David and Ellen were married in May at the beautiful Butley Priory, Suffolk. They got engaged on a round the world trip in 2010 and planned their wedding to be relaxed, fun, personal and informal.
I just adore Ellen’s wedding day look, her statement Sophia Tolli gown, her groomed sleek do and full length veil, she looks utterly gorgeous. With the chic grey colour palette the groom and his men and the maids look very stylish indeed.
Many aspects of their day was dedicated to Ellen’s dad who sadly passed away when she was 19. They chose his favourite flower to be amongst the arrangements, his name was Robin so their was a loose bird theme throughout the day and photographs of parents and grandparents were on the grand piano. Such touching and personal ways to remember loved ones that couldn’t be there.
They also got crafty, i love the brown kraft paper with white pen details, the card box, those cute heart shaped biscuits and the homemade jam favours. What a beautiful beautiful day.
Thanks so much to the photographic geniuses Craig + Kate Photography for sharing their photographs with us today.
Names…. David and Ellen
Wedding Date…. Thursday 17th May 2012
The Proposal…. We left for a 6 month trip around the world at the end of June 2010. We had discussed the possibility of getting engaged whilst we were away, so I sort of knew it was going to happen but didn’t know WHEN! We had been in South America for only two weeks and Dave popped the question…
We were on this guided tour (on a coach) to Bolivia and as part of the tour we stayed with a family on Amantani Island, in the middle of Lake Titicaca. Unbeknown to me Dave realised that a walk to the highest point of the island was planned at sunset and so he had made up his mind to do it then.
Having completed the Inca Trail in Peru only days before hand (lots of steps and/ or hills) Ellen was not thrilled at the prospect of climbing yet another mountain, so as you might imagine, she whinged and moaned all the way to the top, not settling poor Dave’s nerves one bit!
We finally reached the top without incident and Dave proceeded to ask Ellen to marry him ; she couldn’t believe he was proposing so soon after we had been away, so her first reaction was ‘Not yet, not yet!’ and put Dave completely off his game! But she stopped panicking and said yes of course we were just having a tender moment, with tears and laughter when an islander came up to us and asked if we wanted to buy some bracelets, which kind of ruined the moment- but it was very romantic all the same!!
The Vision for the day…. We both wanted a relaxed fun and informal day which allowed us to incorporate ‘us’. It was all about the little details. We also wanted to do as much of the day ourselves as we possibly could so it was even more personal.
The Planning process…. After returning from travelling in December 2010, we set about looking for a venue. We did consider lots of options, even having a marquee in the back garden, but we settled on Butley Priory- the one and only venue we visited. Then we went from there really! Lists and wedding magazines helped enormously with the planning process as they remind you of what you should be doing when and helps you be slightly more organised.
Ellen tried to get ahead of herself by doing things as and when she could- we didn’t want to be rushing around at the last minute looking for things we didn’t have!
The Venue… Butley Priory- gorgeous 14th Century Monastery set in the beautiful Rendlesham Forest, Suffolk. It was the one and only venue we visited and fell in love with it instantly! Having the wedding at Butley meant we could have everything all under the same roof as well as staying over on the night before and night of the wedding- it was great to feel like we lived there for a couple of days!
Federica Hewitt- Smith was our very fabulous wedding co-ordinator and absolutely got our ‘vision’ in every single way and was on board with all of our suggestions and couldn’t have done any more to make our day special.
The Dress + Accessories….. The dress was ‘Athena’ by Sophia Tolli. Ellen went for a theatrical full length veil with tiny crystals- it made the dress! Headpiece was provided by my bridal boutique. Shoes were Rachel Simpson ‘Mimi’- Ellen found them on PreLoved website for about half the price, brand new!
Finding the dress…. Ellen ended up going to just 3 bridal shops around Colchester to try dresses on. She probably tried on about 20 dresses in the end and narrowed it down to three; a lacy one, a floaty full skirted one and one I ended up with. It’s true what they say about the vision you have in your mind about what sort of dress you want changes once you try on! Ellen thought she would end up with an empire line dress, but they did nothing for her whatsoever! The Sophia Tolli dress was actually the last dress
I tried on and knew that was the one she would marry Dave in. I couldn’t get it out of my mind Ellen’s sister Sarah was the one who confirmed to her that was the right dress! She was only down from Brighton for an afternoon and we dashed from one bridal shop to another to compare the three I had narrowed it down to and she said that my dress was just in a dfferent league to the others Ellen had tried.
Groom’s attire… Dave, his best man, ushers and dad all hired their suits from Moss. Dave and his best man had grey Prince Edward cut suits and the others all had regular lengths, which suited them all.
The Readings + Music…. We had two readings, one read by Amber Cartwright Ellen’s best friend and one by Sarah, Ellen’s sister. Both were written by unknown authors. Ellen walked down the aisle to One Day Like This by Elbow. We signed the register to: Stand by me by Ben E. King and Nothing Else Matters by Metallica. And walked out to Magic by ELO.
Beautiful bridesmaids….. Ellen had 3 bridesmaids altogether: Sarah Ellen’s sister, Megan Ellen’s Cousin, Christine Ellen’s Best Friend.
The Flowers… The flowers were done by Vanessa of Vanessa’s florist in Clacton. Ellen used to be her weekend girl when she was in school and there was no doubt about where she would have her flowers done- the quality of displays are fantastic. We took our birdcages in and Vanessa saw the vision completely! I had vintage colours and we went for a ‘meadowy’ feel with, roses, freesias (my dad’s fave) peonies, cowslip, hydrangeas and eucalyptus. Ellen’s mum also made up some cute vases around the venue using forget me nots and daisies growing outside Butley.
