*sigh* I know you gorgeous lot are going to love this wedding.
In fact, some of you may recognise Sam and Miriam from their delicious on-a-boat engagement shoot that we featured earlier in the year…Yes?
Well along the same lines and what with Sam being a surfer and the couple growing up in the coastal town of Littlehampton, it made perfect sense to embrace a “Great British Seaside” themed affair.
I think Miriam might just win the prize for greatest headwear 2012 and Sam for coolest groom…..and the best girls? Yep they win a fashion award too, striped beachy dresses from All Saints and suede coral shoes? I die.
Uber talented Irish duo Navy Blur were there to capture all of the fun, frolics and salty air.
And We Are…
Hello! We’re Sam and Miriam! We got married this year on 1st September 2012. Over 200 family and friends gathered at our ceremony at the beautiful St. Nicholas Church in Arundel, West Sussex and then again at the evening reception. After our ceremony 120 guests came to our reception at the lovely Fitzleroi Barn in Fittleworth.
Having both grown up in the seaside town of Littlehampton, the beach was the setting for the moments we first noticed each other as more than friends when we were teenagers. Sam is also a surfer and we own a little wooden boat, so it became clear very early on that we wanted a ‘Great British Seaside’ themed wedding. This made the planning process so much fun and having a direction to go in made it so much easier!
Before I began my search for ‘the dress’ I was given only one guideline by Sam, “I don’t like Grecian floaty dresses”, so when I went shopping that was the first thing I said to the shop assistants, followed by “I love and really want a lace, vintage style dress”. However, my first shopping trip was just awful. They put me in some highly questionable dresses (one was even BLUE!) and I came out wondering if all experiences would be like that and if I was just not going to like any of them. So when I visited ‘Truly Gorgeous’ in Chichester I was so happy to find the wonderful Lindi who listened to what I wanted but also didn’t show me dresses that were way out of my price range.
After trying on a few dresses, I put on a beautiful lace, vintage style dress, which had the prettiest scalloped edge and train, with subtle sparkles that caught the light with every movement. I could tell by everyone’s reaction that this could be “the one” but I didn’t want to make a hasty decision so visited some other shops in London too. There was one other that became a very clear contender, but I just kept thinking of the one in ‘Truly Gorgeous’ and after a lot of thought and deliberation, I went for it!
Although I love shoes with a heel, being comfortable on our special day was really important. I’m really not a fan of the traditional wedding shoes and knew I would like something different. On one of my many hours of trawling the internet looking at shoes, I came across these cute Nicholas Millington shoes that are so me! Even better, they were £16 in the sale!
Simple ivory satin shoes with a vintage pearl and crystal bow on the front. They were a little higher than I’d imagined I’d go for so I bought some flat ballet pumps from Asos as a back up for the evening (I didn’t wear them though!)
Alice In Weddingland
Mary Gillett has been doing my hair since I was 13 and is a close family friend so I knew she would be the only one I’d let near my hair on the day. We had a couple of practices leading up to the day, and she cracked the best way to get my fine hair to have some volume and hold the waves. She’s a star!
Last year I modelled for an ‘Alice in Weddingland’ photo shoot to promote some Brighton companies and I met the uber-cool Alessia Mancini, who did my makeup for the shoot. When those photos were published, I had so many compliments on my makeup that I knew I needed to contact her to beautify me on the day. She came to my house in the morning and, using a combination of my makeup and her own kit, she did exactly what I asked for. Having very fair skin I had been so worried about being made orange but she knew exactly what she was doing. Thank you Alessia!
The Perfect Fit
Having such long, fine hair, I really didn’t know what to do about a veil or hair accessories. I knew I would wear my hair down and have it wavy but any veil that was put in the back of my hair, even on a comb, would instantly slide out to the floor and all the pretty hair bands would gap either side of the top of my head (I’ve come to realize I have a smaller than average head!!). So one day when I was at ‘Truly Gorgeous’ trying my dress on, I explained that I liked the idea of having a circlet and Lindi brought out the most beautiful Swarovski crystal circlet with side detailing.
