When we receive real wedding submissions, there are some that I just know are going to be gorgeous. Danielle and Ben’s was most definitely one of those. They are the people behind lovely stationery and homeware brand, Old English Company and their wedding day is just as stylish and minimal as you’d expect.
Danielle looks stunning in an off-the-shoulder Pronovias dress which fits her like a glove, I really enjoyed reading her story of her dress hunt too – she’s very honest and I’m sure lots of you will be able to relate to what she says.
Enjoy this one lovelies, it’s a fabulous modern take on a classic white wedding…
Despite the rain making an appearance at this gorgeous classic wedding at Wasing Park, our fabulous bride & groom are still full of smiles and still had the best day ever. Especially our stunning bride in her lace Lusan Mandongus gown who has the most beautiful and infectious smile ever.
I’m totally in love with the mint green & peach colour scheme, it’s so fresh and summery and really lifts the spirit despite the great British weather! The pastel multiway bridesmaid dresses and rose bouquets look amazing together as does the delicious cake decorated with greenery & blush David Austin roses.
There is also a truly fabulous guest book alternative, not to mention speeches sweepstake board. Which I’m sure you’ll all be wanting to pin. I’ve always loved this mini challenge during a wedding and I bet it was made so much more fun with the winner receiving a magnum of Bollinger!
Louise & Phil got married in a lovely old church on a hill amongst the vineyards of Bordeaux in the sunny autumnal sunshine. Their celebrations continued at Chateau Riguad, a complete haven that oozes charm inside and out; the views are breathtaking.
Louise wore a stunning Lusan Mandongus wedding gown that has so much detail and sparkle I think I included almost every image in the post so you could appreciate it’s beauty from EVERY angle, I was literally swooning with every click, not to mention her to die for Jimmy Choo Shoes and gorgeous Jenny Packham headband. What a classic beauty.
Their wedding breakfast layout is also out of this world, with a crisp white and green neutral colour palette and a beautiful candlelit ambience; I want to be there right now and I bet you will too!
Elaine and Darren married just three days before Christmas last year at The Sacred Heart Church in Wimbledon Village before moving on to their reception at Hampton Court House in Surrey.
The cloudy skies and flash downpours that presented themselves on the day of this sweet pair’s wedding did not stop play. In fact if anything they added their own dose of romantic sensuality to the gorgeous photography captured by Brett Symes.
Folks, just wait and see what we have in store for you…mountains of tulle, blooms, glitz and glamour. I know, I can’t wait either… let’s get started.
My dress was by Pronovias from Teokath, Wimbledon. The staff were amazing as I was really nervous and not really into the whole big dress thing. I went in wanting something simple that was straight to the floor. I ended up with the complete opposite, and was so glad I did. The bodice and skirt had subtle sequins on which really gave the dress that special sparkly touch, particularly against all the candles used in our winter wedding.
Special thanks go to Sam and Jackie in store for adding intricate lace straps to make the dress unique and echo the lace all over the bodice and skirt. The neckline was edged with delicate tulle and the skirt had numerous layers of more tulle which gave it a sheer, lightweight appearance. I loved swishing around in it for the whole day and fair dues to Darren, he didn’t step on it once!
Crystal And Sparkle
I had a double layered veil dotted with small diamantes to add even more sparkle! I initially wanted a full length veil but settled on waist length so the skirt and train of the dress could be seen and that I wasn’t swallowed up by too many layers!
My hair comb was also very sparkly from Glitzy Secrets. It was a large statement hair comb which featured a trailing lily design encrusted with sparkling clear crystals.
I felt the floral hair comb needed little accessorizing, so I simply coordinated with a pair of crystal drop earrings. The earrings were also crystal with a studded silver tone drop leading to a pear cut crystal. I had three simple, single strand diamond bracelets and a simple ivory feather bolero to complement the winter glam look.
My shoes were complete skyscrapers from the Opulence collection. They were an unusual colour, a cross between gold and silver is the only way I can describe them and had a really comfortable platform – they served me well throughout the day and fitted well with the aim to look glam but in an understated way.
