Laura and Daniel were married in September at Langtons House in Hornchurch followed by a reception at Stapleford Abbotts Village Hall. They wanted their wedding to be creative with elements from a film special to them; ‘Back To The Future’.
Laura looked incredible in her tea length dress with blue petticoat, blue shoes with gorgeous red lips, while Daniel went for a blue suit from Next accessorised with Back To The Future cuff links, amazing!
There are so so many things i love about this crafty wedding, pretty flowers, confetti, badges, signs, balloons, their timeline…. oh so brilliant.
Names…. Laura and Daniel
Wedding Date…. 1st September 2012
The Proposal…. Dan proposed on the day of our eight year anniversary, Friday 4th February 2011. We had gone to Norfolk for a cosy weekend away to celebrate, staying in a picturesque converted barn B&B near Banham. After a delicious meal at a nearby Chinese restaurant, we drove back to the B&B only to discover, due to near gale-force winds, that there was no power! (Apparently the wind had knocked out some local power lines.) The owner ran out to meet us with a torch and let us into our room, apologising profusely, before going off to fetch some candles for us to place around the room. After the candles were lit and the owner had said goodnight, Dan asked me to sit on the chaise lounge in our room and close my eyes, as he had a surprise. When I opened them, he was standing in front of me looking all sheepish… then whilst declaring how happy I had made him, he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. It could not have been more perfect; just the two of us together, surrounded by (unplanned) candlelight. We had bought a cheeky bottle of red wine and some glasses with us from home, so we toasted with a drink and spent the rest of the weekend in a happy, blissful bubble before returning home to break the news to our family and friends on Sunday.
The Vision for the day…. Relaxed, informal and lots of fun was the order of the day for our wedding. We wanted a big celebration that reflected who we are as a couple and allowed us to showcase our talents and those of our family and friends. Dan and I are naturally creative people and we wanted to incorporate DIY elements where possible. (Cue bunting making, badge designing and lots of cutting and sticking.) We also wanted to make references to a film that has a very special place in our hearts throughout the day: ‘Back To The Future’. Dan and I met online nearly 10 years ago on a message board for an alternative/rock club night we went to, and the first thing we ever spoke about on that forum was something to do with Marty McFly, hover boards and time-travelling Deloreans. Not paying tribute to this fact on our wedding day would have been criminal, frankly!
The Planning process…. Our wedding was put together within the space of a year and was relatively stress-free as Dan and I made a decision early on to remove any stressful elements that didn’t fit into the day we wanted… So it was goodbye sit-down dinner (too formal for us), see ya seating plan (we were having a hog roast and wanted everyone to sit where they wanted) and a decision to have no bridesmaids, no attendants and no best man (we asked our closest friends and family to be a part of our day in other ways that made more sense to us).
What did make the planning process difficult at times was the fact that I was diagnosed with clinical depression and anxiety last summer. Being too ill to work was hard enough but the guilt, worthlessness and lack of motivation that comes with depression wasn’t always compatible with a wedding. However, it did give me something positive to focus on and on the days where I had the energy to do something, I was able to make some bunting or decorate a sign; it was therapeutic and helped me get through some very tough days.
Part-way through planning the wedding it became clear that we wouldn’t be able to ‘run’ the wedding day ourselves (being that we would be busy getting ready while suppliers would need to drop things off at the reception venue), so we hired the services of Nadia at Champagne Tango to be our wedding day co-ordinator. She was nothing short of a life-saver! Nadia took over responsibility for dealing with all of our suppliers in the two weeks leading up to the wedding, helped us put together a schedule for the day, came up with some great last-minute ideas we hadn’t thought of and took away all the stress of organising everyone and everything on the day.
I can look back now and see what an achievement our wedding was, and that my illness (which I am still trying to recover from) didn’t hold us back from having the day we wanted. I am very lucky to have had so much support from Dan, our families and friends and some wonderful suppliers too – thank you everyone x
Budget…. I’m not 100% certain what the final figure was (we stopped logging costs on the Excel spreadsheet after a while!) but I’d hazard a guess at around £8,500.
