WWW readers Emma and Tom’s wedding was a real DIY effort with family and friends contributing to their wedding. Their village hall venue was the inspiration for their relaxed wedding day and provided the perfect blank canvas.
With their love of pretty blue Hydrangeas a blue colour scheme crept in, with gorgeous little details and sweet flower girls in blue dresses.
Emma donned a gorgeous Phase Eight wedding dress which she teamed with a custom made bolero, while Tom went for a blue suit and fun knitted tie. Love this whole day, from beginning to end.
Thanks so much to the brilliant Eleanor Jane for sharing her photographs with us today.
The Proposal… Tom proposed on my birthday. We had our first kiss on my birthday so it has always been a special day for us. We had a lovely meal at our favourite restaurant and then we took a stroll on Primrose Hill, where Tom surprised me with a nice big bar of chocolate which he had iced with MARRY ME. Tom chose the location were we had our first date. We had a picnic on Primrose hill, I brought some homemade soup and Tom brought the bread. Every time we walk there we remember our first date. Margaret Thatcher was also taking in the view with her bodyguards that day. We have an amusing photo of us picnicking on the hill laughing with Margaret Thatcher in the background. Now every time we walk there I remember the night Tom proposed, it was such a special day.
The Vision for the Day… Our main feelings for the day was to make sure everyone enjoyed themselves. We wanted all of our family and close friends around us in a relaxed environment to celebrate our marriage from the start of the day to the end of the day. We really didn’t want to spend a lot of money, or have our guests to spend anything, as a lot of people were travelling and staying for the whole weekend. We choose the venue first, which was a village hall, then the theme/vision developed more to suit our choice of venue.
The Planning Process… I set out a plan of all the things we needed to do in a spreadsheet. I have to be quite organised with my job, it was nice to see everything listed out in a nice list, there were a lot of nice lists. The most important things we both choose and decided on together, the venue, ceremony, catering and photographer, then all the other things we split between us. The first thing we did was find the venue, 19 months before and then just set aside a couple of tasks each month to do. I thought it was plenty of time, but all the little bits at the end did creep up on us so we had to get a lot of help from our parents and friends.
The Venue… I really wanted to get married in The Gower near my home town in Wales. It was one of the first places I took Tom to on visiting Swansea from London and he fell in love with it too. We requested brochures from the main wedding venues and instantly we knew we did not want to get married in a place where we had to choose from a set list and paying ££’s per head. We wanted somewhere where we could have the freedom to do choose whatever we wanted. We searched the Internet for alternative venues in The Gower, which had to have a sea view and stumbled across Rhossili Village Hall. We were both so excited when we found it. We knew it was the place even before we saw it. The day we visited it was a cold and wet winter afternoon, which did not dampen our excitement for the hall. It is a lovely traditional hall with a really nice paved balcony with sea views. Exactly what we wanted, surrounded by gorgeous farmland. We both loved the venue and we were so happy to have found something that suited our requirements. Jo the manager was lovely and really helpful along the way in helping us with anything we needed. The venue also had a hostel attached for 20 people. We were able to book the whole place out for the weekend and have a place for people to stay aswell. We hired the whole place to ourselves to do whatever we wanted for the bank holiday weekend, which was very exciting!
The Dress + Accessories… The dress was from Phase Eight, the Pandora dress. I loved my dress and many people were amazed when I told them it was from the high street. I borrowed most of my accessories from my lovely friend Olivia, she was married a couple of years before me and was so generous to lend me her earrings, necklace and some vintage shoe clips. I had a beautiful handmade vintage lace bolero made to measure from Shay Harris to complement my dress, which was my only big extravagance. I wanted to have a couple of matching vintage clips in my hair, I searched the charity shops to find some brooches to pin, it was really hard to find two the same. I found some lovely hand made ones from the Radiance Boutique on not on the high street.
