We’ve shared some very pretty yet very muted colour palettes this week. Today we’re going all out MAJOR colour pop with Rachael and Matt’s big vibrant day in York.
I love the way the entire wedding has such original and beautifully designed decor and stationery (all created by the bride herself no less) and that as well as exuding style, there is also an element of fun in every detail of the affair, from the menus to the chair backs to the “Hip Hip Hooray” signs.
Also I am coveting Rachael’s make-up – flawless skin and a statement coral lip. AMAZE.
Rachael The Bride: I’m a surface designer and illustrator so I knew I always wanted to be involved with the dress design. I had seen a few online that I liked the style of but none of which felt like ‘the one’. I have always pictured a bespoke creation something made just for me (I’m also quite petite and end up having to get everything altered anyway). I always had a picture in my head of what I wanted so I took my simple sketch to a very talented bridal studio that turned my vision into a reality.
The lovely Kate from Scarlett Poppy is a talented designer and a dressmaker, she did such a great job which allowed me to be involved every step of the way. It was a very fun creative process. From my simple drawing Kate created a beautiful technical sketch, she played around with the toile first as we discussed fabric choices, the rest just evolved organically.
I never wanted a big dress, just something simple yet elegant and more importantly something I could dance and party in! I’ve always been a fan of backless dresses and Grecian styles and liked the idea of having something quite natural and flowing. I also admired Bohemian styles too, I love anything relaxed and laid back looking. In the end we came up with a mixture of the two styles (whilst still keeping the dress quite fitted to compliment my petite frame).
I made up a word for my wedding; I kept saying it was ‘Bohecian’ when I was trying to explain the style to people. We decorated the back of the dress with a train and flowing sashes and subtle (uniquely sourced) button details. The dress was made from textured silk chiffon and floated beautifully.
Peach, Pink And Orange
I have always admired contemporary wedding styles and opted for a single large brightly coloured fresh flower which was a Trixx Rose (to break away from the usual tradition and compliment our summery theme). The florist sourced the most beautiful rose, which were actually two tones; it had a peachy/orange centre teamed with a beautiful pink edge. Luckily it lasted most of the day but in the evening I changed it up by replacing it with a bright orange artificial flower that I had previously bought.
I treated myself to Swarovski jewelry to match a very stunning bracelet that I inherited by one truly inspiring and amazing lady, (Matt’s Step-Mum, Shirley) who sadly shortly passed away just before our wedding. It was such a lovely thing for me to wear and it meant so much to the family and myself. We definitely felt like she was with us all that day.
Even though I’m petite I’m not a fan of high heels, as I just can’t walk in them! They look amazing on but I’ve never been able to pull them off (without looking like a chicken!)
My friend recommended Upper Street; they provide a wonderful service where you can design your own shoes. I opted for a bright shoe; they had a low strappy heel with a crossover using both a flame and coral satin fabric. I also had an inscription on the insole of the shoe that said, “to love & be loved” and our wedding date. They were made to fit and were truly bespoke. The coloured shoes just peeked through the bottom of my dress adding a little sense of fun to my outfit.
Noticeable Yet Subtle
I’ve always suited loose/messier looks and admired Grecian and Bohemian looks. I really can’t pull off the polished hairstyles but equally wanted a style that would last and hold all day.
Generally I wear my hair down but always pictured an up-do for my wedding and to compliment the backless style of my dress.
I’ve had a fantastic hairdresser for years so I hired Ben to travel to the wedding. He really is the best and so much fun to be around. We had a trial and on the first attempt he created the look that I was trying to describe. I have a lot of hair so Ben curled it and backcombed the top to add height and textures; he then added extra details by adding subtle twists.
For my make-up I wanted to look glamorous but I didn’t want it to be too heavy, it still had to be noticeable enough to make my eyes stand out.
I’m not someone who wears foundation normally but I’m a big lover of bright lipstick and long lashes. I wanted my skin to appear flawless and fresh. I’ve had airbrush make-up applied for television before so I searched for make-up artists that did it and I found the fabulous Airess.
I wanted a loose bouquet as I love Bohemian, relaxed styles but most importantly I wanted the flowers to look energetic with pops of vibrant colours teamed with a balance of flowing greenery.
We opted for a mixture of as peach Trixx Roses, yellow Illios Roses, pale pink/peach Double Lisianthus, Orange Rose, Euphorbia in two shades of orange, French Ruscus and Eucalyptus.
My florist carefully listened to my ideas and sourced the most beautiful flowers from the inspiration I had sent her. I can’t believe the amount of two-toned flowers that she managed to source! For the bridesmaids we had three smaller hand tied bouquets of Trixx Roses, bright Yellow Roses, pale pink/ peach Double Lisianthus, Eucalyptus and Ruscus greenery.
