WWW readers Oliver and Charlotte married in April at Meynell Langley in Kirk Langley, Derbyshire, followed by a tipi reception at Abbotsholme School, Staffordshire. They focused on making their wedding fun and laid back, keeping within a £10, 000 budget.
Geronimo balloons as a replacement for bouquets, braces for the boys, rustic table decor and an epic cake! Not to mention a lovely Ella dress and traditional veil for Charlotte. WOW.
Thanks so much to the brilliant HBA Photography for sharing their photographs with us today.
The Proposal… Oliver proposed whilst we were away on holiday in June 2011. We had been together for 8 years by this point and so I had all but given up on a proposal!! In fact, just a week before, we had been shopping for holiday clothes and Oli had suggested going to look in the jeweller shop window to have a peek at rings as we had done for a long time and I said “no that’s ok darling” thinking “what’s the point?”!! So when I turned around to find him down on one knee on a deserted beach in Corfu I was so completely shocked but absolutely delighted! Oli had bought me a wedding mag and a scrapbook so we could begin our planning there and then!
The Vision for the day… From day 1, we really wanted a relaxed, laid back wedding where all of our guests would have fun. Fun was always our biggest priority! We knew right away that huge floral displays, string quartets and fancy five course dinners weren’t going to be right for us. With that in mind, we wanted a quirky and unique, spring themed wedding, with lots of colour, lawn games, simple food and a relaxed party atmosphere. Unfortunately, the weather didn’t play along (snow was still on the ground 2 weeks before, and not a single flower had blossomed in time!) but with a couple of tweaks, we managed to make it work. We just wanted to make it a day that everyone enjoyed and remembered, a fun day, with lots of cheekiness, and personal touches everywhere, and I really hope our guests would agree we managed it!
The Planning Process… I was a very lucky bride as the whole thing was a real joint effort, Oli and I did everything (apart from my dress) together and it was such a wonderful time for us, we were pretty much in a permanent state of excitement for the whole two years. We were pretty hot on with the planning, we got things booked with plenty of time to spare, I can be a bit of a worrier at times and Oli was very good and could tell if I was getting a bit twitchy and we’d write one of our very many to do lists and get some things ticked off pronto!
Budget… We started off with a very optimistic and perhaps a little naïve budget of £5000, it turned out in the end to be closer to £10,000! But we did bits gradually as and when we had a little money spare and luckily our parents were very generous too. Even though the budget was stretched a little we are still very proud that we had our absolute perfect dream day for less than £10,000 which in wedding world is relatively cheap!
The Venue… Our ceremony was held at Meynell Langley in Kirk Langley, Derbyshire. It was the only place we went to see and we instantly fell in love with it. It just felt so ‘us’. Everything was exactly the way we’d have things if we were ever lucky enough to live in a place like that. Helen the owner was just lovely and made the whole thing very easy and relaxed. Then we went off to Abbotsholme School, Staffordshire for our tipi reception! I found tipis early on in my search through a google search of “unique and different marquees”. And that they most definitely were! After getting some quotes from a few companies based in the South we had given up on being able to afford them due to the cost almost doubling because of delivery costs. And then out of nowhere we found Peak Tipis based very close by in Ashbourne and it seemed it was just meant to be so we booked our beautiful tipis!
The Dress + Accessories… I only went to one bridal shop- Formal Elegance in Cannock. Jane was so friendly and helpful I didn’t feel any need to go anywhere else, she had so many different styles and she made sure I tried them all on and about 20 dresses later I ended up choosing the very first one I tried on! It was an Ella dress, I loved Ella dresses from the word go, in fact I have a cut out picture of an Ella dress from the magazine Oli bought for me when he proposed at the front of my scrapbook. I just love my dress it was a lot more sparkly than I thought I would choose but I literally felt like a princess when I was in it and it was just sooooo comfortable!
Groom’s attire… Oli’s first attempt at groom’s attire was a bit of a fail! We ordered a navy suit through an online tailor website and unfortunately when it arrived it wasn’t at all what we were hoping for. After a little bit of sulking, on Oli’s birthday off we went to our nearest shopping centre where we found Oli’s lovely wool blend jacket, it looked lovely and was much more Oli than a more traditional suit. With that in mind we decided to team his new jacket with chinos (a firm fave of Olis). To finish off the look we found a lovely shirt and brown shoes. All groomsmen wore the same navy wool tie from BHS and a buttonhole handmade by Oli from dried flowers. Oli also added a tie pin, braces and a pocket watch to complete his outfit!
