Bride Emily’s eloquent, emotive and beautiful wedding report will really touch and inspire today. Not to mention the stunning, light filled, dreamy shots by Jess Petrie, which radiate love and happiness throughout.
WWW readers Rhys and Emily tied the knot on the 23rd May 2017, their 8 year anniversary, at Kelham House in Nottinghamshire. It was the first and only venue they visited thanks to it’s glorious gardens, exclusive use and the ability to hold both ceremony and reception at the location. You will just adore the grounds when you see the portraits in the idyllic tree lined paths especially. I mean the newly-weds look so gorgeous. Emily wore a lace fishtail figure hugging gown by Modeca Bridal with a sweet veil and an abundance of florals. Their day was inspired by greenery, gardens and flowers, and so of course they featured heavily. The large bouquet carried by Emily included peony, hydrangea, foliage and gypsophila to name a few, it really was a beauty.
Rhys and the groomsmen meanwhile were kitted out in navy suits, bow ties and braces for a super stylish look. The pretty bridesmaids wore long grey dresses with bunches of gyp, which tied the bridal party together just so. There were also so many wonderfully personal DIY touches in the décor too. From the soap bar, to the paper goods and the confetti, what a labour of love!
THE PROPOSAL | We were approaching 6 years together and I had hoped that getting engaged was something we were close to. We had booked a weekend away together to celebrate and I thought right, this is it! However, a few days before we went, Rhys said that we should go out for a drink because he wanted to talk to me about something. This was really out of character for him so I knew it was serious. He began to tell me that he loved me very much but didn’t know if he was ready for marriage yet. Although a little disheartened, I knew that as long as we had each other and were together, that was all that mattered.
So, I put it to the back of my mind and didn’t think anymore of it.
On the morning of our 6 year anniversary, we went for a lovely breakfast together. It was a beautiful May morning, so after eating we decided that a walk would be nice.
When we headed back to the room, I handed Rhys an anniversary card (as we always had done) and he went and fetched his card from his bag.
As soon as he came back into the lounge, I noticed that he was hiding something in his hand underneath the envelope. He moved the envelope to one side, got down on one knee and asked for my hand in marriage.
I was so overwhelmed and excited, I said yes before I had even seen the ring. It could have been a Haribo ring for all I had known. All I knew was that this beautiful man and the love of my life had asked me to marry him, and there was only ever going to be one answer.
After the initial shock, Rhys told me he wanted the proposal to be a surprise, which is why he had fooled me into believing it wasn’t what he wanted.
Although at the time, I wanted to kill him for the emotional roller coaster he had put me on, I couldn’t have wished for a nicer proposal and it was better as a surprise.
THE VISION | We wanted a really homely, small and rustic wedding. We both have the most amazing families and we wanted some of the details of the day to pay homage to them. My paternal Grandad was a farmer and he has the most incredible garden. He has such a beautiful appreciation of flowers and plants, and this has always been part of my life, so I knew I wanted lots of the details to echo this. Similarly, Rhys’ parents love spending time in their gorgeous garden, so having lots of greenery and floral accents was a no brainer. Both of us wanted to capture the sense of freedom, playfulness and beauty, which we find in gardens and outdoor spaces. From this, ideas like the garden games, the bow ties, wooden slices and oversized flowers followed quite organically.
If I could describe the vision, I guess it would be ‘nostalgic garden-chic’.
THE PLANNING PROCESS | We had two years between getting engaged and getting married so the planning process was very calm. Our families and friends gave us lots of support and Rhys and I worked well together. We always consulted each other on suppliers we liked or how we could fit elements we wanted into our budget.
It was only really the last month or so that things got a little more stressful. I never realised how difficult it is to organise three course meals for sixty people, or to sit guests with people you think they will get along with.
THE VENUE | Kelham House was the first and only venue we visited, to be honest. It’s not something I would necessarily advise couples to do but it suited our needs well. We wanted everything to be in the same place and to have exclusive use of the venue. We also wanted a place with gorgeous grounds, lots of natural light and lovely rooms for our guests. And well, Kelham offered all of these.
