Glorious summer days filled with love, family, friends, sunshine and celebrations… it really doesn’t get better. Think golden yellow fields, a pair of loved up newlyweds and their sweet children. I have so much love for this breezy beautiful day.
Cristina and Liam were married on July 23rd, 2016 at Cristina’s mum’s beautiful oast house and field in East Sussex. They were married beneath a large oak tree and their guests contributed wonderfully to their ceremony. The whole day felt like a culmination of love from their nearest and dearest, with many contributing to the plans. The gorgeous naked cake was baked by Liam’s mum, the majority of the florals were home grown and arranged by themselves, plus their neighbour designed the lovely stationery. There was no colour scheme, instead bright bold colours were used in the tipi with pom poms and lanterns making an appearance. Also look out for the confetti bar, such a cute idea!
Cristina looked radiant in her embellished Monsoon gown, while Liam was suited and booted in a Ben Sherman blue suit and Valentino tie. Didn’t they look amazing? I love how all of their guests including the children were thought about so much, with activities galore and a bell tent village for accommodation. Brilliant!
Huge thanks to Brook Rose Photography for sharing these striking shots with us.
THE PROPOSAL | Brooklyn Bridge, just gone midnight on Nov 23rd 2013. That it was 0°C and gone midnight in November meant, remarkably, we had the entire bridge to ourselves. After seven years living there, we left New York three days later.
THE VISION | We wanted a wedding that was relaxed and fun, yet elegant. We wanted a wedding that included kids (we have two of our own after all) and a day where our friends and family felt loved and taken care of. We liked the idea of having a teepee and of enjoying music outdoors in the sun (we did a LOT of crossing our fingers for the sun).
THE PLANNING PROCESS | We rowed, and rowed some more, over probably every aspect of the wedding. But that was because we wanted it to be perfect. And it felt like it damn near was…. Ultimately, we divided and conquered, whilst always keeping a watchful eye on what the other one was doing :)
BUDGET | Aimed for 20k, over spent. Considerably.
THE VENUE | Cristina’s mum’s beautiful oast house and field in Witherenden Hill, East Sussex. We wanted the large oak to play a central role and to get married underneath it. We could do whatever we wanted as we weren’t tied to a venue but we advise others planning a wedding in a field that it isn’t for the faint of heart. You will need to arrange Every. Single. Thing.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | The embroidered dress was from Monsoon and was adjusted by a wedding dressmaker in Tunbridge Wells. Cristina planned to wear a 1930’s deco bracelet from her great aunt but with the haste of getting ready completely forgot to put it on. Oops. She bought a vintage silk piano shawl on eBay, which she wore in the evening.
FINDING THE DRESS | This was step one in the wedding becoming a reality. The dress was unexpectedly found at Cristina’s routine perusal of the Monsoon Outlet store near Liam’s parents at Christmas. It was the first and only dress she tried on. She loved the way it made her feel and so bought it without a wedding date set. With dress in hand, planning began.
GROOM’S ATTIRE | In order of glamour: Valentino Tie, Ben Sherman suit, Clarks shoes, M&S shirt…
THE READINGS & MUSIC | Born of indecision, our reading was a highlight of the wedding. We had a short list of poems, song lyrics, quotes and novel extracts, and ended up using most of them, giving short bits to about ten people. One person came to the “altar” and began, then everyone else spoke, unannounced from the crowd, each person knowing who to follow, it appeared beautifully spontaneous, and made the congregation an integral part of the ceremony.
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | Our daughters and Cristina’s three best friends from Portugal. One best friend, Sonia, joined the fun of getting ready, and so we grabbed a posy of meadow flowers collected by the daughter of a friend and became a bridesmaid there and then.
