I love this wedding. With a ruddy big capital ‘L’.
For one, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a bride with such a cracking set of pins as Sophie has. Trust me if I had legs like hers I so would have worn a knee length frock too.
She also has the sweetest bow hair accessory that I have ever clapped eyes on and her dress had lace sleeves.
Oh to have lace sleeves.
And I haven’t even got started on the pistachio coloured cake complete with vintage cake topper or the homemade bar or the flamingo wallpaper yet.
Sophie and Tom got married in June 2012 at Salem Chapel, an eighteenth-century dissenters’ chapel in East Devon, and their reception was at Sophie’s parents’ house and in the village hall next door.
All this wonderful gorgeousness was captured by the lovely bundle of fun that is Anna Clarke.
A Slightly Reckless Spending Moment
I found my vintage 1960s dress at Fur Coat No Knickers. It was only the third that I tried on but unbelievably it looked such a lot like the dress that I had in my head.
I was set on having something short and quite simple in shape as floor-length and lots of fabric isn’t really my thing. I fell in love with the unusual swing back and the wide neckline.
The brilliant ladies at FCNK had to do some major alterations as the dress was too small, and at the same time they made the V on the back deeper, which I loved too.
In a slightly reckless spending moment I decided to have a change of clothes for the evening and bought a pistachio-green silk dress and some impractically high heels from Reiss. It was fun to change – like having a traditional going away outfit.
Hairbands And Veils
Fur Coat No Knickers also made my short bound veil and the bow hairband that I wore later in the day. The shoulder length of the veil seemed to go so well with the dress, and quite late on, in another spendthrifty impulse, I decided to have a hairband as well.
I’m really pleased that I did as it was so much easier eating and dancing and hugging everyone without a veil on.
I bought and returned two other pairs of shoes before settling on white, mid-height peep-toes by Rachel Simpson.
This was one of those wedding choices that I was stubbornly sure about. I didn’t want white shoes, I wanted them to be old, possibly gold – until I realised how perfectly a well-shaped pair of white shoes went with the dress.
They were incredibly comfortable too.
My best friend Lara did my hair and make up. She always looks immaculately made up and I am a bit clueless about anything beyond eyeliner and mascara so I put myself in her hands.
We went to MAC one day, where I had a makeover, and we had a practice session or two before the wedding to replicate the look, which was fairly straightforward with smoky greys in the creases of my eyelids to make a soft version of the dramatic 60s eyeliner.
I didn’t do anything different with my hair, but it helped to have somebody else to straighten the back neatly for me! I should also thank the number of girlfriends who took it in turns to hold onto my lipstick and comb and regularly remind me to tidy myself up!
My Perfect Man
Tom wore a blue slim-fit Burberry suit, and apart from a sharp white shirt and a Burberry wool tie, he didn’t need any extras: he looked perfect.
A Profusion Of Blooms
The talented and generally delightful Abigail at Albert & Arthur made my beautiful blousy bouquet and the garlands that we had on several of the marquee poles.
In my bouquet there were peonies, British sweet peas (locally grown to Abigail in West Sussex), her own mint and sage, and Viburnum Opulus. In the pole arrangements were bombastic spray roses, hydrangeas, Viburnum Opulus, astilbe, more peonies, Abigail’s home-grown chamomile, and lots of herbs and foliage from our obliging neighbours’ gardens.
My mum and her friend made the table decorations with Sweet Avalanche roses that Abigail recommended and sourced for us (such a good tip of hers – they were like little sugary pink sculptures) and more pilfered foliage and herbs.
They put them in jam jars that I had collected and painted. Buttonholes were one of the wedding traditions that we didn’t feel very strongly about so we didn’t worry about those and splashed out a bit more on the other flowers instead.
I didn’t have any bridesmaids and as we didn’t really want everything to be matching we didn’t ask Tom’s best men to wear any particular suit or colour.
The only part of the wedding that I had specific colours in mind was the village hall, which was such a funny-looking room that the decorations needed to be kind of over the top. I don’t think that elegant and completely tasteful would have worked in there!
