This has turned out to be more than a bit epic. The main reason being that I didn’t know what images not to choose, there are so many pretty details and delicious moments In Sam and Pete’s gorgeous Autumn affair that I was literally spoilt for choice.
And you know how I love a random “couple shot” backdrop right? Well then. How about we throw some trawler fisherman into the mix?
Uh huh my lovelies really.
Oh and the blooms, so many beautiful blooms…..and they all came to the grand total of two hundred and fifty quid.
We freakin’ die.
Add all that to some truly wall-worthy Polaroid’s, one of the most well written reports to date, plenty of do it yourself inspiration and the bride wearing A CARDIGAN ( yes I know! major knitwear worship!)…. and you’ve got Rock My Wedding perfection right here folks.
I knew as soon as I saw Mister Phill’s photographs that he was the one for us and luckily Pete agreed! I’m a journalist and had come across Phill’s site while looking for content for one of our websites. Part of what I do is about curating and showing off awesome pictures, so it was always important that we had the right photographer – everyone in Phill’s pictures looked so relaxed and happy and he had some great shots capturing the sort of moments you don’t often see in wedding photos.
I think weddings are about people, not things, and Phill’s pictures prove the point again and again. Every time I look at a new wedding he’s posted there’s at least one picture that could be a story all by itself. I also loved the fact that all the people on his blog looked like real people having the best day of their lives, in their own way, and not models (I hate having my picture taken because I’m not very photogenic. No chin).
One of my favourites from the day is of my mum and dad holding hands during the ceremony but we’ve got so many great shots,I couldn’t be happier.
(Deep breath……..) the room where the ceremony was is a conservatory full of mirrors and fig trees, with two trees either side of the doorway.I bought loads of fabric and made a template and the mums made 26 metres of bunting for the conservatory where the ceremony was. I made 150 tissue paper flowers to string as garlands in between the bunting (not as time consuming as it sounds, I promise!)
I bought shepherds crooks to hang candle holders from and they went either side of the doorway. We had loads of white fairy lights in all the trees in the room and hung pictures of ourselves around the walls. The birdcages the florist had filled for me hung from the beams either side of the registrar’s table. I had lots of candles in birdcages but they never got used. I also made dozens of paper pinwheels to hang from the trees but they didn’t get used either…
On the tables we had the flowers, plus I’d made leaf shaped table confetti to tie in with the autumn/trees theme. I made blackboards (picture frames and blackboard paint) for the table names, and we put a copy of the book each table was named after on the table. The guestbook table had a blackboard that said Welcome Best Beloveds on it (I love Rudyard Kipling!) and framed photos from other family weddings, plus postcards so people could leave us a message.
I made another blackboard for the menu board. For the table plan I cut down a branch from the garden, glued it inside a vase and made leaf shaped escort cards with names and table numbers on them – you may have seen this in Rebecca’s DIY Friday post a month back – I even emailed her to tell to stop posting my DIY projects in case she spolied the surprise! Name cards were luggage cards tied to wine glasses with a piece of ribbon.
The Obvious Choice
We had cheese instead of cake. Pete and I once drove to London for the afternoon to have a cheeseboard at a cheese shop we’d seen on the TV so it was an obvious choice!
For the food we had roast goose, beef and pork, followed by cherry, apple and gooseberry pies with custard. So cheese, served as the evening buffet seemed like the perfect ending. It came from Cheeseworks in Cheltenham and the girls there were quite happy to give us tasters and let us decide for ourselves exactly which cheese we wanted.
When I made the invites, I included a space on the RSVP card for everyone to choose a song guaranteed to get them on the dance floor. Then we put those together with some of our favourites, my brother, who’s a musician, arranged them into an all-killer-no-filler playlist and we brought our Bose dock and played it out of an iPod. We toyed with the idea of barn dance or a band or a DJ but a) we didn’t have any money and b) we thought having a playlist everyone had contributed to would mean everyone would get at least one song they loved.