THE FLOWERS | All flowers, bar the bouquets, so on the tables, a flower meadow purpose-grown in the entrance to the field, in the milk churns at the teepee entrance, everywhere, were grown by our amazing neighbour, Chris. Cristina and Chris plotted the flowers months in advance. They were cut on the Friday evening, then arranged in a blur of petals and pollen by assorted family members on the Friday night. We had cosmos, cornflowers, nigellas, and lots more (including feverfew, mint and lemon balm raided from the herb garden). Chris grabbed armfuls of wild flowers for the milk churns. The bride’s and bridesmaids’ bouquets were bought from a local shop when we felt that perhaps we shouldn’t overly rely on nature and Chris’s back garden. But really, we shouldn’t have done, a completely unnecessary expense. Chris’s flowers, grown from scratch, were perfect, beautiful and far superior.
THE CAKE | Liam’s mum. We never expected the request to make her so nervous, we were eating slices of prototypes three months before the wedding. She did an incredible job. The poor woman had to tell far too many people that day, that she had no interest in entering The Great British Bake-Off…
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | The wonderful Brook Rose Photography. Our original choice had to pull out last minute, sending us ten or so websites of photographers who had availability that weekend. We immediately loved the vitality, colour and quirk of Brook’s website. She immediately accepted the job and was a joy to work with. She arrived early and left late, the professional photographer who was with us as a guest, said, “Damn, she worked hard, she didn’t stop.” Her photos capture the day perfectly.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | The teepee was a central aspect. We figured it would be a great way of using the field. Our friend Sonia made a doodle of teepees and tea, and we used that motif throughout. Our lovely neighbour Jo did all the design (using the doodle for the invites, wedding programme, menu, etc). We used the doodle to get a stamp made and stamped all place cards, including nicknames (going a few years back) for many of our friends who had a fun surprise when sitting down. The colour scheme for the wedding was “Colourful, bright and anything but red”. We hung paper lanterns inside the teepee. We collected many vases over the course of a few months and had lots of beautiful colourful flowers. We hung further strings of paper lanterns off the oak. The parasols (umbrellas hired in case it rained) were another great shot of colour. And we got the fun stripy deck chairs so that people could sit and relax.
THE HONEYMOON | We left the girls with the grandparents and headed off for forty-eight hours in Venice. It was brilliant. We stayed in the honeymoon suite of the gorgeous Corte di Gabriela. The first night we slept twelve hours straight, sadly all the way through their spectacular breakfast… Venice was as full of tourists as we’d feared, but such a special place it didn’t matter. WE thought a gondola ride was cheesy (it probably was) but bobbing on the Grand Canal was perfect. An al fresco bottle of prosecco before visiting Peggy Guggenheim’s house a highlight.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | So many! The sun shone throughout, there were bubbles floating in the air, each song sounded just right and friends and family simply enjoyed themselves. There were many reunions, some inexplicable alchemy happened and the event was infused with an unrepeatable atmosphere of love, summery happiness, and celebration of life’s possibilities.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Ha! Consider getting engaged to a professional wedding planner? Probably, just go for it! Make the day in your image. Hold your guests in the highest regard and consider what will make them happy and feel appreciated. Plan to have a few surprises throughout the day. Remember this too, friends don’t mind being asked to help out, in fact, they seem to quite like it! Sweating about the weather was tough (we got VERY lucky) but kids given somewhere to run around and lots to do (we did put a lot of effort into providing kids’ activities and some nannies in the day) have a wonderful time at a wedding.
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Beautiful Photography | Brook Rose Photography
Tipi | Beautiful World Tents were an absolute pleasure to deal with in setting up the tipi.
Caterer | Melissa and her team from Vamos Paella rocked up catered lunch, did dinner, ran the bar and were just superb. Their food is first rate.
Bell Tents | Love a Bell
Sound system | Element 5
Generator | James Marquees
Vintage lawn games and china | The lawn games were a hit with all and the vintage tea, a nice English touch. Our friend Kim runs a fantastic small business and is charm and efficiency personified. Wells Vintage Tea Party
Just so special.
Many thanks to Cristina and Liam for sharing their gorgeous nuptials here at WWW xo Lou