Inspiration

Who else gets a little sad at the thought of all the beautiful flowers perishing after the main event? That's why I completely love bride Victoria's bouquet and flower crown, not only are they incredibly beautiful, but they are dried and preserved so they can be enjoyed for years to come. Total win win in my eyes. Plus the muted tones look absolutely stunning against her light gold Maggie Sottero gown. Have you seen the embellished bodice yet? SO pretty! Sulgrave Manor in Northamptonshire made the perfect country venue to house the couples delicious DIY decor. They made fabulous use of wood slices, chalkboard paint, jam jars and glitter! Paying homage to groom Jon's beard with beard prop table names and rustic centrepieces and signs. It was also the gorgeous backdrop for many of the couples portraits by Ania Ames Photography, which most definitely warm the heart.

The Wedding

Victoria the Bride: Jon and I wanted our day to be a relaxed musical celebration with our favourite people in a beautiful setting with copious amounts of good food and drink. With the spring sunshine, whisky bottle table plan, golden glittery beards (a homage to our golden toned hair) and some of our favourite musicians from the Northampton music scene (including Jon) our day felt like a whirlwind of fun and festivity.

The Venue

Jon and I were looking for a venue in Northamptonshire which was intimate, interesting and had some history. Sulgrave Manor was perfect, the ancestral home of the Washington family. Despite being the first venue we had visited we instantly fell in love with the intimate Great Hall, the beautiful gardens and the flexibility the venue offered. As a dry hire venue, we could decorate as we wished and best of all with no corkage fees we could supply our own bar! The staff at Sulgrave were extremely helpful allowing us and our army of helpers (thanks family and friends) some extra time to set up in the days before and Jon and I liked the idea that our wedding hire fee would contribute to the up keep of a historic landmark.

Bride and Groom

After driving past Serendipity Brides for years, I knew where I wanted to start my search and on my first visit I found the dress! In fact, it was the first dress I tried on!!! A light gold Maggie Sottero dress with a beautiful crystal embellished bodice and full tulle skirt. But it was the low scooped embellished back that really made up my mind and paired with a light gold veil and shoes from ASOS the dress was bought. I wanted to feel like me throughout our day so opted to do my own makeup with a family friend Tors, who was a hair dresser helping with low key hair. I kept jewellery to a minimum so not to detract from the embellished dress only wearing diamond earrings bought for my twenty first birthday by my parents. Jon’s search was not quite as straight forward as he was looking for a light coloured slim fit suit, but after a few false starts he found what he was looking for in a light blue three piece from Burtons, paired with brown brogues and a sage green tie.

Bridesmaids/Groomsmen

Our main aim for the bridal party was for everyone to feel comfortable throughout the day. Our two flower girls wore blush pink dresses bought from BHS bridal so I’m sad to see this is no more. Our five bridesmaids wore floral dresses I fell in love with from ASOS and after some alterations also left enough fabric for our eight-month-old niece to have a tutu made. My sister Cherry also made bespoke silver jewellery for each of our bridesmaids which was worn on the day. For the groomsmen we went for a mix and match of blue toned suits which family and friends selected themselves and sage green ties.

Photography

Jon and I were looking for a photographer who really made us feel at ease and who captured the emotion and feeling of our day. We found Ania Ames on Facebook and loved her tone and style immediately! After meeting her we knew she was the lady for us and many of our guests on the day commented on Ania’s super friendly manner and her real care and attention. The results of her skill are plain to see in the fantastic images she captured of our day.

Flowers

I fell in love with Folky Dokey’s creations as soon as my sister Cherry showed some photographs online. The most beautiful crowns, button holes and bouquets I had ever seen!! I hadn’t really considered dried flowers but once I saw Gez’s soft colours and textures there was no going back. Gez couldn’t do enough to help me create the perfect bouquet of dried peonies, which smelled to die for when they arrived (and still do) and when Gez popped in a headband to make up for a slight delay with my order it had to be included in my plans for hair. The rest of the flowers for the day were made up of the soft and simple gypsophila which was turned into rustic button holes and bouquets by me the night before the wedding and placed all over the venue.

Food

Jon and I got engaged in Tuscany after a day of eating and drinking in the sun and we wanted to try and replicate some of the real eating theatre Italy has for our wedding day. The Wild Oven offered just that with their bespoke Land Rover defender complete with its own wood fired oven. We opted for sharing platters complete with olives, charcuterie and spicy nuts which everyone loved for starters. Our main was wood fired spring lamb with salsa Verde and pulled pork, again cooked in the defender’s oven. I really wanted my mum Diane’s pavlovas for dessert and like a trouper she worked through the night leading up to the wedding to make six massive pavlovas which looked and tasted amazing. Our wedding cake was a huge vanilla madeira cake with fresh fruit and cream made by Val a friend of my mum’s and I added a few homemade chocolate brownies which was lucky since they were the only thing our six-year-old niece Ruby seemed to eat all day. In the evening the Wild Oven team served crispy thin pizzas from the defender which were delicious!!

Ceremony and entertainment

I was driven to Sulgrave in family friend Abby’s VW racing camper van (complete with roll bars for Santa Pod raceway). My step-dad Robert walked me down the aisle to Sigur Ros Hoppipolla one of our favourite songs and our ceremony was punctuated by readings from Shakespeare and Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. Once the formal stuff was over we really wanted the day to flow without the fuss and schedule of traditional weddings so speeches were before we ate so everyone could relax and enjoy the food, a free bar meant the drinks kept flowing and the order of the evening was live music, dancing and general frivolity!!!

Written by Lorna Shaw

Dress Designer: Maggie Sottero | Bridal Boutique: Serendipity Brides | Bridal Shoes: ASOS | Bridesmaid Dresses: ASOS | Grooms Suit: Burton | Venue: Sulgrave Manor | Florist: Folky Dokey | Catering: The Wild Oven

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