I LOVED IT! It was so pretty, vintage and unique, and most importantly, it fit my head!
Now the veil… I didn’t want to just have one for the sake of it, but lots of people told me I’d regret not having a veil, as it’s really the only opportunity to wear one, but there was still the issue of getting it to stay in my hair without attaching it to my scalp! In the end I decided that I did want one but I wanted it to be very light and sheer, with only one layer and full length so as to flow with the whole dress, and that I wanted to somehow attach it to the back of the circlet. We ordered the veil but without a comb attached and my clever Auntie Ann sewed it to the back of the circlet.
On our wedding day, when it came to the evening party, and just before our first dance, my auntie cut the stitching so I could dance the night away without the veil!
Reflecting The Theme
So we wanted the bridesmaids, ushers and best men to reflect the ‘Great British Seaside’ theme and blue, coral and white colour scheme.
My 10 beautiful bridesmaids wore a muted blue and white striped calico dress from All Saints – half price in the sale! And bright Coral suede court shoes.
The flower girls wore pretty ivory crochet and tulle dresses from Monsoon, which we also got in the sale! They wore pinky coral satin ballet shoes.
The Best Men wore the same suit and tie as my gorgeous groom and the Ushers each wore their own skinny black suits with a skinny coral tie that we gave them.
My Mum wore a royal blue dress from Coast and Sam’s mum wore a dress in midnight blue so they both coordinated perfectly with the whole colour scheme.
Ahhh *happy sigh* Sam looked hot! He wore a skinny blue and black dogtooth suit from Asos with a black skinny cord tie, and black patent and velvet shoes from Asos.
Doreen Taylor is a lovely lady from our church that we have known nearly all our lives. She had already taken care of the flowers for both my brothers’ weddings plus other people we know, so we knew we definitely wanted her. I collected some pictures of what I liked and together, Sam and I went round to chat it all through. The colour scheme for our whole wedding was blue, coral and white, so coral, being my favourite colour, was the choice of colour for the bouquets, along with white.
I had discovered this beautifully interesting flower called Astilbe that I wanted to incorporate into the arrangements. I knew I wanted to have a romantic, pretty feel to my flowers, but not too overpowering, so chose a mixture of coral and white roses, combined with coral berries, Astilbe and foliage. I then had a lace and pearl ribbon tied around the stems of the bouquet.
Having 10 adult bridesmaids and 3 flower girls, I didn’t know what to do for them with regards to flowers but decided on a small posy each of Astilbe for the adults and a mixture of all the flowers for the little ones. Sam and his best men and ushers had a single white rose with rope tied around the stem for the buttonholes.
Altogether we had 1 bridal bouquet, 10 adult bridesmaid bouquets, 3 flower girl bouquets, a little cluster of buds for my mum to wear in her hair and 19 buttonholes! Doreen was amazing! We went with her to a flower barn to choose everything we wanted and she spent hours along with other friends, putting it all together for us – and she takes such great care!
She’s been known to stay up all night to make sure that flowers don’t droop – what a trooper!
WE LOVE NAVYBLUR!!! Navyblur are the.best.photgraphers.ever. Not only are they ridiculously talented but they are the loveliest couple too. Growing up with Xander (the male half of Navyblur) and then getting to know the wonderful Christine (the female half) a few years ago, there was really no question as to who we would have photograph our special day. Not only do they make whoever is in front of the camera feel ultra comfortable, but the photos they produce are so flattering, natural and full of life.
Thank you so much Xander and Christine!
The very cool Reuben Skinner of Show and Tell did our beautiful wedding video. We didn’t plan to have a videographer as we hadn’t budgeted for it, but after seeing his lovely videos we knew we had to book him! It didn’t look possible as he was booked for our wedding date, so we booked someone else…Then our videographer had to pull out suddenly – I was distraught! Then the following day I had an email from Reuben saying that the date had become available again! Meant to be or what! We booked him straight away and could not be happier with the wonderful montage of memories he put together for us! Thank you so much Reuben!
