WWW readers Natalie and Guy married in April at Worth Abbey, West Sussex, a venue that holds a special place in Natalie’s heart.
It was important to Natalie and Guy that their day was a countryside affair, where family and friends helped to craft their day. Natalie designed all of the wedding stationery, they held a craft party to help create the decor and Guy made some wonderful Origami birds.
Natalie wore a beautiful gown by Amanda Wyatt with a sweet birdcage veil, the bridesmaids wore mismatched pretty pink dresses and Guy donned a sharp three piece suit by French Connection. Such a stylish day.
Thanks so much to the fabulous Sara Reeve for sharing her photography with us today.
The Proposal… We’ve known for a long time that we would get married – we are like two peas in a pod and love each other to pieces. Having been together for over 8 years, we started getting nagged by the relatives about when it might happen. So, the proposal wasn’t really a shock, but Guy did take me by surprise when he actually popped the question. I was working from home one gloomy day in February, and Guy had left for work as normal at 7am to get the train up to London. Little did I know that he had actually secretly gone into town. I heard the lock go in the door at midday, and there he was with picnic basket in one hand and an engagement ring in the other. Too excited that we were getting married (and with A LOT of relatives to tell), we never actually left the flat for our picnic.
The Vision for the Day… My dad has taught at Worth Abbey School since I was about 5 years old, and so my sisters and I were lucky enough to live within the school grounds in a gorgeous house right next to a farm. It was an amazing place to grow up, and I still consider it my home to this day. So, I always knew that I wanted to get married there. We both have a very similar style, and wanted our wedding to be a mix of vintage and country chic.
The Planning Process… Planning started from the day we got engaged and first thing we needed to sort was the venue. Because Worth is a Catholic school, and neither of us are remotely religious, we knew we wouldn’t be able to have the legal part of our wedding conducted there. So, we decided that we’d have the legal part of our wedding conducted on a Friday with just a couple of witnesses, and then have our ‘proper’ wedding day on the Saturday in a non-religious ceremony at Worth Abbey.
I am super organised and had most things sorted within about 4 months. I went to numerous wedding fairs and sought inspiration from lots of wedding blogs. Our engagement was 14 months in total, which left a lot of time to wait around! But we go on with the creative stuff in this time. With us both being designers, we knew that we wanted to have as loads of input into the creative aspects of our wedding.
The Venue… Worth Abbey – the most special place in the world for me. The grounds are absolutely gorgeous, and the buildings are really stunning. Our ceremony was held in one of the most impressive buildings, with a pretty Juliette balcony and crystal chandeliers.
Our reception was held in tipis, and this was the best decision we made in terms of planning. The inside of the tipis were decorated in fairylights, hanging birdcages and bunting. It even had an open fire, so everyone could huddle around it at night and keep warm. It really did feel like a romantic fairytale.
The Dress + Accessories… I found my dress in the very first Bridal shop I visited. It was an Amanda Wyatt design, and my sister actually picked it out as a joke….it’s got a big frilly skirt and she thought it would be funny for me to try on, having decided I would probably go for something very simple. But as soon as I tried it on, I knew it was the one. It looked like it was made for me!
I didn’t want a traditional veil, so instead I had a birdcage fascinator made for me by Lilly Lewis. After telling her the sort of thing I wanted, she found some old vintage lace in a market and made it from that. I couldn’t believe how perfect it was.
The only other accessories I wore were a simple pearl necklace and bracelet, both were presents from my family.
Groom’s Attire… Guy knew that he wanted a three-piece suit, and definitely something non traditional. We spent a lot of time looking around for vintage suits, but we couldn’t find anything quite right. Then one day, we saw a French Connection suit which was perfect, but the Brighton store only had stock of the waistcoat. We ended up buying the trousers from Leeds and the jacket from London. His suit ended up coming from all over the country!
The Readings + Music… We wanted our reading to be light-heated and funny, so we chose ‘Yes, I’ll Marry You by Pam Ayres which my little sister read. We asked one of the groomsmen to sing our other reading – ‘I Wanna Grow Old With You’ by Adam Sandler in The Wedding Singer. He’s got such an amazing voice, and as all of our guests weren’t expecting it, it went down a storm. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
Our DJ was brilliant too, he was a friend of Guys from work and he had people up on the dancefloor all night long. He played lots of golden oldies as well as some rock classics, which was right up our street.
