Today’s couple are one of the happiest I’ve ever set eyes on. They have huge grins or giggles all day long and you can just feel the love and warmth radiating from their celebrations. Which were, by the way of course, totally gorgeous and utterly inspiring to boot.
WWW readers Emily and Dan tied the knot on the 11th June 2016 in a church ceremony followed by a reception party at Berkhamstead Town Hall in Hertfordshire. The vision was quirky vintage meets classic and fantasy. I think their day showed off their personalities to the full thanks to their unique choices, playlists and personal touches. For instance, Emily made limoncello and blackberry brandy for the cute milk bottle favours and there were fictional table names complete with Lego scenes. Let’s not forget the pretty paper goods and hand baked drip cake too, which were both marvellous.
The wild style flowers really took my breath away. I mean just take the bouquets, they were so perfectly seasonal and pretty in equal measure. They worked beautifully with the dresses, Emily wore a polka dot tulle tea length Fur Coat No Knickers frock, while her fave girls donned floral dresses. Cute! Dan and the gents chose navy suits from M&S with blue ties and tan shoes. So dapper. We’re loving it all today WWWers.
Karolina Simankowicz, we are smitten with these divine shots, thank you for sharing them with us.
THE PROPOSAL | Dan says: Having found the perfect ring in a local vintage jewellers (Jackson’s Jewellers on Watford High Street) whilst working together on a Christmas show in the local theatre, I was excited to pop the question as soon as I could but as romantically as my limited capacity for emotion would allow. I decided to wrap up the ring box in some nice Christmas paper and put it at the bottom of Emily’s Christmas stocking. As she was getting to the last few presents in there on Christmas morning, I awkwardly shuffled around so I could quickly get on to one knee as she opened the ring.
Emily says: I had no idea. He’d been acting weird for weeks and particularly odd on Christmas Eve at my parents. It was a massive surprise. And it turned out he’d only told his sister and a random woman at the checkout in Marks and Spencer’s.
THE VISION | Classic and quirky. Vintage elements mixed with our love of fantasy.
THE PLANNING PROCESS | We wrote a list of everything that was important to us and then worked out which things we would be willing to spend more money on. We were keen to have a live band even though we knew it would be a significant amount of money. When we found the band (Phil Lyons and his New Vintage Band) it was a case of matching the date with Emily’s church and the venue we wanted for the reception. Once those were in place we felt like we could relax. We made nearly all of the decisions together (minus respective outfits and those of bridesmaids/groomsmen) – even down to gifts for those that helped us!
BUDGET | We had a budget. We went over it. Totally worth it.
THE VENUE | Berkhamstead Town Hall. We wanted a venue with multiple rooms but without the cost of a typical wedding venue. It also needed to be close enough to St Oswald’s Church in a Croxley Green. Emily’s mum had been to a wedding at the town hall previously and thought it might be perfect. She was right! It had character, despite being a bit rough around the edges! We loved the black and white photos on the walls and the beams in the main room. There was a little courtyard and 2 other rooms plus a bar area. Plenty of space and even a vintage pub sign on the bar!
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | My dress was from Fur Coat No Knickers.
Evening accessories from Pure Couture in Beaconsfield.
Shoes from Irregular Choice.
FINDING THE DRESS | I had always envisioned myself in a tea length dress with a very vintage feel. But thought I’d try the normal wedding dress shopping experience first. I went to Pure Couture in Beaconsfield and my friend Steph for advice. She was incredible and not at all offended I didn’t find my dress there, but I bought a beautiful beaded hairpiece and waistband for the evening reception, which matched my shoes perfectly.
I tried lots of different dresses in lots of different shops but I think I already knew I wanted to buy from FCNK. I fan-girled a LOT when I realised Emma was fitting my dress; Emma and Laura had designed my favourite theatre show I’d seen as a teenager and I couldn’t believe I was actually meeting them and they were making my dress! I was desperate to find polka dot tulle and thought it would be impossible… My dress ended up being polka dot tulle. It was magical. I didn’t cry, and neither did my mum, but we both knew it was the right dress. I had a shoulder length veil with pearls to match the shoes and a white ribbon with a BIG bow at the back. They completely pandered to my fantasies but told me when I was being ridiculous!
The shoes were bought the minute I got engaged. I knew I wanted Irregular Choice but was aware they possibly could discontinue shoes at any point. When I saw these I knew there were right and immediately bought them!
GROOM’S ATTIRE | The boys wanted blue suits and took themselves off to Marks and Spencer’s to all find the right fit together. Emily’s brother was in charge and together they all found the right fit. White shirts and, after a flurry of back and forth messages between us and Emily’s brother, we found the right ties. Brown brogues and they were set to look as dapper as they could!
