Nick and Heather were married in a church service followed by a reception at Earsham Hall, Suffolk. Heather is from the US, so they also held a wedding reception in the USA just a week later, so they were planning two weddings at once, wow!
Heather had many of her relatives fly in from the US and there was a nod to her American background with the surprise American jeeps as their wedding transport and had a travel theme to their lovely decor.
It was important to Nick and Heather that their family were involved in the wedding, with many contributing different elements to the day. They also incorporated their favourite colour; green, which worked really well.
Heather looked amazing in her empire line dress with handmade birdcage veil while Nick wore a smart suit with green accessories. Gorgeous.
Thanks so much to the brilliant 2up Photography for sharing their images with us today, here is what they had to say about the day;
“Heather and Nick’s wedding – what a day it was – full of joy, tears and some amazing surprises! On the notes from my pre wedding meeting with Heather and Nick I had scribbled “surprise cars” but never in my wildest dreams did I expect the bridal party to arrive in American jeeps replete with uniformed drivers! This, it turned out was the best kept secret in the world, and arranged by Nick’s Dad in honour of his soon-to-be American daughter-in-law and her family, who were over from the States for the wedding. As you will see, this gave us lots of quite unique photo opportunities!
Although the sun was not shining as it had been at our pre wedding meet up, Earsham Hall lived up to expectations with its sweeping vistas over the beautiful Norfolk countryside and its fabulous interiors warmed by roaring fires.”
The Proposal…. I (Heather) am a Heritage Consultant, which means that I work with historic buildings everyday – and I love it. Nick knows me so well that he chose the perfect place to propose – a stately home hotel called Middlethorpe Hall (outside of York) which is actually owned by the National Trust. It was my birthday weekend (November 2011) and we wanted to get away, so we headed up to York, which is where I first “landed” when I moved from America to Britain in October 2004. Even though I knew we were heading to York, Middlethorpe Hall was a huge surprise, and soon after checking in to a beautiful room in the converted stables Nick took me for a walk through the extensive grounds. He took me completely by surprise when, next to a lake overlooking the changing autumn leaves, he got down on one knee and proposed. I was overwhelmed – particularly as he had chosen an engagement ring with my favourite stone – emerald!
The Vision for the day…. There were a few things that were very important to us, right after having our amazing friends and family with us. Again, because of my job, the venue was quite important. I wanted so much to have a beautiful historic building for our reception. We also wanted to get married at Nick’s local church in St James, South Elmham (Suffolk) where he was christened. Otherwise, we wanted it to be casual and fun, relaxed and also to reflect – at least a little! – my American background. It helped that both of us had the same favourite colour (green) and that neither one of us was too particular about anything, really!
The Planning process…. Nick told me early on a very important piece of advice: If you ever get stressed, it isn’t worth it; this is meant to be the happiest day of our life! I took that to heart and I feel like things couldn’t have gone smoother. It was hard for me because my mother and best friend (who was Maid of Honour) were in America, and it is important to have support like that through the planning. However, they were great from afar and my friends and family here in the UK were so supportive. We were also trying to plan the American wedding at the same time…very time consuming! Overall, we tried to get as much help from the wonderful people around us as possible. Family baked the cakes, the best man’s mum did the flower for the reception, other family friends did flowers for the church, one of the bridesmaids made hair flowers and a good family friend altered my dress. It felt like everyone got involved and it made it so special.
The Venue… We were married at St James, South Elmham Church in Suffolk. It is a lovely medieval church with a lot of character and a lot of important family connections for Nick. He grew up in the house his parents still live in; which is a 2 minute walk down a footpath! The reception was at Earsham Hall, outside of Bungay, Suffolk. It was perfect, and we were so lucky as it was the first venue we viewed and we knew it was the one straight away. What we loved so much was that it is set in a huge, open landscape that is so private and special, as well as that there were multiple rooms for people to experience. For example, there was a sitting room with two big fireplaces to relax, a grand entrance hall to mingle and a beautiful dining room for the meal and for dancing. I can’t praise Annabel at Earsham Hall enough; she was excellent at organising the reception and making us feel so relaxed.
The Dress + Accessories….. The dress was empire line with a sweetheart neckline, made of ivory shantung taffeta. It was quite plain, which was what I wanted, but was also different from any other dress I had ever seen anyone get married in. Best of all – it had pockets! I wanted to make it my own so had a sash made of grey silk to match the bridesmaids, and also found a very good bargain grey lace shrug online. I made the birdcage veil myself, and bought gold jewellery from etsy. I also had comfy and lovely grey heels from Clarks. My something old was my grandmother’s wedding band and a pair of emerald earrings from my mother. The something blue was a handkerchief from my grandmother and I also carried around a sixpence in my pocket to complete the traditional poem.
Finding the dress….The dress was from America, which I had bought when home for Christmas in 2011. It was from a designer called Galina. Much like the venue it was first time’s a charm; I got it from the first place I tried on dresses, after only about 5 or 6 others. I knew it was perfect…though I did have to take off a bow on the front which didn’t really suit me!
Groom’s attire… As we had the two weddings, I (Nick) didn’t want to hire suits for both. Mainly, because that would mean hiring a suits twice, which would start to become costly. I also liked the idea of buying a suit, especially for the wedding, and letting my best men (I had two) and ushers to wear their own suits. We just suggested a tone of colour to go for, they didn’t have to all match, in fact, we saw some photos of other weddings where they didn’t match, and we liked that. We then bought a set of waistcoats for them to where, and green ties and handkerchiefs to bring them all together. So although they didn’t wear the same suits, they all tied in with each other.
