake and she created the cake with red roses as decoration exactly like the pictures we’d given her! The cake topper was also created by Dirty Fabulous from vintage paper made to look like Sri Lankan palm trees!

In Sri Lanka, a particular type of fruit cake is served at weddings wrapped for people to take with them. My aunty made this for everyone at the reception and it was served with the teas and coffees!

We also had cakes, teas and coffees, before and after the wedding service, as it was a chilly day and some people had travelled far to get there so a cuppa couldn’t go wrong! My aunty made 200 cupcakes and it was just great for Adrian and I to greet everyone after the wedding itself, albeit crying our eyes out with joy but nevermind!

Vintage Hens

My hen party had been expertly organised by my bridesmaids with a 1940s theme, including everyone having their hair and makeup done and moving onto a swing dance class. Adrian and I both love swing music, so decided to go for a swing jive band called Goosebumps who we found online after listening to what felt like a million clips from different bands!

It’s quite a gamble choosing a band that you’ve never heard perform before but the guys were great fun, they learnt a few songs that we requested and were pretty theatrical in style! We had so many comments from friends saying their boyfriends who never usually dance actually took to the floor at our reception!

Before the band played, we had two instructors from Swingland teach a short swing dance class, which filled the dancefloor with all ages and was just so much fun!

After the dancing, we moved on to the hotel bar where Adrian and a couple of his brothers played music and had a bit of a sing along sesh of old, new and Irish tunes! They’d brought over their guitars and bodhran from Ireland and there was a fantastic atmosphere with people from other parties joining in too!

Pencil Full Of Lead

For our first song we went for ‘Pencil Full of Lead’ by Paolo Nutini, played by the band! Awkward slow dance with all eyes on us wasn’t really our style, but random spinning around the dance floor was more like it! Loads of people joined in half way through the dance which was great fun.

Love Notes

Adrian and I were just so overwhelmed with our friends and family making such an effort to be at the wedding and wanted to make them feel as welcome as possible. The wedding may be about us getting married, but everyone there had played a part along the way and we wanted to share how much we loved them for that. So we decided to write individual notes to each of the guests, which I think took up the most time but it was so worth it.

Adrian created a threefold card template with the note inside, and we also included a charity pin to either the Motor Neurone Disease Association or Irish Cancer Society – two charities close to our hearts. We tried to use as much recycled paper as we could for all the wedding stationery and cards.

On a whim near the time of the wedding, my mum and I also bought enough sets of bangles from an Asian jewellery shop in East London for all the ladies coming to the reception to add a Sri Lankan touch, and they were set out at the drinks reception.

Keeping An Eye On The Purse Strings

I think the whole time during planning, Adrian and I were very aware of not wanting to spend unnecessarily, especially as the venue and clothing can take such a chunk out of even the tightest of budgets! So we involved family in the decor and tried to DIY our way through it!

The table decorations were a mish mash of things we liked – no particular theme or style! Adrian’s uncle over in Ireland chopped a tree into slices for our centrepieces, which the boys sanded down the day before the wedding! There were candles that I’d collected from various shops, my cousin sent over wooden elephants from Sri Lanka and a friend and I made pinwheels to go in the vases with the colourful flowers following a tutorial online.

The table numbers were made by my cousin’s wife Shehara who is fantastic with paper quilling and we also bought midnight blue and gold children’s bangles to use as napkin holders!

Entertianing All Ages

For the drinks reception, we hung polaroid-style photos that we’d printed at home around the drinks reception of everyone at the wedding which was a good talking point and another way we thought to make people feel as though they weren’t just a number!

We also had two large old maps of Ireland and Sri Lanka which were placed at the entrance and my mum, Adrian and I painstakingly tied ribbon in the five colours onto wooden stirrers for the drinks reception. Never have I seen so much ribbon! One of my bridesmaids had decorated a vintage suitcase and given it to me at my hen party, so we used that for people to drop cards into.

