It’s a brand new week with so much loveliness in store and I hope you are feeling fully refreshed after the weekend.
Amanda and Paul tied the knot back in May 2013 with a church service in the oldest wooden church in the world, followed by reception at Blake Hall, Essex. They wanted their wedding to be personal and without a colour scheme.
Amanda and Paul crafted the vast majority of their rustic details, from the ladder table plan to the sweetie table. I am head over heels for all of those gorgeous flowers and the bouquets. Not to mention Amanda’s beautiful tea length wedding dress and sweet Rachel Simpson shoes.
Thanks so much to the fabulous Julia & You for sharing her images with us today.
The Proposal… Paul took me away for a little weekend surprise trip to Warwick where we stayed at a beautiful old converted monastery. Paul told me after he initially planned on taking me for a lovely stroll in the grounds and finding a romantic little spot to pop the question….but due to the rain and me being a tad grumpy about going for a walk in the rain he came up with plan b and to wait until later that evening (rain seems to be the theme for us for anything we do!). After a wonderful dinner Paul found a quiet (and pretty) little corner of the hotel where he asked if I would like to know where we would be going (he had also planned another surprise getaway which he had been hinting at all day). With that he popped back to the room and came back with an amazing!! scrapbook he had lovingly put together of all our memories and keep sakes he had kept from over the years we had been together. Just before I turned the last page Paul stopped me and told me loved me (and all the mushy stuff) to which I turned the page to find a card he had made and put in the book asking me to marry him!! :) After saying yes he then gave me the ring and finished off with saying he was taking me to Marrakech that week! Lucky gal or what! I later learnt Paul initally planned to propose whilst in Marrakech whilst in the Atlas Mountains…in hindsight that was probably the best thing to not do that as we found ourselves treking practically on hands and knees with steep drops when we got to the mountains and knowing me I would have probably dropped the ring off the edge of a cliff in excitement! The scrapbook is amazing and something we can always look back on. Paul left several pages blank at the end to which we have already added engagement and wedding memories to! Still a few more pages to fill….wonder what with next?
The Vision for the Day… Paul and I knew instantly we would want a day that would be relaxed and informal. We wanted the day to be “us” rather than a cookie cutter style wedding. As beautiful as every wedding is we just wanted to make the day ours and if that meant having a few ideas that were a little different then that’s what got us more excited about our day. There was no fixed theme and definitely no colour scheme, but we aimed for a rustic kind of feel to the day where things would just come together rather than calculate everything matching together perfectly (well, that’s just us really).
The Planning Process… I have to say I think I’m pretty lucky that I had a groom to be who was keen to get involved from the start and was pretty good at researching and booking things as need be. We figured out the big stuff quite easily and quickly, church and venue. Once we had the date locked down we prioritised what was most important to us and what wasn’t. Finding a photographer and booking a band where top of the list as we wanted to make sure we had the best chance of finding and booking someone who we loved and with only a year roughly between engagement and wedding, in wedding terms we knew it wasn’t a massive time as things and people can get booked up years in advance. Luckily we found both the amazing photographer and band and completely followed our gut instinct and managed to snap them up pretty quickly too. We were quite good I think at getting stuff organised early on and didn’t have really any last minute panics or worries in the run up to the big day. We had only one slight hiccup with the wedding car that we initially booked as the guy went out of business (and we chased him for weeks as he never bothered to tell us) but we managed to find another cute morris minor with another company who were absolutely brilliant. But early planning never hurts and just makes things so much easier in the last few weeks.
The Venue… We got married at Greensted Church in Ongar, Essex. It is the oldest wooden church in the world and just full of charm and character. Our reception we chose to have at Blake Hall, Ongar. A gorgeous 17th century barn that has been beautifully renovated.
The Dress + Accessories… Dress was by White Rose bought from a shop in Bexley, Kent, specialising in tea length wedding dresses. My shoes were by Rachel Simpson. simple, gorgeous and oh so comfy. I added some diamonte and pearl shoe clips, also from Rachel Simpson (and bonus, Paul bought them for me as a Christmas present). Other accessories were kept quite minimal. I wore a pair for drop crystal earring by Martine Wester. I had two diamonte/crystal vintage hair pins that I found for a bargain price of 50p each at a Christmas village bizarre! My outfit was finished off with a beautiful blue topaz ring that belonged to my mum (my something old, borrowed and blue) that she gave to me the night before the wedding and then a lovely little surprise from Paul the morning of the wedding in the shape of a pearl Tiffany bracelet.
