A few weeks ago i got an excited email from WWW reader Amy, asking if i would share her beautiful wedding to Paul; “We hope you like the look of our day enough to consider featuring us on your blog – which incidentally I am still addicted to – despite being married for almost 4 months now :)“. Ahh isn’t that just lovely!!
And today i get to share their wedding with you :-) Amy and Paul had been together for 16 years, and are childhood sweethearts. They decided to get married in March at Hampton Manor, Solihull. They wanted their wedding to sentimental and intimate with a candlelit wedding breakfast to remember Amy’s mum who she sadly lost a year ago.
They had a really pretty day, i love the homemade favours she made with her grandparents and that donut cake! Nom!
Thanks so much to Ian Bursill for sharing his photography with us today.
Names…. Amy and Paul
Wedding Date…. 10th March 2012
The Proposal…. Paul and I were childhood sweethearts and together since we were 15 and 17 years old. I think to many were were the wedding that may have never happened and not for want of most of our families wishing for that special day :-) We got engaged in May 2010 – Paulos, sprung a surprise trip to New York on me, supposedly for my birthday. I bought his story hook line and sinker. The first day of being in New York it was amazing sunshine – boiling hot in fact. Paul said the only thing he’d arranged was lunch at some restaurant called ‘Plaza’ by Central Park.
Well I searched and searched on the internet, and in our guide book and in TIMEOUT magazine. Nothing, nope, no restaurant called Plaza. (Turns out there wasn’t either…he was meant to say ‘The Plaza Hotel’ from the master plan he’d hatched with my sister beforehand). We had a great morning in Central Park and just after 1pm in the gorgeous sunshine Paulos stood up from the bench where we were sitting (looking slightly clammy from wearing cords in 90 degrees!) and dropped to one knee and popped the question.(Me, through tears) “What are you doing, what are you doing, what are you doing? Oh my God, oh my God…..of course, YES!!!!” I have literally never felt so overwhelmed in my life. I couldn’t believe it.…and the best bit, there was no lunch. Instead, a pre-arranged appointment at 1:30pm at Tiffany Fifth Avenue, where I was presented with all these amazing and beautiful rings for me to choose…the smart shirt and trousers fell into place. This proposal was worth the wait. It’s what every girl dreams of ☺ We weren’t home for long before the wedding planning kicked off. I think I bought a magazine the first afternoon we’d landed.
The Vision for the day…. Three things were really important for us for our wedding – the first that we were married at St.Andrews (which is my childhood church and the same church that generations of my family have married in), the second that we could find somewhere to make a whole weekend of it and the third was that the whole day really felt like Paul and me. Hampton Manor was our perfect venue and so ideally located to the church. Lots of our family and friends have since said that our day had the same feel as a party or gathering at our home, so we were really pleased to know we’d managed to translate that amount of our personality as a couple into our day. We wanted everyone to feel completely relaxed and it was so lovely that as it wasn’t a big affair pretty much everyone there already knew us both (and each other) really well. It was also really important that the day had a warm and special feel to it to help ensure we kept the spirit of my mom with us that day who I devastatingly lost just 12 months before the wedding – we had little candles burning everywhere including on each of the tables for the wedding breakfast to commemorate her. We wanted our day to look and feel quite timeless – with loads of flowers and candles – as well as great food and wine. We also wanted a time of year where our wedding breakfast would be at dusk with all our friends and family together against the glow of candelabras and tea-lights. The little touches were going to be really important to us as well. We wanted our day to feel really personal.
The Planning process…. As with all brides I was hot I was obsessed with planning from the very start. Mood boards, magazines, intense hours of ‘Googling’. I literally was a woman obsessed. Planning is so the most amazing part. I set up my spreadsheets track budgets….my Dad found this slightly hilarious – but at least I tried and my planning was undoubtedly this was aided by the amazing advice of my gorgeous sister to start writing lists and include even the smallest of tasks. I’m not a natural writer of lists – but it kept me sane and felt amazing satisfying when I could cross things off. I was also pretty focused on booking good suppliers early. The best ones get snapped up.