My brother-in-law Barry designed and painted our wedding invitations and they were perfect! There’s something very beautiful about hand painted invitations. He has his own website if you would like to see more of his work visit barryquinn.ie. Barry also made our table plan in a black board style and drew our finger print tree which we’d first seen on RMW. people seemed to love it!

For the kids we had disposable cameras with an I-Spy game that I had found online and wedding themed colouring books for the very small ones! Helped keep them entertained.

Choose Wisely

The ‘frills’ of the wedding day are obviously what makes the planning so much fun and gets your creative juices flowing! Sometimes mixing different styles together can work better than one particular theme, if that’s your personality! The wedding day itself can be so reliant on other people, ie. caterers, photographers, transport, so choose those that are friendly but professional and who understand where you’re coming from.

Use family and friends during your planning! We were blessed to have so many amazingly talented people around us and I found it a great way of getting to know Adrian’s brothers and sisters too. I think it’s also important to try and make things comfortable for your guests. Little things we thought of like hiring a London bus to transport people from church to venue really help I think.

But never forget what the day really means. Faith is important to myself and Adrian, and being married in my home church before God, surrounded by family and friends was simply amazing. Enjoy your wedding with your groom (it’s his day as well!), don’t overplan the day or you’ll feel stressed the whole time and miss all the fun! One of my highlights was an impromptu Backstreet Boys singalong that the groomsman did in the middle of all the very emotional speeches!

As much as I may have initially wanted that tipi wedding, ultimately on the day these things don’t change the fact that I was blessed enough to be able to marry my best friend on a day filled with many tears, much joy and great laughter that I will never forget.

Venue Selsdon Park Hotel

Dress Stephanie Allin

Shoes Rainbow Club

bouquets and Cake Topper Dirty Fabulous

Boutique Ellie Sanderson

Hair Busy Beauty

Photography Anna Clarke

Cake It’s All About Cake

Stationery Barry Quinn

Band Goosebumps

I know I can’t help myself when I see a groom in a hat, so here I go again… I love the edge of informality and fun that a simple accessory like a hat provides. It looks great for your ‘fun’ photographs and of course you can always quickly toss it to one side if you want some more formal shots.

I am also more than a bit enamoured by herringbone at the moment. Confessions of a fashion geek.

I am loving this Sri Lankan/Irish mash up! Love the wooden elephants, the impromptu sing song to bits and the maids and groomsmen with their colour co-ordinated accessories? It’s a stroke of organisational genius!

Muchos thanks to Nat and Adrian for sharing their big day with our polka dotted community.

By the Way – Anna Clarke is currently offering £100.00 off any wedding booking with a deposit paid throughout March 2012, so if you like what you see – go and grab yourself a bargain!


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A Marriage At River Cottage.

Mike and Esmè Married at St Gregory’s Church in Seaton and had their reception at River Cottage.

That’s right folks – The River Cottage made famous by Hugh Fearnley “kill-a-rabbit-with-my-bear-hands-for-breakfast” Whittingstall!

Prepare yourselves for a visual feast as we head down to Dorset in the South West.

The magnificent Sam Gibson was on hand with a box of lenses to capture this rural delight in all its glory.

Wow Factor.

River Cottage Hq was the most amazing venue. The location, staff and food were relaxed and overall the place had an amazing wow factor.

Cat our wedding Co-ordinator was a super star, from the moment we walked down the wobbly hill to River Cottage we knew this was our place. Cat was always on the end of the phone or email when needed, but also was very relaxed about the day and helped us choose the food giving us ideas on how to use River Cottage for the day. We had the speeches outside in the garden with champagne and canapés, then the yurt for coffee after the meal.

The chef gave a toast to the guests explaining how the spit roast lamb was prepared and how he and the team had prepared the meal. They used veg from my father’s farm which was great to incorporate into our day. My dad doesn’t normally like courgettes but did on this day – the way the chef had cooked them, delicious!

The staff where so good on the day and so happy, the guests again commented on how good all the staff were. Simon the master of Ceremony for the day was brilliant. Helping us throughout the day and helping with guest requests. All in all River Cottage, Cat and the team were Wonderful.

