What Shirley Did… Contemporary Cool. (Part 2)

If you missed part one of RMW Real Bride Shirley’s W day report then don’t hang about, check it out right now!

And now prepare for a seriously big pop of contemporary colour as we join the party, complete with more singing and dancing than you can shake a hugely talented stick at!

Photography is by Ben at Touch Photography and make suere you check out the video at the end of Shirley’s report which was shot by Jeff at Jeff Woods Visuals.

Ok, for the last time, Shirley… Over to you.

Count On Me

As we entered the reception room, my daughter sang ‘Count on Me’ by Bruno Mars – this was incredibly special to us as she has an amazing voice and really wanted to contribute to our day with music. It’s not a love song but the lyrics talk about how you will be there for each other no matter what and this really sums up a fundamental part of our relationship. We were so proud of her and everyone still talks about how beautifully she sang and how talented she is. I’m a proud mummy!

Everyone is a DJ

For the rest of the wedding breakfast we played an iPod playlist compiled from our guests suggestions on their RSVP cards plus some chilled out tunes that we chose. In the evening we also had an iPod playlist as my one requirement was that the music could be danced to. In hindsight, compiling the playlists took an inordinate amount of time and became a really stressful chore. It was a cheaper option but there were many times when we wished we’d just paid for a DJ and primed him on what songs to play!

Gluten Free Treats

As I can’t eat wheat or gluten, we worked with the venue to try and ensure that the food was as gluten free as possible. We had canapés served immediately after the ceremony which were provided by Truly Scrumptious – Tania was an absolute angel as we only booked her 2 weeks before the wedding and she still managed to rustle up a whole feast of gluten free canapés which went down a storm.

For the sit down meal, apart from the Yorkshire Pudding on the roast beef, everything else served was gluten free and I don’t think anyone even realised. For our evening guests we had a buffet of bacon rolls (including one gluten free one for me!) and chip cones plus a sweetie bar.

Cheese Cake

The cake was always going to be difficult and a traditional cake was not an option. We considered many alternatives, but were put in contact with Rebecca from Rebecca’s Cakes and assured that she could offer a gluten free choice. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I can tell you that Rebecca is totally brilliant. We decided on a gluten free cheesecake and she gave us lots of samples in a variety of flavours and recipes as well as being willing to try out recipes that I’d found from my google searches.

In the end we chose an orange flavoured cheesecake with chocolate orange curls on the top. We had one big cheesecake (to cut) plus individual cheesecakes to serve and they looked amazing and tasted even better. The venue plated them and drizzled a bit of coulis around the plate. Unfortunately we forgot to use the cake topper that we’d spent ages sourcing, but only realised the next day and it was too late by then. For our evening guests, we ordered some cake pops from Pop Bakery in turquoise with orange drizzles. They were very popular!

40 Years

We didn’t have a special song for our first dance and actually found it quite difficult to choose something that we could dance to, that we liked and which didn’t have ‘break up’ type lyrics! We chose ’40 Years’ by Tone Damli after I heard it while out dancing one night and fell in love with the track. It has really beautiful lyrics and the right sentiment. What was more special though, was that Rog spent 4 months coming along to dance classes with me just so that he could dance our first dance.

My dance friends were seriously impressed by him dancing as not many of them knew that he’d been learning (and the dance was freestyle and not choreographed). We didn’t want to dance on our own for too long though, so we primed a few friends to cut in on us when we gave the nod, and then more friends cut in on us again so that by the end of the track the dance floor was full.

Musical Therapy

I decided not to have favours and instead arranged a secret surprise for Rog by sponsoring a teen through a music therapy course run by Winston’s Wish. Winston’s Wish are a charity who support children who have suffered a bereavement of someone close to them, often a parent. Music therapy is a cause close to Rog’s heart and we already support Teenage Cancer Trust plus Rog’s dad died when he was a teen, and so it was really appropriate for us to support Winston’s Wish.