Janine really understood my designs and the tone of the wedding. It was themed, but as the colours and flower styles were really mixed and matched, they just looked beautiful, effortless and spontaneous.
The groomsmen had fantastic buttonhole designs made from an array of bright flowers in a selection of colours from the wedding. Matt’s included Trixx Roses and rolled petals from yellow roses with Hebe and French Ruscus greenery. The other buttonholes were a selection of Trixx Roses, Orange Roses and Orange Spray Roses, yellow Illios Roses, orange Ornithogalums and bright Yellow Roses all with Hebe and French Ruscus greenery. These were then topped with an orange button tied with blue striped twine; this was just enough to add that fun quirky touch. Even the pageboy had a sweet miniature version! I went a little bit buttons mad but I just adore buttons and colour!
Our beautiful bridesmaids wore a spectrum of colours from coral/orange to peach and lemon. I always liked the idea of a mixed colour theme allowing everyone’s personality to come across. They wore Grecian influenced chiffon maxi dresses which complemented my wedding dress.
The pretty flower girls wore softly pleated chiffon dresses in shades of a coral pink; both dresses were individual yet coordinated with one another. My mum gave me away and for her we also chose a flowing mid-length chiffon style in a pink coral. They all tied in perfectly with our fun colour spectrum.
We bought the groomsmen fitted suits from Next and Matt chose those. We decided to just go for a waistcoat (and matching trousers), as we wanted everything to feel relaxed and not too formal. The Groomsmen also had bright orange ties and it really brought the whole wedding party together. I actually sourced them from a brilliant company in Paris. The fitted suits were a blue grey, which the boys teamed with a crisp white shirt and black shoes. Our super cute pageboy wore a sweet grey waistcoat with matching rounded white shirt.
Matt looked absolutely gorgeous and had such a happy smile; the colours we chose really complimented his colouring and his big brown eyes (and ridiculously long and beautiful eyelashes). The orange tie was set off perfectly by the summery decorations displayed around the room. His buttonhole was so sweet and added the perfect finishing touches. He wore a stunning pair of cufflinks that I bought him (as a wedding gift). They were silver buttons (from Ben Sherman) and they actually came with decorative orange thread sewn through.
He seemed so nervous (I was actually quite late for the ceremony – minor hiccup!) but as soon as we both held hands and the ceremony officially started we both felt more relaxed. The first few words he said were “you look gorgeous” and he then told me how nice I smelt (he had bought me some lovely Dior perfume as a wedding gift).
The amazing navy blur were our photographers, it was never going to be anyone else. I love their work so much that if our provisional date hadn’t of worked I would have re-arranged! I met the lovely Christine and Xander at the ‘Do What You Love’ retreat a few years back and I’ve been following their work ever since. Their pictures bring so much fun energy and really capture the moment. I also think they are wonderful stylists. Colour is a big thing for me in my work and our personal life. The way navyblur approach shoots and sprinkle their quirky touches is just brilliant. They captured so many natural shots and I actually burst into tears when I looked at the photos, it was the BEST day and we now have it documented so beautifully. They photograph things in such an innovative & design led way. Christine and Xander are also both just adorable people our wedding guests fell in love with them and their easy-going personalities.
We never wanted the typical traditional wedding; we always wanted it to feel like a big celebration with all of the people we adore. They have such an inspiring photography style that’s fresh and exciting!
I love navyblur so much that I hire them to shoot all of my design work and products! They were definitely the right choice; they went above and beyond my expectations (they work so hard and literally photographed everybody!) We have lots of amazing pictures that the family will cherish for a lifetime.
Keep Your Mitts Off
I designed the basic cake idea, (it was always going to be a colourful one and any excuse to have buttons!) I took a very rough idea to Lorraine from Swirly Sweets and she did the rest, she really paid attention to my ideas and worked her magic. Matt and I went to a tasting (which was yummy and so fun!) and tried out a few styles. I never quite realised how much went into wedding cakes. We opted for a mix of plain sponges teamed with lemon and strawberry filled sponges. We then had a mixture of fondant and cream topping.
Initially we were just going to just have a giant tier of cup cakes but when I saw Lorraine’s beautiful handiwork I decided to go for a small wedding cake too, this then topped the tier and really added the wow factor!
We were both undecided as to go more subtle with the top cake but in the end, I thought lets go crazy and have something different, happy and impactful. There was a bit of back and forth finalising the little details but the effort we both put in really paid off. What was so refreshing was that Lorraine seemed so excited by my design and colour scheme, she said it was so fun to do. She literally made 100’s of the clever little (edible) buttons; we were really blown away by the fine details.