The Dress Search.

After much looking around and having a very bad experience in many shops we finally found a wonderful shop called Days of Grace in Budleigh Salterton, Devon. Carole the owner was amazing and on my second visit to her we walked into the shop and there it was, hanging on the rail by the front door – ‘THE DRESS’ a Maggie Sottero. ‘The Tabrette Marie’ made with French taffeta and wonderful jewels around the waist band.

It wasn’t what I thought I would have chosen, as in my dreams from a child I thought I would have the big princess style dress but this one was so different and elegant. All the dresses in Days of Grace where sample dresses from a shop in Exeter called Pirouette which also made the price very good as well.

Straps And Jewels.

The shoes!!! What a nightmare – I suffer from MS and find it very difficult to walk in heels so trying to find shoes which were not only pretty, but ones I could walk in, was a challenge! If I had the time I would have designed some myself!! But Pirouette came to the rescue and found me a lovely pair of Rainbow wedding shoes which had a strap across the top of my foot and a jewelled buckle to the side. Quite high but I had my father to hold on to for the church walk and i changed my shoes once at River Cottage to a flat pair bought from Next. Ballerina shoes with lots on jewels on the front, it didn’t matter as no one could see my feet!

Tame Those Locks.

My make-up, the bridesmaids and mothers where done by Becky from Changing Faces. Again an amazing service from the first contact, to the day. Becky listened to us all, taking account of what we liked and didn’t like and Wow she did good, it stayed on all day.

Our hair was done by one of our great friends Claire who has only in the last year taken the plunge and opened her own hair salon called Salon 27 in Seaton, Devon.

I have very long hair and Claire tamed it beautifully, all to one side with lovely curls and the bridesmaids all had there’s to one side in a loose bun with flowers that matched the bouquets. She closed the shop for us so we could all be there and Becky could be there as well, keeping a running chain of people from 8am till 11am. We had nails, hair and make-up done (all together 7 of us – they were amazing).

A Mix Of Flowers And Herbs.

We wanted wild flowers as we had no real theme to our wedding apart from a loose relaxed and countryside feel.

Claire from Haughty Culture in Honiton was also brilliant. I didn’t have much idea what flowers where called but had a photo and an idea of what I wanted. Oh my god she did a fabulous job! The bouquets, button holes, hair flowers and confetti all looked stunning with Mint, Thyme and all types of flowers, too many to name, but best of all Claire found a hydrangea called Esme which was used in everyone’s flowers, even in the little hair pieces she made. Brilliant!

Hello Husband!

Mike had found a shop in Exeter called Dyfed Menswear – their suits were nice and also you could collect them a week before the wedding. This meant someone didn’t have to rush into town to collect on the Friday before and we knew we had time to change some sizes if needed. Mike chose the colour for the wedding party which was Teal. He chose morning suits in dark grey shimmer for all the men with Teal cravats and for himself a cream cravat.

Mike being a fire-fighter wore his dress uniform for the ceremony and changed into his suit for the wedding breakfast. He looked a dream come true and Fwaaar…

“Hello that’s going to be my Husband” Is what I thought as I walked down towards him.

Relaxed And Helpful.

From the moment we saw Sam Gibson’s website we knew he was the one. He was relaxed and very helpful (No hard sale – no you must do this and I won’t do that).

On the day Sam appeared smartly dressed, calm, cool and dived straight in taking photos of us girls getting glammed up at Salon 27. We didn’t really even know the photos were being taken. Boy I was a nervous wreck all morning. He then went to the boy’s residence and from there on to the church. No questions asked, he did his research; going down the day before to meet Cat our wedding co-ordinator at River Cottage, speaking to the vicar, driving round to each place he needed to be at on the day. He knew where each event was happening. He even had breakfast with my Dad in the morning as they stayed in the same hotel.

Sam was everywhere but not in your face, come to think of it I can’t remember seeing him much through the day at all. He even helped us set up a couple of things as we could not get something to work. Then at around 10pm he came to do a last shot of us and say goodbye, bless him he must have been so tired.

