It’s time for the first wedding of 2013. I hope you are feeling refreshed and revivied ready for the new year :-)
Catherine and Jonathan were married at Brampton Grange, their wedding was to be intimate and relaxed with a garden party feel. I so love the bright colours in their wedding, with the most beautiful flowers, floral bridesmaids dresses and amazing cake table.
Catherine looked so beautiful in her 1950s style dress with those lovely gold shoes, while Jonathan looked dapper in a grey three piece suit. Such a beautiful, sun shining, happy wedding.
Thanks so much to the brilliant Aaron Collett Photography for sharing his images today.
Names…. Catherine and Jonathan
Wedding Date….27th July 2012 (the opening night of the London Olympics)
The Proposal….We went to London on one of the hottest days in April 2011. We visited Kew Gardens and we were wandering around looking for a quiet place to sit down. Having found a space amongst some bluebells, Jonathan began a wonderful, heartfelt speech about his thoughts on our relationship and then punctuated it by pulling out a ring box from the bottom of the bag we had been carrying around all day! The reply was … ‘Of course I will!’
The vision for the day….Our main aim was to keep the day intimate and relaxed with our nearest and dearest. We are both huge fans of tea and cake and weren’t really planning a particular theme as such, but we decided that we wanted more than a traditional wedding cake so went along the lines of a spread of our favourite cakes. As our thoughts and plans developed we partly based our ideas and decisions around a tea- or garden party.
The planning process….We kept the planning very calm and organised so that it didn’t become something that took over our lives. We both enjoyed preparing the invites and table decorations, etc., and tried to make as many things as we could rather than buy them.
The venue…We didn’t look at too many venues but knew we wanted something small and relaxed. Brampton Grange was an ideal venue as it is literally half way between both sets of our parents. The venue offered a fantastic range of spaces: a small tiled and beamed room for the ceremony, a wonderful conservatory and lawns to sit out on afterwards (complete with giant Connect 4 and Jenga, and croquet), a hall for the meal and evening reception, and an AMAZING country house for us and a small number of our guests to stay in (with use of an outside pool for the morning after, too!).
The dress + accessories…..The dress was a1950s style tulle gown with an embellished taffeta bow and crystal button back. I wanted a pair of shoes that I would be happy to wear again and I found the perfect pair of gold Bertie shoes. Initially I wanted to wear a bird cage veil, but I needed to have something in my hair which I could forget about during the day. In the end I went for a vintage gold-tone pearl side tiara which suited my bob hair style, too.
Finding the dress…. Dress shopping was great fun. I knew what I really wanted; something of a shorter length which I would feel comfortable wearing for a whole day. It helped that these dresses are not overly common in bridal shops which kept the choice making a lot easier. My Mum and I had lots of Saturday afternoons out trying on dresses, interspersed with lunches out, making for good quality time together.
Groom’s attire…From an early stage we decided that we didn’t want a traditional morning suit - that wouldn’t fit the relaxed, informal feel we were after – so looked instead for a mid-grey, two-buttoned, three-piece suit. I thought about hiring one and tried a couple on but, as nice as they were, they didn’t quite seem to fit as well as I’d hoped. In the end, I found something in a traditional tailor’s (rather than a department store or high-street shop, where again the fit wasn’t quite right), and bought one for myself and another for my best man.
The next challenge was finding a suitable tie. We had green in mind, as it would be light and summery, but that didn’t seem to be a very popular colour in the shops. Eventually we found a perfect number, complete with some small blue flowers and a paisley-like motif.
The readings + music….We had two readings: the first was ‘Guess How Much I Love You?’ and the second was a poem called ‘Recipe for a Happy Marriage’. The former is a short story that Catherine knew of through her work as a primary school teacher, and the latter we found online but embellished slightly to make it more personal. Both readings were delivery perfectly by my mum and Catherine’s uncle.
Music was supplied by a local string quartet before, during and after the ceremony. They sounded fantastic, and did a brilliant arrangement of the song that Catherine’s mum had walked down the aisle to: ‘A Whiter Shade of Pale’ by Procol Harum. We chose to walk out of the ceremony room together to ‘All You Need is Love’ by The Beatles. During the meal, a close friend supplied a playlist of some modern/indie takes on string music (including a surprisingly good version of ‘Mmmbop’ by Hanson!).
In the evening we had a fantastic local band called The V. I. Peas, who played a selection of classic songs and more modern pop hits from artists ranging from Lynyrd Skynyrd (‘Sweet Home Alabama’) to Franz Ferdinand (‘Take Me Out’) and Cee-lo Green (‘Forget You’). They went down a storm, and we would thoroughly recommend them!
Beautiful bridesmaids…..The bridesmaids were my sister, Fiona and longest-known friend, Anna. Both girls were both very different in their ‘normal’ choice of dress sense so trying to find a dress to suit them both was a tricky job. But we did it! All thanks to a fantastic summer, prom style dress from BHS which didn’t break the bank at all. We found a super pair of bright pink shoes which complemented the dresses brilliantly from Brantano.
The flowers…Neither of us had a particularly strong idea of what we wanted in terms of flowers: Catherine wasn’t even sure she wanted a bouquet, but eventually went with it. Once we’d settled on the idea that our wedding would have a bit of a tea-party feel, we decided to keep the flowers very simple and go for some typical summer blooms for the bouquets and small bunches of pink and white gypsophila to line the aisle. Our florist persuaded us to go for brighter colours rather than the pastel shades we’d originally talked about, and the results looked great (especially in the photos).
