Their day was so very personal with so many wonderful touches which represented their life. From the nod to their life in London with a pie and mash supper to the CD favours.
With an English country garden feel there were gorgeous florals and so many colourful hand made details with a map adventure theme. Oh so lovely.
Thanks so much to Maria Farrelly for sharing her beautiful images with us today.
The Proposal… For my birthday last November, Stuart took me away for a surprise weekend to a beautiful country hotel near Bath. On the first morning there, we drove into Bath and Stuart said he wanted to go for a walk to a place he’d seen online as it looked really lovely. We walked up to Prior Park, a beautiful National Trust Garden, and we stopped at a bench with a stunning view of Bath below us. Stuart had suddenly gone very quiet, and the next thing I knew he was on one knee holding the most beautiful vintage engagement ring. I managed to say yes through my tears, it was such a surprise! When we got back to our hotel later that day, there was a bottle of champagne waiting for us in our room which he had organised too, it was a perfect weekend!
The Vision for the Day… Stuart suggested getting married the following Summer, which I thought seemed really soon and wasn’t sure if it was a good idea as I knew I’d want to make as many details as possible! When we thought about it though, it just made sense. We both loved the idea of having an English Summer wedding, plus Stuart is a teacher so to have our wedding at the start of the summer holidays meant we could have a nice long honeymoon! We wanted our day to be a bit different, relaxed and fun for all of our guests. We both live in London but loved the idea of everyone coming to our wedding for the weekend like a mini countryside holiday. We wanted a vintage feel, with lots of handmade details and it was important to us that we tried to use local suppliers when we could.
The Planning Process… We didn’t have a huge amount of time to organise everything but we really enjoyed the whole planning process and it went quite smoothly. Our reception venue was a blank canvas which we had to organise everything for, which was what we wanted. I spent a lot of time on Pinterest and blogs, and had an epic spreadsheet which helped! We sorted the big things such as venues, caterer, photographer, furniture hire and my dress and then organised the other things as and when we could.
The Venue… By far the hardest part for us was finding the venue. Many places were fully booked as we wanted a wedding that Summer, or they were way out of our price range. We thought about hiring a field and having a marquee, but after working it all out it was too expensive. We looked at wedding venues where everything is organised for you but we found the food, corkage charges and music timings were too restrictive. We wanted our day to be really personal to us. We looked at hotels, village halls, even a theatre…! We were becoming disheartened as nothing was quite right. Finally on another venue visit in December, we looked around an amazing barn in the Cotswolds near Chipping Campden – Mickleton Hills Farm. It blew us away. It is an amazing blank canvas, in the middle of beautiful countryside, with lovely exposed bricks and beams and it felt modern and light. We loved it, and knew it was the place for our reception. We had spent weekends in the Cotswolds before and we thought it was a great place for everyone to come for the weekend. You have the barn for 3 days, and organise all the elements yourself.
It’s not licensed for civil ceremonies though, but after more internet searching I found a hidden gem – Hidcote Manor Gardens, a stunning National Trust Garden (which tied in with our engagement location!) I looked around it on a freezing winters day, and needed some vision to imagine it in the Summer, but I knew it was special. I booked it without Stuart seeing it! The ceremony location was the old plant house next to a lily pond. In the summer the sides of the plant house are removed so it feels like an outdoor ceremony. The staff at Hidcote were amazing and helped us so much with the planning before and on the day itself. I was worried about the weather as it was outdoors, but it turned out to be a gorgeous sunny day. It felt perfect to gather everyone together in such a special place.
The Dress + Accessories… My dress was a full length lace dress made for me. My shoes were Rachel Simpson. I wore Mums locket with old photos of mum and dad in it. My gold hair comb was from Etsy, and I wore a beautiful blue vintage lace garter given to me by my fab bridesmaids. My hair and make up, and my older bridesmaids, was by the very talented Jodie Hazelwood. She’s fantastic and it lasted all day, even after lots of dancing!
Finding the Dress… I wasn’t sure if I would choose a vintage or new dress but I really wanted a full length lace number! I found a shop called White Leaf Boutique in Brighton which seemed to stock lots of pretty lace dresses. Myself, my bridesmaids, Mum and sister went to Brighton and I loved the first dress I tried at White Leaf Boutique. I think I got a bit addicted to trying on wedding dresses, and still tried lots of other styles as everyone said I should, including vintage dresses, but the full length lace dress I’d tried on first was my favourite. It was a fun process because the dress is made for you which meant I could change elements of it – so we added little cap sleeves and created a cut out back.
Groom’s Attire… Stuart bought his mod suit from Jump the Gun in Brighton. His shoes were Grensons which are handmade in England – he customised them with yellow laces. His tie was Topman, and his shirt was Gap. I’d seen his shoes but I wasn’t allowed to see his suit until the day, and it was nice that neither of us knew what the other would be wearing. The best men and ushers wore their own suits and the same tie as Stuart, and they all had buttonhole ‘flowers’ I made from maps of the Cotswolds.