The staff at Kelham were just fantastic too. We couldn’t have asked for a more helpful or lovely bunch of people to help us. Nothing was too much trouble, everything was organised and the food was just to die for. We really were very lucky.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | What you probably can’t tell from the pictures is that Rhys is 6ft8 and without heels, I am 5ft5. This meant that not only did I need a good heel, I also needed a dress, which would elongate me as much as possible. Like most brides, I tried on a Princess dress or two but ultimately, I knew that a mermaid or trumpet dress was going be better for making me look taller, and match the feel of our wedding and venue. I also really liked the idea of lace, as I knew I wanted to wear my late Nana’s pearls, which she wore for her wedding in 1957. Lace and pearls are always a winning combination in my opinion so this set the criteria for my dress.
I had seen a lot of the Modeca dresses on Pinterest and love the simplicity of the design with elegance of the detail. I tried on their ‘Olva’ dress and knew it was just perfect. The dress has a really muted mermaid shape with the most beautiful lace and a perfect length train. I had the neckline on mine altered slightly to compliment my shape (give me the illusion of boobs) and changed the belt to match my accessories.
Once I had chosen the dress, I had the tricky task of matching the shoes and veil to the colour. The Olva is a very light ivory so white looked too stark and a lot of ivory shoes were too creamy. So, I looked into having some shoes dyed by Rainbow Club. I did this through John Lewis, who were so helpful. My lovely older sister bought me the shoes and due to their simplicity, also bought me some ‘shoe clips’ by Rainbow Club. These just gave the shoes a little touch of glamour, which lifted them from formal shoes to wedding shoes.
The veil was handmade by the beautiful lady who altered by dress for me. She managed to source a tulle, which perfectly matched my dress and helped me pick a style of veil which suited the vision I was going for.
GROOM’S ATTIRE | Rhys had said from the start that he wanted to wear blue and managed to find a lovely light blue suit from Moss Bros, which looked good on him and the groomsmen. He tried on a fair few bow ties before settling on a navy knitted one. The braces were a good addition and finished his look off well. However, we had to order some from a big and tall online shop to fit Rhys because of his height. It was worth it though, they ensured that his look felt complete, even after he took his jacket off later in the day.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | Throughout our relationship, the music of Einaudi has punctuated special moments so we knew we wanted to his beautiful sound as part of the ceremony.
I walked into the room to an arrangement of I Giorni by Einaudi and Daniel Hope. The other ceremony songs were a mixture of acoustic versions of other songs and artists, which hold significance to us: Iron & Wine, Jose Gonzalez and Goo Goo Dolls, to name a few.
When we were married, we really wanted to change the tempo and uplift the room so we left the ceremony room to Coldplay’s ‘Sky full of stars’.
Rhys’ sister, Bethany read out a reading called ‘The key to love’, which is about the struggles and beauty of beauty of long term love. Nicola, my younger sister read out a poem called ‘Compass of your hearts’ about the journey of two people and finding your way back to one another.
We picked them because they both are romantic but very real and truthful about the nature of love. Rhys and I have been together since a young age and have managed to always find our way back to each other through university, living abroad, travelling and changes in job so it seemed appropriate to pick readings, which talk about finding someone as a constant in the changes and challenges of life and love.
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | I am one of three girls and we are very close so there was no doubt that Samantha and Nicola were going to be my bridesmaids. Rhys has a younger sister, Bethany who I have seen grow up over the past 8 years and we have developed a special friendship so I wanted her as a bridesmaid. My cousin Niamh and I are close too so I asked her.
My maid of honour was my best friend, Rebecca. She really is like a third sister to me and has been there for me through some of my hardest times.
All five of the girls have really different looks and personalities so finding a dress, which would suit them all, seemed pretty daunting. But it was easier than expected! We found the dresses in House of Fraser on a girly day to Bristol and with the help of the staff, managed to source all the girls’ sizes. The colour is really difficult to describe, it’s a heather grey colour but looks blue or purple in different lights. The girls teamed it with silver shoes and I am biased but, I think they looked beautiful.