I really wanted our evening guests to see the cake display so I created a cheeky little sign too saying “Please keep your mitts off the cakes until they are served”. It was also a great way of keeping greedy little hands away!
Everything I Imagined
We were abroad at Christmas and there was a great band at our hotel, until this point we had never thought about live entertainment. We searched online and listened to a lot of demos and found a great band called ‘Vibetown’. They have a couple of arrangements for their band, but we hired the full six-piece band, which included two strong female vocalists. They were super professional and their performance was exceptional. We had three; forty minute sets (with a DJ laptop service in between) and everyone really danced the night away, including myself! We had quite a lively crowd who just kept wanting more, the band were fantastic and performed a few bonus extras!
About a month before the wedding I spoke to the manager of the band as I thought it would create a great atmosphere if we had an acoustic set during our actual ceremony. I’d always loved the idea of walking down the aisle to live music. Then I heard a cover of Bob Marley’s ‘Is This Love’ by Corrine Bailey Rae and knew this was the aisle song (I cry every time I hear it). We were graced by the beautiful voice of Hannah Rockcliffe (who also performed with the band). She sang our songs so beautifully with real emotion. Hannah entertained the guests (and keep Matt calm) whilst they were waiting for the ceremony to start. Matt chose the songs here, which were ‘Clown’ by Emile Sande, ‘Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow’ version by Amy Winehouse and ‘Empire State of Mind’ by Alicia Keys.
We had a short pause to break up the ceremony and we listened to Norah Jones’ ‘Come Away With Me’ there was a lot of tears! I’m choking up writing this now…
At this point I remember taking a moment to look around to soak it all up. It was everything we had imagined; it was a real heart felt ceremony, the room looked so pretty, I was just thrilled. The way in which the candles flickered off set against the warm peachy tones of the scattered floor petals was perfect and so romantic. I remember grinning at Matt whilst sobbing happy tears! It was just immense and I felt so lucky.
My friend Carrie is a very talented writer and journalist so we asked her to write a unique piece around the theme ‘to love & be loved’ and she delivered such an elegant and emotive reading.
Whilst signing the register Hannah sang ‘Nothings Real But Love’ by Rebecca Ferguson and ‘Cosmic Love’ by Florence and The Machine. We then left the ceremony as Husband and Wife and walked down the aisle to ‘You’ve Got The Love’ from Florence and The Machine (covered by Hannah). I remember really listening to the lyrics whilst looking around the room at the number of smiling faces; it was just bliss and we were just both so giddy!
Hannah continued to play during our main sit down meal; she provided the perfect backdrop for the day. I actually said to her “I could marry you” as I was literally blown away by her talent. She covered more of our favourites such as Coldplay’s ‘The Scientist’.
Unique And Hand Drawn
I crazily designed and made most things (except for the hanging paper lanterns). We decorated both the inside and outside of the venue (with my lovely helpers) and I spent literally months prepping for our wedding. It was almost like planning for a big design show (but even more time consuming). In the run up to the big day my studio turned into a wedding showroom, even my assistant was creating diagrams for me, wrapping and prettying up things, as there was just so much to do and it always takes longer than you think.
Matt knew this was my thing, I was like a kid in a sweet shop, he just let me take full reign and I just used to bounce the ideas to him, he said he just couldn’t believe how it turned out. I had done my best to try and explain the vision but he said it was just “amazing” when he had seen it all come together.
Everything pretty much stemmed from our wedding invitation design, it took me a while to finalise those, as I knew it would drive the creative styling for the rest of the event.
I wanted to create lots of hearts (adorned in pattern) to be everywhere in all of the happy colours I had chosen. We had a summery feel with orange, corals, yellows, pinks and hints of lemon and peach. It really was a spectrum of colours.
I decided to go for card decorations as the GF Smith stock we chose really made our colours pop! I created a unique, hand-drawn heart shape and three different designs in six colours. I used what I call my ‘Bohemian’ motif, which almost looks lace-like so it was perfect for a wedding. In the end I sent Century Studios (our printer) over ninety hearts to print in various colours, designs and sizes. I really wanted to mix and match sizes to make the decorations feel more interesting and spontaneous. The hearts ranged from cute little A8 confetti hearts to gorgeous, eye-catching A4 hearts. We also created different sizes so that they were fully versatile and could be used in so many ways: as table confetti, chair backs, wall and ceiling decorations, and even photo booth props! The hearts were hung or tied together (by a simple hole punch) with bright orange striped twine that added more fun colour to the room.
