Pretty pretty pretty over load today folks. This is what wedding dreams are made of…
WWW readers Jessica and Antonio got hitched on Saturday 7th May 2016 at The Priory Barn in Hertfordshire. They made use of the spectacular rustic barn by draping it in fairy lights and romantic details. Pastel pinks and blues were used with hints of glitter gold for a touch of luxe and boy did it all have WOW factor. The epic ruffle cake was baked by Jessica and I have some serious baking envy here. Then there were the delicate fluffy spring florals which looked so gorgeous against the short and sweet bridesmaid dresses. Amaze.
Jessica chose to wear a dreamy tulle Allure Bridals gown with sparkly belt and uber long veil. She looked utterly beautiful! Antonio’s handsome suit was sourced in Moss Bros and teamed with blush tie, looked just perfect.
THE PROPOSAL | We’d been together for four years by the time Antonio proposed and I knew it was coming – especially as he’d asked me to pick a ring, pass on the information and leave it with him!!
I picked my ring in the May and he proposed in October 2014.
Antonio had booked us dinner in the restaurant we had our first date in back in 2010 and I has a sneaking suspicion that he was going to propose that evening, little did I know that he had planned it for when his son Rocco, who was ten at the time was with us while we were all having our usual Saturday morning chit chat in bed.
It was perfect having Rocco there and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way as he is as much a part of our relationship as Antonio and I are.
The two of us then went out for dinner that night recreating our first date but this time, as a newly engaged couple!
THE VISION | We were very keen for the whole day to feel very relaxed and not too formal. Pretty pastels with hints of gold were the way forward along with fairy lights. LOTS of fairy lights!!
THE PLANNING PROCESS | I’d always had quite a clear vision of how I wanted the wedding to be so I was very lucky that Antonio trusted what I was doing and gave me carte blanche on the planning process!! I’m a very organised person and within a couple of weeks of being engaged we had the venue and many of the suppliers booked.
I made notes and scrap booked A LOT with a continuous stream of lists filling up my notebook!!
BUDGET | We didn’t start with a figure in mind so spent what we needed to without missing out on things we wanted but we saved money by designing the invitations ourselves, making our own cake, using my mums car to get to the venue and shopping around for things.
THE VENUE | The Priory Barn, Little Wymondley, Hertfordshire.
We had seen this venue online before we got engaged, hence how we ended up booking the venue so quickly after our engagement – 3 hours after to be exact!!!
It’s an absolutely gorgeous 16th Century barn with all its original features and a wonderful stone floor which sets it apart from many other wedding barns we’ve been in. From the moment we stepped into the barn we knew we didn’t need to look at any other venues and got their available dates.
We envisioned hundreds and hundreds of fairy lights strung up between the beams to compliment the barn rather than cover it up to give it an extra sprinkling of magic!
The barn is surrounded by beautiful gardens and rolling fields so our drinks reception with Pimms and Kir Royale took place outside. We were so lucky with the weather and it was the sunniest Saturday in May so we were absolutely delighted!
Because we wanted our guests to feel relaxed, we chose to have antipasti sharing boards for starters drawing influence from Antonio’s Italian roots followed by a hog roast served with crackling, a warm potato and green bean salad.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | Allure Bridal 2765
Ever since I was a little girl, I’d pictured myself in a strapless princess dress but when reading all the wedding advice, I knew to have an open mind when dress shopping so I tried on a lot of different shapes to try and suit my curvy shape. Across two different shops, I tried on about 10 dresses and my one ended up being number 2 of 6 in the second shop we visited. And guess what… it was strapless, princessy and even better, the second layer of tulle was completely glittery. I adored it. It a super sparkly embellishment on the right hand side of the waist line and when I went to New York with my mum last Christmas, we bought some more sparkles to extend it all the way around the waistline, it finished the dress off perfectly and I was overjoyed with the way it looked. The one thing I learnt through the process is that whilst it’s good to have an open mind, you can also rely on your gut instinct to know what you want.
At 5ft 9ins, with bridesmaids that are all shorter than me and a distinct lack of grace when it comes to walking in ANY kind of heel, from the off, I knew I was going to be relying on a new pair of my old faithful’s… Converse!!! I bought a completely white leather pair of Chuck Taylors and some Swarovski crystals to cover the toe cap. I had the best of both worlds, comfort and yep… more sparkles!