The Venue… We got married at our local registry office, Langtons House in Hornchurch, Essex. It’s a beautiful Georgian house dating back to 1760 with an ornamental lake, orangery and gardens. Looking around Langtons certainly doesn’t feel like you’re in the middle of Essex! We chose the stunning duck-egg blue and white room to have our ceremony in and I’m sure you’ll understand why from seeing our photographs.
Our reception venue was Stapleford Abbotts Village Hall, which was only a 15-minute drive from Langtons. Some friends of ours had used the hall for their own wedding reception a few years ago, and I remembered that it was big (tick), that it had an in-house bar (tick), a large car park (tick) and could be decorated as we wish (BIG TICK). We were able to hire the hall the day before the wedding to do all the setting up (which took 7 hours (!) and had to come down again in half an hour at the end of the night, but we managed it) and we were so thrilled with the end result.
The Dress + Accessories….. My dress was created by the wonderful Ali Rouse of Unique Dress. It was a 50s tea-length circle dress made from ivory silk dupion with a sweetheart strapless bodice, covered in ivory corded lace on organza. I ordered a bespoke 3-layer petticoat from Honeypie Boutique to wear under my dress, to give it the fullness it needed (and also so I could twirl around to my heart’s content on the dancefloor). As blue is one of my favourite colours, I opted for a striking royal blue petticoat – a little different from the norm, and it doubled up as my something blue!
My accessories were in keeping with my 50s/vintage look. I wore an ivory birdcage veil and silk flower from Lily Bella in my hair, vintage-look pearl earrings from Glitzy Secrets, and a pair of royal blue shoes from Debenhams finished off with pearl shoe clips from Elegant Steps. I also treated myself to a lovely clutch bag from Jenny Packham’s No. 1 range at Debenhams for popping the essentials in (red lipstick, tissues and my phone!).
On the morning of the wedding, my Mum and stepdad surprised me with a beautiful necklace. It was a sapphire and diamond ring of my Mum’s that they had reset into a pendant and put onto a chain for me to wear. (I love that my Mum has passed it onto me, and maybe one day I can pass it onto my own daughter.) Dan also bought me a vintage-look pearl bracelet from Vintage Styler to wear as a wedding day gift.
Finding the dress…. I knew as soon as we got engaged that I did not want a conventional wedding dress, nor spend a monumental amount of money on it. After months spent trawling the web and through magazines for ideas and inspiration, I stumbled across an article in Cosmopolitan Bride (before it sadly went out of circulation) where the bride was wearing a handmade 50s style dress, just like I wanted. I took note of the website of the dressmaker and lo and behold, Ali had a sample 50s style dress for sale.
I met her at The Vintage Wedding Fair in Chiswick in June last year and tried said dress on, but alas it was a little too small for me… but she would be able to make me a similar dress, in my choice of fabrics, for a price I could afford!
Ali made the process of creating my dress so easy and I’d recommend creating your own ‘unique dress’ to any bride. I only had to travel to Ali’s studio in Hampton three times for fittings, plus an initial meeting to agree on the design and pick out the fabrics I wanted (which was so much fun… My Mum and I thoroughly enjoyed poring over huge swatch books of lace looking for the right one). I was over the moon with the end result and everyone said that my dress was so ‘me’.
Groom’s attire… Dan’s suit was an absolute steal, a gorgeous 2-piece petrol blue suit from Next for only £99! As my dress wasn’t very traditional, it didn’t make sense for Dan to wear a morning suit or something overly formal. We wanted to buy something that he would happily wear again, plus he always looks handsome in slim fitting suits. Thankfully, we came upon this suit on our first trip out to look for one.
Dan wore a shirt and some lovely tan shoes that he already owned and we finished his suit off with a slim silver-grey tie and a pair of ‘Back To The Future’ cufflinks I’d bought for him that have the ‘OUTATIME’ number plate from the Delorean on them. Suffice to say, he loved them :)
The Readings + Music…. We had two readings during our ceremony: ‘Soul Mate’ by Richard Bach (read by my dear friend from university, Natalia) and ‘He Never Leaves The Seat Up’ by Pam Ayres (read by Dan’s sister, Kelly). I walked down the aisle with my Dad to ‘At Last’ by Etta James, one of my favourite songs of all time. The lyrics of that song said exactly how I felt about Dan and that moment – ‘At last/My love has come along/My lonely days are over/And life is like a song’. It was perfect.