Finding the Dress… I had a baby a year before our wedding day so I was not really thinking about wedding dress shopping. I had bought some magazines to look at dresses. If I am being honest I was a little scared about going into a big bridal shop and trying dresses on; I am not a big shopper and the thought of trying on lots of dresses did not appeal to me. I wanted something vintage but I am quite tall and thought all vintage dresses would not be the right length. My bridesmaid sent me a link with the dress I choose and said I would look lovely in it. I wasn’t sure about buying online and then I saw it again a month later in a magazine and just decided to buy it. I thought I have to start trying on dresses soon as it was 6 months till the big day. I arranged for my girlfriends to come over to see me try it on to create the same excitement of being in a shop they all loved it, and so did I. I knew it would be perfect for our day.
Groom’s Attire… Tom wore a lovely blue suit from the Nick Hart Collection in Austin Reed. He bought a really cute pale blue knitted tie and got some lovely personalised cuff links made. He went the Selfridges to find the style of suit he wanted and fell in love with an original Nick Hart Suit and fortunately found a cheaper alternative at Austin Reed.
The Readings + Music… There was never any question about what our first dance would be, I remember the day when Tom played me the song just before he told me he loved me. I think I am Falling in Love by Leroy Hudson. I walked down our garden aisle in the village hall garden to Simply Beautiful Al Green and we celebrated with You are all I need to get By – Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell. Tom chose most of our music and we had some friends Dj on the night. I really wanted my niece to be part of our ceremony as she was so excited to be my bridesmaid. I wanted her to feel part of our ceremony. We didn’t have any particular reading that sprung to mind, but we found one that we both loved I will be Here, Steven Curtis Chapman which we chose for her to read in our humanist ceremony. We chose a humanist ceremony, as we really wanted to write our own vows, and to celebrate our marriage outside with all our family and friends present.
Beautiful Bridesmaids… We had one adult bridesmaid, my old school friends of 26 years Alex, and both of our nieces, Katie and Poppy. For their outfits I worked backwards from my flowers. I knew that I wanted pale blue Hydrangeas for my bouquet and wanted the dresses to complement them. I choose the dresses for the two girls from Marks and Spencer again online, a gorgeous pale blue dress with lace detailing. Alex and I searched on a shopping trip for a dress in pale blue, without any joy. I said to Alex to find any neutral colour dress with lace detailing that she liked. I really didn’t mind that all the dresses didn’t match as our wedding was quite informal and relaxed. Alex chose a lovely ivory dress from Coast with some lace detailing.
The Flowers… I was really happy with my flowers by Daphne Furneaux. She was recommended to me and lives in the village where we got married, her arrangements are so beautiful. We met a few times to discuss what I wanted, I knew I wanted to have pale blue Hydrangeas in my bouquet, as I choose all our colour scheme from them. I love purple, so I choose a hint of purple with Lavender. The lavender smelt beautiful in my bouquet. I also had some Peonies, which were gorgeous, and lots of Gypsophia around the venue. She was really amazing, and worked to create something unique for me and worked within our budget and gave me lots of tips to make our budget stretch further.
The Cake… We always have chocolate after a meal, never cake. So we choose to have a tower of hand made truffles with maple Syrup and dark chocolate. We also had some yummy chocolate brownies for the cake eaters. They were made by a lovely lady called Ruth (Coco Bean Wales). Coco Bean was recommended by our caterers, but we also found her from looking at the suppliers in our local farmers market.
Your Photographer… We searched on and off for a photographer for a long time, by looking at websites. No one really stood out enough to us to meet. We really wanted a set of beautiful photographs to document our day, we started to think that maybe we should ask friends, as it was such a big slice of our budget. As it neared to the day, we decided we really wanted a photographer, as it was important for us to have our memories captured. I found Eleanor Jane though a link on a vintage wedding fair website. We knew that we could trust Eleanor from the start as her photographs are so original and so beautiful. When we met she asked us lots of questions to get to know us and to get a feel of what we wanted when we met. She definitely gave us everything we wanted and more. We love our photographs. The day was very sunny day in Wales, which is quite unexpected, we have some lovely photographs of the two of us in the shade of the hedge grows, which are so beautiful, and everyone comments on how lovely they are. I love those photos and know that we would not be lucky enough to have them if we had not chosen Eleanor. I am so glad we did get a photographer; it was definitely worth every penny.
