I am not really sure where to begin today. This is one of those moments I’ve dreamed of since starting this very blog, blogging my own wedding day. If you are not familiar with my story, you can find out a little more on my about page.
It’s feels like everything has come full circle now, to be sharing our wedding with you, as I started this blog in April 2010 when we first began wedding planning. I thought I would be forever the wedding blogger, never the bride. But that time finally came and G and I are so happy to share our story with you.
I thought it would be a lovely way to begin the new year with our wedding ceremony, I will be sharing our wedding reception next week.
I have used FAR too many images today and will probably waffle on too much. G has also contributed to the story which was super important to me and I hope you enjoy a glimpse of us.
We held our secret woodland ceremony on Friday 11th September 2015, the date of our 10 year anniversary. Huge thanks to Alexa Loy for our much treasured images.
THE PROPOSAL | I have spoken of our proposal story in detail on the blog around 5 years ago now. So I will keep it brief. G and I didn’t have a surprise proposal. I knew very early on that G was the one and that I was madly in love. We brought our first place and got our kitten Eva after having been together for 2 years. The only thing missing was that proposal. I may have dropped a few not so subtle hints that I’d love to get married. G then announced we should go look at rings much to my surprise. We popped to our local jewellers and he brought my ring there and then. But he kept it hidden as he wanted to propose officially. A couple of months went by and we went on a holiday with my family to Dorset. On the second visit to Portland Bill he managed to coax me out of the car, but not up to the top of the lighthouse! Opps. Finally he got me to sit still for long enough and he popped the question. We celebrated with an engagement party a couple of months later as we knew it would be a long engagement being only 21 and 22 we needed to save up.
THE VISION | Well. The plan to have a big dream wedding that I’d planned previously was never going to happen again. We always said we would never plan a day like that again and that we would elope or plan a surprise wedding day. We’d not planned to get married until a month before. It had lingered in my mind that our cancelled wedding was coming up to 5 years ago and I still wasn’t ‘over’ the hard decision of cancelling our day. Neither would I be mentally able to go through with a big wedding again. The pressure of it all going wrong was too much. We couldn’t put ourselves or our loved ones though that all over again. So the options were, elope or not get married.
Seeing as it was our 10 year anniversary coming it seemed the right time. I am a little OCD when it comes to numbers and order so I loved the idea of us getting married that day.
G: We are very outdoorsy people, we love nothing more than donning our wellies and having a stroll in the woods with the little ones. Our first family holiday was glamping with a lovely fire pit. That’s ultimately the feel we wanted with the wedding. A ceremony where we felt most at home and a party where we could bring the outside in.
THE PLANNING PROCESS | We had a month to plan the wedding ceremony. We left it until the very last day to give notice, which gave me less time to panic and back out. I had my dress and my ring, so there wasn’t too much else to sort.
G: To say the planning process was short is a bit of an understatement. Throughout the year Louise had mentioned about getting married on our 10 year anniversary of getting together, I thought it was a nice idea but after cancelling the wedding before wanted to put no pressure on Louise. A month before the date we had the ‘what the heck’ attitude and booked an appointment with the registry office to go for the wedding on our anniversary.
In the end we had only 1 day left to book the wedding with the 28 day law to abide by. We knew at that point that the ceremony was only going to be our little family and two witnesses. We didn’t want the pressure of going through a cancellation again, so Louise didn’t feel like she was letting anyone down, which to me she never has and never will. That left us with 28 days to plan the ceremony. We wanted to have the registry office to do the legal stuff, but we also wanted to have our own ceremony in a place we love, to exchange our rings. We both knew where we wanted to hold that ceremony, the place where was always go for walks with the kids, it was a no brainer. We have had so many happy times there.
At the point of booking the ceremony we thought about having a party, but decided it would be too much for Louise. So we decided to get the ceremony we wanted and see where we were after that.
THE VENUE | For the ceremony I spent a while deciding on the right spot. We adore the woods and we really wanted to say our vows there. But locally there aren’t really any woodland venues and if there were it would have really pushed up our budget. So I considered the option I’d always written off. The registry office.
After getting our head around a registry office ceremony we were really pleased. To us it was the legal contract, rather than a meaningful stepping stone into marriage. We booked Bedford Registry Office for 10am on the Friday morning, being so last minute we didn’t have much choice. But it then gave us time to have our wedding later on in the day.