I was really keen not to look too contrived on the day and wanted my hair to be natural – loose with a soft curl. My hair stylist was Maria Koumis. Maria did such a great job with my hair and even did it again for me at the reception to make sure the photos were great!
I did my own make up. I used wintry tones for my eyes – dark sparkly grey and soft ivory eye shadow tones with fully loaded mascara! I went for a dark rich red/brown colour for my lips to compliment my pale skin.
Steph Turpin from Fairy Nuff Flowers was my florist. She gave exceptional and personal service in every way. The flowers used were Avalanche Roses, white Spray Roses, white Bouvardia, Wax Flower, white Anemones, Brunia, Gypsophila, dark blue Viburnum berries and Eucalyptus.
Steph created amazing blooms, including a heart wreath and large ball of flowers which hung from the centre of the dance floor in the conservatory of Hampton Court House, not to mention exceptional table centres, button holes, free standing displays and arrangements. Our table centres were candelabras with flowers and crystals.
Steph totally covered the venue in hurricane lamps and scented candles in beautiful votives. Flowers were everywhere! This was one of the most important parts of the wedding for me and Steph did not disappoint.
The bridesmaids dresses were by Dessy in midnight blue. I chose midnight blue based on the colour of my invitations by Emily and Jo. I had been looking for the right invitation for a long time. I wanted to have a reference to Christmas for our December wedding, but not in an obvious way. Emily and Jo’s winter invitations matched my brief and were very different in terms of being foil blocked on midnight blue board.
The groomsmen wore dark grey hire suits from Jo McLaren in Teddington with midnight blue ties.
Darren had his shirt, suit and tie made to measure by King and Allen and Spencer Hart. I was so happy to get to the top of the aisle, to see him in his attire, to relax and enjoy our day. We smiled and laughed our way through the service enjoying the choir and taking our vows facing our family and friends. It was so special and a truly happy moment.
Brett Symes was our photographer. We spent a long time choosing the right person – in the end what won it for us was Brett’s informal, reportage style. We didn’t want all of the shots to be contrived, and that’s exactly what I got. I had also seen a wedding he had shot at Hampton Court House previously and it was clear he really knew what he was doing with lighting.
Darren and I met with Brett a few weeks before the wedding for some test shots. We had planned to do these at Syon House but when we arrived it had closed unexpectedly for some form of maintenance. Brett used his initiative and we used a wooded area to take the shots next to the car park of all the things!
There’s no way in the world you would ever have guessed this from the shots – they were beautiful. On the day itself, Brett took amazing natural shots which show the magical warmth and relaxed atmosphere of the day. He captured all of our personalities and feelings from beginning to end.
The Cake Parlour
Our wedding cake was always going to be from The Cake Parlour, Wimbledon Park. I regularly walk by the shop and look forward to seeing what is new in the window. I knew when I got engaged that this is where I would purchase the cake from!
The cake was four tiers, ivory with intricate iced soft pink roses for the top tier and ivory iced hydrangeas dotted randomly over the other tiers. Each layer was a different flavour: fruit, raspberry sponge, lemon sponge and carrot cake. Delish!
I spent a long Friday evening, before the wedding, filling favour bags with the help of my two pups, the chocolate tasters. I had originally ordered favour boxes that you put together yourself, but soon got fed up trying to work them out so ended up buying silver snowflake organza pouches – much easier to fill with heart chocolates! I ordered some personalised stickers with our names and wedding date on to add the personal touch.
An Absolute Craic
With Darren and I both being from Irish families, it was important that we had an Irish flavour to the reception. We decided to go for a live Irish band and DJ in the end. Both didn’t disappoint and met our requests really well, including songs from all those Irish summer holidays we both enjoyed as kids and were forced to listen to by our parents! It was an absolute craic.
We also hired a retro photo booth which was a real talking point for everyone. Guests could take home a copy of their photo with a copy and message being placed in our guest book. It really got the guests involved and kept them entertained.
Our first dance was to ‘Just The Way You Are’ by Bruno Mars. It’s a beautiful song and says it all about how we feel plus it’s one to sing along to! Simple.
