I think I always say this, but I really mean it, so I’ll say it again, wouldn’t it be so lovely to be able to get married at home?
Everything is familiar, you feel at your most relaxed, plus you really do get to have a day your way.
Tor and Tom’s big day consisted of a gorgeously decorate marquee reception, full of lemons, DIY bunting and home-made cakes, not to mention all the wild florals, plus a whole lot-of love and fun captured by J S Coates Wedding Photography.
Tor the Bride: I had a pretty good idea of what my dress would look like, but still tried on many styles before settling on my ivory lace mermaid gown (MoriLee by Madeline Gardner). It was half price in the sale at “The Cotswold Frock Shop” The team there were brilliant, making me feel totally comfortable. Their in-house seamstress is incredible, and made all the necessary adjustments to my dress. It fitted perfectly first time.
I struggled to find shoes, as I wanted them to match my bridesmaid’s dresses. Eventually I ordered bespoke shoes from “Shoes of Prey” I was nervous about ordering online, but the service was incredible and they even take the shoes back if they’re not quite right and remake them free of charge. They were so good that my Mum also bought a pair!
My mum made my veil! I found tulle and stunning lace online, with detailing that matched my dress, and we spent a morning with it laid out on her bedroom floor, measuring and pinning! It then took her 2 days to hand stich the lace onto the tulle. It looked stunning on the day, and is a real keepsake.
I wore long drop pearl earrings which incorporated diamonds from my late grandmother’s engagement ring, made by a close family friend. I hadn’t seen them completed until the morning of the wedding, and I felt so privileged to wear them. They were my wedding present from Tom. There were definitely tears!! I wore a simple pearl bracelet and a tanzanite and diamond ring which was a present from my parents for my 21st Birthday.
I did my own makeup, but had had a tutorial with Bobbi Brown previously. My hair was done by Sarah McNamee.
We were incredibly lucky that we always knew we wanted our wedding reception to be in my parent’s garden. It’s a stunning spot, with views across to the Malvern Hills. We hired a marquee from West Country Marquees and they provided everything – the flooring, tables, chairs, dance floor, and their amazing light installation which hung over our top table.
My parents garden has beds full of stunning flowers in blues, whites and pinks, so we stuck with this rough colour scheme throughout, as it fitted the setting best.
We had rustic wooden long tables in the marquee to encourage lots of chatting during the meal, and allowed us to mix our guests up a little! The marquee had festoon lighting and bunting throughout, all of which was provided by West Country Marquees.
Our tables were covered in simple white linen table runners, which we bought as a job lot on eBay for £12!! Our table names were all different gins, and we had the bottles as candle holders on each table (yes – we had to drink all the 21 bottles of gin in the 12 months before the wedding, with a little help from family and friends!)
Our flowers were from Vale Garden Flowers, part of the “Flowers from the Farm” initiative, a collection of people who grow seasonal british flowers, which fitted in nicely with the feel of the wedding. The florist created the bridal party bouquets, buttonholes for the men, and corsages for both our Mums. She also created the milk churn arrangements which stood outside the church during the ceremony, and then outside the marquee during the reception.
The rest of the flowers arrived in big buckets ready for us to arrange ourselves. Our family and friends had been collecting jam jars all year, and the day before the wedding, we all sat outside in the glorious sunshine arranging jars and jugs full of flowers. These were used all around the marquee and in the garden. My Mum made the stunning top table arrangement. The flowers in the church were mostly put together by Mum and the bridesmaids on the morning of the wedding – the girls went round to the church in their matching PJ’s!!
We lost my grandad last Christmas, and he’d been so excited about the wedding. To honour him, I pinned his Mayor’s medal to my bouquet, and my sister had my nan’s mayoress medal on her bouquet. It was so special to feel like he was still involved in the day.
The Wedding Party Fashion
Bridesmaids – dresses from House of Fraser (a bargain as they were half price in the sale). They wore necklaces with their initials and a lemon slice on, from Francesca Rossi Designs at N.O.T.H.S – a present from me on the morning of the wedding. All hair done by Sarah McNamee.
Mother of the bride – Phase Eight dress and jacket, Shoes of Prey bespoke shoes. Bespoke hat from Jenny Edwards Moss.
Father of the Bride/Groom – Hugo Boss suits (matched the groom)
Groomsmen – wore their own navy suits, and brown shoes, with their ties, socks and pocket squares as presents on the day.
St Peters Church, Rous Lench.