It’s All About YOU
We chose “All About You” by McFly – partly because nobody would have expected us to pick it in a million years but mainly because we’d spent quite a bit of time dancing round our kitchen to it! When we started talking about first dances it was the first song both of us thought of, so it was a done deal. (Pete now listens to it every morning on his way to work!)
For favours we made CDs of our favourite songs people might never had heard of. Geeky as it sounds, we both really like English folk or folk-inspired music (my favourite from the CD is called Song for the Road by David Ford), and we threw in some others of “our songs” too (like the version of Your Song from Moulin Rouge – seriously. it’s awesome).
I made CD liners from paper I had left over from the invites. We didn’t have too many left behind on tables so I think they went down well. I also bought puzzles for the children at the wedding to play with while we were doing the speeches so they wouldn’t get too bored.
Keeping It Real
The overwhelming impression I have of the day is that everything felt really personal, like it was a party at our house, not at a hotel. Not just because of all the things we’d made, but other little things too.
My brother was toastmaster – he introduced us and all the speeches, and told everyone what was happening and I would definitely recommend this if you have a family member brave enough. Being annouced as Mr and Mrs by someone who knew us both felt so much more heartfelt than if a stranger did it.
My mum read the whole of I like you, by Sandol Stoddard Warburg during the ceremony, because even though it’s really long we couldn’t choose a bit we liked more than the others.
I didn’t have a wedding band but used the antique ring we bought together when we got engaged – it’s so beautiful and has so many great memories that I didn’t see the point of buying a standard wedding ring just for the sake of it (plus nothing looked right next to it and I didn’t want to move it to the other hand.) Pete wanted gold and not white gold so we don’t even have matching rings, but no-one seemed to care. We didn’t have or do anything we didn’t want and no-one batted an eyelid.
You’re probably reading this and thinking we’re mental for doing so much stuff ourselves (in fact, the food was the only thing we didn’t do!) We did it that way partly for finance reasons and partly because I really enjoyed it! On the day and the night before, so many people mucked in to help with the setting up and I always wanted to walk into the room knowing that everything in it had been made by people who cared about us.
Practically speaking, I’d say if you like being creative, then give yourself plenty of time, but try your hand at anything you fancy. You’ll soon get the idea of what’s going to work for you and what isn’t.
Designing our invites took me probably six months by the time I’d worked out all the different elements but it gave me chance to think about how we wanted everything to look and what we wanted it to feel like.
Over the year of planning I attempted and abandoned lots of ideas – fabric buttonholes, a crepe paper bouquet – and there were lots of others that in the end just didn’t fit in, timewise or spacewise. But if DIY isn’t for you, don’t do it!
And if I had one piece of advice, this would be it. You won’t listen, I know, but it might help if things get stressful.
Weddings are not about rooms, or dresses, or hairstyles, or favours, or food, or cake. They’re not even about rings (seriously, read the vows. The ring part comes way after you’re man and wife).
Weddings are about you and your husband, standing in a room full of people who love you, promising each other that “I will go on choosing you and you will go on choosing me, even if I live to be a hundred”. They’re about saying the words that generation after generation have said, in whatever form you choose, and knowing that everyone watching is willing you to be happy.
Everything else really is just stuff. Fun stuff, admittedly, and if you want it, then you should have it. But when everything stresses you out or you can’t afford your dream venue, or buying the dress you want means you can’t have the flowers you want, remember, it’s just stuff. When you’re holding hands and saying the magic words you really, honestly, won’t care.
Oh, and being married is AWESOME 🙂
And the word issue I had? I still have it. I just can’t describe how many things about this wedding I love but take it from me, there are HUNDREDS.
And if you want my advice, go and take a second look, I find something new to admire every time I take a peek.
With huge gigantic massive thanks to Mister Phill and Sam and Pete for sharing all that is wonderful.
Big I’m off to buy a Polaroid camera Love