I wanted it to look a bit camp and sugary so we had lots of pink, but everyone had a different plate (my mum and I collected them from charity shops and flea markets over a year or so) so there was some mismatching too.
We found Anna Clarke on a long Google search and loved the photos she had on her website. She had photographed a couple of weddings with a tone that made the pictures look a little bit old but without screaming vintage or looking too nostalgic.
I had a chat on the phone with her and was convinced by how friendly and enthusiastic she was, and even more so when she said that she didn’t stick rigidly to a particular style and to a certain extent let the look of the photos come naturally from the wedding itself.
We were also impressed by the fact that Anna’s husband Simon would come along as a second photographer: it really made a difference to how much of the day was recorded.
Grandma’s Fruit Cake
My grandma makes the best fruit cake so we had to have her make one for the wedding. And luckily a great friend of Tom’s sister is an expert homemade cake-maker and she did a wonderful job at icing the three individual cakes in pistachio-green, which I thought would go with all the flowers (and Tom didn’t want any more pink!).
She also got in touch with my florist without me knowing to arrange having the ribbon from my bouquet around the cakes and fresh peonies to decorate them. My mum found an adorable old cake topper too.
Love And Dedication
There were so many songs that we wanted played at the party that we had a DJ rather than a band. My brother’s friend played for the most of the night from a very long list that Tom gave him and a couple of our friends went on for the last couple of hours.
Our first dance was to Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell ‘You’re All I Need to Get By’, which has always been a song of ours in a way. The lyrics are about that old thing of ‘all you need is love’ but also like a set of beautifully expressed vows of dedication.
Just to really up the sentiment we asked a friend to make a film of photos of us from the last six years, which he projected on the side of the marquee behind us while we were dancing. He timed it to the music and interspersed the photos with lyrics from the song.
The same friend was filming some of the day on Super 8 so we have all these other great documents of the wedding to go with the photographs.
We didn’t have any favours as we were never sure of anything that everyone would want to have, but we did have a quiz during dinner and gave away a CD of tracks from the wedding to the winners.
A Homemade Bar
For me, one of the best parts of planning the wedding was thinking about, making and finding the decorations, and then bringing it all together in the week before.
As the wedding was at my parents’ house we were lucky that we could pretty much do anything we liked and we really went to town!
I wouldn’t know where to start with all the things that my mum and I did, but one favourite was the decorations in the village hall, especially the plates we collected, the big paper lanterns I made out of lampshades and pink crepe paper, the flamingo wallpaper from Cole and Son that I put in panels on the wall behind the top table and the banners I made with the help of a kind crafty friend.
The other highlight was turning my parents’ garage into a bar. A good friend of mine made us an actual wooden bar, and we covered the walls in photos of friends and family, and a selection from the stag and hen parties.
Leave Nothing ‘Til The Last Minute
I think our wedding felt special to us, and I hope to our guests too, because so much of it was homemade, involved friends and family, or had some other personal element.
Sometimes it felt harder to organise almost everything ourselves, but as long as you leave enough time and ask favours of people who won’t mind helping, you can do it and it’s really worth it. My main piece of advice about a wedding like that would be to do as much as you can in the months before.
Don’t leave decorating jam jars, printing photos, making place settings and table numbers or other decorations until the final week, as these can all be done in advance and there is so much more to do in the days leading up to the wedding than you think!
Boutique – Fur Coat No Knickers
Shoes – Rachel Simpson
Evening Outfit – Reiss
Florist – Albert and Arthur
Groom’s Suit – Burberry
Photographer – Anna Clarke
Did you see the flamingo wallpaper? How amazing is it!
I think I might have to purchase some for the downstairs loo…
On a more serious note, my favourite part of this wedding is observing the love that Sophie and Tom have for each other. It emanates from them, you can see it in their eyes and in the way they draw each other close into their own private world.
Congrats you two!
All my love Lolly xxx