That is what bride Liz thought when she tried on Francesca by Jenny Packham, not the dress she necessarily expected but certainly the one of her dreams.
And then there were mis-matched maids in a selection of beige shades, pink roses with burgundy carnations (yes burgundy – we love!) and a psychedelic Beatles inspired 3-tiered sponge cake. There is a yellow submarine cake -topper and everything.
Oh, and if you recognise the smiley blonde girl that’s because it’s RMW real bride Karen, there is an awesome I’m-on-the-phone pic of her.
Enjoy the pretty you gorgeous lot you.
I’ve never been into weddings or a girl who dreamt of her big day. So I didn’t feel comfortable with a veil, I’ve never really understood veils I sill don’t! I did try a few on but it didn’t feel right. So I went for a lovely tiara headband from No Angels, simple and understated and it went beautifully with the jeweled appliqué on the back of my dress.
I decided to be bold with my make up and I found a lovely make up and hair artist Melanie Meik, we had a lovely trial together and she really did just get it straight away. We went for a big loose curled pin up do that I wanted to look quite messy and unstructured. She used a hair bun and some hair extensions to give it extra volume, which I loved. Then for the make up we went for bold eyeliner and red lips. I have an addiction to blusher so I think that was the only thing I asked for more of, and more, and just a little bit more!
My dress was Francesca by Jenny Packham. I bought it from the lovely shop Amy Louise in Cheshire. I actually put a deposit down on a different dress after a moment of madness and a lot of maids tears! But after a lot of sleepless nights Tom agreed that I should just go for it and get a dress I really wanted. I had a limited budget but loved Jenny Packham dresses and Amy Louise had some of their Packham sample dresses on sale. So I raced over there with my BM Karen before they got snapped up. I would never have picked Francesca myself. I thought silk satin would show up all my lumps and bumps and not suit me but when the girls at Amy Louise picked it for me I thought I should give it a go. It’s a cliché but when I put it on I felt like a million dollars. It was total Hollywood glamour.
I loved the fact it was simple but it also had really intricate detail, which made it interesting and different. It felt glorious to touch and I didn’t want to take it off. I knew it was the one. Amy Louise agreed to sell me their sample Francesca and even though it was a huge reduction from the original price it was still over budget. A few flutters of my eyelashes to my adorable fiancé and he agreed to up the budget so I could get the dress of my dreams. No more sleepless nights for me only dreams of Fred Aistaire and Ginger Rogers. Heaven!
My fake fur stole (which saved my life) was borrowed from a family friend about a week before the big day! I was adamant I wouldn’t cover up the dress but it was just too cold to do without it. It was an absolute lifesaver and I was so grateful for the warmth it gave me!
Pretty Minus The Pomp
For the bridesmaids and groomsmen we wanted to try and cut down on all the ‘pomp’ of weddings with all the ‘fittings’ and the obsession with colour coordination. Our friends and family are all over the place so it would have been a logistical nightmare for everyone to get together.
We wanted people to be relaxed and comfortable on our big day so we let them wear what they wanted. We gave the bridesmaid a colour range of beiges and gave the groomsmen each a knitted burgundy silk tie. They all decided what to wear and they all looked fab.
Doing Me Proud
Tom loves his clothes and was very proud of all of his attire, he wouldn’t forgive me if I didn’t give you a full list of his threads! He wore a stunning Aubin and Wills/Fox Bros 3 piece wool suit, with a penny collar shirt from Saville Row, Grenson Brogues, a hand made silk woven tie by Doherty, Evans and Stott and his lovely Aubin and Wills red socks which he was very proud of as he kept flashing them at us all day!
He looked amazing and totally did me proud.
As a girl who isn’t what you would call a ‘girly girl’ I really struggled with flowers. I didn’t really have an opinion of what I liked. We had run out of money by the time we came round to organising them and we really didn’t have a clue what we wanted. We went to a shop called Hobo florist who I really can’t recommend enough. I gave them a rough idea of what I wanted and told them that we had limited budget. They were so good!
We decided to go with pink roses and burgundy carnations with lots of thistle and greenery. For the tables the florist suggested using the bridesmaid’s bouquets as the table centerpieces. We would never have thought of that and it saved us so much money, which just goes to show how lovely our florist was, she even went out and measured the jars that we were using on our tables to make sure the bouquets would stand well in them! They were possibly the nicest bouquets I have ever seen and I didn’t even like flowers to begin with!
We choose Anna Hardy as our photographer. We didn’t want a lot of group or forced shots, we wanted to capture real moments through out the day.
Anna was perfect, we saw her website and just knew. She has a real talent and we felt so happy we choose her; she really did just make our day. We didn’t want her to leave! She helped us with timings, she kept the day flowing, she caught the most amazing pictures and moments and to top it all off she did it all with a smile and a laugh. We love her and so did everyone in our wedding party. If she wasn’t happily taken I think the Best man might have tried his luck!