My hair vine was purchased before I had any of my bridal outfit… including my dress! I got it from Lily Bella at a wedding fair and loved how delicate and pretty it was, I didn’t even know how I was having my hair at that point but knew I’d make it work!
I ended up trying A LOT of different jewellery combinations and in the end found a really pretty necklace and bracelet from Jon Richard at Debenhams.
GROOM’S ATTIRE | We knew we wanted navy to keep in with the slightly less formal vibe and went with Lounge Lizard by Ted Baker from Moss Bros which seems like it’s now a modern classic! We bought Antonio’s suit and hired the same from Moss for the Best Men, Dads and Ushers. Antonio wore brown leather Ted Baker shoes and a shirt from the 1851 collection at Moss. All the guys wore blush pink ties and pink socks with each of their roles printed on them!
THE READINGS & MUSIC | Aisle Music: When Love Takes Over (Acoustic) by Kelly Rowland. This song was out when we first got together and is one of Antonio’s all time favourites. The lyrics are really fitting for our story and broken down acoustically is really beautiful. It had me crying before I even entered the barn!
Our walking up the aisle as husband and wife song was Ain’t No Mountain High Enough by Mavin Gaye and Tammi Terrell – Our reason? Why not?! It’s a classic, everyone knows it and it makes you feel super happy!
We chose one of our Ushers’ Nick to read ‘He Never Leaves The Seat Up’ we felt it has enough sentiment in it without being too slushy and it has enough amusement in it to raise a few laughs so we felt it reflected us a couple as we try not to take things too seriously.
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | I knew I didn’t want my gorgeous girls in long dresses but that I did want a pale blue, that was pretty much all I had in mind when I first started looking! I settled on a tea length so all the girls would be comfortable and was trawling the internet for ages trying to find the perfect dress. I found a company called Elegance50s on Etsy who had beautiful dresses. They were based in the Philippines so I was very wary ordering them from so far away and spending the money but they had five star reviews and the owner sent us a fitting sample so we knew the sizes were as they should be. Luckily the girls loved the style and it suited all of them so it was a very easy process and I can’t recommend the company highly enough.
After buying four different sets of four pairs of shoes with varying levels of discomfort for some of the girls (making the shoe process far more trying than the dress process!!), I finally found THE shoes in the Monsoon sale. They were silver peep toes with a mid-heel so they could walk with ease in them – I felt as though I couldn’t go too high on the heels as I was escaping foot pain with my Converses!!
I was totally happy for them to style their hair however they wanted and wear whichever jewellery they wanted because I didn’t want them to feel uncomfortable with their appearance in any way, they loved their dresses and shoes and they all looked absolutely stunning on the day!!
THE FLOWERS | I’ve admired our local florist, Stephanie Rose for a long time and knew she would create beautiful bouquets and arrangements for us.
My colour brief was sky blue, mint green and Peony pink so all the flowers we had on the day were a mixture of pink ranunculus, pink peonies, pale blue nigella, cream veronica, cream spray roses, sweet avalanche roses, pale blue hydrangea, astilbee, brodea, scabious and pale foliage’s including eucalyptus, green bell, sencio and pittosporum.
I was very keen for the bouquets to look natural and flowy rather than tight and Stephanie did the most amazing job, when I first saw the flowers they took my breath away!
THE CAKE | I make cakes for friends and family for special occasions and whilst I fully appreciate the cost of a cake due to the time and work that goes into them, I felt that it would make a significant saving if I made it myself.
Everyone told me I was mad making our cake just a week before the wedding but I cheated a little bit and had two fake tiers!
We had more than enough food to go round for everyone and knew that our guests wouldn’t miss out on the cake – as long as there was some!!
In keeping with the rest of the theme, I didn’t want the cake to seem too perfectly aligned or too structured, I changed my mind at least 15 times of how to design the cake but settled on the light green ruffles with gold lustre dust on the edges to give it that all important bit of sparkle and made some simple pink roses out of sugar paste for the top and on the tiers. I was really pleased with the result and the only downside to having the fake tiers meant there wasn’t any left for us to take home at the end of the night!!
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | Kelly Green // Lola Rose Photography
I found Kelly after trawling many wedding blogs and searching the internet for someone who could capture memories in the way I imagined them to be.