Hearty Winter Scenes
Hampton Court House was a great venue. The key for us was that we wanted a relaxed fun filled day where everyone was well fed and watered! We were able to decorate the venue in any way that we wanted and so we covered the place in flowers and candles to create that cosy winter feel.
The venue made sure that both of the fire places were lit for us to add to the warm feel of the day and had decorated what can only be described as a giant Christmas tree. Had it have been a summer wedding we would have missed out on these! The reception room overlooked the beautiful Bushy Park complete with stags and deer that came to the window to have a nose! A lovely winter scene.
We also had Mr and Mrs hand carved wooden letters made to put on the fireplaces. That was lovely to see when we walked in. We had use of the Theatre Room for the wedding breakfast and a large conservatory for the bar and those important dance moves. The roof of the conservatory was lit with fairy lights and decorated with a large flower ball which was a real centre piece. We couldn’t believe how beautiful it all looked. We chose table place names based on places that we had been to and that acknowledged our Celtic roots!
The food by Acclaim was exceptional. We could not have asked for better, venison, lamb hearty apple pie and an evening buffet to die for were all washed down with gorgeous wines – a gift from our more than generous friends brought over from Italy.
Our venue didn’t charge a corkage which was a real cost saving, and we had the whole house to ourselves for the day. We could also use any suppliers we wanted rather than having to use those listed by some hotels/venues – this meant things could be exactly as we wanted and we were free to make all the decisions.
We were so lucky with Di and Sarah at Hampton Court House, Steph Turpin our Florist, Brett Symes our photographer, Rachel at Acclaim and Maria Koumis. It is so important to choose people who not only get the job done for your special day but who listen and are all around good eggs. It makes it all so much nicer!
Choose a venue that looks as good inside as it does out! It rained all day but simply didn’t matter as my mum and dad said, ‘once we were in we were in’. I didn’t think about the weather at all as the photos were just as lovely inside as out. What counts is who is in them!
Don’t rule out a winter wedding either. It provides you with so many options, furs, feathers, fires, fab lighting – candles, sparklers and sparkly winter glam. Not only is it a great way to end the year but best of all, a time to look forward to the many happy years to follow – something that we will never forget! Lastly if you can, have a choir – simply magic!
That flower ball above the decadent wedding cake…IMMENSE. It just so works doesn’t it.
I’m also loving the rest of the florals from the sweet buttonholes and the bridesmaids bouquets to the luxurious candelabras. There’s nothing quite like a cascade of beautiful blooms that says hedonistic luxury.
Are any of you lovelies going all out on the floral agenda on your big day?
Alice and James had a back garden wedding that takes some beating. Look out for some seriously cool florals from Rebel Rebel, a stunning Jenny Packham dress and… Erm… A wall to die for. Seriously… I want a walled garden like this one please.
So much wedding pretty and so much inspiration for all of you planning a summer garden style affair.
Our wedding was at my aunt and uncle’s house just outside of Canterbury. They have a beautiful L shaped house which has been in my family for years and used to house stable blocks. We licensed the garden room under the clock tower for the wedding ceremony. My family use the bungalow onsite which was built for my grandparents in the 50s and which my dad and aunt grew up in. My granny remarried after my grandfather’s death on my fourth birthday and we have been staying there as a family at weekends and Easters and Christmases since I was tiny. Later, when my granny developed Alzheimer’s she moved into the end of my aunt and uncle’s house. She died two years ago so the venue had so many memories and emotions bound up in it and both James and I knew before we even got engaged that we would at least have our reception there.
Relaxed And Light
The dress was from Teokath in Canterbury and it was Summer 2012 Jenny Packham dress (Trellis). Teokath was the first bridal shop that I went into and I returned because they were the loveliest, especially Ellie who looked after me and expertly pinned dresses to me. Not only is the shop beautiful they have a lovely selection of Jenny Packham dresses. It was through a friend of a friend that I first heard of her bridal range and I was hooked as soon as I saw some of her designs. I knew I didn’t want a big puffy princess look. I wanted something relatively simple, with chiffon so that I felt relaxed and light on the day.
