This joyful, balloon filled festival wedding at The George In Rye is just full of fun and quirky decor ideas to recreate for your own big day. Balloons always add a gorgeous pop of colour and I love the rose gold shade that Katy has sourced.
Like yesterday’s bride Roxy, Katy also wears a high street gown, with it’s gorgeous halter neck and slinky fabric, you’ll never guess where it’s from…
Specifically in the comfiest bed I’ve ever had the pleasure to sleep in at The George In Rye.
Ste and I were invited to stay there a few weeks back to experience… well The George In Rye experience. And I’m not just referring to the all those glorious happenings that transpire when a wedding takes place at the venue but to the wider ‘George‘ experience too. From a visit to the wonderful Rye Retreat (more on that in a bit) to Rye harbour where we hung out with the bikers by the boats and back to the bar at The George for some lip-smacking cocktails, this place has it all.
All log fires, contemporary British inspired interiors but yet cosy at the same time, The George do weddings (obviously) but the hotel and restaurant are open at all other times too, so if you fancy a romantic weekend away then it’s definitely worth making the trip to soak up the sunshine and sea breezes.
Often called London-by-the-sea, Rye itself is a chocolate box of a town, perched on a hill-top about two miles away from the windswept beaches of Camber Sands. I’ve wanted to visit Rye for what seems like forever, ever since my parents returned from a relaxing weekend away and declared that I had to sample its wares for myself.
It’s filled to bursting with with antique and vintage boutiques that wouldn’t look out of place in the South of France, chi chi bars and gorgeous restaurants. We arrived to blazing sunshine and the bluest skies which when paired with the white sandy beach just down the road, the boats docked in Rye Harbour and the pervading coastal vibes made me giddy at the thought of how immense your wedding portraits could be here.
Back way back when before the boy and I were even engaged, I dreamed of hosting my wedding at The George In Rye. My parents had bought back glossy pamphlets showing The Georgian Ballroom in all its glory. Drenched in light both from the double height ceilings and huge sparkling chandeliers, each wall is covered in a mixture of antique mirrors, painted panels, beautiful bay windows and a patinated parquet floor.
I fell in love right there and then and seeing it for myself in the flesh did not disappoint.
As it happened the boy and I didn’t marry in Rye – for logistical reasons more than anything but I have two sisters so there’s still plenty of opportunity to have a family wedding there…hint hint.
The George is a gorgeous townhouse property that sits proudly on Rye’s High Street only a short walk down the road from the Town Hall. The decor itself is a eclectic mix of antique furniture and paintings paired with more contemporary pieces.
You can choose to have your civil ceremony in The Georgian Ballroom which seats up to 100 guests or marry at one of the various churches in Rye. We popped along to have a look at some of the churches which are gorgeous lovelies – particularly the one on Church Square – and so peaceful too. If you’re after something replete with history and traditional elegance then there is also the Town Hall just up the street from The George where your marriage can be announced by the resident Town Cryer when you’ve sealed the deal!
We didn’t meet the town cryer but we have it on good authority that he can shout LOUD folks.
After your ceremony, staff can either serve delicious canapés in the elegant surroundings of the Benson Room complete with grey bar or if the weather has decided to be kind outside in the contemporary courtyard.
The Ballroom also doubles up as the most wonderful, most exquisite reception room for up to 120 guests. I mean seriously folks, you have to see it to believe it and I have to say that I’ve not yet come across the a venue that matches its innate elegance. The images here say it all.
Alternatively if your wedding party is a little smaller, then the chic Benson Room is the perfect location for a more intimate wedding breakfast. Events Manager Karen also pointed out to me a sweet balcony just off the Benson Room which is the perfect spot for photographers to capture guests laughing and joking unawares.
I wouldn’t say that I’m a huge foodie but I am a girl that loves my fish. And there was plenty of it on the divine menu of The George’s restaurant – The Grill – headed up by Craig Wales when we sat down to eat in the evening. All their ingredients are sourced locally with their fish and seafood picked straight off the trawlers of Rye Bay – a major plus point in my book. Even Ste who detests fish (strange boy!) was well catered for with a juicy steak and a truly immense sticky toffee pudding.
And I haven’t even begun to tell you about the mean cocktails that the resident bar – The George Tap – serves up. Naturally we had to try a few…y’know to make sure it they were as delicious as we imagined.
Attention to detail at The George is second to none. I mean you know that completely freeing feeling you have when you know that you are being well and truly looked after, when you know that every whim is being catered for.
This is what The George excels at.