It was an easy choice to pop to our local favourite woods to say our vows. We went to Chicksands where we have spent a lot of time as a family and is so close to our hearts. We picked a path lined with trees either side that would be our aisle. After the registry office ceremony with the kids and our mums we popped back home for a sandwich when our photographer Alexa arrived. We then headed to the woods. Later on in the day we had an impromptu meal out at our fave local pub and a lazy evening alone at home. Perfect.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | We had no readings or music at our legal ceremony. We made a play list for the car journey with the boys to and from the registry office. We had;
Jess Glynn ‘Hold My Hand’
John Legend ‘All of Me’
Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros ‘Home’
Snow Patrol ‘Chasing Cars’
The Wedding Singer ‘Grow Old With You’
The Temper Trap ‘Sweet Disposition’
Bright Eyes ‘First Day of My Life’
Mumford & Sons ‘I Will Wait’
Sigur Ros ‘Hoppipolla’
American Authors ‘Best Day of My Life’
It was the best feeling singing at the top of our lungs in the car hehe. I now love playing it back and remembering that feeling.
For the ceremony we wrote our own personalised vows. It was tricky but so worth it, we looked online for ideas and came up with this…
OUR VOWS | After 10 true, whole and loving years, I chose you, my best friend to be my (husband/wife).
I promise come rain or shine to always find the rainbow, to laugh until I cry and to enjoy the simple moments with you.
As we grow old together lets have adventures and raise our children to be happy souls.
May my heart be your home.
Frustratingly I was so nervous I rushed the vows and didn’t take the time to say them in as I wanted to. Slaps wrist. But writing them in the first place meant so much and I will treasure those words forever. So definitely, breathe, take your time and enjoy that moment with one another, as that’s one thing I’d want to go back and try to do.
G: On the week of the wedding Louise and I sat down and wrote some words together which both meant something to us. Taking inspiration from the traditional vows we made our own vows, which we would say to each other at our ceremony. This was something we both wanted to do to make our day personal to us.
We made our own little playlist of songs that have meant a lot to us over the 10 years we have been together. We listened to this playlist on the way to and back from the registry office, thinking of the memories we had already made and new ones which we were going to make, now we were married.
THE RING EXCHANGE | (G/Lou), with this ring I give you my heart.
Never ending, always beginning.
I give you all I am today and all I am to become.
May this ring show you strength, joy and love, Knowing I am always there with you.
OUR MUNCHKINS | The boys wore outfits to coordinate with their dad. Their union jack monkey shirts and red bow ties were from Monsoon and they wore navy chinos from H&M. A also wore a navy waistcoat by Zara, I couldn’t find one in baby sizing sadly, but I thought W would be more comfy without one on anyway. Plus it mixed up their look so that they were individual. They had funky desert style boots from Matalan which were a real bargain, not that W’s stayed on for long. Oh they looked so cute it melted my heart.
THE FLOWERS | Ahh I love flowers. They are one of my most favourite things in the world and if I didn’t blog about weddings I’d love to learn to arrange flowers. I do try to grow and arrange them at home too hehe, anyway I digress.
Peonies have always been my fave bloom but they would be out of season in September. I (I say I as G wasn’t too fussed by the florals) decided it was important to me that the flowers were locally grown and arranged by a pure artisan.
I went straight to The Basement Florist and kept everything crossed that Noeleen would be available. Thankfully she was. I sent over some images of bouquets I loved and left her to work her magic. I was bowled over by my bouquet and flower crown. I wish I could have carried them around forever. They smelt and looked divine. I think Dahlias may now be my favourite stem. The flowers included Dahlia, Sedum, Rudbeckia, Bells of Ireland, Amaranthus, Zinnia, Nicotiana and Coreopsis locally grown. She also sourced some beautiful lilac roses and attached some multi coloured ribbons to the bouquet at my request. I then added on a rainbow pom pom garland I made for W’s nursery and a brooch borrowed from my mum.
The boys wore Billy Ball buttonholes wrapped in twine for a pop of colour. We have kept the buttonholes and I have hung my dried flower crown in the living room. I am pressing some blooms from my flower crown from the party too at the moment. Did I mention I loved my flowers?
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | Oh the dress. I had dramas with my dress from what I can remember. Yes it is the same dress from our planned wedding 5 years ago. It has been kept in our wardrobe all that time and G has always refused a peek hehe.
It’s called Eliana by Enzoani and I had it altered to have the sleeves draped down my arms and removed part of the train and embellishment. Snippets Needlework who did the alterations were marvellous. Having been so long since I brought the dress I didn’t know where to turn to have it taken in. I brought it after shortly after having A and it was now too big for me. I was concerned it wouldn’t be sorted out in time but they came to the rescue with just a couple of weeks notice. Plus they took on board my styling alternation ideas enthusiastically and created the dress of my dreams as a result.
I also did my own hair and make up. I curled my hair in the morning and did my usual make up routine. I would have loved to have had the professionals in but being so anxious it wasn’t possible. I hope I scrubbed up OK without any assistance.
