WWW readers Amy and Benjamin wanted their wedding to be relaxed with a big party in the evening. Their family and friends all contributed to the DIY details, from the stationery, to the flowers and favours.
Amy looked so gorgeous in her Johanna Hehir dress, Benjamin looked dapper in a blue Reiss suit and the bridesmaids wore pale pink dresses from Warehouse.
There were super lovely pastel coloured blooms, elegant flower cake and fun blackboard seating plan.
Thanks so much to the brilliant Married To My Camera for sharing their photographs today.
The Proposal… We were on holiday in Indonesia and had made our way to an island off the shore of Lombok called Gili Trawangan, it was a tiny island with no roads bar one which circumvents the whole island, we were able to walk from one side of the island to the other in 30mins. We took a walk to the beach on the other side of the island early one evening , it was completely deserted except for a few local fisherman finishing for the day as the sun was setting over the Ganung Agung volcano on the island of Bali. I was happily snapping away taking pictures of the sunset, the beach, shells anything I can usually fill my viewfinder with – usually involving a reluctant Ben. However on this occasion Ben seemed happy for me to take another picture of the sunset in yet another angle. Whilst I was on my quest for moody water/sunset shot, Ben called out my name and I turned around to find him on one knee – He’d been waiting for the last fisherman to clear before he proposed on a deserted beach, It was magical, I went through various emotions including laughing and crying! Once we’d got ourselves together and I had to say yes for the second time, He told me I had enough sunset photos and we proceeded back to the other side of the island to celebrate!
The Vision for the Day… A day full of saying I do, dancing, wine and cake. We wanted a relaxed wedding, with the formalities in a church and massive party in the evening. Our friends and family are very important to us and we wanted to make sure we all had fun together. This did involve a lot of drinking, as actually this is mainly what we do.
The Planning Process… We had 18 months to plan, and I managed to accumulate a lot of pins on my ‘wedding wonder’ board during this time. Googledocs was also a major part of my planning process. We were both able to organise together which was great! (I’m sure Ben would tell you the same) My brother also likens the room in my parents house which I took over a couple of days prior to the wedding as the “war room”. As I had blown up one of my trusty spreadsheets into practically a billboard size poster and it looked like I was organising an army. Still everyone knew what was going on and I feel as though I was! My mum prior to my arrival to my parents a couple of the days before the wedding was concerned I wasn’t organised enough, how wrong she said she was.
Budget… £15k without honeymoon.
The Venue… St Marks Church – Staplefield. The Red Barn, Bindley Heath.
The Red Barn is a fantastic venue for what we wanted. It holds a 300year old barn attached to it where we had our dinner and dancing, and the bar was within a few metres walking distance. They serve fantastic food and their drinks list was exhaustive. We went there for a meal to get a feel for the place and instantly could envisage our friends and family sitting for dinner and dancing in the Barn area. Nicola did a great job and was completely relaxed which is exactly what I wanted from someone helping organise the party. It suited us down the ground, we were also able to have a few welcome drinks in the paddock outside which was brilliant as it had been raining in the morning.
The Dress + Accessories… ‘Edith’ by Johanna Hehir from the Mathilda Rose boutique wedding shop in Lindfield Village. The Silver bridal headpiece was from Etsy – La Boheme Gold sparkly wedding shoes from Next and Crochet Toms for the evening after the first dance.
Finding the Dress… I must admit, I wasn’t fully enjoying dress shopping at one stage of finding ‘the one’. I’m not an average size. Trying on a dress quickly became tiresome as I tried yet another dress on which didn’t give me the excitement I envisaged I would experience as soon as I put it on. After the 40-50th Dress? I walked into Mathilda Rose in Lindfield Village, and met Nicola, where it all changed. She was so lovely and down to earth, with no pressure and the most beautifully designed shop in Lindfield Village. I instantly was drawn to various designs of dress which were all by Johanna Hehir, I fell in love with them, and that night I went to sleep completely content with the fact there was a dress out there for me. The Edith dress was beautifully created with intricate back detail and made in soft Georgette. The actual dress comes with floaty sleeves however I wanted to amend these and Johanna made some absolutely exquisite cap sleeves which gave the dress the exact look I wanted. I absolutely adore the dress. Johanna’s sense of style in all her creations is amazing, I love all of her dresses. Would have been nice to wear more than one.
Due to the back detail, I didn’t want to have a veil, and opted for Silver leaf hair piece from Etsy. My shoes were from Next and were sparkly gold. I changed into cream crochet toms at the end of the night after we had the first dance it was bliss as I mainly live in flats.