The Cake… The cake was a 3 tiered fruit ‘Romantic Pearl’ cake in ivory from Marks and Spencers. Not wanting anything fancy, Ellen just ‘prettied’ it up with lace and ribbon and our florist did a lovely flower arrangement for the top tier.
Your Photographer…. Our photographers were the geniuses that are Craig and Kate Williams!!! We are lucky enough to be able to call them our friends and there was no question about who we wanted to do our wedding, we were just lucky that they agreed!!! We had a pre- wedding shoot with them which put us completely at ease. We weren’t keen on having lots of posed group shots and knew that their style was taking lots of natural photographs of everyone, which is exactly what we wanted- the result was fantastic! They captured the whole day perfectly, reminding us of our wonderful day.
The Details + Decor…. Wanting a relaxed feel, everything was done as simply and as budget friendly as possible. Ellen used vintage suitcases as the basis for the table plan, card ‘post box’ and guest book and everything from the table names to the name places were all hand written and drawn.
We had a loose Bird and Travel theme running through the day what with the suitcases and luggage tags as name places. David came up with the theme as Ellen’s Dad was called Robin, so that was the top table and the rest of the tables we named after birds from countries we had visited on our travels. The centrepieces were birdcages filled with flowers. The favours were brown boxes tied up with string to look like a parcel and were hiding tiny jars of homemade jam and heart shaped shortbread biscuits- courtesy of Ellen’s mum and aunts.
We were keen to highlight that it was a family day and so had framed photographs of our parents and grandparents on the Grand Piano, showing that together we are as one. We were lucky that Butley Priory is quite magnificent on its own, so we really didn’t need a lot of decoration to make the venue look ‘wow’.
The Honeymoon…. We had a mini moon in North Norfolk a few days after the wedding, but we are off to Orlando, Florida in September.
Memorable moments… Getting ready in the morning with all the bridesmaids and family, enjoying all the fuss and drinking
champagne! Ellen’s mum also gave her a huge box of lovely , sentimental things before the wedding, which included her dad’s wedding ring as my something borrowed- which she wore on my bracelet all day. Ellen’s dad passed away when she was 19 and so the ring was a reminder that Dad was a part of the day and everyone could see it catching the light when we were saying our vows. The ceremony was lovely, very intimate and emotional! The speeches were fab- Ellen’s mum wrote a poem for her speech which made everyone laugh and cry simultaneously and Dave’s speech was so funny and touching! We have some great photos of everyone’s reactions! Dave took all his ushers and best man off down the end of the garden to have cigars and to say thank you! They enjoyed their ‘manly’ time!
The whole day was memorable really- there were so many emotional, touching and hilarious moments. It just went so perfectly and everyone commented on what such a wonderful time they had had, which meant so much to us as we put so much hard work into creating the most wonderful day for not only us, but our friends and family.
Advice for other couples… The first thing I would say is expect your nearest and dearest to become involved!! During the planning stages, EVERYBODY from the milkman to your great great grandmother will give you suggestions and advice about the wedding and you just have to go with it and hold it in your mind that they are offering suggestions and advice because they are excited and love you! Everyone loves a wedding and everyone will have an opinion!
It can be hard to not feel under pressure to include everyone’s suggestions and to want to try and please everyone and not hurt any feelings, but if you have a particular vision, don’t steer off course. Be polite and thank people for their suggestions, but try and stay true to your wedding day and what you envisage happening. The day should be about you two as a couple – as long as you do what you think will make the day a wonderful one for you, then do it! People will and do understand the decisions you have made and that actually the delicate jewellery you chose that matches your dress perfectly is a far better choice than Great Aunt Maud’s giant Victorian choker necklace a relative wanted you to wear!
Another thing we would suggest is that if you have the time and inclination and are doing a lot of things yourselves, research, research, research! You will save yourself lots of pennies in the long run and can find some excellent bargains in all the usual places, like ebay and pre-loved! There is no feeling better than finding an amazing detail at a fraction of the price and not only that, it becomes fun!
Make sure you write lots of lists, even if you aren’t a list writer normally- it helps you organise your thoughts and remind you what needs to be doing next.
Speak to each other about what is important to you on the day- if you don’t want a wedding cake, then don’t have one! If photographs are important to you, then spend more money on them- the results are worth it!
Credit where credit is due…
Butley Priory http://www.butleypriory.co.uk/ – venue
Craig and Kate Williams http://craigandkate.com/ – photography
Vanessa’s Florist, Clacton on sea, Essex – Florist
The Onion Band http://www.onionband.com/ - The Band
Sadie Bareham http://www.sadiebarehambridal.com/index.html – Bridal Hair
Bouquet Garni http://www.bouquetgarni.co.uk/ – Caterers
Ellen that must be the best advice i have ever read. Such essential reading lovelies :-)
Thanks so very much to Ellen and David for sharing their stunning wedding with us today XOXO Lou
Tags: Butley Priory, Craig & Kate Photography, DIY Wedding, Moss Groom, Multicolour Wedding Ideas, Rachel Simpson, Real Weddings, Rose Bouquet, Sophia Tolli Wedding Dress, Suffolk Wedding, Travel Wedding Ideas
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