Our cake was a total surprise on the day. Tom’s sister had offered to make us one, as she owns a restaurant and her deserts are to die for! We thought we were getting a very nice chocolate cake but on the day when I went to look at our cake I found a psychedelic Beatles inspired 3-tiered amazing sponge cake by Janet Moorwood Cakes of Sheffield. I love the Beatles, being born in Liverpool, as did Tom’s late granddad as he was born there too. So it really was a touching and sentimental surprise cake.
We have the yellow submarine from the top of the cake at home and it makes me smile every time I see it.
A Monsta Ball
A family friend played a few songs for us at the waterfall, it was a cold day so he really did do an amazing job keeping everyone entertained.
We found our band for the reception on the internet after doing a bit of research we went for JukeBox Mama – Why did I pick them? Honestly? Because they had one of my favorite songs on the set list ‘Apply some pressure’ by Maximo park.
That’s the truth of it! It wasn’t a recommendation, we hadn’t even seen or heard them play!
Luckily the risk paid off as they totally rocked and all the guests commented on how good they were. I think I danced for 2 hours straight. I barely spoke to my evening guests I couldn’t tear myself away, they kept playing great song after great song after great song. As a lover of good music a good band was essential and these guys blew us away. They have actually changed their name though and are now called Monsta Ball.
We also had our photographer do a photo booth. This was upstairs in another room so it gave our guests somewhere else to go and have a bit of fun. The results were hilarious and I think some people got a bit carried away! Including us!
Rule The World
Choosing a first dance was really difficult. My music taste is completely different to Toms and the only song we could agree on was Take That’s ‘Rule the World’. We loved the film Stardust and my late Aunts partner Struan who is an actor played the priest who accidentally gets murdered in the first scene (not to name drop or anything!)Tom always sings the song to me whenever it is on, so it had to be that one.
I wanted it to be special to us though as I can’t really say I’m a huge Take That fan. So I asked a close family friend who is an amazing musician to do a version of it to make it more suited to our big day and us. He came up with a beautiful understated acoustic version of it. We were so grateful that we had our own special song.
Tom came up with the idea of having an eggcup as a favour, we kept it simple with white porcelain eggcups. We decided to use these as name places and as favours. We wanted to do something personal so we hand painted them all (with a little help from Best Man Ben) with peoples initials and the date of our wedding. Hand painting 72 eggcups was time consuming but we were thrilled with the results it was definitely worth it and added a personal touch to the day.
At the waterfall we got married in a wooden prayer lodge and we had a toast in a small marquee – Tom and Ben decorated this the morning of the wedding, we kept it simple and traditional and covered everywhere in bunting. We had polka dot windmills in front of the lodge and a few hanging doves as our decoration. The boys did well and it was a lovely surprise for me to see it all in it’s finery on the day.
The Boutique hotel where we had our reception really didn’t need any decoration, but to make it more personal we made our own personalized bunting with photos of us intertwined with a Love Is…. Picture. We had our chairs covered with a pink sash by Elegant finishing touches. We decorated our tables with rose petals and ceramic love birds and had La Parfait clip top jars to put our bouquets in.
I couldn’t have asked for a more special location than Pistyll Rhaedr Waterfall, going somewhere so breathtakingly beautiful and being able to share it with your friends and family is something truly special that will stay with us forever.
Yes it was difficult getting there and back and yes the weather wasn’t kind but I wouldn’t have wanted to get married anywhere else. It was spiritual, beautiful and a place to return whenever we want and look back at the best day of our lives.
It was important to me to remember those that could not be with us on our wedding day. It was nice to feel that they were with us somehow and that we had to included their memory somewhere in our wedding, we had a Moris Minor to take us to and from the waterfall and this was the car my late Aunt used to pootle round in Camden when she was young, we had the Beatles cake to represent grandparents gone but not forgotten and I wore my late Nan’s ear rings and bracelet, all these little things helped us to feel as though even though they could not be there in person they were there in spirit.
My advice to future brides is not to worry about the little things, you can obsess about them so much and ultimately it doesn’t matter on the day – the only thing that matters on the day is how much you love your future husband and how happy you are to be marrying them – if everyone else can see that they won’t even notice anything else.
Brides Gown – Jenny Packham at Amy Louise Bridal
Grooms Suit – Aubin and Wills
Blooms – Hobo Florist
Reception Venue – Sweeney Hall Hotel
Cake – Janet Moorwood Cakes
Band – Monsta Ball
Photography – Anna Hardy
A giant banana…every wedding should have one. And a fur stole, how glamorous was that?
If you missed Liz’s genius way of getting more bloom for your buck then go back and have a read – Lolly and I were both all “oh! how clever!”
And I want to swank around with a back as beautiful as Liz’s all day every day please Santa.
Big Hollywood Love