One of my favourite wedding venues and a WWW reader wedding…. happy days :-)
WWW readers Ellie and Andrew chose to marry on the 17th May 2014 at South Farm, Cambridgeshire. Their wedding was a real labour of love, with Ellie considering every little detail to perfection. With a pretty coral and green colour scheme there were an abundance of Spring flowers and home-made décor.
Ellie looked stunning in her Jenny Packham ensemble, from her Nerine dress and Wisteria Headress II to her Jimmy Choo shoes. Swoon.
Thanks so much to the amazing Ria Mishaal for sharing her photographs with us today.
THE PROPOSAL | March 2013 (Good Friday) in Charleston, South Carolina. It was our first day there. After several failed attempts as I was very jet-lagged and a tiny bit grumpy, so didn’t want to ‘go for a walk’ he finally got down on one knee as I was making a cup of tea, in the kitchen, in my pyjamas. As that’s my favourite state to be in, it was pretty perfect.
THE VISION | Our main aim for the day was to have a relaxed and beautiful wedding – quite rustic, a bit vintage, but simple, and most importantly, incorporating things we both love.
I had always wanted to get married outside, and in the end we were incredibly lucky with the weather and the sun shone all day so we could. We had a backup plan, but in my head the vision was outside so I didn’t even consider that it might rain! It rained solidly the week before and the week after so we really caught a break.
The most important thing for us was that everyone (including us!) had a lovely happy day. We didn’t want it to feel too formal and we didn’t want anything to feel rushed. In the end everything just flowed perfectly. We had afternoon tea instead of a wedding breakfast, and a hog roast in the evening. Our drinks reception was Pimms and Mojitos served in jam jars with paper stripy straws in the garden. The afternoon tea created the perfect relaxed atmosphere, and we were incredibly lucky as the weather was absolutely beautiful. Most of the guests spent much of the day outside, drinking cocktails after the ceremony and then enjoying champagne after the tea while the sun set.
THE PLANNING PROCESS | The first thing we did when we started wedding planning was write a list of all the people who absolutely had to be there – we both have big families so it wasn’t a small list! We didn’t want to find a venue we loved and then realise it couldn’t accommodate our numbers.
Then we decided what were the most important aspects of the wedding for us and what we were happy to compromise on, and we went from there.
Food is very important to both of us – Andrew is an excellent cook and I bake a lot, and we were both adamant that we didn’t want a standard wedding breakfast. I wanted afternoon tea and Andrew wanted a hog roast.
So with that list in mind we started working our way through wedding venues – giving ourselves a radius of anything that was no more than an hour from my parents’ house.
I had the colour scheme in mind from the beginning – spring colours of green and coral, with grey and white tones. It wasn’t a fixed scheme as I used other colours on the same palettes, but I tried to make sure that these colours were incorporated throughout the details.
BUDGET | Kept increasing, but we kept it under £25k.
THE VENUE | We looked at several venues before finding South Farm. All were lovely, but none were quite right. As soon as we arrived at South Farm, we both knew it was perfect. We visited it exactly a year to the date that we got married, so we could see exactly how it would look for our wedding. It is such a beautiful venue and from the beginning the team were incredibly helpful and accommodating – nothing was impossible. It gave us the perfect starting point to create the atmosphere and style that we wanted.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | Nerine by Jenny Packham, with Wisteria Headress II and Satin Edge Firm Tulle Bridal Veil both from Jenny Packham. The shoes were Aimee by Jimmy Choo.
FINDING THE DRESS | The Nerine was the very first wedding dress I tried on. I loved it but I am far too indecisive so tried on over 50 other dresses before I finally decided. Every time I tried on another dress I was comparing it in my head to the Nerine, and none of the others even came close. I think I drove my poor mum mad with a stream of dress appointments but I just needed to be sure!
I didn’t think I wanted a veil or a headdress, but at my first fitting I tried on my headdress and veil just for fun and absolutely loved both of them.
GROOM’S ATTIRE | Andrew decided to have his suit bespoke made from Dress 2 Kill. I left him to it really, all I asked was that it was dark grey so it would go with the colour scheme I had planned.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | Our two readings were chosen quite near the end of the planning process. Neither of us had anything that we particularly wanted and so in the end we did some Googling, came up with a selection and chose two that we liked the best. Andrew’s sister read one, and my sister in law was due to read the other one. On the day though, it was just too hot and being nearly 9 months pregnant she just couldn’t do it. One of my lovely bridesmaids stepped in, and read it beautifully. The readings were ‘I Carry Your Heart’ by E. E Cummings and Shakespeare Sonnet #116.