I didn’t want a big dress getting in the way of my dancing and I knew a big train could be disastrous if we had a wet day – I would be dragging half the soggy garden with me! I also didn’t want any corsetry as I wanted to feel comfortable and I knew I’d feel panicky and have an asthma attack and get a stomach ache within 2 minutes of wearing a corseted dress! What I didn’t know was that what I was really after was the fairy princess look! As soon as I put my dress on, with its flowing chiffon and sparkly bodice I felt like Titania from A Midsummer Night’s Dream!
My wedding jewellery was bought from Sweet Pea in Primrose Hill London. Mum and dad bought it for my birthday. I wanted something simple but romantic and modern, that would occasionally catch the light but wouldn’t distract from my dress. Although there was silver in the beading on the bodice, I am a gold girl when it comes to jewellery so the chain was made from really fine gold. The clear quartz pendent had a natural string of what looks like silver thread in it, which tied it in with the bodice. The earrings we bought were from one of my favourite jewellery designers, Alex Monroe. They were pearls set in gold petals and are meant to look like flower buds. On the day though I ended up borrowing my mum’s pale blue quartz drops from Sweet Pea as my something borrowed. On my right hand I wore a ring I inherited from my Granny Liz. It was my namesake, my Great Granny Alice’s replacement engagement ring and is a stunning large pale blue oval sapphire with a diamond either side.
On the day my sisters Poppy and Claudia (who were also two of my bridesmaids) gave me a beautiful thin chain white gold bracelet which was perfect as I didn’t have a bracelet. James also sent over a parcel with an amazing necklace from Alex Monroe on the morning of the wedding. It is a gold twig ring with birds, leaves and a flower with a tiny diamond in to represent our outdoor wedding day. It wasn’t right for my dress and he didn’t intend me to wear it on the day but I have been wearing it ever since (along with my Alex Monroe pearls) and it reminds me of our day every time I look at it.
I always knew I wanted real flowers from the garden in my hair, so no tiara and I had a beautiful veil from Teokath with a beaded layered trim. Unfortunately the beaded trim kept on getting stuck on the beads of my bodice, so I didn’t wear it for very long!!
Wedges All The Way
It was wedges all the way as we were walking down a grass aisle and I didn’t want to be sinking! Also, my experience of marquees is that they are always uneven underfoot and I wanted to dance the night away. I chose a pair of light pink patent wedges with a cork wedge from LK Bennet. They were perfect, I was dancing right until the end, took in a walk around the meadow and didn’t trip once! Plus they were a practical buy, I have been wearing them ever since!
Fish Tail Plaits
I was very lucky to have one of our friends Sarah, who is Head of Hair and Make Up at Sky, do my hair and make-up as a wedding present. Not only did she completely get the brief for relaxed, boho hair and make-up, she is a truly lovely person and a wonderful calming presence. I didn’t want anything too traditional or rigid for my hair, so she suggested fishtail plaits taking my hair into a half up with a bit of lift at the back and a 60’s centre parting with sweeping fringe. For the make up we concentrated on ethereal radiance, with Nars blusher in Orgasm, MAC lip conditioner in Fushia Fix, a sweep of burnished gold on the eyes, some flicked eyeliner and just a couple of individual false eye lashes on the outside corners of my eyes to keep it looking light and natural. She was also on hand to touch up my make-up through the day and night which was a god-send.
One of my sisters’ oldest friends Gus Cavanagh, is a florist at Rebel Rebel flowers and did the flowers for my cousin’s Cornish wedding in 2008, which was the inspiration for our wedding. I left it pretty much all up to Gus as he is such a talent. I just briefed him that I wanted the flowers to feature a peonie or two and to feel wild. His translation of the brief was so so perfect, My bouquet featured: Wild Sweet Peas, Romantic Antique Rose, a Coral Charm Peony, Flowering Mint, Camomile, Nigella, Dill and Clari Sage. I wanted sweet peas from the garden in the bridesmaid’s flowers. Originally we were going to have just sweet peas from the garden and daisies from the meadow but the sweet peas growth was stunted by the bad weather so they each just had a few and Gus supplemented with Majolika Roses, Italian Carnations, Alchemilla Mollis Coral Charm Peonies. A Majolika Rose, Wax Flower, Lavendar and Rosemary featured in the groomsmen’s button holes.