Beautiful Bridesmaids… My three sisters and my best friend were the most brilliant bridesmaids in the world – from the minute we got engaged, they were on-hand to help me with everything, despite two of them being in Australia and one in Canada! My best friend Laura managed to organise my whole hen-do (the second best weekend of my life) from the other side of the world. What a legend!
The Flowers… A tiny local florist sorted our flowers for the big day. We wanted to have quite wild looking bouquets, lots of greens and whites with some Amnesia Roses. Mink was our colour theme and the Amnesia Rose was the perfect shade of pink to match. The boys all had one rose for their buttonhole.
The Cake… Guys stepmum made the cake, and what a fab job she did. As we were using birdcages as part of our décor, we asked her if she cold make a birdcage themed cake. She really pulled out all the stops, making an actual birdcage out of wood, which the cakes stood on top of, with little feather birds placed inside. It was just perfect, and tasted delicious too!
Your Photographer… I met Sara when I went to a wedding fayre shortly after getting engaged, and I knew from the minute I met her, that she was the photographer for us. She instantly understood my ideas and visions for the day, and her style was exactly what I wanted for our wedding shots. Really natural and fun.
It rained A LOT on our wedding day, but Sara took everything in her stride and managed to get some absolutely amazing photos of us, despite the weather. And actually, the rain made our photos look so different to the usual wedding photos you see – the umbrella shots are our favourite of them all! We love her to pieces and are so glad we hired a proper professional.
The Details + Decor… Being creative, we did all of the decoration ourselves. We had a craft party at Super+Super in Brighton where all of our friends helped us decorate jars for our tealights, and made props for our DIY photo booth. Guy loves origami, so he made lots of little paper birds that we hung inside birdcages.
I designed all of our stationery, from the Save the Dates and Invitations, to the venue signage and favours. I also designed and built our own wedding website to match, where all of our guests could RSVP online, get directions to the venue, and buy a gift from our list. I fell I love with it so much, that I’ve now set up a company designing stationery and websites for other Brides! (MurrayMe)
The Honeymoon… We spent two weeks in Thailand, and couldn’t have asked for a better honeymoon. We started off in Bangkok, then went on to Koh Samui and Ko Tao. We had the busiest two weeks of our lives, making sure we made the most of every minute we were out there. We snorkelled, scuba dived, rode elephants. You name it, we did it.
Memorable Moments… By 10pm, the drink had been flowing and the rain had been pouring, and this resulted in a lot of people ditching their shoes and dancing around in the mud. By the time everyone went home, we were all absolutely filthy, but no-body really minded. It’s now known as the festival wedding, and this is by far the most memorable moment.
Advice for Other Couples… Try not to worry about things being 100% perfect on the day. Its likely that things won’t go exactly according to plan, but you’ve just got to smile and relax, and try not to let it ruin your day.
Buy a pretty umbrella! If you’re planning on having outdoor photos, it won’t matter if it rains, and it’ll make some really gorgeous shots.
Don’t skimp on hiring a professional photographer! Friends and family can take some great shots, but a professional will ensure you get photos that you’re going to cherish for the rest of your lives.
Credit Where Credit is Due…
Bridesmaid Dresses: Coast – http://www.coast-stores.com/?lng=en&ctry=GB&
Collectif – http://www.collectif.co.uk/
Urban Outfitters – http://www.urbanoutfitters.co.uk/
Debenhams – http://www.debenhams.com/
Bridal Dress: Designer Amanda Wyatt (Madrid Dress)
Shop – Perfection Bridal, Hove, UK. http://www.perfectionbridalandmenswear.co.uk/
Grooms Suit: French Connection – http://www.frenchconnection.com/
Photographer: Sara Reeve – http://www.sarareeve.com/
Florist: Florabundance, Crawley Down, Sussex.
Stationery and website design: MurrayMe – www.murrayme.co.uk
Hair: Gorgeous, Crawley Down, Sussex.
Make-up: Cara Stocker, MAC, Brighton – http://www.maccosmetics.co.uk/
Fascinator: Lilly Lewis – http://www.lillylewis.co.uk/
Cake: The Grooms step-mum!
Venue: Worth Abbey
Craft venue: Super+Super – www.supersuperhq.com
Tipis: Beautiful World Tents – www.beautifulworldtents.co.uk/
DJ: Nick Dalby
Ahhh sooo pretty, and proof that rain on your wedding day really doesn’t matter. Thanks so much to Natalie and Guy for sharing their wedding with us today XOXO Lou