Stephy and Gary had their beautiful wedding on a Wednesday…..and why not. Filled with more delicious details than I can possibly begin to mention and all captured to perfection by Dasha at Exhibit Emotions whom the crafty couple found via these very pages.
Oh ok go on then – I will mention a few of the details….
There is a bouquet of hyacinth. There are smiles and laughs and kisses in the sunshine. There is what is possibly one of the most visually impressive dessert tables I have ever seen (there will be many gratuitous images of that)… some uber amazing bridesmaid dress rouching action going on and the prettiest paper.
And did I mention a bride that looks like a younger version of Angelina Jolie?
Enjoy lovelies – I know you will.
With our wedding happening on such an odd date (the 29th February), and on a Wednesday, we had a lot of choice for our venue but we got incredibly lucky with Dodmoor House. We had wanted something in the countryside and had looked at a lot of barns but something about Dodmoor immediately stood out to both of us. We live up in Lancashire and neither of us drive, so Gary’s parents had to go and see it for us to make sure that it was right. As soon as they left Dodmoor they rang us up and told us exactly what we wanted to hear, so we made them book it right there and then!
I was pretty scared of veils. I don’t know where this came from, but I thought they were kind of creepy so I didn’t want one. Gary had even mentioned veils to me a few times and I had told him I wouldn’t be wearing one. I didn’t think it would be important until I tried one on with my dress and instantly started to cry. Putting my veil on was when it finally hit me: I’m getting married!
I wore a a ‘Silk Blush Large Bella 2 Rose Hair Barrette’ from Johnny Loves Rosie.
My earrings were 9ct Gold Freshwater Swirl Drop Earrings from H. Samuel (The earrings were put in a Pandora box because they looked nicer than the box they came in!)
I wore a gold bracelet with diamonds that my grandma gave me a few years ago and a gold locket that used to belong to my mom. She passed away from cancer when I was 12. My dad wasn’t able to make it to my wedding either so I wore a picture of them both inside the locket.
I didn’t want a large statement necklace and I thought the locket was simple enough to not detract from the dress. It felt really good knowing they were with me everywhere I went that day.
High Street Chic
I’m not a shoe person, primarily because it takes me months to find shoes that fit. I’m a size 8, with a pretty wide foot, so it’s very hard to come by shoes that are pretty and comfortable at the same time; I usually have to compromise!
I really wanted to wear coloured shoes so I got some cute turquoise ones, but they really hurt my feet (even more than heels usually do) and I had to give up that dream. I ended up going through another two pairs before finding the perfect ones in Debenhams!
Green And Grey
Damaris was the only bridesmaid I had, while Gary had a trio of Best Men.
Since Damaris lives in Miami, all of our conversations were held on late night MSN Messenger and when we began to search for bridesmaid dresses, we ended up both really liking one from Vera Wang’s White collection in David’s Bridal. It was a V Neck Sleeveless Chiffon Column Dress in Moss and it ended up fitting perfectly with the colours in our wedding.
We ended up buying the suits for the boys at Very as we wanted more everyday suits, rather than something more traditional that would need renting. The boys were also given geeky cufflinks that were personal to them, such as Daleks or Transformers!
Gary’s suit was from Next. He wore a warm grey 3-piece suit and a green tie from Debenhams, along with a pocket watch that his parents gave him. He also had his own geeky cufflinks: twenty sided dice to represent his love of boardgames. He wore brown leather boots from Clarks, which were brand new versions of the tattered old boots he always wears!
I had no idea what he was going to look like as I had never seen him in a suit and, as he wasn’t allowed to see me before the day, he decided that it was only fair that I wasn’t allowed to see him either.
Second Time Lucky
I got my dress from the lovely Preston Bridal Gallery. My dress was called “Lavinia” from La Sposa. Unfortunately, it was not the only dress that I purchased!
Dress shopping came as something of a shock to me. I knew that I wanted lace, a buttoned back, and nothing sparkly or strapless. I also didn’t want to spend an absurd amount of money but I had a reasonable budget and 4 months until my wedding. I thought that I was well prepared.
When the time finally came to try on some dresses, I was told that I wouldn’t be able to order anything in time and would need to pick something off the shelf! After an afternoon of mild panic, and a visit to every bridal store in the area, I went back to Preston Bridal Gallery where I started and tricked my mind into getting a dress that was almost exactly what I didn’t want: A sparkly strapless dress with a corset back.
I don’t know how I managed to convince myself that I had made the right decision, but when I got home and looked at the pictures of me in the dress I just broke down.
Long story short, the girls at Preston Bridal Gallery saved me. They agreed to exchange the dress for another one in stock and I ultimately found my perfect dress there.
I found Jenny Buckland after a long weekend of Googling and after a few emails back and forth, we set-up a trial date and she came over to the in-laws house. She had a really calm nature to her, not in your face and just very friendly which is perfect for me as I am an extremely shy person! I rarely ever wear make-up so I just wanted a natural look, which she did perfectly!