I’d been up to Cheltenham to visit them and also arranged for them to make a video message which was played on the day but it was a real challenge keeping it all secret as I didn’t tell a single person what I was up to! I was nervous about springing the surprise during my speech but it was very emotional for the whole room (in a good way!) and Rog wiped a tear away when I told him so I knew I’d done something that was very personal for him.

A Contemporary Look

The room decoration was a bit of a challenge to be honest – I wanted a very contemporary look and this is incredibly difficult to achieve as most wedding companies are focused on classic, traditional or vintage styles. The spherical shape of the flower balls ended up setting the tone for the rest of the décor.

I chose giant balloons (although 2 of the 5 helium canisters we ordered arrived empty and it was too late for us to get more) as well as spherical lanterns and paper balls hanging from a mesh system provided by StressFree Hire The ceiling in the venue was really high and I wanted to make it feel more intimate. They also supplied uplighters in orange and turquoise and some disco lights which helped make the evening feel very different from the daytime. Berkshire Wedding Hire https://www.berkshireweddinghire.co.uk/ supplied table linen, chair covers and sashes. Both décor companies were really professional and worked a long day to get everything set up and taken down on the day – I don’t envy them!

Bespoke Stationery

Our table stationery & plan was designed by Amy Adams who I found on Etsy. She created all our bespoke stationery designs from invites to menu wrappers and I really can’t recommend her highly enough. She worked patiently with me and my hair brained ideas to produce a stunning and contemporary set of coordinating items which got so many positive comments from our guests.

Make It Happen

After a lot of thought, we decided to get an ‘on the day’ wedding co-ordinator because I was worried that all my forward planning would be for nothing if there wasn’t someone there to make it all happen properly on the day. I found it hard to find someone who understood what I mean by a contemporary wedding and so I took a chance and asked fellow RMW Contemporary Cool entrant Rachie from achichiaffair if this was something she would consider doing for us. Luckily she said yes, and it was one of the best decisions we made.

She worked her socks off and was the first to arrive and the last to leave. She spent a long time in advance making sure she understood what I wanted and how everything should look, contacted my suppliers, visited the venue … I could go on! If you’re considering having any kind of wedding co-ordinator, I would have to wholeheartedly recommend the experience in general and Rachie in particular. Go for it!

Make A Top Three

What made our day special to us ultimately was trying to stay true to what was important to us as a couple. We spent half our budget on photography/videography and a good chunk on decoration, then everything else was fairly budget. We also decided to keep numbers small which meant we could add little touches like personal handwritten notes to each guest on the back of their name-cards. Different things are important to each couple so my advice would be to work out what your top three important things are and stick to them.

Let Everything Sink In

The other thing I would recommend is to take some time out during the day to just let everything sink in. We’ve both been married before and felt that our previous wedding days had passed by in a blur, so we worked hard to build in some time just for us on the day. We got Ben and Jeff to drop us off at a local pub after doing our portrait shots and we just sat for 45 mins talking about the day and sharing what we enjoyed so far before they came back to pick us up. We did get some strange looks walking into a country pub in wedding gear but it was fabulous to have some alone time.

And lastly, a piece of advice to suppliers … keep in contact with your couple – it costs nothing to drop them an email every so often checking in with them, making them feel special and that you’re as excited as they are about their wedding day. It sounds obvious but many suppliers don’t do this and for us, it made the difference between the suppliers we loved and have frequently recommended and those that we felt just did their job.

So there you go – now you know all about our day. All that is left to show is our wedding film that was shot by Jeff Wood.

Thank you for reading my blog entries over the last year and I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing the final result! Good luck to you all with your own weddings and enjoy every second.

