There is a secret princess in all of us that wants to wear the perfect gown and get married in a castle. And Bride Alice did exactly that in a gorgeous homemade wedding dress to her perfect groom Francois. The whole Highcliffe Castle wedding is full of atmosphere and emotion, captured beautifully by Carrie Lavers Photography and featuring confetti and entertainment from Shropshire Petals and DiscoWed, both of whom are on our reccomended supplier directory The List. Keep your pinning fingers ready for the immense King Protea bouquet and wedding flowers too!
This morning we’re off to Derbyshire to take a peek at the nuptials of Tanja and Matt who celebrated their love on the family farm in an awesome Tipi.
The sun shone, the guests danced their hearts out and the kids ran around and played in the dandelion fields; sounds dreamy doesn’t it. And it was, completely and utterly wonderful as these photos from Elysia Photographer clearly show.
I love the subtle nods to Tanja’s heritage and the mismatched boys in braces and bow ties – they look fantastic! And I think that this is most definitely the first time I’ve seen an inflatable dinosaur at a wedding…and I kinda like it 😉
Oh we have a little bit of Kentish heaven on the blog for you this morning in the form of Pauline and Jon’s big day. I can promise you peaches and pistachio and a healthy dose of girly vintage glamour.
This sweet twosome married at the romantically named Beacon House in Whitstable before departing in an awesome Morris Minor to their favourite restaurant The Good’s Shed where they hosted their rustic wedding reception. Honestly it is so different but in such an amazing way; I really am very much in awe.
I’m also lusting after Pauline’s green heart-shaped wedding shoes courtesy of Vivienne Westwood, the perfect accessory to Pauline’s beautiful garden rose, wax flower and eucalyptus hairpiece. It is SO pretty!
And then there’s the croquembouche which is utterly AWESOME. You need to pin it right away…
Louisa and Emma held a Burns Supper for their wedding day celebrations. If you’re not aware of what a Burns Supper is, it involves reading poems to a haggis, eating said haggis and drinking lots and lots of scotch. I’m sure that’s the official definition* 😉
Burn’s Night is basically just a proper knees up, in honour of great Scottish Poet, Robert Burns. Scotland has a special place in Louisa and Emma’s hearts, as it’s where they got engaged.
But just because the lovely ladies held a proper party – doesn’t mean they overlooked the pretty details. I’m swooning over the dusky pink and sage green Bridesmaids dresses, the elegant table dressing and the beautiful, beautiful cake.
*Hmmmmm, maybe not so official…
Julie’s hair is immense. A half up, half down beehive. It looks incredible, I am more than a little jealous.
With a grey colour pallette and subtle accents of yellow – the shoes are so cute – this wedding is so fresh and inviting.
It brings you awesome wedding transport, a delicate daffodil within a beautiful bouquet and a ruddy lovely story of a joyous wedding planning experience. Oh, and there is a bit of butt grabbing…we all know how I feel about this. Such a super in love couple! Julie also gives you a great list of suppliers that she worked with to make her wedding dreams come true.
So, without further ado…
A Fairytale Venue
Julie The Bride:I did some research on the internet and made a shortlist of possible venues. The first venue we looked at was Sandhole Oak Barn and it was just beautiful. A wedding barn on a farm…overlooking a lake! The barn itself was huge with so much light and stunning views. It was simply perfect for our rustic country wedding. It felt as though we were miles from nowhere, so peaceful apart from the geese on the lake! The venue was completely exclusive which is exactly what we wanted and another big plus for us was having accommodation on site for guests to stumble back to after the party!
18 B&B rooms and a gorgeous bridal cottage, with breakfast served in the farm house over looking the lake- we knew we wanted to spend time with our guests the morning after the wedding. We knew as soon as we saw it that it was everything we wanted and would just be perfect… but I have to say, it was the beautiful church of St James and St Paul’s in the village of Marton just down the road, which sealed the deal. As soon as we pulled up in the church car park we knew we had found our wedding venue. It’s the most beautiful church I have ever seen. A tiny black and white church sitting on top of a hill like something out of a fairytale!
