Hayley and Mark were married in September at Wasing Park near Aldermaston, Berkshire. They wanted a day which felt like an English retro summer fete, with a splash of sunflowers and purple polka dots. I so love Hayley’s attitude to planning which is so refeshing to hear, she has some amazing advice for couples planning their weddings.
Hayley looked stunning in a Coast dress with a pair of amazing blue glitter heels… want!! While Mark went for a dashing Tommy Hilfiger suit with blue tie. I so adore those purple ploka dot bridesmaids dresses and the sunflower bouquets. They had so many pretty details too, with birdcage centrepieces, a yummy sounding cake and vintage paper hearts.
Thanks so very much to the amazing Devlin Photos for sharing her photographs with us today.
Names…. Hayley & Mark
Wedding Date…. 6th September 2012
The Proposal…. Strictly speaking it wasn’t the most romantic of proposals – it seemed as though Mark talked himself into it after a night out drinking with friends so it came as a surprise to both of us! It didn’t help that it was 1st April the next day. I lost count of the number of people we had to convince that yes, we’re really engaged and no, it isn’t an April Fools joke…to be honest, until Mark got down on one knee on London’s South Bank a few days later I still wasn’t entirely convinced myself! Men, if you are planning to propose on a special day, stick with birthdays or Christmas and leave April Fools Day for real pranks. Your girlfriend will thank you.
The Vision for the day…. Even now I don’t think I can narrow down the vision for the day. Whenever people asked me about themes, colour schemes etc, my stock answer became “It’s going to be some sort of English country garden/retro summer fete/1950s tea party, vaguely Alice in Wonderland-related with purple polka dots and sunflowers.” Really, my vision was that all our friends and family would come together, have a few drinks and a lot of fun. I think we managed that at least.
The Planning process…. Planning the wedding made me realise I am the least organised person in the world. Less Bridezilla, more Bridechilla if you will. I spent the first few of months of the engagement poring over magazines and blogs, soon becoming overwhelmed with inspiration and ideas. I had to stop buying magazines as their back pages of planning doom soon began to taunt me for not having found a photographer at least 18 months prior to even getting engaged, and ohmygod you haven’t found a venue and you might be getting married in the next five years every single one will be booked up by now GET ON WITH IT LADY. Girls, stop reading those magazines and chill out. We found a venue a year in advance and yes, we had to get married on a Thursday because they had no weekends free until 2015 but everyone still came, and we found our photographer with about 3 months to go but still managed to find someone amazing who completely understood us and our jumbled vision for the day, and I did spend the day before the wedding writing guests’ names on paper tags because my table plan idea didn’t go exactly to er, plan. But it was fine! I never wanted to be consumed with wedding planning and let it overtake the most important thing – that I was getting married to the love of my life, in front of all the other loves in my life.
The Venue… The incredible Wasing Park near Aldermaston, Berkshire. As soon as I saw the Victorian Summerhouse, I knew that was where we had to get married.
The Dress + Accessories….. The Dress was from Coast, the shoes from Carvela at Kurt Geiger, jewellery from Coast and Accessorize, and the fascinator was by Jenny Packham for Debenhams. My something old/new/borrowed/blue was a challenge but in the end I settled for blue shoes, a new dress, and borrowed my mum’s wedding garter.
Finding the dress…. I didn’t go down the traditional route with my dress and actually spent a long time looking at vintage sites before chancing it in Coast with about 5 months to go before the wedding. I’m sure most brides would be having heart palpitations at the thought of leaving the dress buying to such a late stage, but I just kept telling myself I would find one eventually. It’s a dress, how hard can it be etc. In fact, the dress I bought was the only one I tried on. I had that moment when you just know that it’s perfect, that it’s the one – like when your boyfriend proposes, or you find the perfect pair of black ankle boots in Topshop and they fit like a dream, and all is right in the world.
Groom’s attire… Mark’s suit was by Tommy Hilfiger, tie from Sacoor and shoes from Office. We wanted the wedding to be a relaxed affair so traditional top hat and tails were out. I did want him to wear a blue shirt and no tie but that was considered a little too informal…!
The Readings + Music…. Mark’s brother read a passage from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin “Love is a temporary madness…” I love it because it’s one of the most real and honest depictions of love I know.