I walked down the aisle to Pachabel’s Canon in D, and while we were signing the register we played ‘Songbird’ by Eva Cassidy, ‘Kiss Me’ by Sixpence None the Richer, ‘Halo’ by Beyonce and ‘Today’ by the Smashing Pumpkins. Our exit song was ‘Feel the Love’ by Rudimental. We just decided to choose songs that we like, rather than thinking too hard about particular meanings.
We decided early on not to have any live music. Neither of us were particularly bothered by it and there were other things that were far more important to us, so we decided this was where we could cut some costs. We had several playlists which were played throughout the day. Our first dance was ‘Never Tear Us Apart’ by Paloma Faith, swiftly followed by ‘We Are Young’ by Fun, which is ‘our song’ and reminds us of a road trip we did down the coast from San Francisco to San Diego a few years ago.
On our invitations, we asked everyone to send 2 songs guaranteed to get them dancing when they RSVPd, and we used this to form the playlist for the dance floor later on.
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | My bridesmaids were my best friend, my cousin and my step-sister. I wanted them in dark green as it’s my favourite colour and fitted with the spring colours. This was quite tricky as I had such a specific colour in mind and could find nothing in the (many) shops we tried. Eventually I managed to track these down at Fever London – they were completely perfect and one of my favourite things about the day.
THE FLOWERS | I knew from the beginning that I wanted a very simple bouquet of roses in one solid colour, and although I wanted jam jars etc to feature in the wedding I didn’t want to go down the route of wildflowers. Tulips are my favourite flower, and as it was a spring wedding, I wanted them to feature heavily. Revival Rooms were brilliant, and we worked together to come up with the centre pieces (huge glass bowl vases on stems filled with orange and coral tulips, and candleabras draped with baby’s breath). I had collected a lot of vintage glassware, as well as old treacle and golden syrup tins, and they filled these with a mixture of tulips and roses and dotted them around the tables, as well as placing jars filled with tulips down the aisle.
My bouquet was very simple – coral roses. It was one of the first decisions I made, and Revival Rooms created the bridesmaid’s bouquets, button-holes and corsages using a couple of the same roses, as well as the tulips and greenery that were used throughout the wedding.
THE CAKE | I bake a lot and so I was adamant about making the cake myself from the start. At 2am the night before the wedding and I was questioning my decision! I did quite a lot of practice runs, and the final cake was four tiers of three layers each. The tiers were ginger with lemon buttercream filling, Victoria sponge, pear and honey with honey buttercream filling and lemon with raspberry lemonade filling. To keep in with the rustic/relaxed look of the wedding, the cake was uniced and just dressed with some coral roses. The cake topper was from etsy.com
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | We met with several photographers but as soon as we met Ria we knew she was the one. Her photos are beautiful and she’s easy going but very directive at the same time. I have heard so many horror stories from other brides who got really annoyed with their photographer on the day because they were too obtrusive or making them do silly poses. With Ria we didn’t get any of that, just beautiful photos.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | I thought hard about each detail of the wedding, from the invitations to the cocktails served in jam jars after the ceremony (pimms and mojitos) to the children’s activity bags, to the sweetie table. I wanted everything to look simple but beautiful and tie together. Our wedding was a true labour of love for me, no detail was over looked, and anything that I could make myself I did. I wanted it to be a true reflection of us, not just a carbon copy of lots of other weddings our guests will have been to. The little extras that came with our venue just enhanced everything – such as the piglets, chickens and peacocks just outside the barn who entertained everyone throughout the day.
I tried to keep everything vaguely tied together, in terms of colour and theme – I designed the stationery, with some tweaks from my dad who is an artist. We kept to the same colour scheme (grey, green and coral) on everything the save the dates to the menus on the tables, and I used the same two fonts throughout on all of the stationery. These same colours were used throughout the wedding décor, but I tried not to make it look too forced so did bring in a few other colours from similar palettes here and there.
The table plan was one of my favourite things – we used an old frame backed in hessian and I named each table after a city that we’ve been to over the past few years. I printed the city names out in the font I had used in the invitations, and put a glitter border on each on. The tables were written out on brown luggage tags and hung from bakers twine that I draped across the frame – I used mini wooden pegs to hang them, and to attach the city names to the tags.