A Half Beehive
I knew I wanted my regular hairdresser to do my hair on my wedding day. Lianne, was able to carry out hair trials at home for both me and my bridesmaids. I had 6 bridesmaids and let them choose their hair style as long as it wasn’t too time consuming! I knew that I wanted a bit of a 50s do, more specifically a half beehive. Lianne added curls to the look and I loved it! My best friend Danielle, who happens to be a very talented make up artist, flew over from Australia for the wedding and did a make up trial 2 days before the wedding. She knows me well and knew that I wanted a natural look. She did a fantastic job!
My dress was designed and made by Sherry at Fairytales by Sherry, in Stoke on Trent. I must admit, I was a bit of a nightmare bride when I was choosing my wedding dress. Indecisive at the best of times, I changed my mind 4 times before sitting with the Sherry and describing what I wanted. I went from a huge meringue to a fitted fishtail dress! During a visit to the shop, I explained to Sherry what I wanted and she ended up sketching my ideas there and then until I was happy with the design. The finished dress was everything I could have wished for! I didn’t want lots of bling or sparkle so I chose a delicate beaded lace which was used for the bodice of the dress. I loved the fishtail style as it wasn’t too restrictive but had a gorgeous swish to it and the train wasn’t too long but definitely gave it the wow factor! Finally I knew I wanted to show off my shoulders and the little off the shoulder straps with lace edging were really unusual.
Old, New, Borrowed And Blue
As our colour scheme was yellow – Dom’s favourite colour – and grey, I decided from the start that I wanted some funky yellow shoes and searched for ages until I saw the Kurt Geiger pointed shoes with little bows on the front. They were also in the ASOS sale and so I got the perfect shoes for half price! The little flash of colour was such a fun addition to the outfit! Getting married in a church, I thought a veil was fitting and loved the idea of a floor length veil, the little diamantes added just a touch of sparkle to the train of my dress and made the whole look a little more dramatic.
My jewellery was a mix of something old, new, borrowed and blue! A vintage blue and silver bracelet which belonged to my mum’s mum, a pearl necklace borrowed from Dom’s mum, new blue pearl earrings – a wedding present from Dom and a beautiful vintage inspired lace and pearl headband from the Rainbow Club range which finished the hair do perfectly!
A Touch Of Yellow
We had an army of 6 bridesmaids and 4 groomsmen. The girls hired a cottage on a farm in Congleton for the night before the wedding and had en evening of dinner and speeches from friends followed by champagne in the hot tub – it was how I always imagined the build up to my Big Day and the location was fantastic for photos in the morning! The boys hired a converted barn with a pool table – a great base! Both the bridesmaids and groomsmen wore shades of grey.
The boys wore the Langfield suit hired from Moss Bros and we sourced the yellow ties separately as we wanted the little bits of yellow to be really bright!
The bridesmaid dresses were bought from Nordstrom and sent from America. They came with a delicate, chiffon stole and straps which could be added if needed. They were perfect and we teamed them with white fur shrugs and silver/grey shoes and bags. The girls had delicate yellow hair pins in their hair.
As well as yellow and grey, I really wanted to bring in hessian and lace and it all worked really well together. My mum and sister lovingly made 60 hessian and lace jam jar candles for the tables and I hired hessian and lace chair ties and table runners from Truly Scrumptious Weddings.
My best friend Hannah, hand made all our stationary including the order of service and used hessian and lace in the designs. They were beautiful. Dom’s mum spent weeks making our wedding cake, which was also decorated with yellow hessian and lace and a ribbon and topped with a cake topper from Sarah at Miss Cake which read Mr and Mrs Satur.
I knew I wanted a rustic vintage wedding and had the idea of using a vintage record player as our table plan. We ordered 7” vinyls of all of our favourite songs and printed labels for each record to show guest names for that table. The record covers/sleeves were used as table numbers/names. Guests had fun looking through the records to find the song title for their table and the table names and record covers were definitely great conversation starters! I also hired a vintage typewriter for our guest book from Jennie at Hansley Beard in Sheffield, as well as vintage dressing up props for our DIY photobooth. My sister and her mother in law hand made bunting to hang along the top table and a gorgeous yellow and grey gingham cushion for the rings. I also ordered yellow confetti for the church from Shropshire Petals. To finish the retro look I ordered retro champagne saucers for the drinks reception – my personal favourite decorative touch!
