Laura and Andy were married in June in a Humanist ceremony in Laura’s parents garden followed by a reception down the road at the parish hall. Laura and Andy wanted their wedding to be relaxed and fun with a country garden feel. The damp weather didn’t hold them back, in fact i think their rainy wedding with all the brollies makes for a really romantic ceremony.
They roped in their friends and family to help create their pefect day, arranging all the beautiful natural look flowers themselves, adding balloons, bunting and hessian table runners too. If you are feeling peckish, don’t read about their wedding food, it sounds scrumptious.
I so so love Laura’s custom made wedding dress, she makes the most beautiful natural bride and Andy wore his family tartan for the perfect groom look.
Thanks so much to the fabulous Andrea Ellison Photography for sharing her beautiful imagery with us today.
Names…. Laura & Andy
Wedding Date…. Saturday 16th June 2012
The Proposal…. We were on holiday in Kalkan (Turkey) having just spent the day at a beach club and were waiting for the boat to arrive when Andy whispered in my ear something about getting married. I told him that if that was a proposal he’d have to get down on one knee, which he promptly did! Needless to say, I very gladly accepted!
The Vision for the day…. More than anything, we wanted the day to be relaxed and fun for us and our guests. We wanted everyone’s focus to be on the wedding, each other and just a real sense of love rather than a fancy venue with a set package. There’s so much emphasis on wedding’s to be ‘perfect’ and that’s really not us! There was a loose Country Garden / Village Fete theme because of where we held it, but we didn’t go in for any colour schemes etc.
The Planning process…. We got engaged in July 2011 but it wasn’t until November that we chose the date and didn’t really start planning anything until January 2012. Once we’d come up with the ‘look and feel’ of the day we wrote a huge list of everything we’d need to make that happen and split the list between us. We then just really took everything in our stride and did bit and pieces when we could, starting with the handmade invitations. Inevitably there were things on the list that just didn’t get done, but our motto was that if it hadn’t been done, we didn’t need it anyway!
Budget…. We weren’t working to a specific budget, but didn’t want anything to cost the Earth. We always had it in the back of our minds that it was a ‘budget’ wedding and this was achieved by being very hands-on with everything – oh and having fantastic and talented friends and family to help too!
The Venue… We were legally married in the morning at Wyvern House, the registry office in Winsford, Cheshire. This was originally meant to take place just down the road at Northwich Registry Office, but just before Christmas it was severely vandalised and could no longer be used (which led to about a month’s limbo period with no venue!).
Our Humanist ceremony took place in my parent’s garden. They are currently halfway through renovating a Georgian farmhouse and took time out of their building schedule to make changes and improvements to the garden, including putting down gravel and laying paths, not to mention all the extra planting, just for our big day. They both worked incredibly hard to make our vision come true and we’ll be forever indebted to them.
After the ceremony we had canapés and drinks in the garden before everyone walked down the road to Acton Bridge Parish Hall. The hall has two rooms, one we used for dinner and dancing and the other for the buffet, free bar and homemade photobooth.
The Dress + Accessories…. I was never going to be a traditional wedding dress bride – I just can’t get my head around all the layers, pouf and the noise of the fabric! Two of my friends were also planning their weddings at around the same time so we visited a few bridal shops and I did try dresses on…. But nothing felt ‘right’ and the prices were so off-putting.
After trawling the internet for inspiration, I came across the Anemone dress by Ivy & Aster. It’s available to buy over the internet but that felt like quite a risk – what if I didn’t like it when it arrived etc… So, I found a dress maker, who just happened to live round the corner from us, and showed her the images. We then worked together to create the final dress. I really enjoyed the process of having my dress made. I had fittings once a week and could make adjustments and additions at anytime. I also knew that I’d love the dress on the big day – I’ve read a few stories of brides who have almost forgotten what their dress looks like and how they feel in it due to the time it takes to get it made via a bridal shop.