The flowers in the table centre were placed in vintage teapots in an assortment of colours from The Crockery Cupboard a vintage crockery hire business run by my cousin and were amazingly all from the garden, with roses and wild flower meadows featuring highly. We also pressed a wild flower and placed in a frame for the table names as each table was named after a flower found in the meadow next to the marquee.
I had five adult bridesmaids and two child bridesmaids/flower girls, 2 my sisters, 2 James’ sisters, 2 old friends of mine and my cousin’s daughter Rita. I wanted the adults to all wear dresses that complemented their figures (not that that was hard as they all have fabulous figures) and their style so opted for mismatched dresses from the high street and a boutique in Brighton in blush pink. They all wore gold wedges from Next, a flower in their hair with a gold trim and a faux pearl necklace to tie them in. The flower girls wore dresses, sparkly jackets and gold sequin ballet pumps from Monsoon with flower crowns made from flowers from the garden by my mum.
The groomsmen all wore their own blue suits and wore pink and cream stripey square end ties from an online store to tie-in with james’ stripey square end Paul Smith tie. They fitted into the festival vibe and were easy to spot!
James wore a sapphire blue Paul Smith suit with a Paul Smith tie, and Paul Smith cream shirt with silver cufflinks that I had made for him by Hannah Louise Lamb, one featuring the Brighton and Hove coastline which is where we live and one featuring Brownsea Island off Dorset which is where he proposed. He had blue leather shoes and a light blue silk hankerchief in his pocket. Although I wasn’t originally sure that all of that blue would work together he looked absolutely gorgeous and one of my favourite photos from the wedding day is him standing on his own in the meadow because you can appreciate how fantastic he looked. Later on he changed into blue trainers bought especially and his straw hat with floral blue trim to aid in his dancing!
Magical And Candid
We chose Dasha Caffrey to be our photogrpaher. I did photography A Level and was incredibly picky, trawling through website after website until we found Dasha’s. Her quiet and unassuming personality means that she takes the most magical candid photos of guests, and actually of us! Apart from the posed photos I wasn’t aware that she was there for most of the day, evidenced by my huge grin and open mouth laughing which features prominently in the photos! I am really grateful to her for capturing the little details that had hours of planning in the making and which I was too much on a high to fully appreciate on the day. Also, and most importantly, the photos of our friends and family, all of those special moments that we wouldn’t have been able to take in on the day. The highlight being some incredibly moving photos of my Granny Sheila who is 92 (and my one remaining grandparent), dancing with my sister Claudia. She was a dancer in her youth and although she is quite bent now it was important to her that she dance on our wedding day, and she did so with her trademark grace. I missed this moment somehow on the day so it brought tears to my eyes seeing the photos.
Real Flowers On Top
My friend Saoirse who was also one of my bridesmaids makes cakes in her spare time for Hot Cakes London. We wanted something fun, inspired by nature and the festival theme and her sunflower (complete with Smartie’s ladybirds) butterflies and rose butter cream cupcakes made the perfect base for the cutting cake which was inspired by Konditor and Cook’s Curly Whirly cake. It was a three layer dark chocolate cake, which was layered with and smothered in my favourite cream cheese icing and sprinkled with tiny pink hearts. The topper of course had to be real flowers from the garden. As well as the wedding cake we asked guests who enjoyed baking to bring their speciality cake. We had a wonderful array of carrot cake, rock cakes, Victoria sponges, my mum’s famous ginger cake (made from my Granny Liz’s secret recipe), banoffee pie, chocolate loaf, macadamia brownies, my cream cheese brownies, and peanut biscuits with fortunes stuck in them. We also had a cheese cake made of tiers of brie, camembert and goats cheese. All of it went! I did also buy a tower of my favourite macaroons from Cocoa in Brighton but which was neglected to be put out. The clean up party enjoyed them the next day!