The Readings + Music… Music was always very important to us as it something we really enjoy together and have so many special and meaningful songs between us we wanted to include as many as possible on our special day. Your Song by Ewan McGregor is ‘our song’ and so we used that for our first dance but also used an instrumental version for when I walked down the aisle. We walked out to ‘Brighter Than The Sun’ by Colbie Callait, we wanted something fun and happy. We had our faves Frank Sinatra and Glen Miller playing over dinner which set a perfect mood in the tipis. We also did our own disco playlist which was a lot of fun, we did it over a few evenings sat as Oli’s desk with a few glasses of wine and included all of our absolute favourites, I couldn’t stop dancing on the wedding night!
My sister Kathryn did a reading that Oli & I fell in love with as soon as we found it- (we are dog people!) “Falling in love is like owning a dog,” by Taylor Mali.
Falling in Love is like owning a dog.
First of all, it’s a big responsibility,
So think long and hard before deciding on love.
On the other hand, love gives you a sense of security:
when you’re walking down the street late at night
and you have a leash on love
ain’t no one going to mess with you.
Because crooks and muggers think love is unpredictable.
Who knows what love could do in its own defence?
On cold winter nights, love is warm.
It lies between you and lives and breathes
and makes funny noises.
Love wakes you up all hours of the night with its needs.
It needs to be fed so it will grow and stay healthy.
Love doesn’t like being left alone for long.
But come home and love is always happy to see you.
It may break a few things accidentally in its passion for life,
but you can never be mad at love for long.
Love makes messes.
Love leaves you little surprises here and there.
Love needs lots of cleaning up after.
Sometimes you just want to get love fixed.
Sometimes you want to roll up a piece of newspaper
and swat love on the nose,
not so much to cause pain,
just to let love know Don’t you ever do that again!
But love makes you meet people wherever you go.
People who have nothing in common but love
stop and talk to each other on the street.
Throw things away and love will bring them back,
again, and again, and again.
But most of all, love needs love, lots of it.
And in return, love loves you and never stops.
Beautiful bridesmaids… My beautiful bridesmaids were 4 of my closest and dearest friends. 3 of which I’ve known since I was about 9 and the other 1 my best friend from University who without I certainly would not have graduated! They wore twist and wrap dresses from BHS, I loved the idea of them all choosing a style that they were comfortable with but still all matching with the same colour.
The Flowers… We decided early on (despite several attempts to change our minds by some!) that we weren’t going to use a florist and have the traditional flowers associated with a wedding. Neither me nor Oli are particularly into flowers and we just couldn’t justify spending such a lot of money on something that didn’t really mean anything to us. And so after looking for alternatives we came across giant round helium balloons and instantly just loved them! Initially I was just going to get them for bridesmaids and I would have a more traditional bouquet but as soon as we got one and tried it out I said in a totally childish way “I want a balloon!” and so I did! We bought plants and plant pots to go on our tables at the reception to add a splash of colour to the whole set up.
The Cake… Well… The cake was also something we were initially going to veto and save pennies on but then our friends (wedding superduo!) Ben & Hannah offered to make us a cake as their wedding present to us. We know that whatever these two attempt they succeed and then some so there was no doubt in our mind in accepting their generous offer. To be honest we expected it to be fab but my goodness when we saw it, it just blew us away! It was our dream cake that we could never have even contemplated buying. Just incredible!
Your Photographer… Also our ‘wedding superduo’ Ben & Hannah of HBA Photography! Ben is Oliver’s brother but more than that they are both our very close friends. They are amazing photographers. When they offered to do our photos we were worried about accepting as we really wanted to make sure they had a really fun day too, but it just wouldn’t have felt right anyone else doing our photos. I love their work and love following their blog. We may be biased but they really are brilliant, we think the photos speak for themselves! When I started thinking about our wedding I didn’t really think photography was too important to me (mainly because I hate having my photo taken!) But after getting that ‘the photos are ready’ text from Ben on our honeymoon and immediately looking at our photos and reliving our day it hit me how truly important the photos are – we will cherish them forever. So we really do advise picking your photographer really carefully and not scrimping on it, photographs of your wedding day are just too precious.
The Details + Decor… We had very little in the way of décor at Meynell Langley, except of course our giant balloons! We just loved that place just as it was and didn’t feel it needed anything adding to it. In order to kick off our relaxed and laid back atmosphere we served bottled drinks for our drinks reception, offering our guests a bottle of either Budweiser, Cider, Ginger Beer or Coca Cola! We left Meynell Langley in a classic MG TF that we hired so that Oli could drive it. It was lovely being able to have half an hour for just me and Oli.
On arrival to our reception in our tipis we served candy floss and strawberry daiquiris in jam jars with paper straws. We really wanted to set the fun and relaxed mood for the rest of the day straight away and candyfloss & cocktails worked a treat!