Groom’s Attire… We managed to grab a bargain in Reiss for Ben’s attire. A three piece suit in Light Blue. Mark at Hugo Morris in Brighton is a truly remarkable tailor, his knowledge of a perfectly tailored suit as well as pairing of shirt colour and bow tie colour was inspiring and the suit was re-fitted to suit Ben perfectly. Shoes were from Jones & Bootmaker. Ben and the ushers Shirts were from TM Lewin. Mark recommended a blue shirt to go with the blue suit and we felt it made all the difference in the appearance of the overall look. The Ushers suits were from Next and they looked very dapper all together.
The Readings + Music… My wonderful sister –in-law Kayleigh and one of my closest friends Lisa gave a reading for us. Lisa read “Grow old with you” which was sung by Adam Sandler in The Wedding Singer. Kayleigh read Corinthians 13:1 The gift of Love.
We had the local parish choir in the church and they sung beautifully. 13 Choristers made our day and we can’t thank them enough. We sung Pledge to one Another and Amazing Grace. They also sang Love Divine, All loves excelling.
The music in the evening took a different turn and we had the Ice Cream Bikinis who kept the dancing going throughout the night. Some of the guests including one of the bridesmaids managed to do Jackson 5 rendition throughout one of the breaks. This is luckily all caught on camera.
Beautiful Bridesmaids…. I had four adult bridesmaids, we managed to get their dresses in a nude/light brown colour from Warehouse. I wanted a casual look for the bridesmaids, and loved the two texture appearance of the dresses. My bridesmaids varied height so it was important to ensure they were all comfortable with their dresses. Plus one was in South Africa. Which proved interesting in the search! They looked stunning. Their shoes were patent nude from trusty Marks and Spencers.
The Flowers… One of my very talented friends Michelle managed to help me with the flowers from the Flower Market. I had again pinned fruitful amounts of flower pins, all very stunning, however the reality was that it was the beginning of May, England was seeing a rather late appearance of Spring, so I wanted to envisage country flowers which were in season. I went for a lot of Gypsophila!, Sweet peas, Delphiniums, Hydrangeas, spray Roses and Astrantia. These were a base for all my flowers on the day.
My dad honed his amazing DIY skills to put chalkboard paint in a heart shape on Zinc flower buckets. (sourced from a local garden supplier) I then wrote Table numbers on this in chalk and filled with flowers randomly. These were placed in the middle of all the tables. At the end of the night I gave these to my nearest and dearest ladies who had helped with the day.
My bouquet was also a mix of Gyp, sweet peas, Delphiniums and spray roses. I absolutely loved it, and the bridesmaids had a ball of Gypsophila. The ushers and FOB had Gyp button holes, and Bens included a sweet pea. Michelle put together my bouquet and the button holes. We had a few people on flower watch, as we managed to store them in my parents garage, although my mum did have a few nightmares she would wake up to go into the garage and see they had all died in the morning. So my mum and Katy were on this so called flower watch in the run up to the day!
The Cake… Probably one of the most important parts, and again one of our friends Lou – who is an absolute mean baker, was able to recreate a design I had seen on Pinterest. I wanted it to be simple and white with no fuss. Lou was able to recreate a simple white three tier cake with white sugar roses falling down the side of the cake. We had a Chocolate, Carrot and Victoria Sponge. It was delicious was demolished within 10minutes flat. We surrounded the cake with pictures of our parents and grandparents on their wedding day as we very much wanted to have them at the centre of our day.
Your Photographer… Our photographer David was a charming and discerning gentleman. We had our first meeting with David at the Red Barn, and instantly knew he would be able to capture what we wanted. His professionalism and creative eye meant the day was a breeze and relaxed. Although I have now realised I blink probably more than the average human, however Ben was perfect throughout the day. Which I’m not allowed to forget. On honeymoon we were discussing the events of the day and how they unfolded, wondering if David had managed to capture certain parts of the day. We needn’t have worried when we returned and we saw the pictures we couldn’t believe how many there were and how David had completely blended in with our friends and family, we forget he was there. We both absolutely love them, and our family do as well. He has captured the day perfectly and all his images capture the pure emotion of the day, I couldn’t fault any of them.
The Details + Décor… It really was a family and friend affair. We had numerous family and friends helping out on the day.
Lou who had made the wedding cake, who is also my hairdresser, managed to do my hair, AND four bridesmaids on the morning of the wedding. Along with worry of ensuring the cake got to the venue in the morning OK. She was an absolute wonder woman and deserves a medal. Again Pinterest gave away to inspiration and we gave Lou an idea of what we wanted for the hairstyles as well.