I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with shoes and have yet to find the perfect pair of heels, I’m more of a barefoot girl! That coupled with the fact that we would be in the garden meant that I would be wearing flats. I was a bridesmaid at my friend’s wedding the month before and had bought some sparkly sandals from Accessorize. They turned out to be perfect for my day too, so they were duly recycled – and only cost £28 in the first place! I have worn them plenty since as well, so they were a real bargain.
I kept my accessories to a minimum and didn’t really give them too much thought until the week of the wedding. Again, I turned to Accessorize and found a lovely piece to go in my hair and a delicate pearl and heart bracelet, as well as a sparkly satin head band that I tied round the waist of my dress. My something borrowed were beautiful pearl and diamante earrings from my lovely friend Bev, and something blue was a bracelet my parents had brought back for me from a trip to New Zealand.
(At the registry office on the morning I wore a knee-length cream dress from Red Herring, a yellow cardigan from Dickins and Jones, blue wedges from Carvela and some baby’s breath in my hair).
Groom’s attire… Andy is Scottish and his family tartan is from the Farquharson clan. He had a kilt custom made by Katherine from Killer Kilts in South Manchester. He and his best man wore matching grey tweed jackets, waistcoats, platinum ruches and sporrans that they hired from Greenwoods. He looked absolutely gorgeous and, yes he was a true Scotsman on the day!
The men’s buttonholes were made by a family friend in Biggar, where Andy’s mum lives, and were all variations of thistle and heather, tied with different tartan ribbons.
The Readings + Music…. Choosing the music was one of the easiest and most stressful parts at the same time. We instantly knew what we wanted for the first dance and my walk down the aisle, but the walk back up the aisle, the handfasting and signing the certificate proved more difficult! In the end we went for the following: Processional – One Day Like This – Elbow, Handfasting – To The Moon – Capercaillie, Signing the certificate – Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours) – Stevie Wonder, Recessional – (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher & Higher – Jackie Wilson.
During the day we had an amazing band, who play modern songs in a gypsy jazz style – the Gypsies of Bohemia. They played more traditional songs before the ceremony and then the modern ones during the drinks and canapés –think 1930s jazz meets Britney, Radiohead and No Doubt! For the reception, we had a playlist on our ipod during dinner and a DJ who I know through work, for the dancing.
Our readings were beautifully executed by my great friend Sian and wonderful sister-in-law Sarah. They read A Lovely Love Story by Edward Monkton and I Love You Because by Leon Payne(also a Jonny Cash song) respectively.
Beautiful bridesmaids… I didn’t have any bridesmaids – I had all my best girls there on the day anyway so I couldn’t have asked for more!
The Flowers… I wanted the flowers to go with the loose theme of the day – relaxed country garden, and to look as if they’d just been picked, and that is exactly what we got. Andy and I went to our local market the day before and got a few bunches of ‘staples’ – stocks, baby’s breath, lisianthus and blue thistles as well as some peonies to go in my bouquet. Added to these, we had hedgerow flowers and foliage from the country lanes around my parent’s house (don’t worry, I did check beforehand that this was legal, and it is as long as you don’t up-root anything!).
The Cake… I really loved the idea of a ‘naked’ sponge cake tower, covered with fruit. My mum had very generously offered to make the cake, as she made my brother’s a few years ago, but was a little unsure about my request, convinced that guests would miss not having fruit cake! I’m not a fan, so sponge was all good for me….. The top layers were with raspberries and cream and the bottom layers were blueberries and butter icing. Needless to say there wasn’t much left at the end of the day – it was delicious! Also, as a surprise, my parents had made a huge rectangular fruit cake layer too! They’d decorated it with polka dot bunting icing, to match the bunting we’d made for the hall. It was all finished off by a love bird and bunting topper that I’d had made by a seller on Etsy.
Your Photographer…. We met with two photographers about 5 months before the day and knew instantly that Andrea was the one for us! She has a wicked personality and really got what our day was all about, that and she was always super excited about shooting all the details! We were also lucky enough to have a second shooter on the day, Hannah, who was with the men when they got ready and then with Andrea for the rest of the day. Both were fantastic on the day, especially considering the weather, and we’ve had loads of positive comments about them from friends and family.