Three weeks after the wedding the email came to say we will get the photos the next day, Aaaahhhh I screamed to Mike. Oh my god, what we got was amazing! A slide show DVD and a second disc with the photos on. We watched the slide show, Mike cried and I screamed with joy as we got to see our wonderful day. I cannot put into words how wonderful Sam’s photos are and how amazing Sam is! Most people have watched the slide show and all want copies, they all said how great he was on the day. I see him as a friend now who made our day come to life for the rest of our lives.

A Dusting Of Sugar.

We had a 3 tier Victoria sponge cake made by one of Mike’s mothers friends and yum yum, it was delicious. No icing just dusted with icing sugar and strawberries, raspberries and pink roses. Very plain but very pretty, no fuss.

That’s Jazz.

We had a local jazz band called Arcadia from Axminster, Devon. Boy they were good, they started at 6pm and finished at 9pm and everyone loved them. Mike and one of his ushers even had a little dance together. A great band, very friendly and very professional.

More Than Words.

Our first dance was to Extreme ‘More Than Words’. This is a song that is close to us as we were together around 8 years ago then parted for 3 years before we realised we loved each other too much and had to be together for the rest of our lives. On the day we arranged to meet up again Mike played this song as we reminisced about old times and we knew this would be our first dance at our wedding!

Pump Up The Jam.

Our favours were small jams that we used as name places. Me and my mother spent two days making the name tags for each one, sewing, sticking and tying to each little pot. We also made small sewn hearts for each lady with a name tag sewn on the front of each saying ‘Mike & Esme’ and on the back was the date ‘6th August 2011′

candles And Wild Flowers.

At the church we had many plain church candles which we bought from Ikea and dotted around the church.

At River Cottage they had put lots of bunting around, jam jars of wild flowers, lots and lots of candles and also we arranged to have 4 fire posts from another local company to be put around the garden outside the yurt which gave light at night and a little bit of warmth. They were also used for cooking marshmallows on, which River Cottage had laid out for the guests.

The Best Bits.

We had many parts of the day which were so special to us – Mikes Crew from Seaton fire station doing a guard of honour for us as we left the church, a classic fire appliance to take Mike & I to River Cottage from the church, having great bridesmaids, best man and ushers helping us wonderfully throughout the day, the tractor ride down to River Cottage from the Top of the hill… the list is endless.

A Final Thought.

My advice would be to take it all in through the day as it goes so quick, do as much as you can to save cost and give it a personal touch. Most of all enjoy it!

Venue River Cottage

Dress Maggie Sottero

Shoes Rainbow Club

Make-up Changing Faces

Blooms Haughty Culture

Suit Hire Dyfed Menswear

Photography Sam Gibson

Entertainment Arcadia

River Cottage certainly does have the WOW factor… I had no idea it was a venue for hire (maybe I shouldn’t admit that?) and if you are a real “foodie” it must go straight to the top of your dream reception destinations.

Talking of food, I’ve got to mention that victoria sponge… it’s made me hungry just looking at it and the florals take it firmly into dream territory too. Also, can I have a great big ruddy fire engine at my wedding too please? Thanks, bye!


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Brighton Rocks.

I love Brighton.

When you think about Brighton you probably think Seaside, Pier, Pavillion. You are less likely to think thistles, open fields…. kilts?

Re-adjust your expectations people!

RMW readers Liz and Colin brought a little piece of Scotland all the way down to the south coast of England, and in the process created an effortless and elegant start to the rest of their life together. Lisa Devlin also made the journey, and she brought her camera along…

A Long Weekend.

Our Brighton wedding took place on Friday July 8th 2011 St Margaret’s Church in Rottingdean and Pangdean Barn for the reception. Colin is Scottish so we had lots of guests travelling down for a long weekend. We had heavy rain the day before the wedding and at the rehearsal the night before we had to shelter in the Church until it stopped… I was a bit worried as we had chosen ‘here comes the sun’ by the Beatles for our leaving the church song so I was so relieved when we the sun came out just in time for us.

