Rock My Wedding reader Dawn confessed to being a little bit addicted to our lovely blog in the run up to her big day back in July.
I think team RMW will have to take our share of the blame for some of Dawn and Alex’s early indecisions (apparently daily doses of pretty can make choosing hard!) but it’s fair to say that Dawn and Alex have managed to create a very pretty, very RMW worthy wedding indeed.
And of course they did it their way.
All the gorgeous images today are courtesy of Lisa Dawn Photography.
A Weekend Away.
Our wedding took place at a gorgeous boutique hotel called Stanwell House in Lymington. We discovered the hotel during a day trip to Lymington just before we got engaged and vowed to come back and visit some day! We loved Lymington as a place and wanted to make our wedding a bit of a weekend away for our guests.
My dress was designed by Suzanne Neville, brought from their Guildford branch. I had always had a good idea of the style of dress I wanted. Something simple and classic with subtle detailing – I’m not one for too much bling. When I tried on the dress it was the fit of the bodice and the cut of the dress that sold it to me, I felt absolutely amazing in it! I also brought a lace bolero which I wore for the ceremony and dinner.
I tried on some veils at Suzanne Neville and although gorgeous, they are just not me. It also completely changed the look of my dress. I had always thought that I wanted some kind of vintage clip in my hair but then I spotted my side tiara. I saw it initially in Suzanne Neville but opted to get it straight from the supplier which was Halo & Co.
Aside from Alex (and my dress), my shoes were my next wedding love! They were my wedding present from Alex (chosen by me though – he’s good but not that good!) and brought from Miu Miu. I wanted shoes that weren’t typically weddingy, that I could wear again with my skinny jeans. They are a light dusky pink with cutout details and killer heels. I was slightly concerned that the flagstone floor of the ceremony hall could cause a catastrophe, but all was fine! I did have to change into my purple flipflops though for the walk to the harbour where we had photos together.
A Calming Influence.
I was really lucky to have my childhood hairdresser doing my hair on the day. She offered to help as my wedding present and did an amazing job. We had a couple of trials based around a style I’d found in a magazine. After some dodgy makeup trials, I opted for buying all my makeup from Bobbi Brown and my friend Jennifer (who is fantastic at makeup) did it for me. They were really helpful at Bobbi Brown and taught us new wedding looks. It also meant that I had a whole new set of honeymoon make-up! It really helped calm me down having people I knew around me on the day.
I wanted a very relaxed and natural feel to the whole day and also with the flowers. My whole theme for the flowers came when I found a vintage cut glass vase in Cath Kidston. I brought that one and then set about hunting in charity shops, antique shops for the remaining 8! The centrepieces looked beautiful spilling out of the vases and were created by a local florist Jasmine Designs in Lymington . Alison there was very helpful and worked closely with my Mum, who is a florist and created the rest of the flowers including my bouquet, bridesmaids and numerous arrangements around the venue including some in jam jars outside and other small cut glass vases. The flowers we used for my bouquet were Memory Lane, Amnesia and Avalance roses, double lysianthus and eucalyptus. The bridesmaids had the same but without the avalance roses and the centre pieces were designed to theme in with those colours. My Mum finished my bouquet with ivory ribbon, lace and pearl pins to tie in with my dress. She also sewed in my Granddad’s RAF button so that he could be a part of the day (it was also my something old).
I was so pleased with the flowers and it meant everything to me to have my Mum make them for me. She is an absolute star, not only for staying up till the early hours the night before making them but for all her help with all my wedding plans. I couldn’t have done it without her.
From Length To Length.
The bridesmaids colour was one of the first things I decided on. My favourite colour has always been purple and although most of my plans and themes changed a lot in the early stages (mainly because I kept seeing more ideas on RMW) I always wanted purple to be one of the main colours. The bridesmaids dresses were from Coast and were brought on our very first shopping outing – which I was very shocked about. I started early as I thought it would take ages! My initial thoughts for the bridesmaid dresses were that I just wanted everyone to feel comfortable and not be worried about how they looked, so I was up for them all having different styles but the same colour. We tried the dresses on in Coast and they were the same fabric and colour but different lengths. 2 of my bridesmaids preferred the long and 2 the short, so that’s what we did. I think it looked lovely and they were all able to enjoy the day in their own style and get on the dancefloor with me in the evening!
A Twist In The Tail.
We thought initially that we would buy the boys suits (well at least Alex’s) and we had both thought that we’d go for a lounge suit. In fact initially, I was dead against going for tails. However, we thought we’d try the hire shop Simon James in Woking just to look at all the different options. Alex tried on a normal suit and looked amazing and then Simon suggested trying a tails suit. As soon as he came out in it I burst into tears – in a good way! Alex loved the look too as he felt like the Groom! We wanted to make it a bit more modern though so we opted for ties not cravats and the best men and ushers had waistcoats to match the suit colour. Alex’s tie and waistcoat was ivory to tie in with me.