The Details + Decor… For the ceremony we used hay bale seating and covered them with cream blankets. Had it not rained, we would have also dressed the pergola with white voile and wisteria, but it the end it didn’t matter and wasn’t missed. In the village hall we dressed the room with bunting my mum and I made. We then hung white lanterns and fairy lights from the ceiling, and many hands made light work of this with lots of family helping us out. The trestle tables had simple white cloths made from cheap bed sheets cut in half, which my mum and I again sewed. On top of these I made hessian runners and we had striped paper napkins from ikea. My sister-in-law, who’s a horticulturalist, mum, grandma and younger brother’s girlfriend all did a fantastic job of creating the beautiful flower arrangements, which were displayed in recycled glass bottles and jars that Andy and I had collected, some of which we spray painted white. My Dad also did a lot of DIY for us, with Andy’s help, and made the photobooth backdrop as well as framed chalk boards for the table plan and menu. The whole event was a real family affair, which just made it all the more special to us.
The Food + Drink…. Our catering was done by Sarah and Kate and their team at The Silver Apples. They served canapés in the garden before we moved onto the village hall where we grazed on spring chicken, leek and thyme stew with roast potatoes, slow cooked lamb tagine with cous cous and flat breads and roasted root veg and creamy goats cheese strudel with wilted Spring greens. We then opted for a dessert table which included carrot cake, sugared lemon loaf, summer fruits pavlova, white chocolate and raspberry profiteroles, chocolate honeycomb cake, Bakewell tart and a delicious rosewater and pistachio cake.
For the drink we had champagne with the canapés in the garden and in the village hall a keg of locally brewed ale and one of local Cheshire apple cider that guests had fun helping themselves to. There was also more champagne, red and white wine and soft drinks served in American-style drinks dispensers, and the desserts were accompanied by teas, herbals and coffee all served in vintage china.
The Honeymoon…. We’ve not been yet! We both had to be back at work later in the week after the wedding but we did manage to sneak off for a couple of nights to a boutique B&B in Llandudno – our ‘mini-moon’. We’re planning a trip to America in March 2013 so this will be our honeymoon!
Memorable moments… Wow, where do we start….! Seeing my gorgeous husband waiting for me at the end of the aisle is something I’ll never forget. All of our guests embracing the great British weather to make our dream of marrying in the garden a reality – and of course the brollies going up and down as the rain poured and the sun shone! The whole day was absolutely wonderful and we just enjoyed every little bit of it.
Advice for other couples… Don’t sweat the small stuff. We had so many more things planned that just couldn’t happen due to the rain –mini ice cream cones served from handmade holders and a Pimms drinks station with striped straws to name a couple. Try your hardest not to put too much pressure on yourselves to please everyone, or what you think they will want. Your guests are coming to see you get married and enjoy a good knees up, not a picture perfect ideal of what a wedding day should be. Also there aren’t any rules – it’s your day, do it your way! Oh and remember to take some time out as the bride and groom, just to stand back and take it all in – the day passes so quickly you’ll be glad you did.
Credit where credit is due…
Dress maker – Silvia Hoya Mena (silviahoya.co.uk/)
Kilt maker – Killer Kilts (killerkilts.com)
Photograhpers – Andrea Ellison (andreaellisonphotography.com) & Hannah Webster (lifelinephotography.co.uk)
Catering – The Silver Apples (thesilverapples.co.uk)
Band – Gypsies of Bohemia (facebook.com/pages/Gypsies-of-Bohemia/113539953137)
Ale – Northern Brewing (northernbrewing.co.uk/)
Cider – Eddisbury Fruit Farm (eddisbury.mybigcommerce.com/)
Thanks so very much to Laura and Andy for sharing their romantic wedding with us today. Proof you don’t need to worry about rain on your wedding day :-) XOXO Lou
Tags: Andrea Ellison Photography, Balloons, DIY Flowers, DIY Wedding, English Country Garden, Garden Party, Humanist Wedding, Kilt Groom, Multicolour Wedding Ideas, No Bridesmaids, Outdoors Wedding Ideas, Rainy Wedding, Real Weddings, Summer Wedding Ideas, Wildflowers
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