Five Votes For Suzanne Neville.

I found my dress from Leonie Claire in Brighton who were amazing from start to finish. The girls were so welcoming and made us feel really relaxed. I went along with my 5 bridesmaids and mum and we had a lovely time picking out dresses with a glass of champagne in hand. As you can imagine with 5 bridesmaids in tow there were a lot of opinions as I tried on each style! But when I came out in the lace long sleeved design by Suzanne Neville, it just felt so perfect and finally they all agreed that this was the one!

Simple Vintage.

I chose a simple veil and a vintage look side pearl head piece from designer Polly Edwards. I didn’t have any jewellery other than diamond ear-rings that my husband-to-be had left with my bridesmaids Jenny and Katie on the morning of the wedding – which they woke me up with by jumping on my bed!

The Perfect Pick.

I loved my ivory satin 40s style peep toe shoes from Rainbow Club, my mother-in-law Carolyn actually picked these out for me at my final fitting and they were perfect!

Wind And Veil.

Originally I thought about doing my own make up but I really wanted to relax on the morning and this turned out to be the right decision as I could really take everything in and watch the girls getting ready. I actually had the make-up trial the day before the royal wedding, so we had a really fun afternoon where my bridesmaids came over and we had champagne and Will & Kate cupcakes! I was really happy with the look on the day, although I did put my hair spray to the test by having pictures up on a hill by a windmill and in a corn field, at one point my veil flew off and Colin had to chase after it through the corn field! Luckily it was all caught on camera and video too!

Vintage Blooms.

My bridesmaids and I had bouquets of Old Dutch, Amnesia and light pink Sweet Avalanche roses, light pink peonies and hydrangeas. Our florist The Vintage flower house tied the colours in perfectly with our ‘sage and pink’ colour theme. On the tables we had a mix of candelabras and clusters of silver vases with different posies of our flowers. They were so beautiful we took all the posies home and gave them away to friends as we were going on honeymoon. My sister-in-law Monica also had the idea to press some flowers from my bouquet so we did this the next day and I’ll frame this later.

A Scottish Touch.

Our colour scheme was sage and pink. Our beautiful bridesmaids wore sage green dresses from Coast – although we had a bit of a drama when Sam announced she was pregnant and would be 6 months pregnant on the day! Luckily Coast did the same dress in a long length that suited her bump perfectly and she looked gorgeous. The girls all chose their ivory shoes from Next in 2 different styles. Our best man Iain and the ushers all wore their own tartans and jackets from Macgreggor Macduff in Glasgow.

A Tot In Time…

My husband wore his family Logan tartan. His best man Iain had thoughtfully bought along a hip-flask of Whisky to calm his nerves which seemed to work, as he almost fainted in the Church.

Double Vision.

We chose Lisa Devlin as our photographer after seeing her work on her website, I loved the vintage look to her photography and she really captured the feel of the day. Lisa had the idea for her assistant Jayne to photograph Colin and the ushers getting ready in the morning at the flat while she did me, my mum and the girls getting ready at the hotel. This was such a good idea and I loved seeing them all getting ready at the flat and seeing what we were doing at the same time on the morning.

Floral Flourishes.

We had a jam and cream sponge 3 tier cake from the Marks & Spencer that tasted delicious – we asked our florist to decorate it so it looked really effective.

All Day And All The Night.

We found a band that we had seen on a night out called Tongue and Groove and they were amazing 5 piece rock band after our first song they launched straight into ‘All day and all of the night’ by the Kinks which got everyone up after we had told them we had that inscribed inside our wedding bands, so that was such a lovely moment.

First Dance.

We chose ‘In my life’ by the Beatles because it seemed right for us and not to difficult to shuffle along to.

A Joint Effort.

My bridesmaid Aimee and I spent the weekend before the wedding making the table plan, wedding post box, menus and all the decorations, it was a really special and made everything feel so personal. We used a mirror from our flat and stuck plain paper to the back of left over invitations and printed the names on and it looked really effective. I would also suggest using tableplanner software which was only £10 and really helpful when you are deciding on the table plan. My bridesmaid Sam also made photo displays of us growing up in beautiful heart frames that really tied in with the barn, they were a surprise on the day. The barn was also filled with fairy lights and candles which looked so pretty and cosy.