The Details + Décor… We choose a village hall as our venue. As it was a blank canvas the options were limitless in terms of décor and catering. We choose our caterers from searching the local farmers market, as we wanted something different. We choose Ryan & Rhian from Fired up Feasts to do all our catering and serving of drinks. We are both obsessed with wood fired pizzas and they have a portable wood fired oven. We had a wonderful tasting with them in their home, it was one of the first things we booked after we choose the venue. They were so professional and also very relaxed to cater for what we wanted, Ryan’s food is amazing. We came away from the tasting feeling really good and excited for the day to come around. We choose a buffet meal with slow cooked meats and salads, and we had wood fired pizzas served later. They really helped make our day run smoothly, Rhian was so thoughtful and made sure we were looked after.
We choose a humanist ceremony, so we could have the freedom to choose where we took our vows and to make our ceremony personal to us. It was a good experience for us to discuss what marriage meant to each of us and to write our vows in our own words to affirm this.
I loved searching blogs for ideas for village hall wedding decorations. Seeing pictures of a village hall being transformed got me so excited. The theme of the décor was my choice, as our tastes are so different, Tom was very happy for me to continue my vintage village hall theme as it suited our venue. My love for Hydrangeas choose the colour palette of pastels of blue and pink. I started collecting jam jars and bottles, not sure what I wanted to do with them yet but collected them all the same. I didn’t want to spend a lot on decorations, but still wanted it to look pretty. I loved eBay and bought so many things from there, I found some gorgeous pale blue doilies for my centre pieces, and some lovely vintage bottles. A friend of mine lives on an old tip so had lots of lovely vintage bottles that I borrowed for our table settings. My table settlings were a collection of vintage cream spray painted jam jars, beer bottles, and vintage bottles, filled with flowers. There was not much arranging involved in this so it kept the costs down. We bought meters of fabric from ikea to hide the strip lighting and hired lots at lots of pretty fairy lights, and I bought meters and meters of vintage material bunting. Tom is very creative and made quite a lot of things, he designed all of our stationery including the order of service, table settings, and the lovely record table numbers. He also figured out how to hang the material from the ceiling to hide the strip lighting, which really transformed the hall. My bridesmaid made lots of lovely paper bunting to hang everywhere in the hallway. Our Friend Kirsten made our lovely wedding arch and set up all of the outside area with her team of helpers, and our friend Olivia was amazing in helping me plan the table decorations inside. We had lots of help from our friends and family, as we knew we had a lot to do to on the day. We asked people to help us in the lead up to the wedding. We could not have done it all without the help of our family and friends, everyone also enjoyed being part of it.
The Honeymoon… We are yet to go on our honeymoon. We had a nice week in Sorrento on the Amalfi coast with our son Ryan and ate lots of pizza and ice cream. We introduced Ryan to his first Napoli pizza, which he loved. We are waiting until Ryan is a bit older and will plan a nice week away just the two of us next year.
Memorable Moments… We loved the whole day and have some lovely memories. The first moment when I walked down the aisle, I remember looking ahead at Tom. The sun was shining and the sky was blue and calm. With the music playing simply beautiful by Al green as I walked down the aisle, seeing all our family and friends there smiling and happy, seeing Tom and Tom seeing me, that is a moment we will never forget. Everything looked so beautiful and we both felt such happiness to become husband and wife.
After our first dance finished the groomsmen invaded the dance floor with masks of Tom that they wore at the stag to Get Lucky by Daft punk. Every time we hear that song we think of our wedding day, and throughout the summer we heard it a lot! Still makes us smile ;-)
We are so glad we choose Rhossili as our wedding location. We choose a village hall where we were not from the village. Everyone we met was so lovely and welcoming to us and all our family and friends, they made the whole weekend so perfect. It was so lovely to meet and get to know the people in the village and we look forward to returning in years to come.
Advice for Other Couples… If you are planning a DIY wedding, remember what goes up must come down… The clean up afterwards was something I did not think about. I wish I hired a cleaner.
Credit Where Credit is Due…
Photography | Eleanor Jane Wedding Photography
Catering | Fired Up Feasts
Brownies |Coco Bean
Bolero |Shay Harris
Flowers | Daphne Flowers [email protected]>
Utterly gorgeous, and great advice on the post wedding clear up for DIY weddings :-)
Thanks so so much to Emma and Tom for sharing their wedding with us today XOXO Lou