I came across The Traditional Flower Company when I was looking through online wedding blogs and was delighted to discover that their farm was based just 10 minutes away form my parents’ house! I met with Sam on her farm and we discussed the style and venue etc. The Traditional Flower Company has a natural, rustic, country style which uses seasonal flowers. I wanted bouquets and centre pieces which didn’t look too ‘done’ and had a ‘just picked from the field’ look to them. The colours were predominantly yellow with tiny narcissi, with a touch of whites, pinks and blue. I loved the ranunculas added to my bouquet and the pussy willow used for my sister’s headpiece.
The table centre pieces were a selection of vintage tins, some supplied by The Traditional Flower Company and some were ones I had spent time collecting myself. I loved the mismatch look. The tins were also a great talking point for guests and were something our guests had not seen at a wedding before. From old devonshire toffee tins to Wilbur cocoa and old Coleman’s mustard tins.
The Bare Necessities
I always wanted a church wedding and both Dom and I wanted it to be personal and upbeat. I always knew that at my wedding I would want my dad to play the hymns on his guitar, something he always did in church when we were younger. The hymms chosen were old school hymms, which everyone knew and sounded great. Everyone commented on how personal the ceremony felt, I had so many friends and family playing important roles within it. Dom’s best man had also flown all the way from Australia and was excellent at his role, particularly as I kept Dom and the guests waiting for 45 minutes – due to bridesmaid dress malfunction. Dom’s mum read a bible reading while my friend Bryony read a beautiful passage from my favourite book Captian Correlli’s Mandolin by Louis de Berniere.
My two oldest nephews read a poem dring the blessing – this was a rather memorable moment as Matthew, the oldest had kept the poem safe in his shoe and when asked to stand up and read, the congregatation had to wait for him to take his shoe off and retrieve it! We also had a string quartet for the ceremony Adagio Strings from near Macclesfield. Laura from the group had asked for me to send her a list of songs from their repertoire which we would like them to play. They were fantastic and the modern songs we chose definaitely made a relaxed and jovial atmosphere for our guests as they arrived. I had 3 page boys all my nephews who looked very cute in their matching grey suits. During the procession down the isle the 2 youngest page boys led the way as they held the ring cushion, followed by the oldest who walked my mum down the isle. This was really important to me, that my mum felt part of the whole ceremony and it was really moving to see her linking arms with my oldest nephew.
Behind followed my 6 bridesmaids. They all walked down to Pachebel’s Canon and then my father and I walked down to the traditional ‘Here Comes the Bride’. During the signing of the register the string quartet played our favourite song from Madness ‘It Must be Love’. But the best moment was at the end of the ceremony, as for the recessional music we had requested ‘The Bare Necessities’. Our guests loved this and everyone was laughing and cheering as it played.
Baby I’m Yours
During the drinks reception we hired a pianist to play in the background. We also booked a helium balloon release. Lisa, from Daisydoos based near Macclesfield arrived in the afternoon with 125 yellow helium balloons. Guests had all written messages for ‘the happy couple’ on arrival at the venue and these were attached to the balloons. All guests were ushered outside in front of the lake and we released the balloons. They looked amazing against the clear blue sky and it was great fun! Guests have told me since how lovely the balloon release was. We have also received emails from people who have found the balloons and one got as far south as Dorset whilst another went north to Northumberland!
In the evening we hired a band – Children of the Revolution who we found one night whilst googling wedding bands. They did not disappoint and had all our guests up dancing all night! Our first dance was ‘Baby I’m Yours’ an old song which had more recently been covered by the Arctic Monkeys… and Dom being from Sheffield – meant it was a great choice. The lyrics were so apt for the occasion. Rob Bull from the band said that he would be able to sing and play the song acoustically, not the whole band, just him and his guitar. His acoustic arrangement was beautiful! Following the first dance I did a bride and father of the bride dance – to one of our old family favourites – Xanadu by Olivia Newton John. It was a really special moment for me and it also meant that my dad got his dance in with me before anyone else!
A Real Feast
Our caterers and organisers for the day were Top Table Weddings who did and amazing job all round. For the drinks reception I wanted an afternoon tea feel and not traditional canapés, so we had a mix:
Smoked Salmon Knots with Cream Cheese and Dill on Rye Bread, Chicken Caesar Brushetta, Spinach & Feta warm Filo parcels, Asparagus and parma ham and Cucumber and cream cheese mini sandwiches, mini scones and cupcakes to give that afternoon tea feel.