I spent the 3 months before the wedding furiously ebaying everything from napkins to sweets to kilner jars and tissue paper. Anything that could be made by me was including over 30 tissue paper pomp poms, all of the place settings, the table plan display, the flower girl head wreaths, the invitations and the orders of service.
The table settings were probably the biggest project and the one that everyone thought I was crazy for doing. I knew how I wanted them to look, it was just a matter of sourcing all the different aspects. I ended up hand stitching a piece of hessian around each napkin (that I’d rolled ‘just so’), and dried over 60 coral roses in our airing cupboard in the few months before the wedding. Assembling them probably took me about 14 hours over a Saturday and it was completely worth it as they looked perfect on the day.
The general décor of the wedding was hugely down to Revival Rooms. I gave them all of the things I had collected/made/bought and they added to it with their own lovely bits and pieces and set out all the tables with their beautiful vintage tea sets, and decorated the barn and Old Dairy with our combined things.
They also styled the sweetie table that we had in the evening. I didn’t want to do favours, so instead we had a huge selection of pick n mix all on display in old glass jars, with stripy paper bags for people to help themselves to. This went down incredibly well and there were hardly any sweets left at the end of the night.
We had a few children attending and I was very aware that I didn’t want them to get bored or whiny so I filled a bag of stickers, puzzles, play dough, pencils, paper, activities and so on for each child and wrote their names on them with glitter. These were placed on their tables for the afternoon tea and kept them thoroughly entertained throughout the afternoon tea and the speeches.
My mum also got involved in the DIY as she made our lovely ring cushion, and adapted the flower girls’ dresses with green sashes.
My lovely sister-in-law helped me to make the head wreaths for the flower girls over several evenings on the sofa. We used floral wire and fake flowers from a mixture of shops including Homesense and Wilkos, which we pulled apart and twisted around the wire. They probably cost under £4 each to make.
THE HONEYMOON | We went to Hawaii (the islands of Kauai and Maui) for two weeks and stopped off in Seattle for 3 nights on our way back. It was amazing, and I’d go back in a heartbeat.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | So many! I got the giggles – twice! – during the ceremony which was slightly mortifying, but it made everyone laugh which was nice.
Walking back up the aisle after the wedding ceremony was amazing – just seeing a sea of smiling faces, as ‘Feel the Love’ played and the sun shone was brilliant.
My 89 year old grandmother being my witness was incredibly special, as was my gorgeous 3 and 5 year old nieces walking down the aisle hand in hand perfectly, with no stops or crying. We had 6 children involved in the wedding and all behaved perfectly and were completely fantastic.
Just having almost everyone that both of us love and care about all together for one day was amazing – I remember sitting at the afternoon tea and just thinking how wonderful it was that everything had come together so perfectly and everyone seemed to be having a lovely time.
And most importantly, when I started walking down the aisle and saw Andrew waiting at the end. I could feel that there were loads of people around, but I couldn’t see them, I could only see him.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Do what you want to do – you can’t please everyone, and it’s your day. However don’t go too far, do think about your guests and their comfort – there’s a balance between being a pushover and just being selfish! We tried to make sure that everyone had plenty of food and drink from the start, as there’s nothing worse than being hungry at a wedding and having to wait around for hours while the photographs are done.
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Brides Gown |Nerine by Jenny Packham, from the Jenny Packham bridal boutique
Jewellery | Emerald Earrings, gift from bride’s grandmother
Wedding rings | Cat Bird, New York
Shoes | Jimmy Choo – Aimee
Veil/Headpiece | Jenny Packham – both. Wisteria Headress II and Satin Edge Firm Tulle Bridal Veil
Florist | Revival Rooms
Venue | South Farm
Decor/styling | Revival Rooms & Bride
Cake Maker | Bride
Caterer | South Farm
Bridesmaids Dresses | Fever London
Flower Girls Cotton Satin Special Occasion Dress | Vertbaudet
Groom/Groomsmen Groom | Dress2Kill
Stationery | Bride and father
Entertainment (day & evening) cocktails, farm animals, sunshine and ipod
Photographer | Ria Mishaal
Wow wee. There were many thoughtful and meaningful touches which also looked beautiful.
Thanks so much to Ellie and Andrew for sharing their wedding with us XOXO Lou