As we had dubbed the wedding ‘Wedfest’ we wanted music to feature highly so we had my talented cousins playing classical music while guests were waiting before the ceremony, my cousin Gregory on guitar and my friend Howard on trumpet for All You Need is Love which we all ‘sang’ (very badly!) during the ceremony, Greg and his steel band group playing steel drums during the reception. A Spanish group called Los Musicos, who play Gypsy Kings, Buena Vista Social Club type music kicked off the dancing and were a roaring success and the perfect way to ease guests on to the dance floor, followed by one of my sister’s oldest friends Noah, who plays in a group of DJs called the Wedding Smashers, and his friend Ed DJing until late. They were joined by an improv saxophonist at 10pm which was brilliant.
Originally we were talking about the Candi Staton version of You’ve Got the Love but as we were doing our first dance before the relaxed vibes of our Spanish band we decided to go for something slower. We saw Ellie Goulding perform Your Song at Lounge on the Farm festival the year before, a few weeks before James proposed and it was a special time for us so that’s what we went for. As we didn’t want the attention to be just on us we got our bridesmaids and ushers to join in half way through! It was so much fun when they all twirled on to the dance floor and we ended up with them in a ring around us.
We decided against favours. Our friend Katy Croxford made all of our brilliant wedding staionery and she designed some Wedfest tickets which we placed in teacups on the tables. The tickets were for a tombola which we ran after the main meal and which was led by James’ dad Jim. The top prize was a Kindle (I had one that hadn’t been used and which I didn’t want as I am a print book girl) and other prizes included marmalade made to my granny Sheila’s secret recipe, books (that I got through work), bottles of our wedding wine and English fizz, wild flower seeds, a ginger cake made by my mum to my granny Liz’s secret recipe and some heart shaped boxes of sweets.
A Famiily Affair
Because we were getting married at my aunt and uncle’s house everything had to be arranged by us and so there were many, many things that were special. In particular, all of the contributions from family and friends. My sister Claudia spent hours making 50 metres of beautiful bunting, incorporating fabric used to make my 3 year old self’s bridesmaid dress from my aunt’s wedding; my mother in law Debra spent the week before with me onsite painting the most gorgeous signs (which James had made), my sister Poppy who was amazing in the week before the wedding, found a gorgeous birdcage which we hung the table plan from and my bridesmaid Polly made the most beautiful name places, stamping individual letters on to paper bunting triangles; my aunts and my mum and Debra made stunning wild floral arches and table flower arrangements and James’ sister Jenny and my sisters was up into the early hours the night before the wedding making bright colourful signs and gift bags for the wishing tree (guests took a bag of sweets from the tree in exchange for writing a wish for our married life on to tags that they then tied back on to the tree).
My cousin’s helped out hugely too, making tissue paper pom poms which hung from the roof of the marquee, adding a splash of colour and the table name signs, which were flowers picked from the meadow, pressed onto coloured tissue paper and framed. The vintage crockery hired from The Crockery Cupboard was so beautiful we hardly needed anything else on the tables.
Location Location Location
Undoubtedly the location made the wedding hugely special. Walking down a grassy aisle, in a garden that I grew up playing in with friends seated on hay bales was both euphoric and hugely familiar and relaxed. I felt nervous before I walked through the gate but then I couldn’t stop grinning. It was just so perfect. All of the love and support and hard working contributions that we had from our friends and family was incredible and made the day even more special. That said, if I were to do it all again in the same way, I would without a shadow of a doubt hire a like-minded wedding planner.
Planning a wedding somewhere which isn’t a wedding venue is a huge amount of work and I think that if you find the right person they can earn back their fee in discounts, and certainly in terms of hours spent during trawling and trawling through websites that could have been spent with your fiancé. Ultimately though, it would have meant less work for all of my friends and family which I would have liked. Maybe us girls would have got to sip champagne with our feet up the night before the wedding, and there would have been someone to project manage on the day. So many things were forgotten because I was too sleep deprived to remember!
