If you do one thing today, I’d really urge you to take a few minutes to enjoy this pair’s darling wedding film at the bottom of this feature. It really encapsulates their sweet nature, the high emotions and important moments of their special day. It will really give you all the feels.
Emily and Tom were hitched on the 30th July 2016 and held their celebrations at Great Campston in Wales, near to where Emily is from. The location must have been extremely important to them as they even brought Tom’s restaurant from London to cater the day. You wait until you read all about the menu, it will most certainly make you hungry! Back to the location and the setting was spectacular. The views, scenery and grounds made the perfect backdrop for their DIY tipi wedding.
The tipi was beautifully decorated with pretty pastels; blooms, rag bunting and and fairy lights to name a few. The couple and their wedding party were all dressed with impeccable style and the whole affair was captured so wonderfully by McKinley-Rodgers Photography. We cannot thank them enough for sharing these images and the touching wedding film here today.
THE PROPOSAL | Tom proposed on our three year anniversary, which gave him the perfect cover! We had gone away to the Lake District, and I didn’t suspect anything when he suggested getting some bubbles and going for a picnic. It was a beautifully sunny day and also a very beautiful setting at Coniston Water. We had already booked to eat and stay at the restaurant L’Enclume that evening, the original point of the trip! Which was the perfect end to the day.
THE VISION | We decided quite early on that we wanted to have tipis for the reception, to give the day a relaxed, festival kind of feel. Generally we wanted the day to just be fun, not too formal, with lots of good food and drink!
THE PLANNING PROCESS | We had three years between the proposal and engagement; the planning was quite sporadic across that time until the last six months where the majority of stuff happened following a slight panic and the creation of the inevitable spreadsheet. This sounds silly now, but I didn’t really consider what would be involved with the kind of ‘DIY’ wedding we would be having and whether I was the kind of person that naturally enjoys/is good at lots of organising (I’m not!). I spent a while feeling bad for not rapturously enjoying all the planning, until I spoke to some friends who had felt the same. Looking back I definitely wouldn’t have done it any other way though!
THE BUDGET | The other risk of a DIY wedding! We made some vague estimates of what we thought the wedding would cost, but didn’t really add up what we were spending until the very end, when we discovered we’d gone about 40% over our original guess. Luckily it was ok!
THE VENUE | Finding a venue was the hardest part, it felt like it took forever. We were quite close to going with somewhere that was almost-right when we found Great Campston. We wanted a scenic, private location in South-East Wales (where I’m from) where we could bring the tipis and our own catering. Great Campston definitely had this, with the large front lawn looking out over a panorama of the Brecon Beacons. But it also had beautiful gardens, a stunning house where we and our immediate families could stay and a natural pool and jetty in the field below the house where swimming was encouraged! Ours was the last wedding to be held at Great Campston as the main house is no longer for hire, but you can still stay in the guesthouse (the billiard room) which I would recommend, we hope to go back for future anniversaries!
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | I tried on a lot of dresses! I wanted something without any embellishments/lace etc and which wasn’t strapless, which proved quite tricky to find. And I wanted a full skirt because how often do you get to do that?! I found my dress at Morgan Davies in London, it was custom Jesus Peiro and I loved the classic but also slightly modern shape. I also had by far the best ‘dress shop’ experience at Morgan Davies, Rebecca was amazing and I loved my many visits there.
The veil was by Minna, I had my heart set on having lace appliqué on the veil, which also turned out to be very hard to find, and couldn’t believe it when I saw the perfect veil at their stand a wedding fair. My shoes were custom Bionda Castana.
My headpiece was by ‘La Belle Epoque Antique’ on Etsy. After searching for ages in what felt like an unending sea of bling, I asked Miriam if she would make me something, which turned out to be perfect. I can’t recommend her enough, she completely ‘got’ my vague description, sent me pictures at every stage and her prices are amazing compared to lots of other places. My bracelet was a family heirloom that my sister in law lent to me for the day, and my other jewellery was by Monica Vinader.
GROOM’S ATTIRE | Tom’s suit was from M&S but he splurged a bit more on the rest, he had shoes by Church’s, a cashmere tie by Drake’s and pocket square from Liberty.
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | I wanted to be able to see each of my bridesmaids personalities on the day, so I set the colour, peach and asked them to choose their own outfits. They all ended up going for floor length dresses, which helped to differentiate them without having to wear the same dress and they all looked amazing! A number of them found their dresses at ASOS. Our niece was our gorgeous flower girl, she and my maid of honour also had flower crowns.