The tables were also planned out and designed! Right down to the table numbers, menus, place settings and favours. For the table numbers I again used my hand-drawn heart shape and created numbers zero to nine in three different colours. They were held up with quirky, giant wooden pegs, which the guests seem to have a lot of fun with after dinner! The menu was designed on a circle to make it more fun and really brought the whole table together. For the name place settings I wanted something a bit different so I created small, circular nametags using my ‘Bohemian’ pattern. We had two sets of colours; blue for men and a gorgeous vintage manila for the women. We tied them to the napkins with the bright twine & ribbon. The guests were even using them as bracelets later on in the evening! It was great to see them being used and taken home as a keepsake of the day.
I opted for circle and hearts shapes as it was something a little bit different; the heart emulates love and the circle portrays the togetherness (of the wedding bands) it was a subtle approach.
As the room had several different areas I also designed some fun signs to make it easier for the guests to navigate the room. I designed fifteen signs altogether for the kids play area, the photo booth area, the cake area and extras that were just for fun and for the photo booth. They really added another playful dimension to make the atmosphere even more relaxed.
For the room decorations I knew I wanted the striking high ceiling to make an impact, which is why I sourced some amazing paper lanterns from ‘The Hanging Lantern Company’. They produce a range of sizes in so many gorgeous colours and we were so happy to have found them. For the ceiling we hired Matt from ‘Wedding Venue Lighting’ to wrap fairy lights around all of the wooden beams of the venue (both inside and out) and he actually helped us to hang up the lanterns. I aimed to be really organised so we had actually created plans (and mocked up the room in Photoshop) for the ceiling and eaves of exactly where to place all of the lanterns, as there were several sizes and colours. We stuck to mainly orange and yellow with white dotted in which contrasted beautifully with the wooden beams and looked stunning next to all the twinkling fairy lights.
We also scattered a small selection of the A4 Bohemian hearts from the beams, these add an extra subtle touch and helped to tie the entire venue styling together.
For the signing of the register table I wanted it to be beautiful and make it feel extra special so it was decorated with gorgeous flower glass jars tied with ribbon and twine. Some of which had unique or vintage buttons attached and a lot of the smaller jars even had had bright buttons lining the bottom of the glass. The jars contained a selection of Trixx Roses, Orange Roses, Yellow Roses, Illios Roses, Orange Spray Roses, pink/peach Double Lisianthus, orange Ornithogolum and Gypsophilia. The table was also scattered with the cute A8 heart confetti I had printed adding to its specialness.
The ceremony aisle was lined with delicate rose petals in a mix of peach, yellow, orange, coral and pink tones; these were then weaved between arrangements of decorated jars. Each glass jar had a white pillar candle inside and added to the ambience. Every jar was individually dressed, so much love and care really went into our tiny details. I commissioned some freestanding wooden letters; we used these as a focal point for the aisle and had the letters ‘M’ and ‘R’ made along with a smaller ampersand.
I really wanted to inject more of our ‘Bohemian’ pattern into the room so a few months before I decided to design my own personalised fabric. We then used this a simple runner (for the cards and gifts table) and a fun back drop for our photo booth.
For outside the venue we bought beautiful white wicker hearts that we attached threaded summery buttons (we had a LOT of button sewn!) We also displayed lots of decorative glass jars with their colourful twine and ribbon. The outside had subtle design touches. When the sun began to set and the outdoor fairy lights began to sparkle against the flickering candles; it really was picturesque. Sandburn Hall has the most beautiful backdrop of countryside for a wedding.
I can’t thank my team of helpers enough, so many friends and family chipped in by sewing buttons, washing and collecting jars, tying ribbons etc. I even asked my niece to create a picture that was sent out with the invite. She then drew another picture to walk down the aisle with saying “Uncle Matt, here comes your Bride!” It really did make our day extra special knowing how many people were involved; literally every glass jar donated was used! (I also think I probably drove my assistant insane, I was addicted to the wedding process!)
We were so lucky with the weather, in the UK we had just had a heat wave and right before the big day the forecast really changed, it was supposed to rain for the majority. Somehow we managed to have dry spells and hazy sunshine but as I walked down the aisle it actually poured down, it was okay though as the ceremony was indoors. Then as we said our vows the sky turned grey, moody, heavy and atmospheric. It actually made the room feel extra cosy. I can’t explain the feeling that it created; it was like something from a movie as there was lightening and claps of thunder as we said, “I do”. The registrar even commented on how the stormy skies added the perfect ambience and for the rest of the day we were blessed with dry, warm weather.
