WHERE WAS IT? We wanted to get married in a venue that had a significance to us. The service was held at St.Michael’s Church in Woolverstone; the church where I attended school church services, and we held the reception in a great marquee in the grounds of Woolverstone Hall, home to Ipswich High School where I went to school.
THE THEME/STYLE: We wanted the style of the day to reflect the countryside location, as well as the Spring season, so we decided on a very natural, country theme with a touch of the vintage, “shabby chic” style to it (hence the bunting, vintage china and bon bon jars etc!). The principle colours were greens and whites with touches of pink.
BRIDE’S DRESS: My dress was from Abigail’s Collection in Colchester – it was by French designer Eglantine and was called Farandole. I bought the lace bolero separately from Angelica’s Bridal in Islington, North London, so it was just luck that they matched so well. Quite a lot of guests on the day thought it was one complete dress, so looked very confused when the lace came off on the dance floor!
BRIDE’S SHOES: The shoes were by Belle and called Capri, also bought from Abigail’s Collection in Colchester
JEWELLERY/ACCESSORIES: My mum leant me her grandmother’s engagement ring to wear on the day as my “something old”, the earrings were my “something borrowed” from my sister, and she also bought me the bracelet as a gift – so I guess you could say it was one of the “something new”s!
HAIR: My hair was done by the wonderful Emma from Cinnamon Brown in Colchester.
MAKEUP: Myself and my bridesmaids all chose to do our own make-up on the day, so in preparation I went for a make-up lesson and bought a selection of mineral make-up by Lily Lolo which felt really light and natural.
BRIDESMAIDS DRESSES: I really loved the vintage style and spring colour of the bridesmaids dresses. They were by Amalfi and were in seamist colour. Our two lovely little flower girls wore dresses from John Lewis, with sashes we made ourselves from ordering extra fabric of the bridesmaids’ dresses.
WEDDING RINGS: We bought the wedding rings from Martin at the Royal Exchange Jewellers in the City of London, just a few moments from Paul’s work. He helped Paul with the engagement ring, too, and was incredibly friendly and helpful.
GROOM/GROOMSMEN’S ATTIRE/COLOURS: Paul and his ushers decided to buy their suits, and found this really lovely grey shade in Marks & Spencer – they looked so smart as they all matched! We made their green ties from the same seamist fabric from the Bridesmaids’ dresses. Just to differentiate himself from his ushers a little, Paul had his own waistcoat made by Andy & Tuly in Piccadilly, London – they hand-sewed the beautiful floral detail in the same green shade.
FLOWERS: We’re incredibly lucky that my sister’s mother-in-law arranges wedding flowers for a hobby with a group of friends (!), so she and her fantastic team of friends arranged the flowers for the church and the venue, as well as the buttonholes. We ordered the bouquets from a very talented and extremely helpful florist in Colchester, Anne Goldschmidt. I chose a shower bouquet for myself, and simple but stunning pink peony bouquets for the bridesmaids. Anne made the floral headbands for the flower girls, too.
CEREMONY DÉCOR DETAILS: We kept the ceremony decor very simple as the church is charming in itself. We tied ribbon to the large trees leading up to the church, and decorated the church with flowers, including lovely pew-ends made from wicker hearts decorated with flowers.
RECEPTION DÉCOR DETAILS: We decorated the Orangery of the Hall with birdcages and Kilner jars filled with flowers to give the vintage feel. I had made lots of bunting which we hang from the ceiling of the Marquee, and on the tables we used tall cylindrical vases and placed large orchids of different spring colours inside. To add more colour to the tables, we hired vintage china from Idyllic Days, and to surround the cake we filled bon bon jars with a variety of sweets. I also made a vintage table plan out of a mirror. We moved some of the flowers and pew-ends from the church to decorate the marquee, too.
WEDDING PLANNER: We did all of the wedding planning ourselves with a very big spreadsheet(!) and with the fantastic support of our parents. As we live in London, Mum and Dad liaised with all of the local suppliers for us and were super organised!
CAKE: My Mum made our wedding cake, which made it extra special. The tiers were a mixture of fruit, chocolate and madeira cake. One of her friends in the village, Sue, iced and decorated it for us!
STATIONERY/INVITATIONS: We chose a folder-style invitation, with an internal pocket on one side for all the Useful bits and bobs of information, and a mounted invitation on the other. Fortunately, one of my good friends is a designer so she did the artwork for us, and another friend arranged the printing. I spent a long (!) weekend, decorating them with lace and brown string to give them that “shabby chic” look in keeping with the vintage style of the day.
FOOD & DRINKS: We used Bouquet Garni for the catering and they exceeded all our expectations. We did hot and cold canapes with the welcome drinks, and for the main meal we chose roast beef to be carved by someone at each table (we surprised the carvers with hats and aprons, which was great fun!), and had a trio of desserts. During the evening we had a lovely hog roast, cheese and cake to keep everyone going!
WEDDING FAVORS/BONBONNIERE: I got a sewing machine for my birthday so decided to put it to good use(!) and, along with some good friends, made the favours for the ladies. We chose to make things people would use, such as keyrings, lavender bags and brooches. For the men, we did miniature bottles of port.
HONEYMOON: After a family lunch the day after the wedding, we jetted off to Singapore and Eastern & Central Bali for two weeks. Paul and I had never been that far East before and it was simply wonderful: Bali was the ultimate place to relax with delicious food and such a peaceful culture – and Singapore is really a “WOW” city. We had an amazing trip.
EXTRA DETAILS… We had some brilliant music on the day, which really provided the atmosphere. During welcome drinks and canapes a wonderful local irish band from Norwich, called Rum Kelter, played for us (Paul’s family originate from Ireland). In the evening, thanks to a great recommendation from Simon, The Cassettes played live sets and DJ’d. They were incredible and got everyone up on the sparkly dancefloor from Starlight Dancefloors! And thanks to James (Chaffy) at Wedding Creative for supplying the amazing lights and pyrotechnics!
WEDDING SONGS/FIRST DANCE: Our first dance is a moment I’ll never forget. We danced(ish!) to Take That’s Greatest Day – it’s such a happy song all about love and optimism and the lyrics fitted the occasion. What I didn’t realise what that Paul and my Dad had arranged fireworks to go off half way through! It was a complete surprise for me and just made the moment.
SOURCES OF INSPIRATION: Looking back on the details of the day, I can see how lots of things inspired our choices: the irish band to reflect Paul’s family’s roots, the table names were all places that we have visited/have meant something to us during our relationship, and even one of the hymns in the wedding service has been used for one of Paul’s favourite Manchester United chants(!). But the majority of the “look” of the day were ideas taken from all the magazines my Mum and I bought!
A MEMORABLE MOMENT: There were so many! One moment which I will always remember was the surprise firework display my Dad had organised halfway through the evening. It was dark and pouring with rain, but every single guest came outside and cosily huddled together under the marquee to watch them. They were spectacular and it was a really emotional moment which gave me a chance to reflect and take in all the joy of the day.
IF I COULD RE-DO ANY WEDDING-RELATED PLANS IT WOULD BE: This sounds very corny, but I really wouldn’t have done anything differently. We were very lucky, and are hugely grateful, to have had huge help from lots of family and friends – so when it came to the day, everyone really felt involved – that was our ultimate aim!
BEST ADVICE FOR PLANNING A WEDDING/TO BRIDES: Throughout all the busy planning, the one thing I would recommend any bride to do is to firstly enjoy every moment as time goes so quickly, but also to keep remembering that amongst all the details of the day, all that matters is the two of you.