As for my hair, we decided on a messy side bun but I changed my mind on the day and we did it half-up half-down with some plaits. It was a risky move, but it was more ‘me’ and I’m so glad that I changed my mind. I enjoyed the day so much more without the fear of ruining my hair whenever I turned my head!
Focus On Florals
Succulents were the main focus for flowers. Gary and I really like cacti and they were the closest thing we could use without injuring anyone! They are just very different to traditional flowers and ended up working really well for the boys buttonholes as they aren’t too feminine.
We chose Julie-Anna Flowers because she was a recommended supplier by Dodmoor. I sent her many emails and mood boards with my ideas, she was brilliant about it and very helpful!
My other main flowers were China Pink Hyacinths which smelled absolutely divine and looked gorgeous. Anna placed them on every other chair in the barn and the room smelt so lovely and added a touch of spring. I also used them for my bridesmaid flower and Anna put them in the centre pieces and in my bouquet. I loved them! The rest of the flowers consisted of bloom chrysanthemums, ranunculus, viburnum and tulips.
Anna told me she had never worked with succulents before but I would have never been able to guess that from the beautiful job she did.
We got the heart centrepiece buckets from HomeBase and the wooden crates with our names on it we ordered online from PlantABox.
Long Distance Love
I actually found Dasha from Exhibit Emotions here on Rock My Wedding! Since I study photography at university, choosing the right photographer was of great importance to me, and Dasha’s images immediately ticked all the right boxes. Dasha also shares her story on her website about how she met her husband. I really connected with that as Gary and I were a long-distance relationship to begin with and once I began to talk to her through email I knew I had made the right choice.
We had our engagement shoot at my in-laws house and it was the first time Dasha had ever photographed a pre-wedding shoot in someones house. It was new to her but she did brilliantly and it wasn’t long before we were all having a really great time.
On the day, Dasha captured everything we wanted and more. A lot of my family couldn’t make it to the UK to attend the wedding but with the help of Dasha I was able to share my day with them; she captured that emotion and my family and friends could feel that. To me, that’s something to treasure.
Inspired By Amy
Apart from getting married of course, the most important thing on my list was having an amazing dessert table filled with sweets! I discovered the amazing Amy Atlas at the beginning of my wedding planning and she really was what inspired me to create the dessert table. I knew I wanted a unique cake to be the focal point of the dessert table, so I began looking at inspiration online and in magazines and from all of those pieces I eventually designed an ombre cake pops cake. Ceri from The Funky Cake Company brought my vision to life and she did an amazing job – it was her first time doing cake pops too!
We left the top tier as a regular cake so that we could cut it. Inside the cake was a gradient of pink and each cake pop was also pink inside. Since we were having a dessert table with lots of other desserts, we decided to keep the cake neutral and we went for a simple vanilla flavour with a white chocolate coating!
Ceri also made a replica chocolate cake from the video game Portal to reference Gary’s proposal.
The dessert table itself was a collaboration between the caterers, Portfolio Events and myself. It was the first time they had ever done a dessert table before, but after going for a tasting of their desserts I had no doubt in my mind that they would be fit for the job. When we went for a tasting with Portfolio, they really hit it out of the park. They were outstanding! They knew how important this dessert table was for me and instead of just letting me try a few of the desserts I asked for, they filled practically the whole table up of every dessert I had asked for! My only regret from the wedding was not being able to eat all of that tasty food!
My mother-in-law, Linda did an incredible job with helping me with the dessert table, as well as with everything else with the wedding! I couldn’t have done it without her. She helped me source out all the platters for the desserts to be put on and all the accessories for it. I kept in regular contact with Emma from Portfolio Events who helped us with all the catering. I sent her photos of how I wanted it to look on the day and while we were eating during the wedding breakfast, her and her team constructed the dessert table! I love Dasha’s photo of me seeing the dessert table for the first time. I think it pretty much speaks for itself!
Aside from dancing, the one thing we knew we didn’t want was a cheesy wedding DJ so we needed something else to fill that space in the evening. Luckily, Gary’s dad works in the entertainment business and called in a ton of favours to put on something truly special. Brace yourself! We had lot of entertainment.
For the ceremony and part of the wedding breakfast, we had the fabulous string quartet, Nero. They were really out of this world and went out of their way to play specific music that we gave them during the ceremony. I walked down the aisle to Concerning Hobbits from The Lord of the Rings and we walked out of the room to the Victory Fanfare from Final Fantasy. Noticing the geeky theme, they even went the extra mile and entertained us all with the song from the Cantina in Star Wars. Amazing.
Throughout the day, we had George Williams, a caricaturist who did a fabulous job capturing our guests. He was a definite crowd pleaser.
We had Mark Shortland, a magician who was just simply WOW! You may have seen him on Penn & Tellers Fool Us last year. He did some incredible tricks and kept us all laughing, he was also incredibly friendly and a wonderful addition to the day!
During the desserts we were entertained by Grace, a trio of exceptionally talented girls who provided the perfect atmosphere with their music.