Ste and I might have done a little jig around our room when we saw it for the first time. We stayed in one of the ‘Luxury’ rooms, containing possibly the hugest bed I’ve ever seen, gorgeous furniture and topped off with free-standing bath in the centre of it. Sinking into the luxurious bedlinen was like going to sleep on a cloud and the little touches such as the cashmere hot water bottle and the lavender scented pillows made my night.
The lovely staff at The George will even deliver one of their gorgeous cocktails to your bathtub should you so wish – how immense is that?! Whilst we didn’t take advantage of this service, we did jump in the tub and have been fully converted to the joys of having a bath in your room.
How ever shall we manage without it?!
Karen showed us around each of the 34 bedrooms at The George all with their own sense of originality and style. From the more traditional rooms in the original 16th Century coach house to secret suites in the rafters and more contemporary designs in the outbuildings surrounding the chic courtyard you can be sure that your guests will fall in love when they book their rooms for your big day.
I particularly loved the beachside, coastal vibe of rooms 23 and 24 overlooking the courtyard complete with Ercol furniture and whitewashed wood. I’ve told the boy that we’ll try these out next time…
Images by Team Gautier-Ollerenshaw-Collins
The Rye Retreat
We were lucky enough to pay a visit to The Rye Retreat where brides and their maids can be pampered and preened to within an inch of their life on the morning of their big day. Only a hop, skip and a jump away from The George the boy and I made this our first port of call when we arrived in Rye and it certainly set the tone for the brilliant weekend.
I opted for an Elemental Nature facial to try to combat the effects of that blastedly long Winter on my skin. Essentially I was as dry as a lizard and no amount of moisturiser was shifting the dry patches on my cheeks. Forty five minutes later however, my skin was as soft as a baby’s bottom and I was on cloud nine surrounded by the subtle scent of rose petals.
After a refreshing peppermint tea and a serving of lemon sorbet – trust me folks you wouldn’t think it works but those clever folks at The Rye Retreat know exactly what to tempt you with after your treatments – I was led upstairs to the salon to have my tresses tamed into a sleek and chic do. To say that I felt like a film star afterwards would be an understatement and I’m now a definite convert to Aveda products.
Whilst I was being blissfully pampered, I’d left the boy in the capable hands of Ella who gave him both a Deep Cleansing Facial and a full body massage. When he finally emerged he was so relaxed and zoned out that he looked like he’d been hit by a bus. And I mean this in a totally good way.
I have Ella to thank for Ste’s newfound love for facials – apparently all men should have them at least once every two months.
Not sure what the bank manager is going to say about that dear.
Regardless, The Rye Retreat is the perfect one-stop shop for brides and grooms alike offering everything from pre-wedding pampering to make-up and hair styling on the day itself – definitely somewhere I’d recommend you lovelies to visit!
A Walk About Town
After I’d managed to prise the boy from his reveries, we decided to explore Rye and all its delights.
And it was there I fell in love with Pale and Interesting – the homeware store belonging to stylist Atlanta Barlett. All long scaffolding planks, filled with paraphrenalia such as cloches with skulls and twine underneath, bundles of old ribbon, tin trays filled with trinkets, whitewashed wood and huge glass vases. I swear – it was like being in Lolly heaven.
I couldn’t leave without buying several mugs, various lengths of ribbon, a basket and a cloche to house my packing twine. I’ve still got my heart set on an antique ladder towel rail that the boy said I couldn’t have because it wouldn’t fit in the car going home.
Images by Team Gautier-Ollerenshaw-Collins
He soon changed his tune when we popped into Merchant and Mills where he decided that the car was roomier than we first thought just so he could fit some amazing finds from this draper’s paradise. For those of you not familiar with Merchant and Mills think of a ultra masculine version of a haberdashery and you’ll get the idea. And for those of you obsessed with type, it’s definitely worth checking the packaging out.
Images by Team Gautier-Ollerenshaw-Collins
If you’re a coffee and cake fanatic then it’s worth visiting The Apothecary next time you’re in Rye. Once an… yes you guessed it folks… Apothecary, this sweet building now functions as a coffee shop filled with gold leaf labelled small drawers, large phials of coloured water and the hugest counter I’ve ever seen. Mr Collins also says to let you know that the coffee and walnut cake is superb!
At the risk of having our faces sandblasted off by the sand and sudden gale force winds at Camber Sands, we decided to abort a gentle stroll along the sea in favour of a trip to nearby Hastings instead. If you love antique boutiques and junk shop finds then you’ll love Hastings because it has hundreds of them…and then some more to boot.