THE FLOWERS | The flowers were a really important part of our day. I wanted a lot of really over sized and natural pieces with lots of greenery… and that’s exactly what we got. Michelle from Jacaranda was just absolutely incredible. She really understood the feel we were going for and genuinely went above and beyond in executing everything. I cried when my bouquet was delivered and when I saw the ceremony room decorations. I was overwhelmed. Our ceremony table piece was as long as me and Michelle has structured it so that it really was so natural looking and ethereal.
From the gift bouquets, the button holes, the ceremony details and the wedding breakfast centre pieces, everything looked beautiful and we were really grateful.
At one time, I had considered trying to source and sort my own flowers but I wouldn’t have been able to create half the pieces Michelle did and certainly wouldn’t have been able to replicate the standard of even the basic elements, like the buttonholes.
Undoubtedly, my favourite accessory of my look was my bouquet. I am so pleased I embraced such a big floral piece, I had so many compliments on it and I loved it. At the end of the evening, I gave my paternal Grandad the bouquet to rest on my late Nana’s grave. It seemed so right and just made this element of my flowers so much more meaningful.
THE CAKE | We were so lucky with the cake. My sister’s mother in law, Lesley is a fantastic baker and she made my sister’s wedding cake so when she found out we were getting married, she kindly offered to make ours. She beautifully crafted three tiers of incredible fruit, carrot and sponge cake. She decorated the cake with over 150 hand made flowers! She’s incredible and all of the cake was demolished!
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | Stringing lines of words together across a page cannot convey the gratitude I feel for our wedding and engagement shoot pictures. I am so grateful for the raw talent, diligence and organic approach of Jess and Rod at Jess Petrie. They are beautiful souls, a fantastic team and we couldn’t have asked for better people to share in our happiness.
I first saw Jess’ images through a friend of a friend on social media and I was blown away. From the beautiful quotes Jess uses to frame her images to the detail of the natural environment where she favours to shoot, the care she takes in her work is incredible.
The muted and intimate warmth her and Rodrigo showed for each other throughout the engagement shoot was infectious, and Rhys and I spent the whole session smiling at their love for one another and reflecting on our own feelings and excitement for our wedding. One of the nicest thing to do as a couple in love… is to spend time with other couples in love, and this mutual understanding fostered a wonderful energy in this shoot. We had no doubt after this shoot that Jess had to be our photographer.
When our wedding day came, Jess made us both feel so at ease and really did take so much time to ensure we had all the shots we wanted and was just such a calming and lovely part of the day.
I was so excited to see the images and throughout the editing process, she kept us updated, sent across sneak peeks and showed a genuine interest and warmth in how life was treating us. Through our correspondence, I would like to think that we have grown to be much more like friends, than supplier and client.
When the images arrived, I was just lost for words. All I did the whole day was blubber and weep. I couldn’t have ever imagined that wedding photos could be so natural, light and beautiful. Jess’ style is so captivating and I cannot believe we have these gorgeous images to share with our family and reflect on always. I cannot thank her enough.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | I wanted to create lots of homemade details for our day and so leading up to the wedding, there was lots of crafting going on in our house.
I made a tin can ally, a ring toss and a giant noughts and crosses for garden games.
I designed all of the stationery myself to make sure that it was all uniform. This included everything from invitations, place cards, order of the day, the seating plan, our vow cards and letters to my loved ones for the morning of the wedding.
I also made my own confetti and confetti holders from paper hessian and dried lavender and petals. I decorated all of our jam jars by sewing on lace and ribbons, I made a big wooden ‘polaroid’ frame for photos and I made the table cloths for our gift table from a pair of old lace curtains. I made bunting from scraps of old fabric I had and restored a vintage suitcase, which belonged to my great aunt who was a ballerina and travelled all around the world. The suitcase still had gorgeous vintage stickers on from Italy and Germany. I sanded down and painted an old ladder for our table plan too, which looked good.