The Venue… Well for us it was all about finding a venue close to our church! To start with though this seemed like the most impossible task ever! We went as far as Somerset and back and looked at pretty much every venue in between there and the Midlands. Mmmmmm. Nothing. We were really starting to wonder what on earth we were going to do – there just seemed to be nowhere close by – and anywhere half decent wouldn’t let you stay the Friday night and wanted to kick you out by 9am Sunday to make way for other weddings. Nope, I wanted to feel like we were the only people to have got married somewhere ever… Then, by chance one of my best friends mentioned Hampton Manor. We’d never heard of it. Apparently the food was meant to be amazing. So we quickly got on the laptop and it up. How had we missed this place? We were quick to phone –…exclusive use and yes, you could book for the Friday evening….an amazing chef…..my goodness…..this place sounded too good to be true. It was love at first sight. It was the perfect mix of old and new. The gorgeous drive with mature trees, the rambling gardens, the small intimate yet contemporary feels to the rooms. We were in love and it was available… …. and even more, it was just 15 minutes drive away from St. Andrew’s Church. It was perfect.
Finding the dress… I loved every minute of dress shopping. I went with my Dad and sister and we had the best time. It was a lovely little boutique called Silk in Lichfield where I found ‘the one’. I spotted the dress in the window as we arrived. It was a gorgeous Pronovias Tulle and Lace gown. Empire line; one shouldered, with the softest of feathers sewn into the lace. It was so comfortable to wear, had a gorgeous train and I picked a gorgeous single tier veil and sparky Pronovias hair comb to finish the look. Jo, Nat and Helen at Silks were amazing from Silk. They made it the most amazing experience and really looked after me, my Dad and sister – plus my gang of amazing beautiful bridesmaids ☺ Then onto the shoes. I wanted something I could wear again, that had a good heel (being 5ft 1 I wanted a bit of height!) and something with a bit of glamour. I’m a bit of a fan of rather too expensive shoes so when I saw this pair of Jimmy Choos sparkling on a shopping trip I bought them on the spot.
Jewelry wise I wore only the pearl earrings that my Mom had wore on her wedding day….I just felt like a little bit of my Mom was there with me
Groom’s attire… Paul wore a gorgeous contemporaty style grey morning suit from Autograph by Marks & Spencer –as did the dads and the best men and ushers. Shirt – ETON, Tie – Duchamp and tan shoes by Gucci ☺
The Readings + Music…. St. Andrew’s is such a special church given its place in my family and it had a magical feel that day. I walked down the aisle to a string quartet (The Wedding Day String Quartet through Warble.com) playing the classical arrangement of The Cure’s Just Like Heaven. Our ceremony was really uplifting – I still managed to cry in the vows..and I said I wouldn’t. My sister and Aunty (my Mom’s sister) did gorgeous readings for us and we had some great really uplifting hymns.
We asked our paternal granddads to come and witness us signing the register. This was a really special moment and during the signing of the register the quartet played a mix of modern songs – including Blur’s Universal and Foo Fighters Everlong – not quite what people were expecting! We left the church full of tradition to the organ blasting out Mendelssohn’s Wedding March. During our drinks and canapé reception again the quartet played a mix of old and new songs that added to the atmosphere of the gorgeous Lobby of the manor.
Beautiful bridesmaids….. Now to my bridesmaids. I have 6 very special girls in my life – my sister Ruthie (my rock!); my sister from another mother Carlie – whom I’d grown up with and my gorgeous bestest friends Hannah, Alex, Joey and Beth. It didn’t take me long to through caution to the wind and ask all of them! Again we hit Silks in Lichfield to try on bridesmaid dresses. Jo and Nat from Silks helped me organise champagne and bucks fizz for the girls and we had the whole shop to ourselves for the morning. Luckily the first dress they tried – a floor length, chiffon gowns by B2 Jasmine suited everyone perfectly. We decided on ‘taupe’ colour. Something really neutral and soft. So that was the dresses done. We paired the dresses with gorgesou rose coloured and taupe sandles from Next Occassions and finished it all off with a small sparkley hair combs from Glitzy Secrets.
The Flowers… Whilst all that was going on, my Aunty was running around like a mad woman sorting the flowers. From the very beginning we knew asking Lisa to do our flowers was a definite. She runs her own florist business based in Coventry (Les-Le-Jo Flower Design – 07590 033440). Lisa is super talented and gets her hands on the best fresh Dutch flowers. She’s also has vision. The church flowers were magical – it was like a fairy tale woodland with lots of greenery and fresh spring flowers. We had two stunning urns full of white hydrangeas, foliage, roses and willow. We transported most of the church flowers back to the manor to sit alongside the reception and bar that she’d also filled with vases of white honeymoon tulips, and gorgeous arrangements of avalanche roses, ranunculus, wax flower, hydrangeas and rosemary. Lisa did some amazing little posy rings to sit on the base of the bay trees at the front of the manor – and planted up two lovely crates that one of Paul’s ushers Henry had made for us as our wedding gift.