THE FLOWERS | We wanted the flowers to be meadowy, with no roses but lots of herbs and daisies. Hilary’s Floral Design were wonderful and I especially loved my huge bouquet and the flowers they put around the circular horizontal beams of the tipis. We used little home made pots of flowers for the tables.
THE FOOD & CAKE | Tom co-owns a restaurant and one of the first and easiest decisions we made was that we wanted the restaurant to do the food. We had canapés (the arancini were a particular hit), then most of the food once people were sat down was to share, as is the restaurant’s style. We had sharing plates of courgette salad, pork rillettes and langoustines (one of our biggest extravagances, but worth it!) to start. The main was slow cooked and barbecued lamb, caponata and a barley and herb salad, again all to share. Dessert was individual buttermilk puddings (similar to panna cotta) with strawberries and shortbread.
Later in the evening we had lots of cheese (Ossau Iraty, Beaufort and Stichelton), charcuterie, fruit and chutneys. The next day we had everyone back for a barbecue where we had loads left over from the wedding day and also slow cooked pork, barbecued chicken and lots of salads.
The food was incredible, so many people said it was the best wedding food they had had and some even that it was the best meal they had ever had! So much went into decamping most of a whole restaurant from London to South Wales for a weekend and to give us exactly what we wanted, we were very lucky and grateful!
We couldn’t decide on just one of each so we had two red wines, two white and two bubbles (one red one white). As we didn’t have a paid/full bar we also had gin and tonics, cocktails, negronis, manhattans and french 75s and various kegs/bottles of local beer and cider.
Tom’s mum made the fruit layer of the cake, and his sister in law made the Victoria sponge and lemon layers and iced and decorated the whole thing!
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | Our photographers were McKinley Rogers. I saw a wedding they had photographed in a magazine and loved their real, natural style. I had my heart set on having a videographer but couldn’t really justify the expense, so when I saw that they also offer video as an extra it felt like it was meant to be (they alternate between pictures and video all day on their cameras, you can’t even tell they’re doing it!). We had an engagement shoot with Pen and Cam in Cornwall where they live and as well as being amazing photographers they are just the loveliest people! Tom was really against having a photographer (don’t ask me why!) but this completely changed because of Pen and Cam on the day. So many of our guests commented on how amazing they were too.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | After an initial bout of Pinterest-madness when we first got engaged I kept things quite simple. The main decorations for the tipi were the flowers around the beams, the rag bunting at the entrance and lots of fairy lights. There was also a lit walkway to the tipi where we attached ribbons to blow in the breeze. We cut plain hessian runners for the tables, and added the flowerpots and some candles, we needed as much space as possible for the food!
Favours were individual bottles of limoncello made by Tom’s dad and also badges/wristbands for charities that mean a lot to us and our families. We also had some lawn games including a limbo, which went down very well! In general all the decorative things were sourced quite cheaply on eBay or local haberdashery shops/garden centres.
We were very lucky to have so much help from kind and talented family and friends, in addition to the cake and limoncello, my mum made the bunting for the tipi, a chain of photos of us throughout our lives and the confetti cones, my step dad made the table flowers, my enormously talented friend hand painted our invites and order of service, my uncle made signs for the tipi, my brother’s girlfriend made the table plan (the night before the wedding!), another awesome friend was our DJ on the day and we had an amazing squad of family and friends who put everything together in the tipi the day before and on the morning of the wedding.
THE HONEYMOON | We had a ‘mini-moon’ in Sweden straight after the wedding then the ‘big moon’ was two weeks in Vietnam this spring.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | Some of the best for me were down by the pool, stealing away for some pictures in the evening light and jumping in together first thing the next morning (great for getting rid of the hangover!). Also lots of tears from Tom (see the video) and excessive limbo-ing, even after it broke!
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | You don’t need to do every tradition/everything you see on Pinterest! If you don’t care about something, don’t do it.
If you’re not finding what you want, go custom, I was pleasantly surprised how many places offered this.
If you have people offering to help (which you will), delegate!
It you need one, hire a generator with some more power than you think you need, then some more again – ours cut out at 1.30am!
Just enjoy – everything will be amazing on the day!
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Photographer | McKinley-Rodgers Photography
Dress | Morgan Davies Bridal
Veil | Minna
Stationery | Isoscella
Flowers | Hilarys Flowers
Catering | May The Fifteenth
Emily and Tom, thanks so much to you both for sharing your dreamy wedding day with us xo Lou