We had three pieces of music we both love during signing the register: ‘Concerning Hobbits’ from ‘The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring’ (another favourite film of ours), ‘When I’m Sixty-Four’ by The Beatles and an acoustic version of ‘Everlong’ by Foo Fighters. In keeping with our nods to ‘Back To The Future’, we walked out to ‘The Power of Love’ by Huey Lewis & The News and our first dance was to the version of ‘Earth Angel’ from the film, performed by Marvin Berry & The Starlighters.
Beautiful bridesmaids….. As I mentioned before, Dan and I decided against having any bridesmaids and attendants early on in the planning process and instead opted to ask two very special friends to be our witnesses to sign the register at the ceremony. I asked my best friend Jenny to be my witness (I had been her maid of honour a few months previously) and Dan asked his close friend Rob to be his witness.
The Flowers… My bouquet and the buttonholes worn by Dan and our families were created by the lovely Kim of Bespoke Flowers in Dagenham. Kim was as a recommendation from my Dad’s partner and it absolutely paid off. I sent her a few emails with pictures of bouquets I had pinned on Pinterest and she said she could create something like that, no problem.
When I arrived at my Mum’s house to have my hair and make-up done on the morning of the wedding, my bouquet was already there waiting for me and it was exactly how I’d imagined it in my head… A vision of blue, purple and ivory flowers (a seasonal mixture including roses and lisianthus) tied together with a royal blue ribbon. I then pinned a vintage brooch I’d picked up at clothing swap onto the ribbon as my something old.
The floral jam jar centrepieces on the tables at our reception were created by my very talented friend, Vicki. Having worked on the florists at Fortnum & Mason in London, I was happy to place absolute faith in Vicki to work her magic. She ordered all the flowers herself – including lisianthus and some stunning hydrangeas – and arranged them in the jars I had collected and decorated the night before the wedding. Vicki also saved and dried lots of rose petals for us, which we put into little bags and gave to our ceremony guests for using as confetti at Langtons.
The Cake… Dan and I have a sweet tooth for cupcakes (and anything baked, actually) so there was no doubt that we would have a cupcake tower at our wedding. My best friend Jenny made 120 cupcakes – 60 vanilla, 60 chocolate, all with buttercream icing – as a wedding gift to us, which we gave to our guests to take home in cute little boxes.
Our giant top cupcake was made by the talented Beckie of Angel Cakes. It was a delicious vanilla sponge with buttercream icing, decorated with hand-painted edible bunting to match the fabrics I’d used for the bunting strung up around the village hall. It was so yummy that Dan and I mostly polished it off ourselves in about a week after the wedding! (Greedy, but we couldn’t resist.)
Your Photographer…. The wonder woman that is Emma Gutteridge – of Emma Lucy Photography – was our photographer. Emma was the only photographer we met face-to-face and when we met her for a coffee in London last year, we clicked with her straight away. In the run-up to the wedding, I emailed her pictures of my dress as it took shape and she emailed me with any ideas/inspiration whenever she came across it. I now consider her a friend rather than a supplier!
Emma’s photos from our wedding blew us away when we received them. Dan and I have so many cheesy posed shots of ourselves from over the years, but now we have an incredible set of natural, happy photos that tell the story of our day, capture who we are as a couple and how we felt getting married. Emma also set up an amazing photo booth for us at our reception, which our guests got very involved in! I gathered together a huge amount of props for everyone to use – hats, wigs, inflatable guitars, glasses and some homemade moustaches and lips on sticks – and the photos are very meaningful to us as everyone’s personalities shine through.
We also hired a videographer for the day, the fab Frank Millar. We’ve seen things in his video that we missed on the day and it brings back so many wonderful feelings and emotions. I’d recommend having both a video and photos, if you can afford it. Emma and Frank made a killer team on the day and worked so well together. Both were incredibly professional, unobtrusive in their approach and captured our guests, the atmosphere and the details we’d worked hard to create perfectly.