The Readings + Music…. Music (organist at church): Lord of all Hopefulness, Love Divine, One More Step.
Readings: Song of Solomon, Chapter 2 Verses 10 – 13, I’ll be There, by Louise Cuddon. I did have to change some of the words, though, to make it more appropriate for church!
We also had a pianist to play during the canapé hour at Earsham Hall and the band Freeman Street (friends of one of the bridesmaids) for the reception. They did amazing rock and roll! Additionally, Nick’s brother Matt (who used to do discos) compiled a playlist for between the band which were all music choices of guests. We asked them to request songs on their RSVP card.
Beautiful bridesmaids….. I technically had five bridesmaids, but my sister-in-law wasn’t able to come over from America due to my gorgeous little nephew Owen being born just months before. Nick’s sister and sister-in-law (and my very good friends!) as well as my good friend from work and my best friend in the world from America were bridesmaids here. I wanted the look to be quite casual, so I told everyone to pick a dress of their choice, to be short and grey. I can’t believe how well it all worked together! I gave each of them a green shawl and my amazingly talented mother made green jewellery and white and green brocade patterned handbags for them all. As I mentioned before, one of my bridesmaids made lovely hair flowers for them all.
The Flowers… The flowers were all in shades of green and ivory, to go with the wedding colours. The talented mother of one of the best men made the bouquets, button holes and reception flowers. Gypsophilia was used everywhere, as I love how vintage it looks. Otherwise we didn’t really give Linda a brief; we were pretty relaxed about how everything looked and were so happy with what she came up with. I especially loved my bouquet, which had ivory roses and my absolute favourite – hydrangeas.
The Cake… I wanted multiple small cakes, as I collect green glass and had some green glass cake stands that I wanted to use. I had planned on baking the cakes myself, but this soon became a bit too much to tackle! My mom, Nick’s mum and my aunt made the cakes and Nick and I designed the cake toppers. The three cakes were Devil’s Food, Vanilla Sponge (with strawberry jam) and traditional fruitcake. They were covered with my mom’s homemade and delicious buttercream frosting and simply decorated. One doubled as a birthday cake for our friend Laura who turned 30 that day!
Your Photographer…. I found out about our photographer – 2up Photography – at a vintage wedding fair in Norwich, where I won a contest to name the male mannequin at her stand (Tony!). We looked into a few different people but we loved Debbie and Geoff’s personalities and their laid-back (but still professional) approach. They had a lot of experience and their portfolio spoke for itself. They were brilliant – so many times we forgot they were there, which is actually a good thing. So many guests have said their pictures really capture the feel of the day. Debbie and Geoff were also very patient with us given that Nick is also a photographer (nicholasjermyphotography.co.uk)!
The Details + Decor…. Luckily Earsham Hall was so beautiful we didn’t need to do much. We did have photo frames featuring wedding photos of our parents and grandparents and we also had vintage jars full of American candy that my parents hauled all the way from the States. The other feature was a white tree which we asked people to hang tags on with advice for the future. The best one was “Always listen to your mother” – you’ll never guess who wrote that!
We did have a theme that tied it all together –travel. This is down to me being from overseas and the fact that we have travelled a bit together. The card box was a trunk, there were luggage tags everywhere, the seating chart was a map and the table numbers were fake postcards that we designed based on places we’d visited together. We designed and made the invitations and most of the décor ourselves.
The Honeymoon…. We haven’t gone yet!! Our registry was with Trailfinders and we have chosen to go to Thailand at end of February. We can’t wait! We also had a short “mini-moon” in Iceland between the UK and USA weddings.
Memorable moments… One of the most amazing things was having my family come from America; my dad had never been over in the 7+ years I have been here. It was incredible for us all to get in the middle of a circle of people at the end of the night while we sang “New York, New York”!
Nick’s dad had told us from the start that the wedding transportation was taken care of – and while we had an inkling that it was a vintage army car we were astounded at what turned up on the morning – a team of three American WWII jeeps and a weapons carrier (truck) complete with a crew of drivers all dressed in WWII gear. It was amazing; to drive around with the siren going and seeing all my beautiful bridesmaids, my brother, mom, dad and aunt in the vehicles was brilliant. The men (and lady!) were so kind and went out of the way to make us feel special, even staying to pose with salutes and lifting me up!
The ceremony was also great. Nick’s brother-in-law did a lovely reading and my Aunt who has a slight Southern USA twang did one as well. The vicar did an incredible job and it just felt so special and so comfortable.
Lastly, the band gave us a special treat by surprising us with a going away song – “I Knew the Bride when she used to Rock and Roll”. Nick and I were suddenly thrown into the centre of the dance floor and somehow did a good job with a bit of jiving – everyone thought we had practiced it!
Advice for other couples… Keep it simple – its so easy to get caught up in planning so much little details and things that don’t matter when it really comes down to. Nick’s early advice is spot on; once you stress and it isn’t fun anymore than it’s not worth it. Also, ask any talented friends and family to help; they will inevitably love to be involved and it will make the whole thing seem more special.
Credit where credit is due…
Earsham Hall http://www.earshamhallevents.co.uk/
2up Photography http://www.2upphotography.co.uk/
Pianist Louise http://www.pianistlouise.co.uk/bongo.pl/index/
Ahh such a happy day, thanks so much to Nick and Heather for sharing their beautiful wedding with us today XOXO Lou