Sometimes I think we forget that a wedding is about more than just the Bride and Groom. Weddings are also about two families coming together; the start of a new generation – but also about appreciating the older generation who have loved you and supported you through the good and the bad times.
Carley and Joe’s wedding is a real celebration of that. All of the décor was made by her family and inspired by her mother-in-law’s shop, The Angel Bill Trading Company.
Carley describes planning her wedding as an emotional rollercoaster which I’m sure lots of you can relate to. She also says that not only did she gain a soul mate on her wedding day, but also a renewed strength in her love for the people most important to her.
And I suppose an occasion like that definitely calls for a big party…
A Special Place
Carley The Bride: We married at St Helens Church in Wheathampstead. We chose this church for many reasons, one being that this was where I grew up and my mothers grave is there. It felt really important to be close to my mum on our special day. We then had our reception at Tewin Bury Farm. The barn fitted perfectly with our Country Chic/Fayre theme.
Showing Off The Neck And Shoulders
My step mum is a qualified hairdresser so naturally she took up the task of doing the Brides and Bridesmaids hair. We had a wonderful make-up artist recommended to us by various friends for the day called Jessica Alice Miller.
I wanted a very relaxed boho look and for a long time I was dead set on having my hair down and wavy for the bridal party. But after the final touches were being made to my dress, I decided I wanted to show off the neckline and take my hair off my shoulders.
An Unexpected Decision
I always knew in my heart I wanted a tea length dress, but didn’t dare try one on at the start. I worried I wouldn’t look like a Bride! After trying on several standard wedding gowns, I finally tried on a tea length dress. Apparently my whole posture and body language changed. It felt right.
But I was so fussy and couldn’t find ‘the’ dress so decided to have it made from scratch. With help from the very talented Justine at Angel Face Bridal Shop in Buckfastleigh, I designed my dress exactly how I wanted it! I had my shoes dyed pink (my favourite colour) and in the evening wore special edition crochet ‘Toms’ espadrilles – it was fun to have my new name on my shoes!
Diamonds Are A Girls Best Friend
I hadn’t even thought about jewellery, which was odd because I had focused on every tiny detail so hard! At my Hen party, my nan gave me some amazing diamond earrings my granddad gave to her which was very emotional. And on the morning of the wedding, Joe’s sister Alice (also my bridesmaid) gave me a gift on behalf of Joe, which was a stunning diamond necklace. It was perfect!
I also had a gorgeous clutch bag from alphabetbags.com which said ‘Bride’. It was so handy and was obvious whose bag it was! The rings were made by Galio Jewellers in St Albans. Joe also had the engagement ring made and supplied from the same jewellers so it was nice to have all the rings from the same place.
Here Comes The Bride
We had two Bridesmaids (our sisters) and a flower girl (Carley’s step sister). Joe had two best men and one usher. The Bridesmaids both wore Dessy dresses and the Groomsmen wore suits hired through Angel Face. Joe bought a separate suit for himself from Ted Baker.
The flower girls dress was from Monsoon UK. She also carried a wooden sign down the aisle which read ‘Here Comes The Bride’ which was made by Joe’s mum (Kate Toms, owner of The Angel Bill Trading Company).
A Very Creative Bunch
We had a sort of rustic/country chic theme with a bit of country fayre thrown in! Due to Joe coming from an extremely creative family, we had a lot of help with making and designing all the décor ourselves. We even made all the garden games ourselves from scratch; we had a splat the rat, horseshoe hoopla, welly wanging and a giant buzzer game!
We decorated the whole venue ourselves using vintage bottles and books we’d collected. We made all the chair sashes ourselves using lots muslin and blue dye.
Simple Yet Stunning
We had all our flowers put together by Arrangements in Redbourn. I wanted my flower girl to have the exact same bouquet as me, just a bit smaller.
After the ceremony I put her flowers on my Mum’s grave. We wanted the Bridesmaids and Groomsmen to have lots of gypsophila and be very simple yet stunning. The flowers in the venue had a country/wild flower theme.