The Cake… Instead of a traditional wedding cake we went for a tower of Krispy Crème doughnuts. Doughnuts were my mum’s favourite and we thought the plain iced ring ones would look pretty as any cake. Thank goodness we had such amazing ushers who headed off to collect them at 9am on the morning of the wedding. We ended up with a cake as well. My friend Katy made one as a surprise so in the end we had the best of both worlds.
Your Photographer…. Our amazing photographer Ian Bursill (www.bursill.com) was just fantastic and we are in love with his work. We deliberately picked Ian as not only is he award winning, but also has as a pure journalistic approach to documenting weddings and is completely un-intrusive. We hardly knew he was there really – and that is a huge skill for a photographer.
Your Cinematographer… We also had an amazing cinematographer called Jeff Wood (www.jeffwoodvisuals.com). Again we really forgot about Jeff and his assistant. Jeff has a style of wedding videography like nothing else we’d seen – it’s like having your own short film/ documentary. He even turned around a same day edit that we were able to show later on at our evening reception. You can see our short trailer here: http://www.jeffwoodvisuals.com/same-day-edits/amy-paul/. Both documented our day in such a way that means that when we watch our film or look at our photos we are transported back to feel exactly the same as we did on the day
The Details + Decor…. We had all our stationery designed by Knotty Stationery (www.knottystationery.co.uk). Susan is amazing. I was a bit of nut job when it came to invitations. I just couldn’t find any I liked anywhere….but in the same token couldn’t really imagine what it was that I wanted. All I did no is that I wanted the invites to be ‘keepers’ something that people keep hold of and I also wanted them to reflect what the day was going to look like. Luckily Susan was brilliant at gauging quickly the colours and styles that I did and didn’t like and designed these fab invites with gorgeous little love birds on with everything in gorgeous silvers, champagnes and taupe. In the end everything paper based was coordinated – from our invitations, table plans, menus, orders of service, candle wraps – even our thank you cards. I had a great time making favors with my Grandma, Nana and Grandad earlier in the year and has given us some really special memories. We made lavender bags made with lavender from our gardens for the ladies and my Nana’s amazing Indian chutney for the gents. Our place settings were little wooden hearts, hand written by my sister and tied with ribbon. To top the tables off we’d did an Amy & Paul quiz as a bit of an icebreaker. Our table plan was made up from lots of different vintage looking picture frames. I’m a big fan of photo frames. It’s a growing addiction and I thought this was the ideal way to top up my collection and display photos of the day back at home. Our table names were Blur songs – things like ‘To The End’ and ‘You’re So Great’ – a bit of a throw back to the era we had met. It was lovely sitting down and picking something that was personal to us that would be a little bit unexpected. We also went for a signing frame instead of a guest book – with a great big photo from when we were teenagers right in the middle of it. Again so we could display this back at home (with a far less embarrassing wedding photo) and we hired a lovely restored Royal Mail postbox for our wedding cards. To add finishing touches I picked up lots of little signs to display around the venue – as well as a huge, floor standing A & P that Paul spray-painted vintage white. These are again all things that will look nice dotted around our home to remind us of the day in years to come. At the church we had a lovely heart blackboard with our names and date chalked on to welcome our guests. I filled a basket with little glassine confetti bags stuffed with white hydrangea petals and sealed with little stickers printed with our little love birds on that our page boys (nephews Dylan and Jacob) handed to every guest after we were married. In the room where we had the wedding breakfast we had tall silver candelabras decorated in similar flowers along with two long arrangements for the fire places that were scattered with fairy lights and church candles. The room looked magical. To add more candlelight, I’d purchased 70 or so little silvery vintage tea light holders for every table. Each table also had a couple of candles lit in memory of my gorgeous mum ‘Borbs’ who we lost devastatingly just over a year ago. Each one was wrapped in trace paper and printed by our stationer with ‘Our gorgeous Borbs; here in spirit’ and she most definitely was x. Our cars arrived (we had Caribbean Blue Rolls-Royce Silver Clouds though Barrie James cars (www.barriejames.co.uk) and we were heading off to the church – I rode in with my Dad and sister whilst the other girls went on ahead. By this time my feelings of nerves had started to creep in…my mouth went dry and my hands were clammy (lovely for a bride!) Luckily the chauffer had all the essentials – water, mints, and tissues.