My Uncle David put together the Sloe Vodka – I sourced the mini demi john bottles from minatureglassbottles.co.uk which also included the tags which you could design. This went down a storm as a wedding favour. However we did only put one on each setting, it was entirely up to them if they traded their Sloe Vodka in with another person who didn’t like it. I think the record amount for one person was 10 Sloe Vodkas – not sure how that happened. I popped sweet bags on the place settings for my friends who were pregnant so they didn’t feel left out. The table decorations were kept quite simple with a square cut of hessian, and a flower bucket in the middle. We had simple brown luggage tags wrapped twine around the knives/forks for the place name settings.
One of my closest friends Katy who lives in South Africa, was over earlier than expected and helped with all the flowers, along with my mum and mother in law. For the seating plan we used an A1 chalkboard with a chalkboard pen and Katy managed to write the seating plan perfectly – she has the neatest handwriting in the world. I created the orders of service, menus and the order of events on Photoshop. I used various fonts from dafont.com . Where I could download some of the fonts for free. This included ‘From the garden’ where I used one of the characters which were daffodils in a heart to form the basis of a stamp which went across all the invitations, menus, orders of service, order of events and on the table plan itself.
With the orders of service, we used twine to hold the booklet together. I actually managed to leave work on my last day with a box of them on the roof of my car. They all fell in the road just outside the car park at work, luckily not a busy road, but I still managed to stop a bit of traffic in order to pick up 100 Orders of Service. So some guests had tyre marks over their booklets. But it all added to it. Plus I clearly was too busy thinking of what I had to do. Drive safely!
The Honeymoon… Our honeymoon was to be one of the trips that we always dreamed about and one we will always pinch ourselves to believe we actually went on. We left the morning after the wedding, and flew to Cook Island, where we stayed in Rarotonga, and then travelled on a tiny prop plane to the idyllic island of Aitutaki. The islands were lush and green and the locals were amazingly hospitable. I think after all the wedding prep we were so exhausted, the long 20+ hr flight over there seemed absolutely fine. After a week in the Cook Islands we went to Vancouver, British Columbia and toured around Vancouver Island, from Victoria to Tofino, onto Whistler and then back to Vancouver City for the last three nights of the honeymoon. This was absolutely amazing, we were able to see Killer Whales, Brown Bears, Wolves and also did a bit of white water rafting. We cycled around Stanley Park and ate lots of fresh fish and drank copious amounts of wine. Perfect.
Memorable Moments… Saying our vows. Listening to Ben be the most serious I have ever seen him – when he gave his vows. One to usually make a joke of everything – It was a side I had never seen. But I will treasure.
Getting ready at my Mum and Dads house. I don’t think Dad knew what to do with 8 women running around the house.
Seeing my dads face as I walked down the stairs – He hadn’t seen the dress in the build up to the wedding and David captured this moment perfectly.
Standing back with Ben in the evening whilst everyone was dancing and seeing everyone we loved and adored in one room. It truly is an amazing feeling, and it sounds corny but you feel the love in the room and realise just how special everyone is to you.
Absolutely everyone in the wedding party doing the conga around the barn. Our wedding band – Ice Cream Bikinis are amazing. They pumped out 80’s beats, an absolutely awesome band and Maria the lead guitarist did a stellar job of organising the gig.
Advice for Other Couples… Take a bit of time out with your new husband! You can be busy speaking to all your guests but if you have a have a bit of time to be together and observe what’s going on around you, you’ll remember that moment. Someone told me this, and it was a part I always remember, it will go in a blink of an eye.
Think about what you both want most out of the wedding its your day. If the budget is tight work out the most important thing to both of you on your wedding day, and splurge on this. The other elements will all fit in. We definitely wanted a live band and we couldn’t imagine not having one, along with a reportage photographer. So these were our key pieces of expenditure.
Breath and remember to have fun in the run up to the big day. The last week can be stressful, but you don’t want to look back and remember how stressed you were when you have all your friends and family arriving from near or far.
Credit Where Credit is Due…
Photographer | Married To My Camera
Dress Shop | Mathilda Rose in Lindfield
Dress Designer |Johanna Hehir
Grooms Suit | Reiss
Tailoring |Huge Morris
Ushers Suit |Next
Bridesmaid Dresses | Warehouse
Bridal head piece | Etsy – La Boheme
Bridal Shoes | Next
Demi Johns | Miniature Glass Bottles
Venue | The Red Barn
Such a lovely lovely day.
Thanks to Amy and Benjamin for sharing their beautiful wedding story with us XOXO Lou