Shirley x

Venue – Burnham Park

Boutique – Berkshire Brides

Dress – Marianna Hardwick

Headpiece – Victoria Allinson

Maids – Oasis

Make-up – Pippa

Flowers – Nursery Fresh

Photography – Touch Photography

Videography – Jeff Woods Visuals

Cake –Rebecca’s Cakes

Catering – Truly Scrumptious

Cake Pops – Pop Bakery

Stationery – Amy Adams

Co-ordinator – achichiaffair

It has been fantastic to watch Shirley and Roger’s plans unfold. Their contemporary wedding dream was well and truly realised and they succeeded in having one of the most colourful weddings to ever grace the RMW pages.

The reception looks like it was bags of fun too… It makes me want to go and dig out my old dancing shoes. If Only I had some.

Thanks to Shirley and Roger for sharing their big day with us and thank you to Shirley for sharing her plans from day one. Always honest and from the heart it has been a hugely interesting and entertaining account.

Best of luck for the future guys.


33 thoughts on “What Shirley Did… Contemporary Cool. (Part 2)

  1. Shirley that playsuit is immense!

    And your daughter has the best legs – she should wear short dresses every day.

    Love that last shot of you and Rog, I hope you get that one blown up and put on the wall.

    Charlotte xxx

  2. Oh I’m having such a moment – what a simple suggestion to just take some time out and be with eachother for a short while during the day, but great advice!!

    Oh and the jumpsuit! It’s tremendous. So chic.

    The decor is stunning and you’ve captured that clean, bright contemporary look perfectly. Shirley and all of last year’s Real Brides, we need you as mentors and spiritual bridal guidance for our class of 2013 please! I’ve loved hearing about your journey and it’s amazing to see it all come together on the day so beautifully xxx

  3. I love a wedding that really goes full throttle on a colour scheme or theme and Shirley love you’ve nailed it!

    From the carnation balls to the menu wrapped around the napkin to the colour of the food and all of those paper pompoms, I think you’ve really captured a modern, bright and breezy feel. Love it!

    And if I knew that you could move like that, we would have had you dancing your way through the Real Brides Shoot. Amazing!

  4. This is so beautiful Shirely. What a lovely couple you make! I love the fact you and Rog had chill out time in the pub to let it all sink in. That’s just so cool! I’m just about to start planning my wedding and I think making sure you have time for the two of you is the best advise i’ve had yet!

    Oh, and you look stunning by the way!

    Congrats! xo

  5. Erm… all totally amazing! That jumpsuit?! Oh my!!

    All gorgeous, love the band from part 1 – just watched the A-Z, so cool.Major envy there!

    Love the balloon in the last pic – where can I find me one or two of those?!?!

    Loving the ball of flowers too, gorgeous!!

    Congratulations to you both, stunning day xx

  6. Happy memories of an amazing day! The pictures just look amazing! All the colours shine through so well. I loved all the stationery too (Stationery geek that I am!)

    Thank you so much for the link and the kind words!! Was such a pleasure to be there on your wedding day


  7. I love the playsuit Shirley! You own it! As someone who would look utterly ridiculous in one I can say I’m a little jealous!

    What a fun looking day and the personal touches and the decor work so so well!

    Congratulations and best wishes for your future together!

    (will be saving your video to watch over lunch – love a wedding video!)


  8. What a happy and colourful wedding and captured beautifully through your photography/videography……I actually welled up watching your video! Congratulations on your marriage and best wishes for the future.

    p.s. I adore those balloons with the hearts attached – who supplied you? xxxx

  9. Women your details, colours, photos, video, and body are incredible!!!!

    The colours burst out of the photos and your styling is SOOOO contemporary cool it hurts!!!!

    I don’t know what else to say so I shall end how I started on my comment on part one:

    Shirley you ROCK MY WORLD!!!

  10. wow Shirley, all the detail in this wedding is incredible! As Amanda said the colour in the photos is immense.

    I love it all, from the cute round balloons (I LOVE balloons that are round like that, they just seem so much more stylish than normal balloons!?!), to the flower balls, all those gorgeous lanterns & pom-poms and the cake pops!!