Finding the Dress… I didn’t set out looking for a tea length dress but am so pleased my mum spotted one whilst we were at a wedding fair in Bluewater, Essex, at Cutting Edge Brides stand. I made an appointment to go and see Lorna and Suzanna at their showroom and although I didn’t end up with the dress I initially saw at the show I fell in love with a dress that felt perfect for me (clichéd as it sounds, I just knew once I put it on and did not want to take it off it was THE dress). I actually dreaded the whole wedding dress shopping idea (due to all the horror stories your hear and my own fears of bearing my all in my undies to a complete stranger) and actually kept putting it off for ages despite people telling me a didn’t have that long and to not leave it too long just in case (it was about 8 months to go by this point). Lorna and Suzanna were just brilliant and being so lovely and down to earth just made me feel completely at ease and I completely recommend their services on your wedding dress hunt (tea length or not).
Groom’s Attire… Three piece suit from Reiss. Knitted tie from TM Lewin. Shoes from Topman.
The Readings + Music… Brides entrance: Trumpet Voluntary, Clark. Signing of the Register: Canon in D, Pachelbel. Bridal procession: Arrival of the Queen of Sheba, Handel. Two of our friends beautiful read for us firstly, 1 Corinthians chapter 13 and secondly, The Art of Marriage by Wilferd A. Peterson.
Beautiful Bridesmaids… My two beauties from Uni days and my cousin who is just like a sister to me. Their dresses were from Monsoon and shoes Nine West.
The Flowers… OMG! I am so in love with the flowers more than I thought I ever would be!!! Karen, The Flower Mill, is just utterly amazing and still can’t put into words how perfectly she got my garbled almost nonsensical brief and lack of floral knowledge I gave her explaining how I’d like a whole heap of flowers that looked like the were picked from meadow and just chucked together in a jam jar. The bouquets and the barn looked immense and just completely blew us away! We had a whole heap of flowers…..sunflowers, blue delphiniums, peonies, roses, gypsophila, astilbe…and more that I can’t even think of.
The Cake… A massive stack of krispy kreme doughnuts. Went down an absolute storm and luckily the catering manager stashed a couple away for us for the end of the night to take back to our cottage ;)
Your Photographer… Who wouldn’t LOVE Julia!! (Julia and You) We knew from the second we met her there would be no one else we would want to capture our big day. We love her style and to top it off she is just an awesome person! On the day Julia brought along Hannah as her second shooter and it was great to feel like there were a couple of extra friends at the wedding rather than “just the wedding photographer”. The images are stunning and we could not sing Julia’s praises enough or recommend her highly enough! LOVE LOVE LOVE!
The Details + Decor… I relished at getting my hands covered in glue and getting all DIY and “crafty” at every opportunity I could! I made the Save the dates, invites, order of service, guest book, cake toppers, favours, table numbers that I decoupaged, hessian table runners, decorated jam jars and anything else I could get a glue gun and some brown string and ribbon lace on!! Whilst I say there was no theme….I joke as say the theme was “brown” string as it seemed to feature on almost everything! ha. We had loads of fun traipsing around vintage fairs, antique and bric a brac places over the year planning looking for vintage bottles, jugs, really cool vintage wooden ladder (used for our seating plan), vintage weighing scales and so much more. We went all DIY on a sweetie table, Paul’s baby, filled a table with a whole bunch of sweetie goodness. We had photos of parents and grandparents on their wedding days feature on the guestbook/card table. Basket of flip flops and glo-sticks waited by the dance floor for all the evening festivities! The girls (and some of the guys) loved the flip flops as it meant no tired dancing feet! Talking of dancing feet…..Happy Hour Party Band got the party rocking in the evening and were just fantastic!
The Honeymoon… Khao Lak, Thailand.
Memorable Moments… So many! I loved the quiet few moments with my Dad (with a sneaky little whisky) waiting for the wedding car to pick us up after everyone else had left for the church. The vows without a doubt for both of us. Paul says, his memorable moment was turning around and seeing me walk up the aisle toward him. Both Paul and I looked at each other as we sat down for dinner and said as we looked around “wow, all these people are here for us. That’s pretty cool”.
Advice for Other Couples… When planning; trust your instincts! We listened to our gut instincts on all our choices and were not disappointed on anything we “just knew” was the right choice. Also, don’t be afraid to plan ahead of schedule (you’re not a bridezilla, you are organised) it really does make the last few weeks a lot less stressful and means there more time to just enjoy the run up to it all. Trust your husband to be’s judgement! They really do actually have some great ideas too!! Just remember if something doesn’t quite go to plan or goes a little wrong on the day chances are no will notice or realise apart from probably just yourself. Just LOVE every second as it will fly be before you know it! …. and finally….if it rains (as it did for us)….so what?! You can’t control the weather and there’s no point letting it spoil a phenomenal day :)
Credit Where Credit is Due…
Photographer: Julia and You
Flowers: The Flower Mill
Venue: Blake Hall
Band: Happy Hour Music
Dress: Cutting Edge Brides
Oh so lovely. Thanks so much to Amanda and Paul for sharing their gorgeous wedding with us today XOXO Lou