It’s Hastings Old Town that has the pick of the bunch in my opinion particularly George Street which is home to everything from quirky bars, bicycle stores to amazing interiors shops.
Images by Team Gautier-Ollerenshaw-Collins
Two of my favourite boutiques were Butler’s Emporium – a treasure trove of knick knacks, old pieces of antique furniture, haberdashery paraphernalia and glitzy trinkets – and Warp and Weft – a tiny shop filled to the brim with quality and timeless vintage clothes and interiors. I may have indulged in a metallic bag or five from Butler’s that I couldn’t resist at the bargain price of £2 a piece and which double up as the perfect make-up bag. The boy meanwhile had his heart set on a pair of brogues from Warp & Weft whilst I eyed up some oyster and blush coloured vintage slips hanging at the back of the shop.
Images by Team Gautier-Ollerenshaw-Collins
In the end we left, without the brogues and the slips and with slighty heavy hearts at doing so, but blissfully relaxed nonetheless.
We’re counting the days until we go back…
You can contact special events manager Karen on 01797 222114 for wedding and event enquiries and of course have a butchers at The George In Rye’s website for further details.
Are you thinking of hosting your big day near the sea? If so where?
Perhaps you’ve attended a wedding at The George and followed the town cryer through the streets…if so what was it like?
Have we inspired you to start dreaming of coastal inspired big day themes? Perhaps this post might help you on your way…
As always leave us your thoughts in the comments box below lovelies.
All my love Lolly xxx
P.S A Big thanks to Gabi from Simply Blue PR for organising such a beautiful getaway and to Karen – the wonderful Events Manager at The George who made sure that we were very well looked after.
I knew I wanted something with a vintage feel to it and it was recommended I look at White Mischief Bridal in Henfield. I tried on about 30 dresses but as soon as I had tried my first Jenny Packham I knew that was it. I had to have one of hers. I must of tried on her whole range and actually dismissed my Saskia dress first of all due to the bows on the shoulders. On my second visit this new dress appeared and was just right. It was the same Saskia dress minus the bows. It was perfect. I had clearly said no bling and as you can see from the dress I went against my initial judgements but the detail is of birds kissing which matched perfectly with some of my details and the Georges wallpaper.
The Whole Hog
As I was trying on the Packham dresses I thought I might as well go for the whole hog and try on all of her beautiful accessories. A visit up to her bridal shop allowed me to see the whole range but I eventually ended up with acacia ii and the bracelet to match. They were beautiful alongside the dress and topped off the whole wedding. I often find myself sitting in the house with them on now.
I went for complete skyscrapers, I don’t do heels but got my shoes before the dress. Beautiful nude satin peep toes from Kurt Geiger. I did also have some Irregular Choice white and silver kitten heels for the evening, they were eBay finds and unfortunately one was shiny and one was matte… Oops.
Relaxed And Pampered
I really wanted my hair on one side and with a 40s hollywood style, my hair is not good long but I grew it as I am sure many brides do. I wanted a vintage theme and came across the wonderful Truffle hair salon in Rye. Their whole salon is in a vintage theme and Sarah the owner came up with a wonderful updo. She also came and did makeup and my bridesmaids hair on the day, giving me a relaxed and pampered start to the day. I felt so glamorous. and Sarah and her assistant were wonderful.
Cafe Des Fleur in Rye did my flowers, I knew I wanted antique style roses and Hydrangeas as my main flowers but wanted to keep a English garden feel about them. The bridesmaids were in sage green and so Lucy added sage and other herbs throughout the flowers. Our bouquets were green and pink in keeping with the colour scheme and mine were wrapped in vintage lace I had picked up at a fair months ago for the occasion.
The boys wore similar flowers. Every table was dotted with large cut glass vases of mixed flowers with the roses and Hydrangeas and then 3 cups and saucers filled with flowers on each table. I had been collecting these too for months. On the beautiful fire places stood a collection of vintage vases, and jars of flowers (which again I had collected) and on the top table were bird cages to keep with the bird theme (from the wallpaper) filled again with the same flowers.
Green And Grey
We hired the groom’s and boys grey suits, but kept with a sage green theme to match the bridesmaids dresses in the ties and hankies. The girls dresses were from Coast. I had those about a year before the wedding and before I got my own!
Paul wore a grey suit and waistcoat. He looks incredible in a suit and looked wonderful. He wore the cufflinks I had made for him at Christmas too.