It’s All Part Of The Process.

When you are saving for the wedding it’s easy to think ‘all that money just on one day’ and to focus on making the day perfect, but I think the best advice I could offer is to see the wedding build up as just as important and enjoy things like choosing a band, dress fittings and picking the rings as experiences in themselves rather than jobs being ticked off the list. Looking back I will never forget some of the lovely days in the build up like having fun nights out with Colin seeing random bands, making the decorations with my bridesmaid and the dinner with my family the night before the wedding.

Church St Margaret’s Church

Reception Pangdean Barn

Photographer Lisa Devlin

Boutique Leonie Claire

Dress Suzanne Neville

Head piece Polly Edwards

Shoes Rainbow Club

Flowers The Vintage flower house

Grooms men Macgreggor Macduff

Entertainment Tongue and Groove

Erm… Brighton Rocks, yes?

Things I love about this wedding…. The stationery (understated but with beautiful detail)… That first black and white shot of Liz in the window (Grace Kelly anyone?)… Windmills and wind beaten grass (something perfect about this that I can’t quite place my finger on).

Oh, and that massive London bus, you’ve got to love London by the sea.


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The White Style…

A little while back, I had lots of fun putting together a post on spring shoes, in the hope that lots of you would be wearing bright and beautiful coloured shoes for your wedding. And I’m not afraid to admit that I had lots of you pegged completely wrong!

Tons of you are planning on rocking a traditional bridal shoe, and if it’s good enough for Mrs O’Shea, well then it’s darn well good enough for me!

So today we’re sharing a selection of pretty cream or white, elegant but decidely bridal shoes, and why not?

Designer Dreams

While Choo’s and Loubouins are often on the radar of our readers when it comes to designer style, we’ve yet to see Aruna Seth feature on these pages. Pricey but fashion forwards, there is a variety of designs, sure to keep the most picky shoe lover inspired if you’re looking for something different.

*Cerise (crystal heel), Nia (bow embellished), Samantha (metallic python) and Sheri (lace), all Aruna Seth

Rainbow Beautful

Some of the prettiest designs – particularly if you’re working a country garden theme, are to be found at Rainbow Club, in this designer collection by Dianne Hassall. The collection features sensible heels and lots of lace or floral embellishment to make your toes look very fancy.

*Flora, Violette and Sweet Briar by Diane Hassall for Rainbow Club.

Simpson Sweet

We featured Rachel Simpsons shoes in our Dolly Shoot a little while back and went for some of the more alternative black and white styles but I think her ivory collection contains some of my favourite designs. Tick off your ‘something blue’ with Mimi or wear the perennially stylish (I’m so having a moment with suede…) Marylin.

*Mini and Marylin, Rachel Simpson Ivory Collection

New Finds

One of my recent new finds is Glamorous Sole, which we spotted at the National Wedding Show last year. The designs are simple with minimal detail and might be perfect if you don’t want to detract from your dress. Who could forget Benjamin Adams? Best known for his crystal embellished peep toes, I spied these more contemporary heels for a bit of variation on the theme.

*L-R – Bologna, Glamorous Sole, Catherine, Benjamin Adams and Milan, Glamorous Sole

High Street Heaven

Sometimes I feel like a broken record, but we’ll always keep saying it: Don’t forget the high street! Particularly with the abundance of paler fashions on the catwalks this summer, there are lots of matching shoes and whilst white stillettos used to scream Essex, no-one can accuse you of being behind the times now! It’s also definately the place to stop off if you’re looking for flats, if you’re not a heel wearer, or just want to dance!

*Woven Platforms, Jewelled Ballet Flats, New Look, Next, Florie (satin) shoe, LKBennett

So have we inspired you readers?

We’d love to hear where you found your shoes – particularly if you got a bargain – we love a good bargain we do 🙂

Yours Truly,