I wore sequin gold pumps with the bow chopped off from Debenhams but they stuck like glue to the tulle on my dress. So I ordered some heart flats from ASOS for the party. I chose not to wear my veil from 5 years ago so went with a flower crown instead and used my glitter heart clutch from Alphabet Bags. I also wore diamond stud earrings which were a 25th birthday present from G. I chose to wear my specs as I don’t really wear my contact lenses any more and it meant I looked like me and felt really comfortable. I also painted my nails a minty blue shade for a pop of colour and something blue. I also wore a mustard cardigan from Boden, I do love a cardie.
FINDING THE DRESS | I visited a few local shops and a couple of sample sales along side high street options. I was a nightmare, I just couldn’t find the right frock. I fell for a pricey designer number but it was out of budget and I was a bit of a drama queen over it hehe. Then I popped to Clifford Burr in Ware with my mum and tried on Eliana. I was won over by the dreamy ethereal tulle but I wasn’t 100% sure. But for some reason unbeknownst to me at the time, I brought it anyway and had big wobbles. It’s almost as if I brought the dress for me in 5 years time as it was definitely the right choice now looking back. Somewhere deep down knew I loved it and I didn’t have ‘the one’ moment you hear about. But I love my dress and it was just perfect in the end. I think I almost needed G’s opinion and I found it hard not sharing the dress with him. I think he liked it when he finally got to see me wearing it. In fact he had to help me do it up and it was a lovely moment we shared alone in our bedroom on the wedding morning.
GROOM’S ATTIRE | I had an image of how I wanted to look on our day. I didn’t want to go down the route of a suit. Before when we planned our wedding I went down that route and I decided that it wasn’t me. I wanted to feel comfortable but smart at the same time. I made a mock up of my outfit using pictures from the internet and super imposing my head on the top. Louise found this hilarious, not the response I was looking for, but hey ho. So I went away and ordered what must have been 5 shirts, 3 pairs of trousers, 2 waistcoats, 3 pairs of shoes and a knitted tie. I ended up with pretty much my ideal outfit and lots of trips to the post office to send the other things back.
So the outfit was – A blue and white chequered Fred Perry shirt, a grey and green Ted Baker waistcoat, a pair of blue Lacoste chinos, some blue suede brogues from Linea and a red knitted tie from Victor Valentine.
Lou: G looked pretty handsome if I do say so myself. I helped him find and choose his end look and he has had loads of wear out of his attire post wedding already. I did try and talk G into the merits of a bow tie, but he was having none of it. G please let me post that super imposed image you sent me hehe.
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | The wonderful Alexa Loy was our photographer. Alexa it a good friend of mine and there was no-one else we wanted along for the ride. She did a family shoot for us in 2014 and A just loves her. She is great with little ones.
Alexa must have been the most patient person ever. I cancelled on her at one point in a panic that I couldn’t manage the wedding and it wasn’t going ahead. She kept me calm and focused and reassured me that if it didn’t go ahead I wouldn’t be letting her down.
She becomes a part of your wedding, chatting and getting to know everyone. When we received the images we couldn’t believe some of the shots she got, we didn’t even realise she was there much of the time, especially at the party.
The photographs just exceeded all of our expectations. They bring back the atmosphere of both of the days and we already have a few prints gracing our home. The slide show made me cry the first time I watched it and we are going to be enjoying those shots for so many years to come.
G: The amazing Alexa Loy Photography. She is great friend of Louise’s and she has shot a family shoot with us before. Louise has soo many photographers she adores, but we were sooo pleased when Alexa said she was available for both the ceremony and the wedding. Louise could be relaxed with her and she is great with our boys too.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | Wow so many. The moment the flowers arrived on the wedding morning, when my anxiety finally melted into excitement. It was something I never dream would happen and I wasn’t anxious so much after then. YAY.
G helping me into my dress and his face when he saw me.
Singing in the car on the way to our legal ceremony with the sun shining to our wedding play list with the kids.
Exchanging our rings in the place we love most.
Doing the something extraordinary on what felt like a normal day.
G: Saying our vows to each other in the middle of the woods trying to savour the moment as I would only do it once.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Plan the wedding that is right for you. There are no other words really are there?
Oh and G did tell me in the Q+As that he is a WWW reader, phew!
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Photographer | Alexa Loy
Alterations | Snippets Needlework
Pumps | Debenhams
Clutch Bag | Alphabet Bags
Flowers | The Basement Florist
G’s Shirt | Fred Perry
G’s Waistcoat | Ted Baker
G’s Tie | Victor Valentine
G’s Trousers | Lacoste
G’s Shoes | Linea
Boy’s Shirts & Bow Ties | Monsoon
Boy’s Chinos | H&M
Boy’s Shoes | Matalan
A’s Waistcoat | Zara
G’s Ring | Ernest Jones
My Wedding Ring | SundariGems Etsy
Ring Box | CloudsandCurrents Etsy
A huge thank you to those of you that have just read all of that hehe. Right, I am off to prepare the reception feature now, wish me luck…
Big love xo Lou and G