Our Own Thing
The fact that we just did our own thing and tried to inject lots of fun things made it more laid back and just a relaxed happy occasion. My mum is my best friend and it was so lovely to have her walk me down the aisle as she gave me away.
It had been such a tough year for our family; I really can’t explain how much this day meant to us, we really needed a happy occasion. We are so glad we opted for colour and treated it like a big party and it really helped it feel lively on the day. Colour always brings joy and it really set the tone of the day.
I was astounded at how relaxed I felt at the wedding, I had a slight wobble early on in the morning but as soon as I put my dress on I was super chilled. My mum couldn’t actually believe it. I figured I had put so much into the design and planning it was now time for me to sit back and just enjoy every moment. The design touches were great to have but just having a giggle, spending time with our loved ones and becoming Matt’s wife was more than enough to put a big smile on my face!
Matt even said he was so nervous but had such a fun and relaxed day. It really was the BEST day of our lives!
As a designer I was always going to be a 100% involved in every little detail, I could have kept going but I’m so pleased that the hard work really paid off and all of the little touches were really appreciated.
We have a lot of nieces and nephews’, so making sure the children had fun was also really important to us; we had a dedicated play area and bought cute props for them. They also seemed to have the best time in the photo booth!
A few people thought I was bit mad when I told them some of my ideas such as: bright colour and mix matching details. Everyone has different opinions and I’m sure it may not be have been to everyone’s taste, but our theme really added to the atmosphere. It really was a joyful day! What was also nice was that we turned our wedding in a full three-day mini holiday, we all stayed at log cabins near by (including Alfie our Husky dog). That way we got to properly catch up with our friends and family and we even had another little party the next day! We even decorated the log cabins too so that it was a fully colourful experience for the family.
I’d always advise to do what’s truly important to you as a couple, trust your instincts and don’t be scared to add splashes of your personality.
I really did shop around – it was hard finding a few of my suppliers initially but we really did end up with a fantastic team who really listened and took care. What was so refreshing was how passionate everyone seemed to be about our summery theme!
I think the venue is really important; I always pictured our wedding with a modern colourful feel and being in a barn or somewhere with beautiful scenery and beams. I found that at Sandburn Hall, so it made the rest of the styling and planning really easy. I knew an ornate hotel or vintage setting just wouldn’t work with our modern summery theme, we both loved that the venue was surrounded with beautiful greenery. The large windows allowed the beautiful light to stream through, it was truly magical. The minute we viewed the venue we knew it was ‘the one’ and I actually cried as I instantly pictured our day!
In the beginning I found choosing my colours first was helpful as it really led the direction for the wedding and shaped the overall style. (A lot of weddings are oriented around the colours of the bridesmaid dresses).
If you are creative, then it really is lovely to be involved. I crazily chose to make so many jars and accessories and design every inch of our wedding but I wouldn’t have it any other way and in the end it actually saved us a lot of money. Everything always takes longer than anticipated, always plans ahead and prepare for minor hiccups.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help, I knew I had bitten of more than I could chew with decorating such a large room; I had a creative vision and knew I needed help to achieve it. I love styling and would have to have been there for the whole process but I was the bride after all and needed to get ready!
Have a wine and nibbles night, invite the girls around put on some music and get creative, we had so much fun making all of the extra additions, it was a great way for my friends and family to be involved and also have a good old catch up.
Life really is precious and it really is a day that will stay with us forever. We are so grateful for the happy memories and our special photographs.
And lastly really treasure every minute of it, even the crazy wedding chaos that can occur, as I have really missed the planning! I’ve actually now launched into designing for the lovely wedding world as it’s something I’m so passionate about. WEDDINGS ARE THE BEST!
Stationery – Rachael Taylor (The Bride)
Room styling table and chair decorations, heart room decorations and fun signs by Rachael Taylor
Photo booth design and fabric back drop by:Rachael Taylor
Decorative jars (aisle and tables and outdoor) wooden hearts with buttons by: Rachael Taylor
Fabric runner designed and made by:Rachael Taylor
Blooms: Janine Roberts fromEllo Flower
Cakes: Lorraine Mills at Swirly Sweets
Make up: by Airess
Hair: Ben Hodgson
Venue and catering: Sandburn Hall
Paper lanterns and parasols: Hanging Lanterns
Lighting hire: Venue Wedding Lighting
Wedding dress: Scarlett Poppy
Bridesmaid dresses: Misguided
Flower girls dresses: Monsoon
Artificial hair flowers: Acccessorise
Groom, best man ushers and pageboy outfits: Next
Entertainment (band): Vibetown
Acoustic singer: Hannah Rockcliffe
Photography – Navy Blur
Hands up if you’re going for brights for W-day….
Big Creative Love