    Thanks for sharing your journey with us all and as Karen has said it is fab to see the end result.

    Oh & nearly forgot – that playsuit!!! Looks absolutely fabulous! 🙂

  11. This wedding is stunning in so many ways – but the thing which has really made an impact on me is the fact that you both took the time to have 45 minutes alone together in the pub. What a lovely idea! Congratulations on what sounds like a superb day!

  12. The cake pops are so effective, the display looks really striking and matches the ceiling decorations perfectly. I love your playsuit Shirley, it looks fantastic, thank you for sharing your day with us all!

  13. Again, Shirley’s brilliant attitude shines through this. I aspire to such a thoughtful, considered celebration.

    Where is Rachie based and what areas does she cover?

  14. Thank you all for your lovely comments 🙂

    @phillippa – rachie is based in south London but I believe will cover most areas subject to travel. Drop her a line and ask her, she’s very friendly!

    @victoria – the round balloons are widely available in a multitude of colours. The hearts are polystyrene ones from ebay that I painted with a B&Q tester pot, made a hole through the middle with a skewer and then fed fishing line through the middle. I secured the fishing line in place with a hot glue gun. It was cheap but time consuming like most DIY projects!

    @lauren – doing a bright full on colour scheme was pretty scary as so few people do it, but despite the many raised eyebrows I got when describing my colours during our engagement, I stuck to it and I’m so glad I did! As for the dancing, I need a partner to dance – I’m pretty shy on my own!

    @amanda – you’re amazing too my lovely, please can you be my honorary sister or something?

    @all of you that loved the play suit but don’t think you can wear one – be brave and try one on, I didn’t think it would suit me either but it looked brilliant in the pictures.

  15. Wow what a gorgeous wedding! I would never have thought of cobalt blue and orange but the result is stunning. Also Shirley’s hairpiece is just exquisite. But there’s a lot to love here – perhaps most of all the obvious love between Shirly and Rog, because that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it. (Although fabulous cake pops certainly don’t hurt….!)

  16. Shirley, loved part deux as much as the first. You really made your day look effortlessly cool. Loved the decor, balloons and balls! Play suit is amazing and I think I may be a little bit in live with rog myself! You two are just the most cutest, sincere couple ever. Will so miss reading your posts x x

  17. Absolutely loved reading about this wedding! Thankyou for your advice at the end Shirley for suppliers! It’s good to be reminded and has kicked me up the butt to make sure I email my brides and tell them how much I am looking forward to doing their flowers! X

  18. Love this wedding! I especially love the guestbook/coloring book picture type thing…
    Shirley, is that something you bought? If so, from where?

  19. @Erin – the colouring poster is from not on the high street, it’s called a demo poster and I pasted a link to it in the comments section for part 1 of my wedding write up

    @becky – the hanging lanterns came from Stressfree hire. The honeycombe paper balls came from America and a friend brought them over for us – you can buy them in this country too but they are a lot more expensive. Even with import charges, it would have still been cheaper to buy them in America and have them shipped here but we’re lucky to have friends who were visiting before the wedding and so could bring them over for us. I have them to sell if you’re interested – get Charlotte or Adam to put us in email contact. The white lanterns on the floor came from another rmw bride who gave them to me but I’ve already ‘paid it forward’ and passed them on to another rmw bride – sorry hunny x

  20. Thanks Shirley, I would definitely be interested in the paper balls – I will get in touch with Charlotte and Adam now xx

  21. Blinking fabulous. I’ve also got to say what an incredibly lovely person Shirley is. She’s been a massive support in our little Real Bride club. Congratulations again on your amazing day. So glad all your hard work paid off. x x x

  22. Awww thank you Abi. What a lovely thing to say x

    By the way, the photo montage letters that you made for my kids came out great and they all have them in their bedrooms 🙂 thanks for doing them for me xx

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