I love the idea of using invites or perhaps namecards as tombola tickets… A great way to add entertainment and potentially save a bit of cash on favours – but still buy something pretty good for the lucky winners.
This truly is a stunning back garden wedding… One with fantastic fashion, flawless florals and amazing architecture all thrown in for good measure.
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).
It will come as no surprise to you all that the couple kept to a bright and sunny palette for their Big Day too, however, the gritty pre-marriage landscape was exchanged for a distinctly more rustic aesthetic. And my, wasn’t it pretty lovelies, delicious and summery with a relaxed rural garden vibe.
And I can’t imagine a dress that would suit Polly better, a dream in princess frothy tulle…. not to mention the maids, those ladies were working the royal Issa-esque frocks well before Madam Middleton even got engaged.
The venue for the reception meant a great deal to us both, firstly because it is Ralph’s home, secondly we spent our first valentines day there and thirdly because it is where Ralph proposed! We loved that it is so rural and not overly neat or prissy. Ralph’s parents worked so hard to make the garden look amazing and Ralph’s mum made hundreds of metres of bunting in our wedding colours of purple, green and yellow!
I must have been in a decisive mood at Teokath because I also brought my shoes from there which were Benjamin Adams. They had a medium heel and were so comfortable I wore them all night.
They had to be died white to match the colour of my dress and had a diamanté decoration on the toe.
The Princess Within
My dress was from Teokath in Wimbledon and was Gilda by Alan Hannah. I changed the dress slightly – it came with a diamante brooch on the hip which I didn’t like so I had that removed and chose a silk flower to be sewn on instead. I found it really hard to choose my dress – I had a really clear idea about what I wanted which was something kind of grecian – like lots of the Jenny Packham dresses. But then I started trying on bigger skirts and I think my inner princess came out! To be honest I was scared by dress was too big until I walked down the aisle! I even had nightmares the week before my dress would knock all of the pew ends off!
On the day and looking back I could not imagine myself in anything different and I’m so glad I let the princess side of me win!
Something New Something Old
I had a really long veil which was also from Teokath. I loved it! It was sooo windy on the day of our wedding that the veil created some great pics – even if I did feel like I was taking off! I wore some gold, pearl, flower stud earrings that belonged to my Gran. She passed away a couple of years ago so it was so nice to be able to remember her on the day by wearing some of her jewellery as my something old.
My bridesmaids gave me a silver ring with a blue stone in which was my something blue and I also wore a simple gold and pearl hair band which I brought online.
I knew exactly what kind of dresses I wanted for the older three bridesmaids – something purple and grecian – and on our first shopping trip for the dresses we walked into Monsoon and there they were! They all tried them on and loved them! For my god daughter – the younger bridesmaid I wanted to get her a dress she would get a lot of use out of so I took one of the long dresses and matched it to a shorter purple dress from Coast. They were exactly the same colour!
For their shoes we had to look around for something not too high as three of the girls don’t like high heels. We ended up buying some cute gold sandals from office with just a small heel. On the day the taller one actually looked better in flip flops though so ended up wearing them instead!
The Groomsman hired their tails and waistcoats from Moss Bros and wore purple ties to match the bridesmaids.
A Call For Beauty
We live in London but got married in a tiny hamlet in the middle of Suffolk so I found it hard to find a hairdresser I liked near by. My local hair dresser in London was really helpful and tried various styles with me and eventually I found one I liked. I then found the brilliant Jenny from Beauty Call online.
I had a trial in Suffolk and told her what my local hairdresser and I had decided on. She was then able to recreate this for me. I wanted waves but I have quite thin hair so GHD waves end up making me look like I have four curls! Instead Jenny cliped by hair into rolls then let it down to create loose, natural waves – just what I wanted! For make up I had a trial at Bobby Brown in Harrods but did not like the amount of make up they caked on my face. I therefore decided to buy all of their products they used and just do it myself. On the day I actually ended up doing my own make up and my four bridesmaids!
My husband did quite a lot of research into buying a suit then decided it was not worth the extra cost so all the suits were hired from Moss Bros.
He wore a light purple paisley tie so that he stood out from the groomsmen.