A Real Family Affair
I designed our Order of Service cards and with the help of Joe’s Mum and Sister, painstakingly tied muslin bows onto them, which were handed out before the ceremony. On the reverse we had the order of the day printed so our guests knew exactly what was happening and when.
Joe’s Grandma did a special reading during the ceremony. My Grandad gave me away. We also put together a little treat for the guests as they were leaving the ceremony; brown paper bags with a Tunnocks ‘Caramel’ bar and a map with a poem printed on the front (all made by the Tom’s family!).
The Perfect Accompaniment
During the sit down meal we hired a singer called Huw booked through Warble Entertainment. He was amazing and all our guests said his voice was beautiful and really added something special to the atmosphere.
Rather than having a DJ, we used a company called MiPod Party. We gave them a list of songs we wanted and they put together a playlist for the evening music. They provide all the sound system and lighting equipment, along with an ipod with your chosen music. It was so simple and easy, and tons cheaper than hiring a DJ. We had Jason Mraz – Lucky as our first dance, followed by Paolo Nutini – 10/10.
Delicious Food And Homemade Favours
We had a gorgeous three course meal cooked and served by the staff at Tewin Bury Farm. Chicken liver parfait with red onion marmalade and brioche for starters, loin of pork, thyme, garlic and hazelnut farce, with wholegrain mustard mash, calvados cream sauce and crackling vegetables for main and pavlova with mango coulis, pecan nut praline and cream for dessert.
Joe’s sister Alice (Bridesmaid) made homemade fudge for our favours wrapped up in brown paper and sealed with a sticker I designed. Our cake was made by a good friend, Jenny Whitehead (also mother of the Usher!). We had a five tiered (two of which were polystyrene!) red velvet cake with white chocolate icing. We used part of a tree trunk as our cake stand which Joe’s Dad cut and sanded down for us. I made the mini bunting cake topper.
We designed and made our table plan board ourselves. We had antique keys with luggage tags hanging on a board with each persons name and table number. Joe’s mum and dad made our wooden table numbers. I designed the menus on the table. We made wooden moustaches ourselves too which were put on each table. I also made the bunting across the top table which read Mr & Mrs Toms.
The World Continues To Revolve
Planning a wedding proved to be a very stressful and emotional roller-coaster for us both and it only made us appreciate each other and the people we love around us so much more. You become so absorbed in ‘wedding wedding wedding’ that it’s easy to sometimes forget that the world is continuing to revolve and that not everyone is as obsessed about your day like you are.
The day after our wedding, I suddenly felt this huge love for everyone around me so much stronger than ever. Not only did I marry my soul mate that day, I also realised the most important people in my life and how much I love them.
Above And Beyond
Our photographer was Julia West. I cannot praise her work enough! Julia and her wonderful assistant were just incredible on the day! So attentive and focused, yet so discreet. I didn’t even realise they were there most of the day! They both went above and beyond our expectations and Julia has produced the most stunning photos we will treasure forever.
We have to give a huge thank you to Joe’s Mum, Dad and Sister. They pretty much dedicated their lives for the months leading up to the wedding to helping us design and make everything. A lot of our inspiration came from the wonderful work of Joe’s mum – Kate Toms, owner of The Angel Bill Trading Company.
Bride’s Gown – Angel Face Bridal
Clutch Bag – alphabetbags.com
Hair – Lorraine Hair Design
Bridesmaid’s Gowns – Dessy
Flower Girl – Monsoon UK
Groom – Ted Baker
Groomsmen – Suit Hire at Angel Face Bridal
Singer – Huw at Warble Entertainment
Florist – Arrangements
Décor And Inspiration for Décor – The Angel Bill Trading Company
Venue – Tewin Bury Farm
Photography – Julia And You
Carley and Joe make a very stylish pair. I’m so pleased Carley went with a tea length gown!
And if you want your Groom to look as dapper as Joe, don’t forget that you can view Ted Baker’s latest collections in our Designer Collections pages.
Lots of love,