For the wedding breakfast we always knew we would be having roast beef and Yorkshire pudding but the starter and desserts were chosen at our tasting afternoon which was a lot of fun. Both sets of parents came along for the day and we designed a menu which incorporated everyone’s favourite bits:
Caramelised Shallot, Roasted Pepper and Brie Tart on a bed of Sauté Warm Potato Salad to start, followed by: Sirloin of Beef Served with Yorkshire Puddings and Rich Gravy accompanied by Roasted Vegetables and Roast Potatoes
And for dessert we had a Trio of Chocolate Miniature Desserts; Crème Brulee – our parents’ favourite, Chocolate Torte with Raspberry Coulis Topped with Mascarpone Cream and a Strawberry – Dom’s favourite and Sticky Toffee Pudding Serve with Custard and Toffee Sauce – my favourite!
Booze Glorious Booze
In the evening we hired a retro crepe van from Crepe Lucette. Lucie who came with another colleague provided a sumptuous crepe menu and was happy to ammened it to our specification! She made both savoury and sweet crepes and this was something really unique and different about our wedding. Crepes are our absolute favourite food and we knew we wanted to incorporate them into the wedding at some point and I have to say they were the perfect evening snack. I enjoyed a cheese and spinach crepe! In addition to the crepes we had a cheese cake from Simon Davidson in Chesterfield accompanied by biscuits and an apple chutney made by my sister!
The favour for all of our adult guests was a miniature bottle of lemon schnapps, this added to our yellow colour scheme and was something that people could have on the day – my dad enjoyed his just before his speech! For the children we gave reto dip dabs, sherbet and lollies! I think these were eaten before dinner! There was prosecco on arrival and for the toast and this was definitely flowing. One thing we didn’t want was a lack of booze at our wedding!
Definitely walking down the isle and seeing Dom there waiting. The church was completely full with all of our family and friends. It is quite moving to see everyone who has come to see YOU! Signing the register was lovely as it also gave me time to have a little catch up with Dom and tell him how happy I was! Another of my favourite moments of the day was travelling to the church in the Beetle with my dad. The roof top down, the sun shining, it was just wonderful- I will NEVER forget that moment! Also on entering the room for the wedding breakfast, Dom and I high fived everyone who lined the way, such fun!
The wedding was such a special day and even more so as a month later, Dom and I moved to New York for Dom’s work! So the wedding was a huge party where we got to celebrate with all our friends and family and have, what was in the end, a fantastic send off! In fact the last song of the night was ‘New York New York’ where all the guests – still dancing, formed a huge circle whilst Dom and I danced inside! Just the perfect NYC ending to our wedding day and the perfect start of our NYC married life!
Worth Every Second
When organising suppliers, types of flowers, decorations etc don’t settle! Go out of your way to do your research and make it happen! At the time it can seem like a nightmare trying to find the things you want. It can be very stressful and the easy options are very tempting. However, in my experience the stress, time, money and research invested into making it your perfect day, are well worth it and on the day you will be so happy when you look around at what you have made happen. And you might think that your guests won’t understand or notice the effort which has gone into it all but believe me they do! My guests, family and groom were amazed by the décor and all the surprises on the day and it was worth every second!
Also invest in a great photographer. It was really important to me that we found the right photographer. I wanted someone who would snap all the little details – which I love, as well as the day, exactly as it unfolded. I searched for hours on the net for THE photographer and none came close to Claire. When I saw her vintage styling I knew I wanted her to photograph my wedding, it was in keeping with the theme of the wedding and is simply beautiful. Claire did not disappoint – she captured moments that I shall cherish for ever and some which I didn’t even see on the day!
Venue – Sandhole Oak Barn
Dress – Fairytales by Sherry
Shoes – Kurt Geiger
Maids – Nordstrom
Groom – Moss Bros
Flowers – The Traditional Flower Company
Photographer – Claire Penn Photography
Assistant Photographer – Jay Mountford Photography
The Fraggle Rock table?! I was born to be a guest on that table. They used to call me Fraggle at school…we’ll leave that story for another time though.
The hessian and lace beautifully encapsulates the vintage rustic feel that Julie was aiming for. And I love the choice of Daffodils and yellow tulips used in the centre pieces.
Also the dress. That elegant off the shoulder is just perfect. I love the idea of having a designer sketch my ideas infront of my eyes. Are any of you having a bespoke gown made?