I walked down the aisle to an acoustic version of Hysteric by Yeah Yeah Yeahs. I adore the song and the lyrics were perfect – “you suddenly complete me.” We signed the register to Bright Eyes’ First Day of My Life, and walked back down the aisle to All You Need is Love by The Beatles (partly inspired by Love Actually, I admit with no shame whatsoever).
Out first dance was to God Only Knows by The Beach Boys, and our second song to get everyone on the dancefloor was Crazy In Love by Beyonce. TUNE!
Beautiful bridesmaids….. My girls were a mixture of school and university friends, and I bought their dresses from Dorothy Perkins. My maid of honour asked if she could make a speech at the reception. Why not, I thought. I’m sure she’ll be lovely and complimentary. Moral of the story – don’t let your university friends make speeches about you, anywhere, ever.
The Flowers… I let my florist take the lead on the flowers as I know next to nothing about them! All I knew is that I wanted daisies and sunflowers, and something purple, and she did the rest.
The Cake… I found my wonderful cake lady Laura at a wedding fair and she was one of the few vendors there who actually let her cakes do the talking. I can’t recommend her highly enough. I sent her a few pictures to create a moodboard, and she came back with the most perfect creation, exactly what I wanted and it tasted divine. Each tier was a different flavour – rich chocolate, lemon drizzle, and a yummy rummy fruit cake to top it off. http://www.lauramaycakecompany.co.uk/wedding_cake_22.html
Your Photographer…. The lovely Lisa of Devlin Photos. I realised that most of the photos I’d saved as inspiration from wedding blogs had been taken by her, and luckily she was available despite me leaving it so, so late to find a photographer. We had an ‘engagement shoot’ a few weeks before the wedding to get used to being in front of the camera together and talk through the day with Lisa. She used to photograph popstars and toured with Steps! Amazing lady. Again, I can’t recommend her enough – warm, patient and a true professional.
The Details + Decor…. For the reception, I had a mixture of birdcages and plant pots for centrepieces, a scattering of vintage paper hearts that I spent hours making with a heart-shaped hole-punch days before, tea lights everywhere and cameras with instructions for guests to take photos – the best-looking person at the table, the most outrageous hat, a celebrity doppelganger and so on. Most of them didn’t develop properly but it was the thought that counted…
The Honeymoon…. We spent just over a week at a resort in Cancun, Mexico. It was so perfect, I could have quite happily moved in and was nearly in tears when we had to leave!
Memorable moments… So many amazing moments, from my maid of honour fake tanning with an hour to go and having to wear tights to cover her orange legs, to my dad telling everyone in his speech that Mark and I got together whilst we worked part-time at Sainsbury’s just so I could get a promotion (thanks Dad). No but honestly, the whole day was a series of memorable moments from start to finish – I wish I could relive it all over again.
Advice for other couples… Don’t feel pressured to do anything just because it’s traditional, or because it’s what everyone expects. It’s YOUR day, do what makes you happy! Don’t get too overwhelmed by the planning process and most importantly, don’t forget why you’re getting married. Brides – if you’re feeling nervous about the day being about you (because let’s face it fellas, all eyes are on HER) just channel your inner Beyonce and HAVE FUN. I can’t stress the fun part enough. Your shoes will probably get a bit ruined and someone will spill red wine on your dress, but you just have to OWN IT.
Credit where credit is due…
Venue/catering – Wasing Park, Aldermaston http://www.wasing-weddings.co.uk/
Photography – Lisa Devlin http://devlinphotos.co.uk/
Wedding Cake – Laura May http://www.lauramaycakecompany.co.uk/
Flowers – Julia @ My Fleur https://www.facebook.com/Myfleur
Bride’s dress – Coast http://www.coast-stores.com/
Bride’s shoes – Carvela at Kurt Geiger http://www.kurtgeiger.com/
Bridesmaid’s dresses – Dorothy Perkins http://www.dorothyperkins.com/
Decorations – Not on the High Street http://www.notonthehighstreet.com/ Hobbycraft http://www.hobbycraft.co.uk/ and Ebay
Thanks so much to Hayley and Mark for sharing their beautiful wedding with us today. Oh i do love a sunshine filled day :-) XOXO Lou
Tags: Autumn Wedding Ideas, Coast Wedding Dress, Devlin Photos, Dorothy Perkins Bridesmaids, English Country Garden, Purple Wedding Ideas, Real Weddings, Sunflower Wedding Flowers, Tommy Hilfiger Groom, Wasing Park, Yellow Wedding Ideas
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