The Honeymoon…. We opted for a mini-moon and maxi-moon option – and straight after the wedding we headed to Dubai for 4 nights of pure relaxation and luxury. It was amazing! We’re then planning a bigger and even more relaxing trip in October to the Maldives…..it’s lovely to have something else to look forward to – and we get to be newly weds all over again ☺
Memorable moments… Our 5 minutes together every hour to watch your day unfold were our most special moments and we treasure them the most. Seeing Paul at the top of the aisle – I literally couldn’t have been more in love with him – he made me go weak at the knees. The morning of the wedding – it felt like Christmas morning. Paul and I had slept in separate rooms on the Friday night. Luckily my sister and Paul’s best man are boyfriend and girlfriend. Made it very handy for Ruthie to stop in with me and for Paul and Tone to share the night before. On the ‘Big Day’ whilst the boys had a lazy breakfast with my Dad in Peel’s, the production line of hair and make up was underway by 7am in the honeymoon suite. Natalie Bartram (www.bridalhairspecialist.co.uk) is amazing and did my wedding hair and Katy Bird (www.katybirdbridal.co.uk) did my make up. Both are amazingly talented and worked like absolutely troopers to get through my 6 bridesmaids and me. They made it such a lovely relaxed and fun morning – and it could have been chaos. We ordered breakfast and coffee to the room and just had a lovely morning chatting, giggling and being transformed. I’d got my bridesmaids a gift box each of Jo Malone Pomegranate Noir shower gel, pashminas, a sparkly hair clip to wear, a little handbag each and a couple of little trinket keep sakes. It was a bit like Christmas morning. Especially when my gift from Paul arrived…the flat Jimmy Choo sandals to match my wedding shoes. Without knowing, I’d bought him some shoes as his wedding gift as well – a pair of tan, Gucci shoes to wear on the day. Thank goodness they fit. Our first dance we had a couple of very sneaky lessons without telling anyone – so the look on the faces of our friends and family when we did our surprise routine to Fleetwood Mac’s Everywhere was worth every penny!
Advice for other couples… Make sure your day reflects you as a couple. There are so many ideas out there its easy to get caught up in it all. What actually matters is that you enjoy your day, that it feels personal to you and that you don’t get wrapped up in it all and forget what it’s all about! Whatever your budget this little finishing touches are the things that make the biggest difference. On the day hang on to eachother – especially at the drinks reception – it means you get to enjoy all these bits together….and make sure you get lots of 5 minute slots throughout the day to watch your day unfold….its all to easy to get swept up and forget the day is about you
Credit where credit is due…
Photographer: Ian Bursill (bursill.com)
Reception venue: Hampton Manor, Solihull
Bride’s and bridesmaid dresses: Silk, Lichfield (silkbrides.com)
Flowers: Lisa at LesLeaJo’s Floral Design
Transport: Cars from Barrie James (www.barriejames.co.uk)
Videographer: Jeff Wood Visuals (www.jeffwoodvisuals.com).
Entertainment: Wedding Days String Quartet throughWarble.com/
Dave Dee Discos www.davedeediscos.co.uk/
Lucky17 for our casino www.lucky17.co.uk/
Bridal Hair – Natalie Bartram Bridal Hair Specialist www.bridalhairspecialist.co.uk
Make Up – Katy Bird Makeup Artist www.katybirdbridal.co.uk
Kids Party – Tinies Creches www.tinies.com
First Dance lessons – Vicky at First Dance www.firstdance.co.uk
Aww aren’t they just the most gorgeous couple, Amy looked so beautiful, and what an epic wedding report… LOVE IT!
Thanks so much to Amy and Paul for sharing their beautiful wedding with us today XOXO Lou
Tags: Candelit Wedding, Classic Wedding Ideas, Glitzy Secrets, Hampton Manor, Ian Bursill Photography, Marks & Spencers Groom, Pronovias Wedding Dress, Real Weddings, West Midlands Wedding, White Wedding Ideas
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