We had four acts in the evening:
The Supernovas, who played acoustic versions of some of our favourite songs. They both started and finished the show for us and were genuinely wonderful!
I don’t even know how to describe the second act, Raymond and Mr Timpkins. They perform to a fast paced mix of clips from popular music, using signs and props to poke fun at misheard lyrics and… you really need to see them for yourself to understand it. They were incredible and had the entire room in fits of hysterical laughter from the minute they started until they left stage.
We also had Nell A’more, a pop/opera classical crossover act who are quite different from the usual. It’s not everyday you get to hear amazing voices like this and they performed everything from classical opera to songs from Moulin Rouge.
Finally, we had Harris and Day who are an incredible comedy double act with simply amazing voices.
Gary and I left the entertainment mostly up to Gary’s dad to figure out. Never in a million years would I have expected the performance that we ended up with!
Love Is On Its Way
We decided to give each guest a fortune cookie with a little note I made which read: ‘On July 10th 2006, the night before Stephanie and Gary were to meet for the first time, Gary opened a fortune cookie containing the same message as the cookie in this box. When Stephanie arrived the following morning, Gary gave her the message and she has kept it with her ever since.’
When people opened the fortune cookies, the message said: ‘Love is on its way.’
I am originally from Miami and I met Gary online through a mutual friend. We had spoken once before but nothing came from it, but in 2006 we connected and spent everyday speaking to each other online. Coincidentally, before we started talking, he already had booked a holiday to Orlando and I had already booked a trip to the UK to visit our mutual friend. Even more coincidentally, my trip to the UK was on the same day as he returned home from the US. We met up in Orlando and got on like a house on fire, and then he picked me up from the airport back in the UK. The rest is history.
Dodmoor House is so beautiful already that I didn’t really need to buy a lot of decorations for it. There was plenty of candles that Dodmoor provided as well as fairy lights and ceramic hearts hanging from the walls. I basically ran with the heart theme and when I bought anything or designed anything, I tried to include that.
I bought 5 chalkboard table numbers from The Wedding of My Dreams. I chose these frames from Ikea which I had seen in a lot of other weddings and I thought they were brilliant. They’re easy to assemble, very cheap and double-sided!
Instead of placing our rings on a cushion, we placed them on this ceramic heart I found in Marks & Spencers for £3. As well as our flowers for the table centre, we decided to include a quote on each table that we really liked from a favourite book or TV show. Films, books and video games are a big part of our life and we wanted to include that in our day.
My favourite DIY project to do was our escort/place cards. We got a huge canvas print of one of our engagement photos and we then hung the escort cards from it. Each escort card had a picture of one half of a couple from a film, t.v. show or video game; to find their seat each person simply had to find the matching character on the table.
Our wedding was special because it was our wedding. This may seem obvious, but in planning our wedding we decided to respond to every tradition by asking “why?”. Any tradition that we liked, we kept and any that we didn’t want we got rid of and replaced it with something unique to us. As a result, the whole day felt like it was truly ours.
I never grew up day dreaming about my wedding. I actually used to promise people I was never going to get married when I was little. I had no childhood expectations to live up to and nothing to worry about. I was sure that it was going to be fun and stress free…
Just know it’s normal to be crazy. About everything. It’s okay to buy two wedding dresses, three pairs of shoes and too many hair accessories! Okay, maybe it’s not so great for the bank, but trust me, you’re not going nuts! Weddings can make anyone go crazy, even someone like me who has no childhood fairytale wedding to live up to.
Take on only as much as you can handle. Don’t stress over the fact that you can’t DIY your whole wedding. You need to do what makes you happy and if at any point you’re not enjoying what you’re doing, stop and look for another alternative. Look at things for inspiration and take in as much as you can, but make sure that your wedding is your day, not a copy of someone else’s. Don’t be scared to be a little different, it’s those things that make your wedding yours. Make sure to take a little break every so often and remember why you’re getting married; and spend time with the person who proposed to you, even if it feels like the world will end if you don’t find the perfect confetti right this second.
Most importantly of all, remember that they’re just things. The night before our wedding, Gary’s mum fell down the stairs and was rushed to hospital. Suddenly everything was put into perspective and all the stress about cakes, flowers and linens seemed so utterly pointless. Thankfully, she had only broken her wrist and was able to make it to the wedding the next day.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter where you are or what you’re wearing as long as you share your day with the people you truly care about and end the day married to your best friend.
Photography – Exhibit Emotions
Venue – Dodmoor House
Dress – La Sposa
Boutique – Preston Bridal Gallery
Bridesmaid Dress – White by Vera Wang at David’s Bridal
Grooms Suit – Next
Best Men Suit: Very
Flowers – Julie-Anna Flowers
Hair + Make-up – Jenny Buckland
Cake – The Funky Cake Co.
Catering – Portfolio Events
Videography: Your Perfect Day
How many ideas are you going to steal? the blooms? the dessert table? Stephy’s natural beauty-look?
Such a gorgeous W-day. Makes me want to go buy a few pots of hyacinth pronto.
Big Long Distance Love