THE READINGS & MUSIC | With Emily being a performer music and the readings were incredibly important to us and we wanted them to be a big part of the service. The hymns we chose meant a lot to both of us (despite one of them being an Easter hymn!). We chose the readings together. Stardust was one of the first films we ever watched together and Neil Gaiman an author we are both a little partial to, it made complete sense. We have incredibly talented friends and desperately wanted them to play and also us be surprised. We gave them specific songs for the processional and recessional (PM’s Love Theme from Love Actually and You Make My Dreams Come True by Hall and Oates respectively) but for the signing of the register we gave them a list of our favourites and asked them to make a medley. It was ruddy brilliant!
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | My incredible bridesmaids were all different shapes and sizes and I wanted them to feel comfortable. I took them off to Vivien of Holloway and made them try on EVERYTHING! They came to the decision to all wear the same 1950s halter neck dress and I chose the pattern. With a deep blue ribbon around the middle and rose gold shoes they looked so beautiful and I was so pleased to have them by my side.
THE FLOWERS | 2 Girls and Some Flowers.
We’d been to a lot of local wedding fairs that were everything we hated about weddings… Julia and Jenny just got it. We wanted relaxed and colourful flowers and had been collecting containers (teapots, caddies, jugs) for months and so had the family. We remembered them for a while and kept coming back to them. They were nothing but helpful and we didn’t have to worry at all. They made our venue look incredible and the bouquets were just what we wanted. I was desperate to use some lace from my mother’s wedding dress somewhere and they suggested in the flowers. It was such a lovely touch.
THE CAKE | Dan’s sister made the cake. It was amazing.
Peanut butter and white chocolate. Lemon and ginger. And salted caramel. With salted caramel oozing over the top. She placed peonies around the edge and humoured us with a Lego bride and groom at the top.
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | Karolina Simankowicz – what a babe!
Karol was a friend of a friend and we’d seen her a couple of times at weddings gaining experience. We loved her reportage style photos and were always surprised she’d managed to make us look so great! We originally bonded over Emily’s Vivien of Holloway dress and the twirling photos that ensued (which we managed to recreate at the wedding!). Neither of us like posing for photos and our families aren’t bothered. We wanted pictures to remember how the day was and make us feel the same feelings when we looked at them. She has certainly done that.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | So many elements!
Our friend Bethan Vann is an amazing artist and we decided we wanted to name each table after a fictional place. She drew us an incredible ink drawing for each named place. (She also created a monogram that we used for our invitations…) We then placed them in photo frames on the table with vintage books along with Lego scenes of the places.
Emily did the chalk board table plan, and a big team assembled the favours. Homemade limoncello and blackberry brandy, all in milk bottles with a patterned straw and a name label. That was a long Bank Holiday Monday!
Our florists gave us the majority of the decoration along with odds and sods we’d picked up along the way. Lots of fairy lights too. We also wanted a way to include members of our family that couldn’t be with us, in particular Dan’s dad and Emily’s Grandpa. We wanted to remember them but not in a morbid way. We decided to put up pictures of both of our parents and all of our grandparents getting married.
The whole bridal party pitched in the day before setting up and the day after taking it all down. It was a massive help and the venue were brilliant too.
We’ve got to mention the band too! Phil Lyons and his band were incredible. Never once did we worry about them arriving on time or what they were going to play. They were so helpful and really got the party going, even staying around to DJ our Spotify playlist after their second set.
THE HONEYMOON | We took 5 days in Portugal at a family members’ villa (thanks Irene and a Terry!) and ate too much and drunk too much. It was gorgeous.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | One friend had told us to take moments just the two of us watching and I’m so pleased we did as those are some of the moments that stick in my mind, realising all of those people are there for you and want to see you do your thing is an amazing feeling.
Some of them are: The first dance and everyone thinking we’d choreographed it because no one had ever seen us dance before! Watching older family members and friends all dancing to the same band. Emily chasing her 90 year old grandma out on the street to say thank you for coming and being told it was the ‘best wedding’ she’d ever been to! Emily’s auntie fast asleep on a chair at the end of the night. Dan being shot by a Nerf Gun during the Best Man’s speech. Walking into the church and seeing such a huge number of people.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Don’t sweat the small stuff. Things will go wrong, it doesn’t matter. Have someone else be the contact for the day, I had a contact list drawn up with an itinerary and gave the bridal party jobs. I then knew I could relax! Take a moment every couple of hours to just watch, otherwise you won’t remember anything! Enjoy planning it.
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Photographer | Karolina Simankowicz
Dress | Fur Coat No Knickers
Accessories | Pure Couture
Flowers | Two Girls & Some Flowers
Bridesmaids | Viviene of Holloway
Ceremony music | The Nameless Three
Reception music | Phil Lyons and the New Vintage Band (we had the 10 piece!)
Art work | Bethan Vann (Something by Beth)
Venue | Berkhamstead Town Hall
Cake | Cat White
Suits | Marks and Spencer
Such a memorable and happy day.
Emily and Dan, I cannot thank you enough for sharing your story here today xo Lou