For our favours, we had a ‘Bar of Soap’ and I made about 80 bars of soap with different scents and ingredients. I really enjoyed this part of the preparation and the house smelt amazing!
The table log slices were cut and sanded by my Dad, and I varnished them. This was much more difficult than I thought it would be because the logs kept splitting before we had a chance to treat them so we really had to time it right. My Dad also made us a bespoke post box for our cards. My maid of honour helped him too and it looked gorgeous.
We also decorated the atrium of our venue with lots of photos of us, our family and friends. We used simple hessian thread and wooden pegs to do this and it just reiterated the intimacy, homey and personal feel we wanted to create for our day.
THE HONEYMOON | Rhys and I went to Croatia for our honeymoon. It was absolutely amazing! We would certainly recommend it. We stopped at a really beautiful adult only hotel, which had incredible facilities and great views. One night, we were sat having a drink in the cocktail bar and we saw some dolphins swimming past the hotel. It was a really wonderful sight and certainly a highlight of our holiday.
We managed to balance relaxing with exploring though and one of my favourite days was a day trip to the Krka National Park. It is home to these gorgeous waterfalls, where you are surrounded by amazing wildlife and just stunning views. We really did have a wonderful time and couldn’t have asked for a better end to our wedding journey.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | On the day: Seeing Rhys for the first time. It sounds so cliché but it really is the most magical moment knowing that you are only moments away from marrying someone you love so deeply.
Giving out gifts to our bridal party. We really thought about what to get each person and the gifts ranged from a bespoke bird house to a personalised vinyl! It was so nice to thank and share a few moments with our nearest and dearest on the morning of our wedding.
Belting out ‘Mr Brightside’ at midnight with all of our friends and family. All of the tender moments of the day were fabulous and beautiful but the elation of coming together and singing was incredible.
Afterwards: The day after! Rhys and I were on cloud nine after we got married and logical thinking just escaped us. Half way home, we realised we had forgotten to pick up our wedding certificates from the venue’s safe and we had also forgot what remained of our cake! We had to turn round and go back. That car ride though, was spent with us both welling up and reflecting on the reality of being married to each other, and the happiness of our day.
This only got more emotional when we began to open the cards and gifts from our guests when we got home. We really were just so overwhelmed with love and happiness, and humbled by the words and generosity of our family and friends.
Receiving our wedding video and photos.
As well as Jess, we were really fortunate to have Adam and Rachel join us from ‘The Wedding Filmmakers’ join us for our day and film the celebrations. We had seen their work and were really in love with their documentary style approach.
We received the highlights and full cut of the film shortly after the day and we were just amazed. Rhys and I sat and watched it together and we were just blown away. We both got to see each other’s preparations and parts of the day we wouldn’t have got to see otherwise. It was just incredible and it bought back so many wonderful memories. For about five minutes after watching the full cut, we sat there together and just had a little cuddle. It was the most amazing moment.
The photos arrived and we were just in awe of Jess’ talent and what an incredible gift she had given us. The images, which are included here are just a snapshot of what we have and I have hundreds of images, all of which I adore. Her light, feminine and natural signature style is evident across every single image and we are just in love with these photos.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Don’t compare your wedding to other peoples’. Everyone has their own journey, experience and vision. Use blogs and Pinterest to inspire you but don’t lose sight of the bigger picture.
Where your budget can allow it, invest in high quality photographers and videographers. They really are worth every penny and will provide you with treasures that you cannot put a value on.
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Wedding Photographer | Jess Petrie
Wedding Videography | The Wedding Filmmakers
Wedding Venue | Kelham House
MUA | Cristina Lazzarotto
Hair | Alison Jenner Hair
Florist | Jacaranda Flowers
Dress | Modeca
Band | Mellow Rebellion
Rhys and Emily, I cannot thank you enough for sharing your divine wedding story with us. Also many thanks to Jess for providing these dreamy images xo Lou