Jacqui McSweeney was incredible. I am a photographer and photography teacher so my standards were high. I looked around the Brighton area and came across her almost straight away. Her laid back images and beautiful lighting drew me to her and when we met her she put us both at ease. It was wonderful having her there it felt like a friend taking photos.
We both love cupcakes so went for those. They were from the Angel Food Bakery in Brighton. We decided on a number of buttercream covered cakes, some in cream with little pink roses, others with green buttercream or pink with little pearls to decorate. We also went for a topper cake, a giant Cupcake which we had great fun trying to keep still when driving to Rye the day before the wedding. The cake didn’t do well thanks to Paul’s driving and he spent a good part of the day of the wedding trying to beautify it. Thanks to our chef no one noticed its bumps and bruises. I had also found beautiful floral cases which we decorated each cake with.
We were lucky to have a DJ provided as part of our package at the George but made sure that the music was an eclectic mix of cheese, current and old school tunes. During the speeches I had whistles and clappers, even kazoos for the tables. That caused some entertainment (and frustration) for the two best men (Pauls brothers) when they were trying to speak.
I am a huge Take That fan as are many of my closest friends (stems from teenage-hood) and Paul has kind of inherited them as a band due to me. We love The Circus album and Greatest day has to be our best singalong song. I think we spent most of the first dance singing rather than being at all romantic.
Fruit Picking Favours
I knew what I wanted for favours from the word go. I started them actually rather early on in the planning. I made lots of handmade jam and filled and covered each mini jar with vintage and found fabric, ribbon, a button and a little tag printed with our initials.
What was lovely was the support we had in getting the fruit for the jam. My bridesmaid Vicki, my Mum and Stepdad and bridesmaid Kirsty and her two sons all helped pick the fruit. Callum one of the little boys in particular loved the picking and probably ate as much as went into the baskets.
A Bride In her Element
I styled every aspect of my decor making a lot and sourcing a lot as I went. I started a mood book from two days into the engagement and had an exact idea of what I wanted and what Paul wanted from day one.
The ballroom where we married and had the wedding breakfast has beautiful silk hand painted wallpaper and this very much dictated the style and look of the wedding. In the Benson room (the bar) I had filled old kilner jars with sweets and made my own vintage button peppermint creams which sat in a crystal glass rose bowl. The jars had hand printed labels on them with little lines to tempt the eaters! In the same room we also had childhood photos of us both and on our gift table an old parisian hat box for cards. There were cut out birds for decoration and pearls and lace. Theere was also a chalkboard (link to me being a teacher) which I had personalised and decorated as our order of service.
In the ballroom, bunting made by a work colleague decorated the balcony whilst the tables were scattered with pearls, birds and lace. Our seating plan was a bird cage with luggage tags tied on, each hand printed and decorated. Our tables were named after one of the many names I call our cat Sammy and I had hand made each table number.
I am a head of art at a secondary school and trained artist so was in my element. Each table also had a photo of the cat.
I made our ring cushion, which was printed with our names and wedding date and had buttons that were my Nans sewn on. Even on the door there was a chalk board covered with my Nans buttons (she was a seamstress) with our names chalked on. Oh and I had made my own invites which I used as decoration during the day.
A sense Of Anticipation
We had a long engagement as we knew we wanted to be able to pay for it and not leave ourselves in debt but the wait added a sense of anticipation to the day. It allowed us to find the perfect venue, for me to make so much of the decor and for us to find people who would help us visualise our dreams. We kept our numbers small, to the people we really wanted to be there, making the day so intimate. Our family, especially my mum, helped me and Paul so much in the preparation of the day which really made the day feel like a group effort.
If you have a vision and know what you want – don’t compromise, stick with it, do your research and don’t be afraid to have a go at doing bits yourself. Establish relationships with your venue and your suppliers and create a moodbook or board!!
I have been so inspired by my day that I am now in the process of setting up a wedding blog and design service called Hearts And Buttons.
I am bursting with creative ideas and have definitely caught the wedding bug. We had such a beautiful day and I am so happy to share it with others.
A good idea when planning a theme is to find one single item, object or accessory that you love and then build your theme from there. Emma and Paul loved the silk hand painted wallpaper that was at their venue and as Emma mentioned, this then dictated the whole style and look for their big day.
At Rock My Wedding we call this item a ‘piece of pretty’. So if any of you are unsure on choosing a particular look or theme, perhaps you can think of a ‘piece of pretty’ That will provide you with that starting block and then hopefully everything else will start sliding into place.