The Readings + Music… My brother and Stuarts sister both chose lovely readings and kept them as a surprise for us on the day. The music was one of the most important elements of the day, especially for Stuart as he DJs. He set up a play list on his iPod for the ceremony and dinner later on. I walked down the aisle to Bon Iver ‘Skinny love’, we walked out together to the Turtles ‘Happy Together’. We had vintage swing and jazz records playing outside at the barn while everyone was sitting outside drinking cocktails. We made wedding favours of CDs that look like vinyl 45s, which had songs from the day on. Our first dance was Blurs ‘To The End’. On the RSVPs we asked for song suggestions people would like to hear on the dance floor, and tried to play as many as possible in the evening or put them on the CD favours. Our DJ, Rory, was amazing and we also had a fantastic band, ‘Freddie and the Freeloaders’ which we booked one week before the wedding! We liked the idea of having a band but couldn’t find one we liked, then I found these guys at the last minute, and they totally rocked the dance floor.
Beautiful Bridesmaids… My bridesmaids were my best friends Liz and Georgina, and my nieces Tegan and Emillie. My gorgeous little flower girls were my nieces Maddy and Violet, who had flown from Canada to be there on the day. I bought the pale yellow dresses from Primark. Yes, Primark. Unexpected but they were the perfect colour and style, and the girls loved them. Their shoes were nude peep toes from Wallis. The two younger bridesmaid dresses were from ASOS, and the flowergirl dresses were from Debenhams. I also bought ribbon to tie around their waists.
The Flowers… I wanted natural looking English in-season flowers. Lots of internet searching eventually led me to Carol at Honey Pot Flowers. Carol grows her flowers in her garden, and a few days before the wedding she went out and picked the nicest flowers available. She made the bouquets, tied with vintage lace and brooches I had collected. She also provided buckets of flowers which we arranged into mismatched vases for the tables in the barn, and fresh flowers for the bridesmaids hair. I didn’t know what to expect from the flowers, but they ended up being one of my favourite elements of the day, they were stunning.
The Cake… We didn’t have a wedding cake, instead we invited guests to enter a wedding bake off competition. The entries were amazing, we set up a table with mismatched cake stands and people bought their cakes and puddings with them. We served them as the dessert for dinner, and then people voted using buttons in jars for their favourite. The winner got a prize and a rosette!
Your Photographer… The amazing Maria Farrelly. Maria went to university with Stuart and she had photographed our friends wedding previously and the pictures were lovely, so we knew she was the one! She captured everything beautifully, and is a fantastic person to have with you on the day.
The Details + Decor… I’m a graphic designer and Stuart is an art/photography teacher so this was a lot of fun for us! I designed and made the invites which came in a folded map of the area. Our theme was based around maps and new adventures, the colours used throughout the day were taken from map colours. Our friends and family helped loads too, we even had a making day where friends came over for a BBQ and we painted signs made from old school desks Stuart found, decorated vases and made pinwheels and paper butterflies. Stuart and I also made buttonholes from maps, order of service books which had bags of confetti stuck inside the covers, CD favours, and set up a photo booth and backdrop. We hired vintage furniture, including mismatched vintage chairs for inside the barn and furniture to create an outdoor ‘lounge’ for chilling out. A week before the wedding I decided it was a good idea to make 80 mini pinwheels for the escort card table plan!
The food and drink was also really important to us. Our caterer helped us choose an amazing menu, including pie and mash (a London mention!) using local in-season produce – the food was incredible. We designed custom cocktails and also had some local ale from a brewery a couple of miles from the barn, and some beer from Battersea, where we first lived together.
The Honeymoon… Four weeks backpacking around Bali, Lombok and the Gili Islands. We were very lucky that our guests generously donated to our honeymoon via honeyfund, which meant we could stay in beautiful hotels as well as hostels!
Memorable Moments… Vicki… So many! How much all of our friends and family helped us with everything – thank you! Seeing Stuart for the first time as I walked with my Dad through the garden. Looking around us when we were signing the register at all of our family and friends, amongst beautiful flowers at Hidcote with bees and butterflies flying around. Everyone singing and clapping to ‘Mrs Robinson’ when we walked into the barn for dinner.
Stuart… Opening my wedding present of an amazing pocket watch from Vic on the morning of the wedding sitting with my mum and dad and knowing that in a few hours I would be making her my wife. The moment I saw Vic in her amazing dress after that nervous wait that only a groom can experience. Entering the reception room filled with all of the people I love the most in the world with my new wife.
Advice for Other Couples… Vicki… Ignore people that say you need years to plan a wedding – you don’t! Enjoy the build up to the day as much as you can because it is as much a part of it as the day itself. Relax on the day and enjoy every minute, it’s the best party you’ll ever go to!
Stuart… Don’t worry about the small stuff because on the day it won’t be important. Look around you on the day and take it all in!
Credit Where Credit is Due…
Ceremony venue http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/hidcote/
Reception venue http://www.mickletonhillsfarm.com/
Vintage bus http://www.alexcars.co.uk/
Furniture hire http://www.unique-vintage-rentals.co.uk/
Hair comb http://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/LuluSplendor
Invitation design http://modernmaggie.wordpress.com/
Oh wow. So much fun, so much colour and so much love. Thanks so much to Vicki and Stuart for sharing their gorgeous wedding with us XOXO Lou