To help keep our costs down, we reused our flowers as much as possible. So, the ones that were in the vase at the front of the ceremony room was moved out into the conservatory area, the gypsophila bunches went into old-fashioned milk bottles in the room where we had our meal, and Catherine and her bridesmaid’s bouquets were placed inside teapots at the centre of our tables.
The cake… Because one was never going to be enough for such tea-and-cake fans as us, we had a number cakes made by a local baker. She made us a Victoria sponge (the main cake for cutting), a carrot cake, a gluten-free coffee and walnut cake, a Battenberg and a lemon drizzle cake. Our families also helped out: Catherine’s mum made us a nice big batch of scones to have with jam, cream and butter, and my mum knocked up one of her famous (in our house, anyway) moist fruit cake loaves. For some guest, the cakes were the highlight of the day!
Your photographer….We first became aware of Aaron when he photographed Catherine’s friend Shelley’s wedding. We were impressed by how unobtrusive he was, and how relaxed he made everyone feel as he walked round taking informal, candid snaps during the day. Once we saw Shelley and Simon’s photos we were really keen to book him, as the images looked brilliant.
As part of his service, Aaron arranged a pre-wedding shoot with us, where we went to some local woodland and had some photos taken. Neither of us is particularly fond of being photographed or generally being the centre of attention, but it was certainly a worthwhile experience, as it got us used to working with Aaron and also provided some fantastic photographs.
On the wedding day itself Aaron was friendly and professional, and wasn’t fazed when our planned timings went slightly awry. He kept the formal portraits shots to a minimum and concentrated on capturing small details and natural group shots. He got some truly great reaction shots during the speeches, too.
We are both fantastically pleased with the photos that Aaron has provided - especially the mix of black-and-white and colour images – and are looking forward to putting together a fine art album with him.
The details + decor…. We provided a lot of the decoration ourselves, but were fortunate to have a number of friends to call upon for help. The garden-party feel of our meal room was greatly enhanced by the metres and metres of bunting that one of Catherine’s colleagues made for us. Also, a lady who Catherine’s mum knows is thinking of starting a vintage crockery hire business, and she supplied us with countless tea cups, saucers, side plates and cake stands. Our florist matched this look with vintage teapots for table centrepieces.
The honeymoon…. We treated ourselves when it came to our honeymoon, and booked a transatlantic trip with a beach element at the end. Initially, we flew to New York for five nights and spent our time soaking up as many of the classic tourist sites as possible, including the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building and Time Square. After that, we flew to Miami for a further four nights. The city had a total different feel to the manic hustle and bustle of the Big Apple, but there was still plenty to do. We spent time on the beach, on an airboat in the Everglade swamps, looking at the colourful art-deco style buildings and eating! We finished our honeymoon with a week in an all-inclusive hotel in Mexico, where we well and truly put our feet up and caught up on some sleep.
Memorable moments… The day itself was even better than we thought it would be. Everything went to plan, and it was great to see so many smiles on the faces of our nearest and dearest. The ceremony meant a lot to both of us, too, as did bringing together both of our families (some of whom had never met). Having breakfast with our families the morning after the wedding also helped to prolong the celebrations, and taking a dip in a freezing-cold pool certainly blew away the cobwebs!
The honeymoon was also brilliant, because the places we went were so different and we’d not been to any of them before.
And of course, then there’s the wedding cakes …
Advice for other couples… Don’t put too much pressure on yourselves, and panic about the day not being perfect. Some things are out of your control (such as the British weather) and as long as you’ve got your friends and family around you - and you actually end up married - it doesn’t really matter if you run late, your candles aren’t exactly the same colour as your table runners or your dad gets drunk and has to be propped up in the photos. Decide which bits are most important to you, and that you’re willing to spend money on. If it’s only a minor detail that only you’re really going to notice on the day then it’s probably not worth breaking the bank for. Don’t feel that you have to conform to tradition. If you don’t want to have any speeches then there’s no rule that says that you have to, and a first dance (if you have one) can be to absolutely anything you want. It’s your day, after all, and it’s important that you enjoy it. Take charge of your own guest list: don’t feel you have to invite your second cousin’s next-door neighbour just because you once bumped into her when walking the dog. Make sure everyone who counts is there, if they can be. Try to plan ahead and don’t leave everything to the last minute. Do little and often, and the planning won’t start to feel like a chore. Try to have a relaxing day before the wedding itself, so you’re ready for all the excitement that the Big Day has in store. Without wanting to sound too miserable, remember that life does go back to normal once the cake’s all been eaten and the photos have gone into their frames. However, the important thing is that you’ll now be married, which is what it’s all about.
Credit where credit is due…
Band: The V. I. Peas (http://www.thevipeas.co.uk/index.html
Cakes: Polka Dot Cakes (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Polka-Dot-Cakes/197758977004261)
Caterers: Delizioso (http://www.deliziosocaterers.co.uk/)
Dress: Shop for Brides (http://www.shopforbrides.com/)
Flowers: Manic Botanic (http://manic-botanic.com/index.html)
Photographer: Aaron Collett Photography (http://www.aaroncollettphotography.co.uk/)
Suit: Montague Jeffery (http://www.montaguejeffery.co.uk/)
Venue: Brampton Grange (http://www.bramptongrange.co.uk/)
Catherine, Inspirations (http://www.inspirationshairbylyniki.co.uk/)
Jonathan, Mutiny (http://www.mutinyhair.co.uk )
How lovely are those two?! Thanks so much to Catherine and Jonathan for sharing their beautiful wedding with us today XOXO Lou
Tags: Aaron Collett Photography, BHS Bridesmaids, Brampton Grange, Floral Bridesmaids, Garden Party, Multicolour Wedding Ideas, Multicoloured Flowers, Real Weddings
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