The Details + Decor…. Having spent many months looking at wedding blogs (including WWW!), we settled on a village fete look for the reception, along with added ‘Back To The Future’ touches. Instead of sticking to a single colour, we opted for a palette of pastel colours – blue, pink, yellow, green – and they all went together brilliantly. Along with Emma’s photo booth, we had a huge table of delectable desserts made by friends and family and a yummy candy bar.
As for DIY elements, there was… Bunting made by me, my mother-in-law and a close friend; a large timeline of photographs of me and Dan on a home-made chalkboard; chalkboard signs placed around the hall; pin badges as favours, with 5 different designs created by Dan on Photoshop; large fabric-covered ‘L’, ‘&’ and ‘D’ letters; plus a rubber stamp of me and Dan that featured on everything (cake boxes, sweetie bags, large chalkboard, it also featured on one of the pin badge designs!). There’s probably more things that I’ve forgotten!
I bought some gorgeous pastel coloured ‘Keep Calm’ prints from an American seller on Etsy which I framed and put on the guest book table, dessert table and by the photo booth, and we finished the hall with some giant white balloons filled with helium and a few white paper pom-poms too.
Rather than hiring a DJ for the evening, we opted to put together our own playlist for the reception. This ensured that we got to dance to the music we love! We asked our guests to suggest songs they wanted to hear at the wedding when they RSVP-ed and we included as many of them as we could throughout the evening. We had everything from ‘Reach’ by S Club 7 to ‘Stayin’ Alive’ by The Bee Gees and ‘I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)’ by The Proclaimers!
The Honeymoon…. Dan and I are jetting off to Australia for the trip of a lifetime on 31st October. We decided to have a little break between the wedding and honeymoon so that we had something else to look forward to, and also so that it would be nearly summer down under when we arrived. We’re going to Sydney, Ayers Rock, Cairns, Hamilton Island and Brisbane over the course of 3 weeks. The trip will be very special as we’ll be in Sydney on my birthday on 5th November and will also get to witness a total eclipse of the sun just after sunrise on 14th November!
Memorable moments… Waking up to a lovely cup of tea in bed in the morning, made by my best friend Jenny… Walking down the aisle, smiling at my friends and family, and seeing Dan waiting for me… Saying our vows and putting Dan’s ring on his finger… Hugging all of our friends and family… Being covered in rose-petal confetti… Dancing with all of our guests in the evening… Posing for silly photos in the photo booth… Smiling and laughing knowingly with Dan… Taking in all of our hard work and knowing that it was all worth it.
Advice for other couples… Do it your way. And get your friends and family involved where possible. That’s it, really. Don’t be afraid to deviate from ‘the norm’ if that’s what feels right to you. I think a few people were surprised about the choices we made during the planning process but everyone appreciated the end result. There’s no way that anyone could deny that our wedding wasn’t a reflection of who we are and many friends and family members have told us that it was the best wedding they’ve ever been to. We couldn’t have asked for anything more.
Credit where credit is due…
Emma Lucy Photography – www.emmalucyphotography.com
Frank Millar – www.frankmillar.com
Unique Dress – www.uniquedress.co.uk
Honeypie Boutique – www.honeypieboutique.co.uk
Lily Bella – www.lilybella.co.uk
Elegant Steps – www.elegantsteps.co.uk
Mel Kinsman Make Up – www.melkinsman.com
Glitzy Secrets – www.glitzysecrets.com
Bespoke Flowers – www.bespoke-flowers.co.uk
Essex Hog Roasts – www.essexhogroasts.co.uk
Angel Cakes – www.angelcakesessex.co.uk
Champagne Tango – www.champagnetango.co.uk
KeepCalmShop @ Etsy – www.etsy.com/shop/KeepCalmShop
The English Stamp Company (rubber stamp) – www.englishstamp.com
Awesome Merchandise (pin badges) – www.awesomemerchandise.com
NJS Executive (car hire) – www.njsexecutive.com
Oh wow! Thanks so much to Laura and Daniel for sharing their wedding and personal story with us today XOXO Lou