As presents Alex brought all the boys cufflinks and matching Hugo Boss purple socks (this was his idea!) Loved it!
Alex looked absolutely amazing in his tails and everytime I saw him trying it on I cried! I couldn’t wait to see him at the end of the aisle on the day and he looked awesome. Alex got into the wedding theming too by wearing purple socks and purple diesel wedding pants!! He brought new cream cufflinks to tie in with his waistcoat and tie.
Informal And Fun.
Lisa of Lisa Dawn Photography was our photgrapher and she was fantastic. What made us decide on her was her style of photo and philisophy to wedding photography. We didn’t want to be standing around for hours on end having formal photos taken when we could be enjoying the day with our guests. We only had 15 formal shots and that was by far enough! Lisa and her husband Scott take fantastic informal photos that really tell the story of the day and capture it perfectly. She also appreciates all the little details, so I have some beautiful photos of all the things I made for the wedding.
Whisk & Woo.
Our cake was a wonderfully delicious pile of cupcakes stacked on vintage cake stands. They were made by my very talented university friend Emma Pullen who co-runs a cupcake business called Whisk & Woo. She made me the cupcake toppers to tie in with the theme and wrapped the cupcakes in lace too. We had 2 different colours, pink and cream and they were topped with pearl looking goodies and hearts. Inside the cream cupcakes were strawberry jam – yummy! We didn’t have a top cake to cut, instead we just fed each other cake. It took all my will power not to shove it into Alex’s nose!
We hired Richard Stevenson an acoustic guitarist to play me down the aisle and during our drinks reception. I walked down to Moonriver as I love Audrey Hepburn and he played us out to Jack Johnson ‘Better Together’. Richard did a brilliant job and his music provided perfect background music for our reception.
In the evening we had a disco recommended by the venue. On our invitations, we asked our family and friend for their favourite song and gave the list to the DJ so that he could play some of their and our faves.
The Perfect Version.
We chose ‘Chasing Cars’ but sung by Natasha Bedingfield as our first dance. We both really love the song and the words and thought that her version of the song was perfect. We followed it with OutKast Hey Ya to get everyone straight onto the dancefloor!
Sweets And Stickers.
We didn’t have traditional favours, instead we had a sweet bar for everyone to help themselves to. I made stickers for the bags with Alex and Dawn written on and the date so that people could take their sweets home if they wanted. I think most people just stuck them to themselves though! I also made gift bags for the people staying at the hotel which included a guide to the new forest, tictacs, drinks and biscuits incase they were peckish or hungover!
Lace And Linen.
I loved organising the details and the decorations and was constantly creating more and more projects! Mum made lace and linen bunting for the ceremony hall and we had fairy light draped around the trees and in the wedding breakfast room. I brought lots of cream wicker hearts which we used to decorate the ceremony hall and the gardens. We had flowers everywhere in cut glass vases and tealights along the window sills. Outside we had little flower arrangements on the tables and jam jars decorated with ribbon to hold more tealights. My parents and us spent an entire year eating nice jam and mango chutney to get enough jam jars!
For the seating plan I made luggage tags with ribbon and different vintage style buttons at the top. They had their name and the table number they were sitting on. Once they found their table they could just sit wherever they wanted. The luggage tags were pinned inside a huge vintage picture frame with pearl headed pins.
My Mum also made lace and linen napkin rings which had cream, dusky pink or purple ribbon tied around. On the table I also put boxes with tiny luggage tags saying ‘Open Me’. Inside were pictures of all out guests, either with us or a photo that reminded us of a memory we had with them. We wrote personal messages to all our guests on the back on each photo. Everyone really liked that touch and was quite a good ice breaker for people who didn’t know each other. That was our favourite project and we really enjoyed looking at all the photos and going over the memories we had with all our friends and family.
In the evening, we also had a polaroid camera and my bridesmaid Jade went around taking photos of all the guests for our guest book. They came out brilliantly- thanks to Jade!
Dont’ Worry About Aunty Doris.
We were fortunate to have a really supportive network of friends and family who really let us do our own thing. Remember that ultimately if you and your husband are happy with everything you have planned and created that’s all that matters. As fun as all the planning is, it’s standing at the front of the aisle and looking at the man you love that you remember – not whether a napkin is wonky, a tea light is missing or whether you’ve upset Aunty Doris by not inviting her!! (P.S I don’t have an Aunty Doris btw!)
Venue Stanwell House
Dress Suzanne Neville
Shoes Miu Miu
Tiara Halo & Co
Photography Lisa Dawn Photography
Florist Jasmine Designs
Cake Whisk & Woo
Suit Hire Simon James
It’s always a challenge to come up with ideas that help your guests break the ice, but everyone loves photographs. Everyone!
So what better way to get your friends and family mingling than to give every guest a photograph that links them to the bride and groom in some way. That’s a sure fire way to get some great stories told and re-told around the tables.
It also makes your guests feel extra special to know that you have prepared something personally for them.