Oli is owner and creator of The Poppy Trading Company and so of course we used his wonderful mismatched vintage chairs and rustic trestle tables, they looked so perfect in the tipis. We decided we wanted a banqueting style of dining to create a more sociable atmosphere, 3 long tables ran off from the top table and in fact one of my favourite memories of the day is sitting down on the top table and seeing all of our guests in front of us with big happy smiles on their faces. Our tipis went up 2 days before the wedding day and so for those 2 days we were busy decorating and putting all of our crazy ideas together! We made hessian table runners for each table and had log centrepieces and each guest had a thin log placemat, all made by my brilliant Father-in-law Will. A few of our close family and friends made cakes for our centrepieces which coincided with the table names ie. ‘the fairy cakes’! Also on the tables we had potted plants, copious bottles of wine and beer, scented t-lights and wooden heart confetti. The beer was made and designed by Oli, his Dad, and his best man Ben at a local microbrewery, an incredible Part 1 of Oli’s stag do organised by Ben. It was named Oli’s Froth (as chosen by Oli’s sister-in-law Hannah!) Our place settings were vintage cups and saucers that we had collected over the past 2 years with luggage tags attached.
There were so many other little details, highlights include: serving champagne from teapots into teacups for toasting, a suitcase of flip flops for ‘tired feet’, a suitcase of blankets to ‘snuggle up’, vintage lawn games (which did get some use despite the weather!), giant helium balloons, handmade buttonholes by Oli for the groomsmen, a yummy fish & chips wedding breakfast, pizza for supper (cooked there and then in Maxine’s Mobile Pizza Oven), an ice cream van surprise organised by my work colleagues and so much more I could go on and on and on!
The Honeymoon… The honeymoon was quite simply the best holiday of our lives. Oli’s parents have a beautiful villa in Tenerife which we had been too a few times before. We have always had a fab time there and we decided to honeymoon there so that we could save on accommodation costs and really splash out on ourselves day to day! We did everything we wanted and didn’t have to worry too much about the costs. We ate out A LOT and drank A LOT! We jet-skied and saw dolphins, we hired a jeep and went up into the mountains. Quite simply we had a perfect 10 days!
Memorable moments… Gosh there were so many! I think we’ll have to split this in two…
Char- reaching the end of the aisle and Oli grabbing my hand and squeezing it really tightly, our first dance, the speeches, candyfloss, dancing the night away on the dance floor!
Oli- picking the car up with my brother, Char coming down the aisle, driving back to Abbotsholme, sitting down to dinner, first dance, last dance with Char after everyone had left!
Advice for other couples… Unfortunately I don’t think it’s possible to plan your dream wedding without ruffling a few feathers along the way. Just don’t lose sight of what your hopes and dreams are, ultimately those who love you will see you on your day and see how truly happy you are as all your dreams are coming true and they won’t be able to not join you in that happiness. Of course all your guests are so important but Oli and I believe that a wedding is primarily about the couple, for us it was about remembering everything we’ve been through growing up together and celebrating how crazy in love we still are 10 years later!
Also DIY weddings are hard work but SO worth it! I will always remember on my last evening with Oli before our wedding, it was about 2am and I was sitting on the kitchen floor with a glass of red wine finishing off a homemade sign and Oli was beavering away on the laptop finishing our Facebook inspired ‘he said she said’ table conversation cards. That may have been many peoples worse nightmare 2 days before their wedding but we enjoyed every second of it, even at 2am in the morning!
Credit where credit is due…
Photography- HBA Photography www.hbaphotography.com
Tables & Chairs- The Poppy Trading Company www.unique-vintage-rentals.co.uk
The Dress- Formal Elegance www.formalelegance.co.uk
The Ceremony- Meynell Langley www.meynell-langley.co.uk
The Reception- Abbotsholme School www.abbotsholme.co.uk/Venue-Hire
The Tipis- Peak Tipis www.peaktipis.co.uk
The Make-Up- Opulence www.opulencebeauty.co.uk
The Car- Self Drive Classics www.selfdriveclassics.co.uk
Fish n Chips- KK Catering www.kkcatering.co.uk
The Pizza- Maxine’s Mobile Pizza www.maxinesmobilepizza.co.uk
Candyfloss- Sweet-a-Fayre www.sweetafayre.co.uk
Vintage Lawn Games- Something Old Something New www.somethingoldsomethingnew.org.uk
Wedding Night Bell Tent- Tinker’s Bells www.tinkersbells.co.uk
Ahh so wonderful!! I adore this wedding and all the fun personalised elements, that facebook guest book = genius! And just you wait for their stop motion wedding film later… ekk!!
Thanks so much to Oliver and Charlotte for sharing their wedding with us today XOXO Lou