From the moment we first spoke on the phone and our first Skype call, I felt like I had known Kelly for years and knew she was the perfect person for the job! She was amazing for the entire duration and I can’t recommend her highly enough.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | As a Pinterest addict, I loved the idea of using ladders for the table plans, I found two ladders at a bargain price in a local second hand shop, painted them light blue to fit in with the colour scheme and bought battery operated fairy lights to wind around them. We used a combination of jars and string to hang each of the name lists and accessorised the ladders with vases that matched the tables and Mr & Mrs decorations with lots of flowers.
We very sadly lost three of our grandparents last year so we had photos of them in frames at the top of the table plan, it was our dedication to them as we would have loved for them to have been with us on the day.
In place of favours, we donated money to Macmillan and Alzheimer’s UK and had small cards printed to place on each setting to let people know why.
Because of the loss of my Grandad last year, I was very keen to have something of his with me and had his army veteran badge pinned to the inside of my dress, it meant there were a lot of tears when I put it on but it was my way of having him there with me on the day that at the start of the planning process, I thought he would have been at.
Our table centre pieces consisted of tea lights in pretty votives with accents of gold and a mixture of clear, pink, blue and green jars and vases filled with the flowers used in the bouquets and buttonholes.
The table numbers were our way of incorporating Antonio’s love of football in to the day and we named the tables after his favourite players!
We booked a fantastic magician, Lee Smith to entertain guests between the ceremony and eating, he fascinated us from the very first time we saw him and blew everyone away with his tricks, so much so, I’m convinced he actually is magic because the things he was doing are definitely not possible without it!!
Instead of a sit down dessert, we hired a gorgeous vintage ice cream van serving Italian gelato for our guests to enjoy, it was actually the ice cream van that confirmed my colour scheme of light pink and light blue when I booked it as I had been wavering between colours beforehand.
To entertain our evening guests, we had a photobooth which is always loads of fun along with popcorn, sausage and bacon rolls and Italian cakes, again, nodding to Antonio’s Italian family.
THE HONEYMOON | St Regis Mauritius
We spent a beautiful two weeks on the south west peninsula of Mauritius in this super luxurious hotel, it’s winter over there in May so the beach was gorgeously quiet and the very wintery temperature of 25-30 degrees was definitely good enough for us!!
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | The look on my dad and brothers faces when I stepped out of the hotel room took my breath away and made me cry, it was pretty much a stream of tears until I got to the end of the aisle and saw Antonio.
As cheesy as it sounds, saying our vows felt magical and was definitely the best part of the day although we were in a room full of people, it felt as though it was just us, it was the pinnacle of everything we had planned and it felt amazing!
One of the Best Men’s wife went into labour at 11pm so we had a bit of a scramble to get her packed off to hospital – a gorgeous baby boy arrived early the following morning so it was a double celebration that weekend!
We chose the last song of the night to be I’ve Had The Time of My Life from Dirty Dancing, yes it’s obvious but we both love the song and it was my second favourite moment of the day with Antonio and I dancing in the middle with everyone around. It was a joyous, proud moment to have everyone there, dancing and singing their heads off enjoying themselves.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | It is cliché but it’s so true, DON’T PANIC! Everything does work out in the end and even if it doesn’t, it won’t really bother you on the day. Saying the vows is the important part, everything else is a bonus.
I hired a white bouncy castle as we had 13 kids at the wedding but despite speaking with the company the week before to confirm everything, they didn’t turn up on the day and wouldn’t take our calls. I had a brief moment of being annoyed but I soon forgot about it because the kids were having a great time just running round!
I would also say try not to feel guilty that you don’t get to have full conversations with people, I underestimated how difficult it would be to work a room full of a hundred people that we had invited to be there and kept apologising to everyone. They’re all happy to see you and share the day with you and they don’t expect a deep and meaningful on the day so just enjoy being surrounded by everyone you love because it’s unlikely to happen on such a scale again!
Lastly, enjoy every second! It’s a day like no other so take mental snapshots across the day and enjoy looking back on your amazing day!
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Venue | The Priory Barn
Flowers |Stephanie Rose
Dress | Great Expectations Bridal
Bridesmaid Dresses | Elegance50’s (via Etsy)
Magician | Lee Smith
DJ/Lighting | Bluemark Entertainment
Ice Cream Van | Ice Baby
Videographer | Rio Carciero for Inverve
Bridal Hair & Make Up | Jackie Tyson for Alchemy For The Eye
Photo Booth | King of the Booth
And the ice cream looked just delicious didn’t it? So sweet.
Thanks so much to Jessica and Antonio for sharing their super gorgeous nuptials with us xo Lou