Collecting The Seaside
We spent the whole of our 20-month engagement collecting seaside-related props and decorations from our own hometown, and various other places we visited. We had big silver buckets on either side of the barn entrance, filled with sand, with huge colourful windmills stuck in them. We decorated inside the barn with fishing nets, lobster pots, life belts, and Sam’s very own surfboard. We personalized a vintage suitcase with a union jack poster on one side and a Paris poster on the other side as a reminder of where we got engaged. We then strung thin rope from one side to the other and hung luggage tags on the rope, with the table names showing where people should sit.
We named all our tables after local seaside towns or seaside towns that are of importance to us. Our table centres were glass vases filled with sand, with sticks of Littlehampton rock stuck in them, plus a postcard of the table’s seaside name attached to a stick in the middle.
My Uncle and another of my Aunties composed limericks about each town, and we wrote them out on our home-made lolly designs stuck on lolly sticks. Sam and I together designed place mats for each guest in the style of a newspaper with a news story of our engagement and some adverts for Wolfpack and Navyblur.
We had a wonderful company do our catering. A vintage fish ‘n chip tram set up outside on the barn courtyard. For the starter we had a seafood ice-table set up in the courtyard outside, with an array of scrummy seafood, which guests could nibble on whilst milling around socializing, and chatting with one another. Then for main, the tram served cod and chips or sausage and chips along with mushy peas. They were seriously the most delicious fish&chips we have ever tasted!! Everyone agreed! And also… a great crowd-pleaser!
For dessert we had a wonderful ice-cream tricycle that served 7 gorgeous flavours of ‘all you can eat’ ice-cream along with flakes, sprinkles and sauce. Guests aged 1-85 years old thoroughly enjoyed working their way through the different flavours!
For our evening food we had a cream tea extravaganza!
At the beginning of our planning process we both agreed that we didn’t want to spend money on a cake and that we’d probably get someone we knew to make one. This all changed when I did the ‘Alice in Weddingland’ photoshoot to promote some brilliant Brighton companies and met the beautiful Sada Ray of Flutterby Bakery.
After seeing her wonderful creations at the shoot and online, Sam, my Mum and I went to her gorgeous home in Hove and discussed our ideas and tasted the yummiest cakes ever! We sent her a link to our engagement shoot and told her all our seaside-themed plans and then together came up with the idea to have a sandcastle cake made out of Madagascan vanilla and coconut sponge with a lime buttercream filling. It was absolutely delicious!!
The Wolf Pack
I sing in a function band called Wolf Pack with two of my cousins and three other friends. After playing numerous weddings and functions together, there was no other evening entertainment we could have other than Wolf Pack. I know I’m biased but each member oozes so much talent and enthusiasm that you can’t help but dance and enjoy yourself as songs from the 50s right through to present day are played. I planned to only get up and sing my signature song ‘Girls just wanna have fun’, although I think I was on the stage more than I was on the dance floor!
Everyone had an amazing time and we even dragged Sam up to do a rap in ‘American Boy’!
We weren’t sure what to do for our first dance; whilst I liked the idea of doing a big choreographed dance with all our bridesmaids and groomsmen, Sam on the other hand isn’t very confident on the dance floor. In the end we decided to dance to our song ‘Better Together’ by Jack Johnson… well that’s what Sam thought!!!
The week before the wedding, I secretly met up with my amazingly talented cousin, Joel, who produced my own version of our song, ‘Better Together’ in his home studio, sung by me. As we stepped onto the dance floor, Joel announced my secret gift to Sam and together we danced to our very own version of our song.
My advice would be to think out of the box – choose details that are special to you and your partner and not what you think you should choose. Save wherever possible without compromising on things that you know you’ll regret not including. Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Family and friends want to help and be involved, and including them makes the journey that bit more special and manageable!
Remember that as special and important as the wedding day is, it’s all about the start of your marriage together and the wonderful adventure you’re about to embark upon. Make love your reason for every decision for your special day, and every day after…
See, I knew you would love it.
And how much did the cake look like an actual sand castle?!
Big Great British Love