There is no pub in the village, so the groomsmen spent an hour at a friend’s house, next door to the church. He brews his own cider, and has the most amazing cider barn. The boys played darts and relaxed before the ceremony, and before they knew it, our friends were out on the road inviting anyone who looked like they might be going to the wedding through the door! They had 60 people in for a drink in the barn that morning!!!
I was so lucky that the whole bridal party were able to walk to the church from my parents house. Mum and the bridesmaids went ahead, and then Dad and I walked a couple of minutes later. I couldn’t tell you what we talked about but we giggled the whole way round!
There were lots of people in the village who came out to see me walk round to the church, which was unexpected but really lovely!
The ceremony was relaxed and full of happiness. I walked down the aisle to “My Girl” by The Temptations, and we walked out to “I Got a Thing About You Baby” by Elvis Presley. My sister Livs played “I Giorni” by Ludovico Einaudi on the piano during the service – the one point at which I really cried. We had readings from friends and Tom’s sister, Lizzie. They included an extract from “Guess How Much I Love You” by Sam McBratney, and “Personal Penguin” by Sandra Boynton.
After the ceremony, Tom and I drove off in my sister’s boyfriends 30 year old BMW convertible. It allowed us a couple of minutes to ourselves, and we shared a glass of bubbly before going back to the church for photographs. Our guests walked through the village to the reception.
We made a playlist of our favourite music for the drinks reception.
Our Band in the evening were Apollo Soul who were incredible. They played a real mix of songs, and the dance floor was packed all night. Their saxophonist also played during their DJ sets, which was a real hit with our guests.
We had giant Jenga and a few other garden games dotted around. I had also made an Instagram frame with our hashtag on it, which hung in the marquee, and provided props for this – we got some incredible photos, and the inflatable instruments were a constant presence on the dance floor.
Our caterers were Orchard Catering who were incredible from start to finish. They provided crudites and dip for during the drinks reception, serving prosecco and elderflower soda in the garden. They then manned the bar for us throughout the afternoon and evening. Our starter was homemade breads and dipping oils, and we did the speeches during the starter, which worked really well.
Our main course was large joints of pork, which were carved by designated guests at each table. The chef’s hats and aprons were worn long after the meals! This was accompanied by roast potatoes, veg, and the best crackling I’ve ever had. Vegetarians had saffron risotto stuffed peppers.
Our desserts included our wedding cake. The sponges were from Nude Cakes and we filled/decorated them ourselves. We had Victoria sponge with rhubarb and ginger filling, chocolate sponge with salted caramel buttercream, lemon sponge with lemon curd buttercream, and red velvet sponge with cream cheese filling. There was a disaster with the cake in the morning, as our lemon tier collapsed in the heat!!! The caterers did an incredible job of holding the rest of the cake together and decorating it with extra flowers and fruit to hide the worst of the damage!!
The rest of our puddings were made by friends and family, and were served in a buffet style. They went down a storm! We served cheese from Godminster in the evening to keep people going during the dancing! We did not have evening guests, so didn’t require any more formal evening catering.
Jonathan Coates of J S Coates Wedding Photography
We looked at lots of photographers, but the minute we spoke to Jonathan, we knew he would be right for us. He immediately made us comfortable and we realised he was genuinely interested in capturing our day, and knowing everything about the day. Jonathan also hired in Will Fuller as a second shooter who spent the morning with the boys, and then teamed up with Jonathan for the rest of the day. We are totally blown away by our photos, and still can’t stop looking at them even now! Being out with the photographers on our own were some of our favourite moments of the day, and they never felt intrusive, or formal.
Our wedding invites were designed by our talented friend, Emily Richards and I then used her designs across all of our other stationery, including our Order of Service, table plan, menus and signs around the marquee. Tom and I printed everything ourselves, as a cost cutting measure. It was worth the time it took!!
Our place settings included a lemon, with the guest’s name written on a bay leaf. I was up until 3am on the morning of the wedding writing names on the leaves and trying to keep them from curling as it had been so hot that week!!
Our wedding favours were homemade sloe gin for the men, and homemade gin limoncello for the women. The personalised stamp was from The English Stamp Company.
Our bar was made by Tom and I, with help from my sister and her boyfriend Jack – it was made from old kitchen units, an office cupboard and old skirting board, and didn’t cost us a penny!! We then found a dresser top on eBay as a back for the bar, which only cost us a tenner! It was so much fun to make, and was a real talking point on the day. It now lives in Jack’s parents barn. We stocked it with gin, and wine which we bought in bulk from Calais Wine Superstore.